The Beatles: 10 farewell songs from the fab four
We are grateful to Australian musical journalist Alan Howe who wrote a piece on the Beatles for The Melbourne Herald Sun in which he listed his ten favourite (and least favourite) Beatles songs.
These are the ten, and there are many to choose from to put on your list of farewell song. They demonstrate just what a brilliant and unique group The Beatles were, and why they will always be remembered.
And Your Bird Can Sing
Great song from Revolver featuring John Lennon. It is saying that you can boast of having lots of prized possessions, but he is constant. When the bird can’t sing, she can hear him.
A beautiful number written by George Harrison. Perfect mix of melody and lyrics. Quite exquisite expression of the intangible qualities that make a person love another person. From Abbey Road.
I’m Only Sleeping
‘Don’t wake me, don’t shake me…I’m only sleeping.’ A childlike plea, from the Revolver album, to be left to enjoy the pleasures of sleep. Again the wonderful linking of melody to lyric…this lilting tune has a sleeplike quality.
Got To Get You In To My Life
Upbeat and rather funky with great brass arrangement which could have come out of the US soul studios at the time. Again from Revolver.
In My Life
This is a haunting, poignant song from the excellent Rubber Soul set. Wonderful poetry. One of the best farewell songs it is possible to choose as Lennon, who wrote the lyric, looks back nostalgically on what has changed in his life, and what certain things, and people, mean to him.
A Hard Day’s Night
One of the highlights from their early days, from the eponymously entitled album The Beatles. Only a farewell song in the sense that it expresses a love that transcends fatigue, and in that sense might transcend death.
Paul McCartney’s tour de force from the Abbey Road album. An unforgettable tune, fantastic arrangement, and a brilliant introduction to Carry That Weight. This was the apogee of the fab four…lovely tune given an anthemic, complex arrangement and a poetic lyric. Then becomes a rock jam.
A Day In The Life
From Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. Strange, eerie tune, lyric is about death and arrangement to match an equally disturbing lyric. It’s haunting in an almost literal sense of the word. To this listener a piece of genius from all concerned.
The simple lyric by John Lennon is a great vehicle for John, Paul and George singing in overdubbed harmony, and unrivalled in pop music. The melody has a classical beauty. From Abbey Road.
Across The Universe
Lennon at his most lyrical, mystical and impressive. This is one of most likeable songs from the whole Beatles collection. John is telling us to be happy, no matter what happens. And for this profound message in times of utter sadness, it is a farewell song that will be chosen by many whose thoughts are for their grieving loved ones.
- Anne Murray: Snowbird
- The Kinks: Days
- Frank Sinatra: Softly As I Leave You
- The Beatles: She's Leaving Home
- The Beatles: In My Life
- Jimi Hendrix: All Along The Watchtower
- Etta James: At Last
- The Walker Brothers: There Goes My Baby
- Chris Farlowe: Handbags And Gladrags
- Marvin Gaye: Mercy Mercy Me
- Bob Marley: Natural Mystic