10 Of The Saddest Beatles Songs Of All Time (2023)

The Beatles are often regarded as the greatest and most influential band in the history of music. They captured the hearts of millions with their incredible talent and creativity. Throughout their iconic discography, they showcased an expansive range of emotions and themes.

While the upbeat, feel-good songs may be the first to come to mind, there exists a poignant collection of melancholic masterpieces.

In this article, we will explore 10 of the saddest Beatles songs of all time. These touching tracks have become pillars of comfort for people throughout the years. And we hope to show you the emotionality and vulnerability embedded in each piece. On that note, let us go right into the list.

Table of Contents

1. “Eleanor Rigby”

The melancholic masterpiece of The Beatles, “Eleanor Rigby,” shook listeners with its raw, haunting depiction of loneliness. From their 1966 album Revolver, it immediately gained recognition for its gripping storytelling.

The lyrics, penned by Paul McCartney, offer a chilling glimpse into the lives of two lonely souls – Eleanor Rigby and Father McKenzie. Quite sadly, their despair goes unnoticed by the world around them. McCartney’s genius lies in his ability to spark empathy in listeners with his heartfelt portrayal of these haunting characters.

The music itself lends to the song’s melancholic vibe through a string octet. This arrangement, crafted by George Martin, contrasts with the typical pop-rock sound of The Beatles. This innovative musical choice, coupled with the sorrowful lyrics, results in a timeless classic that stands out in The Beatles’ vast discography.

“Eleanor Rigby” reminds listeners of life’s fleeting nature and the inevitability of aging. It shows the value of human connection that shines even through the gloomiest of situations. The song remains a musical testament to the pain and loneliness that many people experience. Not surprisingly, it captures the essence of human empathy in a way that only The Beatles could.

2. “Yesterday”

In 1965, The Beatles released one of their most powerful and memorable songs. “Yesterday” is proof of the band’s ability to craft emotionally-charged ballads that tug at the heartstrings. The mournful tone of the melody is a stark contrast to the other, more upbeat tracks on their album Help!

The simplicity of the instrumentation and the beauty of the lyrics contribute to the song’s timeless appeal. It features Paul McCartney on solo acoustic guitar and vocals, accompanied by a string quartet. The decision to feature a string quartet was an innovative move that added elegance to it.

The lyrics highlight the feelings of loss and regret. McCartney’s emotional delivery further enhances the impact of these lyrics. It creates a sentimental atmosphere that lingers long after the song ends.

The inspiration behind “Yesterday” is also worth noting. McCartney has shared that the melody came to him in a dream, and he quickly transcribed it upon waking up. Initially, the band used the working title “Scrambled Eggs” as placeholder lyrics until they finalized the actual verses.

“Yesterday” has been covered by many artists and remains a revered classic. Its ability to evoke profound sadness and connect with listeners across generations ensures its position on our list of sad songs by the Beatles.

3. “While My Guitar Gently Weeps”

Another sad song by The Beatles is “While My Guitar Gently Weeps,” written by George Harrison. It appeared on their 1968 self-titled album (also known as the White Album). This melancholy ballad stands out as one of the most emotional tracks in the band’s discography.

The inspiration behind this song lies in the Eastern spiritual concept of I Ching. Harrison stumbled upon it during self-discovery. He was intrigued by the idea of everything in the universe being interconnected. And so he decided to write a song based on the first phrase that caught his attention upon opening a random book – “gently weeps.”

With Harrison on guitar and lead vocals, the song features an iconic performance of Eric Clapton on the guitar. Clapton’s participation makes it an unforgettable listening experience.

Despite not being released as a single, the song has gained critical acclaim. It is often cited as one of Harrison’s finest contributions to The Beatles’ legacy. The song’s melancholy tone and deeply-moving lyrics perfectly encapsulate the feelings of sorrow and grief, making it a worthy entry to our list.

4. “She’s Leaving Home”

Up next, we have a heartfelt ballad from The Beatles’ critically acclaimed album, Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. “She’s Leaving Home” is a tear-jerking masterpiece written primarily by Paul McCartney, with contributions from John Lennon.

The song is about a young woman running away from home, leaving her parents heartbroken. McCartney was inspired by a newspaper article about a real-life runaway named Melanie Coe. What makes the song so moving is the way it captures the emotions experienced by both the girl and her parents.

The musical arrangement is a dramatic departure from the typical Beatles sound. That’s thanks to producer George Martin who enlisted a small string orchestra. The haunting accompaniment intensified the song’s emotional impact.

“She’s Leaving Home” will always be one of the most memorable from The Beatles’ discography. It proves that the band can craft relatable, timeless stories that evoke raw emotion from listeners.

5. “In My Life”

From the Rubber Soul album came the heartfelt song “In My Life.” It was credited to the songwriting team of John Lennon and Paul McCarthy. The song reflects upon the memories and people that shaped their lives. Its introspective lyrics and melancholic melody have earned it a spot among the saddest Beatles tunes.

The opening verse sets a somber tone as the singer recounts the places that held significance in his life. As the song progresses, he shifts focus to the individuals who have influenced him, both positively and negatively. The line, “But of all these friends and lovers, there is no one compares with you,” reveals a deep sense of loss and longing for someone who cannot be replaced.

Another remarkable element of “In My Life” is the arrangement. The song showcases a baroque-inspired harpsichord solo by producer George Martin. It lends an air of timeless beauty to the piece. This contributes to the overall melancholic atmosphere, making the listener feel the depth of Lennon’s emotions.

Several interpretations exist concerning the inspiration for “In My Life.” The song is autobiographical in nature, as Lennon drew from his own experiences. Others opine that the song hints at the fragility and evanescence of life, urging listeners to cherish every moment.

Despite the varying interpretations, one thing remains undeniable. “In My Life” is a reminder of love, loss, and the power of memories.

6. “For No One”

Another very sad Beatles song, “For No One,” appears on their 1966 album, Revolver. Written by Paul McCartney, it tells the heartbreaking story of the end of a relationship. The song captures the raw emotions tied to unreciprocated love, distance, and heartache.

The lyrics of “For No One” convey a painful message of recognizing that a once-loved partner has moved on. McCartney’s tender vocal delivery adds to the melancholic essence of the song. The minimal instrumentation, consisting of a clavichord and a French horn solo, further highlights the pain.

Fans and critics regard the track as one of McCartney’s most introspective and personal songs. He admitted in interviews that the lyrics were inspired by his relationship with then-girlfriend Jane Asher.

“For No One” manages to leave a lasting impact on listeners. It strikes a chord with anyone who has experienced the pain of love slipping away. With its poetic lyrics and melancholic melody, it’s one of the most heartfelt and saddest songs in The Beatles’ repertoire.

7. “Let It Be”

Despite being released in 1970, “Let It Be” remains relevant. It stands out among the band’s discography due to its message of acceptance and hope. The song holds a special place in the hearts of fans who have found solace and comfort in its lyrics during trying times.

The music of “Let It Be” complements its message with a soothing melody and gentle piano accompaniment. Paul McCartney delivers a heartfelt vocal performance here. It conveys the vulnerability and emotion that the lyrics demand. The song also features a memorable guitar solo by George Harrison, adding intensity to the overall tone.

“Let It Be” is also significant in The Beatles’ history. Many of you might not know, but it was one of their last recorded songs before the group disbanded. In fact, they were going through a turbulent period around this time. Nevertheless, the song’s hopeful message continues to resonate with fans and comfort them in times of need.

8. “The Long And Winding Road”

Our next song, “The Long and Winding Road,” is a ballad written by Paul McCartney and credited to Lennon-McCartney. It is the tenth track on The Beatles’ 1970 album, Let It Be. The track is characterized by its gentle piano chords, lush orchestral arrangement, and sorrowful lyrics.

As one of The Beatles’ saddest songs, its melancholic melody and lyrics have touched the hearts of many listeners. The song was inspired by the tension within the band during the recording sessions for Let It Be. Around this time, the once-close group of friends began to drift apart.

McCartney penned the lyrics to express the emotional turmoil he was going through. The words reflect the feelings of loss and longing as he sings about a lover who has left him behind.

The imagery of a winding road symbolizes the journey and struggles faced in life and relationships. McCartney’s emotional vocal performance adds to the overall sadness of the song, making it a powerful expression of heartache.

Despite its somber tone, the song was a commercial success, reaching #1 on the Billboard Hot 100. The song continues to be a favorite among Beatles fans and is often considered one of their most emotional and haunting tracks.

9. “I’m So Tired”

Up next is “I’m So Tired,” a song written by John Lennon. This melancholic ballad from their 1968 self-titled album, better known as the White Album, is filled with emotional depth.

The song was born out of Lennon’s insomnia during the band’s stay in India. It gives us a glimpse of his state of mind at a time when he terribly missed Yoko Ono.

What he came up with was a song that resonates with feelings of exhaustion and frustration. Within its lyrics, one can sense the mental fatigue and longing for relief that Lennon was experiencing at the time.

A notable feature of the song is the prominent usage of guitar and drums. They create a somber musical background that complements the despairing lyrics. Lennon’s hazy vocal delivery conveys a sense of weariness and hints at the toll the sleepless nights were taking on him.

These passionate verses showcase Lennon’s vulnerability and candidness, making “I’m So Tired” a truly affecting entry in The Beatles’ catalog.

10. “Nowhere Man”

Last but certainly not least is “Nowhere Man” from The Beatles’ 1965 album, Rubber Soul. The profound lyrics contemplate the emptiness and loneliness of an individual lost in the world.

The verses describe the titular character as someone who doesn’t have a point of view. He chooses to spend his life in self-imposed isolation. The poignant lyrics encapsulate the universal struggle to find meaning and purpose in life.

The hauntingly beautiful harmony, created by John Lennon, Paul McCartney, and George Harrison, adds to the song’s melancholic nature. Ringo Starr‘s subtle drumming provides a delicate and understated rhythm. It further emphasizes the song’s powerful message.

“Nowhere Man” may be a sad song, but it remains a fan-favorite and an integral part of The Beatles’ legacy. It embodies their ability to touch upon the human experience with empathetic music.

Summing Up Our List Of Sad Beatles Songs

As you can see from the list above, The Beatles’ musical legacy spans far beyond just their happy, upbeat tunes. Their ability to craft emotionally complex and melancholic songs is a testament to their songwriting prowess and versatility.

Whether it’s the somber melodies, moving lyrics, or powerful vocal performances, these songs have the power to touch our hearts and evoke feelings of nostalgia, love, and loss.

And we can guarantee that these songs will continue to be relevant as they are just what we need at times.

FAQs

10 Of The Saddest Beatles Songs Of All Time? ›

Eleanor Rigby

The melancholic masterpiece of The Beatles, “Eleanor Rigby,” shook listeners with its raw, haunting depiction of loneliness. From their 1966 album Revolver, it immediately gained recognition for its gripping storytelling.

What is The Beatles saddest song? ›

saddest beatles songs
  • While My Guitar Gently Weeps - Remastered 2009. ...
  • Eleanor Rigby - Remastered 2009. ...
  • Yesterday - Remastered 2015. ...
  • The Fool On The Hill - Remastered 2009. ...
  • For No One - Remastered 2009. ...
  • The Long And Winding Road - Remastered 2009. ...
  • Because - Remastered 2009. ...
  • Across The Universe - Remastered 2009. The Beatles.

What Beatles song is melancholic? ›

Eleanor Rigby

The melancholic masterpiece of The Beatles, “Eleanor Rigby,” shook listeners with its raw, haunting depiction of loneliness. From their 1966 album Revolver, it immediately gained recognition for its gripping storytelling.

What song did The Beatles hate the most? ›

Primarily written by Lennon himself, 'Run for Your Life' has been described as his least favourite Beatles track and has always garnered mixed reviews from critics due to the nature of the lyrics. “'Run for Your Life', I always hated, you know,” Lennon told Rolling Stone back in 1970.

What was Lennon's favorite song? ›

1. “Brown Eyed Handsome Man,” Buddy Holly (1956) Originally written and recorded by Chuck Berry—whose 1964 rock hit “No Particular Place to Go” also made Lennon's playlist—”Brown Eyed Handsome Man” was first released as a B-Side to “Too Much Monkey Business” and later on Berry's 1957 debut After School Session.

What is The Beatles least favorite song? ›

The Beatles songs that John Lennon hated:

'It Won't Be Long' (1963) 'Hold Me Tight' (1963) 'I Should Have Known Better' (1964) 'Eight Days A Week' (1964)

What is the darkest Beatles song? ›

  • Run For Your Life.
  • Maxwell's Silver Hammer.
  • A Day in the Life.
  • Yesterday.
  • Misery/I'm Down/I'm a Loser/I Don't Want to Spoil the Party.
  • Nowhere Man.
  • Think For Yourself.
  • Norwegian Wood.

What is the most complex Beatles song? ›

30, Peppercorn List-ed the most difficult Beatles songs to recreate live.
  • “It's All Too Much”
  • A simple song on paper: two chords with a drone. ...
  • “Within You Without You”
  • Complex instrumentation and time signatures abound on this one. ...
  • “Please Please Me”
Dec 27, 2017

What song has Yoko screaming? ›

"No, No, No" is a song by Yoko Ono from her 1981 album Season of Glass. The song is one of the most dramatic tracks on the album to address her husband John Lennon's murder. The song begins with the sound of four gunshots (Lennon was shot in the back four times) and Ono screaming.

Which of The Beatles had a mental illness? ›

John Lennon Bipolar

Lennon was very open about his struggles with mental health, and he often spoke publicly about the challenges of living with bipolar disorder. Despite his struggles, Lennon was able to build a successful career and create some of the most iconic and beloved songs of all time.

Who is the least liked Beatle? ›

Lennon earns 27% of the vote, while Harrison (17%) and Starr (11%) take third and fourth place. Despite being the favorite of one in four, Lennon is also the least favorite Beatle of nearly half (49%) of people who say they are "not a fan" of at least one of the band members.

What was Paul McCartney's least favorite Beatles song? ›

One such track, 'Little Child', McCartney described as a “work job”, and others fell into this category. About 'Hold Me Tight', McCartney explained: “I can't remember much about that one. Certain songs were just 'work' songs… you haven't got much of a memory of them.

What songs were banned by The Beatles? ›

Of the four Beatles songs that have been banned over the years (including 'A Day in the Life' for references to suicide, 'Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds' for implied drug use, 'Back in the USSR' as part of the bizarre Gulf War ban), the prohibition of 'I Am the Walrus' might be the weirdest.

What is paul McCartney's fav song? ›

Of his own songs, McCartney cited “Temporary Secretary,” from his 1980 album, McCartney II. He also gave a nod to “Calicoe Skies” from the 1997 offering, Flaming Pie, and “Spiral,” which he composed for the London Symphony Orchestra. But enough of Paul on Paul.

What did John Lennon think was his best song? ›

John Lennon's 5 favourite Beatles songs:
  • 'Strawberry Fields Forever'
  • 'I Want To Hold Your Hand'
  • 'I Am The Walrus'
  • 'Girl'
  • 'Across The Universe'
Feb 9, 2021

Which Paul songs did John like? ›

John Lennon's five favourite Paul McCartney songs
  • 'Hey Jude'
  • 'Here, There and Everywhere'
  • 'All My Loving'
  • 'Oh! Darling'
  • 'Let It Be'
May 22, 2022

What is the Beatles number 1 hit song? ›

"Hey Jude" was The Beatles' number one hit that spent the longest on the charts.

What songs did the Beatles like the most? ›

The Beatles' favourite Beatles songs:

In one interview with Rolling Stone's Jann Wenner, he named five tracks as his favourites of the bunch: “I always liked '[I Am The] Walrus', 'Strawberry Fields', 'Help! ', 'In My Life',” later noting 'I Want To Hold Your Hand' for its raw authenticity.

What is the Beatles never broke up? ›

The album was accompanied by a fictional narrative written by an anonymous person under the name 'James Richards'. He or she wrote of having travelled to a parallel universe, in which the Beatles had never broken up, and took back with them a cassette tape containing one of their alleged albums from the timeline.

What is the name of the shortest Beatles song? ›

“Help” is the Beatles shortest song title and sometimes our best prayer.

What are the hardest Beatles songs to sing? ›

In my mind, there are five unappreciated Beatle songs, they are;
  • Rain. ...
  • You Can't Do That. ...
  • I Call Your Name. ...
  • I Should Have Known Better. ...
  • You're Gonna Lose That Girl. ...
  • Bubbling under - 'Ask Me Why' 'Yes It Is' 'This Boy' 'There's a Place', 'I'll Get You' and 'If I Fell'.

Which of the Beatles smoked? ›

Yes, all four Beatles smoked. John Lennon smoked until the day he was murdered in 1980 at age 40. George Harrison died as a result lung cancer caused by smoking at age 58 in 2001.

What is the fastest written Beatles song? ›

The Beatles, 'Yesterday' – less than a minute: 'Yesterday', one of The Beatles' best loved tracks, was famously conceived during a dream that McCartney hurriedly scribbled down upon waking. “I have no idea how I wrote that.

What is the Beatles weakest album? ›

Yellow Submarine (1969)

While it shouldn't even be considered canon, being a soundtrack album and whatnot, it is still included in the discography box set, meaning it has to count. Yellow Submarine is the Beatles' weakest album, but only because it wasn't even marketed as a studio album in the first place.

Which Beatle wrote the fewest songs? ›

While Starr wrote the fewest songs of any Beatle (his contribution was more in ideas for lyrics or themes, occasional one-liners, or titles such as "A Hard Day's Night" and "Tomorrow Never Knows"), owning his own publishing gave Starr a sounder business footing, and a larger share of income than he'd had as a "paid ...

What is the loudest Beatles song? ›

"Helter Skelter" is a song by the English rock band the Beatles from their 1968 album The Beatles (also known as "the White Album"). It was written by Paul McCartney and credited to Lennon–McCartney. The song was McCartney's attempt to create a sound as loud and dirty as possible.

What is the unreleased song of John Lennon? ›

A student asks whether Lennon would play the guitar, and he plays 'Radio Peace', followed by 'Give peace a chance. '" "Radio Peace" was written for a radio station in the Netherlands but never actually released, according to the AP.

What was the first song with screaming vocals? ›

One of the first known R&B songs to utilize screaming vocals is said to be Screamin' Jay Hawkins' "I Put a Spell on You" (1956).

Were any of the Beatles alcoholics? ›

But you go through it.” While skirting closely to having a problem, McCartney says he's grateful he didn't become an alcoholic after seeing his bandmate Ringo Starr struggle with addiction. “I've got a lot of friends who are sober, 'cos they have to be.

Which Beatle had ADHD? ›

9. John Lennon (1940-1980) The popular Beatle is thought to have had ADHD due to his disruptive behavior and inability to focus on his lessons growing up.

Which Beatle was addicted to drugs? ›

As mentioned, John Lennon was a world-famous musician and member of the Beatles. He was also a heroin addict. In the late 1960s, when heroin use began to increase in popularity, Lennon started using the drug recreationally. Lennon's heroin use led to him becoming addicted to the drug.

Were any of The Beatles depressed? ›

And in a new interview with BBC Radio 4, Sir Paul McCartney, 73, opens up about how it sent him into a period of depression. "I was depressed," McCartney says during the Mastertapes interview. "It was difficult to know what to do after The Beatles.

Did The Beatles suffer from depression? ›

Paul McCartney's battle with depression after Beatles split left him unable to get up. Paul McCartney had mega-success in his Beatles heyday, but many would be surprised to know how he and his bandmates suffered mentally both during the height of their fame and after.

Did any of The Beatles have depression? ›

He certainly did the most drugs of all his bandmates. Paul McCartney openly admits to Situational Depression in 1970, when he lost his band and friends. Thanks to his wife and the music, he snapped out of it in short time.

Which Beatle was abusive? ›

John Lennon opened up a little more about the song and how it allowed him to reflect on his past abuse behaviour: “I couldn't express myself and I hit. I fought men and I hit women.

Did any of the Beatles overdose? ›

On August 27, 1967, Brian Epstein, manager of the Beatles, was found dead of an accidental drug overdose.

What was John Lennon's disability? ›

John Lennon's beautiful music with the Beatles would not have existed without his perseverance through dyslexia. Lennon excelled at art and music while attending high school, but his grades were poor and he had trouble spelling.

Which of the Beatles grew up the poorest? ›

We began in central Liverpool with Ringo Starr who was probably the most working-class of the Fab Four or, at least, the group member from the poorest background. Ringo was born in 1940 in 9 Madryn Street in the so-called Welsh Streets of the Dingle district.

What was the biggest Beatles controversy? ›

In 1966, John Lennon entangled The Beatles in what was likely their biggest controversy. In an interview, he spoke about the enduring quality of rock music versus religion. “Christianity will go,” he said, per Rolling Stone. “It will vanish and shrink.

What led to the downfall of the Beatles? ›

Many trace the breakup of the Beatles to the death of their manager, Brian Epstein, on August 27, 1967. A record store owner with no experience managing bands, Epstein had nonetheless played a crucial role in their rise to worldwide fame.

Did any of the Beatles quit smoking? ›

During the recording of “Band on the Run” in 1973, Paul McCartney decided to quit smoking cigarettes for the first time after he collapsed in the studio.

Which Beatle had the most hits after they broke up? ›

Below is a breakdown of the most successful singles by each member of The Beatles, with Paul McCartney leading the way by some margin: Paul McCartney – 42 singles.

Which Beatle had anxiety? ›

Many of The Beatles' most iconic songs, “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds”, “Hey Jude”, and more, were written and composed by both John Lennon and Paul McCartney. Their hit song “Help!”, however, was written solely by Lennon himself after experiencing high levels of anxiety throughout the band's rise to fame.

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