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The Best Post-Beatles Solo Albums : Your Pick [merged]

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The Best Post-Beatles Solo Albums : Your Pick [merged]

Old 08-29-07, 08:51 AM
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ex-Beatles Solo Efforts

As much as I love The Beatles, their solo work really pales in comparison. I don't know if its because of having a different engineer, or a different producer, or whether its just because.

I would like to think its because Lennon was McCartney's Ying, and McCartney was Lennon's Yang, but that would be untrue. During the last few Beatle years, they worked separately on their own songs.

Anyway, there are obviously a lot of hits out there from all four of the ex-Beatles, but not all of them are fan favorites. Some you may even hate, despite the fact that it went to Number One on the Billboard Hot 100.

John Lennon's solo work, I feel, is wasted. The best he did was on Double Fantasy, with producer Jack Douglas, with songs like (Just Like) Starting Over and, particularily for me, Woman. Sure they're Paulesque, something Lennon himself criticized Paul for doing, but those songs for Lennon really made him shine. The songs sound great. His albums in the early 70's sound really weak...despite the song Imagine, which is terrific, I think his then-producer Phil Spector ruined Lennon's songs.

George Harrison, same thing. I believe Phil Spector was his producer, and Harrison's songs sound like they're missing some pazazz. What Is Life is a great song, however.

I think Ringo Starr got things right. His songs No No Song, Photograph and It Don't Come Easy really hold up through the years. His tunes really don't sound dated to a particular time period, unlike the rest of the Beatles.

Now we come to Paul McCartney. Sure, he had the most success as a solo artist, but a lot of his songs really don't resonate as "Beatle Music." I guess its right, perhaps, that he didn't do it like before, since he was getting a new start with a new band, et al. Either way, though, the lack of Beatleesque is what makes some of McCartney's tunes sound really wimpy.

If I had to pick an absolute favorite of all the songs between the four musicians, I'd have to pick Woman by John Lennon. Followed a close-second by No No Song by Ringo Starr

I don't like the following hit singles: Back off Boogalo (Ringo); Whatever Gets You Through The Night (John); Hi Hi Hi or Helen Wheels (Paul)
Old 08-29-07, 09:30 AM
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Re: Lennon I also love Double Fantasy but there are a lot of songs I really liked through the 70's however they are scattered all over. Ex: God, Jealous Guy, of course Imagine, What Ever Gets You ..., Mother, Mind Games.

I was definitely more of a Paul fan as far as his solo albums (or Wings).
McCart, Band on the Run, Ram, Red Rose, even some of Venus (shhh! ).

Also how can you not name Live and Let Die? But there are some (no pun) silly songs too.
Old 08-29-07, 09:31 AM
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You make some good points. Left to there own devices, Paul could be too saccharine (Paul's "granny shit" as John said) and John could be too bitter. They really did balance each other out.

That being said, my favorites are Paul's "Band On the Run" and John's "I'm Losing You". "Band on the Run" is three great songs in one with classic McCartney grooves, and "I'm Losing You" showcases Lennon's raw emotion with a tightness he rarely displayed without Paul. The guitar solo on it kicks ass as well.
Old 08-29-07, 09:33 AM
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Yep, the whole is greater than its parts

IMO the best are:
Paul- Ram and Live and Let Die
George- a lot of good stuff on All Things Must Pass
Ringo- No No Song, Photograph and It Don't Come Easy are great songs.
John- I like most of his solo stuff even the cathartic self indulgent songs - but Double Fantasy is something special, seems like John shook his demons and emerged a new person. It saddens me every time I think about what could have been
Old 08-29-07, 09:35 AM
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Originally Posted by Flashback
Re: Lennon I also love Double Fantasy but there are a lot of songs I really liked through the 70's however they are scattered all over.
I've always loved Double Fantasy as well, and I even like the Yoko stuff. Listening to it without Yoko's songs is like hearing only one side of a conversation. I'd give anything to hear how "Milk and Honey" would have turned out had John lived.
Old 08-29-07, 09:40 AM
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Originally Posted by Turd Ferguson
I'd give anything to hear how "Milk and Honey" would have turned out had John lived.
I know. Nobody Told Me was like a gift from John from beyond.

Something tells me that the rest of Milk and Honey isn't as good as that one song (I haven't heard any of the other tracks).
Old 08-29-07, 09:41 AM
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I like Plastic Ono Band better than most Beatles albums. I like Band On the Run almost as much as my least favorite Beatles album.

That's about it. I think Double Fantasy is a mediocre album with a lot of filler from John and a lot of crap from Yoko. It's a sad fluke of timing that it's so well regarded.
Old 08-29-07, 09:59 AM
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Originally Posted by Buttmunker
I know. Nobody Told Me was like a gift from John from beyond.

Something tells me that the rest of Milk and Honey isn't as good as that one song (I haven't heard any of the other tracks).
Milk and Honey was culled from the rehersals for the next album after Double Fantasy. The released version is like an unfinished sketch. I'd like to think John would have developed and polished things a lot more as well as coming up with new tracks.
Old 08-29-07, 10:05 AM
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Originally Posted by wendersfan
That's about it. I think Double Fantasy is a mediocre album with a lot of filler from John and a lot of crap from Yoko. It's a sad fluke of timing that it's so well regarded.
I'd agree that John's death made a lot of people declare it a classic before really giving it the test of time. I'll admit that a lot of Yoko's stuff sounds like a cat fucking an electrical outlet, but I don't think John's stuff was filler. Strip out the Yoko tracks and you have:

Starting Over
Cleanup Time
I'm Losing You
Beautiful Boy
Watching the Wheels
Woman
Dear Yoko

I'll stack those up against the best of Paul's entire 80's output.
Old 08-29-07, 10:07 AM
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How come Nobody Told Me was so polished? I know he intended that song for Ringo Starr to sing, not for himself.
Old 08-29-07, 10:15 AM
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Originally Posted by Buttmunker
How come Nobody Told Me was so polished? I know he intended that song for Ringo Starr to sing, not for himself.
I never knew that. It does sound like something Ringo's limited range could handle.
Old 08-29-07, 10:19 AM
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and


..and you're done.
Old 08-29-07, 10:21 AM
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I agree it all sounds non-Beatle like. But I think that's what George, Paul and John all wanted.

That said, I think Band on the Run is amazing. I like some of John's and George's stuff, too.

But nothing compares to the group sound.
Old 08-29-07, 10:44 AM
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Well, I can't say I entirely agree. Of course comparing almost any artist to The Beatles catalogue is going to be unfair, but each of the solo Beatles have done some classic work by themselves. Plastic Ono Band is one of the best albums of the 1970's by any artist period. Lennon managed to take pure mental anguish and turn that into a collection of absolutely brilliant pop and rock songs, all of which are memorable. Did it have hits? No, but not even Bob Dylan ever got so confessional without sacrificing the melody. Imagine, while just a hair lower in quality, is still a great album with pretty much every track being good to great. After that, his output gets uneven (more so if you don't like Yoko Ono's music, which I actually do). Mind Games has some good stuff (the title track), some great stuff (Out of the Blue), and some crap (The Nutopian National Anthem or whatever it's called). Sometime In New York City is, in my mind, highly underrated. Again, this is going to be a Yoko issue for many, but I think he had some great tunes on that album. Walls and Bridges suffered from Phil Spector's overbearing production, but there are some stripped down tracks on the Lennon box set that prove that the compositions on many of those songs were very good. Rock and Roll is a set of covers, nothing much to speak of there. And then there's Double Fantasy. I think this album has Yoko Ono's best and most consistent work, and I love how the album is designed as a conversation between the two of them. It doesn't hurt that John took a lot of time with the songs on that album, either. Milk and Honey, on the other hand, has the worst songs of Yoko's career, making half the album immediately unlistenable. The John songs are marvelous, though, and shows how much of a songsmith he was.

McCartney, in my mind, was never able to make even a single fully excellent album. Even his best two, McCartney and Ram, have filler that's pleasant at best (the instrumentals on the McCartney) or downright awful at worst (that fucking "hands across the water" song from Ram). If one could accuse Lennon of indulging in his own cynicism, then McCartney was far more guilty of indulging in his own kitsch. He's got plenty of good to great songs (Maybe I'm Amazed was as good as anything he did with The Beatles, and Jet, Band on the Run, Too Many People, Let Me Roll It, etc. are always worth listening to), but you just have to wade through so much crap to get to them that half the time it isn't worth it. Lennon needed McCartney to give him another viewpoint. McCartney needed Lennon to be an editor, and out of the two, Lennon made out far better than McCartney outside the partnership.

George suffered from an inferiority complex (I mean, come on, his first album was a TRIPLE album) due to always being in the shadow of Lennon and McCartney, but I think his reach exceeded his grasp. If he had taken a little more time to take the ten best tracks from the All Things Must Pass sessions and make them his first album, he would have had a massive megahit of an album that could have catapulted him into a personal stardom that would have separated him from The Beatles in the public consciousness. But he was so busy trying to outdo Lennon and McCartney that he threw in everything and the kitchen sink (this state of affairs not helped by Phil Spector's subtle-as-an-elephant production style). The album did well, but how do you follow that up? He had also used up all of his best material and some of his just okay material in the process, which is why Living In The Material World feels like much more of a jam album. I think after that album, he resigned himself to always being considered the junior Beatle and made utterly perfunctory music until Jeff Lynne revived him for Cloud Nine and The Traveling Wilburys. I think Cloud Nine is George's best album. Even the throwaway tracks on it sound effortless, not uninspired. As much as I dislike Lynne's production style, it fit George better than Spector's ever did, and you can tell he's having fun and actually caring about his music again. I also think his last album was really good.

And Ringo was, well, Ringo. He hung out with Frank Zappa and recorded a few catchy songs. He knew he wasn't the talent in The Beatles and there was no point trying to set himself up as some major musical force, because he wasn't. Also, I should point out that some of his biggest hits were written by John Lennon, for all those Lennon naysayers out there.

So, to sum up, they all have their good points. I think Lennon had the strongest solo career of the four, because it was always interesting and he was always moving forward. McCartney has had the weakest, not because he stopped writing good songs, but because he couldn't figure out how to leave out the bad. Harrison had more potential than actual worthwhile music, but he's got 3 very good albums and one worth getting anyway (and one more in each category if you count The Traveling Wilburys). Ringo is Ringo and there's not much more to say.
Old 08-29-07, 10:50 AM
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Old 08-29-07, 11:00 AM
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You think Paul had a weaker solo career than Ringo?
Old 08-29-07, 11:05 AM
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There's literally nothing in George Harrison's career that resembles the two songs he contributed to the Beatles album Abbey Road (Something and Here Comes The Sun).

As far as the title track from All Things Must Pass, I thought the demo version found on The Beatles Anthology 3 disc to be quite beautiful, and the version found on the album to be awful. He needed a good producer. He got Phil Spector instead. Spector's production was great for R&B music, but not so great for rock IMHO.

Plus, the All Things Must Pass album cover is horrendous. Who approved that?!
Old 08-29-07, 11:19 AM
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Originally Posted by Toad
You think Paul had a weaker solo career than Ringo?
In regards to audience expectations, yes. When you're the man who wrote "Yesterday," "For No One," "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Heart's Club Band," "Michelle," and dozens of other all-time classics and standards, to suddenly churn out shit like "Silly Love Songs" and "The Girl Is Mine" is a much, much bigger disappointment than for the man who wrote "Don't Pass Me By" and "Octopuses Garden" to do any of the songs Ringo did solo.

Originally Posted by Buttmunker
There's literally nothing in George Harrison's career that resembles the two songs he contributed to the Beatles album Abbey Road (Something and Here Comes The Sun).
There's nothing prior to Abbey Road that sounds like those songs, either. I've heard bootlegs of the All Things Must Pass songs before Spector got his grubby hands on them, and you can tell they're from the same person who wrote Something and Here Comes The Sun. If you want to blame anyone, blame Spector.
Old 08-29-07, 11:21 AM
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Originally Posted by Suprmallet
I've heard bootlegs of the All Things Must Pass songs before Spector got his grubby hands on them, and you can tell they're from the same person who wrote Something and Here Comes The Sun. If you want to blame anyone, blame Spector.
Oh, I do. I do!
Old 08-29-07, 11:59 AM
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I, for one, love Spector's production on ATMP. Personal favorite: "Wah-Wah".
Old 08-29-07, 12:17 PM
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Originally Posted by Turd Ferguson
I'd agree that John's death made a lot of people declare it a classic before really giving it the test of time. I'll admit that a lot of Yoko's stuff sounds like a cat fucking an electrical outlet, but I don't think John's stuff was filler. Strip out the Yoko tracks and you have:

Starting Over
Cleanup Time
I'm Losing You
Beautiful Boy
Watching the Wheels
Woman
Dear Yoko

I'll stack those up against the best of Paul's entire 80's output.

I remember getting this the day it came out and I can still listen to it all the way through. It was just a time, place (I grew up right outside of NYC), and personality (Lennon actually seemed somewhat at peace-or seemed to me) that, IMHO, fit in perfect.

And Supermallet..I think sums it up for me re: George and Ringo. Very slightly disagree about Paul, as I do acknowledge there is a lot of pfft but I thought there was a string that was pretty damn good, of course all subjective. But all in all I think you came close to summing up what I feel as well.
Old 08-29-07, 12:21 PM
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I'm not saying McCartney had no good or great songs, I just can't think of one of his albums that has only good to great songs. Even Band on the Run has songs that make me cringe.
Old 08-29-07, 02:15 PM
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Originally Posted by Suprmallet
I'm not saying McCartney had no good or great songs, I just can't think of one of his albums that has only good to great songs. Even Band on the Run has songs that make me cringe.
1. "Band on the Run" great song
2. "Jet" great song
3. "Bluebird" great song
4. "Mrs Vandebilt" kinda sucky, IIRC
5. "Let Me Roll It" another great song
6. "Mamunia" I don't remember this song at all, except that I think I used to really hate it
7. "No Words" another dud
8. "Picasso's Last Words (Drink to Me)" also sucked
9. "Nineteen Hundred and Eighty Five" my all-time favorite song of McCartney's solo career, and incidentally the song that began my fascination with b-sides (it was the flip side of the "Band On the Run" single.)
Old 08-29-07, 02:33 PM
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Originally Posted by wendersfan
9. "Nineteen Hundred and Eighty Five" my all-time favorite song of McCartney's solo career
That's a strong testament. I don't think I've ever heard "Nineteen Hundred and Eighty Five" (aside from the song by Bowling for Soup - lol), but since you say its your favorite, I must hear it now. And I will judge it. I'm putting together a little mix CD of all four's "best."
Old 08-29-07, 02:49 PM
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Originally Posted by Suprmallet
I'm not saying McCartney had no good or great songs, I just can't think of one of his albums that has only good to great songs. Even Band on the Run has songs that make me cringe.
None of the Beatles had an album like that. But if you compiled a list, Paul has more great songs than any of them, either due to more talent or to untimely demise.

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