In the seven-year span of The Beatles’ musical career, they released 13 studio albums, (including Magical Mystery Tour), and influenced generations of music listeners with their songs. Every Beatles album is amazing in its own way, and everyone has their own opinion about which album they prefer, but I listened to every single song on them and ranked them based on my personal opinion. Here they are.
13. Yellow Submarine - 1969
Best Songs: All You Need Is Love, It’s All Too Much
Yellow Submarine was an animated film released in 1968 about Pepperland, a peaceful realm suddenly overtaken by Blue Meanies, monsters that despise music by The Beatles. The movie is quirky and fun, and I was able to watch it without any major complaints or issues. It features some great songs from Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, such as Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds, A Little Help From My Friends, and When I’m Sixty-Four. Although the film did well and was a commercial success, the album was not. It’s not fun to listen to, with over half of the songs serving as scores for different scenes in the movie. Most of the songs actually written and sung by the Fab Four are generally mediocre on this album. Only A Northern Song has terrible lyrics by George Harrison, who, ironically, wrote it about the lack of respect his songs received from publishers.
However, not all of Harrison’s songs on the album were unfortunate. One of the best Beatles songs, It’s All Too Much, is on this album and has an incredible electric guitar riff introduction, powerful lyrics, and passion and beauty that truly thrills the listener. In my opinion, It’s All Too Much is criminally underrated and the song that saved the album. Unfortunately, there are too many lame songs over powerful ones, leaving the listener with a lot to be desired.
12. Beatles For Sale - 1964
Best Songs: Eight Days Of The Week, What You’re Doing
After appearing in a popular movie, launching a new album that was being widely received by the public, and conforming to a restless performing schedule, The Beatles recorded their fourth album, worn out and weary. The result of their exhaustion was revealed in an album with heavy country influences and a listless cover of Buddy Holly’s Words Of Love. The titles and lyrics to some of the songs such as I’m A Loser, and No Reply represent the drop in morale the group was feeling during this period. On a more positive note, one of the most widely known Beatles songs is on this album. Eight Days A Week, a Lennon/McCartney number is considered to be one of the best results of John and Paul’s songwriting partnership. Unfortunately, this album features huge quantities of filler and there aren’t enough remarkable songs, explaining its low ranking.
11. Let It Be - 1970
Best Songs: Get Back, One After 909
Let It Be had the potential to be a great album, but those who watched the nearly eight-hour documentary Get Back, know about the extreme time crunch they were on. Creating fourteen new songs in about a month is no easy feat, and the Beatles completed this task, just not flawlessly. The album contains songs I would be totally fine with never hearing ever again, such as Across The Universe and Two Of Us. Let’s not forget about Dig It, a fifty-second jam session with Billy Preston on the organ. It’s really great, I just wish it was extended because it’s not even a minute long and sounds amazing.
Dig A Pony generally received mixed reviews and I agree. The song itself is catchy and John and Paul harmonize especially well on it. However, its lyrics are confusing⎼ only the Beatles could make such an average song sound halfway decent.
Keep in mind that if the Beatles had more time to fine-tune these songs and get them down instead of feverishly recording them and slapping them onto an album, Let It Be could’ve been something truly special.
10. With The Beatles - 1963
Best Songs: Roll Over Beethoven, All My Loving
Only a few songs on the album With The Beatles are truly exceptional, which is why near the end of the album, all the songs start to sound the same. Little Child, song number five on the album, has sketchy lyrics and is simply not great. While a lot of people in the '60s might’ve really gotten down to it, I believe that there is not any great quality about this song, and didn’t particularly need to be on the album.
The album includes All My Loving, a familiar song for a lot of people because it was played during their iconic Ed Sullivan Show performance. The song is incredible because everyone knows what’s coming when it starts to play. The thing about this is that I’ve heard it so many times that it lacks any kind of peculiarity for me. It’s still amazing, it's just slightly overplayed. With The Beatles, however average it might be, gives the listener the true Early-Beatles sound, and it’s interesting to compare the two styles when listening to later albums.
One song that really stands out on the album is George Harrison’s take on the iconic Chuck Berry song, Roll Over Beethoven. It’s energetic and spirited, with a catchy guitar riff and animated vocals from Harrison. George Harrison’s voice is especially thick with his scouse accent, and he almost yells out the lyrics, which makes the song better, somehow? All in all, With The Beatles is an album that is very skippable, but not downright awful.
9. Please Please Me - 1963
Best Songs: Twist and Shout, I Saw Her Standing There
If you like harmonicas, this album is for you.
The first album features the sweet sound of jangly guitar and bass, the backing vocals of George Harrison on multiple songs with John and Paul singing lead, and harmonica introductions to a lot of songs. The album includes multiple songs that launched the Beatles into full-fledged fame, such as I Saw Her Standing There, Love Me Do, and Twist And Shout. Twist and Shout was so iconic that a few decades later, John Hughes used the song in his movie, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, and even now, almost 60 years later, people still listen to the song and enjoy its nostalgic sound.
However, a lot of songs are forgettable, like Misery, with an extremely cringe-y piano opening, and Ask Me Why (the song literally no one can hum because no one remembers it or enjoys it too much). George Harrison’s lead vocal on Do You Want To Know A Secret is slightly nasally and he is clearly not the best singer of the band during this recording. John Lennon himself says he only gave Harrison the lead vocal because “It only had three notes and he wasn’t the best singer in the world.” Because of the band’s dedication to the production of the album, the loss of John’s voice for weeks after recording Twist and Shout, and the amazing sound of Paul’s bass on Anna (Go To Him), Please Please Me is still listened to and remains iconic.
8. The Beatles (White Album) - 1968
Best Songs: While My Guitar Gently Weeps, Helter Skelter
The longest album, containing 30 songs is simply titled The Beatles. On the album cover the words The Beatles rest against a plain white background.
The album opens with Back In The U.S.S.R, a song that was received with a wide range of feelings from the public, being accused of feeling “sympathetic towards socialism,” (American Songwriter). It features Paul McCartney on lead vocals, along with piano and Ringo Starr’s excellent drumming. Another song that can’t be forgotten is Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da, a song that sounds slightly infantile and childish with hand-claps and bouncy, upbeat piano. John Lennon notoriously hated this song, calling it “Paul’s granny music,” and we can hear him heatedly playing the opening piano chords that they kept. Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da tested the band’s relationship because dealing with Paul’s perfectionism was no easy task. What makes The White Album unique is the different types of songs it includes. Blackbird is a soothing, cool song with plenty of heart, while Revolution 9 is a blend of different, almost eerie sounds with the repetitive “Number nine, number nine, number nine.” Honey Pie is old-fashioned and slightly sad, but sweet all the same.
But one song that really stands out on the album is Helter Skelter. It’s heavy, animated, loud, and simply astounding. The sheer amount of sound it contains is just incredible to hear, and many people regard it as a root influence in the development of heavy metal music.
7. Magical Mystery Tour - 1967
Best Songs: Strawberry Fields Forever, I Am The Walrus
After the death of Brian Epstein, the manager of the band since the very beginning, The Beatles were clearly confused about everything. The confusion shows in the third Beatles film, titled Magical Mystery Tour. The film was poorly received by audiences and critics, but this album was not. And it makes sense why it wasn’t.
Magical Mystery Tour is a good album. The band showed more experimentation with sound which led to more creative, thought-provoking songs. One of these songs includes I Am The Walrus, a song that’s still frequently referenced and listened to. The song showcases different types of sound, such as strings, an ensemble of different voices, and lyrics that are unlike anything we’ve heard before. Strawberry Fields Forever collectively references the band’s upbringing and childhood in Liverpool. The song is fresh and inventive, containing unique instruments such as the Mellotron, an organ-like instrument. The lyrics are psychedelic and interesting, and Lennon’s voice provides an intriguing perspective to it. Magical Mystery Tour is one of the Beatles’ most pivotal albums and for good reason.
6. Abbey Road - 1969
Best Songs: Something, Come Together
Abbey Road showcases all of The Beatles’ best talents; songwriting, compelling musical arrangement, and an overall great vibe that each album provides. Every member of the band changed or progressed in some way as the album was recorded. George Harrison’s songwriting skills, something that had always been muffled and pinned down, skyrocketed as he wrote Something, a poetic love song dedicated to his ex-wife, Pattie Boyd. John Lennon continued to experiment with eccentric song titles and lyrics, clearly visible in the quirky song Mean Mr. Mustard, and Ringo Starr performed a drum solo, something he hated and rarely did on The End. And Paul McCartney, well, he continued to be a hard-working perfectionist when it came to his songs, most iconically on Maxwell’s Silver Hammer.
Maxwell’s Silver Hammer is personally not a great song and is slightly cheesy with the sound of the anvil behind their voices. The lyrics are simple but dark, and it’s sad that such an average song was notorious for “breaking up the band.”
5. Help! - 1965
Best Songs: Ticket To Ride, Yesterday
Help! Is definitely an improvement compared to the album that came out prior, Beatles For Sale. The album displays the band becoming more creative with their sound, showing how each song is clearly different. Yesterday is a slow and moving piece of the album that stands out the most, perhaps, because of how beautiful it is. Ringo Starr’s only vocal on the album, Act Naturally, has a heavy country influence and bluesy guitar riff and still stands up because it’s kind of catchy. Lennon’s most prominent vocal on the album is the title track for the album and represents his true cry for help. Harrison’s writing was improving compared to his simple lyrics on Don’t Bother Me, and I Need You underscores his growing ability when it comes to songwriting.
Perhaps the true star of the album is Ticket To Ride. It’s almost perfect, it has a cool but upbeat guitar riff, smart, truly incredible lyrics, and a good tempo. The special thing about this album is that each song is able to hold up by itself, and it doesn’t rely on one specific song to raise it to a classic status. Every piece is fun to listen to and displays The Beatles’ talent for writing creative songs.
4. A Hard Day’s Night - 1964
Best Songs: I Should Have Known Better, A Hard Day’s Night
Beatlemania had begun, and it would only grow with the release of A Hard Day’s Night. The Beatles were also scheduled to film their first-ever film, which would launch them further into stardom; the film was a huge success. The film was named after A Hard Day’s Night, seeing as it contained multiple songs from the album, such as Can’t Buy Me Love, If I Fell, and I’m Happy Just To Dance With You.
This album also features more heartfelt ballads sung by both Lennon and McCartney, such as If I Fell, And I Love Her, and I’ll Be Back. Lennon and McCartney wrote all of the songs on this album, sparking John and Paul’s creative relationship, and essentially paving the way for future songs. There are several amazing pieces on this album, such as John Lennon’s chipper and bittersweet I Should Have Known Better. Ringo’s drumming is severely underrated on this song and George plays his guitar with remarkable talent and precision. John’s voice adds a tone of longing and the lyrics make it so much better. Even though I’ve never, ever been a fan of country music, this might be the one and only song that has a country-ish vibe to it that I am more than okay with. A Hard Day’s Night is one of their most underrated albums and so many people just don’t understand how influential and brilliant it is.
3. Rubber Soul - 1965
Best Songs: Norwegian Wood (This Bird Has Flown), In My Life
It was 1965, and The Beatles had proven to the world that they could change their entire style of music, and it would still be great; maybe even unforgettable. With Rubber Soul, that was exactly what the band did. The Beatles used several new instruments, took their songwriting to new heights, and created some new songs that were heavily influenced by Bob Dylan, psychedelia, eastern religion, and drugs to make Rubber Soul, one of the most influential and iconic albums of all time.
Multiple timeless classics hold spots on Rubber Soul. In My Life has been heard by almost everyone, even non-Beatles fans. Norwegian Wood has genius-level songwriting and ends in a complete, perfect circle. The Beatles took on a more polished, clean sound, and had the first song that included a sitar, an instrument that would become increasingly more popular in years to come. Overall, Rubber Soul is a fantastic album and definitely deserves its popularity and adoration.
2. Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band - 1967
Best Songs: Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds, A Day In The Life
Many people say that Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band is the best album of The Beatles, and many more people say that it’s the best album of all time. It really is a work of art, containing masterpieces like A Day In The Life, With A Little Help From My Friends, and Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds. There is a song for every kind of music listener on the album, with the upbeat and positive Lovely Rita, and the moody, thought-provoking Within You Without You. Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band proved to be an incredibly influential album, rebelling against the stereotypical rules of traditional rock and roll albums.
The four Beatles originally wanted to diffuse the extremities of Beatlemania by releasing a new album that displayed more of their original talent and creativity. Thus, Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band was born, broadening their individual identities and earning them more respect as musicians, instead of four guys with interesting accents and strange haircuts.
1. Revolver - 1966
Best Songs: Eleanor Rigby, Taxman
Revolver represents a point when the Beatles were at a creative high. It shows so clearly in every single song on the album. No song lets you down, in fact, every song has a different feel and takes you through a unique nook and cranny in each of the Beatles’ minds. This is adequately represented in the opening song of the album, Taxman. With lyrics that actually made sense and flowed together in perfect harmony with subtle rebelliousness, it was obvious that George Harrison’s songs weren’t just filler pieces on the album anymore; they were real works of art and they were to be taken seriously.
But Revolver also marked an insurgent point for Lennon and McCartney. Eleanor Rigby, one of the most well-known and recognizable songs of all time was featured on this album, along with I’m Only Sleeping, a more lackadaisical and relaxed song, but a song with powerful lyrics just the same. Love You To, another Harrison song, was heavily influenced by Ravi Shankar, his sitar teacher. Revolver is an album that continues to be timeless and incredible, with songs that give the listener a unique perspective on the Beatles, the music industry, and society, which explains its ranking.