My Top 10 Favorite Song Intros

Harrison Control room

The Beatles in the control room, undoubtedly crafting another timeless song introduction.

Well, after an entire semester of no blog posts, I am making my triumphant blogging return with a post that I’ve been meaning to do for a while. For whatever reason, even before I became a Beatles fan, I’ve always been really intrigued by what makes a good song intro. The Beatles have many of them, of course, but there’s something about a really well-crafted intro to a song that can truly elevate the content of the entire song. There’s a saying about not judging a book by its cover that could technically also apply to “not judging a song by its intro,” but I almost feel that you should judge a song by its intro in many cases. Just like with a job interview, if your first impression about a song in the first few seconds is negative, you probably won’t want to stick around and listen to the rest.

With some songs, I actually prefer the instrumental intro to the song itself, if only because it ends up being more memorable for me. I also believe that a really good song intro immediately grabs the listener’s attention and makes it extremely difficult to change the song. So here I’ve decided to return to one of my favorite blog post formats, the ten-item list, and explain my reasons for choosing these ten songs as containing some of my favorite introductions.

10. Ready to Go- Republica

Though this admittedly is the only song I know by Republica, I have always been a big fan of this song’s intro. I’m a sucker for a song that starts with an acoustic intro that then segues into a biting electric guitar, and that’s exactly how this song begins. Just as a minor side note, I love when songs directly juxtapose a softer acoustic guitar sound with a harder electric guitar sound, one right after the other. It makes both sounds more interesting to listen to, and adds to the overall musical depth of an already awesome song.

9. My My, Hey Hey- Neil Young

Though I’m not hugely well-versed in Neil Young’s catalog, I’ve always really liked this song, and I’m pretty sure it’s because of the haunting guitar riff that opens the song and continues throughout the song. This is among the more musically simple song intros on this list, but it goes along with my logic that a really well-crafted, memorable song intro can be as simple as a strum of an acoustic guitar.

8. All The Way From Memphis- Mott the Hoople

This is one of my favorite “rock piano” songs, written by a very underrated band from the 70s. The beginning is simple enough musically, but the driving, pounding piano beat stands alone as a very worthy introduction to a wonderful song. It’s a great example of how an energetic song intro can get the listener excited about a song long before the lyrics and guitar kick in.

7. Beauty and the Beast- David Bowie

Originally when I came up with the idea for this post, I thought of this song mostly as a placeholder, an example of a song with a cool intro that I could theoretically put on this list. However, as soon as this song popped into my head, I started listening to it more and more, and I realized that I actually really do love its intro a lot. Like with “All The Way From Memphis,” this song makes great use of a driving piano/keyboard intro that gradually layers with guitar, drums, and vocals until it explodes into the first verse.

6. Desecration Smile- Red Hot Chili Peppers

Whenever this song comes up on shuffle, I always end up playing it on repeat just to hear the intro over and over again. It’s all acoustic guitar and drums, but this instrumental sequence manages to convey so much emotion and sets the stage perfectly for the rest of the song. The moment when the first acoustic riff in the intro segues into the second is just beautiful, and the song as a whole is one of my favorites by them. This is one of the more musically subtle Chili Peppers songs I know, but with that, it’s also one of their most heartfelt, soothing tracks. This intro reminds me that the Chili Peppers, despite their sometimes wild exterior, really are master craftsmen of emotionally touching melodies.

 

 

5. Drive It Like You Stole It- Sing Street

I’ve already mentioned this movie briefly on this blog I believe, so once again, it’s packed with wonderful 80s-inspired musical goodness like this song. This starts with an awesome synth-packed punch and only gets better from there as the rest of the instruments kick in. More than any other song on this list, the intro for this song instantly makes me want to get up and dance. It’s so infectious and upbeat, and it’s a perfect culmination of the kids’ musical efforts throughout the movie.

4. Blow Away- George Harrison

This song was my morning alarm for quite some time, mostly because of the absolutely gorgeous, soothing intro that helped me ease into the day (I later changed my alarm song because this song was too relaxing and I kept sleeping through it…). There’s something about how this song begins that just sweeps you away into another world. Like so many George songs, it exudes love for this world without saying a word. This is 100% one of George’s best solo songs, and its lilting, somewhat melancholy yet also hopeful intro has a lot to do with that.

3. Coming of Age- Foster the People

For whatever reason, the intro to this song makes me feel nostalgic, but for nothing in particular. Maybe it’s because of the 80s-vibe that this entire song projects, similar to though less bouncy than “Drive It Like You Stole It.” I can’t quite put my finger on it, but I always feel strangely emotional whenever I hear the beginning of this song, and I feel that if the first 10 or 20 instrumental seconds of a song can make me feel something, that certainly bodes well for the rest of the song.

2. Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds- The Beatles

Much like with “Coming of Age,” the fascinating intro to this song is definitely my favorite part of the song, and I often wish I could just play the very beginning over and over whenever I hear it. The melody of this synth riff, which repeats throughout the song, is beautifully and perfectly constructed so that it comes across as almost hypnotic, which relates well to the song’s themes of mysterious voyaging. The Beatles had a masterful way of imbuing many lyrical themes from their songs into the construction of their instrumental melodies, this being perhaps the best example I can think of. It’s haunting, addictive, and some of the Beatles’ best work.

In case anyone is curious about the link I attached, it is often extremely difficult to find original Beatles songs on YouTube, so to hear the intro to “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds” from this Anthology track I found, go to 0:33 in the video link.

And finally… Without further ado…

1. Warrant- Foster the People

This, ladies and gentlemen, is my favorite intro to any song ever because I genuinely think it could stand on its own without the rest of the song and still be amazing. I don’t quite know how the beginning to this song came about, but the way it begins with an echoing chorus and gradually adds in the other instruments is just stunning to listen to, and something that I’ve rarely heard other bands do in recent albums. I’ve seen it compared to Zelda and other video game soundtracks, but I also find the choral opening to be very Beatles and ELO-esque, which might be why I always respond so positively to it. It’s hard to describe why this intro is so amazing, but whenever I hear it, I feel like I’m being transported to a fantasy world and then in an action-adventure music video. It’s probably the most cinematic intro on this list, but for an alternative rock/pop band that normally doesn’t do “cinematic,” I think it’s an extraordinary achievement.

So there you have it. Creating this list, and including “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds,” certainly got the gears turning in my head about my favorite Beatles song intros, which could easily be a whole separate post that I’ll have to write in the future. But for now, enjoy listening to these fantastic songs!

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My Top 10 Favorite David Bowie Songs

bowie guitar

A master of his craft, David Bowie is certainly gone too soon ❤ 

I definitely was not expecting to blog quite so soon after my last post. When I woke up this morning to the horrible news that David Bowie had died of cancer, I immediately prayed that it was another celebrity death hoax, but when I saw the news on his official Facebook page I knew it had to be true. Though I have not listened to the majority of his astounding 25 studio albums, I do consider myself a big fan of his. His incredible, artistic music aside, David Bowie seemed like a musical and artistic genius to me with how he continually reinvented himself and refused to duplicate his past work.

He is also a musician whose existence I suppose I took for granted, in that I just assumed he’d be around forever to promote his album, musical, and various future projects. I sincerely wish I had listened to him more and fully appreciated his artistry while he was alive. But I suppose the best I can do now is to honor him by posting my ten favorite songs of his and why I love them. Again, these may be somewhat mainstream choices because I am not familiar with all of his extensive catalog, but I hope to remedy that in the near future. This list may change for me, but at this moment, these are my favorites, so that’s what I’m going with.

10. Ashes to Ashes

I forget when exactly I first heard this song, but I do recall being extremely intrigued by the opening. It has a really interesting sound that I can’t quite put my finger on, and I love how it brings back the Major Tom character from “Space Oddity.” One thing I’ve noticed about David Bowie’s songs is how they often have the same beat throughout the entire song, which you might think would make them eventually tedious but they somehow never are. This song is just magical and I love it!

9. The Man Who Sold The World

I actually first found out about this song from the Nirvana cover on their MTV Unplugged album. I’m very thankful for that, because the original version is so intricately arranged that each piece seems like a puzzle piece meant to perfectly fit in a whole. The guitar riff is also somewhat ominous and unresolved, which adds to this song’s mystique and strengthens its overall appeal for me.

8. The Jean Genie

My favorite part of this song is definitely the guitar throughout. I just cannot get enough of it, it’s so catchy! Beyond that, the lyrics are fun and the harmonica is awesome, also the bass at the end is pretty badass. I don’t have a ton else to say about this one, I’ve just always gotten very happy when it comes on the radio and it is one of my favorite Bowie songs!

7. Starman

This is an absolute gem off of the Ziggy Stardust album, which is filled with gems. I know it was kind of the point of the album, but I love how many songs on this album involve stars. It all seems so fantastical and otherworldly, which judging by Bowie’s look during this period was fully intentional. I also love the part of this song where the music stops except for some cool spacey star sounds, I honestly don’t know what instrument that is but I think it is pretty self explanatory. Also I’ve noticed the lyrics to this song take on an entirely different meaning in the context of Bowie’s death. Something to think about.

6. Under Pressure

This song is a true classic for both Queen and David Bowie, but I felt compelled to include it here because it is so brilliantly crafted to show Bowie’s talent. I love how it builds and builds to a triumphant climax and then tapers off again towards the end. It’s one of those songs that I have to listen to all the way through if it comes on the radio or anywhere because though it is an extremely popular song, it is not overrated in the slightest. Somewhere right now, I bet David Bowie and Freddie Mercury are singing it together. 🙂

5. Ziggy Stardust

I hope it’s not terrible to say that whenever I hear this song, I first think of Jimmy Fallon’s “Tebowie” skit that changed its lyrics to apply to Tim Tebow. That video always makes me laugh, but aside from that, this is yet another well-crafted rock song from David Bowie. The guitar here absolutely makes the song for me once again. In fact, this is probably one of my favorite guitar-heavy songs that I can think of by any artist. As they say, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, and Jimmy’s “Tebowie” character is certainly the highest form of flattery for this fantastic song.

4. Life on Mars

This may not be #1 on my favorites list, but musically this is an absolute masterpiece. It may well be his very best song ever. The piano here is stunning, it reminds me of “Rocket Man” by Elton John a bit with its complicated, unpredictable, majestic chord progressions. How funny that both songs are about outer space in some way. Anyway, for me this is up there with “Bohemian Rhapsody” as a truly perfect example of rock music at its finest and most artfully cinematic.

3. Suffragette City

This is probably one of the most fun, upbeat David Bowie songs out there, and I think it was also one of the first songs I heard by him. The chorus with its piano part reminds me a lot of the Beatles’ “Back In The USSR,” and in general it is just an awesome song. I get really excited whenever I hear it and could honestly play it on repeat for hours on end. It’s that good!

2. Fashion

To be honest, it was really hard for me to choose between the top three songs on this list. I basically like this song just as much as my #1 choice, but for different reasons, so I put it at #2 here. The whimsical lyrics here are fun and lovable, the guitar is percussive and slightly abrasive, and the whole song is, for lack of a better word, fantastic. I think I identify with this song on a spiritual level, it means that much to me!

And…

1. Heroes

I didn’t discover this song until I saw “The Perks of Being a Wallflower” a few years ago, which is a wonderful movie, but it quickly became my favorite David Bowie song and one of my favorite songs in general. “Heroes” is truly inspiring, empowering, and uplifting. The guitar is lush and magical, and as always, David Bowie’s distinctive voice soars above the instrumentation. This song touches me emotionally like very few songs do, even including Beatles songs. Whenever I hear it, I feel like I can become a hero and do anything. I, like Charlie in “The Perks of Being a Wallflower,” feel infinite.

Honorable Mentions: TVC 15, Space Oddity, Changes, DJ, Cat People (Putting Out Fire), Rebel Rebel

I did not really anticipate posting about David Bowie on this blog, but as a fan of the Beatles and all whom they inspired, which includes Bowie, I felt it was necessary. May David Bowie join John Lennon, Freddie Mercury, and the ranks of rock stars whose legend only grows after their untimely death. Rock on, Starman.

 

 

Top 10 Beatles songs to listen to in the car

I got the idea for this post while listening to Breakfast with the Beatles in the car this morning, and I thought it might be helpful if any readers are looking to make a Beatles driving playlist. The songs here don’t necessarily have to do with driving subject-wise, but I think that the vibes of all these songs are conducive to driving (or passenging). Feel free to disagree or come up with your own list. Here we go!

10. I Want To Hold Your Hand

I’m not going to say a ton about each song on this list, but the opening riff to this is just so good. It’s a great song to sing along to and it’s always a crowd pleaser. If it comes on the radio, crank it up and enjoy!

9. If I Needed Someone

Again, it’s really the riff here that makes this a “car song” for me. The relaxing, slightly lazy pace makes it perfect for any drive, any time. This is one I would listen to with the windows open, unless it’s snowing. Then, definitely close the windows. 🙂

8. A Hard Day’s Night

This is a great car song mostly because the opening chord is so instantly recognizable. It’s nice to know exactly what song is playing in the car without having to take your eyes off the road (or if you’re passenging, your phone, most likely), so this song is a great candidate for any Beatlemaniac’s car playlist.

7. I Am The Walrus

I’m going to assume that no one driving will be tripping on LSD (which would be very dangerous indeed), so I don’t think listening to this in the car will blow your mind TOO much… Anyway, I’m not exactly sure why I chose this song for this list. Once again, the opening is very famous, but aside from that, I just like it a lot. Not that I ever really do this, but if I were driving around with friends late at night and the car windows were open, this is the song I would want to bother the neighborhood with.

6. Day Tripper

For anyone who thinks this song is literally about taking day trips to the countryside, you’re wrong. It’s slightly more metaphorical (and naughtier) than that. But anyway, this riff combined with the awesome harmonies and the chorus makes it a fantastic song to listen to in the car. As I’ve said before, this is definitely one of my top 5 favorite Beatles songs. For a brief time, you can at least imagine that it’s about day trips. 🙂

5. Help!

Once again, the instantly recognizable opening makes it a good car song. I also think that the layered, call and-response harmonies throughout have a sort of Beach Boys-ish vibe that makes me think of driving cars in California. (again, I am clearly not a Californian…)

4. Get Back

This song is literally about going back to somewhere, and it mentions California and Arizona (two states 3,000 miles from me), so I thought it would be a good addition to this list. I think I’ve said this before, but I really like the drums on this song for some reason. Even after everything they had already accomplished musically in such a short time, the Beatles still found ways to innovate on this album.

3. One After 909

This isn’t a hugely popular Beatles song, but it REALLY makes me think of cruising along a highway on a nice day. I love the keyboards and guitar on this track. A relatively unknown Beatley tidbit is that this was actually one of the first songs the Beatles wrote, way back in the late 1950s. There’s a couple of versions of this on Anthology 1, but I definitely prefer this faster Let It Be version to any of the earlier ones.

2. Back in the USSR

This is a classic, and the plane sound effect at the beginning gets me every time. Again, I love listening to this in the car because it’s so upbeat and has a fantastic guitar solo. Many of you may know that Ringo quit the band for a bit while they were making the White Album, so who do you suppose plays drums on this song? That’s right, it’s the multi-instrumentally talented Paul!

Annnnd…

1. Drive My Car

So it might be a bit of a cop-out to have this as #1, but I honestly could not think of a better choice. The “driving cars” in this song may be metaphorical (I bet you can guess what it refers to…), but it’s still a great song to listen to in the car! And come on, who doesn’t love the “Beep beep, beep beep, yeah!” part? Just don’t honk the horn along with that part, as you may get some Looks of Doom from neighboring drivers. 🙂

So, that’s it for this list. On my list of “future posts,” in case you’re interested: Top 10 non-Beatles songs to listen to in the car, reviews of Phillip Phillips’ “Behind the Light” and U2’s “Songs of Innocence,” my thoughts on Conan’s George Harrison Week, and much more. Stay tuned folks!

My Top 10 Favorite Movies

The Beatles while filming Magical Mystery Tour

The Beatles while filming Magical Mystery Tour

I know this list won’t be strictly Beatle-related, but I felt like I had to do it at some point. I’m not really into movies the same way I’m into music, but I do enjoy a lot of movies, mostly comedies, and thought I’d share some of my favorites with you! There are a couple of Beatle-related movies on here as well. 🙂

10. Elf
I thought about not including this since it’s a Christmas movie, but a good movie is a good movie, regardless of the season. Anyway, I absolutely love this movie! I saw it it in the theaters when I was young, and ever since I’ve been entranced by its charm. I really don’t know how anyone could dislike this movie, unless they can’t stand Will Ferrell. Whom I love dearly, so that’s not an issue for me. 🙂

9. Stranger than Fiction
I first watched this back in January when my friend recommended good Will Ferrell movies for me to watch. As soon as I saw this, I was hooked. The story is fascinating and the acting, from Ferrell to Emma Thompson to Dustin Hoffman to Maggie Gyllenhaal, is phenomenal. Also, for a movie not based on a book, the screenplay is fantastic. Not that many people know about it, but it’s a great movie that makes you laugh, cry a little, and contemplate life.

8. Monty Python and the Holy Grail
Though I’m a huge Python fan, I’ve actually only seen this entire movie once. That said, I think it’s one of the most brilliant comedies ever made. I don’t think I’ve laughed harder at a movie from start to finish ever than I did at this movie. This would probably be ranked higher if I’d watched it more than once, but I do love it. A lot.

7. A Hard Day’s Night/Help!
I know in a previous list I separated these two movies, but here, I just can’t. They’re both so great for different reasons, and really I don’t prefer one over the other. I really should just have all of the Beatles movies in this slot.

6. The Sound of Music
I’m definitely a sucker for old fashioned movie-musicals, and this I think is one of the best. Whenever this is on TV, which thankfully is pretty often, I have to watch it and sing along to all of the songs. Julie Andrews has one of the most beautiful singing voices I’ve ever heard, and all of the songs are classics.

5. Forrest Gump
Watching this in my history class recently reminded me just how much I loved this movie, which is why I’ve included it here. I don’t think I need to tell anyone why it’s amazing, but I’ll just echo the masses and say that Tom Hanks is a brilliant actor. This is also one of the only movies that really makes me emotional at the end. It’s visually stunning, emotionally penetrating, and well deserving of its status as a modern classic.

4. George Harrison: Living in the Material World
I hope I’m not cheating by including a documentary on this list, but this one is so amazing that I can’t resist. It’s three and a half hours long, but it never drags. And of course, it’s about my dear George. 🙂
He lived a very interesting life, which lends itself well to a fantastic documentary. I’ve probably watched this 4 or 5 times. By the end, I’m always crying, but always glad I watched it again. I’d recommend this to any music fan or fan of documentaries.

3. Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy
The third and final Will Ferrell movie on this list, but probably the most well-deserved entry. I first watched this movie in December because of the hype over Anchorman 2, but as soon as I watched it, I understood why so many people love it. It’s absurd, ridiculous, weird, and absolutely hilarious. I tend to like movies with kind of a weird charm anyway, which this definitely has. Here’s hoping there will be an Anchorman 3!

2. Ferris Bueller’s Day Off
I am a huge fan of movies from the 80s, but this one stands above the rest I’ve seen as a true masterpiece. This is my go-to “snow day/rainy day/boring day” movie, and no matter how many times I see it, I laugh just as hard in all of the same parts. There’s also the memorable scene with Twist and Shout, which of course I love! If you’ve somehow never seen this, you’re missing out. And life moves pretty fast to be missing out on this. 🙂

This pretty much gives it away...

This pretty much gives it away…

1. Field of Dreams
I haven’t seen this in a while, but it’s without a doubt my favorite movie. I first watched it as a 7th grader obsessed only with the Mets and not yet with the Beatles, but as my love for the Beatles and many other things has developed, this has remained my #1 favorite movie. Its story is magical and uplifting in a way that truly distinguishes it as a work of art, and even my friends who aren’t baseball fans love this movie. I definitely need to watch this again soon, and you should, too!

I hope you enjoyed this list! Have a great week!

My Top 10 Favorite Beatles Song Lyrics

Thought this was cute. :)

Thought this was cute. 🙂

I was hemming and hawing over what to post today, when this idea popped into my head. We all know that musically the Beatles were brilliant, but their song lyrics are just as extraordinary. Sure, many of their earlier songs have a lot of “cheesy” lyrics, which I will not deny. However, whenever I listen to one of their later albums like Rubber Soul or Abbey Road, I’m amazed at just how insightful and clever the words to their songs are. Sometimes I listen to a Beatles album only to pay attention to the lyrics, which helps me see it in a whole new light. So, without further ado, here we go!

10. I Saw Her Standing There- “Well she was just seventeen, you know what I mean.”
According to The Beatles Anthology, the original opening line for this song was, “Well she was just seventeen, she’d never been a beauty queen.” When John saw that’s what Paul had written, he supposedly said, “You’re joking, right?” and they changed it. Good move, in my opinion. There isn’t that much to dissect with this one, I just like how it flows. And that it’s vaguely suggestive. 🙂

9. Revolution- “But when you talk about destruction/Don’t you know that you can count me out”
When the Beatles sang this live on David Frost in 1968, John actually said, “Don’t you know that you can count me out, in” because he wasn’t sure what he believed. One thing I love about this song in general is that from the very first note, it makes a statement, and every line in the song, like this one, lives up to the boldness of those opening guitar chords.

8. You’ve Got To Hide Your Love Away- “If she’s gone I can’t go on/Feeling two-foot small.”
The actual line for this song had “two-foot tall” instead, but when John accidentally sang “two-foot small” in the studio once, Paul suggested he keep it that way. I like that this line doesn’t make logical sense initially, but really, it does. It’s sort of like a glass half empty vs. glass half full situation. Just another example of clever wordplay from the Beatles. 🙂

7. The Long and Winding Road- “Many times I’ve been alone and many times I’ve cried/Anyway you’ll never know the many ways I’ve tried”
Paul is clearly a master at rhymes, but this line in particular just hits me in a deep emotional place. The song itself is sad, but hopeful. This might be lyrically one of Paul’s best songs ever, actually, but I’ll let you be the judge of that.

6. Think for Yourself- “Although your mind’s opaque/Try thinking more if just for your own sake.”
While this was far from George’s first song, I think is the first time his lyrics were truly on par with Lennon and McCartney. The lyrics to this entire song are great, but I chose this line in particular as an example of the growing songwriting aptitude that George demonstrated on Rubber Soul. Way to go George!

5. Old Brown Shoe- “I want a love that’s right but right is only half of what’s wrong.”
More George for you! He has said in interviews that he intended for the lyrics of this song to juxtapose each other, with words like right and wrong and early and late. The lyrics to this entire song are clever and so very George. As I’ve said before, this song is extremely underrated.

4. I’ve Just Seen a Face- The entire song
While the lyrics for this song might not be the deepest, most philosophical in the Beatles’ catalog, I really have a special place in my heart for this song because of them. The whole song flows in a really interesting way because of how the lyrics are structured, and for that reason I didn’t single one line out in particular.

3. I Am The Walrus- “Expert textpert choking smokers/Don’t you think the joker laughs at you?”
I am happy to report that I typed that line entirely from memory. I guess I’ve listened to it too many times. 🙂
But seriously, every line in this song is just nuts. I suppose that’s what happens when John Lennon writes a song purposely to confuse people who read too much into the Beatles’ lyrics.

2. The End- “And in the end the love you take/Is equal to the love you make.”
This might be one of the single best known lyrics in the Beatles’ catalog, so this might not be that original a choice, but it is truly a beautiful, poignant line. I don’t think Abbey Road and the Beatles’ career could end any better than with this line. It sums up their entire essence in one simple line.

1. Across the Universe- “Limitless undying love that shines around me like a million suns/It calls me on and on, across the universe”, but basically the entire song
I firmly believe that the lyrics to this song are some of the most beautiful words ever written. I highlighted this line in particular because it’s the one that always sticks out in my mind, but really the entire song is a beautiful fountain of poetry. John is usually known as “the lyrical one” between himself and Paul, and I think that John really makes the case for best lyric writer in the Beatles with this song. It’s definitely a masterpiece.

Wow, for coming up with this idea on a whim, I really like how this turned out! I think I’ll try to do a “top 10 lines from Monty Python” in the near future as an expansion of this post.
Have a great weekend!

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!

Christmas Time Is Here Again! Part 1

Wouldn't you like to wake up on Christmas and find George under your tree? I know I would!

Wouldn’t you like to wake up on Christmas and find George under your tree? I know I would!

Well folks, it’s that time of year again. The time when families gather around the Christmas tree, sip cocoa, and listen to the Beatles. Okay, so that last part might not actually be true, but in my head, that’s what an ideal holiday should be! Anyway, I’ve decided to list today a few of my favorite rock Christmas songs. Some of them are Beatle-related, some of them aren’t, but all are festive and fun! Since I have a bunch of songs that I’d like to include, I’ll split this into 2 parts. Enjoy!

The Beatles- Christmas Time is Here Again

So this song probably didn’t take them long to write… But I do like it! And if you’ve been listening to Paul’s “New” album, particularly “Queenie Eye,” then you may notice that the lyric “O-U-T spells out” is repeated in both songs! Just a little Beatley factoid for you. 🙂

John Lennon- Happy Xmas (War Is Over)

This song is so peaceful, heartfelt, and utterly John. It brings a smile to my face every time I hear it. Maybe one of these Christmases, war will finally be over.

Paul McCartney- Wonderful Christmastime

This is definitely the Christmas song that everyone loves to hate because, I admit, it’s kind of annoying. But honestly, it’s Paul, and I feel obligated to love it, so I do! It is quite catchy!

George Harrison- Ding Dong Ding Dong

This is more of a New Year’s song than a Christmas song, but it’s holiday-themed, so why not include it here? And it’s George!!!

The Fleshtones- Hurray For Santa Claus

This album is on constantly in my house during the holidays. It’s a wonderful, fun, Christmasy rock album that includes a cover of Chuck Berry’s “Run Rudolph Run,” although most of the songs are originals. They’re kind of weird and wacky, but then again, so is the Christmas season!

And now, although it isn’t Beatle-related, or even Elton John-related, here is my #1 favorite Christmas rock song:

The Kinks- Father Christmas

This is a classic, and with good reason, because it’s a great song! I just love the cheerful intro, and the whole song is awesome. This definitely eclipses all other rock Christmas songs, in my opinion. But you may disagree, and that’s okay too!

I’ll do a Part 2 to this post in a day or so, so look out for some Elton John Christmas songs, as well as more Beatle-related Christmas songs, coming your way! Have a lovely weekend! Happy winter solstice! Although it’s in the 50s in New York, so it actually feels more like the spring equinox here. 🙂