Our Opinion: ‘Help!’ needed to identify The Beatles’ signature song

“All together now.”

John Lennon-Paul McCartney

What is The Beatles’ signature song?

All together now — either as a specific song or a general consensus — is an unlikely answer.

We pose the elusive question in the aftermath of a televised special Sunday — the 50th anniversary of The Beatles introduction to U.S. television audiences via an appearance on the Ed Sullivan Show.

The band’s popularity is unquestioned. The Beatles are generally regarded as one of the most influential bands ever. And the sheer volume of their songs spanning a range of genres is colossal.

But, despite this unanimity of popularity and admiration, little consensus exists about which of their many tunes is their signature song — or album, for that matter.

We think of a signature song as the single title that identifies, even defines, a band. For example, mentioning The Rolling Stones evokes the guitar riff from “Satisfaction;” think Led Zeppelin and you hear “Stairway to Heaven;” Queen automatically is associated with “Bohemian Rhapsody.”

Individual Beatles may prompt connections. For example: Paul McCartney, “Yesterday;” John Lennon, “All You Need Is Love;” George Harrison, “Something;” Ringo Starr, “Yellow Submarine.”

But what about The Beatles, as a band?

Would it be:

• One of their earlier songs, perhaps “I Want To Hold Your Hand” or “She Loves You”?

• The title songs from the movies, “A Hard Day’s Night” or “Help”?

• The psychedelic “Lucy In the Sky With Diamonds”?

• A later hit, perhaps “Hey Jude” or “Let It Be”?

And what would be deemed The Beatles signature album? Among the typical top answers are “Rubber Soul,” “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band,” “The Beatles” (also known as the “White Album”), and “Abbey Road.”

We invite our readers to weigh in. Email your choice(s) — and, if you’re inclined, your reasons — to editor@newstribune.com (please type Beatles in the subject line).

“We Can Work It Out” with your “Help!”


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