Beatle Songs that Suck

Before I ruffle any feathers (like when I wrote about Bob Dylan),  let me just say that I’m a HUGE Beatles fan.

At the risk of being labeled a heretic, though, I’ll go out on a limb and say that not everything the Fab Four touched necessarily turned into gold.  Seems we always hear about their hits, but we never hear about their flops.

Here are some of their songs that didn’t quite make the Top Ten.

Hold Me Tight
This one’s found on the B-side of With the Beatles.  And boy, does it ever SUCK.

Worst.  Beatle Song.   Ever.

They sound like another band trying to impersonate the Beatles, and doing poor job of it.

Hold Me Tight just goes on and ON.  You wish it would just end already.

….Hold me tight, feels so right, etc. etc..      (Okay…Okay…I GET IT!)

Well, to be fair, this one WAS early in their career.

McCartney considered it a “work song”.   Lennon’s comment was that he “was never really interested in it either way”. (*)

It shows.

Within You Without You
Many consider Sergeant Pepper to be one of the most innovative and influential rock albums of all time.  I tend to agree:  the album is excellent.

Most of the album, that is…

I make an exception with George Harrison’s interminable  sitar solo.   I can’t believe John and Paul gave him so much album space for something that at best, is a soundtrack for a low-budget Bollywood movie.

(Thanks for coming out, George, but I think we’ll pass on that whole Eastern-music-mysticism thing).

I always found this song such a pain in the ass…this was the part of the album when I’d always have to get up at and fast-forward to the next song.

(YES…I know I’m dating myself!…This was back in the Dark Ages before CD’s or i-pods).

Bungalow Bill
I’m okay with 98% of this one.  But then there’s that short 5-second clip, where they actually allowed Yoko Ono to SING.

That alone ruins the song (if not the entire White Album).

Ob-la-Di Ob-la-Da
It’s funny, how whenever people want to criticize Paul McCartney, they always bring up this song as a prime example of his worst work.  I think it’s become one of the most hated Beatle songs ever.

I was neutral at first.   The tune wasn’t great, but I wouldn’t turn it off if I heard it played.

But that was before those Classic Rock stations kept playing the damned song over and over, and beating it half to death.  That was probably the tipping point…

Now when I hear Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da, I have to resist the urge to drive into on-coming traffic.

Good Morning, Good Morning
Another dud from Sergeant Pepper’s. The song itself is average-mediocre, but it’s the the end that kills me.

That’s when the music fades, and they start the sound effects of screeching barnyard animals.

Okay, maybe back in the LSD-hazed days of 1967, this was considered novel, because no one had ever put these sounds on a record before.

But it’s 2008 now, and let’s call a spade a spade…this is just plain God-awful NOISE.

Lennon later described this song a “piece of garbage” (*).

At least you gotta admire his honesty.

Revolution 9
What a bunch of tortured-intellectual avant-garde performance art CRAP.

Could someone please explain to me what is appealing about a series random sounds stuck together, while some dick-wad drones on about “Number Nine…Number Nine…” ?

Over a twenty-five year period, I think I might have listened to this abomination, beginning-to-end, maybe TWICE.    And that’s enough for this lifetime, thank you very much.

John…John…John…WHAT were you thinking?

Obviously, Yoko had a hand in this.

Wild Honey Pie
This one is so bad, I can’t describe it.  You have to hear it to believe it.

What that hell….?!?

No, seriously…WHAT THE HELL ?!?!

Hey Bulldog
The equivalent of Hey Jude or Let it Be, this one is NOT.

Similar to Good Morning Good Morning, it’s the last minute of the song that’s the worst.    John and Paul banter between themselves as the music fades.   Then Paul barks like a dog and John ad-libs, telling him to sit and be quiet.   This is followed by maniacal laughter that sounds like a wheezing epileptic seizure instead.

Just plain embarrassing.

What goes on
Ringo sings in this one and harmonizes with the others.  And surprisingly, he doesn’t do a bad job of it, either.

But listen to the lead guitar.

George….ummm…exactly WHAT were you trying to do there?   He sounds like a confused twelve-year-old learning to play a new instrument.

Hard to believe that this was the same guy, who four years later,  came up with  “Something” and “Here comes the Sun“.

Maggie Mae
No, this isn’t the classic pop hit that Rod Stewart sang.  It’s a traditional Liverpool folk song about a hooker robbing a sailor.

This forgettable ditty is found on the Let it Be album.   One suspects it’s a remnant from the cutting-room floor.   Producer Phil Spector probably stuck it in as filler material at the last minute.

The song is only about 40 seconds long, and it sounds like an off-key drunken rehearsal sung in a pub.   (My favorite is Ringo trying to consistently harmonize a few beats too late.)

On top of that, the song doesn’t even end properly:  everyone seemed to just randomly stop playing when they felt like it, with the tape reel still running.  It’s like they suddenly stopped giving a shit.

I think 40 seconds of silence would have been better than this.

But Maggie Mae is so bad, it’s almost funny.    Maybe that’s why they kept it on the album:  for comic relief.

***************************************************************

(*) Steve Turner, “A Hard Day’s Write”,  Prospero Books (1999).

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45 Comments on “Beatle Songs that Suck”

  1. Nicole Says:

    Wow, I don’t know a single one of those songs. But I think, based on this post, I won’t find them just to satisfy my curiosity either.

    Maxwell’s Silver Hammer has always been my favorite. NO clue why. Maybe because I’m a slave to a catchy tune. :)

  2. Friar Says:

    @Nicole

    I know most of the Beatles songs..and every once in a while, I come across an obscure one that I’ve never heard before (and probably for good reason!)

    I like Maxwells’ Silver Hammer. Funny, how it’s about a man murdering people…probalby nowadays people would hold candle light vigils is someone wrote a song about that.

    But back then, people had a sense of humor. You can hear where Paul snickers right in the middle of the song. :-)

  3. Nicole Says:

    @Friar Ha! I’ve never noticed the snicker. (Probably can’t hear it over my own caterwauling along.) I’ll have to give it a listen with my mouth shut. ;)

    Probably these days it would be made into an HBO television series.

  4. Writer Dad Says:

    Friar,

    I agree with every word, but I agree with Revolution Number 9 twice.

  5. Friar Says:

    @Writer Dad

    Number Nine. Hehe.

    On of John Lennon’s FINEST MOMENTS.

  6. Friar Says:

    @Nicole

    It’s when Paul sings about Maxwell having to write lines on the blackboard when the teacher punishes him (Yes, I know I’m a Beatle geek!)

    At least you know he’s not taking himself seriously. :-)

  7. strongwhitepapers Says:

    Hey Friar,

    Wow, what an ambitious list!

    There are not many Beatle songs that drive me nuts, but I’d have to say that “Why Don’t We Do It In the Road?” is one of them. This is further tainted by the Ringo Starr claim that McCartney went back into the studio to lay down his own drum tracks. I mean come on, could Ringo’s drumming actually ruin this song? (Actually, come to think of it, his drumming couldn’t have made it any better either…)

    I was also not a fan of “Oh, Darling” and “Got to Get You Into My Life”.

    I agree with most of your list, but I’ve always thought that “Hey, Bulldog” was one of their most under-rated songs. And “Revolution 9″ — I can understand your feelings about it, but I think it has to be heard in context. It certainly isn’t a song, but a collage of audio snippets. Not incidentally, a collage made while under the influence of one or more illicit drugs (and probably, as you point out, Yoko).

    If you close your eyes and just listen, there is an interesting undercurrent there, almost a storyline. It is not something I would put on my iPod necessarily, but it is worth listening to once in a while…

    BTW, never heard of “Hold Me Tight” before — and I used to be a huge Beatle geek myself. (Although I don’t know whether I should thank you or curse you for introducing me to that clunker…)

    ~Graham

  8. Friar Says:

    @Graham

    My opinion is a bit biaised…I like almost ALL Beatle songs…so it has to be pretty BAD for me to include it on this list.

    The White Album has a lot of great stuff, but a lot of forgettable stuff do. Never was too crazy about “Why don’t we do it in the Road”. Or “Savvoy Truffle” or “Everybody’s got something to hide except me and my Monkey”.

    Sound collages like “Revolution Number Nine” just plain annoy me (especially when I’m driving a car). You get this with Pink Floyd or Zeppelin too..(thank God that fad finally died in the early 70′s).

    Maybe they’re better if you’re just mellowing out at home and listening to it in the background while doing something else. Drugs probably help.

    PS. I didn’t know about “Hold me Tight” either, until a few years ago. (I think it should stay buried!)


  9. At the risk being shot, drawn and quartered, I am here to state that I am not a Beatles fan. Sure, some of their songs are okay, some are not, but I don’t get the whole Beatles fascination.

  10. Friar Says:

    @Urban Panther

    Dont’ worry, I’ll protect you from the Inquisitors if they come by with torches and pitchforks.

    When writing this post, I came across a few very funny “Beatles Suck” sites. Nothing wrong with NOT being a fan.

    I feel that way of about half of Bob Dylan, and all of Celine Dion, Barbara Streisand, and Cirque de Soleil.

  11. Karen JL Says:

    @ Friar – You’re NOT a fan of Cirque de Soleil??? Since when??? :0

  12. Friar Says:

    @Karen JL

    Evil, EVIL clowns.

    And homo-erotic ones, at that.

    (Shudder). :-(

    PS. They also f**cked up the Beatles’ music.

  13. Karen JL Says:

    @ Friar – I think the worst crime against the Beatles may have been when the Bee Gees did their Sgt. Peppers album. Remember THAT?

    (Homo-erotic clowns are the *best* kind of clowns! :) )

  14. Friar Says:

    @Karen

    AAARGH (Winces). :-( Yeah, I remember seeing that on TV. What a horror show!

    You wonder why the BeeGees had to do that? (After all, they were successful enough on their own, without needing to ride on the Beatles’ coat-tails).

    Maybe that’s what helped start the anti-disco anti-Bee-Gee back-lash

    PS. Mabye if Cirque started giving equal time, and showing topless WOMEN prancing around in tights…I’d change my mind.

  15. Kelly Says:

    Friar,

    My ex-husband was the world’s biggest Beatles fan. Which ruined them for me, somewhat, but I let them play once in a while now.

    My 2¢: Never, ever, EVER play Bungalow Bill. Your brain will melt. What a piece of dreck.

    I like Ob-la-Di, Ob-la-Da sort of. Though you have to be in the mood for it. If you are, follow it with “Our House” by CSN, and you can get over the mood and go back to being cynical.

    I sorta like Rev. No. 9, but then, I’m kinda artsy, and I’ve heard it under some influences you probably haven’t, which gives me hazy happy arTEESTic memories of it. Well, not memories, exactly… *ahem.*

    One I know I shouldn’t like but I do: Piggies.

    Everywhere there’s lots of piggies
    Living piggy lives
    You can see them out for dinner
    With their piggy wives

    Cracks me up every time. Bizarro Beatles.

    Excellent post! Lots of obscure ones here.

    Regards,

    Kelly

  16. Kelly Says:

    P.S. Hey, Joey. Rita needs your email address.

  17. Friar Says:

    @Kelly
    I go through phases…I play the Beatles a lot..then I get sick of them, and put them away for a few months. Then I start again…

    Yes, I can imagine how chemicals might “help” someone enjoy Rev. No. 9. (But try it stone cold sober…it’s not as much fun as you think!)

    I always liked the end of Piggies, because that meant “Blackbird” would be coming up next (one of my all time favorite songs!)

    PS. Yes, I’ll be sending Rita my email address. (It was the weekend…I was busy doing other stuff besides blogging!).

  18. Cath Lawson Says:

    Hi Friar – I’ve gotta admit, I don’t remember any of these aside from Obladioblada. I didn’t mind it, but it’s definitely not their best stuff.

  19. Friar Says:

    @Cath

    Don’t feel too bad…you’d have to be a bit of a Beatle Geek to know about these more obscure songs. They are almost NEVER played by mainstream media (and like I said…probably for good reason).

    @Kelly

    Just occurred to me….Rita would already HAVE my email, wouldn’t she? (after all, I have to give it to her to leave a comment!)

  20. Kelly Says:

    Friar,

    Nope, she isn’t the owner of the blog. I thought that too, but then she mentioned it in a comment.

    HOW DARE YOU DO OTHER STUFF! :)

    Later,

    Kelly

  21. Kelly Says:

    Oh, and I love Blackbird. Animal noises in a song and it works. Ya win some, ya lose some.

  22. Friar Says:

    @Kelly

    YES, WRITE TO ME IN BIG LETTERS JUST LIKE RITA DOES!!!

    I LOVE THAT! :-) :-)

    (I don’t have time to follow all the comments on all the blogs…not when there are 60-70 of them!)

    I have a special attachment to the song Blackbird. I always wanted to learn it…when I was recovering from Knee Operation #1, I sat down for 2 weeks, and practiced, practiced, practiced and taught myself how to play it (and I still can!)

    It was hard enough just learning to PLAY it…I can’t imagine having the talent to COMPOSE something like that.

  23. Brett Legree Says:

    Since I can’t think of any that suck, I’ll think of one I like:

    I am he as you are he as you are me
    and we are all together
    See how they run like pigs from a gun
    see how they fly
    I’m crying
    Sitting on a cornflake
    Waiting for the van to come
    Corporation T-shirt, stupid bloody Tuesday
    Man you’ve been a naughty boy
    you let your face grow long

    I am the eggman
    they are the eggmen
    I am the walrus
    Goo goo g’ joob

    (Yeah. Need some wacky weed for that one…)

  24. Friar Says:

    @Brett

    If you like the lyrics, and you want a good laugh, check out the video to this song

    Yes, the drugs must have been great in the 60′s!

  25. Steph Says:

    I actually have zero interest in the Beatles or in any music that has lyrics I can’t understand at face value. But this post was so hilarious! It doesn’t matter what you write about: you always deliver.

    And that’s why I keep coming back. :)

  26. veredd Says:

    Just like Nicole, I don’t know any of these!

  27. Friar Says:

    @Steph

    Well, I’m just showing what I think are the absolute WORST.

    But there are also hidden Beatle gems (songs they NEVER play on the radio) that have soulful lyrics with hauntingly beautiful melodies. (For No One, Julia, I’ve just seen a Face, etc..).

    (But if I wrote about those, that wouldn’t make for as funny a post now, would it?) :-)

    @veredd
    I’ve been a Beatle fan for 25 years, and I didn’t know about some of these songs until recently, either.

  28. Kelly Says:

    Friar,

    Bad. So bad. LOL! (That doesn’t count as all caps, y’know.)

    BTW your Joey is awesome. I felt gypped that you didn’t post an excerpt today… like Rita said to… in the comments that you didn’t read… because I want to know more about him.

    I had no idea you could write like that, too. Is there anything you can’t do?

    The Beatles: Yeah, Earth-shatteringly talented. I mean, they pretty much did shatter the planet. Not everybody likes them today, but without them we’d all be listening to Pat Boone. All day. *shivers*

    Later,

    Kelly

  29. Friar Says:

    @Kelly

    I wonder where Rita is? (I bet you she’s overwhelmed with all the emails…). She’ll surface for air in a few days, I reckon.

    Aww..you make me blush. I didnt’ think Joey was awesome. I just put something down on paper, off the top of my head.

    …..I’m not kidding, since High School English (25 years ago), I think this was the FIRST fiction writing I’ve ever done. I just didn’t write much (except technical papers) until this past year.

    Reason I didn’t post my excerpt, is that it was too long, and I didnt’ know how to break it up without ruining the train of thought.

    Beatles are STILL my all-time Fave. But I always have had this eclectic fascination with mediocrity. Things that are so BAD, they’re funny, amuse the hell out of me. Hence this post. (Same as with Bob Dylan).

  30. Kelly Says:

    Beatles fans, lucky for you, are apparently not as rabid as Dylan fans. He he.

  31. Brett Legree Says:

    Kelly,

    Friar did do a good Joey, didn’t he… Vince will return tonight. Vince’s alter-ego was busy looking after a vomiting 7-year old last night… :)

  32. Friar Says:

    @Kelly

    I deliberately put in some key Beatle words, hoping to see if I’d get a traffic spike. No such luck.

    I think Beatle fanatics are a bit more mellow (peace-love, and all that). Dylans’ a bit more controversial, and it gets peoples ire up.

    @Brett
    Oh, well, mabye I’ll post part of my Joey bit, from last night.

    Vomiting 7-year old. Boy…the more I hear about parenting, the more FUN it sounds. :-)

  33. Brett Legree Says:

    @Friar,

    It sounds nasty now… but just wait until they’re about 16 or so.

    Muahahahahaha, my own private army… :)

    An added bonus is that when I’m old and decrepit, there’ll be someone to feed me my gruel…

  34. Friar Says:

    @Brett

    Well, with four kids, you increase your chances that at least ONE is still talking to you when you’re 80 and willing to take care of you!

    An Army of Brettlings, though. With Singing Funeral-Dirge Battle Axes.

    Be afraid. Be very afraid.

  35. Kelly Says:

    If the one he helped through the vomiting isn’t speaking to him at 80, there’s no justice.

    Friar, you don’t know what you’re missing. You think you do, but you don’t. There’s no heaven like your little one, even when they’re puking and they “almost” make it to the bathroom.

    I wish I had more little pukers. :) :) :)

  36. Friar Says:

    @Kelly

    I dunno…I seem to be missing the gene that wants to make little kiddies. I like ‘em, and all that. I like being Uncle Friar. I just don’t have any compelling desire to raise any of my own.

    I think I know 4-5 other people in the whole planet like me. We should get together and form a support group or something.

  37. Kelly Says:

    Friar,

    You aren’t alone. I’ve had several permanently childless friends, some who were even married, with no interest in surrendering their days, nights, and bank accounts to the little dears.

    I still say you don’t know what you’re missing, but I certainly don’t begrudge you the right to be happily, unwaveringly, Uncle Friar.

    Claire knows what you’re missing. You could go ask her if you ever get curious. LOL.

    Later,

    Kelly


  38. I’m late to this party but I’ve got a good excuse — I’ve been on vacation! Anyway, the Beatles are (in my book) the greatest band of all time. I agree that Hold Me Tight is one of the most annoying musical concoctions EVER! But — Ob-la-Di Ob-la-Da is one of my FAVORITE Beatles songs. Yes, seriously! It’s a fun ditty. There’s a relatively unknown but excellent song called “The Two of Us,” that I thought I’d throw out there as well because I hadn’t heard it until about two years ago and felt like I’d just unearthed buried treasure.

  39. Friar Says:

    @Melissa
    Okay, you’re one of the few people I know who like Ob-La-Di Ob-La-Da. But I’ll forgive you, ’cause you’re a Beatle Fan. ;-)

    “Two of Us” is a pretty good song. I love discovering the “buried Treasures” like that.

    One of my favorites treasures is “I’ve just seen a Face”, which I think is one of Paul’s best compositions. But they never play it, I bet you hardly anyone remembers it.

  40. meredithers Says:

    Ha, :D I like all these songs, except Revolution 9 and Wild Honey Pie.
    Wild Honey Pie was only kept on the album because Pattie Harrison liked it… :/
    I LOVE ob-la-di ob-la-da.
    I love hold me tight too, but that’s beacuse Paul is off tune and it’s cute. :D
    And, I think within you and without you is amazing, if you like trippy indian music. I do. I also think it has great lyrics.
    You don’t like good morning good moring? Really?
    And I think Hey Bulldog tops Lady Madonna, which was released at about the same time.
    And as much as I wish I could say I like what goes on, I don’t. I can listen to it, but not really enjoy it. You gotta give Ringo points for trying. xD
    And the Maggie May is not really 40 seconds, its really about 3 or 4 minutes, they just cut it down to that. I think it’s catchy, but I don’t think it should have been included on the album.
    But that’s just me. :)

  41. Friar Says:

    @meredithers.

    I never got into the trippy Indian Music. Nice try, George, but it never did catch on.

    Though I much prefer Lady Madonna to Bulldog. Technically, it’s quite a difficult song to play on the piano…at the time, it was pushing Pauls’ keyboard skills.

    I dont’ mind what Goes on. Except Georges crummy guitar picking. (But hey, they can’t ALL be gems).

    And Maggie Mae…well, that’s just SAD. It had no business being on the album. A cutting room floor remnant, like I said.

    The album “Let it Be” has some real gems, but much of it is so-so. It makes me sad…you can tell the Beatles were going through a difficult time, and often they didn’t seem to give a shit. Phil Spector put all the tracks together, after the fact, after they were basically broken up.

    (Compared to Abbey Road, which is so much happier and musical). That was the last time they were in the studio together. They rallied together for one last great album…and it shows!

  42. Count Says:

    “Ob-la-Di Ob-la-Da” is a favorite; within the Beatles’ canon, it was an imaginative, lively song.

    If there’s any Beatles songs I do not like, it has to be the period around and certainly before A Hard Days Night; that early, cutesy crap some Baby Boomers obsess over was too simplistic even for the early 60s.

  43. Friar Says:

    @Count

    ARgh! When I hear Obladi Blah Dah, I fast-forward the CD. It’s been over-played.

    I think with a Hard Day’s night, the Beatles were just STARTING to get creative. But yeah, their earlier stuff was pretty simple.

    Still better than what was out there at the time (Paul Anka, or Fabian..). (Shudder!)

  44. Nico Says:

    I just can’t stand The Beatles. I read this blog a few days ago who were actually bashing The Beatles in a humoristic kinda way. It was funny, informative and contained facts. I don’t know if you accept URLs in your comments, but if you do, here it is: http://www.whythisblogsucks.com/

  45. Friar Says:

    Nico

    Thanks for the link. I’ve taken a quick look, it looks like a pretty funny/sarcastic blog. I’m going to have to check it out some more.


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