My Top 10 Favorite Solo Beatle Albums

So with an unexpected snow day today, I thought I’d post what I said I would post yesterday! For each album, I’ll also post some songs that I would recommend in particular. Keep in mind that this list is just my opinion, and because I mostly listen to George and Paul’s solo music, 90% of this list is composed of George and Paul albums. Sorry John and Ringo fans if you feel neglected, but I feel that even when John was still alive and making albums, George’s and Paul’s albums were better overall and more interesting. So anyway, here we go!

10. Imagine- John Lennon

Imagine

Imagine

I felt obliged to put one of John’s albums on here just to make it a bit more complete, and between this and Plastic Ono Band, I prefer this. For some reason, I prefer listening to John’s songs on shuffle rather than as full albums, but I do genuinely love this album. It has a number of my favorite John songs on it and it’s generally regarded as his best album, and I completely agree.
Recommended songs: Imagine, Jealous Guy, How Do You Sleep, Oh Yoko

9. Traveling Wilburys Vol. 1- Traveling Wilburys

Traveling Wilburys Vol. 1

Traveling Wilburys Vol. 1

This supergroup formed by George Harrison only made two albums, but I prefer this over the other one and listen to it quite frequently, which is why I’ve included it here. The songs are a good mix of compositions from George, Bob Dylan, Jeff Lynne, Roy Orbison, and Tom Petty, and I love that it doesn’t sound like any individual member, but like a completely unique band. This is a great album to throw on when it’s a sunny afternoon and you just feel like listening to some cheerful music, and it always puts me in a good mood!
Recommended Songs: Handle With Care, End of the Line, Dirty World, Tweeter and the Monkey Man, Heading for the Light

8. Band On The Run- Paul McCartney and Wings

Band On The Run

Band On The Run

This album is consistently ranked as Paul’s best, and while I personally prefer a number of his other albums, I do concede that this is a stellar album. All of the songs are well-crafted and interesting, but the reason that it’s #8 on this list is that, for whatever reason, I just don’t listen to it all that much. Therefore, I can’t really consider it a favorite of mine. But I am listening to it now, and loving it!
Recommended songs: Band on the Run, Jet, Let Me Roll It, Mrs. Vandebilt, 1985

7. Flaming Pie- Paul McCartney

Flaming Pie

Flaming Pie

I often listen to this album while I’m doing homework, but it’s definitely not a background music-type of album. What I love most about it is the incredible diversity of songs on it that I don’t think Paul had done since Tug of War, another great album. This album sounds very timeless to me, and many regard it as Paul’s modern-day “comeback,” but honestly, I don’t think he ever left!
Recommended Songs: The Song We Were Singing, Flaming Pie, Somedays, Young Boy, Beautiful Night (which also features Ringo!)

6. Cloud Nine- George Harrison

Cloud Nine

Cloud Nine

Here it is, the first George solo album on this list, and I guarantee it won’t be the last! This is regarded as George’s major comeback album because it was a huge hit and featured his last #1 single “Got My Mind Set On You,” which was originally recorded in 1962 by Rudy Clark. I think this is probably George’s most fun and upbeat album, and I love that it was produced by ELO legend Jeff Lynne and also features Elton John on electric piano. What a great combo!
Recommended Songs: Cloud Nine, Got My Mind Set On You, Fish On The Sand, This Is Love, When We Was Fab, Devil’s Radio

5. Brainwashed- George Harrison

Brainwashed

Brainwashed

This was produced by Jeff Lynne and Dhani Harrison and released posthumously in 2002. I believe it won a Grammy for something, but even if it didn’t, this is an absolutely beautiful album. George’s lyrics here are better than ever and the songs are his most honest since All Things Must Pass. Knowing that this was his last album, I sometimes get a little teary while listening to it, but I’m glad that he left us with one last beautiful creation before he passed.
Recommended Songs: Brainwashed, Any Road, Looking For My Life, Stuck Inside a Cloud, Pisces Fish

4. Venus and Mars- Paul McCartney and Wings

Venus and Mars

Venus and Mars

Here’s why I like this Wings album better than Band On The Run: The songs all tell an individual story, something that I don’t quite get with Band On The Run. I love that fellow band members Denny Laine and Jimmy McCullough each get to sing a song, which makes it feel more like a Beatles album. This album also contains my #1 favorite Paul solo song, Venus and Mars/Rockshow. Basically, if you like good old fashioned rock and roll, get this album!
Recommended Songs: Venus and Mars/Rockshow, Listen To What The Man Said, Magneto and Titanium Man, You Gave Me The Answer, Call Me Back Again

3. Chaos and Creation in the Backyard- Paul McCartney

Chaos and Creation in the Backyard

Chaos and Creation in the Backyard

Out of all of Paul’s solo albums, this is perhaps his most honest and intimate. I love how piano-heavy it is, and the songs each have a certain magical quality that harkens back to the Beatle days. This is definitely Paul’s darkest album, and somehow after 40 years it also manages to be quite inventive and new-sounding. Paul is always reinventing himself, and that is definitely evident on this album.
Recommended Songs: Fine Line, English Tea, Too Much Rain, Riding to Vanity Fair, Friends to Go, How Kind of You

2. NEW- Paul McCartney

New

New

You may be thinking, “Didn’t this just come out? How can it be one of your favorites?” Well folks, it’s just that good. While many may not agree, I think this might be Paul’s best album ever; from start to finish, it’s perfection. It also sounds completely unlike anything he’s ever done, and for that I applaud him. Also, out of all of his albums, I think that I honestly enjoy listening to this the most. While the lyrics may not be his most inspired, this album is a true listening pleasure, and that’s why I love it!
Recommended Songs: Just get the whole album. Really. You won’t regret it!

1. All Things Must Pass- George Harrison

All Things Must Pass

All Things Must Pass

This is definitely the easiest #1 choice on any list I’ve done so far, because there’s just no competition. All Things Must Pass is BY FAR the best solo Beatles album! This was a huge hit back in 1970, reaching #1 on the charts and featuring a #1 hit in My Sweet Lord. George made a lot of fantastic albums in his career, but none quite reach the mastery of this one. Song after song after song, it’s brilliant. If you own one album by a Beatle that’s not a Beatles album, it should absolutely be this one.
Recommended Songs: No even remotely subpar songs here. Get it all!

Whew, that was long! Sorry about that. But I hope you enjoyed this list, and if you’ve never listened to any solo Beatles music, it’s time to start! Enjoy the week!

It was 12 years ago today…

Sadly folks, today is the 12th anniversary of George’s death. I was only 4 years old when he passed, and I don’t remember hearing anything about the death of a Beatle. My parents have said that they don’t recall a huge amount of media coverage over his death either, although I suppose that the internet was not quite as ubiquitous in 2001 as it is today. This day is a weird one because while it is just a normal day for most people, for me it involves remembering the passing of someone whom I never actually met, but whom I admire and respect more than almost anyone else.

I won’t do a REALLY long post about this, because I think I’ve said almost everything I can say about George already on this blog, but here’s one thing about today that I know for sure: if George were here, he would not want me, or anyone else, to be sad and mourn his passing. George would probably think that that any fuss made over his death is rather silly and ridiculous, because everyone has to die at some point. And I wouldn’t blame him, but I still can’t help feeling a little sad that someone so beautiful in so many ways was taken from this world after only 58 years. Why does cancer have to kill so many people???

Here’s a really fascinating interview with George that I just found. It’s a great insight into the level of humanity and honesty in his character.
http://www.noise11.com/news/remembering-george-harrison-on-the-12th-anniversary-on-his-passing-20131129

From everything that I’ve ever heard or read about George, he was someone who was universally liked and respected, and I don’t think I’ve ever heard anyone who knew him say anything negative about him. I know he wasn’t a perfect person, but who is? I love him anyway. From his extremely handsome face, to his ever-present Liverpudlian accent, to his (I think) underrated songwriting skills, to his incredible guitar playing, to his quiet philanthropy and never-ending kindness… He was truly a beautiful soul. I’ll probably end up watching the Living In The Material World movie at least once this weekend, and I can guarantee that I will be crying by the end, just like every other time I’ve watched it. Everything about George just makes me so emotional.

This tribute video to George is the best one I have yet to come across on Youtube, and I think it captures his beauty and personality perfectly.

So although it’s late in the day, if you’re reading this now, take a moment and think about what George Harrison means to you. Remember that while all things must pass, if we keep his music alive, George Harrison will never be forgotten.
RIP my sweet George. Although our paths never crossed, I love you from the bottom of my heart. 🙂

Gorgeous George. You are my sunshine.

Gorgeous George. You are my sunshine.

All Summers Must Pass…

A final reminder of the joys of summer

A final reminder of the joys of summer

Well, it’s that time again. For me at least, school starts tomorrow, making this the last evening of the summer. I honestly can’t believe I’m going into 11th grade, and part of me is dreading it. Nevertheless, this has been without a doubt the best summer of my life so far!

There have been many things to make this summer wonderful, and this includes many Beatle-related things. Of course, seeing Paul McCartney in concert in June was definitely a great way to kick off the summer and was my highlight of the entire year. I was also fortunate enough to see another wonderful Beatle tribute band, The Liverpool Shuffle, with my friend, which was also a really fun event. In addition, traveling to Britain with my family and going to Abbey Road and the London Beatles Store was also awesome. I knew this summer would be very Beatley, and I was right!!!

I think this will also go down in my mind as the summer where I became obsessed with Elton John. I now have 7 of his albums on my iPod and have somewhat progressed in my piano playing because of him. I still have a few more of his albums that I would like to add to my music library, but I’ll have to busy myself with that during the school year. I’ve been keeping close tabs on his tour schedule updates, and I’m crossing my fingers that he’ll come back to New York sometime next year!

Although I’m always sad about the summer ending, I always try to cheer myself up by thinking of all the fun things that go on during the year. I have tickets to a couple of Beatle tribute events with my parents that take place during the school year, so that should be really fun! I’m also excited for new album releases by Paul McCartney and Elton John in the fall, and based on the singles from those albums that I’ve already purchased, they should be great!

Since the school year is starting for me, I’ll be going back to my Friday-Saturday-Sunday blogging schedule. Although I didn’t blog all that regularly during the summer, so this really isn’t much of a change. I hope you all have a fab week!

HAPPY BIRTHDAY GEORGE HARRISON!!!

George celebrating his 21st birthday in 1964, all those years ago...

George celebrating his 21st birthday in 1964, all those years ago…

In case you were wondering, February 24th is George’s actual birthday, although he and most of the world thought it was February 25th for most of his life. However, he eventually found out that he was born at 11:50 PM on the 24th. Only George Harrison could have a birthday that spans 2 days!
So, today is the birthday of George Harrison: the Quiet Beatle, the Dark Horse, and my favorite Beatle! I’m celebrating today by wearing my All Things Must Pass shirt, and the only way that I see fit to commemorate what would have been George’s 70th birthday is to make a list of all the reasons why I love him. You’ll see that it’s a VERY long list!

Why I Love George Harrison:
– Let’s just get this out of the way… He is the single most beautiful person who has ever lived, inside and out! No one else even comes close. If there were a “best looking male celebrity of all time” contest, he should win, hands down! And after viewing my post from yesterday with multiple Georgeous pictures, how can you disagree?
– He was an outstandingly skilled guitar player with such a unique touch that I only need to hear 1 or 2 notes of his slide guitar to know it’s him.
– He seems like he was a wonderful father to Dhani, and it shows, because Dhani is so much like George!
– He had the thickest and most natural Liverpudlian scouser accent of the four Beatles. Thank you veddy much.
– He was hilarious and witty and so naturally funny! This led to some fantastic music videos, like Crackerbox Palace and This Song in 1976, which was definitely one of his best years, music and looks-wise.
– He was a huge fan of Monty Python and saved the franchise by funding Life of Brian, which I watched for the first time last night… I couldn’t stop laughing! It’s just as good as Holy Grail! And George appeared in it for about 10 seconds!
– He wasn’t really “the Quiet one,” as his sister can attest.
– He frequently changed his hairstyles throughout the years. Variety and George Harrison are the spices of life!
– His last words were, “Love one another.”
– He initiated the whole relief rock concert thing with the Concert for Bangladesh. Without him, there would be no Concert for Sandy, or Concert for George!
– He had a wonderful smile that lit up the world, and still lights up my computer/iPod screen…
– He was the only Beatle, in my opinion, to truly benefit from the breakup and improve musically because of it. All Things Must Pass = Best solo Beatle album BY FAR!
– He loved gardening, race cars, and Monopoly, among other things.
– He, at one point, looked like Jesus.
– He was not afraid to write songs about the Lord or experiment with the sitar and Indian music. In that respect, he was truly an innovator.
– He skiied like a boss and saved the day in Help!, while rocking a top hat better than Abe Lincoln himself.
– His singing on the 1965 Christmas record… There are no words. The weirdy high, warbly voice in the beginning and at 5:28… Yeah, that’s George doing funny voices!!!

– He kept his cool in the face of all the Beatlemania madness, never letting fame go to his head.
– He wrote great songs with the Beatles BEFORE Something and Here Comes The Sun. While My Guitar Gently Weeps and Taxman, anyone? Or, even earlier, Don’t Bother Me and I Need You? Exactly.
– He rocked those striped pants on the Smothers Brothers show in 1968 like no one else could. Not to mention that fabulous ruffled shirt. Oh my George.

– He could dance rather well, on stage and off. Check out A Hard Day’s Night and the video below for proof. The George Harrison Shuffle should be patented!

– He basically founded the Traveling Wilburys, and because of them, well it’s aaaallll right, we’re going to the end of the line!
– He attended Eric Clapton and Pattie Boyd’s wedding. Why, I don’t know. I guess he had a lot of room to forgive in his heart.
– He was great friends with Eric Idle and knew Paul McCartney for almost 50 years.
– He had an extraordinary sense of style. George and Pattie are my fashion inspirations. I need an orange sweater like the one he wore in the Revolution video!
– He seems like he was a genuinely sweet, loving, and caring person to know. I’ve never read one bad thing about him from someone who knew him well.
– He loved to eat! There are tons of pictures and a funny video on Youtube of him stuffing his face with food. I can only hope that I look that good eating…
– He started the Material World Foundation, which is still going strong!
– He has transcended generations. Millions of people today, including me, still love him for being so special, unique, spiritual, and lovely.
– He manages to simultaneously make me sad and cheer me up. Just hearing a certain song of his, or even a note of his guitar playing, can make my eyes gently weep. At the same time, he’s the person who makes me smile more than anyone else. An appropriate emotional response to such a complicated man, I think.
– He had the most luxuriously wavy Beatle hair for sure! I wonder what shampoo he used… I’d love to make my hair that sleek and shiny!
– He realized that there was more to life than material things at a young age, and spent most of his life searching for the truth.
– According to Beatleology, he is my inner Beatle, the one I’m most like! I knew there was a reason I like him so much! We’re a lot alike!
– He gave Tom Petty multiple ukuleles at once for no reason whatsoever other than to be nice. Hey, you never know when they might come in handy!
– He didn’t let a hoarse voice stop him from touring the U.S. in 1974, as the “Dark Hoarse/Horse.”
– He had such a unique, gentle, soothing speaking and singing voice that always puts me at ease.
– He released great music consistently up until his death in 2001, and even his posthumously released album Brainwashed is so good that I can only imagine what else he had up his sleeve.

There are more, but I don’t want this to drag on forever. Besides, I think you get the picture. George is amazing and wonderful and I love him. If I could have one wish, it would be for him to be alive. And if I ever met him, the first thing I’d say would be, “I LOVE YOU!!! You’re such an inspiration! Thanks for the beautiful music!” So, one more happy birthday to my sweet George!!! You rock Georgie!!! Hare Krishna to all!!!

Some George Harrison Demos

My sweet George... :)

My sweet George… 🙂

One of the reasons why I love George Harrison’s music so much is that his songs are always great even in demo or unfinished form. He had such a gentle, soulful voice that didn’t require excessive production to make the song great. So, here I’ve compiled some outstanding demos of his that I found on Youtube.

Dark Horse

If you’ve ever heard the studio version of this song, you probably noticed that George’s voice on it is a a bit hoarse-sounding. That’s because it was recorded when he was battling laryngitis, and he didn’t have enough time to recover before releasing the song. While I do like the original song in spite of the hoarseness, I think that this is a beautiful and far superior version purely because his voice sounds like his normal self here. This is what the song was supposed to be.

Hear Me Lord

This version is just stunning, especially with the really cool electric guitar sound. I do love the album version of this song as well, but I think this demo is just as good. Once again, his beautiful voice really shines when it’s just him and his guitar. I’ve always admired the fact that George released such spiritual, religiously inclined songs without fearing that the public wouldn’t like him. The old saying, “Just be yourself and people will like you,” truly applies to his music.

I Live For You

With all the fantastic songs on All Things Must Pass, I still can’t figure out why this song never made the album. It’s such a beautiful song and so very George. Still, I’m thankful that it was included on the 2001 remaster of All Things Must Pass and that it eventually got proper studio treatment.

It Don’t Come Easy

In case anyone was wondering, yes, this is the same song as Ringo’s “It Don’t Come Easy”. I have always known Ringo’s version of the song, and I was surprised to learn that George actually wrote it for him and recorded a demo! Anyway, I really like this song, and it easily could have fit on All Things Must Pass. This is also my #1 favorite George tribute video on Youtube. I honestly can’t count how many times I’ve watched it. It never gets old!!!

So there you have it. Four fantastic songs written by George Harrison, in demo form. Enjoy! Only 2 days until George’s birthday!!!!

My Top 10 Favorite George Harrison Solo Songs

What can I say? George looks so cute here!!!

What can I say? George looks so cute here!!!

I’ve been really looking forward to this post! I love George, so you think this would be an easy list to compile, but this was actually very difficult. The solo career of George Harrison cannot be summed up in just 10 songs, but here I’ve done my best to list my 10 personal favorites of his. I hope you enjoy the list!

10. All Things Must Pass

This is such a beautiful song. I love the emotion that George puts into the vocals. He always sounds so soulful and honest in his songs, and on this one in particular, the piano with the guitar and the beautiful singing and lyrics all work so well together. This is George at his best on what is generally considered his best album, 1970’s All Things Must Pass. I have to agree; listening to the album, it really is a masterpiece.

9. Crackerbox Palace

As you might notice from the whimsical video, this song is COMPLETELY different than All Things Must Pass! I love this song and the video that accompanies it equally. The song is quirky and fun, just like George, and that’s reflected in the video. Every time I watch the beginning with him popping out of the baby carriage, I laugh at his silly sense of humor! He was definitely the right Beatle to fund Monty Python!

8. Dream Away

Dream Away is perhaps George’s most poppy and upbeat song, and I love it for its bouncy tempo and nonsensical lyrics. What exactly does “Ori in iay, ori in iay” mean anyway? I haven’t a clue, but anything in George-language has to be good, right? 🙂

7. Awaiting On You All

This song has an awesome tempo with awesome lyrics, and awesome background vocals. In short, it’s awesome! I’ve always found it interesting that George mentions seeing Jesus in the song, even though he wasn’t a Christian at the time, or at least I don’t think he was. Perhaps he was more religiously openminded than I thought.

6. Faster

This is one of those George songs that I’m very surprised isn’t generally roped in with his best songs. I think it’s really catchy, infectious, and has a great arrangement. The car sounds in the beginning are fun, and I like that it shows off yet another side of George’s personality, the lover of car racing side. It takes me a while to get into and really appreciate some of George’s songs, but after hearing exactly 3 seconds of the iTunes preview of this song, I was hooked.

5. Wah Wah

George apparently wrote this in 1968 after walking out of the Let It Be sessions, frustrated with his fellow bandmates, Paul in particular. According to George, a “wah wah” is Britspeak for a massive headache. I’m sad that he and Paul had an argument, but hey, his fans got a great song out of it! This is so good, it doesn’t even need the lyrics. It could practically just be an instrumental jam session and would still be great. This proves that George could rock just as hard as the other Beatles when he wanted to.

4. Blow Away

I know from experience that this is the PERFECT song to wake up to in the morning! It’s so warm and inviting, and listening to it feels like receiving a big hug from George. The beginning of the song just makes me go “ahhhhhhh” with relaxation. It, like many of George’s songs, always cheers me up or puts me in a good mood.

3. Give Me Love (Give Me Peace On Earth)

This was basically my theme song during the week following Hurricane Sandy. Whenever I felt like things were hopeless and we’d never get power back, I sat in my room, listened to this song, and felt much better. I have to thank George a lot because I was starting to feel kind of sad after having no power for over a week, and this song really kept me going. George’s voice is so soulful on this song that it makes me tear up a bit sometimes, in a “Gosh, I wish he was still around” way. But then I remember that he left such beautiful music for everyone to enjoy, it’s almost like he’s still here.

2. My Sweet Lord

I can’t accurately describe how much I love and am addicted to this song! I could literally listen to it on repeat for hours and not get sick of it. In fact, whenever it comes up in the Shuffle mode on my iPod, I always have to play it at least 3 times in a row before listening to another song. If the beauty of my sweet George could be summed up in a song, this is definitely it. From the opening guitar strums to the slide guitar solo to the Hare Krishna chant, it’s perfection. But, it is NOT my #1 favorite George song…

1. What is Life

THIS is my #1 favorite George song because it ROCKS! I love the guitar riff in the beginning, and in general, it’s just amazing. I’ve had this song on my iPod for a long time, before I even knew who George Harrison was (yes, there was such a time in my life), and even though I didn’t recognize the singer, I loved the song and would sing it to myself all the time. Later, when I discovered the Beatles and figured out who George was, I found out that he sang this song that I’d loved for years! Now that George and the Beatles are such a big part of my life, I wonder what life would be like without them. I can’t even imagine it at this point. What is life without George Harrison??? (answer: not as good!)

I said before that George’s solo career can’t possibly be summarized in only 10 songs, so here are 10 more “honorable mention” songs, just like I did for the Beatles list. Since most people probably aren’t all that familiar with George’s solo discography, I’ll post the song and the album next to it in parentheses.
So Sad (Dark Horse)
That’s The Way It Goes (Gone Troppo)
Hear Me Lord and Beware of Darkness (All Things Must Pass)
This Song and Beautiful Girl (33 and 1/3)
Miss O’Dell (Living in the Material World- iTunes Bonus Tracks)
Devil’s Radio (Cloud Nine)
Pisces Fish and Any Road (Brainwashed)

That’s all for now! Enjoy the weekend and one last picture of George Harrison!

Gorgeous George from 1976, one more time

Gorgeous George from 1976, one more time