Which solo Beatles albums are better than actual Beatles albums?

Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by Jerryb, Jun 13, 2018.

  1. RudolphS

    RudolphS Forum Resident

    Rio de Janeiro
    My running order:

    01. Revolver
    02. Plastic Ono Band
    03. Abbey Road
    04. Rubber Soul
    05, Magical Mystery Tour
    06. A Hard Days Night
    07. Band On The Run
    08. All Things Must Past
    09. Sgt. Pepper's
    10. White Album
    11. Imagine
    12. With The Beatles
    13. Ram
    11. Wings Over America
    14. Help!
    16. Let It Be
    17. Venus & Mars
    18. Beatles For Sale
    19. Ringo
    20. Fly - Yoko Ono (yup)
    21. Please Please Me
    22. Yellow Submarine
    maui jim likes this.
  2. Ron Stone

    Ron Stone Offending Member

    Deep Maryland
    I don't think any of their solo albums are as good as any "real" Beatles records. Only POB and IMAGINE come close, maybe an abridged ALL THINGS MUST PASS. But I think Paul McCartney's best solo album (that isn't a comp or live record) is RUN DEVIL RUN, so adjust your grain of salt accordingly . . .

    Quality control becomes too much of an issue and there's way too much forgettable water-treading. Tendencies that were held in check by the compromises of including the others in the recording-making process become full-blown deficiencies when forced to fill out entire LPs all by their lonesomes, with no one around to offer a better song, a crucial bridge, or just say "No."
    Last edited: Jun 14, 2018
  3. TheWalrusWasPaul

    TheWalrusWasPaul Forum Resident

    There is a certain magic when the four of them worked together - even on their worst songs - that isn't there on any of their solo material.
  4. Folknik

    Folknik Forum Resident

    Some of the solo albums already mentioned are, IMO, stronger and more consistent than With the Beatles and Let It Be. To this list, I would add Hayman's Green by the Pete Best Band which is a fantastic album;very Beatleseque, influenced mainly by the "Penny Lane"/"Lucy in the Sky" type of groove. I guess it can't really be called a solo album, though. Pete doesn't sing on it. He just plays drums, but he is credited as a cowriter on all of the songs.
    Zeroninety likes this.
  5. sandmountainslim1

    sandmountainslim1 Vicar Of Fonz

    I'm surprised that Beatles for Sale and Hard Day's Night are not ranked any Higher by some of you guys. To me they are two of the absolute best Beatles albums. I seldom even listen to an album they made after Revolver. Please Please Please Please Me to Revolver is what I consider their very best work
    angelees likes this.
  6. Zeki

    Zeki Forum Resident

    Yes. The four parts were all integral to The Beatles.
  7. Hardy Melville

    Hardy Melville Forum Resident

    New York
    Assuming Yellow Submarine as a film soundtrack is not intended to be contemplated here, the answer is


    I actually appreciated Plastic Ono Band and All Things Must Pass more in the past than I do currently, those two being my favorite ex-Beatles solo albums. But POB went out of my rotation some time ago (perhaps it deserves a fresh listen). ATMP now sounds problematic for its to my ears overproduced sound, and too many weak songs (while concededly there are many great ones). I've never really liked any McCartney solo efforts, certainly not more than the Beatles' albums. Doubt I ever will.

    This discussion also once again shows the divergence among Beatles fans in appreciation of different periods, not just albums. I consider it a form of apostasy for someone to call themselves a Beatles fan and diss their early work, up to and including what I consider the great Beatles for Sale/Beatles 65. On the other hand their later work receives great praise from some who either do not see or choose to overlook how their ongoing disintegration at the time was hurting the music. For me that makes it tempting to say I prefer All Things Must Pass over Let it Be, for example. Maybe I do sometimes. But ftr, I can't say so.

    So NONE.
  8. Greenalishi

    Greenalishi Forum Resident

    San Francisco
    AllMusic Review by Stephen Thomas Erlewine

    The cliché about singer/songwriters is that they sing confessionals direct from their heart, but John Lennon exploded the myth behind that cliché, as well as many others, on his first official solo record,John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band. Inspired by his primal scream therapy with Dr. Arthur Janov, Lennoncreated a harrowing set of unflinchingly personal songs, laying out all of his fears and angers for everyone to hear. It was a revolutionary record -- never before had a record been so explicitly introspective, and very few records made absolutely no concession to the audience's expectations, daring the listeners to meet all the artist's demands. Which isn't to say that the record is unlistenable.Lennon's songs range from tough rock & rollers to piano-based ballads and spare folk songs, and his melodies remain strong and memorable, which actually intensifies the pain and rage of the songs. Not much about Plastic Ono Band is hidden. Lennon presents everything on the surface, and the song titles -- "Mother," "I Found Out," "Working Class Hero," "Isolation," "God," "My Mummy's Dead" -- illustrate what each song is about, and chart his loss of faith in his parents, country, friends, fans, and idols. It's an unflinching document of bare-bones despair and pain, but for all its nihilism, it is ultimately life-affirming; it is unique not only in Lennon's catalog, but in all of popular music. Few albums are ever as harrowing, difficult, and rewarding as John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band.
  9. Hardy Melville

    Hardy Melville Forum Resident

    New York
    I agree. There are different tastes sure enough. But within the Beatles cannon, for Beatles fans? That is where they came from, what made them, they were really clicking, many great great songs. What's to not like about them?
    sandmountainslim1 likes this.
  10. Zeki

    Zeki Forum Resident

    This forum is constantly flogging POB so I've been revisiting it. As mentioned upthread, just listened to it again last night and finally "clicked" with one of my two clunkers. Which, I guess, was the good news (!) but then ended up turning it off when Well Well Well just wouldn't stop. So back to where I was. :D
    sandmountainslim1 likes this.
  11. Hardy Melville

    Hardy Melville Forum Resident

    New York
    I've always had great respect for Lennon's effort on POB. Both the writing and the singing. And many of the songs are great. But my recollection about why I stopped regular listening to it is that I found it too laborious to listen to it all the way through, and at the same time did not feel right skipping songs. maybe I would be okay with the latter now.
    ohnothimagen likes this.
  12. Zeki

    Zeki Forum Resident

    A number of folks posting on this thread have proposed edited album versions "All Things Must Pass", The White Album", etc. I've kept away from that but...sure, if winnowing/editing is fair game I could make a helluva POB.
  13. Fivebyfive

    Fivebyfive Forum Resident

    East coast, US
    The problem with POB for some people is that listening to it today, those ground-breaking confessional lyrics are not shocking or eye-opening anymore. They can be kinda grating. We've all since listened to a metric ton of navel-gazing albums by multimillionaire rock/pop artists, with the result that POB comes off as a self-absorbed, whining turnoff to some listeners today. By contrast, time has been kind to an album like Ram, which sounds fresh and modern today. Ram's confessional aspects are easily ignored if you just want to appreciate the musical brilliance. Don't get me wrong. I still think POB is as brilliant as Ram (in different ways and styles). Just interesting to me that they're both heard differently now than they were on release.
  14. sandmountainslim1

    sandmountainslim1 Vicar Of Fonz

    Spot on! Ram went from being a joke to a stroke of genius and POB went from the Primal Scream album to Whinefest #1 in the years since release.
    ohnothimagen, Hot Ptah and ralph7109 like this.
  15. jgkojak

    jgkojak Mull of Kansas

    Lawrence, KS
    It's not so much "better" as its impossible for them to have the same cultural or musical impact. Perhaps solo albums as "meaningful" as Beatles albums?

    In chronological order:

    Plastic Ono Band - You can't be a Lennon fan and not appreciate the pathos and songwriting on display here. In some ways, ahead of its time - it sounds more like a 90s alternative rock album than a product of the end of the 60s.

    All Things Must Pass - It's impossible to listen to George's work within the Beatles the same way after hearing this record. Even with Phil Spector as producer, he has his own sound, and the songwriting on here ("Beware of Darkness", "All Things Must Pass", "Let It Roll" and many others) is exquisite.

    Ram - As ahead of it's time as POB - sounds like the blueprint for indie rock. An incredible musical statement and vocal performance, if this had been released by Brian Wilson it would be hailed as the next Pet Sounds. This plus All Things Must Pass probably point to what a 1971 Beatle album would have sounded like.

    Imagine - There are some flaws ("How Can You Sleep?") but there are too many iconic songs and moments on this to not place it up there with at least a few Beatle records.

    Ringo - You can't deny this has Ringo's Beatle magic. It's a delight to hear the other three throughout this record (Paul on Kazoo on "You're Sixteen", the very Lennonesque "I'm the Greatest"). It's a great romp of an album.

    Band on the Run - Of all the records here, the one that has the feel and scope of a great Beatle work - every song is essential (if you don't get that "Picasso's Last Words" is a musical tribute to the abstract art of its titular character that's your problem) and the finale of "Nineteen Hundred Eighty Five" gives me as many goosebumps as the Abbey Road medley.

    Runners Up - there is Beatle quality work (more than 2 Beatle worthy songs) on the following records:

    Living in the Material World, Walls and Bridges, Venus and Mars, Goodnight Vienna, Double Fantasy/Milk and Honey, Tug of War, Cloud Nine, Flowers in the Dirt, Flaming Pie, Brainwashed , Chaos and Creation in the Back Yard, Memory Almost Full
    Hermes, JannL and angelees like this.
  16. Dillydipper

    Dillydipper Sultan Of Snark

    Sooo...Ringo, then...? :D
  17. daveidmarx

    daveidmarx Forem Residunt

    Astoria, NY USA
    I will listen to Ram or Plastic Ono Band or All Things Must Pass 10x before I put on Beatles For Sale. But that's me.
    maui jim likes this.
  18. jgkojak

    jgkojak Mull of Kansas

    Lawrence, KS
    The Big 6 solo records are ones that would rank higher than some Beatle records (like Beatles For Sale).
    ohnothimagen likes this.
  19. Price.pittsburgh

    Price.pittsburgh Forum Resident

    I'm a Beatles guy first but I could never say every single Beatles album is as good or better than the best album or two by The Stones, Zeppelin, The Who etc. as well as a few solo Beatles projects
    ohnothimagen and Hardy Melville like this.
  20. ralph7109

    ralph7109 Forum Resident

    Franklin, TN
    Ringo has its charms, but it would be like they gave Ringo a whole disc for the White album and the other three helped him with the tracks so......no.
    Last edited: Jun 14, 2018
  21. Dillydipper

    Dillydipper Sultan Of Snark

    Well, we always wanted to know what the White Album would be like if it were only one disc...;)
    ralph7109 likes this.
  22. jgkojak

    jgkojak Mull of Kansas

    Lawrence, KS
    Think of it as tiers -
    Top tier
    Rubber Soul, Revolver, Sgt Pepper, White Album, Abbey Road

    2nd tier
    With the Beatles, A Hard Day's Night, Magical Mystery Tour, POB, All Things Must Pass, Band on the Run

    3rd Tier
    Please Please Me, Beatles For Sale, Help!, Let It Be, Ram, Imagine, Ringo

    4th Tier
    Yellow Submarine, other solo releases
    Hermes and somnar like this.
  23. ralph7109

    ralph7109 Forum Resident

    Franklin, TN
    Where's "McCartney"?
    Hermes likes this.
  24. Michael P

    Michael P Forum Resident

    Parma, Ohio
    I bought that album when it first came out because all 4 Beatles appeared (sadly never together on any song). It was the closest thing to a "Beatles reunion" that would ever happen (unless you count the "Threetles" on Anthology).
  25. Hot Ptah

    Hot Ptah Forum Resident

    Kansas City, MO
    This reminds me of my post in another thread from some time ago, which I will quote here:

    "I find it to be a slight negative thing on this board when members speak in abbreviations. For example, "Joe Schmoe was so great in POWF, better than his later involvement in SIEO. Their EODOEP effort just does not do it for me, not like DOEMS and WOWJWOD. Of course, WOWJWOD did have the great EODR single starting off Side 2, but HOLHODS and DOSJF ruin Side 2 for me otherwise."

    Is it that difficult to type out the band names and album names and song names? Or at the very least, type them out in full once, and then abbreviate them later in the post?

    Not everyone is familiar with every artist and all of their work".

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