Top 20 Weirdest Beatles Songs

Weird Beatles GettyImages 169545203 Top 20 Weirdest Beatles Songs

An intriguing pattern emerges among the Top 20 Weirdest Beatles Songs: Paul McCartney – despite often being disparaged (apparently by John Lennon himself) for writing “granny songs” – dominates the below list. He wrote or co-wrote nine of the featured tracks.

Whoever took the mic, these songs show how the group expanded upon its bedrock talents as one of the biggest-selling acts in the history of pop and rock. Not all of it was successful, but the Top 20 Weirdest Beatles Songs never fail to confound expectations. Not content to score chart-topping hit after chart-topping hit, they often followed their muse into some deeply surprising places.

We’re focusing on only actual songs, not free-form sound collages like “Revolution 9” or Lennon’s Unfinished Music album series. Also skipped were stunt tracks like Wings‘ “Mary Had a Little Lamb” and Lennon’s “Nutopian International Anthem.” Meanwhile, George Harrison‘s Indian-influenced tracks were meant to be exotic, so they don’t rate inclusion here.

Never fear, however: That still leaves plenty of strangeness.

20. “Blue Jay Way” (1967)
From: The Beatles’ Magical Mystery Tour

There’s no small irony when Harrison repeats the phrase “please … don’t … be … long.” Too late. This song, written while the bored Beatle was waiting for his publicist to arrive at a rented house on Blue Jay Way in Los Angeles, just keeps going and going and going. And going. You feel sorry for the poor guy playing cello.

19. “Meat City” (1973)
From: John Lennon’s Mind Games

“Meat City” wastes one of Lennon’s nastiest riffs with an unfocused narrative (maybe he’s trying to save rock ‘n’ roll? Or decrying our slide into hedonism? Or just Lewis Carroll-ing around?) and some tacked-on backward-masked nonsense.

18. “Monkberry Moon Delight” (1971)
From: Paul McCartney’s Ram

Lennon’s primal screams defined his post-Beatles pain, but McCartney – as heard on this howling lysergic nightmare – didn’t walk away unscathed. Thing is, Lennon drew a straight line through his emotions. “Monkberry Moon Delight” seems to be simply tossing a word salad.

17. “Dig It” (1970)
From: The Beatles’ Let It Be

Second producer Phil Spector committed several unforced errors while trying to clean up the Let It Be tapes for release – including adding an entire bottle of syrup to McCartney’s “The Long and Winding Road,” lopping off the opening and closing line of “Dig a Pony” and turning the closing version of “Get Back” into a Frankenstein monster featuring parts of three takes. None of it was as egregious as tacking on this unfocused gobbledygook, even in snippet form.

16. “Las Brisas” (1976)
From: Ringo Starr’s Ringo’s Rotogravure

“Las Brisas” bobbed to the top amid an ocean of musical errors on Ringo Starr‘s fifth solo album when a mariachi band entered the studio.

15. “Magneto and t**anium Man” (1975)
From: Wings’ Venus and Mars

McCartney was browsing through the magazine section at the supermarket during a visit to Jamaica when he became nostalgic over a comic book. Anybody else would have chuckled over the childhood memory, then head over to the produce section as planned. But anybody else isn’t Paul McCartney, who instead created a sweetly recorded but utterly confusing heist scenario for his own made-up characters to inhabit.

14. “Everybody’s Got Something to Hide Except for Me and My Monkey” (1968)
From: The Beatles’ White Album

Lennon seemed to be determined to tear down his musical approach a year after creating a string of layered, career-making triumphs like “Strawberry Fields,” “A Day in the Life” and “I Am the Walrus.” The result were sinewy rockers like this one. Unfortunately, this is both the Beatles’ longest-ever t**le and the silliest one.

13. “My Name Is Legs (Ladies and Gentlemen)” (1975)
From: George Harrison’s Extra Texture (Read All About It)

On one level, this up-tempo moment was badly needed on such a downer of an album. But the results are a bizarre mess, as Harrison unleashes a jumble of music-hall flourishes, crazy brass lines, eccentric spoken-word segments and strikingly dumb lyrics like “Everything is dinky doo.”

12. “Maxwell’s Silver Hammer” (1969)
From: The Beatles’ Abbey Road

A jaunty little tune … about a homicidal maniac. McCartney cracks up while singing the line “writing 50 times, ‘I must not be so-oh-oh-oh,‘” reportedly because Lennon mooned him during the previous verse – which ends with “so he waits behind.” All of that is funnier than anything that actually happens here.

11. “Loup (1st Indian on the Moon)” (1973)
From: Wings’ Red Rose Speedway

This sounds like McCartney playing a particularly assertive bass line on the lunar surface – fitting since Alan Parsons was engineering both Wings and Pink Floyd‘s The Dark Side of the Moon at Abbey Road studios during this era.

10. “Tomorrow Never Knows” (1966)
From: The Beatles’ Revolver

One of the ’60s’ greatest studio accomplishments is also mystifyingly strange. It’s not just the wow-man lyric, or the way all of these loops somehow come together to form a song, or even Lennon’s alien-like vocal approach. It’s all of that – oh, and some birds actually taking a solo, about a minute in.

9. “Kreen-Akrore” (1970)
From: Paul McCartney’s McCartney

The album-closing fifth instrumental on McCartney is the longest – and the most eccentric. “Kreen-Akrore” officially features McCartney on vocals, guitar, bass, piano, organ and (no kidding) “bow and arrow.” But mostly, it’s just him huffing and puffing his way through a performance at the drums.

8. “I Am the Walrus” (1967)
From: The Beatles’ Magical Mystery Tour

A composite of three song fragments, “I Am the Walrus” takes us into a number of lyrical blind alleys – not least of which was trying to figure out who, you know, the walrus even was. But that’s not the oddest thing going on here, as Lennon pairs it all with his most unorthodox song structure ever.

7. “Why Don’t We Do It In the Road” (1968)
From: The Beatles’ White Album

McCartney apparently decided to match Lennon stride for stride in providing utterly indecipherable songs for the Beatles’ 1968 self-titled album. Funny voices, though.

6. “Nod Your Head” (2007)
From: Paul McCartney’s Memory Almost Full

McCartney had constructed perhaps his most underrated modern-era project, and the concluding “End of the End,” perfectly named, ruminated on life’s final journey. But as with Abbey Road, he couldn’t leave it at that. The difference is “Her Majesty” wasn’t a skronking pastiche of throat-shredding vocals, psych-rock grooves, swirling strings, droning outbursts … and a sax.

5. “Temporary Secretary” (1980)
From: Paul McCartney’s McCartney II (1980)

Somewhere, buried under the 8 bit-style beeps and bloops, there’s a classic McCartney melody wondering what in the entire hell is going on here.

4. “Wild Honey Pie” (1968)
From: The Beatles’ White Album

There are plenty of examples of kitchen sink-tossing bloat on the White Album, but none so kitchen-sinky and bloaty as “Wild Honey Pie,” a fragment built off a pretty annoying instrumental that McCartney recorded all by himself. Alternate t**le: I Just Discovered Vibrato.

3. “You Know My Name (Look Up the Number)” (1967)
From: The Beatles’ “Let It Be” single

More funny voices. The Beatles loved “You Know My Name (Look Up the Number),” which ended up on the B-side of their “Let It Be” single, way more than anybody else did. In fact, McCartney later claimed this was “probably my favorite Beatles track, just because it’s so insane.” Somebody else referred to it as a poor man’s Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band song, however, and they were right.

2. “Check My Machine” (1980)
From: Paul McCartney’s McCartney II

McCartney began his second solo album just as he had the first, by plugging directly into a 16-track mixing board and fooling around. The difference was the technology, which now included synthesizers and samplers. On this first experiment, later relegated to the 1980 B-side of “Waterfalls,” McCartney apparently found it super-funny to pitch his voice to Alvin-level squeakiness.

1. “What’s the New Mary Jane?” (1968)
From: The Beatles’ Anthology 3

No, the Beatles didn’t include every dumb thing they came up with on the White Album. Thankfully, the totally free-form platinum-weirdness of “What’s the New Mary Jane?” somehow missed the cut. One take actually stretched out past the six-minute mark, with Lennon confidentially saying, “Let’s hear it, before we get taken away.” It sounds just that crazy.