The catalogue of The Beatles is undoubtedly one of the most impressive in musical history. But what were John Lennon, George Harrison, Paul McCartney, and Ringo Starr’s favourite Beatles album?
As a single unit under the moniker of The Beatles, the four individuals may have at times moved as one but in truth, their individualism would often lead them down different paths. The personalities of The Beatles are part of what endeared them to so many hearts across the world during their explosion in the swinging sixties.
While some of that was down to the marketing of George Martin, it was certainly true that their different tastes and talents were an organic evolution of not only the band but the members as people in their own right.
This led to a beautiful tapestry of all four members’ songwriting expertise. Lennon and McCartney will always be remembered as the principal songwriters in the band but Harrison and Starr’s contribution can not be underestimated.
It’s a fact which can be seen in the bandmates’ selections of their favourite Beatles albums. While you might expect four individuals to like different things, variety is the spice of life and all that jazz, but it’s the reasons for their choices that we found very insightful. Below find a list of The Beatles’ favourite Beatles albums.
Paul McCartney – Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band
Paul remains to this day a very active advocate for the work he did with The Beatles. And rightly, so, the singer has become synonymous with pop music through his craft and having written some of the world’s most beloved songs it’s a fair assessment that he always will be.
In this revealing 1991 interview, Paul suggests that he had a love for all the albums they made together but his favourite was the iconic concept album from 1967 Sgt. Pepper’s. The singer revealed it was the concept that he feels was really engaging. He said, “I’d pick Sgt. Pepper’s, meself, because I had a lot to do with it.”
As the smirking Macca laughs of the idea of egotism, he says, “It wasn’t entirely my idea but to get us away from being ‘The Beatles’ I had this idea that we should pretend we’re this other group”. He reiterates that he’d prefer not to choose just one but “I’d choose that if I had to.”
John Lennon – The White Album
The tensions over songwriting would be a consistent feature in the latter years of The Beatles. Much of this stemmed from the blessed issue that all four members were handy with the pen but also from jealousy rearing its ugly head from time to time.
In a 1971 interview Lennon, never afraid to speak his mind, suggested that Paul never liked The White Album because the band members were all following their own talents and doing their own songs – not working as a group. “[Paul] wanted it to be more a group thing, which really means more Paul. So he never liked that album.”
In the same interview Lennon, perhaps having his own spurt of jealousy proclaimed The White Album to be his favourite. He said, “I always preferred it to all the other albums, including Pepper, because I thought the music was better. The Pepper myth is bigger, but the music on the White Album is far superior, I think.”
George Harrison – Rubber Soul
The quiet Beatle as he was often known may be more accurately described as the too-often-overlooked Beatle. One of the finer songwriters of his generation tracks like ‘While My Guitar Gently Weeps’ and ‘Here Comes The Sun’ cements him in the pop music pantheon.
You may have thought Harrison would have picked The White Album, having four songs of his own on there, just like Lennon. However, like Lennon, Harrison was not a fan of Sgt. Pepper – we’re sensing a theme here. He felt the concept album had turned them into a puppet worker bee. “It became an assembly process – just little parts and then overdubbing,” he felt they had lost the edge that came with live performances.
So it feels right that Harrison’s favourite would reflect a time of creative unknowns and artistic challenges. “Rubber Soul was my favorite album,” he reveals “even at that time, I think that it was the best one we made,” he said when reflecting on the iconic record in the ’90s.
He wistfully recalled, “The most important thing about it was that we were suddenly hearing sounds we weren’t able to hear before. Also, we were being more influenced by other people’s music and everything was blossoming at that time — including us.”
Ringo Starr – Abbey Road
Ringo, possibly the most affably loveable of all The Beatles seems to fit his persona with his pick – Abbey Road. The drummer and the often maligned yet incredibly gifted musician even had a particular soft spot for what many people consider the worst part of the band’s repertoire – the Abbey Road Medley. “The second side of Abbey Road is my favorite,” he said. “I love it.”
While some people (Lennon included) couldn’t stand the scraps of the LP Ringo felt they offered a sense of the band’s talent. “‘She Came In Through The Bathroom Window,’ and all those bits that weren’t songs … I mean, they were just all the bits that John and Paul had around that we roped together.”
It remains today as the favourite piece of music for Ringo and we’re personally very happy to see him not pick out the most illustrious, the most wildly creative, the whitest, instead he picked his favourite.
There’s no replacing The Beatles. The band will forever be one of the most important artists in music history and they are so because as well as being a group that drove fans wild, wrote amazing songs and incredible albums – they were also four individuals; John, Paul, George, and Ringo.