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The Beatles Bible 2015 Canon Poll - Results & Discussion
5 September 2015
7.39pm
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trcanberra
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Expert Textpert said

trcanberra said

Ahhh Girl said
The best/favorite discussion is a long, on-going one on the forum. At least it is a more civilized discussion than the one over who sang the ahhhs.

Indeed - but I'm wondering if it affected how we voted here. I voted on what I liked not my perception of the best songs.

I don't differentiate between favorite and best. If it's possible that something could be the best song and also my least favorite, then we would need objective criteria laid out to determine what makes something "best," and we would all have to agree with the criteria.

Also, that seems like sort of a slippery slope. Like maybe people who didn't get their favorite songs in the top 10 wanting to argue us into believing their favorites are the best, not ours.

I disagree that we would need objective criteria. If asked to give someone a list of what I think the best Beatles songs are it would be quite different from the list I would give if I was asked to name my favourites.

As one example, I think Hey Jude is a very good song, but I don't like it that much and didn't rank it too highly in this poll.

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5 September 2015
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If your favorites are the ones you like the most, shouldn't you tell people about those songs? That's like recommending Moby Dick because your professor told you it was good, when in fact you fall asleep halfway into every paragraph.

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5 September 2015
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The best are your favorite. If you don't like it then it isn't the best.

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5 September 2015
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Ron Nasty
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Always seemed to me, whatever approach used - favourite, best, perceived best, this week's best, today's favourites, etc. - it all balances out. We all had our different approaches, we took them, and we ended up where we are. It's not a bad place to be.

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The Beatles Bible 2020 non-Canon Poll Part One: 1958-1963

5 September 2015
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Can you say it is their best if you don't like it? I guess some can tease those two things apart.

This is Baskin Robbins best flavor ice cream, but I don't like it.

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5 September 2015
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You can admire something without necessarily loving it. However, you are more likely to score that which you love higher than that which you admire.

Maybe that explains the difference between John and Paul at the top of the poll. Paul we admire. He is a clever songwriter. John, at his best, when he gives us a little piece of his soul, of his life, we recognise a rare treat.

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The Beatles Bible 2020 non-Canon Poll Part One: 1958-1963

5 September 2015
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Annadog40 said
The best are your favorite. If you don't like it then it isn't the best.

As noted above, I disagree. As with classical music there are some symphonies which are brilliantly constructed and I admire them, but I might prefer some quiet little obscure song that the composer wrote. My favourite Beethoven is quite different from what I think his best works are.

I mention this because some of the posts in response to the poll are a little suprised as to what we consider the best Beatles songs; I was noting that I didn't vote it that way - and whatever people say about it balancing out or being the same thing for them - I'm not convinced that our approach was the same and had no impact.

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5 September 2015
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I agree with trcanberra. I'd rather listen to Honey Don't than Tomorrow Never Knows , but I'm not going to rank HD much above TKN - unless I'm asked to rank the songs by personal enjoyment! I completely get the importance of TKN. (If Baskin Robbins came out with a black licorice ice cream that changed the industry, I'd have to recognize its importance even though i don't care for licorice.)

Likewise, Expert Texpert says, "The End is certainly a better song than Yesterday"

I have a problem with the word "certainly." ET is obviously entitled to prefer any song over any other. But where does the certainty come from?

The End  is a fan favorite among us Beatle fans for multiple reasons that require no explanation on this Forum. Yesterday , on the other hand, is a classic that far transcends Beatle fandom.

Doesn't that temper the certainty?

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6 September 2015
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Why are songs that you don't like as much consisted better than songs you like?

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6 September 2015
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Why does Yesterday transcend fandom? Because more musicians have covered the song and everyone knows it? That doesn't make it better, it makes it more popular. There is a big difference between the two.

If we are going to take that approach, shouldn't we say the best Beatle thing ever was "she loves you yeah yeah yeah"? That is certainly more widely known than anything else among non-fans. So it must be the best, right?

And again, what standards and criteria are we using? I know a musician who claims that Hall & Oates are geniuses because their pop songs were so well-crafted and so catchy. But if you are a genius at writing trite pop songs, what sort of genius does that really make you?

If Yesterday is the best Beatles song, then our criteria must be 1. Having a memorable melody and 2. Sentimental lyrics.

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6 September 2015
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@Starr Shine? 

Well, to expand on the above examples: I enjoy Honey Don't ; I don't enjoy Tomorrow Never Knows . But TNK was a radically new sound for a rock band, it utilized novel techniques, expanded popular music's horizons, etc.... Honey Don't is just a little country song with no great lyrics, melody or arrangement. I just happen to enjoy Ringo's singing and the arrangement. I would never in a million years put forth HD as an example of the Beatles' brilliance. But I would play TNK to someone interested in seeing why the Beatles are arguably the greatest rock band ever.

@Expert Textpert 

Yes. Everyone knows "Happy Birthday " and that doesn't make it the greatest song ever. I don't believe I've equated popularity with greatness. However, you are doing the absolute reverse: the fact that Yesterday is by far and away the most covered song ever doesn't weigh in at all into your decision making. You are dismissing outright the opinions of those who make a living in the music world and the opinions of those who purchase music. In fact, it looks like you look down upon them.

I believe that the impact of a song should be a factor to consider - along with the melody, lyrics, voices, arrangement, etc... when judging value (separate from judging preference). But that's just me. I would respect the opinion of someone who says impact should play no role. But a song with major impact should at least get you asking yourself what you're missing.

My problem with your opinion ET is not the opinion itself. It's the fact you inserted the word "certainly" as if your opinion has to be the definitive one.

P.S. enjoying this discussion. 🙂

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6 September 2015
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'Yesterday ' resonates with people which is one of the points of music. Folk can connect with the lyrics and the arrangement, its why its been covered so many times and made a fortune in royalties (neither of which are the sole factors in what makes a song great but do provide a marker). It wasn't John's cup of tea but he recognised it as being a great song yet was thrilled he didnt write it (there's a quote out there but i cannot find it).

Not sure what music is meant to do if its not to connect with people and last thru the generations.

 

Found this quote from John from the 1980 Playboy interview in regards to the same handful of Beatles songs being played on the radio; he was talking about 'I Am The Walrus in regards to the Paul Is Dead rumours;

...Anyway, it's a song they don't usually play. When a radio station has a Beatles weekend, they usually play the same ten songs... 'A Hard Day's Night ,' 'Help !,' 'Yesterday ,' 'Something ,' 'Let It Be ' ...you know, there's all that wealth of material, but we hear only ten songs.

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6 September 2015
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Annadog40 said
Why are songs that you don't like as much consisted better than songs you like?

I've already answered that question at least twice as have others in this thread.

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6 September 2015
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Into the Sky with Diamonds said

You are dismissing outright the opinions of those who make a living in the music world and the opinions of those who purchase music. In fact, it looks like you look down upon them.

Yes, I have very little faith in the opinions of other humans.

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6 September 2015
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The Pentathlon of the Muses......was an Olympic event.....

 

Alongside the oiled up athletes were the writers and the poets and the painters. It was considered possible to judge winners Who/what was best......

When Coubertin re-instituted the Olympics he ensured that the arts too were a part of the events.

......In 1936 strangely enough fascist German and Italian writers swept up all the gold medals.

This practice was only quietly dropped in 1952........

But then came the Eurovision Song competition.........Best means mass appeal. And there's something to be said for that. For a time the Beatles had the whole world singing the same song. Some of their songs, like Mozart's will last....perhaps forever......Though who knows that for sure.

 

“Fame is a bee.

It has a song

It has a sting

Ah, too, it has a wing.”

 

In 3 or 400 years time we we will know better which songs have lasted......but we still couldn't answer the simple question of best........not with with 100% certainty. 

The poll's just a bit of fun.

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7 September 2015
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I am as familiar with Neil Young's discography as I am with The Beatles. I've seen Neil multiple times in many different scenarios. One concert I attended he was accompanied by Booker T & The MGs, one of the most prolific session bands of all time. These guys are pros and champion the music above everything else. Playing with this type of musicians seemed to force Neil to concentrate on the charts, to the point that I felt I was hearing some of the most familiar songs live for the first time;i.e. Down By The River. Combining the incredible musicality, some of my fav songs, and Neil's willingness to perform in this context make this in my opinion the best concert I have ever attended. In contrast, I saw Neil perform almost the exact same set with his long time backing band Crazy Horse. In contrast to Booker T, Crazy Horse was all over the place. Tempos came and went, Neil was frantically playing 10 minute solos, the songs might start up again after the guitar solos or might not, and feedback was the most memorable sound of the night. I can't possibly tell you how much fun that was. It was everything you could ever hope for from a rock concert and I am sure everyone had sore throats the next day from screaming along with Neil and Crazy Horse. In my opinion (haha) this is my favorite concert. I could not imagine trying to choose one concerts value over the other.  

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7 September 2015
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sigh butterfly said
I am as familiar with Neil Young's discography as I am with The Beatles. I've seen Neil multiple times in many different scenarios. One concert I attended he was accompanied by Booker T & The MGs, one of the most prolific session bands of all time. These guys are pros and champion the music above everything else. Playing with this type of musicians seemed to force Neil to concentrate on the charts, to the point that I felt I was hearing some of the most familiar songs live for the first time;i.e. Down By The River. Combining the incredible musicality, some of my fav songs, and Neil's willingness to perform in this context make this in my opinion the best concert I have ever attended. In contrast, I saw Neil perform almost the exact same set with his long time backing band Crazy Horse. In contrast to Booker T, Crazy Horse was all over the place. Tempos came and went, Neil was frantically playing 10 minute solos, the songs might start up again after the guitar solos or might not, and feedback was the most memorable sound of the night. I can't possibly tell you how much fun that was. It was everything you could ever hope for from a rock concert and I am sure everyone had sore throats the next day from screaming along with Neil and Crazy Horse. In my opinion (haha) this is my favorite concert. I could not imagine trying to choose one concerts value over the other.  

I'm envious - huge fan and only seen him once (that was with the Horse - awesome night).

Yes, best and favourite are really hard with Neil as well - and arguably once again quite different (for me).

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7 September 2015
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Yes, I agree. When I participated in the poll I had no idea that the results would lead to this level of self-examination. I may need to seek the assistance of a shrink when the next poll comes around 😉

Nice to meet another Neil and Crazy Horse fan @trcanberra. I live in the SF Bay Area and we have many opportunities to see and hear Neil. Even on years he isn't touring he always plays 2 benefit concerts for the Bridge School (they advocate for people with severe speech impairments). One year the musical guest was

f1296071201.jpgImage Enlarger

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9 September 2015
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The same band wrote What Goes On and Tomorrow Never Knows . That's the unrepeatable miracle. We just have great polls like this to rearrange the miracle into interesting patterns 😀

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Expert Textpert said

If Yesterday is the best Beatles song, then our criteria must be 1. Having a memorable melody and 2. Sentimental lyrics.

If the best Beatles song is a solo, what does that say about them as a group?                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 

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