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It may surprise some to learn I'm not much of a Beatles fan. I like George's work the most. Lennon had the most to say, I believe, and said it well. Ringo's an accomplished musician without making a big deal out of it. And Paul has a lovely voice. Also, I don't understand why every song with McCartney's fingerprints on it sounds like he's either trying to cram all his brilliance into a single try or entertain a toddler; Starr really had trouble keeping a beat (I bet it had something to do with being unable to hear the monitors); John had a choice between living the art and working it and I think he chose poorly. Harrison could've used a cup of coffee or some ammonia salts in his time between the Beatles and the Traveling Wilburys--and could've avoided joining the Traveling Wilburys.

Regardless, I once promised someone a list of my favorite Beatles songs, and I've owed it longer than the duration of the war in Afghanistan (by about a year). I haven't spoken with this person in decades; this is less about fulfilling a promise to them and more about checking something off my list.

They're not in order, these; like the Bowie list, I've thrown on the ones I like and aren't meant for use later, then shuffled them into some sort of worthwhile order. The only reason the list is even ninety minutes long is because I added Johnny Cash's uneven (he was dying), faltering (he was dying), but important (he was DYING) cover of "In My Life" to round out the set.

I am no one, taking shots at one of the biggest pop acts there ever was, or will be. Am I an ass for it? Maybe, but I'll contend that they would have been content to be simply very good and rich, and further that their popularity was limited by distribution channels available at the time. There can be no definitive say in either case. But here's a story:

A friend was visiting my dorm room when we heard a knock at the door. It was another student, collecting money for a house party to be thrown that night. She recognized my friend; my friend didn't recognize her. She was put out by this.

"You don't know my name?" she asked. "It's the title of a famous Beatles song."

He thought about it a moment, then offered: "'Helter Skelter'?"

Part Two of a Stalemate script follows below. Start on page 7 per the counter.

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