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Penn’s Pick: The Beatles All Time Greatest Riffs




Band: The Beatles
Songs: Assorted
Writers: Assorted
Years Recorded: 1965 – 1969
Genre: Rock

In honor of the 50th anniversary of the Beatles landing in the United States and changing the course of popular music more so than any other group before or since, we’re featuring our top 5 riff picks that would give the Stones, Zeppelin, Sabbath or any other riff machine of a band a run for their money.

With so many to choose from, it was an almost impossible task to get the list down to just 5. Day Tripper, Hey Bulldog, Helter Skelter, Come Together, Paperback Writer, I Want You (She’s So Heavy), Dr. Robert, Tax Man, Get Back, … leaving any one of them off the list would seem like a sacrilege.

It had to be done, though!

What’s your top 5? Let us know!

#1 Day Tripper

Recorded in 1965, this riff is just as infectious as anything the Stone’s ever came up with, including Satisfaction and Jumpin’ Jack Flash.

The fact that it occurs more frequently within the song than any of the other riffs that follow qualifies it for top distinction (but it was a TOUGH call!)

#2 Paperback Writer

Recorded in 1966, I personally think that this riff is better and more powerful than Day Tripper, but it doesn’t occur as often within the song, hence the #2 position.

#3 Hey Bulldog

An obscure gem (by Beatles standards) recorded in 1968, not only does this song possess one of their greatest riffs ever, but it also showcases Paul’s prowess as one of the most innovative, unique bass players of all time. For those of you who never really saw him in this light, check this out!

#4 I Want You (She’s So Heavy)

Recorded in 1969, the exceptionally long and repetitive 3 minute outro within this song contains one of the most ominous, infectious riffs ever written. The first time that I heard this I thought it was Sabbath, NOT the Beatles!

#5 Come Together

Recorded in 1969, Paul’s bass line in Come Together is easily one of the most recognizable riffs in the history of Rock.

As a side note, in 1973 a lawsuit was brought against Lennon by Big Seven Music Corp. contending that he ripped off parts of Check Berry’s You Can’t Catch Me, including both the lyrics and music. The case was eventually settled out of court.