Earlier this year, Sirius/XM satellite radio launched a channel devoted to the Beatles. In between all the hits (collectively and individually), they sprinkle it with early demos, alternative tracks, rarities, live recordings, covers, interviews, forums and a whole lot more. It’s a great reminder of what made the Beatles so special in the first place, and a perfect fallback anytime I get tired of whatever I’m listening to.
One of the channel’s fun features is called “Fab Four,” in which they invite celebs to choose their top four Beatles songs ever. Now, it’s hard enough to pick the top four albums, let alone songs. But, always up for a challenge, I decided to take a shot. After much gnashing of teeth and wringing of hands, here’s the list (in no particular order), along with my lame rationalizations for why they made the cut:
“A Hard Day’s Night” – My parents were already middle-aged when I was born, but they were always open to new things. And so they took their 9-year-old boy to “A Hard Day’s Night” to see what all the fuss was about. While they never quite got it, their boy did. To this day, the song and the movie are intertwined with bittersweet memories of my folks, both long gone. Nothing like that iconic opening chord to snap me back more than five decades to a theater full of prepubescent girls screaming just as loudly as the ones in the film.
“In My Life” – Declarations of love have been made in a million different songs in a million different ways. But none better than this one. It never fails to get me all verklempt.
“A Day in the Life” – Musically rich, lyrically imaginative and decades ahead of its time, “A Day in the Life” is a whole movie (two actually) told in five minutes. I never tire of listening because it always offers up some new surprise. And the orchestral crescendo leading to that final end-of-the-world chord is a fitting bookend to the opening of “A Hard Day’s Night.” As a bonus, now I know how many holes it takes to fill the Albert Hall.
“Come Together” – Here come old Flattop! From Ringo’s tom-fueled opening riff to the gobbledygook lyrics that manage to be hip (mojo filter) and frightening (ju-ju eyeball) and funny (toe-jam football) all at the same time, “Come Together” is the best song on my favorite Beatles album (see future blog). I’m sure I’ve listened thousands of times and still can’t get the words quite right. (Neither did Tina Turner.) One thing’s for sure; I’m staying away from that armchair.
And there you have it. If you ask me tomorrow, I could easily come up with four different songs, which is the point, I guess. Can’t wait to hear yours.