I know. I know. Underrated Beatles is an oxymoron but I was driving around in my car this week and my seven year old wanted to listen to her play-list of Beatles songs. The first song that came up was my number one underrated Beatles song “Hey Bulldog.” This got me thinking about other songs that weren’t as popular as songs like “Can’t Buy Me Love” “Revolution” “Yesterday” etc. but based upon their quality they definitely belong on that pedestal.
This is Lennon at his snide best. Bulldog was recorded specifically for the Yellow Submarine animated feature and only appears on its soundtrack. The song zeniths when everything breaks down around McCartney’s barking and Lennon’s maniacal laughing only for them to pull it all back together for one last refrain of the chorus.
I’ll Cry Instead
This song was originally written by Lennon to be used in the scene in A Hard Days Night where the band breaks free of their handlers and runs around in a field. The director, Richard Lester, decided to use “Can’t Buy Me Love” instead even though it was the second time the song appeared in the movie. I like the original idea better. I found a YouTube clip that sets the scene with its intended song.
Old Brown Shoe
This is one of my favorite Beatles songs by George Harrison. It was released as the b-side to “Ballad of John and Yoko.” Harrison had found his voice by this point and was consistently writing songs that could stand up next to the Lennon/McCartney compositions. Everything about this song feels fun and effortless. The line “When I grow up I’ll be a singer/ Where rings on every finger” is a little playful jab at band mate Ringo Starr.
Good Morning Good Morning
Maybe I’m reaching here calling anything on Sgt. Peppers underrated but this is such a great song and I think it gets overlooked too ofter for songs like “Getting Better” and “A Day in the Life.” It’s one of the few songs on the album that isn’t saturated with the psychedelia. The solo by Harrison is one of my favorites of the entire Beatles catalog.
If I Fell
I tried to find something from McCartney that I thought was woefully under appreciated but nothing seemed to fit. Instead, I decided on this gem from A Hard Days Night. Lennon and McCartney’s ability to harmonize is legendary and on this song the harmony is uniquely done so that they sound as if they are singing co-lead parts. I love that they left the moment in where McCartney sounds as though he’s run out of air and breaks off his vocal.
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