Ranking Beatle solo albums: 1968-2007

We still argue over these people the way we do over Antony and Cleopatra joining Macbeth, Hamlet, King Lear, and the rest of Shakespeare’s tragedies (my judgment: it doesn’t belong). Is Extra Texture (Read All About It) worse than Red Rose Speedway — which is more drug-addled? And what’s for supper anyway? A caveat: IContinue reading “Ranking Beatle solo albums: 1968-2007”

‘The Beatles: Get Back’ gently dissolves myths, strengthens new ones

In keeping with their status as a Western institution as vital as the International Monetary Fund, The Beatles that emerge in The Beatles: Get Back function as alternately soothing and obtrusive background noise, best played when packing corn casserole to take to a cousin’s for Thanksgiving.

I know my heart can stay: The worst of Paul McCartney, 1970-2001

Darling, I love you very very very much, but you let me down both when you try too hard or don’t give a damn. My distaste for “My Love” and “Uncle Albert,” huge hits both, I’ve well-documented. I almost spared “Spies Like Us” because it’s disappeared, a song bullied by payola into being a topContinue reading “I know my heart can stay: The worst of Paul McCartney, 1970-2001”

You may think the chords are going wrong: the worst Beatles songs

These crowned heads allowed themselves intimations of mortality on occasion. This list combines the mundane things suggesting torpor (“Every Little Thing,” “It’s Only Love”), misbegotten attempts at grandeur (“Fixing a Hole,” “All You Need is Love,” my nemesis “Hey Jude”), soiled whimsy (“Hello Goodbye,” “Maxwell’s Silver Hammer”), and George being George (“Only a Northern Song”).Continue reading “You may think the chords are going wrong: the worst Beatles songs”

The best songs about The Beatles

The most moving appropriation of Beatlesmania mythos occurred four years ago when rap duo Rae Sremmurd mimicked the quartet’s rooftop body moves in the video for “Black Beatles.” Even Paul McCartney, PR pro, liked it! Almost as witty is Ella Fitzgerald’s “Ringo Beat,” in which she admonishes her son for not playing as well asContinue reading “The best songs about The Beatles”

The worst Beatles covers

ADavidson/GoffPhotos.com/Splash/Splash News/Corbis This isn’t the place to dis the Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band soundtrack anchored by George Martin and peak-era Bee Gees. We know it was an epic farrago. Nor is it a place where Tiffany’s “I Saw Him Standing There” or, to cite the 1978 thing again, George Burns’ “Fixing a Hole”Continue reading “The worst Beatles covers”

Ringo Starr’s best Beatles drumming

From the way he copped the Latin flourishes from Ray Charles’ “What’d I Say” for the sake of “I Feel Fine”; the punctuative cymbal crashes in “She Said, She Said”; the snare shots in “Rain”; and the ominous bass fills in “Strawberry Fields Forever,” Richard Starkey’s drum work reflected a tumult and invention his onscreenContinue reading “Ringo Starr’s best Beatles drumming”

Ranking Beatles #1s, UK and US editions

I think I’m gonna be sad: re-listening to “Hey Jude” and “The Long and Winding Road” for the purpose of this list, and, well, the yearning for transcendence strains Paul McCartney’s natural get-on-with-it pragmatism (he’s a major pop star who’s never cared for religious posturing). Cheers for the early material, which retains its spritz, snazzyContinue reading “Ranking Beatles #1s, UK and US editions”

Ranking George Harrison’s album openers

Praying to Vishnu that his voice wouldn’t get in the way of his guitar, George Harrison led his albums with fewer clunkers than I’d expect from a studio rock devotee who named a jam after himself and the tour he would start. Like McCartney, he relaxed when the limelight shifted to younger and cooler stars.Continue reading “Ranking George Harrison’s album openers”

Ranking Paul McCartney’s album closers

This list is an anomaly: few songs have shown up in previous rankings or my own lists. With good reason, let’s say, in the case of “Freedom,” more tone-deaf than“Give Ireland Back to the Irish.“ Then McCartney presents a melody from Red Rose Speedway, still among his shoddiest major albums, and another from 2013’s Now,Continue reading “Ranking Paul McCartney’s album closers”