ALL TOGETHER NOW: RANKING ALL THE BEATLES SONGS- #204-TO #203

Ranking All The Beatles Songs- #204- and #203. I’ve been working on this for a long time and of course am guilty of overthinking it a bit. Impossible to rank these songs- there are very few Beatles songs that I don’t love. If I would do the ranking next year [I won’t} I am sure there would be many changes. There are 213 Beatles songs- I am counting only official studio releases on albums- and as singles during 1962-70 plus “Free As A Bird” and “Real Love” from the Anthology project. How do I get 204? I am counting the eight song medley on Abbey Road as one song. I am also NOT counting the German language versions of “She Loves You” and “I Want To Hold Your Hand.” I have also made the decision of combining songs from Sgt. Pepper. The opener “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” and “With A Little Help From My Friends” are always played together and at the end the “Sgt. Pepper {Reprise} and “A Day In The Life”- blend together. My goal is to countdown two songs ever Sunday and Wednesday and in late December 2021 I will get to the #1 song by The Beatles. What will be #1? Note- I have to admit there are few songs by The Beatles that I don’t at least find some value in. When listening to Beatles albums which I do on a regular basis I never skip over a song.

“The records are the point. Not The Beatles as individuals.” – John Lennon 1980.

#204- “Maxwell’s Silver Hammer”- from Abbey Road. While credited to Lennon-McCartney- it was written and sung by Paul McCartney. Alright this is probably not the worst Beatles song but I have always found it the most annoying so it gets the bottom spot in the countdown. Another reason I give it the bottom spot- in ranking all The Beatles songs I feel that an actual song written by The Beatles should be given the ‘worst’ title not a cover song. “Maxwell Silver Hammer” is Paul McCartney at his worst. During the Abbey Road sessions he drove John, George and Ringo bonkers over this song. They all detested it- even more than I do I reckon but Paul thought he had a classic on his hands and they spent an ungodly amount of time working on this song – a total of four recording sessions were spent working on this garbage. Ringo would say in 2008 “it was the worst session ever”,”the worst track we ever had to record.”

Writer Ian MacDonald who wrote what is considered by many [including myself} the best analysis of The Beatles music says of “Maxwell’s Silver Hammer”-“If any single recording shows why The Beatles broke up, it’s ‘Maxwell’s Silver Hammer’ This ghastly miscalculation – of which there are countless equivalents on his garrulous sequence of solo albums – represents by far his worst lapse of taste under the auspices of The Beatles … Thus Abbey Road embraces both extremes of McCartney: the clear-minded, sensitive caretaker of The Beatles in “You Never Give Me Your Money’ and the Long Medley – and the immature egotist who frittered away the group’s patience and solidarity on sniggering nonsense like this.

Below is from the excellent beatlesbooks.com website- if you wish to read up more on “Maxwell”

http://www.beatlesebooks.com/maxwell

203. “Mr. Moonlight”- Beatles For Sale. Written by Roy Lee Johnson, sung by John Lennon. I have commented before I don’t know how the four Beatles made it thought 1964- when did they find time to sleep? While I do like the Beatles For Sale album- it was a rush job to satisfy the record company who wanted more product for the 1964 Christmas season. The record company of course had no idea how long this would all last-by 1965 it could all be over. Cash in while you can. The Beatles -especially John Lennon sounds out of his gourd on “Mr. Moonlight”- were The Beatles serious or just having fun with this campy song? This wasn’t a song new to The Beatles they had been in their live act for a few years. The one person who really made out on this cover was Roy Lee Johnson- his one big moment and no doubt it brought him a pretty good payday and his one claim to fame. I imagine If I wrote a song The Beatles covered on an album I’d be telling everyone I ran into about it- the rest of my life. Johnson had wrote the song while he was in high school. He is still living- and is in his early 80’s.

http://www.beatlesebooks.com/moonlight

13 responses to “ALL TOGETHER NOW: RANKING ALL THE BEATLES SONGS- #204-TO #203

  1. Live your life with my name and being know as a Beatles fan. I’ve had people sing this song to me and the question…where’s your hammer Max? Your name is short for Maxwell right? No

    I hate Maxwell’s Silver Hammer with a passion…the one saving grace is what George did with the moog in this song…he did a great job on this poor track…as far as annoying it is the worse…as far as bad…I think the next one tops it.

    I never understood Mr. Moonlight and why? They could have easily covered Some Other Guy instead of this monstrosity.

    • I was thinking of you when I wrote this up- I was wondering if you’d ever heard that- figured you had… Yes why Mr. Moonlight? These guys had a slew of old rock and roll classics they could have covered that they knew by heart and had played hundreds of times.

    • I have a fondness for Some Other Guy…and at one time they did also… to have it filmed at the Cavern…that is one cover I wish they would have laid down…it would have been a better choice!
      I think so many bands did Some Other Guy…that might have been the reason for not doing it.

  2. For somebody who is clearly ranking-challenged, I really have no idea how I would put The Beatles’ songs in order. 🙂

    One tune I find really annoying is “You Know My Name (Look Up the Number)”. I’m just listening to it, just to remember how much it bugs me!

  3. I’m not really sure I’ve met a Beatles song I didn’t like. Maybe the one where John keeps saying #9, #9, #9. These two are ok for me. If these are the worst of the bunch…. You like a good challenge, Hans, ranking them all and writing each one up.

    • Not many I don’t like either… i spent a lot of time getting them in an order…a lot of index cards being shuffled about.

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