Sunday, 3 January 2016

The least popular Beatles tracks

The Beatles' "Long Tall Sally" EP, featuring a photo of The Beatles in Sweden.
Ok, so we brougth you a survey of the most popular Beatles tracks streamed by the leading streaming service Spotify, and here are the least popular ones from the same provider:

10. Honey Don't
Ringo's one song from the 1964 "Beatles For Sale" album, aimed at the Christmas market. Originally sung by John Lennon when the Beatles played it live, it was given to Ringo as his token song on The Beatles' fourth album. A version of the song with Lennon handling the lead vocals can be found on the "Beatles Live at the BBC" compilation from 1994. Ringo has performed the song live on several occasions, and even a John Lennon solo version exists, taped at the sessions for "Plastic Ono Band" (1970) and eventually released as part of the John Lennon Signature Box in 2010.

9. Thank You Girl
B-side to the single A side "From Me To You" from 1963, The Beatles' third single. At one point the song was going to be the A side, until they came up with "From Me To You".

8. I'll Get You
The B-side to the considerably more popular fourth single A-side, "She Loves You". Only briefly revisited by Paul McCartney on his 2005 US tour, the song opens with the word "Imagine". A live recording of the song, taken from their performance at the London Palladium in 1963 is available on "Anthology 1".

7. Long Tall Sally
The main track of The Beatles' stand alone four track EP of the same name, the Little Richard song was a mainstay in the Beatles' live repertoire, and often used as the final song during their concerts, including their final one, at Candlestick Park in San Francisco in 1966. Lead vocalist Paul McCartney took the song with him to use as final concert song for Wings' 1972 tour, and also performed it during his appearance at the Prince's Trust concert in 1986.


6. I Call Your Name
Another track from the same EP, the only one composed by members of the Beatles, John Lennon and Paul McCartney. Originally "given away" to Billy J. Kramer, it is believed that Lennon was unhappy with Kramer's version and wanted to show it's full potential by recording it with The Beatles. Ringo revived the track as a video performance to be shown at a 1990 three hour "John Lennon Scholarship concert".

5. The Inner Light
Yet another B-side, this one was found on the back of the "Lady Madonna" single in 1968 and became the final George Harrison track for the Beatles to dabble in Indian instrumentation. It was also the first time a Harrison composition was chosen for a UK single release, and the only Beatles track recorded outside Europe, in India. Famously, the only line featuring backing vocals from Lennon & McCartney during the song was "do all without doing".

4. Slow Down
Another return to the four track EP "Long Tall Sally", this was one of the three Larry Williams songs recorded by The Beatles.

3. Bad Boy
Another Larry Williams track follows the fate of the previous one. This was originally released on an American album only, "Beatles VI" back in 1965 and didn't appear on a UK release until it was included on the 1966 compilation "A Collection of Beatles Oldies" - the only Beatles UK album from the sixties that has been discontinued since the seventies.

2. Matchbox
A Carl Perkins track sung by Ringo, which appeared on The Beatles "Long Tall Sally" EP, thus making all four tracks from this EP appear on this list. Even though the EP may show poor streaming popularity, when it was rereleased on vinyl for "Black Friday" in 2014, it made it to no. 1 on the UK vinyl charts and even appeared in Billboard's Top 200 albums charts! Still popular among vinyl aficionados, then.

1. Her Majesty
That final burst of creativity on the "Abbey Road" album, a Paul McCartney track that was tacked onto the album as an afterthought, it comes crashing in just after you thought the album had ended with the majestic "The End". McCartney took the opportunity to revive the light hearted ditty at Queen Elizabeth's Gold Jubilee concert, "Party at the Palace" in 2002.

The list was compiled by vulture.com. In our countdown, each track has been linked to the song's Wikipedia entry for your convenience.

One interesting anecdote about the song "Long Tall Sally": When The Beatles played two concerts (with Jimmie Nicol as their temporary drummer) at KB Hallen venue in Denmark on Thursday, June 4, 1964, they were going to feature the song last in their concert, announcing it's availability as a single the next day. However, they were upstaged when Danish support act The Hitmakers performed the song as part of their own set. The Beatles elected to substitute the song for "Twist and Shout" in their set list, and between the two concerts they had a word with The Hitmakers to make them drop the song from their second performance.
After having arrived at an agreement, the Beatles were able to finish with "Long Tall Sally" at the last show and go through with their PR announcement. The next day, "Long Tall Sally", coupled with "I Call Your Name" was indeed available in record stores in Denmark. Another fortnight would go by until the songs were made available in the UK on the "Long Tall Sally" EP. Of course, both songs were already out in USA in April, as part of "The Beatles' Second Album".

The Danish "Long Tall Sally" single.

23 comments:

BWSmythe said...

They're trying to flog Her Majesty individually? Little wonder then... However, The Inner Light is the only classic there that people are missing out on, in my humble opinion.

Normand Bissonnette said...

I agree that The Inner Light should absolutely not be on this list.

Charlie Ricci said...

I'm not only surprised about "the Inner Light" I'm surprised about "Long Tall Sally" & "I Call Your Name." How Come "Long, Long,Long" didn't make the list. Do people actually like that song? Doesn't "Revolution 9 "count as a song?

Bern Litzner said...

@charlie....

Actually Long, Long, Long is one of my favorites off the White Album.

Bern

Martin said...

"Long, Long,Long" is great. I think it's perfect, the way it follows the mayhem of "Helter Skelter" at the end of Side 3...

I agree with Jarvis Cocker's view that an album should be listened to as piece of work, without using a skip button or picking bits out of it on download sites...

wardo said...

Of course, most, but not all, of the songs on the bottom are on the Past Masters set, which most Spotify newbies (as opposed to us veterans) would likely not hit up first, until they realized they couldn't hear "Day Tripper" or "Rain" anywhere else.

Mr.Brown said...

Dead wrong on numbers 6, 8 and 9, those are faves!

Jimmy King said...

Who cares what people who stream music think about Beatles tracks?

James Peet said...

IMHO I believe this list shows that the streaming public are missing out on some great, obscure Beatlemusic. I love all of the songs. Having listened to the group since 1982 I've grown to appreciate the songs. Funnily enough, Come Together was one of the last ones that I struggled with, yet now I obviously realise it's a killer track and a great introduction to Abbey Road.

It's just a bit of fluff all this streaming lark. I prefer something physical.

HNY Everydobby!!

Mikko Suhonen said...

It seems to me that the songs in the list are mostly those not included in the official albums and compilations. Obscure songs like Revolution no 9 get listened while people listen the entire albums. That makes me wonder are people listening to Beatles for sale skipping Honey don't as a rule?

James Percival said...

As a bit of a laugh a friend and I used to compile our top 10 least favourite Beatles songs. I seem to recall mine were:

Boys, Mr Moonlight, Everyone's Trying to be my Baby (too much reverb), Matchbox, Chains, Don't Pass Me By, Chains, Hold Me Tight, Tell Me Why and Thank You Girl.

The only one I would perhaps revise is Chains; in 2009 I was listening to a Radio interview with Carole King while driving and they played her version followed by the Beatles, and it sounded really good in comparison. The only one of the above I tend to skip when playing an album is Hold Me Tight, but initially I really quite liked it. As others have said, this is an issue of non-album tracks and we shouldn't really read too much into it.

As for this list: Long Tall Sally is one of their GREATEST early R&R performances, the same for Bad Boy too; Slow Down I like apart from George's worst on record guitar solo; and the Inner Light is great. I also really rate Long, Long, Long, but I can see it would not be to everyone's taste.

James Percival said...

I really rate I'll Get You too and I seem to recall reading that it was slated as their next single until She Loves You appeared. No doubt Lewishon will put us right on the facts in due course.

Terence Daniel Collier said...

it stands to reason that there has to be 10 'least listened to songs' on the list. Unless every single Beatles song was listened to an equal amount of times of course? so this just happens to be those 10 songs. I would be interested to see the revised list in a couple of months. But these are hardly stonewall classics. For my part i can't bear Maxwell's Silver Hammer or Obla-de-obla-da.

Unknown said...

The idea that "Long Tall Sally", one of the Beatles' most ferocious, rocking covers....not to mention being one of the top three Ringo drum performances on ANY record.....is not held in greater esteem is a crime! That means people are listening to "Rock And Roll Music", "Chains" and "Act Naturally" more than they are listening to "Long Tall Sally"!!! What the.....?!!!!!

Unknown said...

PS: Regarding Charles Ricci's comment about "Long Long Long"? Um, yeah, people actually do like that song.....LOVE it actually. What's wrong with your ears? And regarding BWSmythe's comment: they are ALL classics. And with all due respect to the beautiful "Inner Light".... "Long Tall Sally", "I Call Your Name" and yes, "Her Majesty" are all "classics".

Anyways, this isn't a list of "worst" Beatle songs....this is what songs people are streaming.....and, of course, most of them are B-sides that weren't on any albums, or cover versions. (and tracks from the "Long Tall Sally" ep.....basically all stuff that was on "Past Masters".)

fairfaxhs said...

"Long and Winding Road" is the Jar Jar Binks of the Beatles discography.

Debjorgo said...

I think that you have to listen to the whole song before it registers as a listen. That would explain Long Long Long getting a low rating. Streamers are listening to a couple of seconds of a songs and if it don't get their interest, they click to the next track. Long Long Long starts out so quiet. With that said, it seems Her Majesty would had been over before it was skipped.

I never did like Long Tall Sally. All the others are classic Beatle tracks. Honey Don't and Matchbox are just about the same song but I like Matchbox better.

I never really liked I Call Your Name until I heard Ringo's version. And the Black Angels sample it in the first seconds of their song Telephone.

Gabor Peterdi said...

Long Tall Sally, Slow Down, I Call Your Name, Bad Boy are just raving mad rockers. People should play them VERY LOUD to get the energy. Some of my fav tracks from the guys! The Inner Light one of the nicest track in the Beatles canon.

...and where is Revolution 9, Flying, Wild Honey Pie?

Michael Cas said...

The inner light maybe the most under appreciated beatles song. Most of their songs i dont like are covers like hey mr postman, Money, Roll over Beethoven.The major original i cant listen to is TheBenefit of Mr Kite escpecially after Across the Universe movie

Michael Cas said...

I completely forgot about that monestrocity. Can't believe it was the beatles last #1 hit

LanceHall said...

"I'll Get You" is quite sly with it's slightly stalker-ish lyric.

The songs from the "Long Tall Sally" EP are some of the worst sounding stereo mixes (and mastering) and that maybe a factor. Kids are really turned off by the "old" sound and the EP tracks are really thin and mid-rangy sounding. "I Call Your Name" is one of their best 1964 tracks. The mono mix of this EP is fantastic though. I remember getting the mono CD EP (from the box set) in the early 1990s and being floored by the sound.

"Bad Boy" is a kick-ass track ruined by bad stereo mixing and unsympathetic mastering.

James Percival said...

As Terence reminded us, something has to be the least popular. It reminds me of politicians who complain about some children being below average! Yes, that's what happens with averages or tables. And I think we are all in agreement that least popular is not a synonym for worst. But the data does tell us something, if only that non-album tracks and more obscure B sides are likely to be overlooked by casual fans.
It also made me think about two further things: in the old days of vinyl, when an album was literally three weeks wages from my paper rounds, it took determined effort to track down the more obscure songs. I can recall seeking out certain singles, such as Lady Madonna, for the B side. I also bought one album, Rock N Roll just to get a copy of Bad Boy; and before that I hunted down the Long Tall Sally EP just to collect those 4 tracks. This was before 'Rarities' was released BTW. And this issue was exactly why the Past Masters CDs were produced.
The other thing that struck me was the influence of rock criticism. The first Beatles critique I bought was the very good, if over-opinionated, Carr and Tyler 'Illustrated Record' from 1978. They really praised the Long Tall Sally EP and this certainly influenced my decision to buy it quite early on in my collection. I also remember that Beatles in their own words book contained Macca's comments on The Inner Light which really praised the beauty of the melody so I approached this song with curiosity.
Finally, choices change: when I first heard This Boy I really didn't like it, and yet now it would easily feature in my top 20 Beatles songs including other B sides like Don't let me down, Rain and I am the Walrus (do we think of this as a B side?). I also really rate Ask Me Why, You Can't Do That and Old Brown Shoe, but in truth the Beatles didn't really have B sides did they?

Paul D said...

I think Slow Down and Bad Boy are great tracks and John's scintillating vocal on Bad Boy is particularly great.