16. The Beatles

In honor of me turning 30, I’m making mix CDs of my favorite songs from each of my 30 favorite musical artists/groups. Read the introductory post for more background information on my 30 at 30 project. Reminder: there is no scientific rationale for this list. They’re simply my personal favorites. Coming in at number 16 is The Beatles.


What can I possibly write about The Beatles that hasn’t been written already? It’s unusual to see The Beatles at #16 on any musical list. Typically, they’re found much closer to the top, and if this list was about historical significance, there is no doubt that this list would be a lot different. However, it’s a testament to the Fab Four that they are on this list at all. They are definitely outliers on the list, the only group/artist that predates my life to make it on my all-time favorites list.

While the rest of the list is populated by my contemporaries who have/are producing music in the 90s/2000s/2010s, The Beatles’ last official album was recorded more than a decade before I was born. I enjoy plenty of other bands and artists that might show up on a classic rock or oldies radio station, but none of them compares to The Beatles in terms of a collection of music that I enjoy.

One of the most interesting aspects of The Beatles to me is their varied styles. It’s so difficult to pigeonhole them because their music shifted significantly over the years from album to album and even song to song. As far as I’m concerned their versatility  is unparalleled in music history, particularly with the level of success they achieved.

Thanks to the relatively short length of their tunes, my Beatles compilation features 25 songs, the most of anyone on the countdown. Nonetheless, I bet most people reading the tracklist will share the same reaction: “I can’t believe that (insert a favorite Beatles song here) didn’t make the cut!” The Beatles had so many hits over the years and so many classic albums that it’s unlikely any two Beatles fans would organize the same “best of” compilation.

For me, The White Album is probably my favorite Beatles album. I had the pleasure of studying some of the lyrics from the album for a postmodern literature class at Mercyhurst as an undergrad. That experience re-opened my ears to The Beatles music and allowed me to discover much of their catalog that I had either not heard at all or not heard in a long time. The White Album fittingly led the way with four tracks included on my compilation, “Dear Prudence”, “While My Guitar Gently Weeps”, “Blackbird”, and “Birthday”

“A Day In The Life” off of Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band also has a special significance for me. Back when I was in college, I ran a website called HalfCourtHero.com. I launched it on my 20th birthday, Sept. 7, 2004, and the site featured a daily blurb titled “A Day In The Life.” Essentially, it was a mini-journal entry that filled in the blank for “I’m Feeling: _____________”, “I’m Listening to: _______________”, “I’m Thinking: ________________” and “Defining moment: _________________” every day until Sept. 6, 2007. The Beatles song was the inspiration for the name of the featured and the song “Birthday” was appropriately the “I’m Listening to” song for Sept. 7, 2004.

“Hey Jude” is always a great Beatles singalong song. “In My Life” is a tremendous love song, one that I felt compelled to use for my parents’ 35th anniversary video.

I opened the album with the aforementioned “Dear Prudence”, and I chose to close the compilation with “Golden Slumbers” a short (1:32) and sweet lullabye from Abbey Road. In between, there are so many classic Beatles tracks and personal favorites. I understand your list might differ a bit, but let it be!

MM 30 at 30: The Beatles tracklist (finalized June 10, 2014)
1. Dear Prudence
2. Yesterday
3. Help!
4. With a Little Help From My Friends
5. Eight Days a Week
6. Here Comes the Sun
7. Good Day Sunshine
8. Blackbird
9. Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds
10. Penny Lane
11. For No One
12. Love Me Do
13. I Want to Hold Your Hand
14. Can’t Buy Me Love
15. While My Guitar Gently Weeps
16. Birthday
17. All You Need is Love
18. Two Of Us
19. Strawberry Fields Forever
20. Something
21. In My Life
22. Let It Be
23. Hey Jude
24. A Day in the Life
25. Golden Slumbers

3 thoughts on “16. The Beatles”

  1. Brooks, perhaps I didn’t make this point clear, but the numbers at the bottom are not meant to be rankings of the songs. That’s the order of the track list I burned to CD, which was influenced by musical flow from track to track rather than song preference. Anyway, thanks for reading!

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