The 50 Best Beatles Songs

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The 50 Best Beatles Songs

The Fab Four. The Lads from Liverpool. The Mop Tops. No band has quite impacted the trajectory of popular music like John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr did in The Beatles. They’ve earned more No. 1 records than any other group in their native England, and sold more records than any other musician in America. They are indisputably one of the greatest acts of all time.

But picking the best 50 songs out of the 300+ The Beatles recorded was a project Paste has planned for more than a year. More than 20 staff members, contributors and interns participated, voting for 98 different songs—nearly a third of the band’s brilliant catalog. And the results are fascinating. We included 26 McCartney songs, 17 Lennon songs, three Harrison songs (two of which made the top 10), and four that were truly co-written by Lennon and McCartney. Below, find our thoughts on the 50 best songs by The Beatles.

50. “The Long And Winding Road”
“The Long and Winding Road” begins quietly, but after those first five words when the strings swell up, it gets dramatic pretty quickly. This symphonic track triggers a deep sense of longing and always invokes a sort of empty feeling—fitting, considering it marks the band’s last No. 1 song in the United States. To say the Beatles displayed incredible growth in their 10 years as a band is an enormous understatement, and that musical evolution is apparent in this track, which reveals a maturity that could only exist after years of songwriting. —Annie Black

49. “With a Little Help From My Friends”
Ringo, when properly applied, is as indispensable as any other Beatle. He didn’t write this classic tune (Lennon and McCartney did), but he got to sing it in his own fashion, and it wouldn’t have been nearly as memorable without him. The drummer’s contributions to the group are criminally underrated, but still, it’s tough to imagine Ringo would have ended up an international superstar without a little help from his friends. At least he got to pitch in a few iconic vocals along the way. —Annie Black

48. “From Me To You”
Many early Beatles songs were filled with sing-along parts, and those in “From Me To You” are absolutely crucial. The “da da da’s” and structural repetition were easy to latch on to, even among the distinct harmonies, false endings, and other complexities. Ironically, “From Me To You” didn’t really make an impact in the U.S. when it was released in April 1963, but we soon got it across the pond. And even when you aren’t that familiar with a band, being able to sing along with them makes you feel like you’re part of the groundswell, part of the Beatlemania. —Annie Black

47. “Love Me Do”
The Beatles’ very first single, released in 1962, is still so relevant today. Before this song, the Beatles were just youths from Liverpool who were kicking around Hamburg, Germany in leather jackets, getting into trouble, and trying to make it. What really makes this track is the harmonica, pushing the song forward with every burst of air. Lyrically, it’s like puppy love, when things are overwhelmingly easy and lighthearted, and the catchy combination marked the start of a public persona for The Beatles, one that would quickly blossom. —Annie Black

46. “I’ll Follow The Sun”
Some records show that this song began as a track from The Quarrymen, John’s pre-Beatles skiffle band back in 1960. The band shelved this rough sketch of a song, however, releasing it at the end of 1964. “I’ll Follow The Sun” hides lovesick gloom behind optimistic notions of following nature’s guiding light after the rain has passed. Although the imagery now seems cliché, the ballad remains a beloved deep cut from Beatles For Sale. —Hilary Saunders

45. “She Loves You”
The Beatles  perfected the concept of concise love song. The lyrics to “She Loves You” are hilariously elementary, and the “yeah, yeah, yeah”s marking the chorus make it one of the easiest in history to sing along to (crazy harmonies aside). The Beatles make love seem so doable and so easy here on one of their earliest singles, reminding us in the most celebratory way that pride is bad, love is good. —Annie Black

44. “Can’t Buy Me Love”
Another mid-’60s classic, “Can’t Buy Me Love” is one of those instantly accessible Beatles songs casual fans can immediately dive into. It’s right there with “I Wanna Hold Your Hand” and “Eight Days A Week” in that regard: simple, cheery and still a crowd-pleaser, half a century later. Beatles diehards are never going to cite this as their favorite, but you’d be hard-pressed to find someone who doesn’t enjoy it in their heart of hearts. —Annie Black

43. “Eight Days a Week”
Although John once called this song “lousy,” “Eight Days A Week” became The Beatles’ seventh No. 1 hit in the United States (unreleased as a single in the United Kingdom). A classic of The Beatles’ early years, “Eight Days A Week” features the band’s punny humor and shared vocals, celebrating the fact that at its core, it’s still a love song. —Hilary Saunders

42. “I Want To Hold Your Hand”
I remember the exact moment I found the deeper meaning to “I Want To Hold Your Hand.” I sat in a London hotel room too fancy for two college freshmen to inhabit and babbled to my best friend about how electric the most common tactile gestures become when you fall in love. But even if this 1963 single should actually just be taken at face value, “I Want To Hold Your Hand” exemplifies the era’s joyful pop rock, noted by kitschy handclaps, a swinging backbeat and perfect Fab Four harmonies.&#8212Hilary Saunders

41. “All You Need Is Love”
While so many of The Beatles’ early songs shine in their simplicity, “All You Need Is Love” excels by embracing complex instrumentals and multiple elemental structures. It encompasses various meters and musical excerpts (including the French national anthem, “Greensleeves,” and of course, the band’s own “She Loves You”), not to mention orchestral instruments from the string and brass sections. Lennon once conceded that “All You Need Is Love” was of course a propaganda song, but its motto remains one of timeless idealism. —Hilary Saunders

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