This final week, is all about the music. His music. You won't see "Yesterday" or "Hey, Jude" here because, even though they are undoubtedly his ultimate fan favorites, for me they have been so overplayed.
I'm no music expert, just a fan who's heard his voice almost about every day of my life since February 1964, and here are my favorites, the ones that are the most relevant to my own life. (It must be wonderful to be him -- knowing your work has brought so much joy to so many.)
13) MAYBE I'M AMAZED. This one is slipping into that overdone category, but I still love it for the its diffidence. Falling in love is scary. "Maybe I'm amazed at the way I really need you." (McCartney)
12) FINE LINE. My favorite of his more recent work. "There's a fine line between recklessness and courage ... There's a long way between chaos and creation ... " He's both facing forward and looking back, sharing what he's learned about life and your life's work. (Chaos and Creation in the Backyard)
11) LADY MADONNA. Love the sax solo. Love the honky-tonk piano. Love the message about how hard it can be to be a woman. (Very progressive for 1968!) Most of all, it was thrilling because Paul actually sings the word, "breast." Give me a break. I was just 10. (Hey, Jude)
10) NO MORE LONELY NIGHTS. From the soundtrack of a truly execrable movie. (Sorry, my liege. I love you and all, but I want those 90 minutes of my life back.) Still, taken on its own, it's both majestic and dear, capturing how I feel when I'm in love. "I can't wait another day until I call you ..." (Give My Regards to Broad Street)
9) GOOD DAY, SUNSHINE. It makes me happy. It also makes me want to make out with a cute guy on a picnic blanket. Oh, I'm sorry, was that TMI? (Revolver)
8) SILLY LOVE SONGS. "Here I go a-gain!" The most melodic "fuck you" to critics ever. Really, listen to the lyrics and you'll hear they're more than a little defensive about how lightweight his solo career was in comparison to John's more socially relevant work. But he got the last laugh because it sold like a gazillion copies. The middle riff with the Tower of Power horn section always makes me happy. (At the Speed of Sound)
7) BACK IN THE USSR. I love the sound of it, from the jet landing to the final fade. "The Ukraine girls really knock me out ... Moscow girls make me scream and shout ... Let me hear your balalaikas ringing out, come and keep your comrade warm." Those lyrics are surprisingly witty when you compare them to the Beach Boys' "California Girls." (The White Album)
6) FOR NO ONE. "The day breaks, your mind aches ..." Break ups suck. This song has a weary tone, capturing how the hurt beats on your heart with the relentlessness of a metronome. (Revolver)
5) PENNY LANE. A perfect slice of life lived under "blue suburban skies." I got such a kick out of Michael Buble's homage to the horn solo in his "Haven't Met You Yet." (Magical Mystery Tour)
4) MY BRAVE FACE. I love the juxtaposition of the joyous melody with the sad lyrics about how much courage it takes to just get on with it when your heart is broken. "Simplest things set me off again and take me to that place where I can't find my brave face ..." (Flowers in the Dirt)
3) TWO OF US. "You and I have memories longer than the road that stretches on ahead." Immortalized as one of the last times he performed live with John, it's hard not to think how true lyrics are about his boyhood friend and songwriting partner, who'd be murdered little more than ten years later. Later they packed an emotional punch as The Lovely Linda battled cancer. Today, I think of it in regards to me and my mom, or me and my own friend John, both of whom have had health problems. It reminds me to appreciate time as time runs short. (Let It Be)
2) I WILL. "Who knows how long I've loved you? I know I love you still. Shall I wait a lonely lifetime? If you want me to, I will." The perfect love song to the lover you haven't met yet. (The White Album)
1) ALL MY LOVING. For me, this is the one that started it all. While this clip isn't from the Lads' 1964 debut appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show, it's that vintage. When I first saw his face as he sang, "Close your eyes and I'll kiss you/tomorrow I'll miss you/remember I'll always be true ..." I said to my mom, "He's so pretty it hurts." It was romance as even a little girl could envision it. My idea of Prince Charming come to life. Yes, it's corny. But it's tattooed on my soul. (Meet the Beatles)
Damn! It was hard to limit myself to just thirteen!
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