Our second set of The Beatles Early Singles picks up with some songs that really solidified their position in the U.S. Before January 1964 only a handful of their tunes were heard over here but the Capitol release of Meet The Beatles changed the musical landscape forever. Of course the February 9 Ed Sullivan show had a lot to do with the onset of Beatlemania as well. Later that year they finished their third album and first movie, A Hard Day's Night, which included four songs from this pack, their fourth album, Beatles For Sale, which included one, and a late year B-side they almost considered a throwaway. This set of lessons concludes with a track from their second movie, Help, released the following year.
Lesson 1: Can’t Buy Me Love - The Beatles - Guitar Lesson
Can’t Buy Me Love is a modified 12-bar blues tune that took on new life when George Martin suggested they rearrange the parts and start with the chorus.
George Harrison added a somewhat Carl Perkins-like solo that he really improvised every time. This lesson goes over lead ideas as well as John’s rhythm part.
Lesson 2: She’s A Woman - The Beatles - Guitar Lesson
She’s A Woman is a brilliant example of using a 12-bar-blues form as the foundation for a great song. Paul probably wrote it in a few minutes, on the way to the studio according to his recollection, and they recorded it in a day, probably the same day. The rhythm guitar just plays through a set of barre chords in the key of A, accenting the back beats, 2 & 4. We also take a short looks at George’s solo. The song can be found on Past Masters Volume One.
Lesson 3: You’re Gonna Lose That Girl - Beatles - Guitar Lesson
You’re Gonna Lose That Girl might be one of the most underrated Beatles songs out there. It may have even been considered filler for their 1965 movie Help. To the contrary, it is one of their most interesting progressions using multiple keys and modulations.
The lesson includes a breakdown of the progression, along with a chord not noted on any charts I have ever seen, as well as a short look at George’s simple, but tasty lead.
Lesson 4: All My Loving - Beatles - Guitar Lesson
All My Loving is a great example of many of the ways The Beatles redefined rock and roll, setting the bar out of reach of almost all creative musicians of the time, and for generations to come.
It had an innovative chord progression with complex counter guitar rhythms, a soaring melody with tight harmony and backing vocals, a short but unforgettable lead guitar break, and catchy lyrics, all wrapped up in just over two minutes.
The song is played in the key of E, using many barre chords, including some outside the common ‘E’ and ‘A ‘ families, and John Lennon’s guitar part will be quite a challenge for every guitar player.
The lesson includes both guitar parts, and considers ways of simplifying it a bit, as well as a look at George’s lead using the hybrid picking technique.
Lesson 5: I Saw Her Standing There - Beatles - Guitar Lesson
I Saw Her Standing There is an early rocker from Paul McCartney and John Lennon, kicking off The Beatles’ first album, Please Please Me. It uses some standard blues chords but usually in 8-measure phrases rather than 12-bar form. Like most of their songs, it also includes some jazzy twists and turns.
The lesson covers a basic way of strumming through the rhythm parts, a more complicated version based on Paul’s bass line, and some tips on George’s lead parts, which were more improvised than composed.
Lesson 6: Do You Want To Know A Secret - Beatles - Guitar Lesson
Do You Want To Know A Secret is one of two songs George sang on The Beatles’ debut album, Please Please Me. It featured a jazzy, descending chromatic passing chord, and a few nice embellishments from George’s guitar as well.
It is in the key of E, meaning there are quite a few barre chords, and some quick changes. The lesson also covers an easy way to play the intro instrumentally.
Lesson 7: I Should Have Known Better - Beatles - Guitar Lesson
Although not one of The Beatles’ best from the lyrics angle, I Should Have Known Better is a very fun-to-play strumming song. It is from A Hard Day’s Night and featured a Bob Dylan-esque harmonica intro, which translates very well to the guitar.
Other than that it just uses some open chords and simple strumming patterns. The lesson is done as an ear-training exercise so be sure to watch the first segment before looking at the chart or tab. There is also a short look at George’s solo, which simple followed the melody.
Lesson 8: If I Fell - Beatles - Guitar Lesson
It’s been quite a while since we looked at a Beatles song, way too long. If I Fell is one of John Lennon’s earliest “serious” ballads, although Paul McCartney’s influence and contributions are easily seen.
John was more comfortable as a rocker but this open the doors to In My Life, among others. It was part of their movie A Hard Day’s Night, and album as well.
The lesson just goes over the chord progression with some barre chord theory and technical tips included.
Lesson 9: Things We Said Today - Beatles - Guitar Lesson
Things We Said Today is a Paul McCartney song that really exemplifies many of the reasons The Beatles have to be considered one of the greatest bands/songwriters/influences of all time. It uses chord sequences and combinations unheard of at the time, syncopated rhythm guitar strumming along with sparse and simple lead punctuations, well-crafted lyrics, and a memorable melody with clever harmony. This lesson covers the chord progression and strumming patterns, as well as the sixteenth-note bounce that starts it off. There are a few barre chords and there is a segment on George’s part where he plays three string triad shapes up the neck.
Lesson 10: Eight Days A Week - Beatles - Guitar Lesson
With a title taken from one of Ringo’s malapropisms, Eight Days A Week, from The Beatles fourth album Beatles For Sale, was set to be released as a single in the U.K. until John came up with I Feel Fine, which was considered a better fit and bound to be a big hit.
Eight Days A Week features an interesting chord progression and the lesson includes a Listen segment for the student to try to figure it out. We also take a look at the intro and strumming triplets.