Friday, December 22, 2006

What's your favorite Beatles song?

Who's asking: John Schramm, California

This is like asking for my favorite flavor of ice cream -- why do I have to choose just one? (If I do, it's fudge ripple. But sometimes strawberry. And rum raisin is good, too.)

So if I had to pick only one, it would be "You've Got to Hide Your Love Away," a George Harrison composition on Help. It combines all the tuneful cheer of classic Beatles pop with heartwrenching adolescent angst ("Gather round, all you clowns/Let me hear you say/'Hey, you've got to hide your love away'"). Favorite Lennon/McCartney composition: "A Day in the Life," a whole life in one song. Favorite Beatles album: Revolver, which was every bit as revolutionary as Sgt. Pepper.

Important correction, posted 12/28/06: "You've Got to Hide Your Love Away" is, in fact, a Lennon/McCartney composition, written by John Lennon but credited to both songwriters. I am mortified. Thanks to Scott Phillips for the correction -- this is what I get for writing about music when I'm away from my CD collection.

What's your favorite? Leave it below.

Best Things I Read in 2006 (Part Two):

Robert Greenfield, Timothy Leary: A Biography. Greenfield accomplishes the near-impossible here, making a compelling book from the life of a genuinely rotten human being. Essential cultural history.

Robert Littell, Legends. Retired spy Martin Odum can no longer remember which of his undercover identities is the "real one." Legends digs deep into the question of identity, and was so gripping I lost a night's sleep over it.

Christopher Moore, A Dirty Job. The right book at the right time for me; the story of beta male Charlie Asher, who finds himself an instrument of doom in the wake of his own wife's death. Hilarious, sad and deeply compassionate.

Mary Roach, Spook: Science Tackles the Afterlife. Another book I read at exactly the right time. Roach follows her fascinating Stiff: The Curious Life of Human Cadavers with this look at scientific research into heaven, reincarnation, spiritualism and more. Spook manages to be both respectful and funny, and left me feeling optimistic.

Anne Tyler, The Amateur Marriage. Anne Tyler is our generation's Edith Wharton. She covers most of the 20th century in this story of Michael and Pauline's troubled marriage. This is the book that I wanted Alice McDermott's After This to be.


Victoria Chang said...

This is a question related to a post a while back. Do you know of any babies in literature that have taken a primary role in the story or poem? It seems like it's a subject that never really appears much in literature.

AnswerGirl said...

Hmm... you mean stories told from a baby's point of view, or just stories where a baby plays a key role? Babies tend to be plot devices rather than characters, even when they grow up to be important (I'm thinking of the King Arthur legend, where the baby Arthur's fate is crucial, but we don't really meet him until he's older).

Interesting question, though... I'll look around, and respond more completely next week.

Anonymous said...

Tomorrow Never Knows

" Turn off your mind, relax and float downstream"

Merry Christmas

Mark Dunn

Anonymous said...

"Blackbird" is my favorite for now. I don't pretend to know anything about it's provenance - I just think it's sweet and honest and a beautiful mix of melancholy and hope.


Anonymous said...

Taking broken wings and learning to fly, certainly is a hopeful goal....Blackbird is a timeless piece ( as most Beatles tunes are ) but more in a stipulated "Beatle's for the masses" kind of way......the deeper cuts, like Tomorrow ever Knows, or She's Leaving Home, for me, evoke a broader sense of emotion, from a lyrical AND auditory aspect.........but Blackbird as far as one man and a guitar.....rules.

Merry Christmas Susan.


Martha D. said...

"Martha My Dear" of course!

John Schramm said...

Thanks for using my question! :o)

So many songs, but for so many reasons. HEY JUDE ("And don't you know that it's just you, hey Jude, you'll do") and LET IT BE ("There will be an answer") never fail to evoke emotion.

But my all-time favorite is NOWHERE MAN, because it features John, Paul and George sining in perfect harmony. I think Ringo sings with them in parts, maybe on the la-la-las but I'm not sure. Also features some excellent guitar rifts by George.

It's also where, in YELLOW SUBMARINE, the Beatles draft Jeremy Hillary Boob, PhD to help them defeat the Meanies.

And I think we all feel like NOWHERE people from time to time.

BW said...

Favorite Beatles song?

"I Will." Simple and sweet.

AnswerGirl said...

All good choices. Other friends voted for "Hey Jude," "Eleanor Rigby," "She Loves You," and "You Never Give Me Your Money."

Other songs on my short list: "All You Need is Love," "Julia," "She's Leaving Home," and "Two of Us."

Anonymous said...

Clair, doll,

I am shocked that no one so far has pointed out that "You've Got to Hide Your Love Away" is a Lennon/McCartney tune (really one of John's). The best George could do in those early years was crap like "If I needed Someone" (he got better later, though...

You are still my favorite blogger despite this contretemps.


Scott P.

Anonymous said...

"A Day In The Life"

for sure

My Photocommunity

AnswerGirl said...

Good grief, Scott, you're right! I'm mortified! I'll go up and modify the post accordingly; in my own defense, I'm on the road and haven't had access to my copy of HELP, so I didn't have a chance to confirm this before I posted.

Sheesh... I'm so embarrassed. It's still my favorite Beatles song, with "A Day in the Life" a close second.

Tom Ehrenfeld said...

Well, I kinda did notice the error but chose not to weigh in....but now that we're on the subject of George, I'll always have a sweet spot for his vocals on I'd Be Happy Just to Dance With You. (And the Beatles generally sang the songs they wrote, but in this case I could be wrong about everything.)

Ellen, picking one top Beatles song is just not fair. So I choose five. Like you, I place You've Got to Hide Your Love Away on the list. And then the sheer thrill of I've Got A Feeling (even though it's kinda messy for the Beatles). The langorous beauty of I'm Only Sleeping. In My Life. Oh, In My Life. And then, of course, not simply as the background music to the most exuberant movie scene ever, but for the pure joy of it all, Can't Buy Me Love.