Rolling Stone Readers Pick the Top 10 Beatles Albums
Last weekend we asked our readers to vote on their favorite Beatles albums. The votes are tabulated and here's the top ten list. It was a ludicrously tight race, with the top LP winning by a mere two votes.
(As always, don't blame us if you disagree with the votes. We merely counted!)
In 2004 Rolling Stone named Revolver the third greatest album of all-time, behind Sgt. Pepper and Pet Sounds – and now Rolling Stone readers have declared it the single greatest Beatles album. They have a very strong case. Building on the artistic leap displayed on Rubber Soul, Revolver features early experiments in psychedelic music ("Tomorrow Never Knows") and more complex and mature material than the band had previously attempted ("Eleanor Rigby," "Here, There and Everywhere.") All of this set the stage for Sgt. Pepper, but many Beatles nuts feel that song-for-song, Revolver has the edge.
2. ‘Abbey Road’
The Beatles may have released Let It Be last, but their final work as a band was Abbey Road. It's definitive proof that the band broke up at the absolute height of their powers. Recorded in the summer of 1969 after the torturous Let It Be sessions, The Beatles knew that Abbey Road was going to be their last effort, so they put aside their differences to craft a masterpiece. "Something" may well be George Harrison's single greatest song, while Lennon's "Come Together" and McCartney's "Oh! Darling" are near-perfect compositions. Ringo even delivered a winner with "Octopus's Garden," one of the few Beatles songs he wrote by himself. The best part of the LP, however, is side two – a 16-minute suite of songs that seamlessly flow together. Who knows what would have happened had they stuck together for a few more albums.
4. ‘Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band’
What more can be written about 1967's Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band? Beyond the fact that it was the last time The Beatles truly worked together as a united band, it also established the LP as an art form and influenced countless rock groups that followed. "Sgt. Pepper was our greatest endeavor," Ringo said in 2000. "The greatest thing about the band was that whoever had the best idea – and it didn't matter who – that was the one we'd use."
5. ‘Rubber Soul’
Though it was cut in just one month, Rubber Soul was the first time that The Beatles recorded an album all at once – as opposed to cutting various songs during downtime from their insane schedule. The 1965 album also shows a huge leap in sophistication with songs like "In My Life," "Norwegian Wood (This Bird Has Flown)" and "You Won't See Me."
6. ‘Magical Mystery Tour’
Has a soundtrack ever been better than the movie by as wide a margin as Magical Mystery Tour? While the 1967 television movie has long been forgotten, the accompanying album is full of Beatles classics, including "The Fool On The Hill," "I Am The Walrus" and "Hello Goodbye."
Help! is a marginally better movie than Magical Mystery Tour, but the soundtrack is another masterpiece. By this point Lennon and McCartney were no longer writing as a unit. "You've Got To Hide Your Love Away" is a hint of Lennon's work to come, while "Yesterday" showcases McCartney's rapidly growing skill as a ballad writer.
8. ‘Let It Be’
With Let It Be The Beatles attempted to come back together as a songwriting unit, but the project ended up pulling them further apart than ever. They scrapped the sessions and later gave the tapes to producer Phil Spector to cobble together an album, which was finally released in May 1970. But the difficult birth is barely evident on the finished product. "Get Back," "Let It Be," "I've Got A Feeling" and "Across The Universe" prove that even under the most trying circumstances, The Beatles could still churn out classics at will.
9. ‘A Hard Day’s Night’
This is the first Beatles album that's entirely comprised of original material. John Lennon and Paul McCartney had grown into such strong songwriters that they no longer needed to rely on covers. The title track of the 1964 album kicks off with one of the most famous opening chords in rock history, while "And I Love Her" and "Can't Buy Me Love" rank up there with the finest songs the Beatles ever wrote.
10. ‘With The Beatles’
Although Lennon and McCartney wrote some great tunes on their second LP ("All My Loving," "I Wanna Be Your Man" and "It Won't be Long"), the covers on 1963's With The Beatles are the real highlights. George Harrison almost manages to one-up Chuck Berry on "Beethoven," while Motown classics "Please Mister Postman," "You Really Got A Hold On Me" and "Money (That's What I Want)" are Beatle-ized to the point that you nearly forget about the original.