50. ALL YOU NEED IS LOVE (1967, Magical Mystery Tour)
Everything the Beatles stood for, summed up in those five simple words…
49-26 after the jump…
49. I’M SO TIRED (1968, White Album)
One of John’s most emotional tracks.
48. HERE COMES THE SUN (1969, Abbey Road)
Three blissful minutes of pure sonic warmth.
47. HELTER SKELTER (1963, White Album)
Distortion-drenched (and, arguably, heavy-metal-inventing) proof that Paul could rock as hard as John.
46. TICKET TO RIDE (1965, Help!)
They’d get louder (see next entry), but thunderous drums and fiery guitar riffs made this the heaviest song they’d then recorded.
45. LOVELY RITA (1967, Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band)
Because it’s about Paul being in love with a cute meter maid. And because it’s irresistible. But mostly the meter-maid thing.
44. COME TOGETHER (1969, Abbey Road)
This chugging blues gumbo about old flattop and his joojoo eyeballs is fantastic nonsense.
43. I WANT TO HOLD YOUR HAND (1963, Past Masters)
The song that brought Beatlemania to America bristles with an energy that’s anything but innocent.
42. I’M DOWN (1965, Past Masters)
The band’s hilariously exuberant performance of the rocker amid the mayhem of their 1965 Shea Stadium show is a riveting snapshot of fame.
41. DAYTRIPPER (1965, Past Masters)
Their label demanded that the Beatles churn out a single for the 1965 holiday season. Thank you, greed.
40. WITH A LITTLE HELP FROM MY FRIENDS (1967, Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band)
He didn’t write it, but his touching vocal still makes this the ultimate Ringo song, a lovely tribute to those friends people need to get by — including the chemical ones.
39. TAXMAN (1966, Revolver)
George’s acerbic gem features one of the funkiest riffs ever created for a song about governmental revenue collection.
38. YOU WON’T SEE ME (1965, Rubber Soul)
Bridges the early Beatles with the harmonically multi-layered grown-ups they were becoming.
37. SHE SAID SHE SAID (1966, Revolver)
Inspired by Peter Fonda’s LSD-fueled boast that he knew what it was like to be dead, it remains the catchiest bad-trip song ever.
36. DEAR PRUDENCE (1968, White Album)
John’s plea to “come out to play” was addressed to Mia Farrow’s younger sister during their star-studded sojourn with the Maharishi in Rishikesh. Great backstory, even better song.
35. NOWHEREMAN (1965, Rubber Soul)
“Doesn’t have a point of view”? Not this self-lacerating John ballad, further evidence that pop music can do more than produce silly love songs. (Sorry, Paul.)
34. I’VE GOT A FEELING (1970, Let It Be)
Even at the end, John and Paul could still make magic together.
33. I SHOULD HAVE KNOWN BETTER (1964, A Hard Day’s Night)
Its crystal-clear guitar strums and rousing harmonica help turn this early John love song into an ecstatic wall of sound.
32. I AM THE WALRUS (1967, Magical Mystery Tour)
Who knows what it all means? Just let the bizarre imagery rush over your ears and you’ll be goo-goo-g’joobing like a regular eggman in no time.
31. ALL MY LOVING (1963, With the Beatles)
The delicious alternation of major and minor chords makes this track as wistful as it is jubilant.
30. I WANT YOU (SHE’S SO HEAVY) (1969, Abbey Road)
John’s evocation of his desire for Yoko is as musically ambitious as it is lyrically uncomplicated (the title contains almost half of all the words used during its eight minutes).
29. I SAW HER STANDING THERE (1963, Please Please Me)
The rollicking first song on the Beatles’ first album will sweep you off your feet in less than three minutes.
28. RAIN (1966, Past Masters)
Reversed vocals and a sunny melody vividly convey gray days.
27. HAPPINESS IS A WARM GUN (1968, White Album)
It takes a genius like John to stick three disparate, unfinished songs together and make a classic.
26. PAPERBACK WRITER (1966, Past Masters)
If the sketch of a pulp novelist’s ambition doesn’t get you, then the ingeniously arranged harmonies surely will.