Do you believe The Beatles are:
Not influential anymore.
Stupid/boring pop (they did “Yellow Submarine” and “Octopus’s Garden” and “Ob-la-di, Ob-la-da”, right?).
I respect your right to retain that opinion. But if you’re wondering what makes them dear and special to a prog/post-rock-loving heart, I present five songs off the beaten path:
1. The Ballad of John and Yoko
This could have been a Plastic Ono Band number; stripped down, functional, focused on the lyrics and not the music. Instead, it’s the best example of what McCartney brought to Lennon. The two performed the entire track themselves and McCartney’s bass, drums, and vocals create a dynamic energy. It hums with life.
2. I Want You (She’s So Heavy)
Dark, moody and, well… heavy. The guitar/bass line in the chorus kills.
3. You Know My Name (Look Up the Number) (or Anthology version)
One thing often overlooked when talking about The Beatles is how weird they could be. Not LSD/psychedelia weird, but kids messing-around-with-toys weird. “You Know My Name” is bizarre and wonderful and I can listen to it endlessly. (And for anyone who assumes all the musical avant-gardism was Lennon’s, please, please, please listen to McCartney II.)
4. Revolution 9
A messy, juvenile sound collage on first listen. And fourth and fifth. But then it stops becoming a gimmick and creates its own strangely compelling narrative.
5. Her Majesty
A fully realized, wonderful song – start, middle, finish – achieved in twenty-three seconds.
To the already-Beatles fans: What five songs would you use to explain your love to someone who’s written them off?