Please Please Help! Build A Beatles Playlist For Someone Who “Doesn’t Like The Beatles”

I was catching up with a friend recently when he delivered something of a bolt from the blue. With a voice that appeared as nonchalant as that of a serial killer’s he confessed, without apparent shame, that he didn’t like The Beatles. 

You can imagine my consternation. 

My friend grew up in Sweden, not that that is an excuse. We’ll call him Agaton, after the Swedish detective of that name to preserve his anonymity.

“Have you actually heard many of their songs?” I enquired innocently. 

“I think so, yes.” came the reply from Agaton. 

“Have you ever played their albums?” I probed further. 

“Well, no. But that’s because if I hear them on the radio I find them irritating.”

I picked myself off the floor. 

“How can y.. Never mind…..”

A silence fell. I furrowed a moody brow. 

“How irritating? Like scraping a plate with a knife irritating?”

“Yes. Like drawing nails down a blackboard”.

“How is this possible?” I asked. 

I’ll spare you the lecture I delivered about The Beatles’ importance. 

We flipped through a list of tracks from the Fab’s “1” album on Spotify. Agaton had heard and disliked several songs, such as “Love Me Do”, “I Want To Hold Your Hand”, “Yesterday”, “Help!”, “Paperback Writer”, “All You Need Is Love”, “Hey Jude” and “Let It Be” but the fact that I had to sing both “Penny Lane” and “A Day In The Life” before he recognised them (and confirmed his dislike – possibly at my singing) suggested to me he hadn’t dug that deep. 

When I asked whether he had heard “Norwegian Wood” he confirmed he had read the book by Haruki Murakami and appeared surprised there was a song that had come first. 

“I can’t believe you don’t like The Beatles…” I concluded. “….do you like Oasis?”

“Er, yes…”

“You do know they are heavily influenced by The Beatles?”

“Look…” retorted Agaton, “I’m open minded and am happy to be convinced otherwise. It’s just a genuine reaction to the music I have heard.”

He brightened for a minute. 

“Why don’t you put together a playlist of Beatles tunes you think I will like?”

This sounded like a challenge….I like a challenge…

“Okay” I replied. “That’ll be easy. I reckon there are loads of songs you won’t have heard that you’ll like. You’ll be a Beatles fan in no time.”

Agaton looked sceptical. 

“I’ll have to like them all” said Agaton “and there’s got to be quite a few – not just two or three….say ten in all. If you can do that I will admit to liking The Beatles. But if I don’t like it, then you have to agree to listen to something I like.” After some thought, he came up with some music by Estonian composer Arvo Pärt called “Te Deum”. No, me neither. But looking back (and I have only just noticed this), why would anyone want to listen to a song (almost) named “Tedium?” He might be having me on. 

“Okay. But you have to agree to wear a Beatles T-shirt if you’re wrong” I countered. 

And with that, the challenge was set. 

All that was left was to compile the playlist and, naturally, to check what other people thought. I conducted a Twitter Poll just to check I wasn’t completely out of my senses. 

As chance would have it I must have caught broadcaster and former NME writer Danny Baker – fresh out of the I’m A Celebrity…Get Me Out of Here jungle – in a playful mood that evening. Danny was clearly stung by Agaton’s insouciance, and replied thus.

I did enjoy Danny’s description of Agaton as a “simpleton” which is rather unfair as he’s a lovely bloke really, but it was all the more amusing for it. 

The whole incident is now called “Simpleton-gate” between me and Agaton. He did look slightly miffed. 

So all that is left is to produce a playlist of Beatles songs that Agaton will like in order to win the bet. And although I have a few ideas, I thought it might be a good idea to pick the considerably large brains of the Every Record Tells A Story readership. 

And yes, that means you…

Remember, here’s what we know about my friend Agaton:

  • Listens to a lot of jazz and old blues. 
  • Dad likes Miles Davis.
  • Raised in Sweden but now lives in the U.K.  
  • More likely to be playing CDs by Malian musician Ali Farka Toure, than The Beatles.
  • Dislikes early classics like “She Loves You”.
  • Dislikes later anthems like “Hey Jude” and “All You Need Is Love”
  • Likes Oasis. 

If you can think of a Beatles song that you think is impossible not to like, then let me know in the comments section below, or on Twitter or Facebook. 

We’ll reveal the playlist next time, and find out what happens….

Thank you!

Categories: Music

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40 replies

  1. So anything on Revolver, he obviously hasn’t listened to it

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Whilst I think that it is almost an impossible task might I suggest 1. Dear Prudence 2. Blackbird 3. Long Long Long. I’m stopping at three because I could suggest many more

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Probably a bit obvious, but if he likes Oasis then you have to include Rain.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I wonder if your friend would be partial to a couple of Harrison tunes? “While My Guitar Gently Weeps”, “It’s All Too Much” and “Something” are obvious choices. I’ve always been partial to “Old Brown Shoe” as well.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. My first thought is Within You Without You, as the closest The Beatles came to operating completely outside Western or first world music variants (I’m stuck for a descriptive name for it). Your friend likes African music, so how about Indian musicians collaborating with The Beatles??

    I Am the Walrus: Oasis covered it early on and they made it sound like Oasis. He could listen to the cover first, then hear the original. It might be a way in for him.

    And, Come Together. Sparse yet richly played, funky and groove-heavy. The verse sits on the D chord for most of its length, an intermittent drone. Plus it’s just such a shit-hot song.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I think Most of Revolver is a good shout
    Always thought Dear Prudence must have been a big influence on quite a few Oasis songs so may be worth a try
    Possibly Hey Bulldog from Yellow submarine a bit of a forgotten Beatles classic
    But then maybe he has his mind already made up preconceptions can be difficult to break down sometimes
    Good luck hope you manage to change his mind, will be interesting to see your final play list.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. I think Most of Revolver is a good shout
    Always thought Dear Prudence must have been a big influence on quite a few Oasis songs so may be worth a try
    Possibly Hey Bulldog from Yellow submarine a bit of a forgotten Beatles classic
    But then maybe he has his mind already made up preconceptions can be difficult to break down sometimes
    Good luck hope you manage to change his mind, will be interesting to see your final play list.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Having converted a handful of folks from a state of limited awareness, this is a tough one, because the reason they don’t like “Hey Jude,” etc. is likely over-saturation. They’ve never really listened to it, because it is ubiquitous. It’s almost like you have to till the soil of their minds to get the right conditions for seeding and growing.

    He probably doesn’t have the patience, though, to be brought along in the “scholarly” tradition of reading the requisite texts, so I suggest the following — Everybody’s Got Something to Hide, Glass Onion, ditto on Revolver, Long Tall Sally (as a demonstration of Paul’s vocals, so often unappreciated by people who only have paid attention to Silly Love Songs), You Won’t See Me, Fixing a Hole, Lovely Rita, Oh! Darling, the medley (range, range, range), Fool on the Hill, Dig a Pony.

    So many people moan about the early years — I Want to Hold Your Hand, etc. But I think when they understand what it means to build a foundation of what is more than a career — what is really a new direction for an entire several generations of musicians and fans — that early stuff is essential. Sounds like this dude is going to need to be brought along before he can dive into that.

    Don’t worry — is there ever anyone who doesn’t get there once they’ve been introduced to the broader scope?

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I would try For No One from Revolver. But I’m not entirely sure, of course.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. He’s right…


  11. Dear Prudence
    Magical Mystery Tour
    Happiness Is A Warm Gun
    their cover of You’ve Really Got A Hold On me


  12. Ahhh… Maybe some of their more experimental/obscure stuff, like ‘Tomorrow Never Knows’ (the first one that came to mind), ‘Within You Without You’, ‘Rain’ (also kinda Oasis-y), You’ve Got To Hide Your Love Away’ (not particularly either experimental or obscure, but he might like it cos it’s a bit of a departure from what he might deem their “sound”), ‘Strawberry Fields’, ‘Happiness Is A Warm Gun’, ‘Revolution 1’, maybe even the old ‘Revolution 9’ (you never know, he might like it!)? Also some of their more obscure “poppy” ones – like ‘You Really Got A Hold On Me’, or ‘For No One’, or ‘Dear Prudence’, etc etc – if he likes Oasis! I’d also suggest ‘A Day In The Life’ but he already doesn’t like that (how someone can’t like that song alludes me!)… You could even play him some of Lennon’s and Harrison’s solo work, he might like that even more!


  13. I would go for Don’t Let Me Down. But there are so many to choose from. Good luck!!

    Liked by 1 person

  14. She’s leaving home. Such a beautiful song that would transcend listener’s off all genre’s of music


  15. I dunno, does he even need to be convinced to like them? If he hasn’t sought them out on his own, and didn’t like what he heard, why force him?


  16. Hmm, ..listens to a lot of jazz, his dad likes Miles Davis and he’s a Swede ; you’ve taken on quite a case with this specimen Steve but it is doable. Not quite like asking Lucifer to like Jesus but still.

    Bugger, just spent ten minutes looking through the greatest band’s song list and my head almost exploded… look play him Rocky Raccoon and if he so much as sneers, give him a good slapping.

    *’Te Deum’ isn’t half bad.

    Liked by 1 person

  17. Because
    You never give me your money
    Tomorrow Never Knows
    Hey Bulldog
    If I needed Someone
    Baby your a Rich Man
    Golden Slumbers/Carry That Wait/ The End
    Every Body’s got something to hide except me and my monkey
    Glass Onion
    Getting Better
    Happiness is a Warm Gun
    Mean Mr. Mustard/ Polythene Pam
    Only a Northern Song
    The Word
    She Came in Through the Bathroom Window
    While my Guitar Gently Weeps

    Liked by 1 person

  18. It’s assumed one should love The Beatles, but no taste is universal. There’s also the case of exposure fatigue. There’s nothing new to be heard in Sgt. Pepper when you’ve been hearing it since you were five years old.
    That said, onto the next post!

    Liked by 1 person

  19. Throw him for a loop and play Rocky Raccoon

    Liked by 1 person

  20. He *is* a simpleton but my picks are “Hey, Bulldog” and “Everybody’s Got Something to Hide Except for Me and My Monkey”.

    If he doesn’t get that, just play freakin’ “Shakermaker”.

    Liked by 1 person


  1. The Ultimate Beatles Playlist (For People Who Don’t Like The Beatles) – Every record tells a story

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