If you ask Fred Armisen, “The Beatles or the Stones?” expect the actor, comedian and musician to always pick the Beatles. “I love everything about the Beatles, all the time,” he says.
That’s a sentiment that many people share, but long before the group became the Fab Four — back when the band was just starting out — no one would give them a record contract. It took their manager, Brian Epstein, months of behind-the-scenes machinations to get the band a record deal with EMI’s Parlophone subsidiary. The band — John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and new drummer Ringo Starr — went into the studio and came out with their first singles “Love Me Do” and “P.S. I Love You,” which went on to top the U.K. charts. It’s a feat they repeated again and again and again.
Now, the Beatles are the best-selling act ever, selling 600 million albums worldwide and racking up 20 No. 1 U.S. singles, a Billboard record that still stands. No other entertainers in history have been as popular, as influential, as important or as groundbreaking.
In honor of the 50th anniversary of Beatlemania hitting the States — when the Fab Four stormed the set of the Ed Sullivan show, drawing 73 million viewers, and changed pop culture forever — TIME asked Armisen to choose his 10 favorite Beatles songs.
“It’s All Too Much”
“Baby You’re A Rich Man”
“A Day In The Life”
“Martha My Dear”
“Tomorrow Never Knows”
“And Your Bird Can Sing”