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5 worst Beatles songs: Part one, 1967-70

Even the Fab Four had their off-days, you know.
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By Dave Thompson

This isn’t difficult at all. There are, if you delve into the depths of modern Beatlemania, a host of songs that the cognoscenti will decry as ... "what were thinking?” “Wild Honey Pie,” for example. “Revolution 9,” for sure. “Maxwell’s Silver Hammer,” for reasons that no one can fully explain. And more or less anything sung by Ringo.

All of which unfair, not only because one of those was intended to be divisive; two were simply the boys having fun, and the remainder… well, what was Ringo supposed to sing? “A Day in the Life”?

Then there’s the grating Beatles “Birthday” and the bulk of Let It Be. Aliens coming to earth and asking what did the greatest band in rock history sound like would have a field day with those.

So, we eschew the obvious and dig out, instead, the songs that don’t make those lists so often but which, in their own way, are far more fearsome.

   

5. “You Know My Name (Look Up the Number)”

Even the presence of a passing Brian Jones could not salvage this waste of electricity, all the more so since he wasn’t even playing “his” instrument. Why didn’t they just give Ringo a Mellotron and have done with it?

   

4. “Lovely Rita”

There are several tracks on Sgt. Pepper that we could have focussed on, but the lovely Rita just scrapes through by virtue of one of the second worst not-quite-rhyming couplet across the first 10 years of hit Beatle lyrics. And while you go off in search of that, we’ll thank George for the all-time worst, rhyming “Bangla-Desh” with “it’s a mess’ in what was otherwise a rather super little song. 

   

3. “Baby, You’re a Rich Man”

Another of the beastly B-sides that the Beatles seemed to enjoy foisting upon us, and there’s really not much else to add.

    

2. “All You Need Is Love”

The message was what mattered; the song itself was probably written on the back of a cigarette packet while waiting for the bus. Yes, it sums up the hopes and dreams of a generation… an entire era, in fact. But so did Scott McKenzie’s “San Francisco,” and which would you rather hear on repeat?

Oh, and tacking a snippet of "She Loves You" to the end just reminded us how far they'd fallen.

    

1. “Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da”

Even writer McCartney’s bandmates didn’t like this one. So why should anyone else feel the need to? True, the Marmalade scored a massive U.K. hit with it when the Fabs themselves declined to release it as a single, but since when have sales equated with quality?  

  

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