November 17, 2010, 8:21 PM — True, they have no individual song in the top 15 on iTunes a day after their entire catalog became available for download, but The Beatles through early Wednesday night have an astonishing 68 songs in the top 200.
Or maybe a few less, because there are some anomalies here; namely, that some songs are listed more than once. And I don't mean the same song but on different albums. I mean the same song, listed twice -- in different positions -- on the iTunes top-selling song chart. What's up with that, Apple?
The most obvious is the highest-ranked Beatles tune, at No. 16 -- George Harrison's "Here Comes the Sun," which also is listed at No. 109. Both from Abbey Road, both 3:05 in length.
Based on output alone, it's surprising that a Harrison song is outselling the dozens of popular tunes written by John Lennon and Paul McCartney (together or separately, though all are credited to both). And if I had thought that were possible, I would have put my money on either "Something" or "While My Guitar Gently Weeps."
Other songs in doubly include "I Saw Her Standing There" (Nos. 67 and 102), "Let It Be" (22 and 60) and "Come Together" (35 and 147).
Here's a list of the 20 top Beatles songs so far (omitting duplicates as noted above):
Here Comes the Sun -- 16
Let It Be -- 22
In My Life -- 24
Blackbird -- 33
Come Together -- 35
Hey Jude -- 46
With a Little Help From My Friends -- 51
Twist and Shout -- 58
While My Guitar Gently Weeps -- 59
A Day in the Life -- 65 (my personal favorite)
Eleanor Rigby -- 66
I Saw Her Standing There -- 67
Yesterday -- 74
Ob-La-Di Ob-La-Da -- 76
Something -- 78
Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds -- 81
Help! -- 84
Can't Buy Me Love -- 89
A Hard Day's Night -- 91
Dear Prudence -- 99
That's an early snapshot of what iTunes buyers are downloading from the Fab Four's extensive catalog. Argue away (or don't).
Chris Nerney writes about the business side of technology market strategies and trends, legal issues, leadership changes, mergers, venture capital, IPOs and technology stocks. Follow him on Twitter @ChrisNerney.