With over 200 songs to their name and a vast majority of them being, at the very least, revered in their own time and cherished in the modern era, it’s hard to pick a single favourite song by The Beatles. Trying to slim down the list of fabulous songs usually ends in a collection of anywhere from five to 50. For the band members, John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr, selecting a single song as their favourite was a simply impossible task that they rarely took on.
In fact, in most interviews, the band, perhaps dissuaded by the vulgarity of selecting a piece of their own work they loved, largely avoided such questions until later in their careers. But, if we do a little digging and piece together interviews from across the decades the group spent in the limelight, we can certainly narrow it down to a selection of songs that can well be regarded as the Fab Four’s favourites. As part of our more comprehensive research, we’ve also got a perfect playlist to accompany it.
As a single unit under the moniker of The Beatles, the four individuals operating under the banner may have, at many crucial times, moved as one; at one time, they’d even consider themselves family of sorts, sharing creativity and culture in equal measure. But in truth, their noted individualism would often lead them down different paths. After all, the personalities of the individual Beatles are part of what endeared them to so many hearts across the world during their explosion in the swinging sixties and still some near-six decades later.
Some of the perceptions of the Fab Four as the boyband with a member for everybody’s tastes were down to the marketing of the incredible manager Brian Epstein; it was certainly true that their different styles and talents were an organic evolution of not only the band but the members as people in their own right. It was a happy accident that saw The Beatles excel across four different points. This led to a beautiful tapestry of all four members’ songwriting expertise. Of course, John Lennon and Paul McCartney will always be remembered as the principal songwriters in the band. Still, George Harrison and Ringo Starr’s contribution can not be underestimated, especially Harrison’s later canon of work, as he continued to improve his songwriting.
It’s a moving thread of styles reflected in the songs they note as their favourites. Across their many interviews, the band shared the songs they loved. For Lennon, it was all about the songs being “real,” once saying of ‘Help!’: “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.”
On the other hand, McCartney preferred to keep his selections centred on his own work within the Fab Four. Speaking to Scott Muni, McCartney revealed: “Well, it’s difficult to choose the favourite. It (‘Here, There and Everywhere’) is one of my favourites. You look at your songs and kinda look to see which of the ones you think are maybe the best constructed and stuff,” says McCartney. “I think ‘Yesterday’—if it wasn’t so successful—might be my favourite.
The Quiet Beatle, George Harrison, lived up to his name whenever he was asked to pick his preferred songs, unless, of course, he was on the promotion run, meaning in his choices, we see a fair amount of Abbey Road selections. Harrison is noted as saying ‘Norwegian Wood’ from his favourite album Rubber Soul is one of his favourites, confirming he “felt where it was coming from” and “really enjoyed” the song. For George Harrison, that’s as good as him flying an aeroplane overhead with a banner proclaiming his love.
In a recent interview with Stephen Colbert, Ringo Starr said that he’d call ‘Come Together’ his favourite Beatles song while previously suggested ‘Rain’ was his best moment on the drums. “I feel as though that was someone else playing,” he said. “I was possessed!”
Below, we’ve collected all of the band’s favourite Beatles songs and made a perfect playlist to boot!
John Lennon’s favourite Beatles songs:
- ‘I Am The Walrus’
- ‘Strawberry Fields Forever’
- ‘In My Life’
- ‘I Want To Hold Your Hand’
- ‘All My Loving’
Paul McCartney favourite Beatles songs:
- ‘Here There and Everywhere’
- ‘You Know My Name’
George Harrison favourite Beatles songs:
- ‘Every Little Thing’
- ‘This Boy’
- ‘She Came In Through the Bathroom Window’
- ‘Golden Slumbers’
- ‘Norwegian Wood’
- ‘I Want You She’s So Heavy’
- ‘Eleanor Rigby’
Ringo Starr favourite Beatles songs:
- ‘Paperback Writer’
- ‘Come Together’