Unlocking the Mystery: How the Beatles’ “All You Need Is Love” Impresses without Impressive Melodies

With such a vast catalog, it’s nearly impossible to pick any one song as the quintessential Beatles tune — but “All You Need Is Love” may be a strong contender.  With a playful attitude, idealistic (if tongue-in-cheek) lyrics and colorful orchestral arrangements, it has many of the characteristics that they became …

Unlocking the Mystery: How the Beatles’ “Come Together” Gets Under Your Skin

What made the Beatles such an enduring icon wasn’t their cute boy looks, vocal prowess, or catchy melodies.  It’s those combined with their adventurous, experimental and convergent (as in converging different genres) music.  Together with producer George Martin, they wrung every drip of potential out of each song, to create albums after albums …

The Beatles “Nowhere Man”: Arranging a Lean, Mean Impact Machine

This is the second in a series examining a song from four different dimensions: songwriting, arrangement, performance, and production.  This post focuses on the oft-overlooked aspect of music: arrangement. In the previous post we examined how John Lennon wrote an efficient little pop gem using two well-matched chord progressions and repetitive …

Sophistication Beneath the Pretty Surface: The Beatles “Penny Lane”

So between John Lennon and Paul McCartney, it is commonly thought that John is the more experimental, “out there” one while Paul wrote more traditional pop tunes.  While there’s some truth to that, Paul was no stranger to adventurous songwriting, and beneath the sweet façade there are some sophisticated moves going …