Thursday, February 12, 2009

The Beatles Rock Band Set List: a considered guess

Joystiq published a story today confirming (from Paul McCartney, no less) that there will be 45 songs in the upcoming Beatles Rock Band game out later this year, spanning "early days, Liverpool, then psychedelic, and on from there." As a huge fan of both Rock Band and the Beatles, I have a pretty vested interest in how this game turns out.

I should point out, though, that my intense love of the Beatles is really only focused on their post-Rubber Soul material. Paul, however, says that the setlist will run the gamut. I'm gonna say 15 of the 45 songs will be pre-Rubber Soul:
  1. She Loves You
  2. I Wanna Hold Your Hand
  3. Love Me Do
  4. Help!
  5. I Saw Her Standing There
  6. Please Please Me
  7. A Hard Day's Night
  8. Can't Buy Me Love
  9. Eight Days a Week
  10. Ticket To Ride
  11. Yesterday
  12. I Feel Fine
  13. Paperback Writer
  14. Rain
  15. We Can Work It Out
Those last few songs aren't exactly pre-Rubber Soul, but I was having trouble being generous with the early stuff. In any event, that selection seems reasonable, and as far as I can tell there's no need for keyboards. Which makes the remaining 30 songs a bit trickier to parse out; once they stopped touring and stayed in the studio, they started writing and recording songs that probably could not be performed by only the four of them - "Eleanor Rigby", for example, is done entirely with strings, and "Tomorrow Never Knows" was recorded in outer space, in the future. And unless this game introduces a keyboard peripheral, there's going to be quite a few classic songs that are going to be very difficult to play without one. ("Hey Jude" and "Let it Be" spring to mind.) But they can't outright ignore those songs, either; they have as much to do with the Beatles' enduring influence and legacy on popular music as their earlier, more conventional stuff. So they're gonna have to split the difference somehow.

Here's my best guesses as to the remaining 30 songs, which I'm picking based on a combination of historical importance, instrumental arrangement (with an emphasis on keyboard-less tracks and songs with riffs as opposed to chord strumming), Paul's being alive and John's being dead, and personal taste. I'm leaving out a lot of favorites (how can I possibly leave off "I Am The Walrus"?), but here goes:
  1. Revolution
  2. Get Back
  3. Drive My Car
  4. The Word
  5. In My Life
  6. Taxman
  7. She Said, She Said
  8. And Your Bird Can Sing
  9. Doctor Robert
  10. Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band
  11. Getting Better
  12. Good Morning Good Morning
  13. A Day In the Life (I have no idea how, but it has to be in there)
  14. Hello Goodbye
  15. Strawberry Fields Forever
  16. All You Need Is Love (guitar plays the string parts?)
  17. Back in the U.S.S.R.
  18. While My Guitar Gently Weeps
  19. Birthday
  20. Everybody's Got Something To Hide Except Me and My Monkey (not an obvious choice, but every instrument is doing something interesting, and there's gotta be at least one unexpected song)
  21. Helter Skelter
  22. Come Together
  23. Something
  24. Octopus's Garden
  25. Here Comes The Sun
  26. Mean Mr. Mustard -> Polythene Pam -> She Came In Through The Bathroom Window -> Golden Slumbers -> Carry That Weight -> The End
  27. Get Back
  28. Dig a Pony
  29. I've Got A Feeling
  30. The Ballad of John and Yoko
Obviously there are some major omissions; I opted to cut out anything piano-based, and I generally chose upbeat songs as opposed to softer acoustic songs, which leaves out quite a lot (including quite a few of my favorite Beatles songs). And my entry at #26 is assuming that Harmonix will be lumping the famous medley that closes out Abbey Road as one track; none of those songs really stand out on their own (except maybe "Bathroom Window") but they would make for an epic "final boss", with a long drum solo and those 3 rotating guitar solos.

That's my guess. What's yours?


Anonymous said...

Keep in mind that Harmonix isn't shy about assigning the guitar to non-guitar parts. The most obvious example is Boston's "Hitch A Ride," which has the guitar playing the organ solo in the middle.

Anonymous said...

Dude, you picked Get Back twice. You can put I am the Walrus in there after all.

Anonymous said...

Amen. We need She Said and And Your Bird can sing in there. I'm worried they might leave them out...

Anonymous said...

I think a few of your choices will be left out in the end. "Doctor Robert," "Good Morning Good Morning," and "Everybody's Got Something to Hide ..." are examples. "Nowhere Man" and "What You're Doing" will probably be in the game. And the Abbey Road medley also includes "You Never Give Me Your Money" and "Sun King." Other than that, your list is pretty solid.

Anonymous said...

way to avoid keyboard parts, you put in my life in there and the entire song is piano

jervo said...

There is no piano in "In My Life" except for the solo section, and that can certainly be switched over to guitar.

Anonymous said...

Without a doubt Penny Lane will be included and converted into guitar parts.

alex said...

I Saw Her Standing There
She Loves You
Twist and Shout
Eight Days A Week
A Hard Day's Night
If I Fell
Can't Buy Me Love
Ticket To Ride
Drive My Car
Nowhere Man
In My Life
I'm Looking Through You
She Said, She Said
And Your Bird Can Sing
Tomorrow Never Knows
Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band
With A Little Help From My Friends
Getting Better
Hello Goodbye
Penny Lane
Day Tripper
Hey Jude
Yellow Submarine
Paperback Writer
Ballad of John and Yoko
Back in the U.S.S.R.
While My Guitar Gently Weeps
Rocky Raccoon
Helter Skelter
Come Together
Here Comes The Sun
Octopus's Garden
I've Got A Feeling
One After 909
Get Back

...I hope

Anonymous said...

as long as helter skelter is on there i am happy.

Joe said...

Alex: no Twist and Shout, 'cause they didn't write it.

You can bet they'll start with the 54 tracks from the red and blue best-ofs and trim off the piano ballads; Long and Winding Road, Let It Be, etc.

From here, they either include the songs with weird instrumentation (Rigby? sweet!) or they'll have to dig deeper in the catalog.

Five songs I hope they add, in order of likelihood:

1. Rain - Best bass line ever.
2. She Said, She Said - What the hell are those drums doing?
3. And Your Bird Can Sing - Terrific, winding melody.
4. Dig a Pony - Fun, slippery riff.
5. Hey Bulldog - Their catchiest song no one knows.

Anonymous said...

they have to have hey jude in there. it's one of their greatest songs

Anonymous said...

i think they should have happy just to dance with you. that's a great song and everyone always forgets it.

Alex said...

if they stick hey jude and let it be in there then i'll buy - if not i'm holding back to see what DLC they might release for it

i know it might sound silly to hold off for 1 or 2 songs and/or buy the game based on 1 or 2 songs but without knowing a few other songs really well theres not a great temptation for me there yet

Anonymous said...

No blackbird :'(

Anonymous said...

is yellow submarine on there?

jervo said...

Yellow Submarine was NOT on there when I made this list; I figured they'd pick either Yellow Sub or Octopus's Garden, but not both.

Anonymous said...

People, You do know they are going to be releasing all the songs grouped into the albums, those are just to start.

julian said...

i don't care if i have to sing! just give me hey jude, although i feel like i'm singing to myself. na na nanana hey jude...