On the evening of February 9, 1961, in The Cavern Club, a pub located in the industrial town of Liverpool, England, a group of young musicians made their debut. As they took the stage for the first time, these four men did not know that within the span of the next 9 years, they would become the largest rock band to sweep across the world.
When you hear the name ‘The Beatles’, you instantly think of the iconic British rock band. The Beatles are such a recognizable group in the music industry, having been the inspiration for many generations of musicians.
Within the span of 9 years, from 1962 to 1970, John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison, and Ringo Star released 13 studio albums. As an avid Beatles listener, I’ve come to respect the detail behind each of these albums they produced. Here are my top three Beatles’ albums I would suggest to anyone who is new to listening to their music.
Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band was the 8th studio album released by the Liverpool group. The album was released on 26 May 1967 and spent 27 weeks at number one on the Record Retailer chart in the United Kingdom.
My favorite song from this album is With A Little Help From My Friends (written by Lennon and McCartney), which is the second song on the record. The lyrics from this song describe living through tough and lonely times, but managing to “get by with a little help from my friends”. This song relates to many, which is one of the wonderful things about The Beatles’ music.
Another favorite from this album that is worth a listen is Getting Better, the fourth track. This song is about growing up and making mistakes, then looking back on them to learn what went wrong. This song is another relatable topic in Beatles music because many people have had a similar experience of needing to make things better (whether they care to admit it or not).
Other notable songs from this record are Lucy in a Sky With Diamonds and Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. The album Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band is a different take on record making, introducing overlapping sounds and several types of guitars, drums, and keyboards to make a beautiful album that has pioneered a new sound into the music industry.
In this album, The Beatles experimented with different instruments and compositions in their music. This shift of key is known as modulation, which had been used since the 1700s. Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds introduced modulation into the realm of pop and rock.
There was a shift in sound from the earlier stereotypical 1960s sounds of the first Beatles’ albums to the rock sound which would become popular in the 1970s. The first few albums followed a relatively specific song formula quite common at the time. As their songwriting experience expanded, so did their music style.
Abbey Road will always be known as perhaps the most iconic album The Beatles ever produced. Even the crosswalk in the album cover has attracted fans to London to recreate the picture. Abbey Road was the final album recorded by The Beatles, released on September 26, 1969. As to not get confused, Let It Be is the last studio album ever released by The Beatles in 1970.
My personal favorite song off the album is Golden Slumbers (written by Lennon and McCartney). The vocals from Paul McCartney on this song bring an interesting yet satisfying mix of a nursery lullaby and rock music. Abbey Road also has many songs that have been seen as top Beatles songs, including Here Comes The Sun, She Came in Through the Bathroom Window, and Octopus’s Garden. Abbey Road combined the technical mixing of music with new sounds, bringing this album a humble legacy. The legacy that Abbey Road imparted on the music industry and the combination of new and old Beatles sound makes this album a definite choice when exploring music by The Beatles.
Help! is the fifth record from The Beatles, released on April 6, 1965.
My favorite off of this album is the song Yesterday (written by Lennon and McCartney), which reminisces about a seemingly better life. The beginning lyrics, “Yesterday, all my troubles seemed so far away, now it looks as though they’re here to stay, oh I believe in yesterday”, is another reminder of relatable Beatles’ lyrics. Everyone has had that moment where they’ve done something that led them to a regretful situation.
Yesterday was used as the title for the 2019 film, Yesterday. This film charmingly presented the idea of what the music world might be like if The Beatles never obtained their success.
Other songs from Help! that became early iconic songs from The Fab Four include the title track Help! and Ticket to Ride.
Help! is my personal favorite top album from The Beatles as it showcases their new musical independence within the music industry. Help! led the way for many great Beatles albums, such as Rubber Soul (1965), Revolver (1966), Abbey Road (1969), and Let It Be (1970).