The Beatles are one of the most iconic bands, not only in rock history but in music history.
Their compositions have served as templates for many, many modern bands and they are a great source of inspiration and understanding of contemporary, popular music.
20 Easy Beatles Guitar Songs
Please Please Me
Please Please Me is track #7 in the Beatles’ first album, which is also titled Please Please Me. This song functioned as their first single in the United States, as well as their second single in the UK.
Although this song (and almost all Beatles songs, for that matter) was credited to Lennon-McCartney, John Lennon later said he wrote this song on his own, attempting to copy American singer-songwriter Roy Orbinson.
Please Please Me is in the key of E. The guitar part follows the vocal melody quite closely and is a great beginner song without it being an all-strum song.
Love Me Do
Love Me Do is the first track of the B-side of the Beatles’ first album, Please Please Me. However, they had previously released this song as their first single ever. Consequently, this song was one of their first #1 singles.
Paul McCartney is the main writer of the song, with John Lennon contributing to the bridge of the song.
Love Me Do is a three-chord song in the key of G. It is one of the simplest songs you can learn and is mainly known for its harmonica, rather than any guitar lines from George Harrison.
I Saw Her Standing There
I Saw Her Standing There is the very first track in the Beatles’ debut album, Please Please Me. Paul McCartney primarily wrote this song and was strongly influenced by Chuck Berry’s Talkin’ About You.
This song is a classic example of early rock music, where one guitar is doing rhythms with the chords, and the other is following the bass line closely. You’ll also get an easy, pentatonic-driven solo to learn.
I Saw Her Standing There is in the key of E, and it’s a slightly more challenging song than most of their simple tunes.
Paperback Writer is a song written by Paul McCartney and released by the Beatles as a single. It is one of their few hits to not be included in a studio album, only in future compilation albums. The Beatles released this song in 1966 and was able to find the top of the charts.
Paul McCartney wrote this song after having a conversation with his Aunt Lil. She had challenged him to write songs that weren’t love songs. Paul McCartney decided to write a song about an aspiring writer sending a letter to an established publisher.
Paperback Writer is in the key of G.
A Hard Day’s Night
A Hard Day’s Night is the opening track of the Beatles’ third album, also titled A Hard Day’s Night. This album is the first to feature all Beatles songs and no covers.
The title of this song came from drummer Ringo Starr stating how tired he was after a full day of work.
A Hard Day’s Night is in the key of G and is a fairly easy song to learn. Notice how this song has the F chord, which is not on the key but gives it that rock flavor many people use.
I Should Have Known Better
I Should Have Known Better is the second track of the Beatles’ third album, A Hard Day’s Night. It was also one of the tracks used for their movie, also titled A Hard Day’s Night.
This song features harmonica lines similar to the style of English-Australian country music singer Frank Ifield. It also features a 12-string guitar solo from George Harrison.
I Should Have Known Better is in the key of G and has all diatonic-based chords (chords in the key of G). It is a great song for acoustic rhythm guitar, as well as a simple yet tasty guitar solo.
If I Fell
If I Fell is another track in the Beatles’ third album, A Hard Day’s Night. As you can tell, that album was quite popular and successful. If I Fell is a ballad that goes away from their more rock n’ roll elements and draws on jazzier harmonies.
“That’s my first attempt at a ballad proper. … It shows that I wrote sentimental love ballads way back when”, Lennon said in an interview later in their career.
If I Fell is in the key of D and is mostly diatonic. However, this song heavily relies on the G minor chord, which is a common harmonic tool (iv)
She Loves You
She Loves You is one of the Beatles’ most commercially successful songs. Written by Paul McCartney and John Lennon, this song was set as a single release in 1963. To this day, it remains the band’s best-selling single in the UK and the top single of the 60s.
Both Lennon and McCartney stated that Elvis’ All Shook Up and Bobby Rydell’s hit Forget him were the main inspiration to write the song.
She Loves You is in the key of G and is a very easy song to learn, as it is mainly rhythm, with a couple of fills and rhythmic hits.
And I Love Her
And I Love Her is yet another song from the Beatles’ third album A Hard Day’s Night. They also released this song as an independent single, along with If I Fell. However, they did only perform this song once outside of the studio in 1964.
Paul McCartney was the primary songwriter of this song, with John Lennon contributing heavily on the bridge. Paul credited George Harrison with composing the guitar riff in the song, claiming he should have been added as a co-writer as well.
And I Love Her is in the key of E, and it gravitates between E and the relative minor, C#m.
Eight Days A Week
Eight Days A Week is a song in the Beatles’ fourth studio album, Beatles For Sale, released in December 1964. This album is considered the first real notion that the Beatles would be moving on from all happy-lovey-upbeat songs.
However, this song is still in that style and is their most successful song in the album, becoming their seventh #1 hit.
Eight Days A Week is in the key of D with the addition of the E chord, to give it a different flavor. It is a fairly simple song to learn as it is all rhythm guitar.
Help! is the opening track in the Beatles’ fifth studio album, also titled Help! This album achieved a very important milestone, as it was the first-ever Album of the Year Grammy nomination a rock band would receive. This song served as a promotional single and hit the #1 charts both in the US and the UK.
John Lennon wrote the lyrics to this song, as a way of coping with the stress of all of the sudden becoming famous. It is considered an important moment in John’s songwriting evolution.
Help! is in the key of A and is another great song to improve your rhythm guitar skills.
Drive My Car
Drive My Car is the opening track in the Beatles’ sixth studio album Rubber Soul, which they released in December 1965. This song was primarily written by Paul McCartney, who later stated it was one of the hardest songs to write, as he just wasn’t feeling it.
This song has a mixture of rhythm guitar and fills that portray a good combination of guitaristic elements used in their composition. The guitar solo is also easy to learn.
Drive My Car is in the key of D and is a great beginner song.
Girl is another track on the Beatles’ sixth album Rubber Soul. John Lennon wrote the majority of the song and it is one of their most melancholic and complex love songs in their catalog.
John Lennon later stated that the “girl” in the song was an archetype he had been chasing during all his youth. He later found that archetype in Yoko Ono.
Girl is in the key of Em and has a great, greek-type arrangement on an acoustic guitar. Another good song to explore different accompaniments for guitar.
Got To Get You Into My Life
Got To Get You Into My Life is the second to last track in the Beatles’ seventh studio album, Revolver. This album is their last one before retiring from doing live performances. It is also considered one of their most innovative ones, with its overt use of newer technology.
This song is heavily influenced by the Motown sound and features a lush horn arrangement. The guitar functions in a backing role, making this song one of their easier hits to learn.
Got To Get You Into My Life is in the key of G.
Yellow Submarine is another track from their seventh studio album, Revolver. On its own, this song is one of their biggest hits and their most successful song featuring drummer Ringo Starr on the vocals.
Both Paul McCartney and John Lennon wrote this song, inspired by children’s tunes. You can also hear several sound effects to give the impression of being at sea.
Yellow Submarine is in the key of Gb, and you’ll have to tune down your guitar 1/2 step: Eb-Ab-Db-Gb-Bb-Eb (that is if you wish to play along to the original recording).
Oh! Darling is a song from the Beatles’ eleventh studio album, Abbey Road. This album was the very last one before their breakup, which was slowly but surely coming. Nevertheless, Abbey Road is one of their more acclaimed albums.
Paul McCartney wrote this song inspired by the 50s and 60s doo-wop style. For this song, he had to perform the vocals every morning for a week to achieve the worn down, raspy vocals we hear on the record.
Oh! Darling is in the key of A and is a great song to practice a rhythm guitar with hits on the backbeat (beats 2 and 4).
I Want You (She’s So Heavy)
I Want You (She’s So Heavy) is the last track in side-A of their album Abbey Road. John Lennon wrote this song for Yoko Ono and even though the song has a simple blues structure, it is one of their most experimental/progressive rock type of songs.
The final song version is a mixture of two recording sessions, one during their Get Back sessions at the beginning of the year (1969) and the other one during their Abbey Road sessions.
I Want You (She’s So Heavy) is in the key of Am and has two great elements for you: A call and response type of licks and an arpeggiated, picking style of rhythm.
Don’t Let Me Down
Don’t Let Me Down is a song from the Beatles’ studio album Let It Be. This album is their twelfth and final studio album, which was actually released some months after the band’s breakup.
This project was conceived and driven by Paul McCartney in an attempt to reinvigorate the band’s spirits, particularly affected by John and Paul’s endless frictions and George Harrison’s sudden yet short departure. John Lennon wrote this song to Yoko Ono as a plea to not break his heart.
Don’t Let Me Down is in the key of E and has a lot of licks and melody lines within the pentatonic scale.
Let It Be
Let It Be is arguably one of their best, most recognized, and acclaimed songs. Written by Paul McCartney, this song was the final single of the band before Paul announced his departure.
Paul McCartney revealed that this song came to him in a dream where he spoke to his deceased mother. Let It Be is a declaration of surrendering to whatever must happen and was closely related to the band’s breakup.
Let It Be is in the key of C, and even though it’s a piano-driven song, it has a great solo to learn.
Hey Jude is another of their most commercially successful songs, also written by Paul McCartney. It was released solely as a single and appeared in no studio album.
Initially, this song was meant to be called “Hey Jules”, as comfort from Paul to John Lennon’s son Julian, who was experiencing his parents’ divorce (John and Cynthia).
Hey Jude is in the key of F and has no guitar parts. However, it is a great song to learn on acoustic, for which you will need a capo in the third fret.
15 Hard Beatles Guitar Songs
Till There Was You
Till There Was You is a show tune written in 1950 by American flutist and composer Roger Meredith Wilson. In 1963, the Beatles recorded their own version and included it on their second studio album, With The Beatles.
The Beatles’ version is more of a bossa nova-styled song with Spanish classical guitars accompanying Paul McCartney. This song is one of their most challenging ones for guitar players.
Till There Was You is in the key of F and has both interesting rhythms, as well as more complex, jazz-oriented harmonies. A great song for those looking to expand their accompanying guitar chops.
All My Loving
All My Loving is one of the Beatles’ most successful songs from their early years. Even though they never released this song as a single, All My Loving received a lot of radio play, as well as a great critic’s response.
Primarily written by Paul McCartney, this song is the third track of their second album With The Beatles.
All My Loving is in the key of A and has both excellent rhythm and lead guitar parts. On one hand, you have John Lennon’s extensive use of rhythm triplets. On the other hand, you have George Harrison’s Chet Atkinesque solo at your disposal.
Yesterday is another of the Beatles’ most successful and recognized songs in their career. It is the second to last track in their fifth album, Help!, and is the most-covered song ever written.
This song holds many songwriting/producing milestones for the Beatles. It is the first song to feature a string quartet, bringing in Baroque styles into their music. It is also the first song to only feature one of the Beatles, Paul McCartney.
Yesterday is in the key of F and is a hard song, especially for those looking to play a classical acoustic guitar type of song.
Norwegian Wood (This Bird Has Flown)
Norwegian Wood is the second track in the Beatles’ Rubber Soul. This song features a lot of the introspective, storytelling features of Bob Dylan, making it a milestone song in their career.
This song talks about an affair John Lennon had during that time. He wrote most of the song with contributions from Paul McCartney to the bridge.
Norwegian Wood is in the key of E, and you’ll need a capo in the second fret. It also features some sitar work from George Harrison, due to his interest in Indian music at the time.
Michelle is one of the Beatles’ most influential songs of their whole career. Paul McCartney wrote most of the song, with John Lennon helping in the bridge. They released it in their album Rubber Soul.
Paul McCartney revealed he wrote the guitar part looking to replicate American musician Chet Atkins. This is what makes this song challenging, is the harmonic and rhythmic elements on the guitar arrangement.
Michelle is in the key of Dm and is a great song to develop guitar accompaniment styles.
While My Guitar Gently Weeps
While my Guitar Gently Weeps is arguably the most important guitar-driven song in the Beatles’ discography. It was part of their ninth, self-titled studio album (also known as the White Album). It became their most controversial album at the time due to its lack of “quality” and consideration of the times in the US.
George Harrison wrote While my Guitar Gently Weeps, which served as an outlet for him to express the tensions the band had (this was one year before their inevitable breakup).
Nevertheless, this son is one of their most beautiful ones and is a great one to learn the ins and outs of George Harrison’s songwriting.
Blackbird is a song included in the Beatles’ White Album. Solely written by Paul McCartney, this song features him accompanying himself on acoustic guitar. It is one of their most challenging acoustic guitar songs.
In an interview, Paul explained that the inspiration behind the guitar riff in Blackbird came from Johann Sebastian Bach’s Bourrée in E minor. The fingerpicking style he uses, he learned from folk singer Donovan,
Blackbird is in the key of G, and the most challenging thing with this song is the fingerstyle pattern he uses.
Dear Prudence is another challenging acoustic/fingerstyle guitar-driven song. This song is also from their ninth studio album, the White Album. Since the majority of this album’s creation happened during their time in India, there are a lot of acoustic guitar-based songs included in the White Album.
Dear Prudence was written by John Lennon, which he later revealed is one of his favorite compositions. This song is directed to Prudence Farrow, John and George’s meditation partner during their time in Rishikesh.
This song is in the key of D major, and you will need to tune your low 6th string to D.
Something is a song written by George Harrison and included in one of their most successful and transcendental albums, Abbey Road.
This album marked the return of long-time band’s producer George Martin, who agreed to work on the album with the condition that they stuck to a better discipline than from their previous album.
Geroge Harrison drew inspiration by listening to American songwriter and label-mate James Taylor. Both John Lennon and Paul McCartney later recognized this song as Harrison’s best work.
Something is in the key of C and is one of their best guitar songs to learn.
Here Comes The Sun
Here Comes The Sun is another of the Beatles’ most recognized and successful guitar-driven songs. It’s also part of their eleventh studio album Abbey Road and is another of George Harrison’s most acclaimed songs.
Harrison wrote this song in early 1969 while staying at Eric Clapton’s house. This song talks about the relief and temperance brought by the coming of Spring.
Here Comes The Sun is in the key of A, and you’ll need a capo on the 7th fret to replicate George Harrison’s riffs. This one is also quite challenging for those looking for fingerstyle patterns.
I’ve Got A Feeling
I’ve Got A Feeling is a song in their twelfth and final studio album, Let It Be. This song is a mixture of two compositions: Paul McCartney’s I’ve Got A Feeling, and John Lennon’s Everybody Had a Hard Year.
They recorded this song during their famous rooftop concert on January 30th, 1969.
This song has a bit of a mixed intention as Paul McCartney wrote the song with a very hopeful and optimistic vibe while John Lennon wrote a much sadder song, as he had had a very difficult year.
I’ve Got A Feeling is in the key of A and has some very nice guitar comping parts, as well as bluesy riffs.
Get Back is the last track in side-A of their final studio album, Let It Be. This album was released a month after the band’s breakup.
In fact, the album did not receive the best of responses from critics. Nevertheless, this song served as a single for this album and is one of their most iconic songs.
Get Back is in the key of A and has a bluesy stricture, as well as blues licks, and rock and roll rhythms.
I Me Mine
I Me Mine is the last recorded song in their album Let It Be. Even though the recording session took place right before their breakup, John Lennon was not part of the performance.
George Harrison wrote this song during the Beatles’ tumultuous times. He drew inspiration from this and his great interest in Eastern philosophy and meditation. I Me Mine is a lament of humankind’s self-centeredness and egoism.
I Me Mine is in the key of Am and its arrangement alternates between waltz-time verses and shuffle, hard rock choruses.
Yer Blues is another song found in the Beatles’ ninth, double-sided studio album known as the White Album. This song is a 12-bar blues they did as a parody towards English imitators of the blues (including themselves).
Though credited to both Lennon and McCartney, this song was entirely written by John Lennon, who wanted a simple song to refresh himself from the intense songwriting they were doing at the time.
Yer Blues is in the key of E and has some great blues licks and riffs.
Revolution is one of the most commercially successful songs in the Beatles’ White Album. Three versions were recorded: a slow, blues arrangement which made the LP, a compilation of sounds titled Revolution 9, also found on the White Album. The version I chose is the third one, which is more rock and with a faster tempo.
This song was written by John Lennon as a criticism for the political tensions happening in the United States.
Revolution is in the key of B and has some great rock licks and riffs.
There are several other, more obscure Beatles’ songs that are also fantastic pieces to learn. I’d recommend you taking the time to explore their discography to understand their evolution as songwriters, performers, and arrangers much better.
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