20 Best Beatles Songs

Maybe I have seen too many movies, but I feel like my life definitely has a soundtrack. Brown Eyed Girl by Van Morrison takes me back to the time I fell in love with my husband. I Want to Dance with Somebody by Whitney Houston makes me remember the days when I twirled around the living room with my little daughters.

But the number one group on my soundtrack is definitely The Beatles. Their music was a part of so many big days in my life. Here are my 20 most memorable Beatles’ songs and the good days that went with them:

The Sweet and Innocent Years – I was 10 years old when I first heard The Beatles, and I thought they were just about perfect. They played catchy, upbeat ditties that my friends and I loved.

I Want to Hold Your Hand (1963) – This was the musical equivalent of love at first sight. I liked the song, and I loved the pictures of these charming, happy, cheeky young men from Liverpool.

This song led to heated discussions at my lunch table at Beavertown Elementary School, arguing over who was the best Beatle. John was favored by the wild girls, the ones who seemed to know a lot more about boys, anatomy, and cigarettes than the rest of us. Others, including me, liked Paul, the gorgeous, harmless one. We worried about the few girls who liked George. What was wrong with them? And no one liked Ringo.

Do You Want to Know a Secret (1963) – I certainly did want to know a secret, any secret really. But the one I most wanted to know was how I could find someone who wanted to hold my hand.

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PS I Love You (1962), This Boy (1963), In My Life (1965), Yesterday (1965), Michelle (1965), and Norwegian Wood (1965) – Beautiful ballads by our beautiful boys, who were inexplicably tortured by love. If only The Beatles could meet us, their biggest fans at Beavertown, we girls were sure that they would be much happier.

Twist and Shout (1963) – A cool, young teacher played her radio out her classroom window onto the playground at recess and we danced, a dozen girls twirling their skirts, laughing and having fun. Sometimes the boys even joined us. The best dance was The Twist and the best dance song was Twist and Shout.

Middle Years – I started junior high school just as the Beatles started to change. The lyrics were more poetic, the music more complex. Their hair, which had been daring and a bit unorthodox, became almost scary. We girls still listened to the Beatles, but we didn’t keep pace. What was their problem?

Eleanor Rigby (1966) – This song was about death, not love, and it was sad.

She’s Leaving Home (1967) – Even sadder. “She’s leaving home after living alone for so many years.” Yikes! What happened to twist and shout?

Penny Lane (1967) – Poetic and confusing, but at least the music was upbeat.

A Day in the Life (1967) – Tangerine trees and marmalade skies? So it was true – The Beatles were on drugs. This was a watershed moment. Some girls slipped away while others began to follow their lead. I did neither; I liked the music too much to abandon them, but the whole acid trip thing seemed like a bad idea.

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High School – My friends and I started to catch up with The Beatles near the end. Their causes were our causes, and their music was accomplished and clear.

Revolution (1968) – Almost everyone in America knew someone who had been killed in Vietnam by 1968. Our parents were positive the war was a good idea, and many boys our age, who were looking down the barrel of the draft, were just as sure it was not a good idea at all. A revolution seemed like an option, if that’s what it took to change the world.

Something (1969) – Best make out song ever. I’ll say no more.

While My Guitar Gently Weeps (1968) – It sounded great when George sang it, but really, this is a top Beatles’ song because they made it possible for all of us to be blown away by Eric Clapton’s cover.

The Long and Winding Road and Let It Be (1969) – We knew it was true, The Beatles were breaking up. They told us goodbye in both of these songs. It hurt, like losing a friend, knowing they would never again shock us with what came next.

College – By the time I was at the university, The Beatles had broken up, but two songs still make my college soundtrack:

Here Comes the Sun (1969) – In the days before we knew much about skin cancer, two hundred girls laid out in the sun each afternoon on the lawn next to our dorm. Every 15 minutes, someone in the dorm played this song out the window. That’s when it was time to turn to avoid the burn. Two hundred girls, flipping in unison; the boys loved it.


Honey Pie (1968) – My best friend in college, a girl of many gifts, danced a very accomplished soft shoe to Honey Pie at our hippie parties. This came out of nowhere – so incongruous with everything else that was happening, so creative; a perfect match for the most creative music of the 1960s.