Two Beatles Songs Possibly Worth $1.29 a Song

The End – The Beatles from Abbey Road

I’m So Tired – The Beatles from The White Album

You might have heard that Apple had a big announcement this week…that the Beatles albums were finally coming to Itunes.  Yeah, not quite earth-splitting news for most music fans since I think they are like me in that we already own whatever portion of the Beatles catalogue we wanted long ago.  I guess it is a big announcement for the two Apples (Apple Computers and Apple Records) and the remaining Beatles (or their estates) since undoubtedly they will generate more revenue from new generations of Beatles fans.

So, I wanted to mention two lesser known Beatles songs which might get overlooked in the Beatles canon.  Both songs are short, clocking in at around two minutes, but memorable.  First, probably the better known of these two songs is The End from Abbey Road.  The end of a medley of songs on Side 2 of the album, the song starts off upbeat and includes the only drum solo on a Beatles song.  Competently played by Ringo, it’s not going to make anyone forget about Ginger Baker, but the Beatles sound I never felt relied heavily on drums like say Led Zeppelin.  I can imagine Ringo in studio sessions pleading for a drum solo over and over until the other guys succumbed (thinking of the “can we have a pool” bit from The Simpsons).

Ringo’s shining moment over, the rest of the guys get in some good guitar licks.  I’d never known this, but apparently each of McCartney, Harrison and Lennon got a few bars of the guitar solo following the drum solo.  Knowing that,  you can definitely hear differences in the style of the guitar-playing, and makes the solo even more enjoyable.  Then, just as you’re getting revved up by the guitar, they slam on the brakes and hit you with a simple plinking of a piano that leads into that beautiful place that Beatles songs can take you.  First of all, while the sudden change of pace and tenor seems like it should not work, the transition is seamless.  The building of McCartney’s sweet voice singing over several bars “and in the end, the love you take is equal to the love you make” over the piano,  then joined by guitar, swelling strings and vocal harmonies, and capped by bringing Ringo back into the fold, comes together to make some  of the most beautiful music I think the Beatles ever made.

Two albums before Abbey Road, the Beatles put out the double album known as the White Album (for obvious reasons if you look at the album art to your right).  Hidden among some of the most well-known Beatles songs is a gem called I’m So Tired.  Written by John Lennon, it was apparently inspired by insomnia he experienced in India while missing Yoko Ono.  Lennon’s vocals on this are sublime, delicate at one moment and then cracking with emotion the next.  The instrumentation seems attached by strings to Lennon’s vocal chords, rising and falling with each vibration from his pipes.

I love how the song makes you feel like when you can’t sleep, you are sitting there quietly trying to force yourself to sleep and the more you stay quiet, the more you start to think and the more you can’t sleep.  The song starts quiet, builds to a crescendo in the first chorus, pauses, then quiets down again before building up again.  And the high point of those crescendos is the chorus, which I absolutely could listen to over and over again.  I think it’s the chugging guitar/drum combo that’s so markedly different from the slow beginning of the song.

So, hopefully you already have these, but if not, dig some change out of your pocket and add a few dollars to the coffers of our Apple overlords.

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2 Responses to “Two Beatles Songs Possibly Worth $1.29 a Song”

  1. Geoff @ the world keeps spinning Says:

    I was surprised about this announcement because I never knew that Beatles songs weren’t able to be purchased through iTunes. My favorite Beatles song is “There are Places I Remember”.

    • Sriram Says:

      “In My Life” if you need to actually hunt it down 🙂 … and “Rubber Soul” the entire album that is on is probably the hints toward the turning point that was Sgt Pepper. “Run For Your Life” is one of my cheeky favorites in the lesser known Beatles song list.

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