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The most-skippable Beatles cuts, from “All You Need Is Love” to “Yellow Submarine”

A.V. To ZAn alphabetical survey of pop culture

While, as we established in a sister A.V. To Z yesterday, a lot of what The Beatles did was straight-up amazing, the four lovable lads from Liverpool also released a lot of dreck. Not everything can be a hit, after all. Thus, The A.V. Club decided to subject itself to the very worst of the band’s catalog, subsequently locking ourselves in a room to argue over which Beatles songs are absolutely skippable. Again, not every letter is represented, but that’s The Beatles’ fault, not ours. The A.V. Club’s picks are below, if you can take it.

A: “All You Need Is Love” (1967)

Written by John Lennon at a time when the Beatles were at their Maharishi-loving hippie-dippiest, “All You Need Is Love” has aged like a gallon of milk in a hot car. Its broad, overarching sentiment has been embraced by cheap T-shirt designers and graduating high school seniors everywhere, and while the concept of love as a whole isn’t necessarily a bad one, the way the message of this song has been twisted and turned makes the track itself endlessly grating. Pass. [Marah Eakin]


B: “Birthday” (1968)

Did “Birthday” ruin karaoke, or did karaoke ruin “Birthday”? It doesn’t even matter at this point. Paul McCartney’s nonsensical attempt at a rock-out offers a highly unlikely coincidence (“It’s my birthday too, yeah”) and various over-promises (“We’re gonna have a good time”). It sounds like an improv jam carved out in someone’s garage; although that may have been McCartney’s intention, this half-baked ditty is unworthy of a place on The Beatles’ mantle. [Gwen Ihnat]

C: “Come Together” (1969)

A drug-fueled nonsense song inspired by Timothy Leary, “Come Together” probably seemed pretty progressive when it came out in late 1969. Now, however, its lines about shooting Coca-Cola and holding mojo filters just seem too silly to take seriously. And yet every single “serious” bar band still plays it, as if to demonstrate how wild and wacky they are. Plus, Lennon seems to have used the song to come up with a whole list of horrible sounding fake ailments—monkey finger, toe-jam football, spinal cracker, whatever joo-joo eyeball is—which, when listed all together, have the potential to make any listener’s itchy skin crawl even more. [Marah Eakin]


D: “Drive My Car” (1965)

Although released on Rubber Soul, “Drive My Car” hearkens to earlier, frothier Beatles songs—which isn’t necessarily bad, as the band made plenty of enjoyably slight songs during its career. It doesn’t help that “Drive My Car” has been played and covered into oblivion, but the original irritates on its own. Between the endlessly repeating chorus and the cutesy “Beep beep! Yeah!” interjections, the song’s two-and-a-half minutes feel like twice that. [Kyle Ryan]


E: “The End” (1969)

Everyone who was even remotely involved with their college radio station knows the pain of this song. It’s fair to go ahead and say, without exception, it has been used as the final song of the final show of every single college radio DJ in the history of the universe. It doesn’t matter if you had a show and you swear your last song was Chemical Brothers’ “Setting Sun”—no, it wasn’t. It was this song. Sure, it has one of McCartney’s most famous lines (“And in the end, the love you take is equal to the love you make”), but it doesn’t make it any easier to hear Ringo Starr’s pounding drum solo, or the jarring time shift as the track splits in half for its maudlin finale. It’s not a bad song, per se, but it’s the definition of a skippable one. [Alex McCown]


F: “Free As A Bird” (1995)

“Free As A Bird” isn’t bad exactly, but it’s always seemed more like a gimmick to conjure up interest in 1995’s Anthology series than a proper part of the band’s catalog. (Also, it’s pretty dull.) And it’s such a cheat: Lennon recorded it as a demo long after The Beatles had broken up, and the other members—along with Jeff Lynne—added some sheen and texture to what was more a sketch than a song. [Josh Modell]


G: “Good Day Sunshine” (1966)

When McCartney gets slammed for his syrupy, sappy self, this is the kind of treacle we’re talking about. Although it starts with a promising pounding piano, it soon meanders off into its too-idyllic, frickin’ happy setting: “I feel good in a special way / I’m in love and it’s a sunny day.” It sounds like a love song Buddy the elf might craft. Other exciting developments include taking a walk and lying beneath a shady tree. It’s all well and good for McCartney, but “Sunshine” falls on the simplistic side of simple. George Harrison’s “Here Comes The Sun” is a much-preferred ode to that giant orb in the sky. [Gwen Ihnat]


H: “Hey Jude” (1968)

“Hey Jude” is a fantastic song. It might even be your favorite Beatles song. It was a massive hit, setting sales and chart records left and right. But how often do you make it through all seven minutes? In this fast-paced world, four whole minutes of the same thing (with some added “la la wow”s from McCartney) just might not be worth your time. Plus, if you’ve ever heard the so-called “tape of only Linda”—an isolated, horrible vocal performance of Linda McCartney doing the backing vocals, supposedly—it’s tough to not think about that while the real song’s coda is rolling. [Josh Modell]


I: “I Am The Walrus” (1967)

Draping The Beatles’ heaviest groove in sumptuous strings and genuinely unnerving studio trickery, “I Am The Walrus” sounds great. It’s just the bullshit between the notes that drags the song down. Working in the traditions of Ogden Nash and Lewis Carroll, Lennon sketches a psychedelic jabberwocky, the jaws of which hardly bite. For evidence that everyone might skip “I Am The Walrus” if it wasn’t Lennon doing the sneering, see the version of the tune George Martin later produced with Jim Carrey at the mic. Any “ha ha ha”s, “hee hee hee”s, or “ho ho ho”s are strictly unintentional. [Erik Adams]

J: “Jazz Piano Song” (1969)

The definition of a castoff, “Jazz Piano Song” is a minute and 20 seconds of McCartney screwing around on a piano. Recorded as part of the Twickenham sessions convened after the difficult recording of The Beatles, it was made up on the spot, and only given a name because it had to be copyrighted due to inclusion in the Let It Be film. The actual track is just as silly and tossed-off as it sounds. It barely even qualifies as a Beatles song, which is why it should barely even be acknowledged as one. Next, please. [Alex McCown]


K: “Komm, Gib Mir Deine Hand” (1964)

Bully for the German fans who get a pleasant surprise when the familiar music of “I Want To Hold Your Hand” gives way to lyrics in their native tongue, but for the rest of us, it can be an off-putting shock. It’s very hard to sing along to lines like “Komm, gib mir deine hand”—literally, “come on, give me your hand”—when your brain is so used to the cadence that’s been ingrained forever. Sorry, Germany, it just sounds weird. [Josh Modell]


L: “Let It Be” (1969)

It starts off innocently enough with a few piano chords, but “Let It Be” tediously builds to a chorus that repeats the title words and not much else. Simplicity can be a beautiful thing, but the melody here, carried only by McCartney, is too boring to sustain a full four minutes of repetition. By the time the song blessedly ends, the joke writes itself. According to McCartney, the song was born out of a dream he had about his own mother, who died when he was a young teenager. It’s a nice sentiment and a sweet story, but perhaps not one that should have been made into a song. Or at least not this song. [Laura M. Browning]


M: “Mean Mr. Mustard” (1969)

The Beatles often excelled at literary biographies of certain characters in a single song, like “Eleanor Rigby” and “Nowhere Man” on our previous list. Juxtaposed against compositions like those, “Mean Mr. Mustard” falls far short, a brief depiction of a stingy man who keeps a pound note up his nose so that people can’t force him to spend money. Although the lively background music sounds like it came from a carnival, even with tuba-sounding bass distortion, there’s no reason to care much about the “dirty old man” of the title. Even its author dismissed it; Lennon called the song “a bit of crap I wrote in India.” [Gwen Ihnat]


N: “No Reply” (1964)

The Beatles nearly gave “No Reply” a pass of their own: Lennon originally wrote the the tune for fellow Liverpool rocker Tommy Quickly, who’d failed to make a hit out of a previous Lennon-McCartney composition, “Tip Of My Tongue.” Quickly didn’t want it, and the bossa-nova story song wound up on Beatles For Sale and its Stateside equivalent, Beatles ’65. There’s some neat stuff going on within the track—the guitars that ring out when the refrain crashes into the chorus, for instance—but the bulk of the song is too cloying by half. Perhaps Quickly wasn’t unwise to turn it down. [Erik Adams]


O: “Old Brown Shoe” (1969)

A George Harrison song so underwhelming it didn’t even make an official Beatles LP, “Old Brown Shoe” was recorded as a bit of a throw-off during the group’s Let It Be sessions. While the track has a bit of a pleasant bounce to it, it’s a bit off-kilter, perhaps in part due to bass novice Harrison’s wild attempt at playing the instrument. Plus, it’s about an old brown shoe, so let’s not give it too much credit. [Marah Eakin]


P: “Piggies” (1968)

George Harrison attempted some societal commentary on The Beatles’ worst track. Although the harpsichord-led ditty offers a refreshing twist on chamber music (Allmusic classifies it as “baroque pop”), the satiric lyrics don’t quite work. Some piggies are penned in, some are in starched white shirts, and then they all eat bacon, so they’re feasting on lesser members of their own society? George Orwell’s seminal Animal Farm kicked off using our porcine friends to reflect social structure (see also: Pink Floyd’s “Animals”), but “Piggies” sounds more Monty Python than Orwell. And the pig snorts in the background aren’t helping matters. [Gwen Ihnat]


R: “Revolution 9” (1968)

More of a conceptual art project than an actual song, “Revolution 9” is the definition of double album filler material. Created by Lennon with a little help from Harrison and Yoko Ono, the track is an attempt to blend musique concrète sensibilities with the idea of creating a revolution through sound. To his credit, Lennon later said the track was a bit of a joke, but that doesn’t stop us—or every Beatles listener ever—from skipping the track every single time. [Marah Eakin]


Runner up: “Run For Your Life” (1965)

The otherwise-sublime Rubber Soul ends on a sour note with this menacing threat from our former dreamboats. The jaunty melody’s absolutely fine, and brings to mind the irrepressible Beatles knockoff “Last Train To Clarksville” that followed it (even with similar “no no no”s by The Monkees). But the horrible message—“I’d rather see you dead little girl, than to see you with another man,” throwing Lennon in the role of crazed stalker (“You won’t know where I am”)—has no place in the peace and love of the Beatles canon. [Gwen Ihnat]


S: “Savoy Truffle” (1968)

Another Harrison throwaway, “Savoy Truffle” was supposedly written as a tribute to Eric Clapton’s chocolate addiction. With lyrics extolling the virtues of “a ginger sling with a pineapple heart” and “crème tangerine and montelimat,” whatever that is, the song’s a bit of a sickeningly sweet confection itself, more of a slick ’70s radio rock track than anything you’d really want to hear from The Beatles. [Marah Eakin]


T: “This Boy” (1963)

Originally released as the B-side to “I Want To Hold Your Hand,” “This Boy” stands as a Beatles’ dive into doo-wop territory, a bit of a slow departure from the band’s early energy. Lennon was aiming for a Motown feel with “This Boy,” and his three-part harmonies with McCartney and Harrison smoothly send up the song, although his earnest vocal solo brings it back into Beatles territory. “This Boy” got a special nod in A Hard Day’s Night, as the soundtrack song played as Ringo wanders off to explore by himself. This wordless version improves the song (which gets a little lost in the lyrics between “this boy” and “that boy”), but Ringo only got this special cinematic treatment because the rest of his bandmates were too hungover to film that day. [Gwen Ihnat]


W: “Wild Honey Pie” (1968)

A 52-second song written and performed solely by McCartney, “Wild Honey Pie” wouldn’t have made The Beatles if Harrison’s then-wife, Pattie Boyd, hadn’t spoken up for it. Dopey and indulgent, “Wild Honey Pie” is just plain annoying. [Marah Eakin]


Y: “Yellow Submarine” (1966)

Perhaps there’s no sport in picking on a Ringo-sung novelty track, but the grating “Yellow Submarine” is basically a children’s song dumped into the middle of Revolver. There’s nothing wrong with kids’ music, but no adult listens to it willingly. “Yellow Submarine” could possibly skate by as a pared-down trifle, but the band loaded it up with goofy sound effects to make it extra obnoxious—then released it as a single with the classic “Eleanor Rigby.” [Kyle Ryan]


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