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The other day MusiCommantator suggested I do a blog post ranking an artists albums from worst to best. He suggested The Beatles or Bob Dylan. I really like his idea and am going to run with it. I thought it would be easier starting with The Beatles since there are only thirteen albums to rank and then after that move on to other artists with bigger catalogs.

In ranking The Beatles albums I am only ranking the studio albums released during their years as a group. No greatest hits/ best of’s/ live albums, the Anthology Series the two past masters albums don’t count- etc. Just the albums Please Please Me to Let It Be. The UK versions of the albums since the earlier albums vary between the US and UK. Although I grew up listening to the US bastardized versions since I got the UK versions back when they were finally released in America those are the versions I listen to. It gets kind of tricky when ranking anything- am I ranking my personal favorites in order of what is the best? That can be a different ranking. The ranking in some cases will be kind of a blending of favorite/best if that makes any sense. There are no Beatle albums that I just plain don’t like. {Now when it comes to Beatles solo albums there are ones that sour me.}  I will make a different post on each album as the countdown goes- from #13 to #1.


A colorful cartoon-style drawing of the Beatles and other characters from the Yellow Submarine film

#13. Yellow Submarine- Soundtrack: Released January 13, 1969. It was The Beatles 11th studio album. The album really isn’t what I would call a Beatles solo album. There are only four previously unreleased tracks on it. It was a soundtrack for an animated movie that they had very little to do with.  The first side was contained six Beatles songs- four new ones and two old ones- Yellow Submarine and All You Need Is Love. Side Two- is the 5th Beatle-producer George Martin scoring the film. It is competent and entertaining but it’s not The Beatles. As the critic at AllMusic Richie Unterberger has written it would have come off a lot better as a 4 song EP with the four new Beatles songs than with what it actually was.

The four new Beatles songs- Only A Northern Song- written by George Harrison. It was  song George had written during the Sgt. Pepper sessions but wasn’t chosen to be on that album. It was a throwaway- and when The Beatles had to come up with four songs to fulfill their contract for the movie- it was one they went with. Northern Songs was The Beatles publishing company and George was dissatisfied with his status in The Beatles as the junior partner to John and Paul in the songwriting department. George’s main target was Dick James who was the managing director of Northern Songs. I’ve always viewed the song as a likable but a throwaway- not a major song for George he had done better and would soon be writing a lot better songs than this.

All Together Now- is a Lennon/McCartney tune but mainly written by Paul and was sung by Paul and John. Another scrap they threw at the Yellow Submarine project. It had been originally recorded during the Magical Mystery Tour sessions. It is a fun song but not a major song in The Beatles canon.

Hey Bulldog is the gem of this bunch. One of the most overlooked great Beatles songs. Written and sung by John. It was written around the time they were filming the Lady Madonna promotional video. The original title John had for it was “You Can Talk To Me” and it was originally Hey Bullfrog- not Hey Bulldog. The song was built around a piano riff. Great bass from Paul. This song should have been released as a single. It gets my vote as most overlooked Beatles classic.

The final new song was It’s All Too Much written and sung by George. A psychedelic song- and much much better than Only A Northern Song. The song was influenced by George’s partaking in LSD. Another song recorded back in the Sgt. Pepper days. It is interesting how The Beatles throwaways they gave to this Yellow Submarine project could still be fascinating.

I rank Yellow Submarine at the bottom due to it’s only having the four new songs and half the album- while entertaining music- was not done by The Beatles. Over the years it is far and away my least listened to album The Beatles. It was the last Beatles album that I bought back in the day when I became a fanatic. Coming up #12 in the countdown.

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  1. I don’t own a copy of Yellow Submarine but I do have the 1999 ‘Soundtrack’ which is fine for me.
    In checking out your comments about Northern Song I found I have “Mojo 2012.07 Yellow Submarine Resurfaces”.
    Mojo is a monthly music mag with a cover CD which is either is a compilation of ‘the best new bands’ or a revisit of a classic album with the songs performed mainly by musicians you’ve never heard of (or want to again).
    YSR is worth tracking down if only to hear ‘It’s All Too Much’ performed in full on Country + Western style by My Darling Clementine.
    Are we taking bets on what your no 1 will be? I’m thinking Revolver

    • I have been getting MOJO for about 15 years [along with Uncut and Q} I have kept all those CD’s that come along with the mag- I will dig out that cover CD- thanks for mentioning it… Revolver #1? No way. LOL…. I was hoping to see Yellow Submarine this week at the theater but was busy- and the theater is over an hour away- now I have the time but it’s no longer playing… oh well…

    • When I was about 10 or 11 (1972/3) BBC1 showed Yellow Submarine and as a special treat we were allowed to eat our dinner in front of the tele rather than in the back room. I can’t think of a Beatles cover that is better than the original (U2’s Helter Skelter? Steve Hillage’s All Too Much, World Party’s Happiness is a Warm Gun). For me too many covers are just reworks of the originals. When they do work it is often because they are completely different to the original (Alex Harvey’s Delilah, Astra’s ‘Empty Spaces’ Yes’ America)

    • I agree just covering a song and trying to make it sound like the original – making a cover sound different is the way the go.

  2. Hey, I’m glad you took my idea up! I like the format of every album being a different post. That’ll allow for more detail to be put into each album. I’m definitely excited for the next album!

    • Thanks- yes I thought all on one post but thought it would be better taking it a post at a time and not just giving a paragraph to each album.

  3. While “Yellow Submarine” includes some of the Beatles later stage gems like “Eleanor Rigby”, “Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds” and “All You Need Is Love,” for some reason, this album doesn’t particularly excite me – and, as you know, The Beatles are my all-time favorite band! It’s not really a traditional studio record to begin with – it’s mostly a compilation!

    I also saw there was a special screening for the movie in select theaters. Unlike the Ron Howard documentary, I never gave it much of a thought to see.

    • It was playing in Pittsburgh and I was hoping to see it- but being away last weekend and busy this week- i missed it…

    • I know it sounds a bit sad to say for somebody who calls himself a Beatles fan, I just didn’t feel drawn to it. I think in my case it would have been relatively easy to find a theater in my area. It was a piece of cake for “Eight Days A Week.” That movie I loved and would see it again in a heartbeat!

    • I agree I am not a Yellow Submarine fanatic due to the limited roll The Beatles actually played in it. I really enjoyed Eight Days A Week too! Who would have thought Opey would grow up to make a Beatles doc!

  4. We have complete albums of all Beatles songs that my mother bought years and years ago . She said she was a Beatlemaniac. I love the Beatles, as well. It’s always such a pleasure listening to their songs…. I have no favorites… I love all their songs ( although for some reason, I keep on playing Get back and s that song I read the news today?? Is that the title ?

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