A couple of weeks ago, we asked what you thought was the best solo album released by a former Beatle.
And you guys obviously have some strong opinions on the topic, because you responded in droves!
Now, we’ve tallied the results and can reveal the top five Beatles solo albums according to the Thalia faithful. Where did your favorite record end up? Read on to find out!
Joint 4th : “Plastic Ono Band” (1970) / “Imagine” (1971) - John Lennon (4.37%)
Coming in joint fourth, with 4.37% of the votes each, it’s Lennon’s “Plastic Ono Band” and “Imagine” records. It’s hardly surprising that these two made the grade, given that they’re widely considered Lennon’s greatest works. Here’s what Robert Christgau had to say about “Plastic Ono Band” upon its release in 1970:
“Every note reverberates. The drums Ringo Starr pounds seem funereal, just as the piano Lennon pounds seems orchestral. And left out in the open, without protective harmonies or racket, Lennon's singing takes on an expressive specificity that anyone in search of the century's great vocal performances would be foolish to overlook.”
The eclectic “Imagine,” meanwhile, was described by The BBC as “an album of abruptly shifting moods and a sense of fun and mischief that were fated to never appear again within Lennon’s work. It’s this spontaneity and joy that makes “Imagine” Lennon’s most popular solo album, if not his best.”
3rd - “McCartney” (1970) – Paul McCartney (7.1%)
McCartney’ssolo debut was dismissed as a “distinctly second rate” offering upon release in 1970. But, time has been much kinder to the singer’s eponymous album, and modern critics, such as All Music’s, Stephen Thomas Erlewine have re-assessed the endearing, if sometimes uneven record:
“Appropriately, McCartney has an endearingly ragged, homemade quality that makes even its filler -- and there is quite a bit of filler -- rather ingratiating. Only a handful of songs rank as full-fledged McCartney classics, but those songs -- the light folk-pop of "That Would Be Something," the sweet, gentle "Every Night," the ramshackle Beatlesleftover "Teddy Boy," and the staggering "Maybe I'm Amazed" (not coincidentally the only rocker on the album) -- are full of all the easy melodic charm that is McCartney’s trademark.”
Clearly, with 7.1% of you voting for this one, the Thalia faithful agrees that “McCartney” is worthy of reassessment!
2nd - “Band on the Run” – Paul McCartney and Wings (20.22%)
Paul might have struggled for recognition with his first few solo albums, but 1973’s “Band on the Run” was the record that put him back on top. If you want evidence of just how much of a comeback it was circa 1973, check out this glowing review from Charles Sharr Murray of the NME (via Rock’s Backpages):
"The ex-Beatle least likely to re-establish his credibility and lead the field has pulled it off with a positive master-stroke of an album …”Band on the Run” is a great album. If anybody ever puts down McCartney in your presence, bust him in the snoot and play him this. He will thank you for it afterwards."
“Band on the Run” clearly holds up to this day. A whopping 20.22% of you voted for this one, pushing it into a well deserved second place.
1st - “All Things Must Pass” – George Harrison (34.43%)
Really, was there ever any doubt? A revelation upon its release in 1971, “All Things Must Pass” saw George Harrison step out of the shadow of the Beatles, establishing himself as an artist of note in his own right. Over three discs, it affirmed “the quiet one’s” immense talent and rightly deserves the top spot in this list. As Rolling Stone’s Ben Gersonnoted on its release:
“It is both an intensely personal statement and a grandiose gesture, a triumph over artistic modesty, even frustration. In this extravaganza of piety and sacrifice and joy, whose sheer magnitude and ambition may dub it the War and Peace of rock and roll, the music itself is no longer the only message.”
Did your favourite solo Beatles album make the list? Are you disappointed that Ringo didn’t crack the top five? And what other artists have left iconic bands to make iconic solo records? As always, share your stories in the comments.