Nah, nah, nah? Sometimes, you’re like, yeah, yeah … uh, no. We get it. The very ubiquitousness of the Beatles sometimes makes for difficult wading when you’re trying to remember what made them great in the first place. Well, the movement you need is tucked away inside the Fab catalog. Here are a handful of deeper cuts that we’re not sick of yet …


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“Dear Prudence” was not just one of John Lennon‘s best ballads, it was one of his best songs, period. Inspired by the Beatles’ ill-fated trip to India in 1968, the song’s lyrics reads like a letter — a letter to actress Mia Farrow’s sister, actually, both of whom had also made the pilgrimage to see the Maharishi. The descending chord progression is sublime and the backing vocals are just a tad creepy; creepy enough to tell you that this is Lennon’s song, not Paul McCartney’s. (Although Macca provided a mighty sweet looping bass line, as well as the drums, since Ringo Starr had briefly quit the band). S. Victor Aaron

One of my favorite Beatles tracks too — though, when pressed, I can’t always make its case. After all, Lennon showed he could out-McCartney McCartney with these lyrics: The sun is up, the sky is blue — it’s beautiful, and so are you. In the end, I guess I’m sold on its simple beauty, since Lennon didn’t often allow himself to express such open-hearted emotion. I never want this tune’s unbridled charm, or that bassline, to end. Nick DeRiso


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I relish Lennon’s drive-by cynicism on fluffy little tracks like this from Paul McCartney. Paul, as he often will, threatens to drift away while the soaring chorus builds behind him. But no sooner does he sing “it’s getting better all the time,” then we have Lennon dropping anchor: “Can’t get no worse.” “Getting Better” might not be the best example of this brilliant balancing act — for that, head over to the worn copies of “We Can Work It Out” — but it certainly ranks as a often-overlooked favorite in the genre. Great guitar riff, too. DeRiso

Musically, it’s milking a single chord for all it’s worth. Lyrically, it’s as Nick noted, an example of the dichotomy of the sunny outlook of Paul and the skepticism of John. And like a brief afternoon thunderstorm popping up to spoil a perfect day, George swoops in with a tamboura then there’s a nasty admission about domestic violence, before Paul’s eternal optimism breaks up the clouds again. That “magic” chord gets really pervasive at the end, courtesy of George Martin striking the strings inside a piano. Paul’s cheerfulness wins the battle, but John’s counterpoint makes that battle so much more interesting. Aaron


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George Harrison‘s anticipatory count off to begin Revolver grabs the listener even before those meaty power chords that shortly follow. What’s more notable are his lyrics: a direct attack on the British government for its confiscatory tax policies. Political songs in rock music were still just getting started in 1966, and “Taxman” remains one of more ornery examples compared to the many that appeared over the following years. Sending young men to die at Vietnam was outrageous enough, but hell hath no fury like taxing a man to death. Aaron

George was always good for a nasty putdown song, an impulse that would nicely balance his tendency toward hugs-and-Hari Krishna tunes later in life. This was one he got completely right. Now, that praise is tempered by the oft-told rumor that George used the theme song from “Batman,” a favorite TV show of his in the 1960s, as inspiration for the melody. (Holy kitsch, Robin!) And that Paul did the guitar work. And that Lennon also helped with the lyrics. (You can really see his fingerprint on the lyrics matching car/street, sit/seat, cold/heat and walk/feet.) Wait, what exactly did George do on this one, again? DeRiso


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A light, pop confection that served as a respite from all the weirdness and unpredictability that graced most of The White Album, Paul wrote this as an ode to his English sheepdog, which also adds to the appearance of this being filler. But when viewed with the benefit of hindsight, it is his Beatles song that most anticipated the kind of pop he had a great deal of success making with his seventies band Wings. Which means, as with his Wings best, it’s a tightly constructed melody that’s catchy as hell. If he had chosen to re-record the song during the Denny Laine days with a little more production added to it, he would have easily had another hit on his hands. Aaron

Confectionery, sure, yet somehow unforgettable. I listen, each time, in wonder — thinking: McCartney can write a song about his flipping dog, and I like it. DeRiso


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Paul’s song kicks off the famous medley on side two of Abbey Road with a four-minute mini-medley. First, there’s a piano stating the melodic line. Soon, it transitions over to a more up-tempo rhythm and mood with Paul singing much like he did for “Lady Madonna.” And then after some tasty lead guitar work by George during a second transition, the song enters the “sweet dreams” section. So, the song is really a pasting together of three seemingly unrelated fragments, but it works because all the fragments are catchy and the harmony/backing vocals throughout are first rate; nearly as good as the rich vocals that graced Lennon’s “Because” right before it. Aaron

One of the initial song-cycles-within-a-song concepts by McCartney. Too bad Paul was just getting started. By the time we get to Wings‘s Red Rose Speedway a couple of short years later, McCartney has transformed a pretty good idea into nothing more than a handy way to tidy up his work station. But even those mashed-together edit jobs of half-finished song ideas can’t tarnish this terrific effort. When I only have time for a moment with Abbey Road, you’ll find me here, enveloped in a towering achievement that manages to fit in all of the personality, verve and specificity of each band member — even while deftly recognizing, by the final repeated chorus, both the hopeful optimism and crashing cynicism of the 1960s. I know, that’s a lot. It’s all in there. “You Never Give Me Your Money,” to me, is the last best thing this group ever did. DeRiso

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