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!

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While My Sitar Gently Weeps…

Ravi Shankar giving George sitar lessons

Ravi Shankar giving George sitar lessons

No, I don’t own a sitar. I don’t own a guitar either. I don’t own a tar of any sort. But today I’ve decided to share some rock sitar songs that I love. Before I became a Beatles fan, I didn’t even know what a sitar was, but now that I’ve listened to lots and lots of Beatles music and watched Ravi Shankar playing sitar in the Concert For Bangladesh movie, I now appreciate it as an instrument that requires complete technical mastery in order to be played well. It’s not for everyone, but I think it’s a pretty cool instrument!
The whole “sitar in rock music” thing started with, guess who, George Harrison playing it on Norwegian Wood, and from there the Beatles released a number of other songs based around the sitar. Of course I’ll share some of those, but there are a few songs by other artists I know and love that feature a sitar in some way on them, so I’ll share those as well. I hope you enjoy!

Norwegian Wood- The Beatles

This is where it all started! George wasn’t a very experienced sitar player when he played it on this song, but the point of the sitar is made. Also, this song is just beautiful. John is sometimes labeled as the harsh, cynical Beatle, but he really had a knack for writing beautiful, emotional songs like this.

Love You To- The Beatles

A fantastic song on Revolver, written by George. The intro to this is stunning, and I wonder how on earth George even came up with it. I guess it’s called “being a songwriter in the most creative band in the world.” 🙂

Within You Without You- The Beatles

This song is absolutely amazing!!! The sitar is front and center here, and this is the kind of song that is best listened to in bed at night. No distractions, so you can get the full effect of how brilliant it is. In fact, I think it’s arguably the best song on the Sgt. Pepper album. Yes, I know A Day In The Life is on there as well, but this is just my opinion.

The Inner Light- The Beatles

This is not one of the more well-known Beatles songs, but I think it’s a beautiful song in its own right. Or as John would say, In His Own Write. 🙂
(the title of John’s 1st book, published in 1964, was In His Own Write. Random Beatle factoid of the day!)

I think you get the gist of Beatles sitar songs. On to other artists!

Holiday Inn- Elton John

Honestly, Elton John is about the last artist I’d expect to feature a sitar on one of his songs, so imagine my delight when I first heard this song! I absolutely love this song, and when it gets stuck in my head, it stays there for days. This song also features fantastic mandolin playing by Elton’s guitarist at the time, Davey Johnstone. All in all, a delightful song from one of my favorite Elton albums, Madman Across The Water.

Paint It Black- The Rolling Stones

This was released during the Stones’ psychedelic period, and while it’s clearly inspired by the work of the Beatles not too long before, it’s definitely a great song.

The Devil’s Been Busy- The Traveling Wilburys

Guess what? George is back! 🙂
This song, released on the Traveling Wilburys Vol. 3 album, has a lovely sitar solo, but some of the melody of that solo isn’t actually original. I don’t know if the Wilburys did this on purpose or not, but the beginning of this sitar solo sounds an awful lot like the melody from Paul McCartney and Wings’ song, “Jet”. Perhaps it’s just a coincidence, but considering that Paul and George were Beatle bandmates for about 13 years, I think otherwise!
Besides the sitar element, I think this is one of the best Wilburys songs. It’s a great song, through and through.

When We Was Fab- George Harrison

This isn’t really a “sitar song”, but it does have a cool little sitar bit right at the end. I mostly included it because I love the really weird, Monty Python-esque video that accompanies it! George apparently has 6 more arms than I thought he did! Jeff Lynne (who produced the album, Cloud Nine), Elton John (who played electric piano on this album), Phil Collins, and Ringo Starr all appear in it. See if you can spot them all in the video! 🙂
Anyway, it’s just a cool, trippy, very Beatlesque song.

I think that’s enough sitar talk for one day. Have a fab weekend!

Artists I listen to when I’m in various moods

Here it is, my second post of the day! I realize that I haven’t been posting much lately, even on the weekends. I apologize, but since it’s near the end of the school year, things are very hectic. I find that listening to my favorite musical artists like the Beatles really helps me get through stressful times, and this post is all about what artists I listen to in different life situations. This is more of a way for me to keep track of what musicians I like, but it’s also a list of artists that I’d recommend anyone to listen to when they’re stressed, happy, excited, or in any other mood. These aren’t the only artists I like, but they’re the ones whose music I can most easily categorize according to my various moods. Remember, music really does heal the soul!

Artists I listen to when I’m stressed and need to relax: George Harrison
Okay, so I don’t ONLY listen to George Harrison music when I’m stressed, but I’ve noticed that during the most stressful weeks of the year, George Harrison’s music is playing nonstop on my iPod or on the computer. His music is so soothing and calming, it really helps me take a deep breath and remember why I’m doing whatever it is that I’m doing. Some of his songs like Isn’t It A Pity and Hear Me Lord help me fall asleep at night, and when I listen to his music, I can feel all of the stress and tension from the day just wash away. Sometimes, in the midst of a busy, hectic day, I need to take a breather and listen to George Harrison for 5 minutes, and it always helps.

Artists I listen to on the weekends or when it’s summer and I’m happy at not being at school: Eric Clapton, the Traveling Wilburys, Tom Petty, Paul McCartney & Wings, The Rolling Stones, ELO, Queen, The Who
The music from these artists always puts me in a good mood, and generally, I listen to them when I just want to hear some good old fashioned classic rock. Eric Clapton’s music in particular is fantastic to listen to when you’re doing basically nothing on a Saturday afternoon and you just want to hear a good song with an awesome guitar part. In fact, I may do an entire Clapton-related post at some point, so be on the lookout for it! And the other artists I listed are also great for when you’re kicking back and enjoying life, like I try to do in between my endless weekend homework assignments. 🙂

Artists I listen to when I’m doing homework: Phillip Phillips, thenewno2, Paul McCartney, George Harrison
Yes, I’m differentiating Paul McCartney’s solo albums from his albums with Wings, and that’s because he has a few fairly mellow solo albums that are great to listen to while I’m doing something and want to listen to music. I also enjoy listening to Phillip Phillip’s debut album, The World From The Side Of The Moon, while I’m studying or working. It has a lot of great songs with some fantastic acoustic guitar work, and all in all, it’s a very impressive album. As I’ve said before on the blog, thenewno2 has some really amazing rock/alternative/electronica music that is inventive and cool to listen to, and a lot of it is very relaxing. And then there’s George Harrison… What more can I say about his music that I haven’t already said?

Artists I listen to when I’m feeling in an oddly great mood for a weeknight: Paul McCartney (with and without Wings), ELO, Foster The People, Talking Heads, Pearl Jam
This is a rather diverse group of artists, but before I go to sleep on a weeknight, I really enjoy all of their music, and somehow they all fit together into what I call my “weird weeknight” mood.
I don’t think I’ve mentioned Pearl Jam before on the blog, but let me just say that I LOVE Eddie Vedder’s voice! It is truly a gift from God, and I was blown away by his performance of Comfortably Numb with Roger Waters at the Concert for Sandy last December. Wow!
Also, Foster the People, while they only have 1 album out at the moment, has some truly outstanding songs that are extremely catchy and fun to dance to, while actually having an interesting meaning at the same time. I know I’ve said this before, but it’s an unusual combination for a 21st century musical artist!

Artists I listen to when I’m feeling down and need a boost of confidence: John Lennon
There are others, but I find that John Lennon’s music is so wonderfully empowering, especially songs like Imagine and Power to the People, that he’s all I need to feel better about life. His music really makes me feel like I can do anything I set my mind to if I try hard enough. Thanks John!

Artists I listen to when I realize I need to participate in the music from this generation: Maroon 5, Foster the People, Phillip Phillips, thenewno2, Adele
Not too much to say here that I didn’t already say in my post about the 50th anniversary of Please Please Me, but these are some of my favorite artists from this generation that I enjoy when I’m not in the mood for classic rock. Okay, so that never actually happens, but I still enjoy these artists nonetheless!

If you’ve read my blog before, then you may be wondering where the Beatles fit in on this list. Well, never fear, because I have a special category just for them…

Artists I listen to in any mood, at any time, anywhere: The Beatles
The Beatles are the one band that I can ALWAYS rely on to make me feel good. They’re there when I’m happy, sad, and everything in between. Beatles music soothes the soul in any situation, and that’s all there is to it. I gave them their own category because, well they’re the Beatles, and also because I realized that they fit into every single category I’ve mentioned above, except for maybe the one about music from this generation. Basically, in any situation, the Beatles rule!

That’s all for now. Enjoy the rest of the weekend!

George Harrison Interviews

I’ve been meaning to do this post for a while, and I honestly could list every single interview I’ve ever seen with George, because they’re all so great! In all of them, he’s funny and insightful, and always has something interesting to say. It’s funny how his later interviews sometimes contradict or make fun of his earlier ones, as if he’s admonishing his younger self. I’d also like to point out that no matter when the interview is from, George always looks fabulous. 🙂

This is from the Wilbury days, with Tom Petty and Jeff Lynne, from around 1990. I think this is THE most relaxed interview George ever gave. He’s just cracking jokes the whole time, like with the comment about the Wilburys going over Niagara Falls in a barrel on their next tour, and the face he makes while singing She’s My Baby at 0:36 always makes me laugh. Also, the part where they’re all doing the Wilbury Twist is absolutely priceless. He looks so youthful in this interview, and so handsome!!!

I’ll try not to repeat this on every video, but George just looks ridiculously handsome in this interview. It’s almost like his hair is a halo that frames his angelic good looks. But seriously, one of the MANY reasons why I love George is that his voice, even when he’s just talking, is so soothing and calming. I could honestly listen to him talk all day long and I’d feel so at peace with the world. And in this interview, he’s wearing the sweater that I’ve seen him wear in virtually every single picture and video of him from this time. I guess he really liked it!

Even in black and white, he’s Georgeous! And here, he really sounds like he thinks that the idea of Apple is just about the stupidest idea ever; although he doesn’t actually say it, in my opinion, it’s implied. Perhaps John and Paul misfired a bit with that one, but they did put out Hey Jude/Revolution in 1968, the first single released on the Apple label, so it’s not a complete loss!

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve said quotes from this interview at random moments under my breath in the middle of conversations. I guess I’ve watched this clip WAY too many times! I might have actually memorized it at this point. George is being his cute, Beatley self here, which is wonderful, and he seems very talkative, contrary to the “Quiet Beatle” image that was all the rage at the time. The sheepish face he makes when he says, “Sometimes we see private films,” is really cute. Once again, hearing his voice with that adorable Liverpudlian accent is really all I need to have a good day.

This is the clip of George wearing that fabulous outfit I posted here a while ago. Wow. He looks amazing. His hair, his leather jacket, his ruffly shirt, his green pants… Everything is perfect!!!! And I must admit that when he says, “Cue the clap- NOW!” near the end of the video, I always start clapping. It’s an internal moral obligation.

Even though George seems a bit more serious in this interview than in others, the comment he makes about LSD at 6:00 cracks me up, and I love the way he poses for the camera in the beginning. The photographer that day was really lucky; what a beautiful face to photograph! 🙂 The way he talks about John’s death makes me tear up a bit to know that now, both of them are gone, but I’ll always have these interviews to remember him by!

I didn’t realize when I started this post that it would basically morph into a “George is so amazingly good looking!!!!!” post, but then again, if you’ve been following my blog for a while now, and even if you haven’t, you know that most of my posts about George end up like this. Sorry, I can’t help it! To semi-quote one of my favorite Beatles songs, I’m in love with George and I feel fine! 🙂
Have a lovely weekend!