With The Beatles Songs Ranked

With the Beatles is the second studio album by the English rock band the Beatles. It was released on 22 November 1963 on Parlophone, exactly eight months after the band’s debut Please Please Me. Produced by George Martin, the album features eight original compositions (seven by Lennon–McCartney and “Don’t Bother Me”, George Harrison’s first recorded solo composition and his first released on a Beatles album) and six covers (mostly of rock and roll and Motown R&B hits). The cover photograph was taken by the fashion photographer Robert Freeman and has since been mimicked by several music groups over the years. A different cover was used for the Australian release of the album, which the Beatles were displeased with. Here are all of With The Beatles’ songs ranked.

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14. Little Child

“The boys sound like they’re having a blast, and John’s sarcastic “I’m so sad and lone-ly” is hilarious. But this is still a filler track, right down to the “come on”’s, which bring to mind “Please Please Me”. It’s better heard in the context of the LP than on its own.”

13. Hold Me Tight

“An out-of-tune throwaway (rejected for the “Please Please Me” LP, which should tell you something) that should never have seen official release, at least not until the “Anthology” series. Even geniuses have their off days in the studio. I was shocked to hear this as one of the songs chosen for inclusion in “Across The Universe” – it sounds better there, maybe because it’s sung in tune.”

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12. Devil In Her Heart

“I like Ringo’s maracas, and Paul’s bassline shows the rudiments of the dexterity to come. But overall, this is a lukewarm performance of a tune that’s not that great to begin with. Definitely the weakest of George’s 3 vocal contributions here.”

11. Not a Second Time

“This song is worth having on the basis of the ahead-of-their time harmonies at the end – only the Wilson brothers were doing this kind of thing in a rock context. Fortunately, the rest of the tune is solid as well, with John’s paranoia front-and-center and Ringo’s drum figure between verses making up for the dorky piano solo. It’s amazing how quickly their songwriting developed: even greater things were just an album away…”

See more: The Beatles Albums Ranked

10. You Really Got a Hold On Me

“It would take a few years for John to approach Smokey Robinson’s genius with a lyric, but his love for the Motown star’s skill is evident on the Beatles’ only cover of a Miracles tune. Aided by one of George’s best-ever harmony vocals, John’s voice manages the nearly impossible feat of equalling Smokey’s: he knows he’s trapped by his emotions, but is helpless in the face of love. In some ways, John’s performances on the early tunes are his purest and most emotionally revealing – listen to his delivery of “please” and “squeeze” and I think you’ll agree that the simplest of lyrics can speak volumes.”

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9. Till There Was You

“A definite improvement over “A Taste Of Honey”. Despite Paul’s pronunciation of “saw” as “sore”, he manages to sound as sweetly romantic as he thinks himself to be, and George’s delicate guitar work is a reminder that he’s more than just a rocker.”

8. All I’ve Got to Do

“While “It Won’t Be Long” starts things off with a frantically enthusiastic bang, John follows it up by proving to be equally adept at balladry. The stop-start melody allows Ringo one of his finest performances here, and I love the block harmonies on the middle eighth. As usual on their early tracks, it’s the improvisations that puts them ahead of the competition – in this case, John stretches out the “I’ll” in “I’ll be here, yes I will, whenever you call” so much that he has to hurry the rest to keep up with the band. A masterpiece of quiet assurance, from the opening chord to the humming fadeout.”

The Beatles - Recess at City Hall

7. I Wanna Be Your Man

“Despite Paul’s shrieks, this is energetic fluff, notable mostly for some nice organ work from that other George and Ringo’s deadpan vocals. It’s also perhaps their only tune improved in the hands of another: the Stones slow this down and make the prospect of the title phrase horrifying, rather than lighthearted.”

6. Don’t Bother Me

“Competing in the songwriting arena with John and Paul is a no-win situation for anyone, so credit must be given to George for holding his own throughout their career together. His very first recorded composition, “Don’t Bother Me”, is quite a contrast to the exuberance of the Lennon-McCartney originals found elsewhere on this LP. Rather than seek solace in the arms of a new love, George just wants to be left alone in his misery, a bit of post-adolescent self-torture than we can all remember, even if we don’t want to. The downbeat melody, Ringo’s subdued work, and that vocal stretch to deliver “I know she’ll always be” add to the mood of angry petulance. John would become known for exploring this angsty territory, but the Quiet Beatle got there first.”

See more: The Beatles Songs Ranked

5. Money (That’s What I Want)

“John’s high point as an interpreter comes early in his career, covering Motown’s first-ever pop hit, which was given a fairly lighthearted delivery by Barrett Strong. There’s nothing flippant about the Beatles’ version – even the opening piano figure is pure menace, and once John spits out “The best things in life are free/but you can keep ‘em for the birds and bees”, any irony or good humor in the lyrics disappears without a trace. Seattle bands aside, many musicians get into rock at least partly with the thought of becoming rich and famous, and nowhere is that fact spelled out more blatantly, or viciously, than it is here. The final verse, with John screaming out his need for recognition while the harmonies offer ironic precision, is one of the most intense moments in rock music.”

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4. Please Mister Postman

“The band offers a near-carbon copy of the Marvelettes’ chart-topper, with John wisely chosen as lead vocalist – can you imagine any of the others singing it? As a result, it’s a near-equal to the original, though I suppose it could be argued that a girl would be more likely to be sitting around waiting for a letter than a guy would. I’ve often wondered if it was recorded in acknowlegment of the love letters John wrote Cynthia while he was away on tour, though that seems a little too sentimental given his personality.”

3. Roll Over Beethoven

“Despite George’s love for Carl Perkins, his most passionate and convincing vocal performance of someone else’s song is found right here. Admittedly, it’s hard to go wrong with Chuck Berry’s standard, but George handles the solos with ease, and Ringo creates a joyful, cymbal-happy noise behind him. Fans of the original are advised to check out the live version, which featurs a harmony vocal from Paul on the final chorus that I wish they’d done here as well.”

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2. It Won’t Be Long

“One of the many areas the Beatles consistently excelled at was their choice of opening cuts. “It Won’t Be Long” begins with John declaiming the title a cappella, and never lets up after that breathless moment. The “yeah”s here not only links the song to “She Loves You”, but echoes the call-and-response of gospel, then being secularized by Ray Charles. Unusual harmony vocals on the “since you left me” refrain (I can never quite make out what they’re singing), Paul’s octave-leaping “Yeah!” on the final chorus, and John’s bursting-with-excitement delivery of “You’re coming home” make for yet another track any other group, then or now, would’ve released as a single.”

1. All My Loving

“After John’s potent one-two punch, it’s up to Paul to come up with something just as memorable. “All My Loving” certainly does the trick, becoming one of the Beatles’ most-loved non-singles (it actually charted in the States as a Canadian import). This rollicking tune combined its author’s way of making greeting-card lyrics sound much less clichéd than they actually are with his love of rock, aided immeasurably by John’s speedy guitar fills, one of George’s finest early solos and a strong bass line. While John is definitely the dominant creative force of the pre-“Help!” material, his partner can be counted on for a crowd-pleaser or two of his own.”