Friday, November 6, 2009

The Beatles '71

Anyone who knows me well, knows that I am an absolutely huge Beatles fan. My obsession began at the impressionable age of 13 - right before The Beatles Anthology aired on television, which afterwards only fueled my obsessive fire to the point of absurdity. Since then they've still remained my favourite band from Liverpool, where I revisit my obsession at least once a year where they are all I play for weeks.

Lately I've been listening to a large amount of solo Beatle material, which is dangerous territory to the uninitiated due to the vast majority of it. My first exposure to the solo albums came with the purchase of the 1987 release of Paul McCartney's All The Best! through Columbia House about 15 years ago. The mental and emotional scars that greatest hits compilation left me have only recently begun to heal. For quite a while this album gave me the impression that mostly all solo Beatle material was shit, and trust me, there's a lot of sordid albums released by the fab four over the last 4 decades. However this has also taught me to never truely trust a Greatest Hits album from someone with SO much material. The true golden gems are the ones usually buried within the albums, and not the radio played singles.

A Selected History of Beatles' Solo Material 1970-1971:
March 1970 - Ringo Starr releases Sentimental Journey, a collection of rock and pre-rock standards. Through the sands of time, this album is very much forgettable.

April 1970 - Paul McCartney releases his solo album simply called McCartney. A self-penned interview was issued to the press prior to the album release, you can read it in full here. This interview was the first indication made to the public that there were some serious issues within the band. Quite frankly, Paul comes across as a total smug asshole in it, but considering the circumstances in which they album was released (pressure from within the band to delay the release in favour of Ringo's solo) - Paul's angst may have been justified.

November 1970 - George Harrison releases the epic triple album All Things Must Pass. Harrison had been accumulating these tracks as far back as 1966. However, his tracks were always pushed to the back burner in favour for those of Lennon/McCartney. Harrison enlisted the aid of Phil Spector to co-produce the album, giving All Things Must Pass a heavy and reverb-oriented sound, typical for a 1960s/1970s Spector production.

December 1970 - John Lennon releases Plastic Ono Band (the name given the collection of artists who performed on the album). This album is his first proper release (not including the three practically un-listenable experimental albums he did with Yoko in '69 & '70).

Early 1971 - Paul McCartney sues his band mates for the dissolution of the group's contractual obligation. The actual break up is a long and sordid tale, followed by years of lawsuits. In the years prior, however all members of the band (except Paul) had left for various reasons, only to be coerced back... By 1971, the writing was on the wall and the band was done.

May 1971
- Paul McCartney releases Ram with his wife Linda. A short musical feud ensues with John Lennon as he he feels Paul took lyrical jabs at him through the choice of words in the songs Dear Boy & Too Many People.

September 1971 - John Lennon releases Imagine. A commercial and critical masterpiece, some of you may have heard of it. This album also includes the track How Do You Sleep? which is the musical response to the feud he believes Paul started previously.

• • •

Over the years there has been speculation over what the last Beatles record would have sounded like if they had remained together for just a few more years. As mentioned, The Beatles broke up in 1970 but they hadn't even been in the same studio together for more than a year prior. Many of the tracks listed on the solo albums above were originally written while the band was still together, and some tracks as far back as 1966.

The Beatles '71 is my attempt to compile the best of the solo Beatles albums released between 1970 and 1971. This project was a true labour of love so I hope you enjoy listening to the end result. The album's running time is 75 minutes so it will fit nicely onto a CD for your parents, who have no idea what an MP3 is. Also the album cover is clearly a revamp of 1970's Let It Be now featuring the fab four as how they appeared in 1971, as they bravely ventured into new worlds, solo.

Three tracks are available to preview now, and if you like what you hear you can download the album in it's entirety below:

01 - Paul McCartney - Ram On
02 - John Lennon - Power to the People
03 - George Harrison - All Things Must Pass
04 - John Lennon - Instant Karma!
05 - George Harrison - Awaiting On You All
06 - Paul McCartney - Eat At Home
07 - John Lennon - Working Class Hero
08 - Paul McCartney - Maybe I'm Amazed
09 - George Harrison - Let It Down
10 - Ringo Starr - It Don't Come Easy
11 - John Lennon - Jealous Guy
12 - Paul McCartney - Every Night
13 - George Harrison - My Sweet Lord
14 - John Lennon - Imagine
15 - Paul McCartney - Oh Woman, Oh Why
16 - George Harrison - Wah-Wah
17 - John Lennon - Oh My Love
18 - Paul McCartney - Mumbo
19 - John Lennon - How Do You Sleep?
20 - John Lennon - Mother


  1. Unreal "poast"!! $$$.. Great info!

  2. They're my favorite band, and The Beatles achieved mainstream success in the United Kingdom in late 1962 with their first single, "Love Me Do", actually I've got this track without ugly versions or mixes. Anyway, the international popularity over the course of the next year, they toured extensively until 1966 (My child born and I still buying their music), then retreated to the recording studio until their break-up in 1970. Each then found success in an independent musical career.