If You Had to Pick a Favorite Album by The Beatles…

beatles albums


Please Please Me was their first studio album. Let It Be was their last. Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band was their best-selling album and won them a Grammy for Album of the Year. But what do such things matter when you’re trying to pick your favorite album by the Fab Four? Very little indeed. We asked Howie Edelson and Stephen Bard, the co-hosts of The Beatles podcast Fabcast, and author Jim Berkenstadt (Black Market Beatles: The Story Behind Their Lost Recordings; The Beatle Who Vanished) to weigh in on this contentious question with full awareness that you’d have very strong opinions of your own.

[amazon template=right aligned image&asin=B01929HGH4]Do you have a favorite Beatles album?

Jim Berkenstadt, Beatles Historian: Abbey Road
I would say I do: Abbey Road. I like the two aspects of the album because there are rock songs on the first half and that longer extended piece that they tied together on the second half. The other aspect is they finally got some really good technology into Abbey Road [studios] at the time of what turned out to be their last recorded album, even though Let It Be came out later. It sounds fantastic all digitally remastered. And they all take turns; something they always did as a group was that they played to the greatness of the song rather than the flashiness of the individual members. But on the song “The End” they take turns; we have the Ringo drum solo and then each Beatle takes a guitar solo. It’s stunning. They’re just the most amazing band of our lifetime.

Howie Edelson, Fabcast Co-Host: Rubber Soul
I don’t have a favorite Beatles album – but I do have a favorite Beatles album cover – Rubber Soul. Before getting to the music, let’s just take a minute to dissect the incredible LP cover by the great Robert Freeman: The beautiful and beatific deputy Paul McCartney with the pursed lips and perfect shag, only 23 with a universe of couth and charm and more suave than a dozen Romeos or a thousand 007’s. Ringo Starr, as always, ready and willing – their ultimate team player. George Harrison already enough of his own man to be looking elsewhere . . . and HIM – John Lennon – stoned as sh*t, brilliant and brave, absolutely leading the pack and daring you to look away. Yeah, some might be pissed off at that glare, but in the end, as always, you know whatever he’s thinking, he’s right. You know he is – and there’s not a soul on earth that if by some chance found themselves confronted by that guy, wouldn’t absolutely believe everything he had to say. Why would you not?! You’ve got Christ, his kid brother, their disciple and the mascot buddy boy – standing waiting to be counted – or not even.

True hipness never calls attention to itself. It’s like altruism or love or THE BEATLES – it just IS.

Stephen Bard, Fabcast Co-Host: Revolver

Revolver. Everything they were great at; superb ensemble work, with each individual fully represented.

• It doesn’t get better than Paul’s “Here, There And Everywhere,” “Eleanor Rigby” and “For No One.”

• George assumes his greatness here. “Taxman” is cutting edge. “Love You To” is the crossroads of East/West in Pop Music, and “I Want To Tell You” signals Alternative Rock with its discordant, sardonic tone.

• The groundbreaking guitar tones, the daring mix. Dry vocals, candid and urgent…The seeds of modern recording technology laid out. Revolver beams in from another time, but again, is always firmly in the now.

• John’s “I’m Only Sleeping,” “She Said She Said” and “Tomorrow Never Knows” – a voice as old as the world, yet fresh and as the new day. He knows something we don’t yet.

This music is so heavy, and yet so simple, one of their greatest attributes. It’s a hallmark of everything they did. They really were so generous. And because they were still doing it with such a unified sense of purpose, Revolver was the best they ever were.

– The CS Team

Photo: Getty Images

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16 comments on “If You Had to Pick a Favorite Album by The Beatles…

  1. Gene Ray

    Rubber Soul is my favorite

  2. Sally Broadhurst

    It would be the two first albums, Introducing the Beatles and Meet The Beatles. Those were the albums that set me up for the rest of my life in music and as a fan!

  3. Cole Warner

    How could it not be the brilliance ant Abbey Road?

  4. I’ve thought about this often for the more than forty years I’ve been a Beatles fan, and while there are so many worthy contenders, I keep coming back to Revolver as not just the best Beatles album, but the best album by anyone. And “Tomorrow Never Knows” still blows my mind every time I hear it.

    • Richard Barrett

      I concur completely! It’s groundbreaking, sophisticated and artsy a year before the same claims were layed on Sgt. Peppers! Plus Revolver rocked a bit more than Pepper.

  5. Abbey Road and Sergeant Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band were the ones I heard as a kid and they sounded amazing. But I purchased revolver as an adult and it’s the most well-rounded and has the most amazing songs all together Still Alice a revolver..

  6. One word, REVOLVER!!!!!!!!!

  7. Larry Etscovitz

    Depending on my mood, I love them all! But if i had to pick, it’s a tie between Rubber Soul and Revolver–the original British versions in each case–of course. Larry Etscovitz

  8. I’ve settled on The White Album as my favorite over the years. Sure, there a couple of throwaways on the double LP, but of all of their records, I enjoy the flow of energy through all four sides of this recording, front to back, more than any of the others.

  9. grimtraveller

    Abbey road was my favourite when I was a teenager in the 70s. I seemed then to be able to have a favourite but that’s been an increasing impossibility as I’ve gotten older. I love all the albums in their UK versions from “A Hard Days Night” onwards {but including the USA MMT and side 1 of YS}, but one that has really grown on me in recent years is “Beatles For Sale” which is generally regarded as their worst. If you add “I feel fine” and “She’s a woman” which came from the same set of sessions, then one can see that the Beatles were actually always a band on top of their game, no matter who the opposition were at the time. The 2 1964 LPs dealt with the Hollies, the Dave Clark 5, Herman’s Hermits and the Animals. The 2 1965 LPs and Revolver would deal with the Stones, the Who, the Kinks, the Byrds, Beach Boys, Dylan and the American folk rock challenge.
    Everything after that was a case of “catch us ~ if you can !”

  10. Jacqueline Evans

    My fav is the White Album….It’s a magical album and I lost my virginity listening to it. So it is very special.

  11. Richard Short

    Well the true answer is ALL of them, but for me it’s easy as falling off a log to pick “A Hard Day’s Night”. The early stuff my favorite. So fresh, so exuberant. Yeah, yeah, yeah and just add another “yeah” cause why not.

  12. Sure, they may have done better individual songs, but, as an entity, the Beatles greatest artistic achievement was “Hard Day’s Night”. 13 songs… every one an original; Recorded in only 9 (non-consecutive) days while making a movie and maintaining a grueling touring schedule; every song essentially and necessarily recorded live on 4-track equipment; when the first single from the album, “Can’t Buy Me Love” reached No. 1 the first week of April 1964, the band had aongs in all 5 slots in the Billboard Top 5, something never accomplished before or since; for good measure, during the second week of April 1964, the Beatles had fourteen (14!) songs in the Top 100; speaking of “Can’t Buy Me Love”, when John heard it for the the first time, he was so jealous of Paul’s burgeoning songwriting chops that he upped his own game to an almost impossible level, writing, by my count, 10 of the remaining 12 songs on the album, and within one year had also written “Nowhere Man”, “Help”, “Norwegian Wood” among others, cementing himself as the greatest songwriter everGeorge’s use of the 12-string Rickenbacker guitar on the album was heard by Jim (aka Roger) McGuinn in California, who immediately bought one, practiced until his fingers bled, and before 1964 was over, used it to spawn a new genre of music, “folk rock” (and George would later return the favor when he lifted McGuinn’s 12-string intro from “The Bells of Rhymney” for “If I Needed Someone”.);… I could go on but I think you get the point.

  13. Pablo Fanqui

    If 1967 had never existed “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band,” would’ve breathed it into existence. It is the beginning, middle and end of what we think of when we think of “the ’60’s,” musically and culturally.

    From the eye-popping graphic design of its album cover to the timeless magnificence of its final chord, it embodied the spirit of a new age getting bettter with possibilities even as it told tales of just getting by, running away from home, and seeing what was in the news today. Oh, boy!

    Just look at it. Just listen to it. It’s not just the Beatles greatest album of all time it’s the best album of all time.

  14. I go with the majority of critics and say Revolver was the best. But Rubber Soul and Beatles for Sale are the ones I listen to the most. I resisted becoming a Beatles fan until the singles on Beatles for Sale won me over.

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