100 Greatest Beatles Songs

From 'Helter Skelter' to 'Sgt. Pepper's,' ranking of John Lennon, Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr, George Harrison's output

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'Yer Blues'
Gamma-Keystone via Getty Images76/100

76. 'Yer Blues'

Main Writer: Lennon
Recorded: August 13, 14 and 20, 1968
Released: November 25, 1968
Not released as a single

Lennon had the bad kind of blues in India. He'd felt suicidal there, he later said, and searching for cosmic awareness in the Maharishi's camp made him feel like the clueless Mr. Jones from Bob Dylan's "Ballad of a Thin Man." Lennon channeled his misery into one of his most scalding performances, although he told Rolling Stone that he had "a self-consciousness about singing blues. . . . We were all listening to Sleepy John Estes and all that in art school, like everybody else. But to sing it was something else."

To re-create the vibe of its early years, Lennon had the band record the basic track of "Yer Blues" elbow-to-elbow in a closet next to the main Abbey Road studio. A few weeks after the White Album was released, Lennon played "Yer Blues" with one-off supergroup the Dirty Mac (featuring Eric Clapton, Keith Richards and Mitch Mitchell) for the Rolling Stones' Rock and Roll Circus. It was also the only Beatles song he played at the Plastic Ono Band gig a year later, released as Live Peace in Toronto 1969.

Appears On: The Beatles

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