Six hundred million units sold worldwide. Fifteen UK number one albums. Twenty-five US number one albums. Twenty Billboard Hot 100 number one singles. Eighteen UK number one singles. The only act ever to occupy the entire Top 5 on the Hot 100. The UK's all-time highest selling singles act. Writers of the most-covered song of all time. When will your faves? (With thanks to @ohnostalgia for the rate graphics.) John Lennon. Paul McCartney. George Harrison. Ringo Starr. The Beatles. Four names and one slightly feeble pun, yet even the mention of any of them summons up multitudes – as Richie Unterberger puts it, “it's difficult to summarize their career without restating clichés”. The British Invasion and the psychedelic revolution, the ones who proved rock and roll could be for more than just singles, the ones who eventually invented the idea of the self-contained band that writes its own material, revolutionaries in recording technique who pushed the studio to its very limits, artists who constantly evolved and broke their own artistic boundaries, the voice of youth culture in the 60's and beyond. It is a story that has long since left the realms of history, and entered into the hallowed halls of myth. All of this is true, and no, they didn't do everything first like some people will say, but lionising all of this is closer to the truth than dismissing it is, at least. The legacy of all they did is essentially beyond words. With the strange slow death of mass culture, never again will there be an artist who is that all-consumingly popular, at one of the very few times in history when the biggest artist in the world and the best were one and the same. It might be hard, from a vantage point over half a century on, to appreciate just what level of impact they had or how much they grew and changed as artists over time, living as we do in a post-Beatles music world like a fish lives in water. (You might not personally be a fan, but I guarantee it, someone you are a fan of is.) And with a story so grand in its scope, it's hard to think about the Beatles at all without thinking of all the often sad, sometimes infuriating behind-the-scenes tales of what may or may not have happened. But at the end of the day, forget all the frighteningly intense personal drama and the controversies that raged behind the scenes, the reams of analysis and ink spilled over them, the gradual carving out of an “accepted” history and how that differs from the truth, the solo careers and what effect those have had on their legacy, the boomers too eager to attribute everything innovative to them and the zoomers far too keen to give them a knee-jerk trashing in response – what we have, at the end of the day, is the music. The wonderful, catchy, colourful, inventive, thought-provoking, heartstring-tugging, smile-making, life-affirming music. And that, of course, is what we are gathered here to rate. The world is inundated with Beatles scholarship and biography, ranging from the sublime to the ridiculous, and I'm under no illusion that I can add anything new to what is already there. I'm approaching this only from the perspective of a pop fan, one who has grown up in a world that the Beatles did much to create, and decided that on a forum dedicated to celebrating pop music and all that is good about it, the biggest pop act of all time really ought to get some rate attention. But there's still a lot of questions in the air, all with multifarious answers to be teased out of them. How did they grow and change, and where did that impetus come from, where do the influences lie? What made them click so well with the consumers of the 60's? Who was around them, and what, to make them what they were, and why was it them, of all bands, who got that measure of success? Just what did make them break up when they did? Why did their music matter so much then – and why does it matter now? Good questions. But hopefully, by the end of this rate, you'll have your answer. *** Anyway, some further preamble on what exactly it is we are rating. I considered a full discography rate at first, but concluded that that might not have had many takers, especially with how immense of an undertaking it would be. Over the course of eight years, the Beatles cranked out thirteen full-length albums (their twelve canonical UK ones, plus the US LP version of Magical Mystery Tour), one of which is a double album, plus a large body of non-LP material – 213 songs officially released within their lifetime, all in all, not to mention the outtakes and offcuts that have come out since then. Far too much for one person to take on, in other words, and I'm not saying it could never happen, but don't hold your breath. Clearly, some condensing would have to happen, and with the sixtieth anniversary of “Love Me Do” fast approaching, and how much the story of the Beatles is ultimately the story of the Sixties, I decided that sixty songs would be a good number. This is in large part derived from the tracklists of the Red and Blue Albums, with some little tweaks and additions here and there – a fairly catholic selection, in other words, but I make no apologies for that. At the end of the day, these are the songs that caught the zeitgeist, by far their most famous work, the songs that people will immediately turn to when they think of the Beatles, so why not pick them as representative, eh? There are plenty of more obscure tracks I wish I could have included, but alas; I intend to highlight some of these throughout the voting period, however. Well, I had to be a killjoy sometime, so here are... Rate each song in the post below on a scale from 0 to 10. Decimals to a single place, or half and quarter points, will both be accepted. No decimals over 10 please. PM the scores to myself, with the songs in the order listed in the post below, by 21 JUNE @ 11:59 PM GMT. An extension may be granted if enough people want it, but not indefinitely! You may award one song your precious 11. Choose well... For any song which has multiple versions in the list, please pick your favourite out of the versions and say which one you're rating in your PM. Commentary is not obligatory, but is highly encouraged if you want to do it. I would definitely like to see something for your 11's if you can though! We're all entitled to our own opinions, and if you want to be the person who gives “A Day in the Life” a 0, well, I can only admire your boldness. That said, anything that smacks of a troll vote WILL be discarded if you don't explain yourself. Don't spoil everyone else's fun, eh? Nothing else to wait for... words have been flowing out like endless rain into a paper cup, indeed... the song list is before you, so get cracking!