5 Fantastic Beatles Songs that Start with the Chorus

Songs by The Beatles seem to have a way of disarming all defenses and burrowing into your mind and heart with incredible ease. One of the techniques they used to achieve this effect was the placement of the chorus of a song right at its beginning. Producer George Martin was a big proponent of this strategy, and it worked wonders throughout the group’s time together.

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For this list, we considered songs where the chorus is the first thing you hear from a vocal standpoint. That means we counted songs where there might be a brief instrumental intro before the chorus kicks into gear. Here are five songs, listed in chronological order, where The Beatles didn’t leave us waiting for the refrain.

“She Loves You” (1963)

This is the example that many fans immediately cite when talking about the Fab Four’s affinity for starting with a bang. “She Loves You” starts with a brief rumble of drums before you hear John Lennon, with Paul McCartney in harmony, urgently belting out, She loves you, yeah, yeah, yeah. (They add one more yeah for good measure before the first verse begins.) By titling the song “She Loves You” and putting that right at the front, The Beatles were letting the fans know they were doing something a little different from the typical love song in terms of the perspective.

“Help!” (1965)

This one is an interesting example of chorus first because, in this case, that chorus isn’t repeated for the rest of the song. Instead, a kind of second chorus emerges (the Help me if you can I’m feeling down part). But we believe it still counts for what we’re doing here. What’s also striking about how this song, the title track to The Beatles’ second movie, is structured is John Lennon admitted in interviews after the fact that this was quite a personal song. He really was asking for help from anybody who would listen, so why not lead with that?

“Eleanor Rigby” (1966)

By the time they hit Revolver in 1966, every little experiment that The Beatles tried turned gold. They had used strings on “Yesterday” the previous year, but in conjunction with an acoustic guitar. With “Eleanor Rigby,” all the rock instruments were removed in place of those darting strings, which were meant to be played violently as if they were percussion. But before you even notice the strings, a soaring chorus hits first. Ah, look at all the lonely people, Paul McCartney sings, with John Lennon and George Harrison helping in harmony. Those words set the table for the sad stories we’re about to hear.

“Strawberry Fields Forever” (1967)

Before the chorus arrives in this one, we’re first treated to an unassumingly pretty intro played on a Mellotron. When John Lennon begins singing the chorus with the words, Let me take you down, we can tell something is a little off. His voice sounds stretched out and wobbly, as if it’s halfway emerging from a dream (an effect achieved by slowing the tape speed). He explains there’s Nothing to get hung about, but the verses, full of ambivalence and confusion, go on to contradict that assertion.

“Here Comes the Sun” (1969)

Even on their final album, The Beatles still heeded George Martin about the benefits of placing the chorus right at the beginning. The difference is who was heeding the advice. After many years of taking a bit of a backseat to the songwriting duo of John Lennon and Paul McCartney, George Harrison rocketed to the forefront on the Abbey Road album. In addition to his breathtaking ballad “Something,” Harrison also delivered this feel-good anthem that can brighten up the dreariest day. And you don’t have to wait more than a few moments for that doot-in-doot-doot chorus to arrive and start you smiling.

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