Holding 16 out of the top 100 best-selling singles of all time, 7 of the top 100 most successful albums of all time, 4 of which are in the top 10, 3 of which are in the top 5, and the single best selling music act of all time with an estimated sales of over half a billion units worldwide.
Are you getting the picture yet?
It’s somewhat hard to grasp just how vastly impactful the Beatles truly were. Not just in raw figures either, but also in the culture of music, playing a significant role in the progression and direction of pop and rock music during that period.
So today, in celebration of arguably the greatest musical group there ever was, we are going to share with you 25 of our absolute favorite and easy-to-play Beatles songs on the guitar.
- Yellow Submarine
- Twist and Shout
- Let it Be
- Love Me Do
- A Hard Day’s Night
- All You Need Is Love
- Come Together
- Paperback Writer
- I Saw Her Standing There
- Norwegian Wood
- Eight Days A Week
- Get Back
- All Together Now
- Don’t Let Me Down
- I Should Have Known Better
- Here Comes The Sun
- Eleanor Rigby
- Can’t Buy Me Love
- Rocky Raccoon
- Two of Us
- Across The Universe
- While My Guitar Gently Weeps
- You’ve Got To Hide Your Love Away
- Oh, Darling!
- Hey Jude
Click Here for tab for Yellow Submarine
Starting things off with one of not only The Beatle’s most easily recognizable songs but probably one of the most well-known songs in the world. SIt was so popular, in fact, it was awarded the Ivor Novello award for having the highest sales figures of any song written by a British songwriter. The song marked the start of a shift in the Beatle’s sound, where they started to introduce elements of psychedelia wrapped in this theme of a children’s nursery rhyme.
We’ll need to learn 2 sets of chord progressions for this track, during the verse we’ll be using the 8 bar progression D, C, G, Em, Am, D, and G. Then for the chorus things are much simpler, and catchier with a nice and easy G, D, D, G progression.
Twist and Shout
Click Here for tab for Twist and Shout
This song was originally written by Phil Medley and Bert Russel, but was recorded by the Beatles with John Lennon performing those powerful and catchy vocal sections. It was released on their first album ‘Please Please Me’. They also recorded this in an ‘album session’, which is a recording method seldom used by modern musicians, where the band recorded 11 songs in a singular 10-hour recording session. This track was left until the last one, as they knew John’s voice would suffer due to the raspy nature of the song.
This is a very vocal-driven song. Fortunately, the guitar part is super easy to play! Aside from the chord progression, you’ll be playing some harmonic intervals here with some major and minor 3rds during the version. The easiest way to think of them is as just 2 note chords.
Let it Be
Click Here for tab for Let it Be
The title track of the 1970 album of the same name. The song has two versions in circulation, with the original single release having the guitar solo and orchestral parts lower in volume to swap the listeners’ focus more towards the vocals. However, the album release (which was produced by a different person) has them much higher and upfront which many describe as having a more ‘aggressive’ sound.
To play this along with the original song you’ll need a capo on the 5th fret of the guitar, but assuming you are performing this by yourself it might be easier to just play it without one. Not only does it make things more convenient playing-wise, but it’s probably a little easier to sing to as the original key is pretty high.
Love Me Do
Click Here for tab for Love Me Do
Despite being one of The Beatle’s most popular and easily recognizable songs, it was actually written before the band had even formed. Paul McCartney has noted that he wrote it at the age of sixteen while staying home and skipping school. It was then recorded in 1962 and released the same year to great commercial reception, hitting the number 1 spot in the US.
The main thing to focus on with this song, which really gives it that signature feel is the accented strum on beat two. As long as you’re hitting that it’s going to sound great! Chord wise it couldn’t be much simpler, we just need 3 chords which are A, D, and E all played using their standard open voicings.
A Hard Day’s Night
Click Here for tab for A Hard Day’s Night
This was the main song on The Beatle’s feature film also called ‘A Hard Day’s Night’, which was also the title of the album. The song’s name originates from a slip of the tongue from drummer Ringo Starr, where after working some very long hours he said to his bandmates ‘it’s been a hard day’, but by that time it was already night so he quickly corrected himself with ‘….night’. And thus, the name of the single, album, and movie was birthed!
So for this song, you’ll notice there are a few add9 chords and interesting chordal voicings going on. Don’t worry about it, it’s not as complex as it seems! We essentially have our ring and pinky fingers planted on the 3rd frets of the high B and E strings the whole time, while the other two fingers form new chord shapes around it.
All You Need Is Love
Click Here for tab for All You Need Is Love
This was written solely for a global television program called ‘Our World’ in which 19 different nations were invited to perform various television segments. The Beatles wrote this song in order to perform it as part of their segment. This TV broadcast is to date the most viewed piece of broadcast media of all time, it’s estimated between 400 to 700 million viewers watched it from all around the globe. Astonishing!
Written as a fairly simple ballad, you’ll just be playing some simple open chords here using the chords G, F sharp/D, G/Am. These voicings can get a little complicated, particularly the Am shape where you have to hold the G with your pinky, so be sure to reference the provided video tab so you can ensure you’re playing it correctly. But it’s still nothing a beginner shouldn’t be able to tackle with a little practice!
Click Here for tab for Come Together
Finally a track from the legendary Abbey Road album, of which this was the opening track for. It was also released as a promotional single, topping the charts in the US and hitting the number 4 spot in the UK. It was written during the period when John and his wife Yoko were heavily protesting against the Vietnam War and references the campaign’s slogan ‘Come Together – Join the Party!’.
So for the rhythm sections here you’ll be able to play power chords almost exclusively over those first 2 strings, try to have your fingers mute everything from the D string and below to ensure it’s nice and clean. Then, if you’re feeling up to it there are a few easy lead lines here that are also harmonized, so if you have a friend with you it’s a great one to jam out!
Click Here for tab for Paperback Writer
This track is a really fun one to play and sing to! You’ll have a great time with it. Conceptually it comes from songwriter Paul McCartney’s Aunt Lil. She commented that he always writes songs about love, and said ‘Can’t you ever write about a horse of the summit conference or something interesting?’. So he did just that! And after witnessing drummer Ringo Starr reading a book, he simply said to himself that he’d write a song about reading a book.
The track has a great hard rock feel to it where you can grit up your guitar’s distortion and play some pretty cool chord voicings that are also easy to fret. The first thing to learn is that G7 barre chord shape which is used throughout the majority of the song, this chord shape is transposable and you will notice for many sections you can just simply slide that 1 shape up the neck in order to play the next chord.
I Saw Her Standing There
Click Here for tab for I Saw Her Standing There
This is a really fun and upbeat song to jam to, and was the opening track from their debut album ‘Please Please Me’. It was met with immediate positive commercial reception, peaking at the number 14 spot on the US Billboard and hanging in there for a whopping 11 weeks. It’s also been ranked as one of the greatest songs of all time by the infamous Rolling Stone magazine.
You’ll be outlining the chords E7, A7, B7, E/Am, E, A, Am, and there are a few power chords thrown in. So quite a lot of digest, but getting to grips with those 7th chord voicings in different positions around the neck is a really useful thing to do. And the progression sounds fantastically groovy too!
Click Here for tab for Norwegian Wood
Taken from their 1965 album ‘Rubber Soul, the song recounts John Lennon’s experience of having an extramarital affair in London. The track’s also been credited with being a large influence on the development of the psychedelic and raga rock styles thanks to its interesting use of instrumentation which includes some classic Indian elements.
This track is unique as the primary vocal melody is also played on the guitar, so you’ll be jumping between strummed chords and single-note passages as you both maintain a chord progression and double up the vocals. The chord progression in question is really effective. You’ll also need a capo on the second fret of the guitar.
Eight Days A Week
Click Here for tab for Eight Days A Week
In a surprisingly similar situation to ‘A Hard Day’s Night’, this track was also named due to one of drummer Ringo Starr’s misspoken words, where instead of saying seven days a week, he mistakenly spoke eight which the band found hilarious, and thus the track was named. The track is taken from the ‘Beatles for Sale’ album, but was re-issued a second time on the 2000’s Beatles compilation album 1.
This uses a super simple chord progression that follows two rounds of D, E, G, then into D Bm, G, Bm. The strumming pattern is also exceptionally simple with just 4 down strums to each quarter note of the bar, with each chord receiving 1 bar of playtime each!
Click Here for tab for Get Back
Not to be mistaken for the recent Peter Jackson documentary, named off of this song which is a single from their album ‘Let It Be’. This is another example of where the album version received a slightly different mix than the single release, with that iconic chat between Paul and John in the studio being retained for the final version. As you would expect, it charted highly everywhere and has been covered by some notable artists including Rod Stewart and Billy Preston.
This one has a little bit more rock and roll energy to it, the main thing to focus on here is that you’re going to be doing heavy accenting on the upstroke. It’s very easy to want to make your strongest hit the downstroke, but in this case, swapping that accent around gives it a unique and groovy feel that you cannot achieve any other way.
All Together Now
Click Here for tab for All Together Now
While the song was written back in 1967 during their ‘Magical Mystery Tour’, it wouldn’t find a home until a couple of years later when it would be included on the 1969 album ‘Yellow Submarine’. Described by songwriter Paul as a children’s song which very much is in line with the kind of overarching nursery rhyme tonality of the Yellow Submarine album.
This one has a bright lively strumming pattern to it that’s played at a fairly fast BPM. That, combined with the large barre chords you’ll be holding make it a quite active and involved song that will demand some dexterity for your arms. Consider it a bit of a gym workout for your hands!
Don’t Let Me Down
Click Here for tab for Don’t Let Me Down
This is a heartfelt love song that John Lennon wrote to Yoko Ono, which means that he is putting everything out there for their love and relationship, and she must not let him down. Originally this song was released as a B-side and didn’t make it onto the ‘Let It Be’ album. But due to its popularity and how deeply it resonated with listeners, it would later be included on the re-release of that album titled ‘Let It Be… Naked’.
While the guitar parts may, at first glance, seem quite tricky and involved, especially when looking at the tablature. Once you start to learn the song you’ll realize it’s all based around holding down a single chord and then playing small inflections around that shape, it ends up being much easier to play than it might appear.
I Should Have Known Better
Click Here for tab for I Should Have Known Better
This track, much like the title track of the album, was specifically written for The Beatle’s debut movie, ‘A Hard Day’s Night’. And was also included on the B-side of the soundtrack. During the movie, it was used on the scene which was supposed to be set in a train compartment but was actually just a dressed-up van with some crew members outside who would rock the van around to simulate the movement of the train.
There’s a good mixture of chords used in this song based around G which are G, D, Em, C, B7, and G7. It uses a relatively simple strumming pattern but we encourage you to check the accents detailed in the provided video lesson as they are (no pun intended) instrumental to the overall feel of the song.
Here Comes The Sun
Click Here for tab for Here Comes The Sun
This was written by George Harrison, who during this period was feeling frustrated due to his recent run-in with the authorities due to marijuana possession, he had also undergone surgery for tonsilitis, and has mentioned his frustrations with the Beatles company ‘Apple’ due to all the corporate paperwork. So, to take a break from everything he went over to his friend Eric Clapton’s house and using one of Eric’s guitars wrote this song in the garden.
For this you’ll need a capo fairly high up on the 7th fret which gives it an almost mandolin like tonality. The way you strum and pick this is also quite interesting, at first glance it might look like you’re supposed to fingerpick it, but the general rule is you are playing the chord on the downstroke while the primary melody is played on the upstroke as you’re pulling your hand back up.
Click Here for tab for Eleanor Rigby
A surprisingly poignant lyrical concept for how young Paul McCartney was when he wrote it. This song fits in during that transition period from where The Beatles shifted their sound to a more stylized tonality, with this song in particular making fantastic use of a string quartet that’s slightly reminiscent of the baroque period. The character herself, Eleanor, was named after the actress who performed in the Beatles movie ‘Help’.
Although the song is written primarily for a string quartet, it’s very easy to take those chords and translate them to the guitar. All we need is an Em and a C, and if it’s a little boring for you there are versions available that also incorporate the vocal melodies into the guitar part.
Can’t Buy Me Love
Click Here for tab for Can’t Buy Me Love
This song was written during the Beatle’s time in Paris, France. They stayed at the George V hotel and had an upright piano moved to their suite (imagine having that kind of pull!) so they could continue songwriting. During that time they wrote this track. The concept of the song is very simple, you can have all the material possessions in the world, but at the end of the day, you can’t buy love.
For this song we’ll be using the chords Em, Am, Dm, and G. Although it’s worth mentioning the way the D chord is voiced is different from the standard one you would have been taught, do reference the attached video lesson to see exactly how that’s played.
Click Here for tab for Rocky Raccoon
Taken from the Beatle’s self-titled album, this is more of a country/ragtime effort and can offer a welcome change of pace. Lyrically, the song recounts the story of a love triangle where the protagonist named Rocky has his girlfriend leave him for another man called Dan, who ends up punching Rocky. So Rocky, vowing to get revenge tries to shoot Dan, but Dan outdraws him and Rocky is the one who ends up getting shot. Did you get all that?
So this is a great song for beginners to learn as it throws in genuine triplets during the strumming pattern (and not just two 16ths and an 8th). This will feel very unusual at first but if you tap your foot to the beat of the song you’ll soon figure out how it all fits together.
Two of Us
Click Here for tab for Two of Us
Released back on the 1970 album ‘Let It Be’. The song, originally titled ‘On Our Way Home’ and was first written with a more rock-orientated style, putting a larger emphasis on the guitar work. But Paul felt it made the song too ‘chunky’ and they decided to re-work it with a bigger focus on the acoustic sections.
For this song, you’ll be using primarily 3 chords, G, C, and Am7 and there’s a passing chord where you’ll walk that C down to a B before moving to the Am7. One cool thing to note is on the very opening of this song adding some vibrato to those notes really adds a lot of authenticity and life to the part.
Across The Universe
Click Here for tab for Across The Universe
The concept of this song came to John Lennon after he was feeling irritated due to the incessant chatter of his then-wife Cynthia. After she had fallen asleep John remained awake, stewing on what she had said. So, he decided to get up and turn that into a song, which he described as a ‘cosmic song’ due to not really feeling like he had written it by himself, it was more than that the music was handed to him from some other source.
In terms of technical proficiency required to play the song, it’s not too hard, but there are riffs and long sequences of chord progressions here, turning this more into a test of memory than of guitar technique.
While My Guitar Gently Weeps
Click Here for tab for While My Guitar Gently Weeps
So after the Beatle’s time in India, where they had been studying ‘Transcendental Meditation’ there was a lot of turmoil within the band. So once songwriter George Harrison returned and began to compose music again, he wrote this song which details that turbulent time. Legendary guitarist Eric Clapton also lent a helping hand with this song, overdubbing the lead guitar parts but wasn’t actually credited for the song.
You have a choice here between some nice strummed chords or some pretty cool lead guitar parts, feel free to play whatever piques your interest. One thing that might be a challenge for beginners is muting the strings on those 8th note pauses, the technique is achieved by laying the palm of your left hand down over the strings to stop them from vibrating, do it some distance away from the bridge and it will ‘choke’ all the notes instantly.
You’ve Got To Hide Your Love Away
Click Here for tab for You’ve Got To Hide Your Love Away
The true meaning of this song is a bit ambiguous, the obvious thing to correlate to it is a song of self-reflection about the fact John wasn’t able to be open about his love/marriage to the public. But it’s also been mentioned that perhaps it was his own inability to express his ‘loving’ self in public, feeling that disconnect and isolation as a result of the ridiculous levels of fame he/the band had achieved.
Either way, it’s a fantastic song to learn on the guitar. The main thing that a beginner should focus on here is the rhythm which is in a non-standard time signature, you’re probably very used to playing in 4/4 which is counted as ONE two three four, whereas this one which is in 6/8 (not to be confused with 3/4 time) you will count as ONE two three FOUR five six. Those accented strums on the 1 and 4 counts are vital to getting the rhythm of this song down!
Click Here for tab for Oh, Darling!
You’ll easily hear how demanding the vocal parts for this song are, songwriter Paul McCartney has said that he would come to the studio early to practice the song. He wanted to sound well-practiced and, as he put it ‘as though I’d been performing it on stage all week’. John Lennon has also commented that he felt he could have done a better job with the vocals, as it was more in line with his style, but as Paul was the songwriter he ultimately had the final say.
You’ll hear a lot of blues/Hendrix-y influence in this song, it outlines the chords A, E, F sharp m, D, Bm, E7, and Eaug (not in that order). But it’s a really fun song to play to as there are lots of little lead parts and bluesy inflections thrown in which serves as a great lesson on how you can spice up what is fundamentally a quite simple progression.
Click Here for tab for Hey Jude
Finishing things off with this single release, which was written by Paul McCartney. It’s yet another track that was written during the period of inner turmoil within the band and was written specifically for John Lennon’s young son Julian. John Lennon has just left his mother for the Japanese artist Yoko Ono with the song overall trying to put a positive spin on a sad situation.
Guitar wise this is a nice and simple ballad-style track, with a nice and steady strumming pattern that doesn’t require any capo. There are a fair few chords used throughout the song and we encourage you to check the provided video lesson for voicing details. But they are easy to play and well worth learning as those chords will serve as a great benefit to your guitarist vocabulary book.