They are the Fantastic Four. They are the greatest band of all time. They were only together for less than 10 years, but during that time they revolutionized music and shook the world, and their legacy will live on forever. Here’s a recompilation of all their original 13 albums, from the least good to the absolute great. Do you agree?
13. Yellow Submarine – 1969
Half of this album is the original score of the animated movie, named Yellow Submarine too, composed by George Martin. It’s not an “actual” Beatles album, but it still features a few well known songs, such as Yellow Submarine (originally appearing in Revolver), All Together Now and Hey Bulldog. Only true beatlemaniacs would listen to this album through and through.
Best song: Hey Bulldog.
12. With The Beatles – 1963
The second album of the band is probably the most energetic one. 14 tracks of a mixup between pop and Rock & Roll. This album, released only a few months after Please Please Me, announced the world that the Beatles were here to stay.
Best song: All My Loving.
11. For Sale – 1964
The fourth album, and the one in-between movies (A Hard Days Night and Help!) feels a little overshadowed by the rest. There aren’t many songs that became truly Beatles classics, and it was the last album in which they used covers (when they had used none in the previous one). Still, it’s full of Beatles genius and it’s the first album where the sound starts to sway a little differently than good old Rock & Roll, like in I’ll Follow the Sun or No Reply.
Best song: I’ll Follow the Sun.
10. Magical Mystery Tour – 1967
This album feels like a more psychedelic continuation of Sgt. Pepper’s. And it also looks like they had a lot of fun doing it. Accompanying a movie of the same title, this album is by far the craziest piece of art The Beatles created. From nonsense like I Am the Walrus or Baby, You’re a Rich Man, to absolute classics like Penny Lane, All You Need Is Love and Strawberry Fields Forever. I you feel like losing your mind, ride the Magical Mystery Tour.
Best song: Strawberry Fields Forever.
9. Please Please Me – 1963
The very first album of the band was recorded in only 25 hours. It’s full of energy, love and Rock & Roll. It featured a few covers, but most importantly a lot of Beatles originals that became instant classics and sparked madness. I Saw Her Standing There, Do You Want to Know a Secret, Love Me Do, PS I Love You… The Beatles really started off with the right foot.
Best song: I Saw Her Standing There.
8. A Hard Day’s Night – 1964
Beatlemania was so big, by their third album they had already done a movie. The first half of the album is the tracks featured in the classic film. The Beatles also started maturing during the recording of the album, with songs like And I Love Her and If I Fell. But many of the songs in A Hard Day’s Night are made to get everyone on their feet and start dancing: I Should Have Known Better, I’m Happy Just to Dance with You, Can’t Buy Me Love, and, of course, the song that gives the title to the album, A Hard Day’s Night.
Best song: And I Love Her.
7. Help! – 1965
The second album that was linked to a movie (the best movie, if you ask me), started to show The Beatles as a group that was maturing but truly enjoying themselves. This album included more complexity regarding songwriting and instrumentation. Some people may forget the most recorded song of all time was listed as track #13 in this album: Yesterday. The Beatles have left Rock & Roll behind and have stepped into a more pop sound, with tracks like Ticket to Ride, The Night Before, I Need You, and of course, Help! But let’s not forget classic acoustic guitars in You’ve Got to Hide Your Love Away and I’ve Just Seen a Face.
Best Song: You’ve Got to Hide Your Love Away
6. White Album – 1968
What did The Beatles do after the crazy, colorful and psychedelic stages of Sgt. Pepper’s and Magical Mystery Tour? They went white. The White Album is two albums into one, with a length of 30 tracks that allowed John, George, Paul & Ringo to experiment and revolutionize all they wanted. Even though some of the tracks got lost in the mix or were too revolutionary for everyone (Revolution 9, specifically), The Beatles went less psychedelic, more raw in this album. They went back to Rock but without the Roll, with classics riffs featured in Back in the USSR, Birthday, and Helter Skelter (who some say it’s the first heavy metal song ever recorded). The White Album is a long record with some forgettable tracks, but indeed an album that, once again, revolutionized music, with powerful songs such as Blackbird, While My Guitar Gently Weeps, and Julia.
Best song: While My Guitar Gently Weeps.
5. Let it Be – 1970
Let it Be was the last ever Beatles album, released even after the band had officially parted ways (I still can’t believe they did it even though I was born several years later). Although Let it Be had actually been recorded before Abbey Road but was put on hold for over a year, with many of its songs being recorded live on the famous rooftop concert (the last ever Beatles show). It was a difficult time for the band, the economical issues were visible and Yoko Ono didn’t make things any easier. George Harrison’s I Me Mine was a subtle message to the others. Because of this, as well as the lack of production in comparison to previews records, this album is often underestimated. But we have to appreciate the last masterpieces that The Beatles left us before splitting up: Get Back, Across the Universe, The Long and Winding Road… and last but not least, the ultimate Beatles song that turned into the message of a generation: Let it Be.
Best song: Let it Be.
4. Rubber Soul – 1965
The album that truly marked a new beginning for the ones from Liverpool, Rubber Soul was named after after a wordplay (rubber sole – soul). By 1965, The Beatles had left Rock & Roll and Blues behind and were looking for new rhythms. This album has a unique sound, marking a successful result of a stage of experimenting for Lennon & McCartney. Featuring a few Beatles classics, such as Michelle, Drive my Car and Nowhere Man, the album is consistent through and through, it begins an era of looking for new sounds for the Beatles, and is truly a masterpiece. Rubber Soul can be resumed into a song that has even been called the greatest of all time: In My Life. Powerful writing, smooth rhythm, a unique solo with a baroque sound, and an instant classic.
Best song: In My Life.
3. Revolver – 1966
The very next album after Rubber Soul was Revolver, another masterpiece, product of a time of experimentation from the band. Beyond looking at every track individually, Revolver is an album that revolutionized music and was the link between the young Beatles and the Sgt. Pepper’s Beatles. Before Revolver, The Beatles were a popular phenomenon, afterwards, they were the genius one step above everyone else. Considered the first psychedelic album of all time, Revolver was result of the band’s creativity at its full potential. The mixture of sounds, rhythms, instruments, moods, lyrics, in this album makes it a work of art altogether. It has everything: slow but romantic melody in Here, There and Everywhere, a sad piece for the brokenhearted in For No One, an upbeat romantic rhythm with Got to Get You Into My Life, unique guitar riffs on Taxman and And Your Bird Can Sing, a track that looked like it was taken from the 18th Century dedicated to lonely people in Eleanor Rigby, a song that was about nothing but that became so popular it had its own movie in Yellow Submarine, finishing everything in a psychedelic track that announced that the best was about to come in Tomorrow Never Knows.
Best song: Eleanor Rigby.
2. Abbey Road – 1969
The actual last album ever produced by the band will infinitely live as the last legacy that the greatest band ever left us when they were together. They were tough times for the band, that by that time it was mostly four musicians searching for their own projects and helping each other with them, rather than the fantastic four. But still, the music they produced was indeed fantastic. In this album there was noticeably more participation from the quiet Beatle, George Harrison, in masterpieces such as Something and Here Comes the Sun. John Lennon’s Come Together opens up the album with an unforgettable rhythm. And even Ringo’s Octopus’s Garden is, sort of, there. But the album is heavily carried by Paul McCartney. First, with Oh! Darling, but most significantly, with the famous Abbey Road Medley, consistent of 8 songs that interlude with each other, starting with the chorus of Because, followed by the not so subtle You Never Give Me Your Money, all the way into Golden Slumbers and Carry That Weight, finishing with the last song of the last album The Beatles ever recorded: The End.
Considered by many as the greatest album of all time, with the most emblematic cover photo of all time, Abbey Road is a reminder that The Beatles were great even until their final moments together.
Best song: Something.
1. Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band – 1967
In 1966, The Beatles decided they weren’t going to tour anymore. Even though it crushed millions of hearts, this allowed the band more time to spend on the studio, where they had been experimenting with albums like Rubber Soul and Revolver. But nothing prepared the world for what was about to come. The name of the album once occurred to Paul McCartney as a word play: salt and pepper sounds like sergeant pepper. And with the album, a concept was born: every member of the band had a costume of different color, they all grew mustaches, Lennon started wearing glasses, and the band worked for four months to produce one of the first ever concept albums. They even invented a persona, a certain Billy Shears that no one knows for sure who he is up to this day.
The album was released on May, 1967, featuring one of the most emblematic cover photos of all time. The album starts with sounds of the sea and of instruments getting tuned, and it ends in an explosion of undecipherable voices. The band announces that “we’re Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, we hope you will enjoy the show”, and then starts a series of tracks that interlude with each other, so different from one another but so complementary at the same time. From Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds, to the heartbreaking She’s Leaving Home, all the way to Harrison’s experiment on Within You Without You, this album has to be understood not like a bunch of songs put together, but as a 40 minutes trip that gets you high and low, up and away. After the band says farewell with the same tune as in the beginning: “we’re Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, we hope you have enjoyed the show”, the greatest song The Beatles ever made starts. There’s no better way to finish the best album of the greatest band of all time than with A Day in the Life, one of Lennon-McCartney’s last collaborations and that closes magnificently our trip, lands us back on Earth, and leave us thinking of Yesterday.
Best song: A Day in the Life.