The Beatles’ 5 Scariest Songs
Everybody loves The Beatles. And if you don’t love The Beatles, you’re probably just one of those people that likes to take the opposite stance of everybody so that you can seem edgy and unique. This quartet evolved from personalized pop hits (“I Saw Her Standing There”) to edgy, experimental rock n’ roll (“I Am the Walrus”), and did it while maintaining their songwriting abilities and charming personalities. But, not all of their songs are so happy-go-lucky. In fact, some of them are downright scary…
Run For Your Life (Rubber Soul)
When this song was playing on my family’s stereo in the mid-90s, we jokingly called it The OJ Simpson Song. The lyrics come from the perspective of a lover scorned, as Lennon sings “well I’d rather see you dead little girl than to be with another man,” and “catch you with another man, that’s the end little girl.” For those that don’t remember, this was right around the time OJ was on trial for murdering Nicole Brown for that very same thing. Allegedly.
Revolution 9 (White Album)
“Numba 9… Numba 9… Numba 9…” How can a recording of somebody saying the same friggin’ thing over and over again be so spine-chilling? I first heard this song during my Beatles discovery era, and at 10 years old I nearly soiled my diapers. The White Album was already weird enough (in the best way possible), and this eight-minute track–filled with overdubbed vocals, sound effects and distorted audio snippets–was too much for me. In fact, I still can’t listen to it.
Eleanor Rigby (Revolver)
This song is basically about an old lady that lives all alone and nobody cares about, and when she dies the only person that goes to her funeral is Father McKenzie, because he is giving the sermon. While we don’t know if Father McKenzie and Eleanor ever had a sexual relationship, we do know that he must be a very cheap man if he prefers taking the time to darn his socks instead of just buying a new pair. I mean, seriously. Besides the depressing subject matter of this Revolver tune, McCartney’s imagery of Eleanor staring out her window with a full face of makeup on, coupled with the frantic violin in the background, make this song super eerie.
A Day in the Life (Sgt. Peppers)
The only part of this song that isn’t unsettling is when McCartney pleasantly sings about combing his hair and smoking a cig. The rest is history–literally: the first two verses are rumored to be inspired by the death of Tara Browne, a friend of the Beatles who had a fatal car accident a week before Christmas. And the song’s final verse: “now we know how many holes it takes to fill the Albert Hall,” actually sounds a lot more sketchy than it is. I had always assumed Lennon was talking about bullets, but it’s actually taken from a story in the Daily Mail about the number of potholes in the city of Blackburn, Lancashire. Personally, I always found the scariest part of this song to be what happens when you play it backwards.
Maxwell’s Silver Hammer (Abby Road)
Straight up, this song is about a serial killer. And not even a cool serial killer–a serial killer that bops people on the head with a hammer like Little Bunny Foo-Foo. (Come to think of it, that song is kind of fucked up, too.) His girlfriend, his teacher, even the judge who is about to sentence him can’t escape Maxwell and his silver hammer (just had a thought–what if “silver hammer” is some sort of metaphor for Maxwell’s penis? That would really change the tone of the song, now wouldn’t it). Naturally, during the final verse of the Abby Road tune there are girls in the courtroom crying out that “Maxwell must go free!” How very late-60s, Charles Manson-esque of you, McCartney.
(Main page image courtesy LordyLordyRingo via DeviantArt)