The above headline says it all. Rolling Stone, the magazine that formerly brought you thought-provoking music journalism, continues to rank every conceivable aspect of music, this time with “The Beatles 100 Greatest Songs.” Unsurprisingly, the archaic publication chose Sgt. Pepper’s “A Day in the Life” as the fab four’s top track. This strikes me as both lazy and obvious given Rolling Stone’s track record and I hold that this piece is little more than populist fluff.
Formerly Rolling Stone chose “Hey Jude” as the top Beatles track for their “Special Collectors Edition” issue, “The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.” For that list, “Hey Jude” came in at #8 while “A Day in the Life” trailed behind at #26, coming after “Yesterday” (#13), “I Want to Hold Your Hand” (#16), “Let it Be” (#20), and” “In My Life” (#23). This may lead you to believe that Rolling Stone is making a bold choice by naming “A Day in the Life” as the top Beatles song, however, as far as RS’s methodology goes, it fits their criteria of choosing “The Greatest”‘s that are slightly avant-garde though wildly popular. The magazine considers Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band to be the greatest album of all time and Bob Dylan’s epic, “Like a Rolling Stone”, is their greatest song of all time. By my calculation, plug ”The Beatles 100 Greatest Songs” into their equation for “The Best” and you obviously get “A Day in the Life”
I undoubtably have my issues with lists, ranking, and genre labeling, but this list seems offensive to any Beatles fan. It is old hat to argue about what song is the Beatles greatest, since both the magazine and other writers have explored this area many times over. This shows that Rolling Stone is an old dog with no new tricks, relying on the fervent Beatles and classic rock fan base to purchase their publication and validate their existence. I, for one, do not intend to support their tired efforts and I caution those Beatles and music fans who buy the “Special Collectors Edition” issue.
But, what do you think? Is “A Day in the Life” The Beatles greatest song? Can there be an accurate/ uncontroversial/ objective list of The Beatles 100 Greatest Songs?
The Top 10 Beatles songs according to RS are:
1. A Day in the Life
2. I Want to Hold Your Hand
3. Strawberry Fields Forever
5. In My Life
7. Hey Jude
8. Let It Be
9. Come Together
10. While My Guitar Gently Weeps