A week and a half ago, I published a blog post titled "5 Underrated Beatles Songs That You Should Get to Know". Originally, it was going to contain 10 songs in total, but it got too wordy towards the end. Therefore, in this second part, I would like to share five other songs that the casual fan may not know or remember, from the Beatles' vast and popular catalogue.
Out of all the songs on this list, this is quite likely the one most likely to be recognized, as Paul McCartney, its main songwriter, has taken to performing it live throughout his career, bringing more recognition to the tune. It was also mentioned in the 2012 film Stuck in Love, starring Jennifer Connelly and Greg Kinnear.
Recorded in June 1965 as part of the Help! album sessions, the track is one of a few songs by the Beatles that does not have a bass line. The song's instrumental part is quite catchy, but its true treasure is in the lyrics.
Most love songs one will hear are related to the loss of love or an unrequited one. With "I've Just Seen a Face", McCartney's famous optimism comes to light. If there has ever been a song that captures the feeling a man or woman feels the first time they gaze upon the person he or she is bound to fall in love with, it is this one.
It is a song about the elation of that first moment of attraction and anyone who has ever had feelings for someone will be able to relate to it. "I've Just Seen a Face" is a true, yet underrated Beatles masterpiece.
The only George Harrison song on this list, this tune appeared in Rubber Soul, one of the albums belonging to what I call the Holy Trinity of the Beatles discography. The most curious fact about this track is that it was one of only two Rubber Soul numbers performed live, and the first song penned by Harrison to be performed live and the only one in the Beatles era.
The tune follows Rubber Soul's theme of folk rock. Harrison was also heavily inspired by The Byrds' work at that point in time. The track is a great example of Harrison's ability to draw inspiration from other sources and come out with something unique by adding his own twist to it.
The lyrics are faithful to Harrison's reputation as "the quiet beatle". While both McCartney and John Lennon tended to be direct in their songs, Harrison does the complete opposite in "If I Needed Someone". Instead of stating that he needs someone, which is the way Lennon and McCartney would have most likely approached the song, he raises a simple possibility.
"If I Needed Someone", however, could also be considered a sister song to his earlier composition title "I Need You", which features in the Help! album. In that one, he is more direct about his emotions. Harrison brilliantly uses the lyrics of this track to describe how some people tend to treat love like a game.
It should come as no surprise that a song from one of the Beatles' first albums, as well as the B-side to their popular cover of "Twist & Shout" would appear on this list. The tune is a complete collaboration between Lennon and McCartney, and one of the few titles in their catalogue to be credited with the seldom-used McCartney-Lennon moniker.
The song was recorded in February 1963 and first appeared in the Please Please Me album. The track, overshadowed by popular album songs like "I Saw Her Standing There" and the title tune, as well as by its A-side in the single, is only well known to the most detailed Beatles fan.
It did, however, mark a drastic change in both Lennon and McCartney's songwriting style. In "There's a Place" one can see the perfect contrast between an upbeat, joyful and enthusiastic instrumental piece, with lyrics that do not share such feelings. While the lyrics speak of loneliness, sadness, and retrieving to one's own mind when one is feeling that way, the instruments on the other hand paint a completely different picture. It evokes images of peace, joy, and hope. The contrast between lyrics and music makes for a beautiful, innovative, and underrated track.
"Doctor Robert" is Lennon being Lennon, as simple as that. Beatle fans throughout the years have said much about the origin of the song and the meaning behind its somewhat controversial lyrics. The most popular theory tells a story of Lennon, Harrison and their wives attending a dinner party at a dentist's house, who then slipped LSD into their coffee, and thus the track is thought to be about that experience.
Despite appearing in Revolver, the second member of the Holy Trinity of the Beatles' discography, it is not surprising that this song often slips through the cracks of the mainstream. "Doctor Robert", however, is a true gem.
The synchronization between the lyrics and music is as flawless and near perfect as that of the rest of the album. The melody is that of the type of rocker the group was producing in that period. The climax of the song comes right before and at the moment in which Lennon hits the chorus for the first time, as the vocals take an (in my opinion) otherworldly quality and the instruments pick up speed, up until the tune reaches the chorus once again.
One of the better known albums of the Beatles' discography is the soundtrack for their second feature film, Help!. The album features a variety of songs, from popular No. 1 hits like the title song or "Yesterday", to little-known tunes, such as this one. The fact that "It's Only Love" is not as known as some of the other songs in the album, takes nothing away from it.
This song features John Lennon, the philosopher. In it, Lennon expresses surprise at the emotions he is feeling towards an anonymous woman. In the first verse, he declares what he feels when he sees her and questions his bashfulness around her. In the second verse, he both questions the need to fight, and shows his desire to fix things, while at the same time once again expressing the sensations he feels around her.
The critical part to the lyrics, however, comes in the chorus. In it, Lennon tries to put a cold front and underestimates the power of love, but then breaks and reveals that he is just having a hard time controlling his feelings for said woman. In terms of the combination of the lyrics with the melody, one could create the metaphor of the melody as the open sea, while the lyrics act as waves that go and flow back and forth.
In one of his final interviews before he passed away on December 8, 1980, Lennon declared the song as "lousy", the lyrics as "abysmal", and expressed his hate for the song. Given his catalogue and the quality of most of the songs he wrote before and after, he is entitled to such declarations, yet I bet most people around would love to have written a song like this one.