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The Beatles try their hand at contemporary folk in this mournful ode to a secret or unrequited love — the inspiration is still the subject of endless speculation. No matter how much Lennon hams up his Dylan-esque twang, the sense of melancholy is both dense and devastating, aided by a whisper of maracas, splash of tambourine and a rather beautiful flute interlude.

A beautiful, slumbering dedication to sleep, the delicate backing vocals coax like the best lullaby. The stock theme of boy-wants-girl is thrown out to expose the potential loneliness of old age. When, in actual fact, it was the byproduct of two acid trips?

The Beatles

Yeah, yeah, yeah. The lyrics are, of course, whinging rock star bollocks, but everything else is glorious. This is The Beatles at their most energetic and raw.


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Paul McCartney flings off any twee tendencies for climbing, prog riffs, whirling slide guitar and fierce rock-heavy vocals. Bizarrely, serial killer Charles Manson built an entire warped world theory around the lyrics. This is the track to headbang to, a song to get hyped to and is widely recognised as one of the precursors to heavy metal. Another one of their few tracks that forgoes guitars for pensive strings. Inspired storytelling. The band were approached in to create a song for 'Our World', the first live, global TV show, broadcast to 25 countries.

The only criteria being that it could be easily understood. Has there ever been a more perfect marriage of tripped-out psychedelia with pure, perfect pop?

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Probably not, and there probably never will be. Marketing-wise, a bad move — but in hindsight it just added to the individual allure of what continues to be a genuinely magical mystery of a song. Eternally imitated and never matched, this song changed music — no question.


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In it must have sounded like the end of the world, or the start of a new one. No one knits together the grandiose and the mundane like The Beatles. Few people can resist the infectious lure of a good pop song, let alone 50 of the best. Time Out's music obsessives have filtered through some of pop's finest floor-fillers and chart toppers to ever have graced the airwaves and selected the cream of the crop. By entering your email address you agree to our Terms of Use and Privacy Policy and consent to receive emails from Time Out about news, events, offers and partner promotions.

I have many favourite Beatles songs, but that one stands out. Good on you, man!

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He had that sardonic wit and the tenderness that sometimes neither Lennon nor McCartney had. EL-P: "It's always been my favourite Beatles song. It's sexual and heavy and dark and loving. The riff is just something else. As a musician it's one of those pillars that you study. As a producer you have to know it inside and out, because they broke ground with it in terms of the rhythm. It kicks in with a chorus which hooks you from the off.

Inspired by nothing more than a downpour the band was caught in when arriving in Melbourne, it became a benchmark for many psych bands to come. I was really into them. You could feel that connection — they meant it. They didn't hold back. It's a very anti-establishment song, especially for those times. They name names and point the finger, and it might be the first directly anti-establishment song to get in the charts. It was unlike anything I'd ever heard before. I remember wanting to turn it up but the transistor radio was on too high a shelf, I couldn't reach it.

One day I was asked to do a video for Paul McCartney. The effect is divine: psychedelic, but also propulsive, setting the song apart from other jangly psych-pop songs of the time. I was never in the choir — this was a one-off — but I would retreat into the music room at lunchtime to play piano instead of playing football. The lyrics are so good and so creative. No one had heard that in rock and roll back then, this amazing, exotic sound.

Profile on The Beatles - Paul McCartney

It really inspired the instrumentation I ended up using for Pet Sounds. Its simple use of language is haunting and poetic and strikes at the secret behind life — that it's never constant, that the past will always be looked at with rose tinted spectacles, and that the speed at which everything in a person's world can change is overwhelming. So I rushed off to a phone box, phoned him up and said, 'Let's get a band together! They made me want to play music with a group of people.

I have no problem with that. And what I remember is the smell of piss as girls fainted. There was a green marbled lino on the cinema floor and all we saw was the streaks of dirt that the rivulets of piss made, running down the aisles. I picked 'In My Life' because it's a great song. Paul's rolling bass line. The trademark Ringo drum fills. George's gritty distorted guitar. November 24, , Madras [now Chennai], India. Formed around the nucleus of Lennon and McCartney, who first performed together in Liverpool in , the group grew out of a shared enthusiasm for American rock and roll.

Like most early rock-and-roll figures, Lennon, a guitarist and singer, and McCartney, a bassist and singer, were largely self-taught as musicians. Precocious composers, they gathered around themselves a changing cast of accompanists, adding by the end of Harrison, a lead guitarist, and then, in for several formative months, Sutcliffe, a promising young painter who brought into the band a brooding sense of bohemian style.

In autumn Brian Epstein, a local Liverpool record store manager, saw the band and fell in love. Unshakably convinced of their commercial potential, Epstein became their manager and proceeded to bombard the major British music companies with letters and tape recordings of the band, finally winning a contract with Parlophone, a subsidiary of the giant EMI group of music labels.

Throughout the winter and into the spring of , the Beatles continued their rise to fame in England by producing spirited recordings of original tunes and also by playing classic American rock and roll on a variety of British Broadcasting Corporation radio programs. In these months, fascination with the Beatles—at first confined to young British fans of popular music—breached the normal barriers of taste, class, and age, transforming their recordings and live performances into matters of widespread public comment.

In the fall of that year, when they belatedly made a couple of appearances on British television, the evidence of popular frenzy prompted British newspapermen to coin a new word for the phenomenon: Beatlemania. In early , after equally tumultuous appearances on American television , the same phenomenon erupted in the United States and provoked a so-called British Invasion of Beatles imitators from the United Kingdom. Beatlemania was something new.

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Musicians performing in the 19th century certainly excited a frenzy—one thinks of Franz Liszt —but that was before the modern mass media created the possibility of collective frenzy. Later pop music idols, such as Michael Jackson in the mids and Garth Brooks in the s, sold similarly large numbers of records without provoking anything approaching the hysteria caused by the Beatles. Indeed, their transformative social and cultural influence was even recognized among the upper echelons of political power.