Top 10 Beatles Songs 1965-1966


Beatles songs 1965

Photo: By EMI. [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

In 1965, The Beatles released two landmark albums, which is really nothing special in Beatles lore because just about every Beatles release became a landmark album during their seven-year recording career.  In the early part of 1965, The Beatles released The Help album which for this writer happens to be her favorite Beatles album. Later in 1965 The Beatles released Rubber Soul, which for millions of Beatles fans stands as their favorite recording. In 1966, The Beatles released Revolver which was what John Lennon once called  part II of Rubber Soul. For millions of Beatles fans, Revolver stood as the greatest Beatles album of all time. I think your starting to get the picture. So, picking 10 songs from these three amazing records is simply an exercise in personal choice and yes, freedom of expression. Because if you grew up in the 1960’s and 1970’s you and your friends were always discussing what your favorite Beatles songs were. Well here is ours from 1965 and 1966.

# 10 – Ticket To Ride

The great Beatles song “Ticket To Ride,” was released on the Help album in 1965. It would become the first single released from the record. In 1965, “Ticket To Ride,” which clocked in at over three minutes became the longest running single in their careers up to that point. The great scene in the movie Help which featured the song “Ticket To Ride,” is often viewed by many historians as one of the first music videos that would inspire the MTV Video generation. The song reached the Number one spot on multiple Hot 100 lists around the world including the United States, United Kingdom, Ireland, Norway, Canada, and The Netherlands.

# 9 – It’s Only Love

“It’s Only Love,” is the second song from the Help album to appear on our Top 10 Beatles Songs 1965-1966 List. The song was clearly a John Lennon penned composition in which John Lennon also sang lead vocals. While the song may not have been a chart breaking hit, the recording has often served as a fan favorite ever since its release. Interestingly, John Lennon had been quoted as saying it was not one of his best songs. Nonetheless, its one of our favorites and that’s why this whole darn thing is completely subjective. There is so much beauty in John’s chorus from both a lyrical and musical standpoint that we think overtime John Lennon may have changed his mind.

# 8 – Drive My Car

“Drive My Car,” featured one of our favorite all time opening guitar licks. Come on, is there any better cruising song than the Beatles’ “Drive My Car?”  The song “Drive My Car,” was the opening track on the Beatles Rubber Soul album. John Lennon was asked about the song “Drive My Car,” when he was interviewed by Playboy magazine in 1980. During the interview Lennon expressed that “Drive My Car,” was really Paul’s song. Lennon also mentioned that the piece was driven by a  Motown bass line. Many years later Paul McCartney would perform the song during his legendary halftime Super Bowl performance with his phenomenal band.

# 7 – Norwegian Wood

The Beatles “Norwegian Wood,” was for the most part the first popular music song to feature a sitar as the lead instrument. George Harrisons’ playing on “Norwegian Wood,” would present fans with one of the most original popular music guitar lines in history. John Lennon’s clever lyric described an affair he was having at the time in the most ambiguous way. Most of us had no idea what he was singing about at the time.  The song “Norwegian Wood,” appeared as the second track on side one of the Rubber Soul  Album.

# 6 – Michelle

The Beatles‘ “Michelle,” is one of two Beatles songs found in the The Real Book. The book is a collection of Jazz Standards written in the 40’s, 50’s and 60’s. The Real Book is a book that all serious Jazz musicians learn from throughout their careers. The songs inclusion in the Real Book speaks volumes for the respect the Beatles music had among the jazz community. Over the years, many Jazz artists have covered Beatles songs and there has been various compilations of Beatles songs done in the jazz genre. However, the song Michelle has always been recognized as a standard itself. One of the most beautiful melodies and lyrics the Beatles ever recorded. The song Michelle was released on the Rubber Soul album.

# 5 – In My Life

Okay, here’s one question if your over 40. How many times have you been to a wedding in which there was still an actual band playing and you heard the song “In My Life,” during one of the mother/son or father/daughter dances? The Beatles “In My Life,” is one of those beautiful sentimental songs that became ingrained in culture beyond the simple concept of a pop song. The song was released on the Rubber Soul album. Its simply breathtaking how many incredible songs the Beatles released on the original U.K. Rubber Soul record. It can easily be argued that Rubber Soul may indeed be the greatest album ever released.

# 4 – The Night Before

This is one of those Beatles songs that simply got away. It is easily the most underrated Beatles recording ever. Released on the Help album; if you catch the song in the movie, you will be instantly wonder why this one was never a big hit. The Beatles had so many  incredible songs on each one of their albums that not every song could be released as a single. By the time the second or third single had gained substantial chart success and airplay, The Beatles were releasing a new album thereby halting the release of any new singles form their previous album. Times have sure changed nowadays in which artists release albums every few years instead of every six months like The Beatles did in their early years.

# 3 – Help

The title track from the film and the album Help was released in 1965 and has become one of the band’s signature songs. The song Help hit the Number One spot on both the United Kingdom and United Sates music charts in 1965. The Beatles Help stayed at Number one for three weeks. The song also hit the Number one spot on the charts in The Netherlands, Canada, and Norway. The Beatles spent four hours in the studio recording the song in twelve takes. The final take was the version that wound up being released on the Help LP.

# 2 – Eleanor Rigby

“Eleanor Rigby,” was one of those Beatles songs that when you heard it for the first time you came to the realization that there would never be another band like The Beatles capable of writing such brilliant pop music. The song “Eleanor Rigby,” was released on Revolver in 1966. The songs evolved from a moment in time when Paul McCartney was just sitting at the piano and singing melodies over an e minor chord according to the transcript of an interview with Paul McCartney. It is in that description of Paul McCartney songwriting process that defines the true genius of the man as simply the greatest melodic popular music songwriter of all time.

# 1 – Yesterday

During the 1970’s and 1980’s many radio stations would run contests that judged the greatest pop songs of all time. On most occasions The Beatles “Yesterday,”would wind up taking the number one position.  Polls conducted throughout the years by rock magazines, music journals, newspapers and various musicals associations have ranked The Beatles “Yesterday,” as one of the greatest, if not the greatest, pop songs ever written.  There are songs that are just so timeless and breathtaking that nothing can be written in words to express the beauty within the music itself.

When the song was released on the Help album in 1965, it was seen as quite a departure from the rest of the Beatles catalog and therefore was not released as a single in the United Kingdom. However, in the United States, Yesterday was released as a single in 1965 and easily hit the Number one spots on both the Billboard and Cash Box Top 100 singles charts.

Updated Nov 9, 2020

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