Top 25 Beatles Songs

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"She Loves You" (1963)

Beatles She Loves You
Courtesy Swan

The Beatles began recording "She Loves You" on a tour bus in England in late June 1963. They recorded it on July 1, 1963, less than a week later. The "yeah, yeah, yeah" line in the chorus became one of the most memorable of the Beatles' career. "She Loves You" was released in the UK August 23, 1963.

With massive advance orders fueling its rise on the UK pop chart, "She Loves You" hit #1 in September and spent a total of 18 weeks in the top 3. It ranks as the Beatles' all-time bestselling single in the UK having sold nearly two million copies. 

"She Loves You" was first released in the US on September 16, 1963. It received a positive review in Billboard but failed to gain interest from radio DJs. The song also received a lackluster response when featured on American Bandstand's "Rate-a-Record."

In the wake of "I Want To Hold Your Hand" reaching #1 on the US pop chart in January 1964, "She Loves You" finally entered the chart. Ultimately, it knocked "I Want To Hold Your Hand" from the top and by April 1964, "She Loves You" was one of five Beatles' songs holding the top five places on the US pop chart.

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"I Want To Hold Your Hand" (1963)

Beatles I Want To Hold Your Hand
Courtesy Capitol

The Beatles wrote "I Want To Hold Your Hand" in October 1963, and it was their first song to be recorded on four-track equipment. John Lennon and Paul McCartney have both stated in interviews that they wrote the song face-to-face bouncing ideas off each other.

"I Want To Hold Your Hand" was recorded on October 17, 1963. It earned more than one million pre-orders in the UK and was released on November 29, 1963. Within two weeks it dislodged "She Loves You" from the top of the pop chart. 

"I Want To Hold Your Hand" was the first Beatles single to convince Capitol Records that they should market it strongly in the US.

The result was an instant sensation, and the song was #1 in the US by February 1, 1964. "I Want To Hold Your Hand" spent seven weeks at #1 and became the biggest US pop hit of 1964. It earned a Grammy Award nomination for Record of the Year.

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"Twist and Shout" (1964)

Beatles Twist and Shout
Courtesy Capitol

"Twist and Shout" is arguably the best cover song of the Beatles' career. For early releases, they recorded a number of covers. "Twist and Shout" first became a hit in a 1962 recording by American R&B group The Isley Brothers.

It climbed to #17 on the US pop chart and #2 R&B. The Beatles recorded the song on February 11, 1963, in one of John Lennon's most acclaimed rock vocal performances. "Twist and Shout" was never released as a standalone single in the UK.

However, in the US, it appeared on the Tollie label in the wake of their first wave of success. "Twist and Shout" hit stores March 2, 1964, and by April 4, 1964, it was #2 and one of five Beatles songs making up the top five on the US pop chart.

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"Can't Buy Me Love" (1964)

Beatles Can't Buy Me Love
Courtesy Capitol

The Beatles recorded "Can't Buy Me Love" January 29, 1964, just as "I Want To Hold Your Hand" was nearing the top of the US pop chart. George Harrison's lead guitar solo was recorded after the first studio recording of "Can't Buy Me Love," and his original solo can be heard faintly in the background.

The song was an instant success in both the US and the UK. In the US, it leaped from #27 to #1. When it displaced "She Loves You" from #1, the Beatles became the only artists to ever have three consecutive back-to-back chart-topping hits. 

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"Love Me Do" (1964)

Beatles Love Me Do cover
Courtesy Tollie

Most of "Love Me Do" was written by a 16-year-old Paul McCartney in 1958-1959. The Beatles recorded three versions of the song in 1962 and it was released in the UK as their first single on October 5, 1962. "Love Me Do" has strong influences from both British skiffle music and American rock-n-roll.

It peaked at #17 on the UK pop chart, but it was not released as a single in the US until April 27, 1964, when the Beatles were at the peak of their first wave of success. It soon became the group's fourth #1 pop hit single in the US.

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"A Hard Day's Night" (1964)

Beatles A Hard Day's Night cover
Courtesy Capitol

Reportedly, the title "A Hard Day's Night" originated with a spontaneous comment from Ringo Starr about a particularly exhausting period of work. The phrase was first adopted as the title of the group's first feature film and later a song was written around it. Primary songwriting of "A Hard Day's Night" was by John Lennon.

The opening chord of the recording instantly identifies the song to fans. "A Hard Day's Night" was released as a single in the UK on July 10, 1964, and three days later in the US.

It soared to #1 in both countries along with the soundtrack album. It was the first time any act held the #1 single and album in both countries simultaneously. "A Hard Day's Night" earned a Grammy Award nomination for Song of the Year and won a Grammy Award for Best Performance by a Vocal Group. 

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"And I Love Her" (1964)

Beatles And I Love Her cover
Courtesy Capitol

One of the Beatles' most appreciated love songs was not one of their most popular records on initial release. It missed the top 10 on the pop charts in both the US and UK. However, over time, the song has been seen as a powerful artistic achievement.

The use of classical guitar and claves gives the recording a slightly exotic feel. "And I Love Her" was primarily written by Paul McCartney with John Lennon contributing the middle eight. The song is featured in the film A Hard Day's Night.

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"I Feel Fine" (1964)

Beatles I Feel Fine cover
Courtesy Capitol

"I Feel Fine" is notable for opening with one of the first uses ever of guitar feedback in a pop record. The song was built around the memorable guitar riff first created by John Lennon. Released in November 1964, "I Feel Fine" was an instant #1 in both the US and the UK. It was the group's sixth #1 pop hit of the year in the US, an all-time record. 

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"Eight Days a Week" (1965)

Beatles Eight Days a Week cover
Courtesy Capitol

Like with "A Hard Day's Night," the credit for the phrase that became the title of "Eight Days a Week" is attributed to drummer Ringo Starr. The song was unfinished when the group began to work on it in the studio in October 1964.

A unique element of "Eight Days a Week" is the song fades in at the beginning in a reversal of the more common fade out at the end. "Eight Days a Week" was only released as a single in the US. It was released in February 1965 and was #1 by mid-March. The song was the seventh #1 by the group in a one year period, an all-time record. 

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"Ticket To Ride" (1965)

Beatles Ticket To Ride cover
Courtesy Capitol

"Ticket To Ride" was seen as a significant step forward in studio craft by the Beatles. They recorded rehearsals of the song and also overdubbed both vocals and lead guitar parts. Ringo Starr's stumbling drum pattern is also a more sophisticated application of a rhythm track.

"Ticket To Ride" was released as a single in both the US and UK in April 1965. It went to #1 in both countries. In late 1969, the Carpenters covered "Ticket to Ride" in a wildly reworked version as their first single climbing into the top 20 on the adult contemporary chart.

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"Help!" (1965)

Beatles Help! cover
Courtesy Capitol

The song "Help!" was primarily written by John Lennon, and he claims it was a cry for help in dealing with the entire worldwide phenomenon of the Beatles. He said that it was one of the most honest Beatles songs he wrote. "Help!" served as the title song for the group's second feature film.

The song was released as a single in the US and the UK in July 1965. "Help!" became the fourth of six consecutive #1 pop hit singles in the US. It also topped the UK pop singles chart. The song earned two Grammy Award nominations and the film soundtrack earned a nomination for Album of the Year.

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"Yesterday" (1965)

Beatles Yesterday cover
Courtesy Capitol

Paul McCartney wrote "Yesterday," and it became essentially the first solo recording within the umbrella of the Beatles. The performance is Paul McCartney on vocals and acoustic guitar with a backing string quartet. He says that he composed the basics of "Yesterday" in a dream. The ballad quickly became an iconic Beatles song.

It has become one of the most covered songs of all time with recorded versions by other artists numbering over 2,000. "Yesterday" was released as a single in the US only in September 1965 where it went to #1 on the pop chart. 

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"We Can Work It Out" (1965)

Beatles We Can Work It Out cover
Courtesy Capitol

"We Can Work It Out" was released as a double A-side single with "Day Tripper" in December 1965 in both the US and UK. It is widely regarded as one of the best double A-side singles of all time. The song was written through intimate collaboration between John Lennon and Paul McCartney.

George Harrison was credited with the idea to put the middle section in 3/4 time. "We Can Work It Out" was a #1 hit in both the US and UK becoming the final of six consecutive #1 pop hits by the Beatles in the US.

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"Day Tripper" (1965)

Beatles Day Tripper 45
Courtesy Capitol

"Day Tripper" was recorded during the sessions that produced the Beatles' album Rubber Soul. It was released as one half of a double A-side single with "We Can Work It Out." "Day Tripper" was the less popular of the pair peaking at #5 in the US while reaching #1 in the UK. "Day Tripper" features one of the group's most memorable guitar riffs.

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"Paperback Writer" (1966)

Beatles Paperback Writer cover
Courtesy Capitol

"Paperback Writer" took multiple steps forward in the music of the Beatles. The bass line is featured like never before. The harmony vocals are reminiscent of concurrent work by the Beach Boys in the US. Lyrically, the song talks about an aspiring author in the form of a letter addressed to a publisher.

The title of the folk song "Frere Jacques" is sung in the background. "Paperback Writer" was released in May 1966 in the US and June in the UK. It went to #1 on the pop charts in both countries and many other markets around the world.

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"Eleanor Rigby" (1966)

Beatles Eleanor Rigby
Courtesy Capitol

"Eleanor Rigby" marks the Beatles' continued evolution as a studio-oriented pop band with experimental recordings divorced from plans to perform the music live. The song has striking lyrics about loneliness. Instrumentally, it incorporates the sound of a double string quartet.

None of the Beatles play instruments on the record but John Lennon and George Harrison add harmony vocals to Paul McCartney's lead. "Eleanor Rigby" was released as the B-Side of the "Yellow Submarine" single in August 1966 but it reached #11 on the Billboard Hot 100 in its own right.

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"Penny Lane" (1967)

Beatles Penny Lane cover
Courtesy Capitol

"Penny Lane" was a nostalgic song written by Paul McCartney in response to John Lennon's "Strawberry Fields Forever." The real-life Penny Lane is a street in Liverpool, England. The primary instrument in the recording is a piano, but the inclusion of a baroque style trumpet solo is memorable.

"Penny Lane was released as a double A-side single with "Strawberry Fields Forever" in February 1967 in both the US and UK. It peaked at #1 on the US pop chart and #2 in the UK.

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"Strawberry Fields Forever" (1967)

Beatles Strawberry Fields Forever 45
Courtesy Capitol

John Lennon wrote "Strawberry Fields Forever" out of nostalgic remembrance of playing in the gardens of Strawberry Field, a Salvation Army children's home near where he grew up in Liverpool, England.

The song was recorded during the sessions that produced the album Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band. "Strawberry Fields Forever" was left off the album and issued instead as a double A-side single with "Penny Lane" due to record label pressure to issue a new single.

The record is notable for the studio experimentation. Backward tape loops are incorporated and the blending of two entirely different recordings of the song. "Strawberry Fields Forever" reached #8 on the US pop singles chart and #2 in the UK.

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"All You Need Is Love" (1967)

Beatles All You Need Is Love cover
Courtesy Capitol

John Lennon wrote "All You Need Is Love," and it was released as a single in July 1967. It quickly went to #1 in both the US and the UK. The Beatles contributed a live performance of the song to Our World, the first international satellite TV production broadcast on June 25, 1967.

Among the other artists participating were painter Pablo Picasso and opera singer Maria Callas. The viewing audience was estimated at over 400 million. "All You Need Is Love" begins with the playing of the French national anthem "La Marseillaise." Among the celebrities in the audience during the Beatles' televised performance of the song were Mick Jagger and Eric Clapton.

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"Hello Goodbye" (1967)

Beatles Hello Goodbye cover
Courtesy Capitol

Paul McCartney wrote "Hello Goodbye" and it was released as a single with John Lennon's "I Am the Walrus" on the B-side. A unique feature of the song is the improvised coda. It hit stores in late November 1967 as the first record by the group after the untimely death of their manager Brian Epstein.

"Hello Goodbye" went to #1 on both sides of the Atlantic spending seven weeks at the top in the UK, the group's longest run since "She Loves You." Music critics remain divided over the quality of the song. Some see it as one of the best pop creations by the Beatles while others see it as inconsequential.

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"Hey Jude" (1968)

Beatles Hey Jude 45
Courtesy Apple

"Hey Jude" evolved from a song written by Paul McCartney to comfort John Lennon's young son Julian in the wake of his divorce from his first wife Cynthia. The recording lasts more than seven minutes and includes a fadeout that lasts more than four minutes.

"Hey Jude" opens with Paul McCartney on solo vocals at the piano. The second verse adds acoustic guitar and tambourine. Drums are later added. Finally, on the extended fade out the group is backed by an orchestra and vocalists.

Some have compared the repetitive nature of the fade out to a hymn or chanting a mantra. "Hey Jude" was released in August 1968 and became the Beatles' biggest pop hit spending nine weeks at #1, tying an all-time record at the time.

The son also went to #1 in the UK and many other countries around the world. "Hey Jude" earned two Grammy Award nominations including for Record of the Year.

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"Get Back" (1969)

Beatles Get Back cover
Courtesy Apple

Paul McCartney wrote "Get Back" and the song is seen by many as part of efforts by the group to reach back to their rock and roll roots. American Billy Preston plays keyboards on the recording. "Get Back" was played live by the Beatles at their legendary performance on the rooftop of the Apple Studios January 30, 1969, in London.

"Get Back" was released as a single in April. It opened at #1 in the UK and was #1 in the US within three weeks. It spent five weeks at the top in the US. "Get Back" was the first Beatles single to be released in the US in "true stereo" and the last to be released in the UK in mono.

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"Something" (1969)

Beatles Something cover
Courtesy Apple

"Something" is the biggest hit Beatles song written by George Harrison and is considered by many to be one of the greatest love songs of all time.

The track has been covered more times by other artists than any Beatles song but "Yesterday." "Something" was part of the Beatles last recording sessions when they put together the album Abbey Road. It was released as a double A-side single with "Come Together" in October 1969.

The song went to #1 in the US and #4 in the UK. "Something" earned George Harrison the Ivor Novello Award for Best Song Musically and Lyrically. Abbey Road earned a Grammy Award nomination for Album of the Year.

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"Come Together" (1969)

Beatles Come Together 45
Courtesy Apple

John Lennon wrote "Come Together" initially inspired by Timothy Leary's ill-fated run for governor of California against Ronald Reagan. Many have speculated that the lyrics also refer to the turmoil within the Beatles and paint character pictures of each member.

The song has strong blues and rock influence. It was released as a double A-side single with "Something" in October 1969 to help promote the album Abbey Road. "Come Together" peaked at #1 in the US and #4 in the UK.

Rock band Aerosmith took the song back to the pop top 40 in the US in 1978 with their recording from the soundtrack of the film Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band.

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"Let It Be" (1970)

Beatles Let It Be cover
Courtesy Apple

"Let It Be" was the final single released by the Beatles before Paul McCartney announced his exit from the group. Paul McCartney says he wrote the song inspired by a dream about his mother during tense recording sessions for the group. The version of the recording used for the single includes Linda McCartney among the backing vocalists.

"Let It Be" was officially released as a single in the US and UK in March 1970. It had the highest debut yet on the US pop chart opening at #6. Ultimately, it hit #1 in the US and #2 in the UK. "Let It Be" earned a Grammy Award nomination for Record of the Year.