Friday, November 7, 2014

When I turned 64: Playlist

In preparation for my 64th birthday, I created a playlist of 64 of my favorite Beatles songs.  You can listen to them at:

These are not exactly my 64 favorites--though most of them would make it on such a list.  But for special reasons I added a few that are not among my top 64: "Strawberry Fields Forever" because it's paired with "Penny Lane" (which is one of my very favorites); "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band" because it leads into "With a Little Help from My Friends" (also among my favorites); "Her Majesty" because it finishes off the closing medley of Abbey Road.  And there are a few others that snuck in for such reasons.  Also, there are at least a half dozen that could easily have made it into the top 64 if I'd left out some of the extras or been in a different mood when I made the list.  But I had to make it come out to 64--so I had to draw the line somewhere.

After listing the songs, I'll explain why they're in the order they are.

Magical Mystery Tour
I'll Follow the Sun
You're Going to Lose That Girl
Good Day Sunshine
For No One
Doctor Robert
If I Fell
It Won't Be Long
Day Tripper
We Can Work It Out
Here Comes the Sun
Eight Days a Week
Any Time at All
In My Life
I Wanna Hold Your Hand
P. S. I Love You
Eleanor Rigby
Help! (with James Bond intro)
I'll Be Back
I'm Looking Through You (Anthology Version)
Please Mr. Postman
Not a Second Time
Little Child
Paperback WRiter
Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band
With a Little Help from My Friends
Got to Get You into My Life
Penny Lane (promo version with trumpet fanfare at the end)
Strawberry Fields Forever
Your Mother Should Know
You Won't See Me
Thank You Girl
She Loves You
I'll Get You
Every Little Thing
Baby's in Black
From Me to You
Hello Goodbye
Things We Said Today
No Reply
I'm a Loser
While My Guitar Gently Weeps
Drive My Car
Let It Be (single version)
Lovely Rita
Think for Yourself
You've Got to Hide Your Love Away
What You're Doing
Here, There, and Everywhere
Please Please Me
One After 909 (Anthology version)
Ticket to Ride
The Fool on the Hill
When I'm Sixty-Four
Twist and Shout (live)
Hey Jude
Golden Slumbers
Carry That Weight
The End
Her Majesty

Notice that there are some special entries: a live performance of "Twist and Shout" (with John's famous line about "rattl[ing] your jewelry"); "I'll Get You" as presented on a teen TV show; "Hello Goodbye" on Ed Sullivan; "Penny Lane" in my favorite version (with trumpet fanfare at the end) that you won't find on any of the CDs or vinyl albums; the Anthology version of "I'm Looking Through You" (which I quite like, though I like the Rubber Soul version as well); and "One After 909" in the only version I really like (and I like it a lot in this version)--the Anthology mix that makes a full song of what were incomplete parts.

As for the order, it is neither in order of how much I like the songs nor in chronological order.  It's an order that I quickly and intuitively put together on the basis of organic connections.  "Magical Mystery Tour" begins the adventure, and the adventure ends appropriately with the closing medley from Abbey Road.  Just before that is "Hey Jude," which (if I'm not mistaken) often comes near the end of McCartney's concerts, with audience participation.  And I put a couple of other numbers before "Hey Jude" as part of the final suite: "When I'm Sixty-Four" (the title track for my birthday celebration) and "Twist and Shout" (to add a reminder of the excitement that got the Beatles phenomenon started).  Just before "When I'm Sixty-Four" is "The Fool on the Hill," which I'm NOT saying is a reference to me . . . but take it as you will.

Some of the connections among other groups of songs are obvious; some are not.  Sometimes it's just a matter of contrast or continuity.  Note, for instance, the subtle links between "Here Comes the Sun," "Eight Days a Week," "Any Time at All," and "In My Life" (the theme of time being one of the links).  And note the theme of communication in "From Me to You," "Hello Goodbye," "Things We Said Today," and "No Reply."  Transportation (by train) links "One After 909" and "Ticket to Ride."

Having made my list, I can affirm with confidence that I could easily add another 90 or so songs to the list.  In fact, I'm sure I've left many people's very favorite songs off my list (for instance, "A Day in the Life," which might be in my top 100, but not in my top 64).  But my list of 64 songs is already roughly 3 hours long, and my longer list of favorites would be almost three times as long.  So I'm happy to have had a reason to try to trim things to 64.

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