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Ranking The Beatles' official studio albums
14 January 2021
10.20am
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Magill
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1. The Beatles (White Album ): It’s just glorious. Some of my favorites include While My Guitar Gently Weeps , Happiness Is A Warm Gun , The Continuing Story Of Bungalow Bill , good night, Sexy Sadie , mother natures son, long long long, and, believe it or not, Don’t Pass Me By . It’s just great.

2. Sgt. Pepper ‘s lonely hearts club band: This was the first Beatles album I ever got on vinyl. It changed music for me! The brass solo in the intro song, the happy tone of Ringo’s singing in With A Little Help From My Friends , the tear-jerking story of She’s Leaving Home , and so much more. Of course, nothing can beat the outro, A Day In The Life . John and Paul’s parts are equally loved by me.

3. Revolver : When I first heard this album, I thought: “Wow. This is basically Rubber Soul , but with more acid.” Each song is great! Highlights are Taxman , Eleanor Rigby , I’m Only Sleeping , Love You To , Here There And Everywhere , Yellow submarine, She Said She Said , Good Day Sunshine , And Your Bird Can Sing , For No One , I Want To Tell You , Got To Get You Into My Life , and the phenomenal Tomorrow Never Knows … I think I just listed every song on the album.

4. Abbey Road : The medley is amazing, and side 1 is filled with epic songs! 

5. Magical Mystery Tour : Blue Jay Way is one of my all-time favorites, along with Strawberry Fields Forever , Penny Lane , I Am The Walrus , The Fool On The Hill , and the song Magical Mystery Tour .

6. Rubber Soul : Think For Yourself is the best. Enough said. Ok, Norwegian Wood , Run For Your Life and what goes on are also loved by me.

7. A Hard Days Night: John ROCKED this album!

8. Help !: Highlights are Help ! (song), The night before, the notorious Yesterday , I’ve Just Seen A Face , and Ticket To Ride .

9: Let it be: Get back is one of my favorites, along with Let it be, Across The Universe , I Me Mine , and One After 909 .

10. With the Beatles: Till There Was You and Hold Me Tight are my favorites.

11. Please Please Me : Many great songs on this album. From I Saw Her Standing There to the song Please Please Me .

12. Beatles For Sale : Some filler songs, but it’s great no matter what.

13. Yellow submarine: If it weren’t for It’s All Too Much and Hey Bulldog , I would never even consider buying this album. But the orchestrations are extremely underrated.

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18 January 2021
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William Shears Campbell
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Is Magical Mystery Tour an official studio album?  I mean it was inducted into the chronology in 1976.  Really it should be grouped with Hey Jude and Beatles ’65 and all that.

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19 January 2021
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William Shears Campbell said
Is Magical Mystery Tour an official studio album?  I mean it was inducted into the chronology in 1976.  Really it should be grouped with Hey Jude and Beatles ’65 and all that.

  

it’s become a canon release I guess

fwiw, even if you do consider it a compilation, that material isn’t available on their other albums

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20 January 2021
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Vera Chuck and Dave said

William Shears Campbell said

Is Magical Mystery Tour an official studio album?  I mean it was inducted into the chronology in 1976.  Really it should be grouped with Hey Jude and Beatles ’65 and all that.

  

it’s become a canon release I guess

fwiw, even if you do consider it a compilation, that material isn’t available on their other albums

  

Well, neither is any of the stuff on Past Masters , but I don’t consider that when ranking the Beatles’ albums.

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20 January 2021
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MMT is obviously not a ‘real’ album as The Beatles did not create it in the same way as they did the other albums. Sure there are brilliant songs on it, but the best, other than ‘I Am The Walrus ‘, are ‘Strawberry Fields Forever ‘ and ‘Penny Lane ‘ and they were taken from the Sgt. Pepper sessions and released as a single prior to Sgt. Pepper ‘s release. Obviously an EP of 6 songs couldn’t be released in the CD era, so something had to be done.

The 2 Past Master discs are only 42 and 51 minutes long. Therefore with a bit of manoeuvring, the MMT could have been added to Past Masters discs. It would have greatly improved the PM discs as 1967, an important year, would be accounted for!

20 January 2021
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William Shears Campbell said
Is Magical Mystery Tour an official studio album?  I mean it was inducted into the chronology in 1976.  Really it should be grouped with Hey Jude and Beatles ’65 and all that.

Yes and No:

As far as it’s initial release goes, MMT and Hey Jude are the only 2 US albums that were approved by The Beatles themselves (previously, their non-UK releases had little to no input from the band). However, because MMT contains 5 songs exclusive to the album and double EP, MMT is now considered part of their canon while Hey Jude isn’t.

Still, it’s not the way The Beatles intended and wasn’t initially released in their native UK so i wouldn’t count it as a proper Beatles release.

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22 January 2021
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William Shears Campbell
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Obviously an EP of 6 songs couldn’t be released in the CD era, so something had to be done.

  

1976 was before the CD era.  Also the EP was released on CD

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22 January 2021
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Is it possible to see your posts on this forum? I don’t feel like looking through 14 pages to see if I’ve posted in this thread so here goes. This is based off of my most recent listening of all the albums this month.

1. Rubber Soul – includes my favorite Beatles song, In My Life , and not a single dud. It’s the album I’d put on if I wanted some easy listening, though I suppose others might view that as a bad thing.

2. The White Album – absolutely amazing variety. This album has my favorite side of the band’s run (Side 1). Cry Baby Cry Revolution 9 Good Night is an absolutely mind-blowing set of tracks and a phenomenal ending. Had Side 2 been a bit stronger, this would have overtaken Rubber Soul . I think Rocky Raccoon Don’t Pass Me By – Why Don’t We Do It In The Road? together grind the album to a complete halt and I wouldn’t have followed Happiness Is A Warm Gun with Martha My Dear .

3. Abbey Road – virtually flawless album. Another one with no duds. The only reason it’s #3 is because I like the others more, but this one might be their best. Only possible improvement would have been the addition of All Things Must Pass somewhere in there.

4. Let It Be – I take from both the original and Naked versions when listening to this one. Let It Be and Across The Universe are both in my top 10 Beatles tracks. I never got why this album was disliked, outside of the production.

5. A Hard Day’s Night – I’m a broken record at this point, but yet again, I think this is an album with no mediocre tracks. Side 1 is perfectly balanced mix of rockers and ballads. Side 2’s slightly weaker, but it ends with one of my favorites. It’s the John album, much like the next one on my list is the Paul album.

6. Sgt. Pepper ‘s Lonely Hearts Club Band – I’ll be honest, it took me a really long time to warm up to this one. First time I listened to it, I didn’t think there were any standouts outside of A Day In The Life . Now, I think all of the tracks are pretty good. Had Strawberry Fields Forever and Penny Lane not been taken off, this would have been #5.

7. Revolver – probably the most controversial placing on my list, but I still really like all of the albums. There are several great tracks on here, but Love You To , She Said She Said , Doctor Robert , and I Want To Tell You are a few too many weak points for me to consider it their best. I’m not the biggest fan of Tomorrow Never Knows either, but I think it works within the context of the album.

8. Magical Mystery Tour – if this one counts, I’d put it here. I used to have it as the best of the psychedelic trio, but at the end of the day, it’s a compilation album. I think Side 1 is weak, with my least favorite original composition in the group’s run, Blue Jay Way . Side 2 is a great set of songs but it’s pretty obvious they were never meant to be together on an album.

9. Help ! – a step up from its predecessor, but not as good as AHDN . The weird thing is this has both some of the best tracks of The Beatles’ early years — Help !, Ticket To Ride , I’ve Just Seen A Face , Yesterday — and some of their most lacking — You Like Me Too Much , Tell Me What You See . Wait was far better than most of the tracks on this one. I have no clue why they didn’t include it here, but it made Rubber Soul better so I’m not complaining.

10. With The Beatles – used to be my least favorite Beatles album when I only listened to the originals, however this easily has the best covers in the band’s run. It’s the quintessential rock and roll album in my opinion. Also, amazing opening three tracks.

11. Beatles For Sale – I really like all of the originals on this album, especially the two opening songs, but the covers are so weak that the album gets dragged down to second to last. Had they been on the quality of WTB, this would easily be up a few spots.

12. Please Please Me – not a bad album, just my least favorite. The originals are slightly better than the ones on WTB (though All My Loving beats any of the tracks on this album) but to me, it sounds like the band was only half-trying on a few of the covers.

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7 February 2021
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William Shears Campbell said
Is Magical Mystery Tour an official studio album?  I mean it was inducted into the chronology in 1976.  Really it should be grouped with Hey Jude and Beatles ’65 and all that.

  

Released as such on Capitol in the USA and included in The Beatles In Mono box set of albums so included. If anything Yellow Submarine is more suss. A whole side of George Martin orchestral musings and on side 1 only four of the six Beatles offerings are seeing release for the first time.

Unless Paul McCartney knocks on my door I am unlikely to be impressed.

7 February 2021
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The place of MMT in their discography is often debated, @Paul Prole (and welcome to the Forum).

I can understand the argument that when EMI standardised their catalogue for worldwide CD release in 1987, creating the Canon, they included the Capitol compilation album MMT (which I’ve been known to refer to as “the 1967-shaped hole in Past Masters ,” onto which it would easily have fitted). It is easy to understand EMI’s arguments for doing so: MMT had been released in most territories around the world by that time, including the UK; and it gave them fifteen albums to sell (PMwas originally released as two separate CDs) instead of fourteen.

But the question about whether it is an “official studio album” is about whether it fits into the sequence of albums that the group went into the studio with the intention of recording an album, and it clearly doesn’t. In many ways it fitted the pattern of AHDN and H!: soundtrack songs on one side, non-film songs on the other; but the non-film songs were just the other five non-album tracks released in 1967. And The Beatles agreed to it simply because EPs had never really taken off in the US market in the way they had in Europe.

I understand your point about YS, but they did at least select the songs they were giving to that soundtrack, knowing how it would be released as the contract signed for the soundtrack album was that it would include one side of The Beatles and one side of George Martin. John would later comment on the YS album, “You can blame that one on Brian…”. Brian had wanted to get GM a good payday from having the royalties from one side of an international Beatles release.

It should also be noted when EMI first put out a Beatles studio albums box-set in 1978, two years after MMT was released in the UK, MMT was not included.

Is MMT a Canon album, yes, as is PM; is it an album that they went into the studio with the plan of recording an album in their heads, no – it is a compilation of tracks that appeared only on EP and single in the UK at the time, as is PM.

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7 February 2021
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To get this thread back on topic, i think i’ll do another ranking:

1. Sgt. Pepper ‘s Lonely Hearts Club Band (1967)
Songs=4/5
Flow=5/5
Variety=5/5
Total=14/15
2. Abbey Road (1969)
Songs=4/5
Flow=5/5
Variety=4/5
Total=13/15
3. Rubber Soul (1965)
Songs=5/5
Flow=4/5
Variety=4/5
Total=13/15
4. Revolver (1966)
Songs=4/5
Flow=4/5
Variety=4/5
Total=12/15
5. A Hard Day’s Night (1964)
Songs=4/5
Flow=4/5
Variety=3/5
Total=11/15
6. Yellow Submarine (1969)
Songs=4/5
Flow=3/5
Variety=4/5
Total=11/15
7. Beatles For Sale (1964)
Songs=4/5
Flow=3/5
Variety=3/5
Total=10/15
8. The BEATLES (1968)
Songs=3/5
Flow=2/5
Variety=5/5
Total=10/15
9. With The Beatles (1963)
Songs=4/5
Flow=3/5
Variety=2/5
Total=9/15
10. Please Please Me (1963)
Songs=3/5
Flow=3/5
Variety=2/5
Total=8/15
11. Magical Mystery Tour (1967)
Songs=2/5
Flow=2/5
Variety=4/5
Total=8/15
12. Let It Be (1970)
Songs=2/5
Flow=2/5
Variety=3/5
Total=7/15
13. Help ! (1965)
Songs=2/5
Flow=2/5
Variety=3/5
Total=7/15

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1. Revolver . Hypnotising brilliance and innovation. A very even grouping of songs with major contributions from every member. Superb.

2. Rubber Soul . Work of art. Their most themed album. Exquisite composition and arrangement.

3. Abbey Road A tour de force. Production excellence of the highest order. Harmonic heaven. 

4. Let It Be . A trip through the acoustic range in all it’s facets. Varied yet whole. Poignant.

5. The White Album . Indulgence of the highest order for creator and audience. Traverses the gamut of their artistic palette. Joyful.

6. Help . A sublime piece of pop mastery. Stunning songwriting with a nod to foundation rockers. All class.

7. Sgt. Pepper ‘s Lonely Hearts Club Band. A journey that takes many turns. Diversity on steroids. An aural feast.

8. Magical Mystery Tour . Quintessential experimental rock. An eclectic menage. A progression from frivolity to studied genius.

9. A Hard Day’s Night Pop excellence. An historical landmark for artistic self determination. Fabulous.

10. Beatles For Sale Carefree and jaunty with a touch of darkness. A template for the times. Consistently impresses.

11. Please Please Me . Raw and charming. New meets old in seamless unity. Groundbreaking.

12. With The Beatles . Effortless execution. Merging traditional rock and roll stompers and ballads with original pop.  A happy place to be.

13. Yellow Submarine . Challenges the format. Delivered with a minimum of fuss. Pleasing to the ears.

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I’d just like to point out that I count the American release of Magical Mystery Tour as an album, due to it being, well, good. Compilation albums usually have previously released songs only, but many songs on MMT are brand new. Yes, I know all the new songs are on the British EP, but that’s an EP. EP’s aren’t qualified as albums, really. MMT was admitted as an album by John in 1974 as an album in this quote right here:

Magical Mystery Tour  is one of my favourite albums, because it was so weird. ‘I Am The Walrus ’ is also one of my favourite tracks – because I did it, of course, but also because it’s one of those that has enough little bitties going to keep you interested even a hundred years later.
I’m trying to remember what interview that was from (As they just recycled interviews from John for the Anthology book). I just know it was in 1974.
So, yes, count Magical Mystery Tour in your ranking of albums.
Also, I feel quite bad for the people who bought the american MMT, even though they already bought all the side 2 (and one song from side 1) singles.
 

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11 February 2021
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I like to think of their non-UK albums as repackagings as opposed to compilations, as Americans didn’t think of Meet The Beatles! as “9 tracks from With The Beatles plus I Saw Her Standing There from Please Please Me and both sides of their latest non-album single” or Beatles ’65 as “8 tracks from Beatles For Sale plus I’ll Be Back from A Hard Day’s Night and both sides of their latest non-album single”, they just thought of them as their (at the time) new album.

Also, it’s quite common for compilations to have new or previously unreleased songs as a selling point for people who already have all their albums, such as Boston’s Greatest Hits, Def Leppard’s Vault, and Green Day’s International Superhits.

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11 February 2021
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Dark Overlord said
I like to think of their non-UK albums as repackagings as opposed to compilations, as Americans didn’t think of Meet The Beatles! as “9 tracks from With The Beatles plus I Saw Her Standing There from Please Please Me and both sides of their latest non-album single” or Beatles ’65 as “8 tracks from Beatles For Sale plus I’ll Be Back from A Hard Day’s Night and both sides of their latest non-album single”, they just thought of them as their (at the time) new album.

Also, it’s quite common for compilations to have new or previously unreleased songs as a selling point for people who already have all their albums, such as Boston’s Greatest Hits, Def Leppard’s Vault, and Green Day’s International Superhits.

  

Magical Mystery Tour is different, though. While those american albums are all just songs from UK albums, yet Magical Mystery Tour has previously-released singles and new songs only. No songs from previously-released albums. Also, it’s the only American Beatles album that’s on Spotify. Ones like Meet the Beatles, The Beatles second album, and Something new are not featured on Spotify.

But, yes. Is is sort of a repackaging.

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  1. Revolver  
  2. Abbey Road
  3. Sgt. Pepper ’s
  4. Let It Be
  5. Please Please Me
  6. A Hard Day’s Night
  7. The White Album
  8. With The Beatles
  9. Help !
  10. Beatles For Sale
  11. Rubber Soul – Girl and Run For Your Life ruin this entire album for me. They’re very mean and they give the rest of the album bad vibes. 
  12. Yellow Submarine

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13. Yellow Submarine
Favourite: Only A Northern Song , Hey Bulldog , It’s All Too Much
Least favourite: All Together Now
Last by default, because this is not an album. Yellow Submarine and All You Need Is Love belong on Revolver and Magical Mystery Tour respectively. George Martin’s score is not bad, but it’s not exactly Beatles music. This leaves us with four songs, all of them good, three of them great, two of them brillant. By average song rating, it would probably be top 5 for me, but four tracks that should have been on other albums and singles are not enough. And if they were, this wouldn’t even be considered an album.

12. With The Beatles
Favourite: It Won’t Be Long , All My Loving
Least favourite: Little Child
I could switch this and Please Please Me back and forth forever. With The Beatles probably has the better individual songs, but it’s a transitional album for me that aimlessly tumbles between covers and originals. Most of it is perfectly enjoyable, but it just seems more like a supply of early Beatles stuff for in between than a proper album to me.

11. Please Please Me
Favourite: I Saw Her Standing There , Do You Want To Know A Secret
Least favourite: There’s A Place
This is the one album where I won’t complain about covers. The fact that they wrote original songs at all on their debut at their age and in their time is impressive enough and the covers blend in much better than on later albums, to the point where I sometimes lose track if a tune is an original or a cover. The most important thing here isn’t yet the songwriting, but the singing and playing, the attitude and the youthful energy, and those things apply to both covers and originals.

10. Beatles For Sale
Favourite: No Reply , I’m A Loser , I’ll Follow The Sun
Least Favourite: Honey Don’t , Everybody’s Trying To Be My Baby
One step forward and two steps back. The songwriting is clearly evolving in the right direction, but there are just too many covers. Recording 1950’s standards they’ve been covering four years earlier isn’t justifiable to me at this point and makes for an anachronistic album experience. If only they had a bit more time to create a full album instead of reaching back to some hit songs from their childhood that everybody and their mama already played.

9. A Hard Day’s Night
Favourite: A Hard Day’s Night , If I Fell , Things We Said Today
Least favourite: I’ll Cry Instead , When I Get Home
And because Beatles For Sale decided to be half an album, this is the peak of the early years. No covers, which is beautiful, the songwriting is getting more sophisticated, eclectic and melodic. My main niggle would be the Lennon dominance, with one or two more Macca songs (his three tunes are great) and a Harrison composition (his song is my least favourite George vocal, he just doesn’t sound too great on it, luckily the song itself is nice) this would have been more balanced.

8. Let It Be
Favourite: Two Of Us , Let It Be , For You Blue
Least Favourite: Dig It , Maggie Mae
I listened to this quite late and funnily enough it still always seems a little bit like discovering a new Beatles album. There’s great material on this, but the mix of back-to-the-roots Rhythm and Blues with spoken word intros, little skits and jam session snippets versus overcrowded Phil Spector orchestration doesn’t work and makes for a fragmented and unfinished album experience. Also the fact that the theoretically best song Across The Universe is represented in an inferior version doesn’t help.

7. Help !
Favourite: Ticket To Ride , I’ve Just Seen A Face , Yesterday
Least Favourite: Act Naturally , Dizzy Miss Lizzy
Probably the most underrated album. Obviously the covers stand out like a sore thumb, but there are only two. Otherwise, things are getting interesting and the jump to Rubber Soul isn’t that big anymore. Forays into folk rock and classical elements blend in well. Also this is the album, where the previous Lennon frontmanship takes a reasonable step back, Macca blooms as an equal and Harrison finally establishes a more or less consistent songwriting presence.

6. Abbey Road
Favourite: Something , I Want You (She’s So Heavy), Here Comes The Sun
Least Favourite: Sun King , Mean Mr. Mustard
Probably the most overrated album (and somehow still higher on my list than the most underrated). The so-called Medley, more a side of smaller medleys and filler snippets, barely ever did that much for me, except for the main Golden Slumbers The End part. There are really great songs and some I probably like better than most people (almost strange how this album is held in such high esteem but many songs are often heavily critisised) and Octopus’s Garden rules. But a lot of the time I just wonder why there are not five to six George Harrison songs by now. Great music, but as a whole album it never fully clicked.

5. Rubber Soul
Favourite: Norwegian Wood , Girl, In My Life
Least favourite: The Word , What Goes On
Rubber Soul is often hailed as the record that helped establish the pop album as an art form. I don’t think that’s true for the album as a whole, as it is quite a random selection and order of songs, but it’s true for most of the individual tracks themselves. More complex melodies, more poetic lyrics, more layered harmonies and arrangements, forays into folk and soul with just hints of psychedelia and instrumentation outside of the standard rock repertoire with bright guitar tones, sitar and harmonium. For me no top ten songs, but an assortement of music that always surprises me how good it actually is when I listen to it again after some time.

4. Magical Mystery Tour
Favourite: I Am The Walrus , Strawberry Fields Forever , Penny Lane
Least favourite: Magical Mystery Tour
Boo-hoo, it was originally recorded as an EP that got supplemented with some of the singles from that year. Get over it, because Magical Mystery Tour works as an album magically, with a diverse but coherent blend of pop and psychedelia. And with some of the most outlandishly brillant songs ever created by mankind. It’s as crazy and colourful as the cover artwork, as strange and beautifully irritating as its eggman-focussed signature track. My main niggle would be that there should have been more songs, George’s work from that year, that got later sidelined on the so-called Yellow Submarine album, would be perfect.

3. Sgt. Pepper ‘s Lonely Hearts Club Band
Favourite: She’s Leaving Home , Within You Without You , A Day In The Life
Least favourite: Good Morning Good Morning
I don’t care if there’s a concept or not. What counts is there’s an album experience. Baroque, psychedelic, dreamy, funny and always with a twist up the sleeve. McCartney just dominates while Lennon casually innovates on the sideline. And Within You Without You goes lightyears beyond anything a 24 year old northern skiffle guitarist should be capable of. It all builds up to the greatest thing ever created in the history of anything that ever happened: A Day… (shivers) In The… (tears) Life… (orgasm)

2. Revolver
Favourite: Eleanor Rigby , Here, There And Everywher, Tomorrow Never Knows
Least favourite: Doctor Robert
My boys have always been gradually evolving, but I think nobody in 1966 could have expected that leap. Inside their 14 track comfort zone, every rule imaginable is somehow broken or bended, whether Georgie is harrassing the prime minister on heavy guitars or bringing traditional Indian drone music into the pop format, or Paulie casually doing tragically poetic string ballads on dying old people, or Lennon kind of inventing the genre of Psychedelia in his own way. Every two or three minutes there’s a twist and a new sample of how music could be revolutionised, with everything still forming a coherent whole. And of course the best and most mind-boggling thing is saved for last.

1. White Album
Favourite: All
Least favourite: none
What do you do when you’ve done my numbers 2, 3, 4 and 5 of my list in a row and there’s seemingly nothing else to achieve? You drop the bloody Beatles White Album . Such a glorious mess, with what seems like five different artists (Paul McCartney , John Lennon , George Harrison , Ringo Starr and the Beatles) and their associates throwing every genre and every idea imaginable somwhere in the mix. Sometimes it sticks and sometimes it’s Paul screaming Hoooney Piiie for fifty seconds. Sometimes it’s acoustic folk or blues and sometimes it’s avant-garde or heavy metal. Sometimes it is about Farrow’s sister being a meditating couch potato, sometimes it’s about Eric Clapton’s chocolate gluttony and sometimes it’s about even bigger nonsense. It’s the White Album , I repeat, the fricking bloody Beatles White Album ! Hoooney Piiie!

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23 March 2022
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Von Bontee
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Great post, MMD!

(George’s vocal contribution to AHDN is in fact a Lennon-McC composition, just so you know apple01)

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23 March 2022
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Monkberry Moon Delight
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Von Bontee said
Great post, MMD!

(George’s vocal contribution to AHDN is in fact a Lennon-McC composition, just so you know apple01)

Thank you, have an apple! heart

I know about I’m Happy Just To Dance With You , what I meant is since it doesn’t really fit him (sounds too much like a Lennon song, meaning a song that would be a better vocal fit for Lennon), George is even more underrepresented on the album and should have had another or an additional song.a-hard-days-night-george-9

Queen says no to pot-smoking FBI members.

23 March 2022
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meanmistermustard
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Monkberry Moon Delight said

Von Bontee said

Great post, MMD!

(George’s vocal contribution to AHDN is in fact a Lennon-McC composition, just so you know apple01)

Thank you, have an apple! heart

I know about I’m Happy Just To Dance With You , what I meant is since it doesn’t really fit him (sounds too much like a Lennon song, meaning a song that would be a better vocal fit for Lennon), George is even more underrepresented on the album and should have had another or an additional song.a-hard-days-night-george-9

  

Ringo isn’t even there singing his one number as he was off finding his tonsils.

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