Guest Post: Listen to This, Not That – Dylan’s Take on The Beatles

My last post showcased my picks for underrated Beatles songs. I spoke to my friend Dylan about this idea and he enthusiastically wanted to contribute and share his favourite overlooked gems from The Beatles’ discography. As a companion to my post, here’s Dylan’s take! I really like how he went album by album and organised his thoughts themed around the albums.

Please Please Me (1963)

  • P.S. I Love You
  • Anna (Go to Him)
  • There’s a Place

These songs are ones that are lesser known than the popular title track, “Love Me Do”, “Twist and Shout”, and “I Saw Her Standing There”, but in my opinion, just as good. 

While the Beatles certainly include many covers on this album and follow the popular “doo-wop” sound of the early 60s, these underrated songs on the list give a glimpse of their unique sound and harmony that would become a staple on the forthcoming albums.

With the Beatles (1963)

  • It Won’t Be Long
  • All I’ve Got to Do
  • Til There Was You
  • I Wanna Be Your Man
  • Don’t Bother Me

Where to even start with this amazing album? This album is criminally underrated, even though it produced hits.  I see With the Beatles as the companion to A Hard Day’s Night because it shares a very similar sound by keeping the standard early 60’s vibe but with a slight edge. 

These five tracks listed though are some gems that tend to be overlooked. To especially spotlight a couple tracks, “I Wanna Be Your Man” was originally sung by the Rolling Stones even though it was written by Lennon-McCartney (primarily Paul).Don’t Bother Me” is the first song written by George Harrison to be on an album and is an immediate classic. 

A Hard Day’s Night (1964)

  • I Should Have Known Better
  • If I Fell
  • I’m Happy Just to Dance with You
  • And I Love Her
  • Any Time at All
  • Things We Said Today
  • I’ll Be Back

Here we get to the album that solidified Beatlemania, and rightfully so.  This really is just a flawless album that showcases the legendary harmonies of John Lennon and Paul McCartney, and many acoustic moments that show the extraordinary talent of George Harrison.  The tracks chosen on this list are just some of the underrated songs that especially spotlight these moments.

Beatles For Sale (1964)

  • No Reply
  • I’m a Loser
  • I’ll Follow the Sun
  • Baby’s in Black
  • Honey Don’t
  • Every Little Thing
  • Everybody’s Trying to Be My Baby 

Another underrated album that is best remembered for “Eight Days a Week”. Being sandwiched in between A Hard Day’s Night and Help! that also produced movies, it is often forgotten about.

There are, however, many strong moments on Beatles For Sale and these songs listed are especially worth checking out.  It is hard to be sad while listening to “I’ll Follow the Sun”!

Help! (1965)

  • The Night Before
  • You’ve Got to Hide Your Love Away
  • I Need You
  • Act Naturally
  • You Like Me Too Much
  • I’ve Just Seen a Face

Another flawless album, and one of the most well loved by the Beatles. Just like A Hard Day’s Night, Help! gained popularity with the accompanying movies that were a huge success.

The title track, “Ticket to Ride”, and “Yesterday” are the best-known songs from Help! but there are so many golden tracks throughout the album. What is especially unique is the nod to country music on two tracks, “Act Naturally” and “I’ve Just Seen a Face”.Act Naturally” was originally done by country singer Buck Owens, and their original “I’ve Just Seen a Face” further emphasises how influenced the Beatles were by all genres of music, even country. 

Rubber Soul (1965)

  • Think for Yourself
  • Michelle
  • I’m Looking Through You
  • If I Needed Someone
  • You Won’t See Me

Rubber Soul is another widely celebrated album with a unique sound. This is the first album that features a sitar (Norwegian Wood) and gives a glimpse of their Indian influence that would become a more common sound on future albums.

“Think for Yourself” and “If I Needed Someone” shows George Harrison’s songwriting getting stronger, with the latter being written for his wife, Pattie Boyd.

“Michelle”, “I’m Looking Through You”, and “You Won’t See Me” are Paul’s only solo vocal songs, but really complete the album. Rubber Soul has an even stronger acoustic and twang sound to it which is likely due to their American rock influence, especially Bob Dylan and the Byrds at the time.

Revolver (1966)

  • I’m Only Sleeping
  • Here, There, and Everywhere
  • Good Day Sunshine
  • And Your Bird Can Sing
  • For No One
  • I Want to Tell You

As most everyone can agree with, Revolver is an absolute classic. This album took the Beatles on yet another new direction, their psychedelic era. Although they were dipping their toes in the psychedelic sound, it was featured on a few songs and intertwined with the Indian sitar and tabla.

The songs listed are some of the more forgotten tracks on Revolver that deserve more appreciation.  Worth mentioning is that the Beatles only did a short tour to promote this album, and quickly announced their retirement from touring at the end of August 1966. 

Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band (1967)

  • Getting Better
  • Within You Without You
  • She’s Leaving Home
  • Lovely Rita

It is hard to imagine that any song from this classic album could be under appreciated.  As a whole, Sgt. Pepper is celebrated, but to take it apart track by track, there are some that are overlooked.  These four songs in my opinion hold up just as much as “With A Little Help from My Friends” and “When I’m 64”.

Magical Mystery Tour (1967)

  • The Fool on the Hill
  • Blue Jay Way
  • Your Mother Should Know
  • Baby, You’re a Rich Man

Magical Mystery Tour is actually a double EP that has been adapted as a standard LP by the Beatles. This is the first album since Help! to be made into a movie. Almost every song on this album has a promo video with it, and in a way the Beatles started music videos.  While almost every song on Magical Mystery Tour was a hit, these four songs are quite often overlooked, but worth knowing. 

The Beatles (The White Album) (1968)

  • Piggies
  • Yer Blues
  • I Will
  • Julia
  • Mother Nature’s Son
  • Long, Long, Long
  • Cry Baby Cry

Beatles, which is more commonly called The White Album is the first, and only, double LP by the band. The White Album produced so many hits and is the most unique and experimental of their discography. This album was largely inspired by the Beatles’ trip to India and having been mentored under their guru, Maharishi Mahesh Yogi.  While there are a few unusual tracks, most of them are legendary, and these songs listed certainly deserve attention. 

Abbey Road (1969)

  • I Want You (She’s So Heavy)
  • Because
  • You Never Give Me Your Money
  • Sun King

It is hard to imagine anything on Abbey Road being underrated, and in a way nothing is.  I wanted to give a shout out though to these four songs because they are talked about the least. Minus “Revolution #9”, I Want You is the longest actual song by the Beatles. I absolutely love that song, and the distortion on the guitar outro is brilliant.

“Because” reminds fans of the amazing harmony the guys had and is just a beautiful song.  Lastly, “You Never Give Me Your Money” and “Sun King” are especially worth paying attention to during the Abbey Road Medley. The former kicks off the medley, only to have it come around again at the end (Carry That Weight).Sun King” once again has impeccable harmonies and gives a nod to “Here Comes the Sun”.  Did you know that even though Let it Be was the final released album, the Beatles recorded Abbey Road last?

Let it Be (1970)

  • Two of Us
  • Dig a Pony
  • I Me Mine
  • I’ve Got a Feeling
  • One After 909
  • For You Blue

This is my personal favourite of their albums.  I feel that there is not one flaw on the whole record vocally, instrumentally, and lyrically.  Who knew such a masterpiece could come out of the some of the worst fights amongst the group? While everyone obviously loves the title track, “Across the Universe”, “The Long and Winding Road”, and “Get Back”, I suggest giving these criminally overlooked songs a closer listen. 

B Sides: Whole Career

  • Rain
  • The Inner Light
  • Old Brown Shoe
  • Thank You Girl
  • This Boy
  • I’m Down
  • She’s a Woman

You can follow Dylan on Instagram – @cosmiccowboyy

Shoutout to my friends Patrick and Matt for supporting the blog!

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