The Beatles’ Spookiest Songs

The Beatles produced an iconic mix of cheery pop songs and psychedelic experiments. Although they never wrote as many macabre tunes as Alice Cooper, Rob Zombie, or Marilyn Manson, the Fab Four did give us a handful of eerie tracks. Here are the spookiest songs that the Beatles ever wrote.

The Beatles in 1964 | Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

‘A Day in the Life’

“A Day in the Life” remains one of Beatles‘ most popular and critically acclaimed songs. The song’s popularity is a touch surprising given its horrifying undertones. The song sees John Lennon and Paul MCartney narrating four seemingly disconnected vignettes. One is about a man who died in a car accident, another is about a World War II movie, the third is about a man’s daily routine, and the fourth is about “four thousand holes in Blackburn, Lancashire.”

None of these lyrics are scary unto themselves, however, they are each followed by a cacophonous instrumental break which sounds like the gates of hell being opened. The song is intentionally oblique, like much of the Fab Four’s work from this period. A simple explanation of the song meaning – and the apparent dissonance between its mundane lyrics and its disturbing instrumental – is that there are many horrific things lying beneath the surface of everyday life which we all choose to ignore. It’s amazing this song came from the same band that gave us cutesy songs like “She Loves You” and “Penny Lane.”

‘Revolution 9’

The Beatles in suits | Getty Images

As the Beatles career went on, the band began to embrace avant-garde music more and more. The most avant-garde piece the Beatles ever released was “Revolution 9.” Here’s a song that isn’t really a song –  it’s a collection of random noises including the sounds of cymbals, unintelligible chatter, and a monotone male voice repeating the words “number nine.” What exactly the song means is anyone’s guess.

Thanks to the song’s title, some listeners have surmised the song is about the chaos and violence inherent in all revolutions. The song can just as easily be explained as the Beatles toying with their listeners or trying to outdo every weird song they had previously written. Whatever the song’s purpose, it’s more unsettling than just about any other song ever released. In a slightly more perfect world, “Revolution 9” would be a ubiquitous Halloween staple instead of Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” or “Ghostbusters” by Ray Parker Jr. Predictably, “Revolution 9” never became one of the Beatles most popular songs because it’s devoid of lyrics in the conventional sense.

‘Blue Jay Way’

The Beatles performing songs in Magical Mystery Tour |Keystone-France/Gamma-Keystone via Getty Images

Between releasing two of the most beloved albums of all time – Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band and the White Album – the Beatles gave us the soundtrack to Magical Mystery Tour. Because the film was poorly received, its soundtrack is sometimes unjustly overlooked. One of the great songs from the soundtrack is George Harrison’s composition “Blue Jay Way.” The song is about George waiting for his friends to return from an excursion, but its musical arrangement makes it feel much more sinister. The song has a chillingly slow tempo and odd time signature that make it feel disorienting and strange in the most delightful Beatles-esque way.