#159: The Word

Fans of Family Guy and pre-Beatles rock music are well aware that in 1963, Minnesota’s own The Trashmen established definitively and without question that “bird” is the word. It may have been occasionally accompanied by stutters of differing lengths, but the veracity of its prominent place in the lexicon was not up for debate.

And yet in 1965, two cocky young songwriters named John Lennon and Paul McCartney were either unaware–impossible, since everybody knew that “bird” was the word–or deliberately being contrarian by insisting that “bird” was in fact not the word. According to these hooligans, the word was…”love.”

It was the first time a song was ever written about love. The Beatles were always trailblazers.


As you’ve no doubt observed while reading this ranking, I have next to no technical knowledge about music. I wouldn’t know a dissonant chord if it struck me in the back of the head, and “Aeolian cadence” sounds like a bitter Italian pastry to me. So excuse my uncultured language here, but the way the versey parts go into that, uh, chorus thingamajig, like the whole, you know, transition way of thinking and smoothness and things like that and whatnot, I find lacking in…ear pleasing? That makes sense, right?

This song also features one of the clunkiest, “How did this move past the first draft?” lines in the Lennon/McCartney songbook, “Everywhere I go, I hear it said / In the good and the bad books that I have read.” Thank goodness reality TV wasn’t around back in the day or that line could have easily been, “It’s in every episode that I’ve ever watched / Of the plastic surgery show on E! that’s called Botched.”

That said, Paul McCartney’s groovy piano playing and George Martin’s entrancing harmonium part are enough to boost it a little bit, and in hindsight, it could have been worse. The word could have been “moist.”

#159: The Word