And here we go!
For Christmas I received the box set of all the Beatles’ albums (remastered!) and I have listened to each album in order of release from start to finish, and I’ve had a blast doing so. In honor of this I would like to list all thirteen of their albums in order of my favorites from least to greatest. Now the thing about the this band is that they never released a bad album, but there are some that are better than others. Please remember this is all my opinion, which is all I can offer. Some will like this list, some will hate it, but we all like these list, so read on!
13. Yellow Submarine
Pretty much crap. The best songs were already released on different albums and the music is too trippy for its own good. This is the only album of the band that I don’t recommend anyone looking into.
12. With The Beatles
Don’t think this album is bad because it is so low on this list, every album including this and after are all worth listening to. This is so low because this was the band’s second album, and they still had a lot of learning to do. It follows the formula of its predecessor Please Please Me, but without as much impact. Still a solid album.
Essentials: “All I’ve Got To Do”, “Please Mister Postman”, “All My Loving”
11. A Hard Day’s Night
The movie is great and so is its soundtrack. Contains some of the band’s best love ballads.
Essentials: “A Hard Day’s Night”, “Can’t Buy Me Love”, “And I Love Her”
10. Please Please Me
The Beatles’ debut album, and what a great start.
Essentials: “I Saw Her Standing There”, “Love Me Do”, “Misery”
9. Beatles For Sale
Before this album, John and Paul were only singing about holding hands and loving girls. However this album has a noticeably darker tone, and the songs are a little less happy. But hey, they’re still singing about loving girls.
Essentials: “No Reply”, “I’ll Follow The Sun”, “Every Little Thing”
8. Magical Mystery Tour
The movie sucked, but at least the music was good. The overall flow of the album is uneven at best, but it contains the Beatles’ best psychedelic music (Sorry Sgt. Peppers). Just to prove my point, there’s “Strawberry Fields Forever”, and “I Am The Walrus.” But there are still many good cheery pop songs, including “Hello Goodbye”, “Penny Lane”, and “All You Need Is Love.”
Essentials: “Strawberry Fields Forever”, “Penny Lane”, “Hello Goodbye”
7. Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band
Rolling Stone calls this the greatest album ever made, really? Maybe it was when it was released, but looking back I find this album to be overrated. But I’d still say this is one of their best albums and one of the best of any band, but just not their finest.
Essentials: “She’s Leaving Home”, “A Day In The Life”, “Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds”
6. The Beatles (aka The White Album)
This album could have been their best if it wasn’t filled with so many so-so songs, which is the case with most double albums. Some songs are just awful (I don’t care if it’s intentionally bad, “Piggies” is crap). However the strong tracks here are some of the band’s most beloved songs, including “While My Guitar Gently Weeps”, “Back In The USSR”, “Helter Skelter”, and the underrated “Savory Truffle.” This is also the band’s best acoustic album, it has “Blackbird”, “Rocky Racoon”, “I Will”, and “Julia.” An album bloated with good and bad songs.
Essentials: “Blackbird”, “Rocky Racoon”, “Birthday”
5. Rubber Soul
By this album’s release, the band was sick of writing silly love songs (that’s for all you Paul McCartney fans out there) and they wanted to push the boundaries, write better songs, and experiment with what the studio could offer. Rubber Soul is the first album to really show how serious they were in their goal to be a great studio band, and it is one of their most essential albums.
Essentials: “In My Life”, “Nowhere Man”, “I’m Looking Through You”
4. Let It Be
The band’s last release and a great ending for the fab four. There are two versions of this album, The original Phil Spector produced one and Let It Be Naked, which is more stripped-down. Some songs sound better on one version over the other, but either is still great.
Essentials (original): “Across The Universe”, “Let It Be”, “One After 909”
Essentials (Naked): “Two Of Us”, “The Long and Winding Road”, “Get Back”
3. Abbey Road
Let It Be was their last release, but Abbey Road was the band’s last recorded album, and they went out in style. This was meant to be their ‘back to basics’ album, with the songs coming upfront and the psychedelics toned down. For all you vinyl listeners out there, the second side – starting with “Here Comes The Sun” for all CD users – is incredible, and has the greatest album closer of any album of any band (and Ringo’s only drum solo!). Probably their easiest album to listen to and an easy one to appreciate.
Essentials: “Golden Slumbers/Carry That Weight/The End”, “You Never Give Me Your Money”, “Here Comes The Sun”
The most underrated album of the band, this is the best “pop” record of the band. Let me explain. Everything before this album was apart of Beatlemania, and everything after was their string of masterpieces that pushed the boundaries of what popular music could be. This album was the perfect mix; the band was still a pop band but they were starting to get sick of their work and wanted to make truly great music, and it shows in the songs. Plus “Ticket To Ride” is my favorite Beatles song.
Essentials: “Ticket To Ride”, “Yesterday”, “Help!”
From the moment “Taxman” starts I don’t want to stop the record, the whole thing is perfect. The band is at its creative peak for this album, creating something that transcends everything they had and will produce. This also has one of the coolest, and trippiest, album covers. But I don’t love this album for how it looks, I love it for how it sounds. Paul writes some of his most powerful songs – I still get chills when I hear “Eleanor Rigby.” John writes some of his most creative music (“Tomorrow Never Knows” still sounds far ahead of its time 45 years after it was made). George begins to write songs for the band, and even Ringo sings on the record! This is their most complete album, one that I can listen to from start to finish and not change one thing. Not only would I argue this to be the band’s best album, I would argue this to be one the greatest album of all time.
Essentials: The whole thing
So how did I do? Feel free to comment on the list, and also name your favorite Beatles’ album by the fab four and why!
Brady is the founder of Headphone Nation. He’s responsible for all this mess. Sorry about that. He’s also on Twitter @BradyWGerber