Before I start, let me make one thing perfectly clear – The Beatles were, are, and always will be the greatest band ever. Period. That being said, even they’re not perfect. To be sure, their batting average is Ty Cobb level, but every now and again, they let a clunker slip through. The following are a collection songs that were just not up to snuff, certainly by their standards, anyway. Let me also note, that these are songs they wrote. Most ‘worst Beatles songs’ lists include covers like “Mr. Moonlight,” which in my opinion is kind of a cheat. So, without further adieu, here are 10 Beatles songs that legitimately suck.
Bungalow Bill – This ditty by John is the definition of slight. It appears on the White Album, which as all fans know is a double album. With four sides of wax to fill, perfection was an impossibility. I suppose, that’s the charm of it…the stripped down, kitchen sink approach. But this song is just a stinkburger royale. I guess John was making some sort of a point about white imperialism, but it’s such a goofy trifle that the satire gets lost in the stupidity.
The Inner Light — Between the irritating whine of the shehnai – an Indian reed instrument – and the didactic philosophy, this George Harrison penned-B-side is a headache inducing bore and a half. The lyrics come from a poem out of the Taoist Tao Te Ching. The story goes that it was suggested that he set it to music by Juan Mascaró, a Sanskrit scholar. Which just proves that scholars should keep their suggestions to themselves when it comes to rock and roll.
Being For The Benefit Of Mr. Kite – This Lennon toss-off is a veritable blight on their masterpiece Sgt. Pepper. The lyrics were taken from an old circus poster he found in a junk shop and the music is just contrived calliope crapola. George Martin put a lot of work into producing the shit out of this track, utilizing the era’s recording technology to its fullest extent. It still couldn’t save this tune from being what it is – a lazy, malaise-y, soporific piece of garbage.
Flying – This instrumental off of Magical Mystery Tour is about as throwaway as you can get. The playing is uninspired, as is the middling melody. It’s got a stomach roiling, queasy sound. I could imagine hearing something similar playing in your head while you’re being administered anesthesia for a root canal…or maybe after you’ve taken a slow acting poison in an underground bunker.
Maxwell’s Silver Hammer – Paul’s excrescent Abbey Road effort is a disaster on all fronts. The lyrics are inane, the music is facile, and the instrumentation is woozy – the preponderance of Moog synthesizer is simply untenable. I’m glad the Beatles broke up when they did, because they would have destroyed their legacy if Paul had been allowed to release more shitty ditties like this one. Judging from the wealth of sheer dross in his solo catalog, it would have been an inevitability.
What Goes On – Poor Ringo, for the most part, the songs John and Paul gave him to sing were scraped from the bottom of their barrel. This hamfisted abortion mars one of their greatest albums, Rubber Soul. You’d think they could come up with something better to give him than this worthless dreck. If I was him, I would have taken it as an insult. I don’t even know what’s it’s supposed to be – some lame attempt at a Carl Perkins-y country tune I suppose. Whatever it is, it’s an unmelodic, badly executed turd nugget.
Doctor Robert – As great as the Beatles were, they never made a perfect album. They came close, but even on their most sublime works, there was always at least one cowpie. “Doctor Robert” is the skunkweed in Revolver’s rose garden. In the Beatles oeuvre it’s unique not only in its lack of musicality, but also because it was written about an actual person — Dr. Robert. He was a sixties scenester that shot celebrities up with cocktails of amphetamines and B-12. The Beatles were always best when they stuck to universal themes – that’s why their music is so timeless. “Doctor Robert” may have been au courant at the time, but now it’s just dated drivel.
Piggies – I could just say that this piddly attempt at sociopolitical commentary by Harrison was Charles Manson’s favorite song and the inspiration for his infamous murder spree and leave it at that. Hmmm…in fact I will.
Rocky Raccoon – McCartney, if left unchecked, is a horrible lyricist. I mean, really bad. “Rocky Raccoon” is a great example of him at the bottom of his game. It’s a cutesy piece of irrelevant fluff – a true suckfest. From his opening drawl to the grating tack piano, this one is about as pleasant as nails on a chalkboard. All that prattle about Gideon’s bible and falling back in his room every two seconds gives me a colossal ache in my rectum.
I Want You (She’s So Heavy) – Yeah, John, we all get it – you love Yoko…god only knows why. But whatever, there’s no accounting for taste. This turgid ode to his ardor is a genuine piece of shit. Lyrically, it’s about as lazy as you can get – I want you/I want you so bad/I want you/ I want you so bad/It’s driving me mad, it’s driving me mad. That’s it…that’s the song. Well, thank you – now you’ve all driven us mad…with boredom. Not only is this thing undercooked and banal, at just under eight minutes, it’s also way too fucking long. I’ll say this for it though, when it suddenly stops out of nowhere – the relief is blissful.
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