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The Beatles and their Favorite Songs

Updated on May 4, 2016

The Beatles one of the greatest bands in the world. Who influenced them to begin their journey into music and what were some of their favorite songs by other performers and the songs they recorded themselves?

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Let us start with John Lennon. John was into music at an early age. The performer who really got to him and inspired him was Elvis Presley. John was about fifteen years old and after that he thought that is a good way to make a living. John’s other influences, according to the book The Beatle’s Anthology” were Carl Perkins, Little Richard, Buddy Holly, Jerry Lee Lewis, and Hank Williams and Lonnie Donegan.

Some of John’s favorite songs by other artists are:

“Long Tall Sally” by Little Richard. John said that, his friend brought back a 78 of Little Richard’s that had the songs “Long Tall Sally” and “Slippin and Slidin on the other side. “It blew our heads-we never heard anybody sing like that in our lives, and all those saxes playing like crazy.”

John Lennon was a big Bob Dylan fan and his favorite song by him was “Positively 4th Street”.

Other favorite songs by other artists were:

“Rescue Me “by Fontella Bass

“Some Other Guy” by The Big Three

“The Track of my Tears” by Smokey Robinson

“My Girl” by Otis Redding

Be-Bop-a-Lula by Gene Vincent

“Short Fat Fannie” by Larry Williams

“Hey Baby” by Bruce Chanel

Any Beatles fan will want to know what was John Lennon’s favorite songs in his own band and they were:

“I am The Walrus”

“In My Life”

“Across the Universe”

“Help”

“I Want To Hold Your Hand”

“Girl”

"Strawberry Fields Forever"

Other favorite Beatle songs were:

“Hey Jude”

“A Day in the Life”

“Fixing a Hole”

Looking at the list you can see how John formed his style of music by those early pioneers of rock and roll and put his own special twist to his songs. It is because of Elvis Presley and his influence that the world got to know and love John Lennon and The Beatles.

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The next Beatle member we will take a look at is Paul McCartney. Paul’s love of music started with his father. His Dad played the trumpet in a jazz band in his youth. He played a piano at the house. Paul said there was always a piano at the house. Paul has fond memories of his dad playing “Lullaby of the Leaves”.

When Paul was a teenager the group that first influenced him was Bill Haley and the Comets with their song “Rock Around the Clock”.

Elvis Presley also inspired Paul and he said, in the book The Beatles Anthology, that “There have been times when I’ve been feeling down, and then I heard a particular song and it has lifted me.” “Don’t Be Cruel” was one song that could take his blues away.

The first record that Paul ever bought was Gene Vincent’s “Be Bop A Lula”.

Paul stated that when he and John were trying to be like people John was more Buddy Holly and he was more Little Richard or Elvis.

Paul loved the song “God Only Knows” by the Beach Boys he felt it was the greatest song ever written.

Paul’s favorite Beatle songs are:

“Blackbird”

“Hey Jude”

“Here There and Everywhere”

“Yesterday”

Paul McCartney has stated that after the Beatles the song he has liked that he has done is:

“Maybe I’m Amazed” and “Here Today” which was a tribute to John Lennon

Paul got his love of music from his dad and that influenced his songs like
“When I’m Sixty-Four” and “Like Dreamers Do”. His influences of Elvis and Little Richard helped to form him as the future torch carrier for rock and roll with so many artists that were inspired by him, and other artists who have recorded his songs. He has been a great talent for so many decades.

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George Harrison is the next Beatle to take the stage. He like, John and Paul, loved music from an early age. He said that he could never understand people who said only one type of music influenced them. He thought that music all types whether you like the songs or not were an influence. George’s brother had a portable record played and though it could hold up to ten records his brother only had 3. One was Glenn Miller and he listened to that.

George’s father brought home a gramophone when he was a seaman, and he brought back records from America. His father had records by Jimmie Rogers. Later George started to listen to Slim Whitman and Big Bill Broonzy.

George’s dad played guitar in his younger days and he had a friend from his Merchant Navy days named Len Houghton and he would teach George guitar chords one night a week for 2 or 3 hours at a time.

The songs that got him involved with rock and roll were:

“I’m in Love Again” Fats Domino

“Whispering Bells” by the Del Vikings

“Heartbreak Hotel” by Elvis Presley

“What’d I Say” by Ray Charles

“Blue Suede Shoes” by Carl Perkins

“Roll Over Beethoven” by Chuck Berry

Later George would say some of his favorite songs by artist’s years later were:

“Badge” by Cream

“Back on the Chain Gang” by the Pretenders

“Brothers in Arms” Dire Straits

“Cold Day in Hell” Gary Moore

“The Bells of Rhymney” by the Byrds

The Beatles songs that George liked the best were:

“Run for your Life”

“Every Little Thing”

“This Boy”

“I’m Down”

“Octopus Garden”

“She came in through the bathroom Window”

“Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds”

George like John and Paul felt a calling for music from childhood and could never imagine doing anything else but making music and listening to it. Destiny seemed to bring them together and gave the world a band that’s music will live forever.

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Ringo Starr is the last member of the Beatles and his love of music started at a young age too. Ringo was a sickly child in and out of the hospitals. He always had a fascination with drums. In 1954 he was given a choice of instruments to play, and if he couldn’t play the drums he didn’t want to play anything else. He had to stay in the hospital for 10 months so playing drums kept him entertained.

He stated through the years in his childhood his relatives would buy him all kinds of instruments but he only wanted the drums.

According to the book The Beatles Anthology, the first three records that Ringo bought were:

“Love is a many Splendid Thing” by the Four Aces

“Oh Mein Papa” by Eddie Calvert

“Mama” by David Whitfield

Ringo’s first influences were Johnny Ray, Frankie Laine, and Bill Haley.

He liked the songs “Don’t be Cruel” by Elvis Presley, “Good Golly Miss Molly” by Little Richard”

Ringo’s favorite Beatle songs are:

“Lady Madonna” and “Rain”.

Ringo stayed focus and his love for the drums got him into bands the most famous being the Beatles.

It is interesting to see what influences John, Paul, George, and Ringo had, and how it molded them to create some of the world’s greatest songs. Thank you pioneers of rock and roll for inspiring John, Paul, and Ringo. They in turn have inspired us by their wonderful music.

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    • cfjots profile image
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      cfjots 16 months ago from Conway, SC

      In My Life is a smooth song you made a good choice.

    • FlourishAnyway profile image

      FlourishAnyway 16 months ago from USA

      My favorite is In My Life. Although not a Beattles fan myself I dated a guy long ago who couldn't get enough of them and it rubbed off a bit.

    • cfjots profile image
      Author

      cfjots 16 months ago from Conway, SC

      Thank you lions44 for your kind comments. I love Paul's 30 and 40's influences. The songs you mentioned are some of my favorites.

    • lions44 profile image

      CJ Kelly 16 months ago from Auburn, WA

      Great hub. Can't get enough Beatle talk. Important to know their influences as well.

      One influence on Paul that may go unnoticed was British popular music of the 30s and 40s. You mentioned Lullaby of the Leaves among his dad's favorites. I hear it on When I'm 64 and in the arrangement on a lot of his Wings tracks like Uncle Albert/Admiral Halsey.

      Shared on HP and Twitter.