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     The Fab Four—John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr— made history as kids in their early 20’s through pioneering musical composition techniques and the “boyband” format. Though The Beatles lasted as a band for less than a decade, their music transcends beyond time and continues to inspire to this day. For those unfamiliar to the group, facing the plethora of studio albums (in addition to films, singles, EP’s, and even a Cirque du Soleil show), can be a daunting task. This guide breaks down twelve albums in order of release date, and gives insight into both the iconic, and lesser known works of the group.

Please, Please Me (1963)

     Please, Please Me is the first album featuring the four boys we’ve all come to know and love. The “first” album released, My Bonnie (1962), only featured John, Paul and George as guitarists. This album features the early Beatles sound—something the general public may not immediately remember about the group. Please, Please Me is an excellent example of their more clean-cut work, with a dash of Beatles charm.  

With The Beatles (1963)

     Still holding the boyish charm seen in Please, Please Me, With The Beatles adds a bit of edge. This was the first album to be released in North America, hitting Canada and triggering the historic, Beatlemania.  “All My Loving” and “You Really Got a Hold On Me” stay true to what their established sound was, while “Don’t Bother Me” and “Roll Over Beethoven” display the grit that that the group was soon to discover in their music.  

A Hard Day’s Night (1964)

     A Hard Day’s Night features both upbeat pop-rock along with down tempo love songs, basically any teenage girl’s dream. This album was accompanied by the group’s first movie of the same name, featuring songs across all their albums. This album truly sets up the “boyband” format for both membership and music, as displayed by their smashing success on the record as well as the screen.

Beatles For Sale (1964)

     With the group working overtime: recording, writing, and touring, Beatles For Sale is said to have faced a bit of a shortcoming. With beatlemania was at its peak, the album featured less original compositions and more covers, all with a bit of western influence. The album is still a great listen and continues the evolution of their music in their original score; it also includes one of my personal favorites, “Eight Days A Week.”

Help! (1965)

     Similar to A Hard Day’s Night, Help! was accompanied by another film starring the group. As we progress further into Beatles discography, more iconic Beatles songs appear. This album features “Help!” as well as the most covered song ever, “Yesterday” written by McCartney. This album is a bit less pop and more influenced by rock. Lennon claimed that the album’s title track “Help!” was a cry for help, but was forced to be produced as an upbeat piece rather than a ballad.

Rubber Soul (1965)

     In Rubber Soul, the more contemporary Beatles sound emerges. During their North American tour, the band was able to meet the iconic Bob Dylan, leading them to experiment with hallucinogenic drugs. Though the album does feature some more classically tuned pieces like “Drive My Car” and “In My Life”, a more unique sound appears in “Norwegian Wood” and “Nowhere Man.” This album features another one of my favorites, “Michelle”, also written by McCartney.

 

Revolver (1966)

     The Beatles continued to experiment with their sound, leading them to grow as artists. This album features classics such as, “Eleanor Rigby” and “Yellow Submarine.” Most of the album is said to have been created while under the influence. The group experimented with their studio’s capabilities as well, using new recording techniques to formulate a unique sound.

Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band (1967)

     Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band made its mark on history even through its album cover. This alter-ego group leads the listener through highly conceptual music, influenced by multiple cultures. When the album was released, the band was rumored to be in the process of dividing as each of the four members began working on separate projects. The album also caused controversy when Lennon remarked that the group was “bigger than Jesus” in regard to popularity. This led the Bible Belt of America to partake in “Beatle burnings” in which all Beatles paraphernalia was destroyed. Regardless, this album houses more of my favorites including “A Day In The Life” and “When I’m Sixty Four.”

Magical Mystery Tour (1967)

     Similar to Sgt. Pepper, Magical Mystery Tour offers a range of psychedelic rock, featuring the hits “Penny Lane”, “Hello, Goodbye” and “All You Need Is Love.” This album was also accompanied by a movie of the same name. Originally, its music was just made to accompany the film, but was able to stand alone as its own album.

The Beatles/The White Album (1968)

     Known more commonly as The White Album, The Beatles hit the charts during a time of immense pressure for the group. Members of the technical team were dropping out of production, and John’s infamous second wife, Yoko Ono, began joining the group in the studio. The album was meant to contrast the vividness of the previous album, containing a smorgasbord of styles from psychedelic narratives to love ballads. This album features more of my favorites: “The Continuing Story of Bungalow Bill”, “Martha My Dear” and “I’m So Tired.”

Abbey Road (1969)

     With one of the most recognizable covers of all time, Abbey Road speaks volumes across blues, rock, and contemporary instrumentals. Named after the group’s recording studio, the imagery and songs are the most widely remembered in regards to the Beatles’ career. Hits such as “Come Together” and “Here Comes the Sun” make this album a crowd favorite. My favorite part of the album lies in the musical transitions from one song to the next, blending the pieces together. An example of these transitions is heard in “Golden Slumbers” to “Carry That Weight” to “The End.”

Let It Be (1970)

     Being a wonderful conclusion to an epic index of works, Let It Be was a top seller across the world. Interestingly enough, the title track, “Let It Be” came to McCartney in a dream, when his late mother calmed his worries with the saying. The album was released a month after the group announced it was splitting up, and has a melancholy overtone. But, songs like “I Me Mine” and “Maggie Mae” hold that rock ‘n roll edge apparent from their start.
 

    If you can’t get enough of The Beatles, there is an abundance of post-disbandment work by all four members. Paul McCartney and George Harrison both joined new groups, Wings and The Traveling Wilburys (respectively), while John and Ringo performed as solo artists. Unfortunately, two of the four Beatles have passed, with Lennon being assassinated in 1980 and Harrison passing of lung cancer in 2001.

 

Victoria is a sophomore studying Fashion and Retail Merchandising at Lasell College. She loves watching TV, travelling around Boston, and most of all, Jennifer Lopez.
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