The Beatles: Rock Band Mega Post

the beatles: rock band rooftop

Alright, Beatles fans. You might all be too busy practicing your Rock Band skills or attempting to nail Beatles harmonies to even read this. (My own mom, who has been mocking me for my excitement, called me yesterday from the middle of a car trip to ask me if a couple songs were in the game — she was using the time to practice her vocals.) But I couldn’t let The Beatles: Rock Band arrive in our living rooms — in less than three days — without just one more post.

So this is the mega-post. I said before that I couldn’t just make a top 5 or top 10 list of songs I’m most anticipating playing in the game, because there are just too many, and of course, so many ways of playing them. And what might the solution to this dilemma be? A list for each part in the game, of course!

A few songs make more than one appearance, because they kick so much ass in more than one aspect. I have to say that I pretty much shocked myself with the revelation of what song I am apparently looking the most forward to overall, based on its number of appearances.

I know that usually I include a video for each song, but I assumed that most people would find 20 videos embedded in one post to be a bit of an overkill. So I’ll embed the videos for the number one slot in each category, and just link the rest for those of you who feel the urge to refresh your memories on the parts I’m talking about, or simply listen.

the beatles: rock band guitar


I’ve been with Harmonix from the very first Guitar Hero release (and infamously ditched Guitar Hero rather swiftly after its sale), and as a result I’ve been wanting to play the guitar parts to Beatles songs in this format the longest. So I just can’t get away from the idea of guitar as the heart of this game, and it’s the focus of a great deal of my anticipation.

1. While My Guitar Gently Weeps

You all knew the answer to this one. And I don’t even know what to say to someone who isn’t most excited about this guitar track. It’s my favorite guitar part ever, in one of my favorite songs ever, and it’s precisely the kind of guitar part that I love to play in this game — melodic and noodly. I’ve already called dibs.

2. Taxman

Oh man. You know that Paul (yes, Paul plays lead) tears it up in this one. I’m looking forward to absolutely everything about this song, but the guitar solo has to be what I’m looking forward to most.

3. Revolution

Don’t lie. You play air guitar to this song, too. Now you can also play plastic guitar.

4. Paperback Writer

Probably George’s most blistering solo guitar ever laid down in his Beatles years. George had a stunningly beautiful, slow and melodic style most of the time, and as a result, Paul played most of the harder and faster guitar parts, or they were played as dual leads (George and Paul on And Your Bird Can Sing, George and John on Revolution). Here, George’s rough edges and ability to be loud really shine through — at least in mono, which thankfully from the clips we’ve seen, Giles Martin has modeled the game’s mix after.

5. Ticket to Ride

Just for the itty, bitty solo right after “she ought to think twice, she ought to do right by me.” But I’m looking forward to every single aspect of this song.

the beatles: rock band vocals


Here’s something you ought to know: I’m looking forward to vocals in virtually every single song in the game. I’ve been practicing my harmonies for months, I know the parts and all the little nuances by heart (though of course whether I can personally pull them off is quite a different matter!), and the addition of three-part harmonies to the game was a stroke of genius that I was praying beyond hope for way before the rumor mill even started. As a result, a lot the top picks are chosen for their harmonies.

1. Day Tripper

Not an entirely dual lead vocal, but close. This one will be a ton of fun to do with a group, I can feel it.

2. Paperback Writer

I think most of us might have to switch it into no-fail mode for this one, but we’ve got some of the Beatles most sophisticated harmonies here. I’ve always loved singing along with the Frère Jacques backing vocals.

3. A Hard Day’s Night

I love the harmonies, and especially the trading of lead vocals. I call Paul’s part.

4. While My Guitar Gently Weeps

This song may not be known for its vocals, but it is one of my favorite songs in the world to sing along to.

5. I Saw Her Standing There

It was a tough call between this one and Ticket to Ride, but I Saw Her Standing There is just a good old time, and one I seem to spend a lot of time singing to myself.

the beatles: rock band bass


Paul McCartney is a superb bassist, something for which, strangely enough — and perhaps its because bass is so buried on the old masters, and this will change soon with the album rereleases — he doesn’t get a whole lot of credit. I imagine that this will be the first Rock Band game where I won’t be disappointed to be the plastic guitar holder who ends up playing bass.

1. Paperback Writer

Um, hello. It’s Paperback Writer. Have you ever listened to the bass? If you haven’t, you should.

(Video has Rain tacked onto the end, because it’s the only mono version I could find, and mono is the only version worth listening to.)

2. I Want You (She’s So Heavy)

Paul goes absolutely nuts on this song. I love this song all around, but Paul’s playing is the true highlight. Just wait for the remasters, people. It will knock your socks off. Indeed, I just spent some time the other night trying to convince my husband how much he really, really wants to play guitar on this song.

3. Drive My Car

Another example of Paul more or less playing lead bass on a song. Good. Stuff.

4. Come Together

With all apologies to John, the bass makes the song. One of Paul’s best.

5. Something

A bass line that doesn’t seem to get a ton of attention from some people, but it’s absolutely stunning, and as great as the guitar. (George apparently gave Paul a taste of his own medicine by telling him how to play on this song. Score one for George!)

the beatles: rock band drums


I’m a drums amateur. I can currently flail through easy … on most songs. What can I say, I don’t have a lot of rhythm, and with Ringo’s unique time signatures, I’m not sure how exactly I’ll fare. For those who are drums experts, just like guitar, drums aren’t going to give you the utter frenzy that previous games have. But personally, I hate those impossibly difficult, heavy metal song parts anyway. In my view, they couldn’t possibly be less fun. I think that Ringo’s vastly and cruelly underrated style is where it’s at. Alas, they didn’t include Rain in the game, but we’ll have to make do with what we have:

1. Within You Without You/Tomorrow Never Knows

This creation for the Love show was a stroke of genius to begin with, and its inclusion in the game was almost as much of one. One of Ringo’s best drum parts.

2. I Feel Fine

One of my favorite Beatles drum parts. Not that I’ll likely be able to pull it off, but I think I might have some fun trying.

3. Get Back

I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a million times: there is no Get Back without Ringo’s drumming. Need proof? Go find a video of Paul playing the song live. He has a perfectly competent drummer, but you can hear the difference, the sad, sad difference, immediately.

4. Can’t Buy Me Love

A particularly fast part, Ringo just always looked like he was having the time of his life playing this song. I’m hoping that might carry over.

5. Birthday

I don’t like this song. I really, really don’t. I roll my eyes whenever I hear it on the White Album, and only ever seem to want to hear it when it’s my actual birthday. But the drums sound like they’ll be an absolute blast.

the beatles: rock band ed sullivan

And there you have it, folks. While I maintain that I’m most excited about While My Guitar Gently Weeps by far, apparently I’m most anticipating Paperback Writer overall! Not bad for a song I couldn’t stand until I heard it in mono. I don’t know about you, but I’ve got a full day Beatles party to prep for — please do leave what tracks you’re most anticipating in the comments!

0 thoughts on “The Beatles: Rock Band Mega Post

  1. Stacia

    I had a feeling I wasn’t the only person practicing vocals, but it’s still great to hear that it’s true. 🙂 I even played along with videos on YouTube this weekend. Hooray for Beatle nerdom!

  2. CassNJ

    I’m afraid you’re mistaken about the basswork on “Something.” George has said conflicting things about Paul’s work on it, but neither of them are what you claim. In one case he said that he thought Paul was trying to overshadow him with his melodious playing, and in another case he actually praised his contribution to the song. I have no idea which sentiment was the honest one, but as Beatles’ recollections go, it’s par for the course.

    1. Cara Post author

      The part about George telling Paul how to play is from Geoff Emerick (Beatles engineer), in his book Here There and Everywhere. He claimed that George gave Paul careful instructions, which he didn’t take well. And while his recollection could have been incorrect, it’s almost certainly not the case that he was trying to give George credit where he didn’t deserve any — Emerick spends the whole book talking about how awesome Paul is, and basically insulting George as talentless until about the White Album years.

  3. frau sally benz

    So now that I’ve finally read this post, I love it =)

    I’ve always loved singing along with the Frère Jacques backing vocals.
    hehehe I love that part too.

    I agree with most of your picks with some minor deviations here and there. Where we most differ I suppose is in vocals. My top 5 would probably look more like:
    Helter Skelter – I love yelling to that song
    While My Guitar Gently Weeps
    Within You Without You/Tomorrow Never Knows – I think it’ll be a challenge for me vocally, tho drums def own that track
    Don’t Let Me Down – I have had visions of singing this song since I knew Rock Band was coming out — no idea why really
    I Want to Hold Your Hand – this is my favorite fun-times, early Beatles song to sing along to

    Oh, and shout out to Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band for basically every part. Seriously, I’ve been looking forward to that song since I saw the first Rock Band commercial.

    Darn, I still have hours to wait…

  4. frau sally benz

    IRT the Something/Paul & George thing, I don’t think that George telling Paul how to play is mutually exclusive with either George saying Paul tried to overshadow him or saying that he liked his contribution. That’s the way I see it anyway.

  5. Annie Mcfly

    Oh man. Oh man oh man oh man. Beatles Rock Band is, without a doubt, the most fun game I have ever played. I can’t wait to buy the official set with all of the instruments that look like theirs. 😀


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