Paul's Four Most Underrated Beatle Songs

My consciousness of the Beatles was very limited when John's death occurred. But it was that event that triggered my exploration of and now undying devotion to all things Beatles (and Lennon). Sirius XM came out with an all Beatles channel a few months ago and it has been wonderful not with just the songs but with the snippets in between of Beatles trivia and guest hosts like Don Henley and Billy Joel breaking down Beatles songs. Another feature is for regular fans to call in with their four favorite songs and give a little spiel as to why. I could never pick just four songs.

So I made up another category of four underrated songs by Paul. Maybe I'll find some variations on this in the future. John always said Paul was a vastly underrated bass player and even though Paul could be shallow in his lyrics at times, other times he soared in ways people also don't give due recognition. I'll attempt to correct that oversight today.

I'll present these in chronological order. Note that original studio Beatles songs are banned on YouTube.

Things We Said Today (July 1964)

You say you'll be mine, girl
Till the end of time
These days such a kind girl
Seems so hard to find
Someday when we're dreaming
Deep in love, not a lot to say
Then we will remember
Things we said today

I was shocked the first time I heard this song written so early in the Beatles catalog as the final song on "A Hard Days Night". I felt Paul found a haunting corner of everyday life and beautifully expressed it. His emphasis on communication is thematic throughout his Beatle career, most notably in "We Can Work It Out". Here he sees the future rooted in words spoken this day while acknowledging in the melody a certain melancholy. It reaches an ancient sorrow brought to light. As Beatle songs predate human history, who knows what corner of the universe that came from. No matter how many times I hear it, I can never get to the bottom of it.

Fixing A Hole (May 1967)

And it really doesn't matter if
I'm wrong I'm right
Where I belong I'm right
Where I belong

A while back I saw in the theater a documentary on the making of Sgt. Pepper's. This guy has broken down other Beatles albums as well and I especially looked forward to this one. He did, however, skip over a few songs, one of those being "Fixing A Hole". I thought that was outrageous. I think the lyrics above to be a moment of clarified genius expressing the futility of arguing reality. Beatle Paul could step outside of himself sometimes and make these wonderful observations. "When he wanted to, he could think." (John referring to Paul). This song forced me to realize I could be right or wrong about the shape of the earth but my place on it remains the same. That was a relief.

Fool On The Hill (November 1967)

Day after day, alone on the hill
The man with the foolish grin is keeping perfectly still
But nobody wants to know him
They can see that he's just a fool
And he never gives an answer

But the fool on the hill
Sees the sun going down
And the eyes in his head
See the world spinning around

Yes, this is considered a classic but is still not properly appreciated. Paul paints the picture of a "wise" fool and I love that seeming contradiction. I feel people for the most part are a little disturbed by the vision of a wise fool spying on them, seeing them for what they are, never answering their demands. So this song is not embraced as it should be. Though maybe not conscious of it, Paul is speaking of every artist ever born, observing and smiling like a Cheshire cat who never tells you why. Lennon also liked this song and whenever I hear it I want to expand it into a film and explore it deeper.

You Never Give Me Your Money (Recorded May 1969)

Out of college, money spent
See no future, pay no rent
All the money's gone, nowhere to go
Penny jobber, got the sack
Monday morning, turning back
Yellow lorry slow, nowhere to go
But oh, that magic feeling, nowhere to go
Oh, that magic feeling, nowhere to go

Paul is sitting atop the Beatles mountain here knowing it's about to crumble. Only those four know what that was like. He was, in essence, homeless. To me, I imagine a person walking the streets with a special feeling inside he can't get out. It's a painful place to be and obviously not a sustainable way of life. I read where Paul no longer sings this stanza in concert when he does this song. I can understand why. He's left alone on the edge of the universe wondering if he's going to fall into the abyss. It's a horrible thought but I'm forever grateful he went there and captured it for all eternity.

Views: 78

Comment by cheshyre on October 20, 2017 at 4:54am

Finally, some real news.

Comment by koshersalaami on October 20, 2017 at 6:09am

I really like this. Your observation of Fool on the Hill describing every artists is by itself worth reading the post. 

And John was right about Paul as a bassist. His work was insanely good. The Beatles aren't known for playing instrumentally in such a way that “I'd like to sound like him" would apply generally. It does with Paul's bass playing. 

I think Penny Lane is a masterpiece, though perhaps not underrated. 

Comment by alsoknownas on October 20, 2017 at 6:51am

Great post. "Things We Said Today" came dangerously close to defining The Beatles as a folk band.

The harmonies alone stood out as different enough from the rock genre to make them in essence undefinable.

Comment by ABG 2.0 on October 20, 2017 at 8:00am

excellent choices ... too many to choose from

TAXMAN & DRIVE MY CAR are my favorites as well

the BEATLES were a major influence in my life ... i had a BEATLE cut, BEATLE boots, NEHRU jacket

i remember gathering the family together for a listen to fool on the hill, only my mother made comment 'that's a nice tune' ... needless to say, i kept my rok 'n roll to my self after that, that is until I brought my band home to practice! we were know as SUNSHINE JELLO 

the 60s were a grand time and place

Comment by cheshyre on October 20, 2017 at 1:19pm

I have zero ability to judge his bass playing, Kosh, but I like learning about it. Penny Lane is certainly a masterpiece but I do hear people rightly gushing over it.

Never thought of it as folk but I think you're right about that, aka, and I think that's what's been bugging me about it. Folk songs reach deep in our consciousness.

ABG, we need  a pic of you in your Nehru jacket!

Comment by koshersalaami on October 20, 2017 at 1:32pm

You can hear his bass playing at the forefront in a few places. Listen to the second section of A Day in the Life, making his way downstairs. Also listen closely to Something. 

Comment by Foolish Monkey on October 21, 2017 at 1:08pm

I get so emotional I become bogged down - that's what the beatles music does to me.   and while they were fine on their own, together - so unique, so myriad and remarkable - they waste me.  there was nothing like them and their diversity.

Comment by Rodney Roe on October 21, 2017 at 2:41pm

I remember hearing the Beatles for the first time ( I want to hold your hand) and stopping in my tracks. I was about twenty, and was a big fan. I know this is about Paul, but since he and JOHN wrote most of the music it was hard to separate Paul from Beatles.

Most of their later music, to me, was about young people - like the fool on the hill - being able to see the folly of our.age, culture and trying to correct it.

but those were about communication. Good job. I enjoyed your take.

Comment by Arthur James on October 21, 2017 at 3:14pm



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