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What song/single/LP did The Beatles peak with artistically?
19 May 2010
8.39pm
c64wood
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Song: "Strawberry Fields Forever" (wow)a-hard-days-night-john-1

Single: "Strawberry Fields/Penny Lane" (for me, it doesn't get any better than this)a-hard-days-night-john-1a-hard-days-night-paul-9

LP: Sgt Pepper (I believe Revolver was a better album, but artistically, you can't beat Pepper) a-hard-days-night-john-1a-hard-days-night-paul-9a-hard-days-night-george-3a-hard-days-night-ringo-5

I know you know what you know, but you should know by now that you're not me ~ Ron Nasty
19 May 2010
9.00pm
mithveaen
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Song: A Day in Life.

 

Single : Strawberry Fields Forever / Penny Lane

 

Album : Revolver and Sgt. Pepper. I'd choose Revolver, but I know in my heart that I haven't learned to appreciate Sgt. Pepper as I should. Maybe I'm too influenced by what George and John said in The Anthology.

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19 May 2010
9.50pm
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Song: Rain

Single: Rain (B-Side)

Album: Revolver

I could have been trendy and said the Pepper album, but I still maintain it was overproduced. I don't blame George Martin - he just did as he was asked.

george-martin

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19 May 2010
9.53pm
Alissa
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Song: "A Day In The Life". Brilliance at it's peak. If we were answering the earliest sign of their artistic talent, I would say "Tomorrow Never Knows", I think.

 

Single: "Yellow Submarine"/"Eleanor Rigby". I too would say both of your answers probably, but I wanted to be different! a-hard-days-night-paul-5 These songs may not be their peak of course, but I really think Eleanor Rigby was an initial sign of their minds expanding artistically.

 

Album: Sgt. Pepper. 'Nuff said. Revolver is sensational, but peak-wise, Pepper. 

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19 May 2010
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GniknuS
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Song: In My Life. It's hard to top Strawberry Fields Forever, but the Beatles peak in terms of just a perfect sound was In My Life, or maybe Here, There, and Everywhere.

Single: Hey Jude/Revolution

Album: Revolver, it just has everything.

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21 May 2010
2.03am
Marcelo
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Song: Strawberry Fields Forever and A Day In The Life

 

Single: Hey Jude/Revolution

 

Album: White Album

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10 March 2015
8.33pm
Rutlefan
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Song: A Day In The Life

Single: Strawberry Fields/Penny Lane

Album: Revolver or The Beatles (White Album), depending on how I consider the question

10 March 2015
9.44pm
chrisredditch
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Song - Hey Jude (Something for George)

Single - Hey Jude again

Album - Abbey Road

I strongly believe that another 5 years of Beatles up to 1975 would have produced some amazing material... We shall never know.

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trcanberra

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10 March 2015
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Linde
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Song: A Day In The Life
Single: Strawberry Fields/Penny Lane
LP: Sgt. Pepper

I love Revolver more, but for what it is, and seen as it's always hailed as, I don't know, some godlike thing or something, I have to choose Pepper.

This is when they peaked, so that could be a bit different from the start of their artistic expansion.

10 March 2015
10.43pm
Silly Girl
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Song: Here, There And Everywhere 

Single: Strawberry Fields Forever/Penny Lane 

Album: Revolver 

Yes: I said Revolver 

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10 March 2015
11.44pm
Atlas
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What a good idea for a thread!

 

Some satisfying consensus here.

And an honest admission made by a poster above and one that we might all make………We want to be original and pick songs/albums others have rejected.

Indeed I like other songs/albums more but…..keeping to the terms of the question

Day in the Life

Penny/Strawberry

Sgt. Pepper

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Silly Girl
11 March 2015
7.42am
ewe2
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It's actually a very difficult question. It depends on your definition of "peaked". Is it musical sophistication, or artistic development, or cultural impact? And also whether you intend it to be a Beatles group achievement or in reality that of the songwriter? So, trying to take these things into account:

Song: Strawberry Fields Forever. Having said all of the above, this song stands out as something unrepeatable. It has the involvement of everyone, it ticks all the boxes. Any comparison with other singles/songs is basically unfair. Not even Sgt Peppers can follow it, and that is a bit of a problem. The whole psychedelic period for the Beatles was a problem because they couldn't develop it, but they did learn from it. So they just dropped it and went on from Revolver really.

Single: Paperback Writer/Rain. The similarities between the two is not often noted. Both have a drone-based structure: no middle eight or a definable guitar solo at all. Both use vocal pauses, are bass-heavy, with intricate vocal harmonies, a wealth of technical innovation, and neither song is about love. Yet they're sonically and lyrically so different, and they're difficult vocal performances. Most bands can play the music, but forget about even doing Paperback Writer justice vocally. I've covered Rain in a band before (playing bass), it's murder. This was the last single that could seriously be performed (I know they did Paperback Writer live) for a couple of years at least (not till Hey Jude/Revolution) and it's a great band performance. I would argue this single changed things lastingly in western popular music compared to the psychedelic period. It was a close thing though: I think Yellow Submarine/Eleanor Rigby is incredibly underrated as a single.

LP: White Album. This is chosen mainly on the participation of all members, the range of material, the quality of George's contributions, the change in technique instrumentally and in songwriting. I see it as a continuation from the Revolver period, applying what was learnt from the psychedelic period. It covers every trick the Beatles knew, and as I've said in a previous post, it has fragments of the past and the future embedded in it on a few levels, it's really the pivot of their career. Most bands have the hard album 2 or 3 albums in. It took the Beatles 9 albums to get there. The hard album is usually the one you have to write in the studio because you've run out of ideas. The Beatles had plenty of ideas but also had nowhere else to go and it was driving them mad. No amount of inspiration was going to change that problem, but the result has a level of unmatched intensity.

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11 March 2015
12.49pm
Bongo
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The double A side single We Can Work It Out & Day Tripper that came out simultaneously with Rubber Soul was huge in '65, but hardly peaked yet at this point!

 

I'd like to say they peaked in '67 with all those great singles on the Capitol release of Magical Mystery Tour and Sgt. Pepper a-hard-days-night-paul-7

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11 March 2015
3.05pm
Sun King
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I've thought long and hard about this but I can never come to an answer. Each 'period' of their's has such unparalleled greatness in it that you really could pick anyone from AHDN onwards. At a push, I'd pick Revolver.  

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11 March 2015
7.31pm
StarrisonSubmarine
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This had me thinking quite a bit. Automatically I wanted to say Sgt Peppers. It's always hailed in pop culture, even today as The Beatles greatest achievement. But when you actually sit down and think about it, each album has it's own charm doesn't it?

Revolver is The Beatles going from those teeny boppers singing about holding hands and how much they love [you] to expanding their minds and music to the wider world. With the help of drugs or not it certainly holds more maturity than something like AHDN full of songs such as If I Fell and And I Love Her. They're trying new things, creating themselves a new sound. Of course there are tiny hints of this in Rubber Soul I've thought. The idea of being a Nowhere Man or Norwegian Wood (this bird has flown) are almost like transitional. If you're listening to their catalog from Please Please Me to Let It Be, to me Rubber Soul always felt like the stepping stone from Help! to Revolver. I have seen a lot of people cast Rubber Soul off as boring but I love it, and think it was necessary in the creation of Revolver.

Of course Sgt Peppers is a work of art. It's not as psychedelic as Revolver, no, but it has the obvious new influence of India heavily present in Within you and Without you. The orchestra swells in A Day In The Life is something I've never heard recreated quite like that before. Even the sweet little dittys like Getting Better are notable, showing the careful balance of Pauls positivity (I've got to admit it's getting better...) and Johns negitivity (Can't get much worse).

Magical Mystery Tour is their first attempt at recording alone, without Brian. And, for me at least, seems like the last album they ever really did together as a band. It contained some real gems, even if it was short and the first side was the soundtrack to a film that basically flopped when broadcast. Each track is very different but it didn't really "peak", probably due to the film. It did contain Penny Lane and Strawberry Fields Forever which, when it comes to singles really can't be beaten.

The White Album has also been mentioned. It's hard to see that as a Beatles album, in the sense that, as I've read and agreed with, it sounds a bit like each four coming up with their own bits and then putting them all together. Almost a side a Beatle, if Ringo had more of a look in.  It even contained Don't Pass Me By, which if I remember correctly, had been rejected by Lennon/McCartney over and over. I seem to remember reading Ringo had penned this in the earlier days and it was just constantly rejected until The White Album. Of course they never really pulled together. The constant arguing during Let It Be, as shown in the documentary, supposed to show The Beatles new era and accidentally recording their break up.

Abbey Road, while I love it, seems to be full of 'throw aways' having to bunch three little songs together. George and Ringo really come into their own, producing Octopus's Garden and Here Comes The Sun and Something. Perhaps made possible with Lennon caring less and less about The Beatles until he turned around and left (resulting in Oh! Darling which I love for Pauls raw vocals). Of course Lennons attention has been slowly drifting from The Beatles to Yoko. (I would like to point out here, while I don't like her, I don't think that's her fault, I don't think she was responsible for the break up. The band had been starting to splinter for a long time before Yoko really came onto the scene. I don't like her for other reasons-but I digress.)  Lennons best (IMO) contribution to Abbey Road, Come Together is brilliant, a perfect subtle balance of instruments complimenting Lennons vocals and the words. I want you (She's so heavy) takes a bit to really appreciate. I've known people get bored of the length and felt uneased by the sudden ending. Because has some amazing harmonies. After this the album sort of declines into odd bursts of songs they never really developed. It always felt to me like they were just using up what they had left before, eventually, properly going their separate ways. 

Let It Be again only has a few solid songs, unlike the earlier days when you would go through a journey from beginning to end. I often find myself picking and choosing the songs I listen to on there, meaning it's difficult to listen to the LP and end up listening to CD. The reason I discovered when I bought a copy of Let it be...Naked was the editing. The silly snippits of speech that had nothing to do with the songs added to songs without much thought. Such as the bizzare comments about Doris getting her oats before The Two Of Us. Some people love it. My boyfriend prefers Let It Be over Let It Be...Naked. But Let It Be had odd contributions such as Dig it and Maggie May. They sound like bits that should have been in a making of or behind the scenes documentary, not the actual album. It's possible I just don't "get" these bits but even Paul hated the album, and when the artist doesn't like it, there's not much going for it. I'm glad Let It Be... Naked was released. It seemed like the vision Paul had for the album. 

To me, it's very difficult to decide whether Sgt Peppers or Revolver was the "Peak". For now I consider that time frame to be the peak of The Beatles career.The middle of the road where they had built up a reputation from Please Please Me to Revolver and, unfortunately due to many factors started to decline from Sgt Peppers to Abbey Road.  a-hard-days-night-ringo-15

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11 March 2015
9.06pm
trcanberra
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I don't think they did and I don't believe there was any sort of decline. In my view their first few solo albums show they were still soaring artistically. If there was a peak it was somewhere around 1972/3, and I only believe that happened because they weren't bouncing ideas off one-another musically.

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12 March 2015
6.29pm
Zig
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StarrisonSubmarine said

To me, it's very difficult to decide whether Sgt Peppers or Revolver was the "Peak". For now I consider that time frame to be the peak of The Beatles career.The middle of the road where they had built up a reputation from Please Please Me to Revolver and, unfortunately due to many factors started to decline from Sgt Peppers to Abbey Road.  a-hard-days-night-ringo-15

trcanberra said

I don't think they did and I don't believe there was any sort of decline. In my view their first few solo albums show they were still soaring artistically. If there was a peak it was somewhere around 1972/3, and I only believe that happened because they weren't bouncing ideas off one-another musically.

Interesting comments, both. To me, if we stay within the confines of the band and not include solo work, I really did not see any artistic decline. Arguments could be made that Let It Be was not up to snuff, but I always attributed that to the fact the George Martin was not able to produce it from soup to nuts and the bickering was way out of hand. Had it been put together like all before it and Abbey Road after it, it would have been an even more enjoyable album than it already is (I love it).

If we are talking about the decline of the group as a whole unit, one could point to Pepper as the peak - only because they lost Brian right after it. Like John said (paraphrasing), "I knew we'd fucking had it". While there is no doubt each member started to sprout wings and go off in differing directions, one has to wonder if the group would have lasted longer with Brian still around. No Klein/Eastman squabbles, for one thing, would have made a difference.

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12 March 2015
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Entharsis
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Song: A Day In The Life

Single: Penny Lane / Strawberry Fields Forever

LP: Sgt. Pepper

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13 March 2015
6.11am
WhereArtEsteban
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song "Strawberry Fields Forever" or "A Day In The Life"

because drums

single "Paperback Writer / Rain"

because bass

album: Abbey Road

because in the middle of the celebration i break down

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13 March 2015
2.21pm
Mr. Kite
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Song: Probably Strawberry Fields Forever; it's so musically interesting in every aspect (from Mellotron to coda) and has wonderful lyrics. I'm looking for words to describe the orchestration... I guess 'full' almost describes what I'm thinking, but it's just perfect for the song and done so well. Ringo's drumming adds to the atmosphere of the song and isn't overdone, but it's impressive, especially right after the pitch changes (when John first says 'going to'). The reversed cymbal thing is so cool, as well! John's vocals are some of the best and there's a nice little harmony at 2:27. And the guitar lick at 2:57 is absolutely perfect!

An artistic masterpiece, so much creativity.

Single: Paperback Writer/Rain; as much as I love Strawberry Fields, Penny Lane isn't that great in comparison. Rain and Paperback Writer are both very strong songs.

The harmonies beginning the single are so melodic. The echo on the A-side is very cool and definitely creatively executed. Paperback Writer has very enjoyable lyrics that tell an interesting story and it really rocks along. Very strong riff, very nice bass! And c'mon, the inclusion of Frere Jacques was creative and pretty funny.

Rain has phenomenal drums and bass! The guitar part is also very nice, although often overlooked. The lyrics are also good even if they're not necessarily deep and meaningful like some others. This one also has great harmonies and vocals overall. The reversed vocal ending bit is also a big artistic touch and sounds great.

Album: Saying they peaked before Abbey Road would mean that everything after the point I pick would be lesser (reading upthread now, I agree with TR), so I'm going to go with the final album they recorded. Even if it's not my absolute favorite (still can't pick) it was brilliant.

Side 1: John's songs were amazing, and I Want You is such an interesting side ender. Paul had some cool vocal parts (Oh! Darling) but seems more invested in the back. Octopuses Garden is just such a happy song with a cool George guitar intro and a great Ringo vocal. George's two were pretty much perfection. George as one-fourth of The Beatles definitely peaked here. Something is beautiful, the solo is brilliant, and it's for Pattie. Perfect song.

Side 2: Here Comes The Sun has an interesting time signature and therefore interesting drumming. Amazing guitar! The Medley is a beautiful mixture of all four members that could not have been executed better. Too much to say about that to I Will leave it at that.

There was way too much creativity throughout their whole career, so these are probably highlights if not the best.

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