10 Little-Known Songs That Directly Inspired Beatles Classics

by (@JordanRuntagh)

7. “Because” (1969)

The Song You Know: 

The One You May Not: “Moonlight Sonata (First Movement)” by Ludwig van Beethoven (old):

OK, this one isn’t that obscure! Beethoven’s classical piece led to the creation of the gorgeous Abbey Road standout, with a little help from John’s new wife. “Yoko was playing Beethoven’s ‘Moonlight Sonata’ on the piano,” John said in an interview years later. “I said, ‘Can you play those chords backwards?’, and wrote ‘Because’ around them.” Although music scholars debate whether he literally just reversed the chords, the influence is clear. Even John thinks so! “The song sounds like ‘Moonlight Sonata,’ too.”

 

6. “I Saw Her Standing There” (1963)

The Song You Know:

The One You May Not: “I’m Talkin’ About You” by Chuck Berry (1961)

One of the earliest songs on the list, Paul McCartney wrote it with John Lennon while huddled in his childhood living-room. Although the melody and lyrics are decided their own (including the amusing original opener, “She was just seventeen, never been a beauty queen”), McCartney admitted to lifting the distinctive bass line note-for-note from a then-recent Chuck Berry single. “I played exactly the same notes as he did and it fitted our number perfectly,” he says in Barry Miles’ Many Years From Now. “Even now, when I tell people, I find few of them believe me!” John also seems to have borrowed the chugging rhythm guitar slashes for his part, too.

 

5. “Blackbird” (1968)

The Song You Know: 

The One You May Not: “Bourrée in E Minor” by J.S. Bach (also old)

As Sir Paul charmingly explains in many concerts and interviews, George and Paul learned this classical piece back in their Liverpool days to impress people at parties! Learning the whole number was a bit too time consuming, so they improvised a neat little ending for their abbreviated version featuring melody and bass notes played simultaneously on the upper and lower strings. Years later during the recording of what would be called The White Album, Paul latched onto the part that he’d made up and expanded it into the intro to one of his most beloved songs…which later became our piece to impress people at parties!

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