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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Oh the weather outside is frightful… But Paul is so delightful!!!

A lovely pic of Paul and Linda singing together!

A lovely pic of Paul and Linda singing together!

So it’s snowing here in NY! School was dismissed early today (hooray!) and I had a few extra hours on my hands, and what do you suppose I decided to do??? Well, after doing some homework, I decided to sit down and watch Rockshow, the 3 hour concert documentary made of Paul McCartney and Wings’ 1976 tour of North America. I honestly can’t imagine a better way to spend a snowy afternoon than sitting in my basement for hours on end watching Paul sing to me via the television, albeit in a movie from 35 years ago.

This was a movie that as a major Beatles and Paul fan, I’d been wanting to watch for a long time, and I was certainly not disappointed! For those expecting a movie with lots of behind-the-scenes footage of the band, this has none of that. It’s just the concert, from beginning to end, but really, shouldn’t that be enough? It’s Paul, for crying out loud. He’s (arguably) the single most entertaining person who has ever lived!

Watching this reminded me of the absolute joy I felt watching Paul onstage live last June, and I loved watching him perform many of the same songs in this movie, like “Lady Madonna” and “Blackbird”, as well as a bunch of Wings songs, that he did when I saw him. It’s definitely not hard to believe it’s the same person; he does the same little Paul things now, like making what I call his “bass-face”, that he did 40 years ago. Paul truly is a natural showman, definitely the best out of the four Beatles, and his love for music shines through in his performing.

I’d also like to add that Paul just looks amazing in this movie. From the mullet which only he can pull off, to the sparkly jacket and pink tie, to the odd but charming shiny pants, to his amazingly perfect, angelic, sexy, raspy voice, he is a bonafide rock star in every sense of the word. Paul is just so perfect at music and life. I felt the need to clap after every song while watching this movie, even though he obviously can’t hear me. I seriously need to meet this man, give him a big hug, and tell him just how much I love him.

So, if you’re wondering what all of this fuss is about, here are a couple of awesome clips from the movie! The first one is of a song not actually written by Paul, but by other Wings member Denny Laine! What I did not realize before watching this movie is that Denny actually has a great voice, though he is a little kooky. And I am obsessed with this version of the song. It’s by far the best version I’ve heard.

This song, “Bluebird,” is I think one of Paul’s most underrated solo songs. It’s really quite lovely, and this version is wonderful. Even after all of the screaming and high-octane rock numbers, Paul always knows how to scale it back vocally for a song like this. That’s why he’s so great!

The reason that I’m including this next song, “Let ‘Em In,” is purely because at 1:03 in the video, Paul clearly says, “Do me a FLAVOR” instead of the actual lyric, “Do me a FAVOR”! I laughed when I heard that. Silly Paulie. 🙂
This song seems pretty easy to learn on the piano, so I may attempt it in the future. I’ll let you all know how that turns out…

Okay, one more video. This one is of “Jet,” one of my absolute favorite Paul songs, and this is what I mean when I’m describing his voice during this concert. Especially during this song, he just sounds so irresistibly sexy! I was practically drooling while watching this at home. And when he does the little “Ooh, she said!” hand gestures… I lost it. Maybe it’s a good thing I didn’t grow up in the 70s, for everyone else’s sake…

That’s all for now! I do have an idea for another post, but that may have to wait until tomorrow. Stay fab everyone!

My Top 10 Favorite Paul McCartney Solo Songs

I love you Paulie!

I love you Paulie!

I’m going to admit right now that I haven’t listened to most of Paul’s solo albums, with and without Wings. That’s because he’s released over 30 albums since the Beatles broke up, and while I love Paul’s music, I just don’t have that kind of time to listen to all of these albums. So, I’m basing this countdown on the 7-8 albums of his that I have listened to, and even with that, I still had so much trouble deciding which songs to include. For all of the flack that Paul sometimes gets for his supposedly subpar solo career, I think he’s written tons of great songs since the Beatles, and I’m happy to share some of my favorites with you! I’ll put the album in parentheses next to the song, except for songs that were singles. Here we go!

10. Ever Present Past (Memory Almost Full)

Yes, this is that video I posted a while ago with Paul dancing! And the song itself is really fantastic. The guitar is thumping throughout and I can’t help but dance to this every time I listen to it. It’s incredible to me that after 50 years in the music business, Paul can still write great songs like this. I can’t wait for his new solo album to come out later this year!

9. My Brave Face (Flowers In The Dirt)

Ever Present Past kind of seems like My Brave Face 2.0 to me. The songs are similar, and they’re both great. I first heard this song and Ever Present Past while listening to Breakfast with the Beatles, and ever since, I’ve been hooked. This song is one of the catchiest songs I’ve ever heard, with the lovely harmonies throughout, and I could listen to it for hours in a row!

8. The Song We Were Singing (Flaming Pie)

This song is supposedly written about Paul’s songwriting partnership with John, and I love how sentimental it is. This shows that Paul can write so much more than silly love songs. He never runs out of ideas.

7. The Pound is Sinking (Tug of War)

This song is just breathtakingly amazing. It combines bits of 3 potentially different songs into one, something Paul has always been great at doing seamlessly. I love the Queenesque vocals starting at 1:53, but when the middle eight kicks in at 2:11… Wow. What an amazing vocal by Paul. In fact, that part of the song might just be my all-time favorite moment of Paul’s solo career. It gets me every time.

6. Live and Let Die

If you’ve seen the James Bond movie with this title, then you know this song. I haven’t actually seen the movie, but I do love the song. It’s just so grand and magnificant, and I love how there’s always fireworks when Paul performs this live. Hopefully they’ll be fireworks when I go see him!

5. Maybe I’m Amazed (McCartney)

I think this is one of Paul’s best love songs. It’s just a really great song. And, it contains one of my favorite guitar solos, played by Paul. I actually first heard this on American Idol a few seasons back, and I’m really glad I did. While James Durbin certainly did the song justice, no one can sing a Paul song like Paul can!

4. Jet (Band on the Run)

This song rocks! It’s got that classic rock and roll Wings sound I love, with rather non-sensical lyrics to which I still can’t figure out the meaning. Oh well, Paul is a master of melody, as I like to say, and that is definitely displayed in this song. One of so many great songs on the Band on the Run album, just like this one…

3. Band on the Run (Band on the Run)

This may be Paul’s best crafted solo song, and although it doesn’t make the #1 spot on my list, it’s very close. I just love how all three parts of the song are weaved together so well. It’s hard for me to explain just how brilliant this song is in words; you really just have to listen to it to appreciate its greatness.

2. Junior’s Farm

This song is paired with probably my 2nd favorite McCartney music video, after Say Say Say. This video isn’t that complicated, and neither is the song. It just shows Paul and his band singing the song, which is why I like it so much. Paul looks really cute in this video, and I can’t be the only who did a double take in the beginning, because Denny Laine looks A LOT like John Lennon in this video! Ah, just like the old days… And, the song rocks!!!

1. Venus and Mars/Rock Show (Venus and Mars)

TECHNICALLY, these are two separate songs, but since they basically merge into each other, I’ll categorize them as one song. Anyway, this song is just AWESOME! It’s got the fast, rock part, the slower, goofy Britishy Paul part, and the cool instrumental outro part. This song opens one of my favorite solo Paul albums, if not my favorite, Venus and Mars. It sets the tone for the whole album, which rocks in a way that really can’t be accurately described. I REALLY hope Paul sings this on June 10th! I’ll be so happy if he does!

Well, there you go! And just like I did for the George and John countdowns, here are some “honorable mention” songs, with the album listed next to them. Definitely check these out as well if you don’t know them!
Silly Love Songs (At The Speed of Sound)
Hope of Deliverance (Off the Ground)
Here Today and Take it Away (Tug of War)
Flaming Pie (Flaming Pie)
No More Lonely Nights
This One (Flowers in the Dirt)
Let Me Roll It and Nineteen Hundred and Eighty Five (Band on the Run)
Listen To What The Man Said (Venus and Mars)

Have a great week!