Friday, 5 February 2016

Even after all these years The Solo Beatles still dissapoint.

Just been spinning Side 2 of the new 180g pressing of Abbey Road, and sitting there, perfectly positioned between the speakers,  I realised that even after all these years The Beatles solo work still dissapoints. I'm not saying there are not some excellent albums among the Beatles solo stuff because there are, in fact several are truly essential. And yet. listening to Abbey Road you realise that the possibilities suggested by this work of true genius were never really realised. The second side of Abbey Road is  the dog's bollocks as far as rock is concerned. It would never get better than this, no one would ever top this. No matter who you talk about, no matter which genius you care to nominate,  no one ever topped Side 2 of Abbey Road - Not Bowie, not the Stones, not Nirvana, not Led Zepplin and not the Beatles themselves. Oh sure, Paul McCartney has several times tried to build song medleys that would equal Abbey Road but to be honest he's failed miserably. I guess all of the Beatles were going to be overshadowed in their solo careers by their collective selves - Guess they should have realised, - you're gonna' have to carry that weight a long time.'

That said there is still some great stuff among the solo albums, just nothing quite as orgasmic as Side 2, but given the way we listen to music these days, on tablets, MP3 players, on our phones even, I decided to set myself the task of making a solo Beatles playlist. The rules were 17 songs, the length of the average CD,  and so without giving any of the Beatles preferance I present my solo Beatles playlist, which I'm going to title ......

Even after all these years

1 - Instant Karma - I imagined my playlist was a genuine album, and so I thought about the way I would structure the songs and this rocker from Lennon is the perfect album opener.

2-Maybe I'm Amazed - Macca's best love song. This power ballad, the live cut from Wings Over America being the preferred version, represents one of the times when he has come very close to his Beatles greatness.

3- Uncle Albert, Admiral Halsey - One of the weirdest songs any of the Beatles ever did and it rocks, rolls and lurches as it powers through time shifts. This would have fitted right into Pepper's era Beatles and it is all the better for it.

4-  Photograph - Written by George, this is Ringo's best solo song - there's no doubt of that at all.

5-All Things Must Pass - Reminds us that nothing is forever and does it in such a beautiful way that this had to feature in out playlist.

6- Mother - it's a painful song but Lennon manages to get his soul into the piece. This is quite excellent in a fucked up kind of way.

7-Gimme Some Truth - Lennon at his rocking best.

8-Watching the Wheels - this late Lennon classic harks back in sentiment to Beatles numbers such as I'm so Tired and I'm Only Sleeping

9- Back Seat of my Car - Macca's doing what he's always done best, with this rock symphony about the good things in life - making out in the back seat, baby!

10-What is Life - George asks the universal question.

11-Early 1970 - a cracker from Ringo that namechecks his fellow Beatles

12-Band on the Run - this is an excellent song in five distinct movements and a brilliant Beatles style chorus.

13-Working Class Hero - John reminds us that even with all their fame, their wealth, he still considered himself a man of the people.

14 - When we were Fab - George gives us his most Beatley sounding song as he remind us why they were fab.

15 - Wanderlust - Macca in best lush production mode.

16-Imagine - This peon to peace is Lennon's signiture song

17- This One - ending the playlist was always going to be tough but in the end I decided on this cut from McCartney's Flowers in the Dirt album.

Those of you who have a large Beatles collection may want to compile your own solo Beatles playlist - maybe share the list in the comments below.