There's The Beatles, then everyone else

By Steve Sell
February 11, 2014

(Editor’s Note — Every once in a while, I like to get away from sports to tackle a topic of interest. Today, it’s The Beatles.)

After watching a 50-year tribute show to The Beatles Sunday night, I felt like I had traveled back in time to some of the happiest days of my life.

I was just becoming interested in music in 1964 when The Beatles traveled across the Atlantic to take the country by storm and forever changed our listening landscape.

The Lads from Liverpool were magical. Everything they touched turned to gold. Every single they released seemingly became a part of musical lore for 50 years.

Fifty years! Think about that. How can it be 50 years? That’s nearly my entire existence and they’re just as prevalent today as they were 50 years ago.

Watching the show, it became clear to me how much music has deteriorated. The Beatles set the bar unfairly high. Nobody ever has or ever will reach it. It’s just not fair. It’s like guitar playing, there’s Jimi Hendrix and then everybody else.

Just listen to their hits. So simple. So easy to understand. 

Anyone acquainted with me and my musical tastes knows I’m stuck in a time warp. As far as I’m concerned, there’s music from 1964 to about 1974 and the rest is bunk. Country? It’s OK. Heavy metal? Too loud. Rap? Don’t get me started. The first thing you have to do is figure out what rappers are saying. When you do, much of it is too vulgar and degrading for me.

The Beatles made more hits than we can count. In fact, when I decided to compile my list of my favorite Top 10 Beatles songs of all time, I had to Google their list of songs so I wouldn’t leave an important one off, at least important to me.

You don’t think The Beatles have staying power? Did you see the crowd when Paul and Ringo performed? I would pay 10 times the normal concert ducat just to see Paul and Ringo and some backups perform their hits rather than subject myself to the trash that passes as quality music these days.

Lists are always so subjective. Maybe that’s why I’ve done so many list columns down through the years, Top 10 this, Top 10 that. There are no right or wrong answers. Especially when it comes to The Beatles.

I’m sure my list will cause some heads to scratch, but again, it’s all personal preference. There was the early Beatles and then the later Beatles when the boys had grown out their hair and perhaps experimented with some mind-altering substances. Their time together actually was so stunningly short, you just have to wonder what kind of music they would have produced had they stayed around as long as Mick and the Stones or The Who (at least the two that are left).

Here’s my Top 10, sing along if you would like:

1. Let It Be — The hook comes at the very end with the organ that leads into the grand finale. That organ seems to forever be burned in my brain. For some reason, I always think of being in church when I hear it.

2. While My Guitar Gently Weeps — A probable surprise No. 2, but this was George Harrison’s baby. Eric Clapton later covered the song expertly.

3. Hey Jude — Generally regarded by most experts as The Beatles’ most popular song of all time, just not my favorite.

4. Here Comes The Sun — A catchy little diddy that always puts pep in my step.

5. With A Little Help From My Friends — Makes me think of all my gang from Indy growing up in high school as Bulldogs.

6. Twist and Shout — All I can think about is Ferris Bueller and the scene from the movie when he’s in Chicago.

7. Long and Winding Road — Haunting and beautiful.

8. Eleanor Rigby — Maybe the most unique of all The Beatles’ songs.

9. Nowhere Man — Don’t ask me why, always loved this song.

10. I Feel Fine — When I’m having a bad day, I think of this song to get back on track.

Five that just missed the cut:

1. I Wanna Hold Your Hand — One of the early Beatles songs to set the stage for their career.

2. Fool On The Hill — One of their more quiet songs.

3. Roll Over Beethoven — I know this is really Chuck Berry’s song, but The Beatles performed it so well.

4. Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds — This was a signal of The Beatles expanding their horizons. Later brought back by Elton John.

5. Ticket To Ride — So free and easy.