The Beatles: Their Best Songs Before and After Their Breakup

This is something that I've always wanted to write, as I essentially grew up on the sounds that these four men from Liverpool made.

I've always said that the Beatles were the greatest musical group ever; that's obvious to billions of people.

Let's not waste anymore time - here are my choices for their best songs while in that wonderful group, and as solo artists after their breakup in 1970:

JOHN LENNON

As a Beatle: "In My Life" (1965)

As a solo artist: "Love" (1970)

I remember when this great icon was murdered in 1980, my mother cried for several weeks, along with so many millions.

"In My Life" is a great song in that Lennon gives off a nice sentimentality, looking back on his memories with wonder. I particularly like the piano solo near the end, and the song itself is a sort of precursor to his classics like "A Day In The Life" from Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band and "Julia" from the White Album.

"Love" was a track from his first solo turn, Plastic Ono Band, which beautifully conveys a softness and is one of the many songs he recorded that stated his love for Yoko Ono. It's simple arrangement, just a piano and guitar, is what I really liked.

PAUL McCARTNEY

As a Beatle: "Let It Be" (1970)

As a solo artist: "Maybe I'm Amazed" (1970)

I could have chosen a lot of tunes from this man, whose birthday I share; most folks would have chosen "Yesterday", "Michelle", or "And I Love Her", but...

"Let It Be", a tribute to Paul's mother Mary, is the perfect swan song for a group considered the greatest act of the past fifty years. Made during their turbulent Let It Be sessions in early 1969 when they were on each other's nerves all the time and a breakup seemed imminent (George Harrison actually did quit the group for a few days), it conveys a finality that was a perfect touch when the album - and accompanying film - was released in 1970.

Speaking of 1970, "Maybe I'm Amazed", one of McCartney's first solo tracks that he recorded that year, was great in that he conveyed his, well, amazement at finding his true soul mate in Linda Eastman, nee McCartney. I love how he starts off with a simple piano and has a guitar solo in the middle.

I'm sure he has his reasons, but after Linda passed away in 1998 I wouldn't have thought about dating again, let alone marrying someone else as Paul did (two women in fact, including Heather Mills), but that's just me.

And by the way, without "Maybe I'm Amazed", there wouldn't have been a "Band On The Run".

GEORGE HARRISON

As a Beatle: "Something" (1969)

As a solo artist: "My Sweet Lord" (1970)

I can't believe that ten years have passed since this quiet, spiritual Beatle's untimely passing from cancer.

Most fans consider his "Something" from the Abbey Road album, one of the several love songs that he wrote for his former wife Patti, as his best song while a Beatle.

Though stuff like "While My Guitar Gently Weeps", featuring Eric Clapton on lead guitar, and "Here Comes The Sun" are brilliant classics in their own right, I'm going to go with "Something" because it was George's most successful track while in the "Fabs", as he called them.

Put it this way: Frank Sinatra covered the song - if that doesn't say something, nothing does.

As for his solo stuff, forget that he was found guilty in court of unintentionally plagiarizing this song from the Shirelles' "He's So Fine" - nothing comes close to "My Sweet Lord" as far as being a classic, and it was by far his best cut after the Beatles broke up.

RINGO STARR

As a Beatle: "Octopus's Garden" (1969)

As a solo artist: "It Don't Come Easy" (1973)

Among the relatively few songs that Richard Starkey wrote and/or sung while a Beatle (compared to the other three), this one stands out in that like "Yellow Submarine" three years before, this Abbey Road track gives off a kid-friendly whimsical vibe. I remember Ringo being my favorite Beatle as a little kid.

As for after the group ended, like "My Sweet Lord" for George Harrison, "It Don't Come Easy" from his 1973 Ringo album, which George helped to write, was by far his best after-Beatle song, the messages of love and peace and the horn section sealing the deal here, with nothing else coming close to its impact.

There's my list - even though I could have chosen many other songs like "Imagine" for John or "Hey Jude" for Paul, these are the ones that I felt stood out from the four guys that I felt made Great Britain cool.

Even though I'll probably get a lot of disagreements here, I hope you all like the choices on this list.





1 comment

Alecia Murphy profile image

Alecia Murphy 5 years ago from Wilmington, North Carolina

I love In My Life. It says everything you could possibly want to say when you love someone and you value how they've impacted your life. My favorite Beatle is Paul and that's because I love his voice and his musicality. Great article. Voted up.

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    What's your favorite Beatles song?

    • In My Life
    • A Day In The Life
    • Come Together
    • Yesterday
    • Eleanor Rigby
    • Hey Jude
    • Let It Be
    • While My Guitar Gently Weeps
    • Here Comes The Sun
    • Something
    • Yellow Submarine
    • Octopus' Garden
    • Don't Pass Me By
    • Nowhere Man
    • Across The Universe
    • Another song that's not on this list
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