5 The Beatles (a.k.a. The White Album) (1968)
Continuing with their revolutionary idea of switching musical styles on albums, this one puts some of the Beatles most impressive music right next to some of their least impressive. But that’s what happens when you put on twice as many songs as usual because you can’t agree on whose song to cut. So while there are songs that have a grand total of 21 words (18 of which are “honey pie”) there are also songs like Helter Skelter which music historians credit as a key influence in the development of heavy metal music. The Beatles were the most influential band of all time and these are their most influential albums. Is your favorite Beatles Album not on this list? Why should it be?
4 Revolver (1966)
In this album, the Beatles took what had been a nice little musical experiment to a soaring plateau that they would maintain until they split up. This is the first album they made that could be called “Psychedelic Music.” Evidence of this is the fact that they used sound recordings backwards, the look of the album cover and the content of Yellow Submarine. You’ll see this even more if you watch the movie that was to come under the same name. That’s where things get weird.
3 Rubber Soul (1965)
This is the album where the Beatles moved on from such cutesiness as “I Want to Hold Your Hand” to a slightly more bittersweet view of relationships: Such as having an affair and then setting your mistress’ apartment on fire. And they didn’t even just stick to romantic topics. The atmosphere that was conjured up by the lyrics and music started to change from song to song. They started to take inspiration from a wide variety of sources around the world, particularly famous being the Sitar in the earlier referenced song “Norwegian Wood.” This brought new sounds into the mainstream from obscure places and started a trend for the Beatles…
2 Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band (1967)
Once the screaming teenage girls got to be a bit too much for them, the Beatles decided that they were finished with touring for good. But they still wanted to present their songs as a cohesive unit, as they would have at a concert. So they invented a fictitious band name based on a song that they had already written and presented the album as a concert being done by this fake band. This gave them a chance to play around with the music as if they were freed from their own reputation. They didn’t follow through with the theme too much throughout the album, but they did play around plenty. The album includes four Indian musicians, a string section, fairground organs, a harpsichord, glockenspiel and a song whose lyrics are almost entirely lifted from a Victorian circus advertisement.
1 Abbey Road (1969)
What happens when a band that is barely functioning records an album before almost falling to pieces? Apparently, Abbey Road; although kids, we don’t suggest you try it at home. Side 2 has a 17 minute medley of songs weaving in and out of each other, most of which were recorded separately. It climaxes with “The End,” where Ringo plays the only drum solo of his Beatles’ career followed by a series of rotating 2-bar guitar solos done by John, Paul, and George. It’s a beautiful bit of musical synergy from four guys who were on the brink of beating the crap out of each other. Take that, Justin Bieber.