A complete playlist of every song John Lennon wrote for The Beatles
John Lennon was a pop genius. It’s hard to ignore that fact. Whatever your feelings towards the artist as a person is by the by, for when you gave John Lennon the chance to write a song he rarely disappointed. At the start of his career with The Beatles, he was the principal songwriter of the group, slowly incorporating the work of Paul McCartney and later still George Harrison as he began to let go of the reins of control and welcome the new sounds. He and McCartney would initially share an incredibly fruitful working relationship before they would begin to split.
The songwriting partnership so resolutely heralded as pop’s finest was the main propellant behind The Beatles colossal success. But as the duo’s routine for songwriting, usually comprising of being holed up in a hotel or touring van, deteriorated, they wrote more routinely on their own, still sharing the credit. Truth is, there was always a ‘main composer’ for each of the songs credited to Lennon-McCartney. Below, we’re paying tribute to John Lennon’s contribution to the Fab Four’s back catalogue and revisiting every song he wrote for The Beatles.
There’s a lot of them — 73 to be exact — with each one telling a story about Lennon at that time. While we won’t paw through all of those songs some of them Lennon hasn’t been shy about sharing his feelings on. While there were plenty that he hated or labelled “garbage” or “meaningless” there were also songs that stayed with him as his best right up until his sad death. Though Lennon gets a lot of grief for being an acidic interviewee, he also championed his band wherever he could.
One such spot where Lennon offered a candid view of his songs was meeting Rolling Stone. While many interviewers attempted to prise personal opinion out of John Lennon, Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr and George Harrison, very rarely did they play ball. However, as part of Lennon’s now-iconic conversation with Rolling Stone founder Jann Wenner, the founding member is talking about just that, a time when he openly shared some of his favourite songs from The Beatles extensive back catalogue amidst a hefty interview.
With it, he offers the one fundamental theme throughout all of the Fab Four’s work; authenticity. After avoiding a simple question from Wenner on Lennon’s favourite song he ever wrote for The Beatles, he delivers a typically flagrant response. Lennon says.”I always liked ‘[I Am The] Walrus’, ‘Strawberry Fields’, ‘Help’, ‘In My Life’,” Wenner soon interjects, “Why ‘Help!’?” Lennon delivers a typically coloured response.
The singer and guitarist replied: “Because I meant it, it’s real. The lyric is as good now as it was then, it’s no different, you know. It makes me feel secure to know that I was that sensible or whatever—well, not sensible, but aware of myself. That’s with no acid, no nothing… well pot or whatever.” Lennon clarifies his point, “It was just me singing ‘help’ and I meant it, you know. I don’t like the recording that much, the song I like. We did it too fast to try and be commercial.”
When asked why he liked the 1967 anthem ‘Strawberry Fileds Forever’, Lennon replied, “Because it’s real, yeah. It’s like talking you know, ‘I sometimes think no but then again I mean‘ you know, like that. It’s like that Elton John one where he’s talking to himself sort of singing which I thought was nice.”
This authenticity can be heard throughout the below playlist. As Lennon grows out of his pop group phase, motors through his Bob Dylan appreciation phase and the begins enacting his own singular vision, we gain a real sense of the man behind the tunes. If you ever wanted some real insight into who John Lennon really was, then you need only listen to the music.
Every song John Lennon wrote for The Beatles:
Please Please Me
Ask Me Why
There´s a Place
Do You Want to Know a Secret
It Won´t Be Long
All I´ve Got to Do
Not a Second Time
I Call Your Name
You Can´t Do That
I Should Have Known Better
Tell Me Why
If I fell
I’m Happy Just to Dance With You
A Hard Day’s Night
I’ll Cry Instead
I’ll Be Back
Any Time at All
When I Get Home
I’m a Loser
I Don´t Want to Spoil the Party
Ticket to Ride
You´ve Got to Hide Your Love Away
You´re Going to Lose That Girl
It’s Only Love
Run for Your Life
Norwegian Wood (This Bird Has Flown)
Tomorrow Never Knows
And Your Bird Can Sing
I’m Only Sleeping
She Said She Said
Good Morning Good Morning
Being For the Benefit of Mr. Kite
Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds
I Am the Walrus
Everybody´s Got Something to Hide Except Me and My Monkey