50 years ago on February 9, 1964, the Beatles debuted on television across America on the Ed Sullivan Show.
All this weekend, 94.5 KOOL FM will honor the Beatles and the revolution they created in pop music history with 94.5 KOOL FM’s Top 50 Beatles Countdown!
LISTEN all weekend long for the top 50 biggest hits of the Beatles, played back in order from #50 to #1.
Listen ON THE HOUR and ON THE HALF-HOUR all weekend long:
Friday: 4:00 PM – 8:30 PM
Saturday: 10:00 AM – 8:30 PM
Sunday: 10:00 AM – 6:30 PM
Its 50 hits for 50 years!
The 94.5 KOOL FM Top 50 Beatles Countdown kicks off Friday afternoon at 4 PM during The Fab 4 @ 4 with Steve Goddard and concludes Sunday night at 7 PM: just in time for you to catch CBS Television Network’s 2-hour prime time Beatles Special on KPHO-TV, Channel 5.
And, KEEP CHECKING BACK RIGHT HERE! We’ll update the countdown as it rolls along with KOOL info about each song so you don’t miss a thing!
#50 “Baby You’re A Rich Man”
John played clavioline and piano on the song, and George Harrison played tambourine. There is actually no guitar on this song at all. Paul played bass and piano as well. Mick Jagger sings backup!
#49 “Slow Down”
This was the B-side of their song “Matchbox,” and was recorded when Carl Perkins was in the studio playing piano. George Martin didn’t like it, and took his piano part out, replacing it with his own.
#48 “Ain’t She Sweet”
Pete Best played drums on this. He earned some royalties when this was released on their Anthology album. It was one of the few times he benefited from The Beatles’ success.
#47 “I Don’t Want To Spoil The Party”
It was written by John and he later explained that it was a personal song that dealt with his frustrations in dealing with fame. Other Lennon songs like “Help!” and “I’m a Loser,” had a similar theme.
Pete Best, The Beatles original drummer, sang lead on this until he was fired. John Lennon sang it at their Hamburg shows, and Ringo did the lead vocals on the recorded version.
#45 “Thank You Girl”
John and Paul wrote this in response to the girls who sent them fan mail. John said it was “just a silly song we knocked off.”
#44 “I’ll Cry Instead”
Lennon wrote the song for the movie “A Hard Day’s Night,” but it ended up not being included in the movie. However, the label of the American version of the 45 lists the song as being “From the United Artists Picture, ‘A Hard Day’s Night'”.
#43 “I Am the Walrus”
In The Beatles song “Glass Onion,” Lennon sang, “The Walrus was Paul” because he got a kick out of how people tried to interpret his lyrics, and figure out who the Walrus was.
#42 “Roll Over Beethoven”
This was a favorite of John, Paul and George, even before they had chosen “the Beatles” as their name. They continued to play it live right into their American tours of 1964.
#41 “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band”
The hand-painted drum skin used on the cover of the Sgt Pepper album was sold at Christie’s House in London on 10th July 2008 for $1,071,000!
#40 “The Ballad Of John & Yoko”
It’s a song written by John that chronicles the events surrounding his marriage to Yoko. It was banned by a lot of radio stations because of the line “Christ, you know it ain’t easy.”
#39 “She’s A Woman”
McCartney has acknowledged Little Richard as big influence, and you can sure hear it on his vocals for this song.
#38 “All My Loving”
It was the first song the group played on their first Ed Sullivan Show appearance: February 9, 1964.
#37 “From Me To You”
This was the first song to feature The Beatles falsetto “whoooo.” This was a big part of many of their early hits, including “I Want To Hold Your Hand.” Paul learned the “whoooo” from listening to Little Richard.
#36 “I Should Have Known Better”
The Beatles performed this in their first movie, A Hard Day’s Night. It was used in a scene where The Beatles sing it to a group of girls, one of which was played by an actress named Pattie Boyd. This was the first time George Harrison met her – he fell for her and married her a few years later.
#35 “Yellow Submarine”
Paul once said: “‘Yellow Submarine’ is very simple but very different. It’s a fun song, a children’s song.” He purposely used short words in the lyrics because he wanted kids to pick it up early and sing along. The “bubble” effects are John blowing into a straw.
#34 “Strawberry Fields Forever”
Strawberry Field was a Salvation Army home for orphans in Liverpool where John Lennon used to go as a kid. He had fond memories of the place that inspired this. In 1984, Lennon’s widow Yoko Ono donated $375,000 to the home.
Paul wrote the song around the time that reggae was beginning to become popular in Britain. The starting lyric: – “Desmond has a barrow in the market-place” was a reference to Desmond Dekker, the first internationally-renowned Jamaican ska and reggae performer.
#32 “And I Love Her”
Paul was the only Beatle to sing on this. Like “Yesterday,” it is one of just of few Beatle songs with only one vocalist.
This was the first overtly political Beatles song. It was John Lennon’s response to the Vietnam War.
#30 “Penny Lane”
There’s no guitar on this song. John Lennon played piano and George Harrison played the conga drum. Also, the promotional film for this song was the first time The Beatles appeared with facial hair.
#29 “P.S. I Love You”
This was the B-Side of “Love Me Do,” and if you have it on the Tollie label with the picture sleeve, it’s worth about $250!
#28 “Day Tripper”
In 2004, Paul McCartney did an interview with the Daily Mirror newspaper where he explained that drugs influenced some of The Beatles’ songs. He singled this one out as being about LSD, but also said that people often overestimate the influence of drugs on their music.
#27 “Nowhere Man”
In a 1971 interview with Rolling Stone, Lennon recalled the background to this song: “I remember I was just going through this paranoia trying to write something and nothing would come out so I just lay down and tried to not write and then this came out, the whole thing came out in one gulp.”
#26 “Do You Want To Know A Secret”
George Harrison sang lead. It’s one of the few Beatles songs not sung by the person who wrote it.
#25 “Eleanor Rigby”
The Beatles didn’t play any of the instruments on this. All the music came from the string players, who were hired as session musicians.
Frank Sinatra called this “The greatest love song ever written.” He often performed it in the ’70s, at one point wrongly attributing it to Lennon and McCartney rather than Harrison.
#23 “Got To Get You Into My Life”
Even though it was recorded in 1966 and put on the Rubber Soul album, it didn’t become a hit until 1976. John Lennon thought this was some of McCartney’s best work.
#22 “I Saw Her Standing There”
They performed this on their first two Ed Sullivan Show appearances, which helped make them household names.
#21 “Lady Madonna”
This was the last Beatles release on Capitol Records in the US. All future releases were on Apple Records, the label The Beatles created.
#20 “Please Please Me”
Beatles producer George Martin called this song “dreadful” when they first played this song for them. He said it was a slow “Roy Orbison-style” ballad. It was George Martin that suggested that they speed it up!
#19 “Twist & Shout”
In 1986, Twist & Shout charted again (at #23) when it was used in the movie Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. It was also used in Rodney Dangerfield’s movie Back To School.
#18 “All You Need Is Love”
In a 1971 interview about his song “Power To The People,” he was asked if that song was propaganda. He said, “Sure. So was ‘All You Need Is Love.’ I’m a revolutionary artist. My art is dedicated to change.”
#17 “Love Me Do”
John and Paul wrote this in 1958, when John was 17 and Paul was 16. They made time for songwriting by skipping school. They had written songs before, but this was the first one they liked enough to record.
#16 “Come Together”
This was a John Lennon song, but Paul wanted to change it up a bit. He said, “’Let’s slow it down with a swampy bass-and-drums vibe.’ I came up with a bass line, and it all flowed from there.”
#15 “Eight Days A Week”
This was a song written by Paul with John on lead vocals, and a song that John didn’t particularly like. In a 1980 interview with Playboy, John said “”‘Eight Days A Week’ was never a good song. We struggled to record it and struggled to make it into a song.
#14 “Paperback Writer”
John Lennon and George Harrison sing the French nursery rhyme “Frére Jacques” in the background. The Frére Jacques part has nothing to do with John Lennon – Paul just thought it was clever – but it does translate to “Brother John.”
#13 “The Long And Winding Road”
Phil Spector produced this song with his “Wall of Sound” technique layering the tracks to create a very full sound. He also took out most of The Beatles instruments replacing them with string section and choir. Paul hated what Spector did to his song, and still thinks that Spector butchered it.
#12 “A Hard Day’s Night”
Ringo explains the title by saying “We went to do a job, and we’d worked all day and we happened to work all night. I came up still thinking it was day I suppose, and I said, ‘It’s been a hard day…’ and I looked around and saw it was dark so I said, ‘Night!’
Paul McCartney wrote this song and was the only Beatle to play on it. It was the first time a Beatle recorded without the others. It’s also the most covered pop song of all time, over 3,000 versions recorded according to The Guinness Book Of World Records.
#10 “She Loves You”
This song had a lot of kids singing the phrase “yeah, yeah, yeah.” Paul McCartney’s dad wanted them to sing “yes, yes, yes” instead because he thought it sounded more dignified.
#9 “Hello, Goodbye”
As an example of how he writes music, Paul asked his friend Alistair Taylor to shout out the opposite of whatever he sang, such as black and white, yes and no, hello and goodbye, From that, the song was born.
#8 “We Can Work It Out”
Paul McCartney wrote this about his girlfriend Jane Asher. A promotional film was made to support this song. It was one of the first music videos.
#7 “I Feel Fine”
According to John, the first note was the first time feedback was used on a record. It was created when Paul McCartney pushed his bass up against an amplifier.
In 1985, this became the first Beatles song ever used in a commercial when it was used in an ad for Ford cars. Ford paid $100,000 to use it.
#5 “Let It Be”
Paul McCartney wrote this song which was inspired by his mother, Mary, who died when he was 14. Many people thought “Mother Mary” was a biblical reference when they heard it.
#4 “Get Back”
Billy Preston played piano and became the only guest artist to get a credit on a Beatles single.
#3 “Can’t Buy Me Love”
This was one of the first Pop songs to start with the chorus rather than a verse. That was producer George Martin’s idea.
#2 “I Want To Hold Your Hand”
This was the first Beatles song to catch on in America & went all the way to #1. They came to America and appeared on The Ed Sullivan Show a week after it went all the way to the top.
#1 “Hey Jude”
Paul McCartney wrote this as “Hey Jules,” a song meant to comfort John Lennon’s 5-year-old son Julian as his parents were getting a divorce. The change to “Jude” was inspired by the character “Jud” in the musical Oklahoma!