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Penny Lane
At the start of the 'Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band' sessions, Paul McCartney and John Lennon each wrote a song about their childhoods. They were released as a double A-side single that came out four months before the album (and eventually ended up on 'Magical Mystery Tour'). McCartney's 'Penny Lane' offers a loving drive-by portrait of an idyllic community that shaped his formative years.
Something
George Harrison's elegant 'Abbey Road' cut ranks right next to 'Yesterday' as one of the Beatles' most popular ballads. As Harrison developed as a songwriter over the years, he struggled to place more of his songs on Beatles albums. Shockingly, 'Something' was his only Beatles song released as the A-side of a single.
Let it be
The Beatles' final album was actually recorded before 'Abbey Road' but sat on the shelf for a year before producer Phil Spector cobbled together a record from the hours of tangled tapes the band left behind. It's a complicated and often cluttered LP, but it contains some real gems, including McCartney's elegiac title track, which serves as a perfect requiem for the group.
In my life
By late-1965, the Beatles had grown tired of Beatlemania, yeah-yeah-yeah and all that pop stuff. So their songwriting became sharper and more individually and personally focused. 'Rubber Soul' marks the first full leap in this direction, and Lennon's 'In My Life,' a wistful recollection of the people and places he cherished most, sounds like it was penned by an aged old soul, not a 25-year-old star.
While my guitar gently weeps
The Beatles' relationships had deteriorated so much by the time they started working on 'The White Album' that they basically played backing band to each other's solo songs. Depending on whom you talk to, it's either a masterpiece or a mess. We think it's a fascinating but fractured work. Harrison's 'While My Guitar Gently Weeps,' with a guitar solo by Harrison's pal Eric Clapton, rises above the chaos.
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