Worst Beatles Song Ever

Mentioned a post or two ago that my friend got a big box of CDs at a yard sale and I got second dibs. Three of the CDs I got were later Beatles – Past Masters Volume Two, Sgt. Pepper’s and Abbey Road.

Somehow I’ve sheltered myself from the late Beatles all my life, except for the radio stuff, which covers a lot of it. But on my long drive to and from seeing my kids a couple weekends ago, I listened to these albums.

My blasphemous quick take on the late Beatles:

Lennon: Doing all kinds of envelope-pushing stuff. Some works, some doesn’t.

McCartney: Writing either meaningless pop ditties or overly maudlin tales of woe. No wonder Lennon was pulling his hair out trying to exist with this guy at this point.

Harrison – Diddling on the sitar every third song. In between, some quite cool stuff.

Ringo – Belting out sincere-sounding pop ditties in his wonderful so-different-from-the-others voice which truly sound good to me amidst the rest of this.

Then I heard “I Want You (She’s So Heavy).” I may have heard this somewhere along the line before, but not often.

It’s awful. And I’m both ignorant and confused. Is this Lennon’s answer to Zeppelin? Both Abbey and the first Zep arrived in 1969, but, even if Abbey was first, that doesn’t mean Lennon didn’t already have the buzz on Zep. Maybe my thought is preposterous and stupid.

Anyway, the Beatles aren’t equipped for heavy. The guitars aren’t heavy. The drums aren’t heavy (and I love Ringo in his element). The song is boring and NEVER WANTS TO END.

Perhaps I’ll follow this up by why I think Sgt. Pepper’s is not only not the best album ever, it isn’t even a real good Beatles album.

Perhaps I’ll push the seven readers we have on this blog to persuade Mike Salfino to come back for a few “Nothing Will Ever Beat The Beatles” articles (which, from what I’ve heard, had as much readership as anything around here ever).

Thank you and good night.

13 thoughts on “Worst Beatles Song Ever

  1. I’m with you on this, Steve. My Beatles listening ends at Revolver. I liked the later stuff when it came out, when I was 12- 14 years old, so I know it well – and who could avoid getting it shoved down our throats on the radio all these years. I will say this: they had a magic that made many songs better than they are. Rarely are they unlistenable. But even magic can’t save The Ballad of John and Yoko or O-Bla-Di or The Inner Light or Good Night, to pick one from each. But I don’t want to post my most hated songs from this period, since it is my belief that we don’t have enough time to hear all the good songs as it is.

    I was accused of pedestrian leanings in this space. I plead guilty with explanation: it’s not as pedestrian as it sounds. NO REAL GROOVE CAN EVER BE PEDESTRIAN. By definition. In that spirit I present the much-maligned Paul and the boys being as pedestrian as possible without being pedestrian at all:

  2. The first ten seconds of “I want you” are awesome.

    Then they went for monotony and achieved it.

  3. That 50’s-rock thang gets you every time, Gene. Cool. I get it, because there are certain things that get me musically every time as well.

  4. There are only two kinds of people. Beatles fans, and people that like the Beatles but don’t want to admit it. Accept it Moyer!

  5. Wonder who RotoWire could be? (Thanks for letting us know we’re only writing this blog to each other most of the time.)

    I love the Beatles and I feel to be a true lover of rock music and not love the Beatles is a very difficult thing. Possible, but very difficult.

    There’s probably a college-level word for “possible, but very difficult” that I don’t know but Peter does – “klimintote.”

    • OK Peter, I’ll take off the gloves.

      I don’t hate Yoko Ono, although I regard her and her husband as supreme hypocrites. I can tell from their lyrics, in which they advocate attitudes and actions that they themselves flout. Imagine no possessions except for my Guernsey cows and 37 apartments in the Dakota. Imagine there’s no countries but first let me get a Green Card so I can avoid British taxes. Imagine no religion except I can’t take a piss without consulting a guru or an astrologer or a psychic or whatever it is this week. In the 70’s my sister was a personal shopper at Bergdorf’s, and one day she escorted Yoko around. Yoko bought four dozen identical white sweaters. Eileen asked her if they were gifts and was told, “Oh no, they’re for me.” Please Yoko, tell me how to live.

      Anyway, the Ballad of John and Yoko is a disease strain of rock and roll: the embarrassing autobiography. The self-inflation beggars belief. Lemme get this straight John: the media laughing at you – while you are making a spectacle of yourself – is one step from being crucified? Stick to I’ll Be Back.

      Don’t get me wrong. John Lennon was fantastic before he began to take himself seriously. I don’t even think it was all his fault. I would take myself seriously too, if I were 24 years old and the whole world was falling at my feet. Very, very few could handle that. Here is John at his best, and if someone calls this pedestrian I quit. This is WHY the world fell at his feet:

      • Rock star grandiosity for sure, but they live in a different world. I see the Ballad as playful and kind of warm, the crucified line a provocation and not literally serious at all. He was the guy who got in trouble for saying the Beatles were bigger than Jesus. He didn’t forget how much trouble, and how much he loved it.

        I think there’s plenty of room for criticism of Imagine, and comparing people’s behavior and the things they say, even unfamous non celebrities, will usually reveal some level of hypocrisy.

        Not sure what to make of the sweater anecdote. But I’m not convinced that by saying the 48 sweaters were for her meant that she was going to wear them and throw them away, though I guess that could be.

        Gene, I like your blistering outrage about John and Yoko, but I don’t share it.

  6. Wow, Gene. You are like Bill James writing against a bunch of wejustdiscoveredsabermetrics.com guys here. You damn scribe, you.

    Yes, this is the Beatles for me too. (Hammer that backbeat, Ringo.)

    Can’t help but mention, I saw a guy walking across the street the other day. . .

  7. One of the good things about punk was the attempt – failed but an attempt – to demythologize celebrity. I don’t know why people believe that great artists must be great people too, it must have something to do with projection, etc. I think we talked about this once, that now when I hear a new band I like I don’t want to know anything about them.

  8. Heroin provides much-needed compliance, no matter the context. Especially since humans have become so good at dosing and product control.

    The attempt to demythologize celebrity created more celebrity. Who killed Bambi? Either Johnny Rotten or Malcolm McLaren knows, I’m not sure who, either or both.

    That said, there is a roster of less-known punk bands who never signed up with EMI.

    They not not only demythologized celebrity, but defied it. I can safely say Fugazi stands tall here, because they could have sold out.

    I’m sure there isn’t a straight line equation between musical worth and human worth and non commercial worth. If there was Josh Paley’s current Top 10 project would be spinning out into space, like after Hal closed the pod bay doors.

    But let’s listen to Fugazi first.

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