The 30 best Beatles songs that weren’t No. 1 hits in the U.S.

The Beatles are, well, what can we really say that isn’t obvious? They are probably the biggest band ever. The Fab Four remain icons of music. Throughout their time together, the Beatles created a litany of indelible songs and massive hits. In fact, 20 different Beatles songs hit number one on the Billboard Hot 100 charts. And yet, that isn’t the end of the Beatles’ quality output. In fact, these are 30 great songs from the Fab Four that were never chart-toppers in the United States.

1 of 30

“All My Loving”

“All My Loving”
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Interestingly, the Beatles (or their label, more than likely) didn’t go in too heavily on “All My Loving.” It was released as a single in Canada, becoming a number-one hit. Then, eventually, the Canadian single got imported to the United States, but that left it to peak at 45 in America, which is a real surprise.

2 of 30

“Twist and Shout”

“Twist and Shout”

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The Beatles did a lot of covers, especially in their early days. Among their covers, though, “Twist and Shout” is likely the best. John Lennon’s vocals are incredible and make the song really stand out. The Beatles, arguably, have the definitive version of this song.

3 of 30

“And I Love Her”

“And I Love Her”

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The Beatles did a lot of jangly rock early on, playing into their skiffle roots. “And I Love Her” is on the kinetic “A Hard Day’s Night,” but it’s a ballad. In fact, Paul McCartney called it “the first ballad I impressed myself with.”

4 of 30

“No Reply”

“No Reply”

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Speaking of the Beatles and covers, “Beatles for Sale” is laden with cover songs of ‘50s rock hits. The album opens, though, with “No Reply,” an original that feels like a piece with that style of rock music. To many, it represented a maturation of John Lennon’s songwriting.

5 of 30

“I’ll Follow the Sun”

“I’ll Follow the Sun”

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In a way, “I’ll Follow the Sun” could be viewed as a similar sign of maturation, but for McCartney instead of Lennon. Also, “Beatles for Sale” it’s a clear example of McCartney’s acumen with a catchy tune, even when keeping things simple.

6 of 30

“Nowhere Man”

“Nowhere Man”

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The early songs on this list are certainly notable, but in time some true, iconic Beatles hits would arrive and not reach the top of the charts. “Nowhere Man” is a lush song from “Rubber Soul,” an album that showcases the Beatles becoming less of a traditional rock and roll band and true innovators. The harmonies, and the guitar solo played in unison by Lennon and George Harrison. It definitely stands out as a good kind of muscle flexing in music.

7 of 30

“Eleanor Rigby”

“Eleanor Rigby”

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While “Eleanor Rigby” is an iconic song, it also makes sense that it wasn’t a number-one hit. After all, it’s a somewhat morbid song and existentially pretty grim. Sure, it’s an indelible Beatles song and a classic, but not exactly a traditional people-pleaser.

8 of 30

“Yellow Submarine”

“Yellow Submarine”

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“Yellow Submarine” is a dicey album, probably the Beatles’ worst, and the movie is more a curio than anything else. That being said, “Yellow Submarine,” the song, is catchy as all get out. The chorus sticks in your head in a good way.

9 of 30

“Strawberry Fields Forever”

“Strawberry Fields Forever”

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“Strawberry Fields Forever” and “Penny Lane” were released as a “Double A-Side” single, with “Strawberry Fields Forever” missing out on being on an album (it was included, against the band’s wishes, on “Magical Mystery Tour”). “Penny Lane” topped the charts, while “Strawberry Fields Forever” peaked at eight. Lennon called it his best work with the Beatles.

10 of 30

“Revolution”

“Revolution”

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“Revolution” was recorded a few different times, but the best version came as the b-side to “Hey Jude,” a song you may have heard of. For a serious-minded song, “Revolution” is also quite catchy. It’s political, but that doesn’t mean it can’t rip either.

11 of 30

“While My Guitar Gently Weeps”

“While My Guitar Gently Weeps”

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Finally, a George Harrison song. Thanks to the march of time, by this point, Harrison has gotten his due diligence for his work with the Beatles and then some, so we don’t need to rehash any of that. We’ll just say that “While My Guitar Gently Weeps” rules.

12 of 30

“Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band”

“Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band”

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The Beatles didn’t release singles for “Sgt. Pepper’s,” so maybe there is an asterisk to be attached to every song from that pseudo-concept album that makes this list. However, this is a list of the best Beatles songs that didn’t hit number one, and “Sgt. Pepper’s” is an excellent album with several great songs. That includes the title song, of course.

13 of 30

“With a Little Help from My Friends”

“With a Little Help from My Friends”

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The title song for “Sgt. Pepper’s” smoothly moves into “With a Little Help from My Friends.” Not only is this song great, but it’s also probably Ringo’s best showcase in the band. He provides the lead vocals with aplomb, and this song is exceptional. Frankly, we like it better than Joe Cocker’s famous cover.

14 of 30

“A Day in the Life”

“A Day in the Life”

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The closing track to “Sgt. Pepper’s” is “A Day in the Life.” It’s…interesting. Lennon and McCartney sort of share the song, and the McCartney part is fine, but it’s Lennon’s parts that soar. That being said, “A Day in the Life” is also an example of how well those two complemented each other.

15 of 30

“I Saw Her Standing There”

“I Saw Her Standing There”

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We go back to the beginning. “I Saw Her Standing There” is the first song from the first Beatles album. A true clarion call in that sense. Not yet the biggest band in the world, this song peaked at 14, which was encouraging and a sign of where the band would end up going.

16 of 30

“I’ve Just Seen a Face”

“I’ve Just Seen a Face”

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Influenced a bit by folk and country music, “I’ve Just Seen a Face” is one of the many McCartney love ballads that he wrote. The guy has never been afraid of sentiment, but he also has always known his way around a catchy tune. It’s hard not to tap your toe as “I’ve Just Seen a Face” revs up.

17 of 30

“Norwegian Wood (This Bird Has Flown)”

“Norwegian Wood (This Bird Has Flown)”

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Speaking of “Rubber Soul” as a turning point for the Beatles, “Norwegian Wood” is undoubtedly an example of that. It’s a contemplative ballad influenced by Bob Dylan, indeed, a far cry from the “She Loves You” days. The song went to number one in Australia, so maybe they really love extramarital affairs Down Under?

18 of 30

“Drive My Car”

“Drive My Car”

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You know, “Drive My Car” kind of undercuts all the talk of “Rubber Soul” being an inflection point for the band. It includes the lyrics, “Beep beep, beep beep, yeah,” after all. That being said, this song is also super catchy, so we don’t care.

19 of 30

“In My Life”

“In My Life”

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To Lennon, “In My Life” stuck out, as he considered it his first truly autobiographical song. The emotional element to it is clear, and Lennon’s vocals were always powerful, even when singing about silly trifles. The surprises related to this song are that it wasn’t an album closer and that it didn’t reach number one.

20 of 30

“She Said She Said”

“She Said She Said”

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The psychedelic influences that began to permeate the Beatles are often associated with “Tomorrow Never Knows.” However, like Don Draper, we don’t really dig that song. On the other hand, “She Said She Said” is a killer track that is a much better example of the Beatles getting psychedelic.

21 of 30

“And Your Bird Can Sing”

“And Your Bird Can Sing”

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Lennon dismissed “And Your Bird Can Sing,” even though he primarily wrote it, but that’s fine because the instrumentation of McCartney and Harrison primarily propel it. Their harmonizing guitar work really grabs you, keeping the song catchy and infectious.

22 of 30

“Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds”

“Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds”

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Man, “Sgt. Pepper’s” really came out of the gate on fire. We mentioned the first two songs already, and then “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds” hits third. Is this the best psychedelic pop song ever recorded? It’s definitely in the running.

23 of 30

“Getting Better”

“Getting Better”

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Then, after “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds,” we get “Getting Better” on “Sgt. Pepper’s.” If only the Beatles’ best album had singles released for it, this list could be quite different. While “Getting Better” is a bit more traditional than the first three songs on the album, that doesn’t mean it is a drop-off in quality.

24 of 30

“She’s Leaving Home”

“She’s Leaving Home”

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Lennon and McCartney were always credited together, but many times their songs weren’t all that collaborative. “She’s Leaving Home,” though, is a true example of the two icons collaborating. McCartney wrote the verses, while Lennon wrote the chorus, which the two sang together. It’s one of the more somber songs the band ever recorded, but a lovely ballad, to be sure.

25 of 30

“Dear Prudence”

“Dear Prudence”

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“The White Album” is vast and, to be honest, a mixed bag. That being said, “Dear Prudence” is as good as any song the Beatles ever recorded. Now, Ringo isn’t on the song, as they recorded it during a time when Ringo was fed up with Paul (something the three non-Paul Beatles could all commiserate about) and left the band temporarily as a result, but we still have to include it.

26 of 30

“Happiness is a Warm Gun”

“Happiness is a Warm Gun”

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Like many of “The White Album,” “Happiness is a Warm Gun” is a weird song. It’s experimental and a bit all over the place. In this instance, though, it actually works. Lennon’s vocals play a big part in that.

27 of 30

“Here Comes the Sun”

“Here Comes the Sun”

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A cheerful little ditty, Harrison counterintuitively wrote it at a fraught time in his life. From that darkness came some light, though. “Here Comes the Sun” is a delightful and uplifting tune, right down to the instrumentation and the guitar work.

28 of 30

“Something”

“Something”

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Harrison’s other contribution to “Abbey Road,” the last album the band recorded and the second-to-last released, is maybe not quite as chipper as “Here Comes the Song,” but it is still a great example of Harrison’s songwriting. It’s something of an existential love song, which is fascinating in its own right. Harrison really knocked it out of the park with his two chances to shoulder the load on “Abbey Road.”

29 of 30

“Carry That Weight”

“Carry That Weight”

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“Carry That Weight” is swift, concluding in a mere 96 seconds. The second side of “Abbey Road” is laden with quick little songs, almost as if the band was trying to get every idea they had left onto the album. “Carry That Weight” doesn’t feel underbaked at all, though. Plus, it features all four Beatles on the vocals.

30 of 30

“Across the Universe”

“Across the Universe”

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“Let It Be” was released a month after the Beatles had already broken up. If you watched the Peter Jackson documentary, you know how fraught it was to put together. You also know that it is bolstered by covers and old songs they decided to record because, well, they had to record something. A few gems made the cut, though. The album had three singles, all of which went to number one because, of course, they did. The Beatles had broken up! “Across the Universe” was not a single, but it is a song that is on level footing with anything from “Let It Be,” even the iconic title track.



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