Meet The Classic Beatles

The Classic Beatles Personal Number 1s


Ever wondered which Beatles tracks Ireland’s Fab Four would take to their desert island…?


Well, as they head to The Whale on Friday, July 14th, the lads took time out to let us know.


Duncan Maitland (John)


There’s A Place (Please Please Me)

An amazingly evocative track and – as was their ability at the time – all condensed into 1 minute and 49 seconds. Though it sticks with the short lived harmonica signature of their earliest records, the feelings in this one run deep and far into the future, belying a moody and romantic introspection that would continue to flower and bloom throughout their songwriting career. Also, if you don’t get serious goosebumps when John and Paul sing ‘Don’t you know that it’s so’, you may well be dead.


Strawberry Fields Forever (Single)

For my money, this is the very top of Beatles mountain – actually the top of any mountain. It’s the best record ever made. It catches the band at the exact beginning of their post-touring creativity, with no holds barred and only their well-fed imaginations as the limit. It also might just be the defining statement of psychedelic music, walking a uniquely unsettling line between blissed out wonder and absolute terror.


Getting Better (Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band)

No one can express unbridled optimism in its purest form quite like Paul McCartney, and when he hits that nail on the head, you get a song like this. But this is no puerile ‘Isn’t everything great?’ ramble – it’s the story of someone who is stepping out of a dark past and ‘doing the best that I can..’. As a result, when chorus hits, it’s like a celebration as only McCartney knows how… tempered of course with John’s ‘It can’t get no worse’, as only he knows how.


Scott Maher (Paul)


Good Day Sunshine (Revolver)

I love Paul’s apparent throwaway lyrics that actually paint an incredible landscape and no other lyricist would ever dare throw  them away.. “Burns my feet as they touch the ground” – always so  visual. The piano solo has to put you in a good mood and the  surprising key change at the end sets off across the universe in a  vocal loop similar to Paperback Writer. 

The hypnotic melody we take for granted is a running theme  through most of his work and you could probably hear how he  wrote in batches…This one reminds me of Your Mother Should  Know and It’s Getting Better. I can almost see the girl he’s  swooning over… ‘I’m in love and it’s a sunny day’. Does life get  better than that lyric?!

The Long And Winding Road (Let It Be)
A highly controversial song for Paul as he wrote a letter to Phil Spector relaying how irritated he was at the  production and  arrangements. I learned a real  appreciation for this song when I started to learn it for  the tour. The lyrics again just roll off the tongue until  you actually say them out loud. ‘The Wild and Windy  Night that the rain washed away, has left a pool of tears  crying for the day.’ 

The way it ambles along its own journey and ultimately ‘to your door’. Thank you Paul for writing this.

Rob McKinney (George)


Baby, You’re A Rich Man (Magical Mystery Tour)

I love the melody and sentiment of the lyric. It has a more-than-typical Beatley throwaway feel to it, like they just knocked it out while they were waiting for the kettle to boil. It’s also one of the last true Lennon & McCartney collaborations as the verses are John’s and the chorus is Paul’s. Just a happy positive jaunty little tune!


Think For Yourself (Rubber Soul)

While the fuzz bass is iconic in its own right, it’s the introspection and biting cynicism that draws me in! George pissed off with the government again it seems, but there’s also a plea to be an individual, to stand out from the crowd. It feels to me like he was at the start of his spiritual journey and still a little awkward in his messaging. ‘Although your mind’s opaque, try thinking more if just for your own sake’ is a killer line.  


I Want You (She’s So Heavy) (Abbey Road)

So dark, so co-dependent… John really knew how to convey his emotional state through a song. There’s just so much tension and frustration and pain in it. With only 14 individual words, it’s as simple as a song can be but there’s just such a force behind it. In hindsight, it’s clearly referencing his struggles with heroin at the time, all wrapped up in a love song.


Michael Meakin (Ringo)


Come Together (Abbey Road)

Low-lit and perhaps fathomless. This is a great example of John Lennon’s Instinctive Socialist stance and ability to convey this message through his writing. Come Together is a political calling for the powers that be to pay attention to the changes of the times.


It’s Ringo’s use of the drum kit here though that stands out with his multi-pointed linear approach to the groove. There’s no direct suggestions of time in the traditional sense. Yet with his musical approach Ringo nails down a dark and suggestive frame work which the band ornament beautifully.


Here Comes the Sun (Abbey Road)

It’s in the title!! George Harrison has come to a crossroads and traversed some difficult times. George pens this song as a tonic to these ailments and let’s be honest, heart on sleeve, offers the intimate solace, Here comes the sun!!


The Classic Beatles play The Whale on July 14th – you can join the waiting list here. 


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