Will Not Find Our No. 1 on Any Other List.
Various publications have floated lists of the most underrated Beatles songs. But strangely, they all miss the most obvious choice. Part of the problem may lie in their definition of “underrated.” To us the term refers to the breadth of the gap between public opinion and the song’s actual quality. So a song need not be great. It just needs to be a lot better than people think. With that, here are the Police Gazette five most underrated Beatle songs of all time:
5. “Within You Without You”
This is a fairly well-regarded (though not universally) George Harrison composition from the Sgt Pepper album. Its status as underrated comes mainly from two things: 1) It completely revolutionized Western popular music. Harrison used exclusively Indian instruments, Indian musical styles, and lyrics with Eastern-religion themes, but pulled in just enough familiar Western constructions to make it palatable. It was the first time anything like that had been done in pop music and opened the flood gates to the incorporation of World music into Western pop. 2) Harrison did all this without embarrassing himself. It’s a high-wire act that a lesser talent would have stumbled on.
4. “You Can’t Do That”
This one has suffered, perhaps, from its mildly misogynistic lyrics. But that aside, it is the Beatles’ best example of a “cow bell” song—“Drive My Car” notwithstanding. And everyone loves cow-bell songs. So since it’s the Beatles doing it, therefore, it has to be great. There are versions of this song without any cowbell, but they didn’t need Christopher Walken to tell them to put it in. Nothing got past these guys.
3. “Everybody’s Got Something to Hide Except Me and My Monkey”
This song from the “White Album” finds John Lennon entering the phase where half his efforts feel like throwaways. Except, since it’s Lennon, nothing is a throwaway. There’s so much going on here, we can’t discuss it all. Suffice to say Lennon invents punk rock with this song, yet it still lends itself to becoming a killer New Orleans boogie when covered by Fats Domino. Unbelievable.
2. “It’s All Too Much”
George Harrison was clearly a secondary song-writing talent within the Beatles (he was the Tony Lazzeri to Lennon and McCartney’s Gehrig and Ruth). But every once in a while he could come up with one that was an unquestionable equal to the big guys’. “Something” and “While My Guitar Gently Weeps” come to mind. Somehow, though, “It’s All Too Much” regularly slips through the cracks when considering George’s AAA-rated contributions. The song is a soaring anthem that never loses steam, raising tension and energy to a level it never relinquishes. But it still has room for folksy lyrics like “Show me that I’m everywhere, but get me home for tea.” An all-time classic.
1. “Hold Me Tight”
The most underrated Beatles song of all time achieves its distinction through a combination of its being consistently at or near the bottom of most people’s rankings of the Beatle oeuvre and the fact that if you only gave it a chance, you’d find it’s actually perfectly crafted and doing exactly what the Beatles intended it to do: It’s a giant ball of gooey fun that still really rocks. One Beatle scholar has posited that EVERY Beatle song contains some sort of intentional goof or in-joke. To us, “Hold Me Tight” represents the purest musical form of that theory. Relax and give this song a few careful listens. If you still hate it, then you probably also hate fun, the Beatles, and music in general.
Muhammad Ali and the Beatles meet as both were on the verge of taking over the world. After this photo shoot, Ali called the Beatles “sissies.” Very talented sissies.