Because I have a lot of extra free time in a partially paused world, I decided to re-listen to the entire Beatles catalog this weekend (well over 10 hours worth!) to determine my favorite albums.
Although I regularly feasted on The Fab Four in high school, college, and into my late twenties, I haven’t listened to their music much in the last decade. Not that I no longer like or respect it. Only that I probably overplayed it to the point of boredom.
After my weekend binge, however, I reconfirmed my belief that The Beatles are the greatest pop band ever—ahead of only Elvis and Michael Jackson in terms of the shear number of songs I enjoy. Either way, this is what I learned from my quarantine experiment:
- Abby Road is my favorite album. I only hit “skip” twice and like or love a whopping 15 of 17 total songs. My only qualm is that Golden Slumbers and Carry That Weight should be a single three minute song. It’s annoying to have shuffle only play half. The End is a beautiful way to end their recording career (since this album was recorded after but released before Let it Be).
- Hard Day’s Night and Rubber Soul tie for second. They both notch 13 songs apiece that I like/love. The former rocks a little harder and the latter is the best hybrid of new and old Beatles. Either way, I adore both.
- Magical Mystery Tour slightly edges out The White Album for third. Although The White Album has 11 songs I like or love, I really like the 10 on Magical Mystery tour quite a bit more. For that it’s my third favorite album, even if it’s only a special U.S. compilation album. Revolver is my fifth favorite album with 8 songs I like/love.
- Beatles for Sale, Please Me, and With The Beatles all tied for “last place.” They each have four bangers a piece. For comparison, many of my favorite albums by other artists only have three bangers per record, a testament to how impressive these lads from Liverpool really are.
- Their non-album #1 singles are just as impressive. In addition to sometimes releasing two whole albums a year, The Beatles also released an unthinkable ten #1 songs that never released on an official album, the most famous being I Want to Hold Your Hand, She Loves You, The Ballad of John and Yoko, and Hey Jude to name a few. Their body of work is mind-blowing.
- I like/love a whopping 125 songs (over six hours worth) from a band that was only together for 7 years. This is two to three times the number of songs of my next favorite artists (Elvis & MJ) in half the time (or more). Although cliche, The Beatles are the scientific kings of pop music. Not only were they the most prolific, they churned out that catalog in equally impressive short time.
- As for their solo album work… I like a lot more of John Lennon’s songs than I do Paul McCartney’s or George Harrison’s: eight truly great singles from Lennon compared to three from McCarney and two by Harrison. Interestingly, I probably favor McCartney’s Beatles songs 60/40 to those sung by Lennon. So perhaps McCartney depended on and/or thrived better alongside Lennon than the latter did the former.
Next up: I hope to tally the number of Lennon/McCartney songs I like, in addition to the “sweet” songs written by Lennon and “sour” songs written by McCartney, this since each are more well known for writing just the opposite.