The Three Worst Beatle Songs (According to Me)

Posted in The Beatles, Youtube Favs on January 4th, 2012 by Willie

There are a lot of “Worst Beatle Songs” lists out there, and they all have the same formula.  The writer lists 2-3 songs that are absolute duds, and then sprinkles in a few that are actually classics just to fuck with people’s long held opinions.  In preparing for this piece, I read those articles, many written by major magazines, and top online blogs, and saw songs like “Hey Jude,” “All You Need is Love,” “Yesterday,” and “Penny Lane.”  It’s simply a travesty, even if you are just trying to get attention, to lump any of those songs onto a “worst ever” list, and you won’t see it here.  Also, its mandatory for all of these writers to include “Revolution #9,” a song loathed and skipped the world over.  I know its equally pretentious to claim being a fan of “Revolution #9,” but count me as one.  I just think it adds richness and color to the “White Album.”  It’s interesting to listen to, not a bore at all, and has really nice snippets of sound effects and music woven into it very beautifully.  It’s experimental, daring, and fuck you for criticizing the Beatles for trying something off the wall after giving you the soundtrack to your life.  Ok, with all that said, I’m going to give you the three worst Beatle songs according to me.  Now, I also want to preface, that despite the fact that I think these songs are terrible, I still let them play if they pop on my iPod, and they still get stuck in my head.

#3.  “Mr. Moonlight”- This is a song that finds its way on most lists, and for good reason; its probably the worst cover the Beatles ever did.  John’s lead vocal is forced and the backing vocals are lame.  It’s one of these ancient 50s standards that the Beatles can’t quite seem to bring into the next decade.  I just don’t understand why the guys liked this song enough to put it on one of their albums.  The lyrics are insanely embarrassing and bad, “we love you, Mr. Moonlight.”  Lastly, when they repeat “Mr. Moonlight” to end the song with a dark three part harmony, its just dreadful, and possibly the worst harmonizing they ever laid on tape.

#2.  “A Taste of Honey”- Another cover song.  This one has lyrics more thoroughly embarrassing then “Mr. Moonlight,” and musically, its just as awful.  It’s some kind of dark samba like shuffle with utterly bizarre emotional and lyrical moments with the main dramatic hook being biggest offender, “A taste of HONEY!…tasting, much sweeter, then wine, doo doo do dooo!”  The thing about this song is that it’s terrifyingly catchy.  You will probably be humming the start and stop melody for a week in the back of your brain after hearing, so be warned.  Perhaps the Beatles recorded it to show off their range at playing show tunes, or perhaps they appreciated its catchy refrain, the number one ingredient they were searching for in their own songwriting.  Whatever they were really thinking when making “A Taste of Honey,” is hard to fathom, and thus can only be appreciated with irony, delicious as it might be.

#1. “Do You Want to Know a Secret”- Before George was George, he was just the youngest member of the Beatles.  He hadn’t cultivated any songwriting ability, and his voice wasn’t as strong as John or Paul’s, but being a Beatle, he had a massive fan base that wanted to hear from him.  So, John and Paul took it upon themselves to write songs for George and Ringo, and were quite clever about it. They realized that there would be a huge demand for it, and that they could give the lesser songs, they themselves to embarrassed to sing, to George and Ringo, just to get rid of them.  One of these songs was “Do You Want to Know a Secret.”  Right away, you can tell why John dumped this thing on George.  It starts off with an ambitious declaratory and unmusical refrain, but then kicks off into the schmaltziest take on 60s doo-wop ever heard.  The backing vocals say it all, “doo-wah-doo” sung after ever line with shameless pixie like stupidity.  The most immortal line, “I’ve known a secret for a week or two, nobody knows, just we twoooo,” is a crime not only against music, but grammar as well.  John famously said that he gave it to George because, “it only had three notes and he wasn’t the best singer in the world.”  He did qualify the brutally harsh statement by saying “he has improved a lot since then.”  John said that in 1980, a full decade after George’s rise to genius songwriter/performer, so he’s either being sarcastic by limiting his praise for George, or just outright mean. Either way he ignores the fact that he wrote the stupid song, and it would sound awful coming from anybody.  On the plus side, there is still something magical going on, mainly its unstoppable catchiness.  The melody is timeless…existing at the lowest wrung of timeless melodies, but hanging in, somehow.  It proves that even at their worst, the Beatles had some enchanted sense of beauty that permeated everything they touched…..doo-wah-dooo.

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James Paul McCartney, The Wings TV Special

Posted in Paul McCartney, Youtube Favs on August 30th, 2011 by Willie

Paul McCartney fans, do I have a present for you.  Did you know that Paul’s real first name was James?  Did you know that Paul did a music special for ABC and the BBC in 1973 called “James Paul McCartney?”  Did you know the critics hated it?  Did you know critics are mostly idiots?  Well, now that you know, it is my absolute pleasure to introduce this 7 part Paul McCartney extravaganza.  What’s extra special about this post, is that this TV special WAS NEVER released on VHS or DVD, so this is the only place you’re gonna find it for now.  You get Paul and his newly formed group Wings, featuring wife Linda and guitarist Denny Laine, performing some solo Paul songs, some Beatles songs, and some Wings songs, all with aplomb.  It’s basically a glorified series of music videos stitched together that you’ll find heard to turn off.  My only problem with the videos are Paul’s unfortunate mullet, his worst hair style ever.  Oh well, it shouldn’t stop you for enjoying the music, and it shouldn’t stop you for voting me in as CBS’s Best Local NYC blogger, which you can do by clicking here!  Paul McCartney told me to tell everyone everyday, so if you gotta problem with voting for me, take it up with the old knight himself.  Cheers!

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Give My Regards To Broad Street, Yesterday, Here There and Everywhere, Wanderlust

Posted in Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr, The Beatles, Youtube Favs on August 20th, 2011 by Willie

I’m not ready to say goodbye to Paul’s terrible movie, in fact watching this makes me want to see the whole thing.  I might have seen the whole thing laid out on youtube, and if it is, expect the entire film posted on my website soon with humorous remarks dashed about.  Anyway, despite the movie being supposedly being godawful, this is a gorgeous piece of film and music making.  It’s Paul, Ringo, and George Martin hanging out in the studio as Paul beautifully weaves through Yesterday, Here There and Everywhere, and Wanderlust.  The first two songs are classics of Zeus-like stature, but Wanderlust isn’t as great.  It’s a very nice song and from one of my personal favorite solo McCartney albums, Tug of War.  The problem is that it doesn’t hold a candle to the two songs he sings previously.  Perhaps in Paul’s mind it does, but he does sing it beautifully.  Speaking of which, I’d like to state also that this is one video where you will probably never hear Paul sing more perfectly, so enjoy the sonic loveliness while you can.  Until tomorrow…

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The Beatles, Hey Jude

Posted in The Beatles, Youtube Favs on August 15th, 2011 by Willie

I woke up this morning knowing I wanted to post something by the Beatles.  For whatever reason I put on “Hey Jude,” their 1968 9 week #1 smash hit.  By this point, “Hey Jude” is rather rote and overplayed, but this morning, to me at least, the song sounded fresh.  It’s kind of strange how people acknowledge that this might be the Beatles best song, but not necessarily Paul McCartney’s.  Lets get the record strait then, this is Paul McCartney’s best song, and thus, his best with the Beatles.  It’s the song where Paul threw in all the best elements of his songwriting magic into one special brew.  It’s sentimental without being corny.  The sweet romantic voice he uses in the beginning somehow gets revved up into his patented high register rock growl.  The song begins as a slow thoughtful ballad that transforms into an absolutely epic rocking gospel by its end.  Most importantly, it’s a song all the Beatles could get behind.  It was made during the “White Album,” the time when Ringo briefly quit, John quit in his head for Yoko, and where they all hated Paul.  The song was awkwardly about John’s divorce from his ex-wife Cynthia, and the son John was abandoning, and John had NOTHING to do with its creation.  Still, despite all this, the song was so good, the Beatles all rallied around it, giving the world something truly wonderful, their longest single, and their best.  The idea that this group could put out a song as powerful and legendary as sort of an extra cupcake to their double album release, while they could barely stand each other, is something impossible to complicate.  It’s the kind of thing that makes me believe what miracles all Beatles songs are, and I hope you enjoy it.

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