letstalkbeatles.com

Please login or register.

Login with username, password and session length
Advanced search  

News:

Welcome to Let's Talk Beatles

Author Topic: Ranking The Beatles Albums  (Read 618 times)

kylenz

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 611
    • Email
Ranking The Beatles Albums
« on: June 20, 2015, 06:58:52 AM »

My summation of Beatles albums in ranking order.. let's see your lists!  ;D

1 - Abbey Road - the finest Beatles album in my eyes. Side 1 is classic Beatles perfection. Side 2 has the inimitable medley - all recorded on solid state 8-track gear - the only Beatles album to sound like it was recorded in the 1970s with that warmth - especially on the drums (the other Beatles albums typically had that 'clink/clonk' snare sound). it also is the only Beatles album to feature the new-fangled Moog synthesizer! And they used it well. Didn't overuse it, but fitted in perfectly where required.
2 - Revolver - The best Beatles album in the standard 14-song (7 songs per side) format. And the first to adopt innovative recording techniques such as backwards tapes and loops. Tomorrow Never Knows is such a work of genius, I think people would struggle to replicate it even with Pro Tools today.
3 - The Beatles (White Album) - wonderful in all its diversity. Even though the band themselves were in a state of turmoil, the individual songs they brought to the table somehow unified the whole thing. I even adore Revolution 9. Favourite track - has always been 'Everybody's Got Something To Hide Except Me And My Monkey' - it still kicks serious ass. And Helter Skelter of course. Martha My Dear is also a sentimental favourite.
4 - Magical Mystery Tour - I think this is a stronger album than Sgt Pepper, and therefore sorely deserves to be ranked up there as one of the best albums of 1967 - you never see it in those lists. How many other albums with Strawberry Fields, Penny Lane, Hello Goodbye, All You Need Is Love etc would miss out on such accolades?! Fave track (and my 2nd-fav Beatles song of all-time next to Hey Bulldog and Hello Goodbye) - 'Baby You're A Rich Man'.
5 - Rubber Soul - the best of the early Beatles albums, and one could argue it too was recorded in a state of transition. I know John always hated 'Run For Your Life' but I like it (great searing solo especially). Best songs for me though, are 'You Won't See Me' and 'I'm Looking Through You'. And 'Wait' has always been an underrated track too. 'Drive My Car' is such a classic opener! So good!
6 - Sgt. Pepper - some would argue the album hasn't aged well but I still get a kick out of 'Good Morning Good Morning' and 'Lovely Rita'. It's the kind of album we all need to come back to from time-to-time and remind ourselves of its genius. The whole thing is great. I even love 'When I'm 64'. And 'A Day In The Life'.. one of the great landmark recordings that influenced so many acts from that day forward - I think it was Phil Collins that said only Ringo could do those flams and fills on the drums - they set the bar for everyone when Pepper came out.
7 - Beatles For Sale - I know this is not a popular choice amongst most Beatles fans but this is my favourite of the '63/'64 period of Beatles albums. The songs come from a place of pain and real emotion - No Reply, I'm A Loser, Baby's In Black (could this be the first-ever gothic rock song? lol), amazing tunes such as Eight Days a Week and I'll Follow The Sun.. but my favourite songs are the ones that go unheralded - 'Every Little Thing' and 'What You're Doing'. And the covers played on the album are first-class. They do the definitive versions of 'Words Of Love' and 'Rock and Roll Music'. Ringo chimes in with some steady vocals on 'Honey Don't'. And another underrated song is 'I Don't Want To Spoil The Party'. Great album. Deserves more attention in the wider scope of it all.
8 - Please Please Me - has to be right up there as one of the greatest debut albums of all-time. It is therefore a testament to the band that they were able to eclipse their initial achievement many times over, and go from strength-to-strength.
9 - Let It Be - to some this is seen as an uneven album, I think it is brilliant. It features the best recorded versions of the title track (with that SEARING solo!) and Get Back.. I love the Phil Spector arrangements on Long and Winding Road, Across The Universe etc. Fave track - Dig A Pony (or I Me Mine lol).
10 - Help! - the only drawback to this album is the out-of-tune bass guitar vs the lead guitars, and the vocals sitting somewhat uneasily in the middle (you can hear this most blatantly on 'Ticket To Ride' and 'You're Going To Lose That Girl'). George Martin should've made sure they tuned their instruments correctly beforehand. The biggest standouts for me are the more acoustic/reflective tracks such as 'You've Got To Hide Your Love Away' and 'Yesterday'. Actually, scratch that.. my favourite song on this record is 'It's Only Love' (a song John always dismissed as a throwaway).
11 - With The Beatles - excellent follow-up record with some of the greatest cover versions of songs ever made - Roll Over Beethoven, You Really Got A Hold On Me and Money. My favourite track is 'All I've Got To Do' - underrated.
12 - A Hard Day's Night - despite all the glittering hits on this album, it is offset by a couple of filler tracks - 'Tell Me Why' and 'When I Get Home'. Fave tracks would be 'And I Love Her' and 'Things We Said Today'. But yeah, on the whole, chock-full of classics.
13 - Yellow Submarine - the only official Beatles release that can be seen as relatively weak - only because of Side 2 consisting of orchestral music and also re-releasing some earlier material (the title track and 'All You Need Is Love'). But it DOES have my favourite Beatles song ever - HEY BULLDOG!!! And 'It's All Too Much' is one of the greatest psychedelic/acid rock tracks ever recorded.
« Last Edit: June 20, 2015, 11:36:53 AM by kylenz »
Logged

2 of 3

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1527
    • Email
Re: Ranking The Beatles Albums
« Reply #1 on: June 20, 2015, 11:58:07 AM »

I'm going to have to give this a think...I think. :) My number one is always The White Album. It's probably the only Beatle album I consistently go back to. But...isn't in interesting that the boys input changed so much in the last few albums? Really, not many of the songs can be taken and placed into a different album and sound "right". It's kind of crazy that there are only a few years between these albums.  8)
Logged

Keri

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 285
    • Music from under my skin
Re: Ranking The Beatles Albums
« Reply #2 on: June 21, 2015, 02:41:17 AM »

Here's my take:

1 - Sgt. Pepper - Oh man this album is one of the great love affairs of my life. it's not really a concept album but it takes you on a trip, it's colourful adventurous, it has a great set of characters, Paul's songs have warmth and colour, John is at the height of his psychedelic powers, George has his first really great track that adds gravitas, and Ringo has the perfect song crafted for him and does some amazing drumming. All the tracks work together and I love them all. I can sit down close my eyes and remain captivated from the first to the last note. What a trip!
2 - Rubber Soul - This album really marks the start of the later Beatles period. The Beatles at the height of their cool, great cover, great sharp songs, great production. Only downside is the last song Run for your life which leaves a bit of a sour taste.
3 - Revolver - The best songs on this I like more than Rubber Soul but the only John song I really love on this is Tomorrow Never knows which is a brilliant finale. Paul's songs are fantastic.
4 - The Beatles (White Album) - What a crazy album, a patchwork piece brimming with ideas, anarchic and abundant. George is emerging as a top notch songwriter with Guitar and Long long long. It has the silly, the throw away, experimental, moving, rocking intense.
5 - A Hard Day's Night - The first album of all originals also the soundtrack to their best movie. Beatlemania at full speed. Great title track, lots of energy and joy. I love early Beatles, they sparked, can't really put Past masters on this list but those early singles were fantastic.
6 - Abbey Road - George contributes two absolute classics Something and Here Come the Sun, the best songs on the album for me, just wow, the quiet Beatles knows what beauty is and can express it. Paul's side two Medley is a fantastic use of odds and ends, the material isn't stunning but what is done with it is, absolutely love side two. Come Together is one cool track and Octopus' Garden is Ringo's crowning glory, finally he wrote the perfect Ringo track. But the rest of side one ranges from OK to poor (I want you).
7 - Please Please Me - Great Debut, first album recorded quickly, but what a leap off the line. I saw Her standing There, Please Please Me, Twist and Shout energetic, crisp songs. It's all good, not all great, but the Beatles announce themselves. I still love to listen to it.
8 - Beatles For Sale - The First Beatles album I ever heard. It's a bit sadder than some of their earlier albums, great production and s I adore Eight Days a Weak,
9 - Magical Mystery Tour - Uneven, not an album proper some great stuff, two great pre Pepper singles Strawberry Fields and Penny Lane, a nice soundtrack ep with the Fool on the Hill, a cool little instrumental Flying and the amazing psychedelic masterpiece I am the Walrus. But Hello Goodbye and your Mother should know, Baby You're a rich Man, Blue Jay Way all fall flat for me.
10 - Help! - A transition album, likeable.
11 - Let It Be - Some nice songs and low energy
12 - With The Beatles - This is the one that I overlook the most often, quite nice when I do get to listen
13 - Yellow Submarine - A collection of odds and ends. Hey Bulldog is a great song, It's all too Much is pretty good.
Logged

kylenz

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 611
    • Email
Re: Ranking The Beatles Albums
« Reply #3 on: June 22, 2015, 06:00:31 AM »

Great list! So good to see different perspectives on each album. Let's see more of these lists!
Logged

Greg

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 812
Re: Ranking The Beatles Albums
« Reply #4 on: June 23, 2015, 09:12:08 AM »

Disclaimer:
Favorites.  (I'm not thinking Best.)
Also, after listening, and over-listening, to their albums for so long I am now in this state of mind...

Beatles for Sale.
The acoustic guitars combined with their voices really make this album for me.  It's a little more mature than their early early stuff but still has that early feel and charm. 

Revolver.
They wrote such great songs for this.  My fav And Your Bird Can Sing is on this.  There's experimentation and a great mix of great parts played on guitars, bass, drums, and keys.

Rubber Soul.
Again, the acoustic guitars combined with their voices come through on this album to make it great for me.  The songs have remained timelessly appealing to me.  Never been sick of this album.

White Album.
It's a long, long, long adventure that travels all over the place.  It's a little too solo-ish, but it's still The Beatles.  There is also the sentimentality factor for me.  I remember this album being played by the college kids in our neighborhood when it came out.  Hearing this album takes me back to that time.

Pepper.
Why can't I listen to this album?  I can't.  I hope that in a few years that I will fall back in love with this album.  I envy Keri's position on this one.
Logged

Mervap

  • Administrator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1006
Re: Ranking The Beatles Albums
« Reply #5 on: June 23, 2015, 12:44:29 PM »

I have a very difficult time ranking Beatles albums....each of them is special in its own way. But I shall try.

1) Revolver- In terms of the band's initial enthusiasm married to studio experimentation, this is their best in my book. They are still very much a group at this point, firing on all cylinders.

2) Rubber Soul- The signs of great things to come are here on "Rubber Soul", but because of touring, they were not yet allowed the time to explore them fully. George begins to really write some great songs here.

3) The White Album- This album plays like an artist's mural, many great themes on the same canvas. Not every track is a winner, though, and the cracks in the band are beginning to show.

4) Sgt. Pepper- Much praised for the quantum leap in studio craft employed on it, rightfully so, but hasn't aged as well as others for me. Personally, it seems like their drug habits are taking the 'edge' off of their muse.

5) Magical Mystery Tour- I've come to think of "MMT" as an extension of "Sgt. Pepper"....heck, some of the songs came directly from the same sessions, right? A few of the tunes here do not reach the same height that those on "Pepper" do, but still the same vibe.

6) Abbey Road- Would have been number one if I'd been making this list before the Lads broke up, but knowing what had gone on before this one was made and what would transpire shortly after make it hard for me to listen to sometimes. George wrote the best songs on it...

7) Please Please Me- This is Genesis....not the band! This album has everything the world would fall in love with: Good songs, great playing and tons of energy. The sound of a band getting their shot and absolutely knocking it out of sight.

8) With the Beatles- Almost interchangeable with "Please Please Me, except for the fact they spent more time on it. Beatlemania has not yet caught up with them completely and they are still digging it.

9) A Hard Day's Night- Kudos for having written all the songs on it, John particularly. Bears some hallmarks of having been written on the run, though....copying yourself is ok in their case.

10) Beatles For Sale- I think The Lads were getting quite tired of Beatlemania by this point and maybe what they needed was a break for a little while. Back then, this was not the way it worked, so they soldiered on....I still like it a lot.

11)Help- This one feels a lot like "Beatle For Sale" MK2....many of these song sound like they were written to order, on the fly and in a great hurry. But these guys could do that and still sound spectacular.

12)Let It Be- A VERY tough one for me to listen to....to this day, I have only watched the film once. It's just not enjoyable to watch your favorite group coming apart in this way. There are still some fine tunes on it, in spite of all the rancor.

13) Yellow Submarine- There are so few new tunes on this one, it had to rank at the bottom. I admit that "It's All Too Much" still sounds like a coda for the Summer of Love and might have slotted nicely of "Pepper" or "MMT".


There we have it...This list does shift from time to time, but not much. These albums are still the bar that all since have had to measure up to. To have done all this in the space of just about 8 years is astonishing. That's about 2.5 albums these days. Still the Greatest Band Ever.
Logged
If love is blind, how will it ever find a way?

2 of 3

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1527
    • Email
Re: Ranking The Beatles Albums
« Reply #6 on: June 23, 2015, 04:15:11 PM »

That's very very interesting, that the turmoil in the band has affected how you feel about the songs they produced, Merv. It's funny, just the other day we were discussing "skippers" and I mentioned what I skipped, and Kyle said he loves that song. I was going to say why I skipped it, and then thought...why put that seed in Kyle's head? All I had to do was say what bugged me, and there's a good chance it would start bugging Kyle too. It reminded me of that scene in Big Bang Theory where Amy and Sheldon watched Raiders and Amy told him all the plot holes. Now Sheldon couldn't enjoy it anymore. :) Anyway, my point is that the fact they were fighting doesn't bother me at all. Then again, I don't really pay attention to the lyrics enough to put 2 and 2 together. That would be 5 right? ;)
Logged

Mervap

  • Administrator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1006
Re: Ranking The Beatles Albums
« Reply #7 on: June 23, 2015, 09:06:53 PM »

What I have always liked about being in a band was that feeling of esprit de corps, of all pulling in the same direction. I suppose that's why the Beatles' dissolution affects my view of the tunes in question.
Logged
If love is blind, how will it ever find a way?

kylenz

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 611
    • Email
Re: Ranking The Beatles Albums
« Reply #8 on: June 24, 2015, 12:23:54 AM »

That's very very interesting, that the turmoil in the band has affected how you feel about the songs they produced, Merv. It's funny, just the other day we were discussing "skippers" and I mentioned what I skipped, and Kyle said he loves that song. I was going to say why I skipped it, and then thought...why put that seed in Kyle's head?

There is one song on 'Rubber Soul' I have to skip now due to its unfortunate song title. Luckily it's a song I had heard literally hundreds of times before with the entire recording memorised by the nanosecond.

But I cannot listen to it now. Not ever.  :'(
Logged

2 of 3

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1527
    • Email
Re: Ranking The Beatles Albums
« Reply #9 on: June 24, 2015, 06:17:27 AM »

Oh jeez....don't leave me hanging here Kyle? Which song is that? You don't have to tell me why of course.

Interesting, that Merv's wife  has a song on that album that she hates too. ;)

I'm sitting her now trying to think if there is a song, by anyone, that I just can't listen to. I mean sure, there are songs that I don't like...but I'm trying to remember if there is a song that just brings back bad memories.  Hmmm? Maybe it's just me. Everyone supposedly remembers the song that was playing the first time they got kissed. I don't.

I guess I'll remember when it happens.   ;D :o ;)
Logged

Greg

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 812
Re: Ranking The Beatles Albums
« Reply #10 on: June 24, 2015, 11:05:02 AM »

I totally appreciate and admire your view on Abbey Road Merv.

Kyle...I am assuming it starts with an M.

There was a song by Kenny Nolan called I like Dreaming.  It's an obscure 70's hit.  I could never listen to that for the longest time....the longest time.
Logged

kylenz

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 611
    • Email
Re: Ranking The Beatles Albums
« Reply #11 on: June 24, 2015, 11:22:10 AM »

Kyle...I am assuming it starts with an M.

Yep, you got it. She hasn't terrorised me for nearly a year now, thank god. When people split up, I usually assume people go their separate ways and never hear from them again, but she's been a nightmare for 7 years now. She's probably due to rear her head again soon. I hope not. What we went through was painful for both of us but there's no need for this psychopathic/sociopathic behaviour. I just want to live quietly in peace.

But yeah, she used to say that people would sing that song to her a lot, because that is her name..  :(
Logged

2 of 3

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1527
    • Email
Re: Ranking The Beatles Albums
« Reply #12 on: June 30, 2015, 06:50:37 PM »

Ok...here's some of my thoughts.

The White Album

It's all over the place. That's why I love it. There are surprises around every corner. I also like that there isn't a single on that that was played to death. Not everything is great, but everything is at least interesting. Stands up today because of it.

Revolver

This album if fricking ridiculous. It's just sooooo good. And that's my take even after they took 3 songs off it in North America. Any album that has Tomorrow Never Knows and Here, There and Everywhere on it wins every time. It's like The White Album when they cared.

Sgt Pepper.

If you're gonna do a concept album, you might as well fill it with great tunes too.

Rubber Soul

Huh, what? Where's the yeah yeah yeah's? Beatles show what they've got and make the  doubting critics look like boneheads. Great music all around here. These guys were for real.

Abbey Road

The boys get back together for one last kick at the can and toss together a bunch of stuff left on the scrap heap and turn out a masterpiece. George with a bunch of "told you so" songs too. I really think Maxwell and Octopus keep this album from going further up my list. When I think of what could have been on there instead of those 2 songs. Oddly enough I do like them, and they do fit the album's sound, they still bug me a bit. I'm not sure what Maybe I'm Amazed or All things Must Pass, It Don't Come Easy or Come and Get it would have sounded like with that production team, but it's fun the wonder about it.

Let It Be

I love the rawness of this album. I know they wanted a live sound and for the most part they got that, but I know it's produced as much as most of what they did. The best takes and bits were edited together. Still....great songs again. I'm not one of the people who hated Spector's production. In fact, I prefer it to the Naked version. Especially The Long and Winding Road. Why they changed the vocal instead of using the original  and taking out the other stuff is beyond me.
I'm kind of sick of the songs Let it Be and Get Back, but the other stuff is great.

MMT

Seriously, who else releases Sgt Pepper and MMT in the same year...and then the next year releases a double album? Man, these guys were on fire.

All the Early Stuff

I just love everything else. Great songs. Great Energy. Fun. Love songs.  More Fun.

Anyone who says they never really liked the Beatles is a Knob. Or was dropped on their head as a baby.  8)

Logged