The single Hey Jude, by The Beatles, with the album, A Hard Days Night in the background.

The single Hey Jude, by The Beatles, with the album, A Hard Days Night in the background. (Photo by Nick Fewings on Unsplash)

Few bands have had the lasting impact on music and culture that The Beatles have achieved. From their early days in Liverpool to their meteoric rise to international stardom, The Beatles revolutionized the music industry with their innovative sound and timeless lyrics. With a catalog spanning just a decade, they managed to craft some of the most iconic and enduring songs in history. This article delves into the best Beatles songs, highlighting the tracks that not only defined an era but also continue to resonate with new generations of listeners. Whether you’re a lifelong fan or a newcomer to their music, these songs represent the pinnacle of The Beatles’ creative genius. Because every “best Beatles songs” list could very well have its own top five, we went by what 15 music pros rave about the most. Below, these experts rank them from fab to far out. 

1. “A Day in the Life”

This song was the most mentioned across all 15 of the sources we consulted. Rolling Stone puts this song above the rest, writing, “‘A Day in the Life’ is the sound of the Beatles on a historic roll. ‘It was a peak,’ John Lennon told Rolling Stone in 1970. It’s also the ultimate Lennon-McCartney collaboration.” 

“A Day in the Life” by The Beatles encapsulates a hauntingly surreal and multi-layered atmosphere that blends the mundane with the extraordinary. The song opens with John Lennon’s ethereal vocals over a sparse, melancholic piano, creating an introspective and almost dreamlike quality. As the lyrics unfold, they paint vivid, fragmented scenes from everyday life, infused with a sense of existential contemplation. The orchestral crescendos add a dramatic, almost chaotic intensity, contrasting sharply with Paul McCartney’s upbeat interlude, which briefly introduces a whimsical, day-to-day perspective.

This juxtaposition of styles and moods culminates in a powerful final chord that lingers in the listener’s mind, leaving an impression of both wonder and introspection. “No one knits together the grandiose and the mundane like The Beatles. Lyrically, ‘A Day in the Life’ is pure poetic banality: John goes to the pictures and worries about holes in the road while Paul gets startled by his alarm clock and smokes a joint on the bus. But musically it’s an apocalypse: from the concrete opening piano chords to the queasy orchestral climax, this song feels like the end of, well, everything,” TimeOut says.

This song is a winner, according to For The Win: “I tried to see if I could think of a Beatles song that was better, mostly because if you polled 1,000 fans, I’d bet this song would come out on top. But there’s a reason for that, isn’t it? It’s not so much a song as it is a symphony. And this is the apex of the Lennon-McCartney partnership that produced so many amazing songs — John on the verse, Paul on the bridge, leading up to that thunderous piano chord that gives me chills nearly every time I hear it.”

2. In My Life

This tune has a similar title to the first pick, but don’t get them twisted! According to SmoothRadio, “This emotional track is a reflective look at one’s life, and was written by both McCartney and Lennon, though both men disputed each other’s contributions later in life. Lennon later said that the song was his ‘first real major piece of work’ as it was the first time he wrote personal lyrics about his own life.”

“In My Life” by The Beatles exudes a nostalgic and introspective vibe, marked by its tender lyrics and gentle melody. The song captures a reflective mood as John Lennon’s heartfelt vocals convey a sense of reminiscence and gratitude for past experiences and relationships. “The song is one of the best Beatles songs of all time, held in high regard by both fans and critics. Many Beatles songs bestow upon you a warm feeling of nostalgia, but this song best encapsulates that feeling in a single track,” Music Grotto raves.

The delicate guitar work and subtle harmonies enhance the intimate and serene atmosphere, making “In My Life” a timeless ode to cherished memories and the enduring nature of love and friendship. Gold Radio calls this one of the best: “It’s maybe impossible to say that any one Beatles song is their best, but it’s hard to give any sort of argument against ‘In My Life.’ It’s a gorgeous, wonderful, heartbreaking and nostalgic study of life and loss. A masterpiece.” 

3. “Yesterday”

PinkVilla chooses this popular track as a top pick: “When this song was first released in 1965, it immediately became popular. It was first included in ‘Help!’ and later made available as a single. The audience reacted favorably to this Lennon McCartney tune. This Beatles song is made lovely by the acoustic guitar playing in the background.” 

“Yesterday” by The Beatles evokes a poignant and melancholic vibe, characterized by its simple yet deeply moving melody. Paul McCartney’s soulful vocals and the acoustic guitar accompaniment create a sense of intimacy and vulnerability. “It might be cliche to name ‘Yesterday’ as the best Beatles song, but cliches aren’t necessarily a bad thing when they’re this devastatingly beautiful. Its beauty can be found in its lyrics and its simplicity. It’s a masterclass in pop excellence, and you’d be hard-pressed to find anyone to disagree with that,” WMMR writes.

The song’s reflective lyrics express a longing for the past and a profound sense of loss, capturing the universal feeling of nostalgia and regret. This stripped-down arrangement, coupled with its emotional depth, makes “Yesterday” a timeless ballad that resonates with listeners’ hearts. OldTimeMusic credits this song for taking The Beatles to the next level: “Paul McCartney’s composition and delivery of the song ‘Yesterday’ turned the tide again. It took The Beatles to another level again. An eternal tearjerker ever since … And, I might say, the scourge of the karaoke bar. It is still one of the Top 10 requested Beatles songs.”

4. “While My Guitar Gently Weeps”

“While My Guitar Gently Weeps” by The Beatles has a brooding and soulful vibe that’s hard to shake. George Harrison’s introspective lyrics mix perfectly with the song’s moody guitar riffs.  “If you’re searching for the best Beatles songs ranked, many would agree that ‘While My Guitar Gently Weeps’ is at the very top. Besides being a timeless hit, the song also has an interesting story behind it. George Harrison apparently decided to write the lyrics based on the first words he sees after opening a book in his parents’ house. The first words he saw was the phrase ‘gently weeps.’ And that’s how ‘While My Guitar Gently Weeps’ was born,” MidderMusic tells.

The track’s got this deep, emotional undercurrent, with the guitar literally crying out in a way that hits you right in the feels. Yardbarker calls it stirring: “George Harrison finally realized his songwriting potential with this blisteringly emotional track. As The Beatles began to grow further apart, Harrison turned inward; while his band mates dabbled in Indian spiritualism, Harrison firmly embraced it and poured all of his hopes and frustrations into this song. It was a stirring preview of what he’d accomplish with ‘All Things Must Pass.’” 

It’s one of those songs where you can just feel the raw emotion and contemplation pouring out, making it a standout moment in their catalog. “Although ostensibly ‘a George song,’ this beloved White Album track has a secret, uncredited session musician: fellow Englishman and guitar hero Eric Clapton, with whom George shared a rather complicated relationship, plays the wailing guitar solo on ‘While My Guitar Gently Weeps.’ Harrison blends his burgeoning East-meets-West musical and lyrical influences, and as such, ‘While My Guitar Gently Weeps’ is one of his most lauded works with The Beatles,” writes Paste Magazine.

5. “Tomorrow Never Knows” 

“Tomorrow Never Knows” by The Beatles brings a trippy, otherworldly vibe that’s totally captivating. According to Mojo, “The recording of the song is the perfect illustration of The Beatles’ experimental epiphany. McCartney recorded several tape loops in his home studio, capturing abstract, repeating phrases. Back at Abbey Road, these loops were loaded onto multiple tape machines, which were fed to the recording console. As the tape loops played endlessly, the group and engineer were able to raise and lower the volume of each loop, creating a sonic collage that faded in and out. [An] effect soon to be copied by tribes of would-be psychedelic voyagers.” 

With its psychedelic soundscapes, looping drum patterns, and surreal lyrics, the song feels like a journey into uncharted territory. John Lennon’s vocals, echoing through layers of experimental production, create an atmosphere that’s both hypnotic and mind-bending. NME credits this song as the origin of dance music: “It’s possible to trace the origins of most modern music back to The Beatles catalogue. But ‘Tomorrow Never Knows’ was perhaps their most influential track of all. In trying to recreate the sound in Lennon’s head to emulate a transcendental acid high, the band experimented with loops, sampling, drone and tape manipulation, creating not just the epitome of psychedelia, but effectively inventing dance music.” 

It’s one of those tracks where you can really hear The Beatles pushing the boundaries, blending Eastern influences with avant-garde techniques to create something that’s ahead of its time and endlessly intriguing. “Here’s where LSD, The Tibetan Book Of The Dead and one of Ringo’s malapropisms collide. McCartney’s avant-garde tape loops, processed beats and backwards instrumentation and rock music shifted course once again,” says Louder.

What’s your favorite? Let us know which you think is the best Beatles song in the comments below. 

Sources used to create our list:

Note: This article was not paid for nor sponsored. Study Finds is not connected to nor partnered with any of the brands mentioned and receives no compensation for its recommendations. This post may contain affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate we earn from qualifying purchases.

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77 Comments

  1. Flipper says:

    None are better than A Day in the Life.
    Please consider three of my favorite Lennon/McCartney vocal collaborations, all from the same album:
    Two of Us
    I’ve Got a Feeling
    And of course…
    One After 909

  2. Sly says:

    Norwegian wood, blackbird, yesterday, in my life, while my guitar gently weeps. In any order they are excellent story songs

    1. James Ole Olson says:

      Micky’s answer is perfect !
      My favorite is always different…
      But, A Day in the Life….pure excellence

      1. David Coggan says:

        My favourites

        Strawberry Fields
        All my lovin
        In my life
        Get back
        I get by with a little help from my friends

        (at the moment)

    2. Greg says:

      Plodding

  3. Richard T says:

    At the end of January I’ll hit 76 which shows you that I was a teenager when the first Beatles records were released. I bought all the singles and albums on the day they were first on sale in the UK. I think that the early singles deserve a place in the ‘Hall of fame’, after all, it was those tracks which established the group’s reputation in the early days. My favourites from this era are ‘From me to you’, ‘Help’ and ‘She loves you’ which still rocks me after about 60 years! When my wife and I were married, the organist offered to play some ‘light music’ while we were signing the registers etc. His suggestion was ‘Yesterday’. I asked him if he’d actually listened to the words’ and why he would consider it an appropriate song for a couple who’d been married about 5 minutes!…. ‘yesterday, all my troubles seemed so far away, now it looks as though they’re here to stay…. etc etc’. Instead I asked him to play ‘From me to you’ and ‘When I’m 64’!

    1. Joseph Williams Jr says:

      I really like your comment because my Top Ten or favorite Beatles songs include All My Lovin, Happy just to dance with you, She Loves You, Do you want to know a secret and I saw her standing there!!!

    2. Stephen says:

      I am the Walrus. John at his creative best.

  4. Bill Milligan says:

    Brahms,
    Beethovan,
    Bach,
    Beatles.

  5. Jon Hartenstein says:

    I can think of dozens of Beatles songs better than Tomorrow Never Knows.

    Just saying.

    1. Alan Sas says:

      Best Beatles song is Tomorrow Never Knows. Only the Beatles could create a song that fit perfectly into that era 1964–1968.

    2. G Kealey says:

      Hey Jude is a must. Something and Here Comes the Sun

  6. Mark DeAngelis says:

    While I love both songs, Strawberry Fields Forever is just as ground breaking as Tomorrow Never Knows and much more melodic, though I really love Ringo’s drumming in TNK.
    Yesterday is great but lord am I sick of that song! If we are going for simple and reflective I am always happy to hear Here Comes The Sun.
    Love both In My Life and A Day In The Life – great selections. While My Guitar Gently Weeps is a good number 5 but Let It Be, Come Together, Penny Lane, Day Tripper, Paperback Writer, Nowhere Man would also be great choices.

  7. Smoothguy says:

    Difficult, of course. Reading everyone’s favorite really comes down to if you’re a Lennon fan or McCarthy. I lean towards Lennon. His raw energy screams Rock+Roll, but Paul is a genius ,and his ego always push the Beatles to be better. 1 Ticket to ride 2. Twist and shout 3. Birthday 4. Across the Universe 5. Back in the U.S.S.R.

  8. Frank Garvey says:

    Including solo work:

    1. Imagine
    2. You’ve Got To Hide Your Love Away
    3. Nowhere Man
    4. Yesterday
    5. Something

    1. Richard C. says:

      1. A Day in the Life- still gives me chills
      2. Day Tripper- Best rock n roll song ever
      3. Yesterday- A poignancy seldom heard from such a young writer
      4. Strawberry Fields Forever- wonderful poetry
      5. In My Life- A wistful lookback and still so young!

  9. Fred says:

    Les BEATLES c’est comme dans le cochon tout est bon . Pour ma part j’écoute Abbey Road d’un trait comme une seule et même chanson avec des refrains différents et The End me met toujours la larme a l’oeil.

    1. Frank corrado says:

      Penny Lane; quintessential McCartney. Uplifting, lyrical, horn solo, great imagery. Everything I hear it I can’t get enough. The modulation at the end pulls the tune to another level and the contrupuntal bass line is a monster. Mozart would have loved it!

  10. Mike Drozd says:

    Tomorrow Never Knows
    I’m the Walrus
    Strawberry Fields Forever
    I Want You (She’s so Heavy)
    In my Life
    Long Long Long
    Happiness is a Warm Gun
    Helter Skelter
    Girl
    A Day in the Life

    Was that five?

    Post Beatles God and Mother would make the list too.

    1. Leo Brussel. says:

      I can’t argue with A Day in the Life at the top. Well, quibble maybe. Yesterday may be the equal. Next up, for me, is the 2 minute and six second song that catapulted them. Please Please Me. Oh Bla Di Oh Bla Da after that. Then, She Loves You. Power pop at its best.

  11. Michael P. says:

    For me any list such as this has to include When I Saw Her Standing There. First & foremost they were a rock n’ roll band.

    1. David Shaw says:

      In My Life
      Baby You’re A Rich Man
      While My Guitar Gently Weeps
      Penny Lane
      A Day In The Life

      1. Cynthia Ann Clark says:

        Eleanor Rigby always struck me hard…everytime…such sorrow…Revolver and Rubber Soul….anytime…anywhere

    2. Noel Mooney says:

      Penny Lane dear prudene. Happiness is a warm gun. Paperback writer.i really like them all.yours sincerely Noel Mooney

  12. Gary says:

    Strawberry fields and eleanor rigby

  13. Rick says:

    John had nothing to do with Yesterday. Technically it’s Lennon-McCartney but it’s all Paul.

  14. Dan says:

    Nowhere Man, I Feel Fine, She’s Got a Ticket to Ride, Something, Love Me Do….Blackbird (honorable mention)

  15. Byronleemarley says:

    It’s impossible to pick the top 5 songs by The Beatles. No band in history had this many top songwriters and melody makers. I’ve never heard anything by the Fab Four that I haven’t liked, so I can’t possibly pick only 5 as their best. At this particular moment I’ll say:

    Yesterday
    Help!
    Norwegian Wood
    Michelle
    Strawberry Fields Forever

    If I made a list next week, there might be 5 totally different songs on it. Hell, that might even be true an hour from now. They just had too many to narrow down to single digits!