Top 10 Most Underrated Beatles Songs

10 most underrated beatles songs

Top 10 Most Underrated Beatles Songs

5. It’s All Too Much

When you’re in a band with John Lennon and Paul McCartney, it’s easy for your songs to get lost in the shuffle. So I had to make sure to get at least one George Harrison song in here. George’s songwriting improved greatly as the years went by, and while most people are aware of his latter-day classics (‘Something’, ‘Here Comes the Sun’, ‘While My Guitar Gently Weeps’), he had several underrated songs along the way like ‘Don’t Bother Me’ and ‘Blue Jay Way’.

I seriously considered ‘Within You Without You’ as well, but it’s hard to ignore the monstrosity that is ‘It’s All Too Much’. Recorded in 1967 but not officially released until 1969’s Yellow Submarine soundtrack, it’s George at his most psychedelic, influenced by LSD and full of fuzzy guitar feedback, brass instruments, and droning organ.

“Why is George’s ‘It’s All Too Much’ not heralded as one of the top five all-time psychedelic freakouts in rock history?” – Rob Sheffield (Rolling Stone)

Originally clocking in at over 8 minutes long, it was clearly influenced by Indian music, and sheer bombast is part of its mystical charm. Each member of the group contributed something trippy to the mix. It’s got a dreamlike, unsettling atmosphere – kinda like an acid trip – and it takes the listener on a journey of the mind.

The Beatles made some of their most interesting music during their psychedelic era, and ‘It’s All Too Much’ has gotta be near the top of the list.

4. You Know My Name (Look Up the Number)

The Beatles were obviously 4 very funny lads, and the idea of incorporating comedy into their music was something they frequently discussed. This dates back to their roots in Hamburg when they played comedic songs like ‘Three Cool Cats’, ‘Searchin’ and ‘Lend Me Your Comb’, and one of the reasons they warmed up to producer George Martin so quickly was that he had worked on several hit comedy records before meeting them. Around the time they released Rubber Soul, they told the press about wanting to incorporate more humor in their music, though it didn’t end up happening very often.

One song where it did is ‘You Know My Name (Look Up the Number)’. Borrowing a phrase printed on telephone books at the time (You know the name, look up the number), they started working on this song in 1967 and returned to it several times, although it didn’t receive an official release until appearing as the B-side of the ‘Let It Be’ single in 1970. The title provided the only lyrics John brought with him, preferring to ad-lib in the studio instead.

“What would you do if a guy like John Lennon turned up at the studio and said, ‘I’ve got a new song’. I said, ‘What’s the words?’ and he replied ‘You know my name look up the number’. I asked, ‘What’s the rest of it?’ ‘No, no other words, those are the words. And I want to do it like a mantra!'” – Paul McCartney

Many Beatle fans aren’t even aware of its existence, which is unfortunate because it’s a bizarre but engaging mix of experimental sounds, shouting, and playful studio banter. Paul sings a chunk of the song as a parody of a lounge singer, working out a kind of a call-and-response with John replying in weird voices. The song features cool contributions from George and Ringo, plus a saxophone part played by Brian Jones of the Rolling Stones.

A weird but fun insight into the Beatles clowning around in the studio, and definitely worth a listen.

3. I’ll Get You

In June 1963, the Beatles were well on their way to national stardom in England. But they needed a new single, asap. So John and Paul made a rare trip back to John’s Aunt Mimi’s house on Menlove Avenue (where he had grown up) to try and write one. A few hours later, they had a new song called ‘I’ll Get You’ basically completed, and planned to use it as the A-side of their next single.

Later that month, on tour, they wrote a song that really excited them – a little ditty called ‘She Loves You’. They quickly decided that it should be the new single, relegating ‘I’ll Get You’ to the B-side. Clearly the Beatles were testing the limitations of the word “yes” at the time, with ‘She Loves You’s infectious “yeah, yeah, yeah” chorus, coupled with multiple repeats of “oh yeah” on the flip side.

“Ever heard anyone from Liverpool singing ‘yes’? It’s yeah!” – John Lennon

As a result, ‘I’ll Get You’ did not appear on a regular British album release (It did make the cut for an American release the following year called The Beatles Second Album, and later on Past Masters Volume 1), and is one of the lesser known songs in their discography. Which is a shame, because it’s one of my favorite Beatle tracks and a great example of their early infectious exuberance.

Like many of their early songs, it’s relatively simple, but utilizes a clever chord change, and John and Paul sing most of the song together in unison, delivering a spirited vocal performance. It’s also another early Beatles song to feature John playing harmonica.

Get to know the song, and I guarantee you’ll sing along!

2. Here, There and Everywhere

‘Here, There and Everywhere’ appeared on the Beatles’ 1966 album Revolver. It’s a beautiful song, deceptively simple on the surface but with a lovely melody and impressive layered backing vocals.

Paul had been listening to the Beach Boys’ new album Pet Sounds, and was inspired by the songwriting of Brian Wilson and in particular, the song ‘God Only Knows’.

‘Here, There and Everywhere’ was a favorite of both Paul and John, as well as George Martin.

“Paul’s song completely, I believe. And one of my favourite songs of The Beatles.” – John Lennon

Musicians are often looking for simplicity, where the melody of the song can stand on its own without a lot of bells and whistles. Paul wrote several classic songs that were sparse yet deadly effective (think ‘Yesterday’), and ‘Here, There and Everywhere’ is one of the best songs he ever wrote.

(Note: the regular studio version is not currently available on YouTube – this is Take 14 from the Beatles Anthology).

1. Rain

‘Rain’ is another song you won’t find on a regular Beatles album, appearing only as the B-side for the ‘Paperback Writer’ single. It’s long been a secret favorite of many diehard Beatle fans, including myself, and it’s easy to see (and hear) why. It may also have been the first step towards the Beatles psychedelic period explored on ‘Revolver’, and later in full force on ‘Sergeant Pepper’.

John Lennon was inspired to write the song by a torrential rainstorm while in Australia, and in the mood to experiment once he got back to the studio. Late one night, he took the tapes home and inserted one backwards by accident, where he was amazed at the sounds he heard. As a result, ‘Rain’ features a backwards section at the end, creating an eerie but effective new sound that turned on the Beatles.

“After we’d done the session on that particular song—it ended at about four or five in the morning—I went home with a tape to see what else you could do with it. And I was sort of very stoned and tired, you know, not knowing what I was doing, and I just happened to put it on my own tape recorder and it came out backwards. And I liked it better.” – John Lennon

Several different parts of the song are sped up or slowed down slightly to create unique sounds, and all the pieces fit together perfectly. John’s lyrics and vocals are great, Paul’s bassline is stellar, and ‘Rain’ may be Ringo’s shining moment – his drumming on the track is superb.

The Beatles made promotional videos for several songs, and this one’s pretty cool!

That’s the list!

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Suggested Reading:

Who Was the 5th Beatle?

11 Amazing Facts About the Monkees

I Am Brian Wilson: Book Review

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