From 1962 to 1970, the Beatles made some of the most beloved and important music of all time. But while their break-up was difficult to take, they didn’t stop being great after the dissolution of the band. With that in mind, let’s look at the 10 best post-Beatles albums by members of the Beatles. We’ll be looking at solo albums here, but collaborations with other artists are also eligible.
10. Ringo Starr – Ringo
Yes, Ringo makes the list! His 1973 self-tiled album is a thoroughly fun glam rock masterpiece. For this one, he turned to his other bandmates for help, as George Harrison co-wrote the classic ballad “Photograph,” while John Lennon wrote “I’m the Greatest,” an anthem perfectly suited for Ringo. Between that and the impossibly catchy “Oh My My,” this album showed off Ringo’s sense of humor perfectly, and it’s his strongest solo outing by far.
9. Paul McCartney – New
Macca’s most recent album was a stunning late-period effort, especially considering he was 71 when it was released. Despite its title, the album looks to the past at many moments, like “On My Way To Work,” which looks at his time as a teenager, and a lost relationship. Elsewhere, “Early Days” looks at his time in the Beatles. This was a wistful, nostalgic album, but more importantly, it proved that McCartney was still making great music, even though he was seven years past 64.
8. George Harrison – Cloud Nine
This album is best known for its cover of “Got My Mind Set On You,” which no one wants to admit they secretly enjoy, but there’s plenty of much more interesting material here as well. “When We Was Fab” is a great reflection on Harrison’s time in the Beatles, while “This Is Love” ranks among his best solo tracks. This album is slightly marred by dated 80s production, but the songwriting is strong enough to overcome that, and make it more than worth your time.
7. John Lennon/Yoko Ono – Double Fantasy
This was the last album Lennon released before his death, and it was certainly a high note to go out on. “(Just Like) Starting Over” became a No. 1 hit shortly after Lennon’s death, while “Woman” and “Watching The Wheels” rank among his most enduring works. Yoko’s portion of the album is certainly worth your time as well. It can be difficult getting used to the likes of “Kiss Kiss Kiss,” but it’s certainly rewarding in the long run.
6. George Harrison – Living In the Material World
After All Things Must Pass, Harrison’s solo discography gets a bit tricky, but he did have a few more great albums in him, and this is certainly one of them. “Give Me Love (Give Me Peace On Earth)” went to No. 1 and is the best-known song here, but we also have “Be Here Now,” and “Sue Me Sue You Blues,” which explored his fractures relationship with his Beatles bandmates. This was one of Harrison’s more personal records, and it holds up as one of his best.
5. Paul and Linda McCartney – Ram
After his solo debut, McCartney, in which he played all the instruments, Paul collaborated with his wife on Ram, which is one of his most rewarding post-Beatles albums. The best known track from the LP is likely “Uncle Albert/Admiral Halsey”, with its memorable “hands across the water/hands across the sky” chant, but there’s plenty of killer tracks here, the most poignant being “Heart Of The Country,” which paints a lovely picture of married life. At this point, Paul was in the midst of a blissful marriage, and the Beatles were probably the farthest thing from his mind.
4. John Lennon – Imagine
While this album is best known for its legendary title track, there are plenty of other brilliant moments here. “Gimme Some Truth” is one of Lennon’s most brutal political screeds ever, while the album closing “Oh Yoko” is a beautiful declaration of love that even Yoko’s most ardent (and often needlessly stubborn) critics could appreciate. Finally, “How Do You Sleep” is Lennon’s angriest swipe at Paul McCartney. Despite the idealism of the title track, this is a complicated, and often rather dark album.
3. John Lennon – Plastic Ono Band
Lennon’s first true solo album was one of the most shocking albums ever made. Lennon revealed himself to his fans in a way that was a bit uncomfortable, but ultimately incredible. On “God,” he gives us the devastating line “I don’t believe in Beatles/I just believe in me,” while “Mother” is haunting portrait of his lost childhood. It can be rather difficult to get through this album in its entirety, but ultimately, it tells you everything you need to know about John Lennon.
2. George Harrison – All Things Must Pass
While Harrison’s first two solo albums were Electronic Sound and Wonderwall Music this feels like his spiritual debut, and it was certainly a revelation. Tracks like “My Sweet Lord,” and “Isn’t It A Pity” showed that Harrison was just as strong a songwriter as Lennon or McCartney. The one thing marring this album is the “Apple Jam” that makes up a decent portion of the album. It’s hard to listen to that more than once. that said, pretty much everything else here is perfect.
1. Paul McCartney & Wings – Band On The Run
This album is just so consistently great from start to finish that it had to top the list. From the immortal title track, to the beautiful “Bluebird,” to the ballad “Let Me Roll It,” and the rocker “Jet,” there’s nothing not to like here. This was an incredibly focused album, with every song fitting together perfectly. Despite some stiff competition, it stands out as the best post-Beatles album made by any member of the band.