The top ten: Worst Beatles songs
John Rentoul is chief political commentator for The Independent on Sunday, and visiting professor at King's College, London, and at Queen Mary University of London. Previously he was chief leader writer for The Independent. He has written a biography of Tony Blair, whom he admired more at the end of his time in office than he did at the beginning.
Sunday 05 May 2013
The New Zealand parliament broke into a traditional Maori love song after voting this month for same-sex marriage. My friend Tom Doran asked on Twitter what the House of Commons could sing when the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill is passed. One person suggested, "All You Need is Love", which Tom rejected on the grounds that it is the Beatles' second-worst song. At which point, I started to compile this list…
1. Across the Universe
Tom Doran: "The very worst Beatles song is one whose crushing banality and mediocrity are amplified by undeserved acclaim."
2. All You Need is Love
It's tautological: "There's nothing you can do that can't be done."
3. Maxwell's Silver Hammer
As Ian MacDonald wrote in Revolution in the Head, "If any single recording shows why the Beatles broke up…"
4. Yellow Submarine
I don't like it, but Tom put me right. "It's good for what it is: a novelty kids' song."
5. Octopus's Garden
Ringo's song. Another one for babies.
Ben Stanley on Twitter: "GH at his misanthropic worst." Danny Finkelstein replied: "Are you insane?" And everyone says it is redeemed by Macca's bassline and the intro.
7. Christmas Time
Offered by Rich Greenhill to Tom; just avoided being disqualified for obscurity, a rule that excluded "What's the New Mary Jane" and "You Know My Name (Look Up the Number)".
8. Everything except Hey Bulldog
Fine nomination by Hegemony Jones, although it breaks the previous rule in reverse, in that I had not heard, or heard of, "Hey Bulldog".
9. Wonderwall by Oasis
Yes, very droll, Mark Lott.
10. Revolution 9
Another popular nomination. "The only one I skip," said Omer Lev. Embarrassed to say that, like anything by Adele, I had never knowingly listened to it.
Next week: The Top 10 misquotations. Send your suggestions, and ideas for future Top 10s, to top10 @independent.co.uk
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