The Beatles, one of the most iconic bands in history, not only crafted unforgettable songs for their albums but also had a treasure trove of incredible tracks that didn’t make it onto their studio releases. During a time when singles held more prominence than albums, The Beatles revolutionized the concept of a complete artistic statement with their records. Let’s take a chronological journey through seven of the best Beatles songs that remained hidden from their official albums.
While these songs never made it onto a Beatles studio album, they stand as a testament to the band’s incredible depth of talent and creative range. The Beatles’ legacy extends far beyond their official releases, with these hidden gems representing some of their finest work.
‘I’m Down’ (1965)
This Abbey Road gem featured Paul McCartney’s soulful, vocal-cord-shredding performance reminiscent of John Lennon’s ‘Twist and Shout.’ With dark lyrics and an energetic blend of Little Richard and Chuck Berry influences, this straight-ahead rocker showcased the band’s versatility.
‘Paperback Writer’ (1966)
Recorded during a break in the Revolver sessions, this A-side single presented a deceptively sweet vocal harmony backed by biting guitars, a thumping bassline, and standout drum fills by Ringo Starr. Paul McCartney’s songwriting prowess shone through, setting the stage for his later storytelling masterpieces.
Serving as the B-side to ‘Paperback Writer,’ ‘Rain’ captivated listeners with its resonant bassline and Ringo Starr’s exceptional drumming. Starr’s unconventional beat never settled into a groove, accompanied by a backmasked vocal track in the final verse, making it an experimental Beatles track that pushed boundaries.
‘Lady Madonna’ (1968)
Composed as a bluesy tune, this early 1968 recording showcased Paul McCartney’s piano skills and had a bouncy, hooky feel. The song’s forceful guitar riffs, Ringo’s dynamic snare beats, and the addition of saxophones infused it with an R&B flavor, foreshadowing the direction the band would take with The White Album.
‘Hey Jude’ (1968)
Penned by Paul McCartney, this monumental hit featured his delicate piano playing and evolved into an anthem with contributions from John Lennon, Ringo Starr, and George Harrison. The infectious “Na, na, na, na-na-na-na / Hey Jude” harmonies, along with the gradual incorporation of strings, brass, and woodwinds, made it an unforgettable Beatles masterpiece.
The flip side to ‘Hey Jude,’ ‘Revolution’ presented a contrasting style. With its distorted guitar riff, Ringo’s intense drumming, and dueling guitar and piano solos, this single showcased The Beatles’ ability to explore diverse musical territories and push the boundaries of their sound.
‘The Ballad of John and Yoko’ (1969)
John Lennon and Yoko Ono’s honeymoon-inspired composition was recorded with Paul McCartney when George Harrison and Ringo Starr were unavailable. This country-tinged tune featured a captivating vocal melody by John, complemented by Paul’s vibrant bassline and solid piano work. Despite its controversial lyrics, the single achieved chart success in both the US and the UK.