If I had to describe “Lovely Rita” in one word it would be…”busy.” There’s a lot going on here, and it all falls short of the sum of its parts. There’s a quirky kazoo sound that pops up a few times; a jaunty piano line; and John Lennon’s repetitive, borderline extraterrestrial “Lovely Rita, meter maid” backing vocals. But all of those elements aren’t enough to distract from the reality that this is kind of a novelty song, the story of a man attempting to woo a public servant. Well, I guess in fairness, that makes it sound a lot more boring than it actually is. You can probably Continue reading “#173: Lovely Rita”
After the all-original A Hard Day’s Night, the Beatles had to resort to filling their follow-up LP with old-school covers, and frankly, they did a crappy job selecting them for the most part. This is the fifth of six of them to show up on the countdown, and we’re still in the bottom 50. (In fairness to Beatles for Sale, Continue reading “#174: Kansas City/Hey Hey Hey Hey!”
Much like with “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band,” my reason for ranking “You Can’t Do That” so low is a bit unfair. Simply put, it reminds me too much of a similar and superior song released that same year. Had “Magical Mystery Tour” and “I Call Your Name” gone unrecorded, “Sgt. Pepper” and “You Can’t Do That” would almost definitely be a lot higher. But this list is about my favorite Beatles songs, not like those purportedly objective “best” lists, since that’s been done to death, and my list is objectively better than any of those.
You know it’s true, editors of Rolling Stone.
“You Can’t Do That” does have one edge over “I Call Your Name” though, and that is Continue reading “#175: You Can’t Do That”
You may be wondering why I’m ranking the 81-second reprise of Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band‘s title track over the original version that oh-so-thematically kicks off the album. “Anthony, quit being so contrarian.” “Anthony, give it a rest with trying to subtly undermine Sgt. Pepper.” “Anthony, stop having hypothetical conversations with yourself on your weird Beatles blog. We’re worried about you. You haven’t eaten in days. You started saving your fingernail clippings in a jar because you said Continue reading “#176: Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band (Reprise)”
“No, we need money first.”
This was John Lennon’s response when asked at the Beatles’ first American press conference if the group would sing for the fans and reporters populating the newly-christened John F. Kennedy International Airport on February 7, 1964. For the band’s cynical critics, it provided simultaneous ammunition and disarmament; an audacious yet charming change of pace from the safe, controlled pop star persona of the day. (Elvis may have been electric on stage, but he made for a pretty boring interviewee.) It’s debatable the extent to which John was joking, but Continue reading “#177: Money (That’s What I Want)”
It’s the rawest moment on the rawest Beatles album: Ringo Starr yelling “Hold it!” to halt his bandmates from playing before he blows his nose. Why producer Phil Spector saw fit to include this false start on the Let it Be album is a mystery, but maybe we’re all just better off not speculating on why Phil Spector does the things he does.
Hey Phil, next time you murder somebody, maybe start with your barber.
“Dig a Pony” is another in the long line of songs John Lennon wrote only to later deem a “piece of garbage,” and while I wouldn’t go that far, he clearly Continue reading “#178: Dig a Pony”
The Beatles often took inspiration from unlikely sources: their catalog owes an equal debt to the I Ching as it does to a Corn Flakes commercial. But maybe the weirdest is a wordy 1843 poster advertising a Victorian circus.
Meanwhile, I’m sitting here writing an entire concept album about the Step By Step episode where Dana gets her driver’s license. It’s not going well.
I don’t have any particular gripes with this song, other than Continue reading “#179: Being for the Benefit of Mr. Kite!”