The Beatles are considered by many to be the greatest band of all time. Therefore, it is not surprising that most of their songs are well known by the general public, even though some people around and in this day and age do not know who Paul McCartney is. As it happens with the great groups who produce music of the highest quality, some true gems slip through the cracks. Here are five of those.
5. "I Will"
In 1968, all four members of The Beatles traveled to India for a spiritual retreat. While there, the inspiration bug, leading them to write most of the White Album, hit them. "I Will" was one of the songs written there, and given the vastness and the wide popularity of many of the tunes on the album, it is not surprising that this one is often forgotten.
"I Will" may very well be the sweetest, most beautiful, lightest, and optimistic love song Paul McCartney has ever written. One could say the song is a love letter, divided into four verses. In the first one, McCartney declares that he would be willing to wait as long as need be for the person he loves. In the second one, he states that his feelings will never waver. The third verse is a promise to love her forever whether they're physically together or separated. The final part states the elation he will feel when he meets up with her again.
The melody consists for the most part of an acoustic guitar accompanied by several arrangements. The idea behind the song was to create a short, sweet tune that celebrated love and devotion to one's partner and in this case, as it often happened with whatever they produced, The Beatles nailed it.
4. "She's Leaving Home"
This song, featured in Sgt. Pepper's, the final member of the Holy Trinity is quite peculiar. For starters, it is one of a few songs in which none of the band members play an instrument. The melody was played in its entirety by a string quartet. It is also the first Beatles song ever that George Martin did not arrange. Finally, it was a full-on collaboration between McCartney and John Lennon, something quite rare at that point in their careers.
The lyrics are based on a local news story McCartney read on the newspaper about a teenager that left home. While Lennon wrote the chorus and sings the part representing the girl's parents, McCartney wrote the verse and narrates the story.
The sweet melody, being created exclusively by a string quartet, evokes a sense of peace, calm, and tranquility, which is reflected on the vocals sung by both Lennon and McCartney. This track is a testament to the amazing creative power of the two, being able to take an everyday news story and produce a masterpiece out of it. "She's Leaving Home" could very well be considered the ultimate and definitive collaboration between John Lennon and Paul McCartney.
While this song may not be as unknown as it used to be, it is still a widely underrated track, given its sheer brilliance. The only tune in the list not to appear in an album, "Rain" was the B-side to "Paperback Writer". Several music critics consider it Ringo Starr's best drumming performance.
The track's melody fits the profile of the tunes the band was producing in early 1966 for the Revolver sessions: rockers with heavy participation from the electric guitar. Lennon's vocals in the song are superb. He gives off the sensation that he's singing from high above a mountain, as he seems far removed from the rest, as if his voice is floating in the clouds.
The lyrics are also classic John Lennon, given how he writes about the way some people act while in bad times and good times. When the bad times roll around, some people tend to disappear and play dead. Meanwhile, when the good times are around, so are they, but relaxing and coasting through life. Lennon, on the other hand, or at least the narrator in the song, acts the same way whether it rains or not, as he considers it just a state of mind.
"Rain" was one of the first songs to featured a slowed-down rhythm track and backwards vocals. The vocals, especially, give the tune a surreal feeling as Lennon appears to be singing from a different dimension.
2. "Oh! Darling"
This treasure that appears in Abbey Road, is an ode to the powerful love ballads of the 1950s and 1960s. Musically, Lennon's performance on the piano, as well as Starr's on the drums, is fantastic. The energy the two bring out matches McCartney's vocal performance, which even though it may not be his best, it certainly is one of his most powerful ones. This is especially noted once he starts singing and screaming the lyrics at the top of his lungs.
The lyrics are hauntingly beautiful. They consist of a man's desperate plea to his lover to please forgive him, give him another chance, and to stay with him. He goes on saying that he does not think he can keep going without her, and relates how he felt when she left and the promises he is willing to make in order to get her back.
This tune is an emotional rollercoaster from start to finish and is one passionate number that more than one will be able to relate to. It is one of the hidden gems of a formidable discography.
1. "Hey Bulldog"
"Hey Bulldog" is arguably The Beatles' most underrated song. Recorded in early 1968, during the filming of the promotional video for "Lady Madonna", it was released on the soundtrack for the Yellow Submarine film.
The track gives an insight into what it was like being a Beatle in the most glorious moments. It is not hard, at all, to tell how much fun the four are having while recording the song. Musically, the tune is a rocker with heavy piano playing, accompanied by a spectacular guitar solo from George Harrison. Beyond that, nothing else makes sense.
To put it mildly, if one were to listen to this song, without being told that it was composed by The Beatles, said person would probably guess that it was written and recorded at an asylum. He or she would think it was recorded by brilliant yet troubled musicians. That is exactly the vibe Lennon wants to give off with his lyrics, which make absolutely no sense. He also incites his fellow band members to join him in the insanity and fun, to the point that at one point he and McCartney actually start barking.
In essence, "Hey Bulldog" served as a refuge from the pressures of Beatlemania and their acquired fame, which had been dragging them down for several years at that point.