10 of The Best Beatles Love Songs

A Valentines Day Selection

The Beatles Love Songs
The record label for the 1997 compilation "Love Songs". Apple Corps Ltd.

With Valentines Day fast approaching here, in no particular order, are ten of the finest Beatle love songs out there. It’s difficult to limit such a list to a particular number as there are so many beautiful Beatle love lyrics. There’ll always be arguments over what is included and what is left out. Please feel free to add to the list or suggest your own favorites!

Following the band’s break-up EMI/Capitol released it’s own selection simply called Love Songs. This was a double LP set and has never been subsequently re-issued on CD. Side One of that album kicks off with the first song on our list:

1. “Yesterday” What more is there to say about this legendary song? Paul McCartney’s classic ballad of love lost. The best lines? “Why she had to go, I don’t know, she wouldn’t say…..”. The lyrics are achingly heart-felt, full of sorrow and regret. “Yesterday” is the quintessential song about a love that once was but is no longer.

2. "If I Fell" is an interesting composition about the sometimes tentative and risky nature of falling in love. Here there are complications because the singer (John Lennon) is already in an existing relationship and it will have to end if another is to begin. “If I give my heart to you/I must be sure from the very start/That you would love me more than her….”. The song dates from 1964. It comes from the UK version of the album A Hard Day’s Night. In the US it appeared on Something New.

3. "I Want To Hold Your Hand" OK. Yes, it’s simple - but holding hands is where it can all start, especially for teens. The Beatles captured that sentiment beautifully – and probably why in 1963 it sold in the millions around the world. It’s also got a melody that you just can’t get out of your head!

4. "And I Love Her". The story goes that this beautiful balled was written by Paul McCartney while staying at the London home of his then girlfriend, Jane Asher. It’s a song of which McCartney is justifiably proud, especially the lines “Bright are the stars that shine/Dark is the sky/I know this love of mine/Will never die”. There's a clever use of words in the title, too. Putting in the "And" was creative, effective and different. Definitely got to be high up on any Valentines Day list of great love songs.

5. "When I'm Sixty-Four" Not a traditional love song in the true sense of the word, more an ode to a couple growing old together. Perhaps surprisingly this was written by Paul McCartney when he was very young back in the Cavern days in Liverpool. It didn’t make an appearance on record until 1967 and the Sgt Pepper album. It speaks of love lasting well beyond the first blush of infatuation, in fact love lasting even across the generations.

6. "P.S. I Love You" is a wonderfully visual song of a lover sitting down to write a letter to his partner. They are apart, but not forever as he’ll be home soon. It is simple in structure but clearly conveys its meaning. Need we say more? Another of the earliest Beatle songs, “P.S. I Love You” was included on the UK Please Please Me album and was the B-side to the single “Love Me Do”.

7. "All My Loving" This song is like a partner to “P.S. I Love You”. Again we have the idea of two lovers being apart and (in the pre-internet age) promising to keep in touch via the postal service. It is a simple reminder of how sweet love can be. "And then while I'm away/I'll write home every day/And I'll send all my loving to you.” The song dates back to 1963 and is distinguished as being the first song The Beatles sang in their US TV debut on the Ed Sullivan Show before an audience estimated to be around 73 million viewers.

8. "Something" Frank Sinatra once pronounced this George Harrison composition the best love song written in the last fifty years, and who are we to disagree with the Chairman of the Board? “Something” has been covered by many other artists (Frank Sinatra amongst them). The number of cover versions is in the hundreds. And there’s good reason for that. It is a gorgeous love song.

9. ”Two of Us” Again, not strictly a love song, but one that speaks about the joy of just being together. Where doesn’t really matter, in fact if we go out and get lost in the countryside that’s just fine – we have each other. The opening track on what was to be The Beatles’ final album, Let It Be, this song is exuberant and up beat. Best lines: "You and I have memories/longer than the road that stretches out ahead…."

10. “Real Love”. Apple and Capitol marketed this beautiful John Lennon song (posthumously recorded by the “Threetles” for The Beatles Anthology series) as a Valentines Day gift when it was first released in 1996 as a CD single. You could purchase the CD in an actual Valentines card and send it to a loved one. Best lines: "Thought I'd been in love before/But in my heart, I wanted more/Seems like all I really was doing/Was waiting for you.” A beautiful Lennon love song.

Of course, there are many more truly great songs which could easily have been included on this list. Love in its many forms was such a central theme in so much of The Beatles repertoire. We'll include ten more examples of great love songs in Part 2.