Paul McCartney…Amazing At 80!

The most famous musician in the world turned 80-years-old on June 18th, 2022.  Fans are happy for Paul McCartney, and are also celebrating all the excellent songs he has given us.  Personally, no artist has had a greater effect on my love of music.  He may even have had something to do with our son being named Paul.



Here’s a quick summary of what the above photos represent.  In 1957 Paul McCartney joined John Lennon in The Quarrymen. They added George Harrison to the band, and eventually changed their name to The Beatles.   In 1962 The Beatles’ classic lineup became complete with Ringo Starr, and the music they made in the 1960’s still resonates with audiences.

In 1970, McCartney started his solo career, and then he added various musicians under the band name Wings throughout the decade.  From 1980 on, Paul McCartney has been solo, although he has worked with other artists from time to time.

McCartney might be the richest musician in the world, but that hasn’t stopped him from continuing to create more music and to tour.  Most people his age have retired.  Back in the ‘60’s no one thought any Rock & Roll star would still be rocking at 80.

The 80 milestone for Paul McCartney generated quite a bit of attention, and one article with an interesting angle was published by Stereogum.

They asked 80 musicians to each select their favorite song from any part of Paul McCartney’s career.  Since the question asked for their “favorite”, and not “the best”, there was a wide range of songs.  The article included comments from the artists explaining their selections.  It’s worth checking out.  There was no ranking of the songs, but here’s an analysis.

The most selected song was chosen by five of the artists.  That song is “Blackbird”, and we can all agree that it’s great.  I don’t think anyone could have guessed the song that came in second.  It was selected by four of the artists…“Martha My Dear”.  Singer-songwriter Michael McDonald said “I always loved the melodic structure and the chord progression, the overall harmonic sensibility.”

 Since McCartney’s sheep dog was named Martha, the lyrics are considered light, but that doesn’t take away from the quality of the melody and the performance.  The 2018 remix of “Martha My Dear” sounds fantastic, especially the brass arrangement.

The songs that were the third most mentioned (by three artists each) were also surprises… “You Won’t See Me” from 1965’s  Rubber Soul album, and “Waterfalls” from the 1980 solo album McCartney II.  The songs that were selected by two artists included “Let It Be”, “Maybe I’m Amazed”, “Junk”, “Eleanor Rigby”, “Here There And Everywhere”, “Temporary Secretary”, “Let Me Roll It”, “Arrow Through Me”, and “The Long And Winding Road”.

The two parts of McCartney’s Beatles career that had the most songs selected were the Revolver sessions from 1966, and The White Album sessions from 1968..  Those songs are “Eleanor Rigby”, “Here There And Everywhere”, “For No One”, “Paperback Writer”, “Hey Jude”, “Blackbird”, “Martha My Dear”, “I Will”, “Rocky Raccoon”, and even “Why Don’t We Do It In The Road”.  It was also interesting that the choices were fairly equally divided between Paul’s Beatles career and his solo career…43 selected Beatles songs and 37 chose solo songs.

Paul McCartney has been making music for over 65 years.  His career is unequalled.  He wrote four of the Top-10 most recorded songs of all time (and more that have at one time been in the Top-10).  He was a key part of the world’s most popular band.  According to Billboard Magazine, he was the top artist of the 1970’s, and has had #1 albums spread over six decades.  Impressively, he is still doing 2-and-a-half-hour shows to packed arenas.  And, it’s his birthday too!

When Paul headlined the Glastonbury Festival on June 25th, 2022, the crowd sang “Happy Birthday” to him.

Happy Birthday Paul McCartney, and thank you for all the great music!

Bonus:  On August 5th, 2022 a new box set will be released with the three solo albums McCartney I, II & III.

The set will be available in Vinyl & CD formats.  Apple provided this triple photo of Paul McCartney from the years the albums were released…1970, 1980, and 2020:

The first two photos were taken by Linda McCartney, and the third by their daughter, Mary.

Stephen Stills…“Treetop Flyer”

Stephen Stills wrote an excellent song in the early ‘70’s, but it didn’t get put on any CSN, CSN&Y,  or Stephen Stills albums until two decades later.

The song is “Treetop Flyer”.  It captures the sad time in America when the Vietnam war was so hated that returning veterans were looked down upon and had trouble finding jobs.  In the case of the song’s title character, he had to use the skill he was taught in the war…flying under radar…and he became a smuggler.

Stephen Stills fans know it’s a hard song to acquire.  I first heard “Treetop Flyer” when he recorded it live for a 1976 radio concert.  That version is probably the best.  It has impressive guitar playing, and an energy that gets the crowd into it.  This live recording has been in my music collection ever since, but is not available to the public, except on bootlegs.  Here it is:

It wasn’t until 1991 that Stills finally did a studio version for his album Stills Alone.  I bought the CD, but it was on a small label, and not very many copies were made.  Slowly, people found out about the cool song, but couldn’t find a copy.  If you did find the CD, it was very expensive.  Here’s that studio version.  It’s a little more laidback.

Then in 2007, Stills released the album Just Roll Tape.  It was from a studio session in 1968 when Stills, with just his acoustic guitar, recorded songs he’d been writing.  On the album as a bonus track is a demo of “Treetop Flyer”.   The song was not part of that 1968 demo session, but no date is given.  We do know Stills recorded the song during sessions for the unreleased CSNY album Human Highway, which was supposed to be the follow-up to Deja Vu.  The demo recording became the best selling cut of all of Stills’ songs on iTunes.  There’s a problem though, because if Stephen wasn’t happy with a verse, he immediately re-sang it.  Basically, this rough (though good sounding) demo needs the poorer quality duplicate verses edited out of it, like this:

Finally, in 2013, the 1991 studio version of “Treetop Flyer” was included in the Carry On box set…only trouble was, you had to buy it…the whole box set!  The song is not sold as an individual digital download.  So if that’s the only song you need, it’s still $40.  Evil marketers!

P.S.  How cool is this?  “Treetop Flyer” was used for the long first scenes in 2018’s season premiere of “This Is Us”.

This site also has a career-spanning article on Stephen Stills…here’s the link:

https://ontherecords.net/2017/11/stephen-stills-hey-whats-that-sound/

Pink Martini….“The Little Orchestra”

There’s a band that has two songwriters who graduated with honors from Harvard.  They perform songs in English, French, Italian, Spanish, and multiple other languages.  Their music combines Pop, Classical, Jazz, and more, which makes it impossible to categorize.  They are unique.  Their first album sold over a million copies, and about half of the sales were in Europe.

Not your average American Band.

Our first exposure to Pink Martini came about through good luck.  In the fall of 2005, we were living in Lincoln, Nebraska, and our son and daughter-in-law (Paul & Shawnde) were visiting from Corvallis, Oregon.  As the four of us were walking along a street in Lincoln, they spotted a poster for a Portland band, Pink Martini, that was set to perform at Omaha’s Orpheum Theatre.  Paul & Shawnde said Pink Martini’s shows in Oregon were always sold out, but we were able to get four tickets to the show in Omaha.

What we witnessed that night was what founder, pianist and songwriter Thomas Lauderdale calls “The Little Orchestra”.  There were eleven members, and as they played the first song, we could see that each musician appeared to be a virtuoso.

The vocalist with the wonderfully clear soprano voice was the other songwriter, China Forbes.

(Thomas Lauderdale and China Forbes)

We were extremely impressed that night and purchased the two CD’s they had produced for their own label, Heinz Records.  Many of the songs they record are originals written by Thomas Lauderdale and China Forbes, sometimes using co-writers to help with the many languages they use for their World Music.  Here’s one of their English language Pop songs with a brief Classical intro.  It’s called “Let’s Never Stop Falling In Love”.  It was featured in the Brad Pitt/Angelina Jolie movie Mr. & Mrs. Smith.

Thomas Lauderdale started Pink Martini in the ‘90’s, mostly to play at local events in Portland, Oregon.  When he needed a vocalist, he called his good friend from Harvard, China Forbes.  She had been performing off Broadway, but decided to fly to Portland for a couple of weeks.  Lauderdale convinced her to stay (in 1998), and Pink Martini progressed into a group that performs at sold out shows in Europe and America.

Here are their first two albums.  They’re filled with songs that have melodies that are so well written they’ll stay with you after just a few listens.  Most of the songs are vocals, but there are also instrumentals that highlight the talents of the players.  Here’s their arrangement of “Andalucia”:

And, here’s an example of a song they wrote in Italian, “Una Notte A Napoli” (One Night In Naples).  It starts slowly, but then the rhythm kicks in.

My wife and I moved to Oregon in 2008, and have seen Pink Martini perform at an outdoor concert in Bend, and with the symphony here in Eugene.  We also saw Thomas Lauderdale in a knockout performance of Gershwin’s “Rhapsody In Blue” in Salem.

There can’t be another group that wrote a song based on a Hunt’s Catsup ad.  The ad said “Hang on little tomato” until you’re ready to become Hunt’s Catsup.  The beautiful little song by Pink Martini is not about tomatoes, but presents the idea that people in a dark time of their lives, should hang on until sunny days return.  Here’s “Hang On Little Tomato” (the vocal comes in after the melody is established for nearly half of the 3:16 song):

If you’re interested in hearing more of Pink Martini, you can stream their first two albums, or try their compilation album “A Retrospective”.  Getting to know them will give you a unique listening experience.

The Who…Tommy & Who’s Next

The first and only single I ever bought by The Who was also their only Top 10 hit…”I Can See For Miles”…#9 in 1967.

The band was not especially successful with singles.  They only had seven other Top 20 hits, and another 8 singles that reached the bottom half of the Top 40.  Where they shined was creating two of the most iconic albums of the Rock era…and those I bought.


It was in 1969 that The Who released what was called the first “Rock Opera”, Tommy.

Mostly written by Pete Townshend, Tommy was a two-record set that details the mostly tragic life of a boy who was shocked into being deaf, dumb, and blind.  There are a lot of characters in the story, but The Who sang all of the parts.  To clarify who was singing what part of the drama, the lyrics and character names were in a booklet included with the album.

The Who consisted of lead singer Roger Daltrey, drummer Keith Moon, lead guitarist Pete Townshend, and bassist John Entwistle.

Tommy is one of the first concept albums.  Townshend’s term of “Rock Opera” may seem a bit fanciful, but it is a groundbreaking work.  The album has several well known songs, including “Pinball Wizard”, “I’m Free”, “See Me, Feel Me”, and “The Overture From Tommy”.  “Overture” is the instrumental that opened the record, and introduced us to the major melodies we were about to hear throughout the album.

When I put together a playlist of The Who’s Best, I chose enough of Tommy to tell the basic story.  The mix even incorporates the lyric-appropriate songs “I Can See For Miles” and “Behind Blue Eyes (alternate version)” into a 39-minute Tommy mix:

Although it was their fourth album, Tommy was their breakthrough achievement, and the album that solidified their position as Rock stars.  Surprisingly, The Who’s next studio album would be considered even greater.

The Who’s Next album cover gave us the sci-fi cool of a monolith, with the crass demeanor often associated with Rock stars at that time.  The music on the album was progressive in 1971.

Synthesizers were still fairly new, but Pete Townshend kicked off the album with a synthesizer part on “Baba O’Riley” that is timeless.  The song’s original title was “Teenage Wasteland”, and it was part of a planned concept album called Lifehouse.  The Who had trouble pulling together that project, but instead released Who’s Next, which contained a large portion of those songs.

The other popular tracks from the album are “Behind Blue Eyes” and “Won’t Get Fooled Again”.  That song was 8:33, but a shorter edit was released as a single to get airplay on AM radio.  Album Oriented Rock FM radio stations also played a lot of the album’s other songs.

Over the years, more songs from the Lifehouse project were released.  Here’s my playlist, which has the best of those songs, and in the order originally planned in 1971.

Pete Townshend is a multi-instrumentalist, and two of these cuts are from his Who Came First solo album…”Pure & Easy” and “Let’s See Action”.

Here’s his version of “Pure & Easy”:

And here’s a clever fan-made cover for the album that utilizes an alternate shot from The Who’s Next photo shoot.

It seems like The Who have had an endless number of “Greatest Hits” collections (and “Farewell Tours”), but two albums represent the height of their career, Tommy and Who’s Next.

Paul McCartney…Still Touring (Sings With John! + Updates)

Nobody expected our Rock & Roll heroes from the ‘60’s would still be touring in their 80’s!  Paul McCartney turned 80 on June 18th, 2022, and on April 28th, 2022, he opened his “Got Back” tour in Spokane, Washington.


(Photo Colin Mulvany / The Spokesman-Review)

According to a report in Rolling Stone, McCartney played a long set of Beatles, Wings, and solo songs to an enthusiastic sold out crowd.  The band included some of the musicians he’s toured with for years, plus a horn section.  The Covid pandemic kept Paul from touring for over two years, and he was obviously ready to get back to it.

In a first, Paul McCartney’s solo tour included him singing with John Lennon.  The Director of the Get Back documentary, Peter Jackson, had provided a video of John Lennon singing his part of “I’ve Got A Feeling”, with the vocal isolated.  That way, Paul and the band performed the song live, with John behind them on a large screen singing the “Everybody had a hard year.” section of the song.

Paul also saluted George Harrison by singing “Something” using a ukulele George had given him.  And to complete The Beatles connection, Paul and his wife (“everyone knew her as Nancy”) recently went to dinner with Ringo Starr and his wife, Barbara.

Rolling Stone provided this song list (click to enlarge).

Let’s face it, Paul McCartney doesn’t need to tour to push his music or to make money.  He tours because he loves performing.

Update:  (June 25th, 2022)  Paul McCartney headlined the Glastonbury Festival for a set that lasted well over two-hours.  He had a couple of surprise guests.  The Foo Fighters’ Dave Grohl joined Paul for “I Saw Her Standing There” and “Band On The Run”.  Then Bruce Springsteen joined for “Glory Days” and “I Wanna Be Your Man”.  All three artists performed the Beatles song “The End”.

Update: (June, 2022)  At 81, Ringo Starr is again touring with his All-Starr Band.  Unfortunately, some of the concert dates had to be postponed due to members of Starr’s band testing positive for Covid.

Vinyl & CD’s…Make A Comeback (Updates)

Are we too quick to always move on to the next thing?  The fast elimination of devices to play CD’s…removed from vehicles and computers…seemed like a plot to get everyone to subscribe to streaming services.  It’s working, because 83% of what we pay for music goes to streaming services.  But a surprising thing happened in 2021.  Both vinyl records and CD’s saw increased sales.

Fans still have a desire to physically own albums by their favorite artists.  Box sets also include books, photos, lyrics, and other items & information that add to the music listening experience.  The increase for vinyl records is a 15-year trend.

About two years ago, the amount of money spent on vinyl passed CD’s and is now 63% of physical sales.  Maybe CD’s will also be sticking around, because sales increased 21% in 2021.  That’s the first increase for CD’s since a 2004 peak.

Here’s the breakdown of all music sales as shown in Variety:

Streaming dominates, and it should.  It gives instant access to about 70-million songs for around $10 a month.  Two of the streaming services, Apple Music and Amazon Music, now have high quality audio, sometimes called “lossless”.  That makes them similar to the quality of CD’s.  The purchase of digital downloads used to dominate music buying, but it’s fallen drastically to 4%.  The 2% labeled “Synch” is for other music uses, such as licensing for movies and television.

Architectural Digest even published an article about the popularity of “listening rooms” being added to homes.  Here are a couple of shots they included.

Wow, that brings back the 70’s & 80’s!  At one time I had over 2,000 records and CD’s, but sold most of my collection, after putting the songs in my computer.   That was a few years before our big move to Oregon in 2008.  The second-biggest drawback of a large physical collection is storing it.  The biggest drawback is moving it.

Here’s a photo not found in Architectural Digest.  I’m down to a small cabinet in a corner of my office.  It has a couple rows of CD’s, some DVD’s, and the bottom has quite a few box sets.  Although vinyl & CD’s are still selling, they’re more like keepsakes limited to fan’s favorite artists or music.  Today, few people would try to use physical media to provide their complete listening experience.

Since a CD/DVD player wasn’t included with my Mac, I had to buy an Apple CD/DVD player/burner ($79).   Then I could still dub CD’s into my iTunes playlists of about the 20,000 songs I’ve purchased over many decades.  That’s what I listen to most, and it doesn’t take up any room.  To play artists whose songs I don’t have, I subscribe to Amazon Music.


Another corner of my office is for audio editing, making playlists, etc.

CD’s are still a great way to share music, and of course they allow people to load the songs into their own computers,  Recently, I made a couple of CD’s for one of my sisters after she selected her favorite songs by The Beatles.  She told me her son indicated he thought it was “quaint” to still be using CD’s…but now we know she’s part of a trend!

If only we weren’t running out of ways to play them.

Extra Point:  Using a rough estimate of $25 for each vinyl record, and $10 for each CD, and dividing those into the money spent on each format…more CD’s were bought than records in 2021.

Update:  (May, 2022)  Variety added some more statistics for 2021 from Luminate Industries.  While Rock music still dominates overall vinyl sales, the Pop category is the fastest growing.  Seven of the top 10 selling albums were by Pop artists, and Taylor Swift led the way with three of those albums.


Millennials who want a physical format are choosing vinyl, so it’s likely to keep growing.

Extra:  A reader sent in a couple photos of his amazing “studio” that I think deserved to be in the Architectural Digest article.


He says the room has a custom surround sound system, about 14,000 LP’s & CD’s, and whenever he walks into the room he smiles.  I would too!

Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame…Problems

It seemed like a good name and idea when the first class was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame in 1986.  But, the trend of popular music was already moving away from Rock.  So the Rock & Roll Hall of fame board decided to put in artists who certainly didn’t belong in the “Rock & Roll” music category.  It became obvious that a better name would have been the Rock & Pop Hall Of Fame.  Country music has it’s own Hall Of Fame, so Rock & Pop would cover most of the rest.

(The Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame Museum in Cleveland.)

It takes 25 years after an artist’s first chart success for them to become eligible to be inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame.  Once 1980’s artists became eligible, big Pop stars like Michael Jackson,  Madonna, and Rap artists took the place of the rapidly declining number of Rock performers.  There’s been a lot of ongoing controversy over who gets in, and who doesn’t.  A lot of that has to do with the acts not fitting in with the limiting name.

Another big problem is how women have been slighted.



Linda Ronstadt was the first woman to sell out arenas, and to consistently release Platinum albums.  Some of her songs rocked as hard as many of the bands in the ‘70’s.  The minute she became eligible for the Hall Of Fame, she should have been voted in.  Instead, it took 20 years!  Maybe it was because she no longer looked like “The Queen of Rock & Roll” as she was called by Rolling Stone magazine in the 1970’s.  The Queen of Soul, the King of Pop, and the Donna of Disco were all inducted before the Queen of Rock & Roll.

Compare Ronstadt’s massive trailblazing success to male artists who got into the hall long ago.  Some had only one really significant hit…Del Shannon with “Runaway” (#1) and Eddie Cochran with “Summertime Blues” (#8)…and they were quickly added to the hall.  They’re great, but their impact was significantly less than artists like Linda Ronstadt, Carly Simon, Carole King, and Pat Benatar.

Maybe since Linda Ronstadt wasn’t a songwriter, it hurt her chances, but if that was a requirement, Elvis Presley wouldn’t have made it.  Major songwriter Carole King was finally voted in last year.  Her extremely influential album Tapestry towers over contributions from some of the other artists who’ve been in the hall for decades.

This year, Carly Simon and Pat Benatar are nominated.  It could be argued that Carly Simon isn’t “Rock & Roll”, but neither is Whitney Houston or a large potion of the other members.  Pat Benatar certainly had a number of Rock hits.  Her songs “Heartbreaker” and “Hit Me With Your Best Shot” were even considered on the hard side of Rock & Roll when they first came out.  It’s a puzzle why she didn’t get in much earlier.

Another woman is also nominated this year…Dolly Parton.  She’s a beloved force of nature, and will very likely be voted in, but she’s pure Country.  Another Country artist, Johnny Cash, was placed in the Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame 30 years ago, but of course he’s a guy.  Update:  Dolly Parton “respectfully” declined to be considered for the Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame.  She says she doesn’t want to divide any votes, and she knows she isn’t a Rock & Roll artist…which you’d think the nominating committee would know too.  Unfortunately, the ballots had already gone out.

Update 2:  Pop singer Dionne Warwick is also inexplicably nominated this year, and doesn’t think she should be.  She knows her style of music is far removed from Rock & Roll.  She said she might be interested if they changed the name to something like The Music Hall Of Fame.

Since they’re including Rock, Pop, Disco, R&B, Rap, Country, and nearly all forms of music…they need a better name and a bigger museum.

The results:  So who got in?  Pat Benatar, Carly Simon, Dolly Parton, Lionel Richie, Duran Duran, Eurythmics, Eminem, and although they didn’t get in through voting, the band Judas Priest was appointed as an inductee by the board.  Not exactly a Rock & Roll class…but some Pop artists who deserved to be recognized anyway.

The Beatles Rooftop Concert (Review)

The entire Rooftop Concert by The Beatles was made available to music streaming services on Jan 28th, 2022.  There’s a short review included below.  By the way, the IMAX showing of the concert January 30th, 2022 was a hit, with near sellouts reported across the nation.

Many fans were disappointed when the full rooftop performance was not included in the Let It Be remixed box set.  So, Giles Martin and Sam Okell have remixed the entire 40-minute concert and made it available to streaming services.  With the exception of lower quality audio bootlegs, this is the first time we can hear the entire concert without the on-street interviews of the film interrupting the songs.

The DVD/Blu-ray of the Get Back movie was originally scheduled to be released February 8th, but was delayed.  My Amazon DVD of Get Back was delivered February 28th, 2022.  No word on when the Blu-ray would be available.

(Glad the guy on the far left survived!)

The concert was really a recording session, and several of the songs were repeated in order to get the best takes for the album and film.


The audio has a little chatter between songs and a bit of minor strumming on their instruments, plus a 25-second instrumental of “God Save The Queen”.

Giles Martin had previously said the full concert wasn’t included with the box set, because it was more enjoyable with the video.  He says the strong reaction to the Get Back documentary convinced them that fans would enjoy having the audio, even with multiple takes and imperfections.  From a practical standpoint, the entire concert would have easily fit on CD 5 of the box set, which only had four songs.  However, it would have required another whole record in the vinyl box set.

It’s noteworthy that the concert is only on streaming services, and has not been made available for sale…thus avoiding more complaints about it not being included with the box set, but then charging for it separately.

These remixed rooftop recordings are a huge improvement over bootleg versions.  There are only five Beatles songs played on the rooftop, and the best versions of four of them were already included with the recent Let It Be remixed box set.  Three of those have always been on the main album…”I’ve Got A Feeling”, “One After 909”, and “Dig A Pony”.  The first rooftop take of “Don’t Let Me Down” was also included with the box set.  It’s the one where John Lennon forgets the lyrics and sings some smile-inducing gibberish instead.  If you want a corrected version, the Paul McCartney produced Let It Be…Naked album combines the best parts of the two takes done on the rooftop.

A song from the rooftop recordings that was not actually on Let It Be is “Get Back”.  The version used on the album was a studio recording with some added rooftop chatter to make it seem like it was part of the concert.  You get three takes of “Get Back” with the new streaming concert.  Take 2 is probably the best.  The final take is the one where Paul McCartney ad-libs about getting arrested for playing on the roof.

It’s quite a feat of musicianship and audio engineering that recordings from a rooftop could sound this good.  It’s great to finally have all of the versions of the songs that were played during the last live performance of The Beatles.

Just For Fun Extra:  Inspired by Paul McCartney using the two live versions of “Don’t Let Me Down” to form one good version, I decided to edit together the best possible version of “Get Back” from the three rooftop performances (using GarageBand).  I started with Lennon’s silly pre-song comment  “…but she was a frying pan”, then used the first half of “Get Back” Take 1 (just through “Get back Jo”).  Next came the second half of Take 2, followed by the “arrested” ending segment from Take 3, which also has the “…passed the audition” joke.  It sounds good, and is probably close to what they would have done if they had wanted to only use live performances for the concert material on Let It Be.  The album could have started with the hit studio version of “Get Back”, and ended with this live version:

Reimagining the Let It Be song order to put the rooftop songs together on side two:

The Top Beatles Albums…According To The Public

There’s always debate about which is the best Beatles album.  Well, the public has been voting since the first Beatles album was released, and for over 50 years since the last original Beatles album was released.  They cast their ballots with their money.  Critics and fans can have their favorites, but it’s always interesting to see what albums the most people were willing to pay for.  If you’ve seen any similar lists, you might find a couple of surprises here.  You’ll see the ranking of all 12 of The Beatles original studio albums, and be reminded of what songs are on them.  Let’s start right at the top,


#1  Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band (1967)

With over 32-million copies sold, Sgt. Pepper is the most popular of The Beatles regular albums.  Only their collection of #1 songs, Beatles 1, has sold approximately the same amount, and is poised to sell more.  Sgt. Pepper was a risk for The Beatles.  There had never been a mainstream album as innovative and imaginative as this one.  Producer George Martin said he was afraid they’d gone too far with it, but it opened the door for other artists to be more daring too.  Although the singles from these sessions, “Penny Lane” and “Strawberry Fields Forever” were not on the album, the familiarity of many of the album tracks makes them seem like singles.

#2  Revolver (1966)

The Beatles’ first album to make full use of the recording studio comes in at #2.  Revolver featured backwards guitars, altered voices, the use of tape loops, psychedelic lyrics, and much more.

It may be the peak of songwriting by Paul McCartney.  His songs from the album sessions are “Eleanor Rigby”, “Here There And Everywhere”, “For No One”, “Good Day Sunshine”, “Got To Get You Into My Life”, and the single “Paperback Writer”.  John Lennon’s songs are “I’m Only Sleeping”, “Doctor Robert”, “And Your Bird Can Sing”, ”She Said She Said”, the group’s very experimental “Tomorrow Never Knows”, and the single “Rain”.  George Harrison had three songs, “Taxman”, “I Want To Tell You”, and “Love You To”.  The album has sold over 27 million copies.

#3  Rubber Soul (1965)

This was an album of growth for The Beatles.  Their songwriting was maturing, and venturing beyond love songs…including Lennon’s “Nowhere Man” and “In My Life”, but it also has one of McCartney’s great love songs, “Michelle”.  The album has proven to be very popular with fans, as it sits between the early Beatlemania and the non-touring studio years.  It’s sold over 16.5 million copies.

#4  The Beatles (The White Album)  (1968)

The Beatles were bursting with songs when they came back from their time with the Maharishi in India.  The result was a double album with 30 tracks.  Sales are over 16-million.  There’s a huge variety of musical styles from the beautiful acoustic “Blackbird” to the hard rock of “Helter Skelter”.  Other highlights include “Back In The U.S,S.R.” and one of George Harrison’s best songs, “While My Guitar Gently Weeps”.

#5  Abbey Road (1969)

This album tends to be a favorite of Beatles fans who were born after all these albums came out.  Abbey Road starts off with “Come Together”, and includes George Harrison’s strongest showing with “Here Comes The Sun” and “Something”.  The unique feature of the album is the side two medley.  Sales are over 10-million.

#6  Magical Mystery Tour (1967)

This started out as a six song EP in England, but Capitol Records in America added five singles to make it a full album.  It’s sold over 6-million copies.  New songs at the time included “Magical Mystery Tour”, “Fool On The Hill” and “I Am The Walrus”.  The recent singles they added included “Penny Lane”, “Strawberry Fields Forever”, and “All You Need Is Love”.  It’s a really good album that people sometimes overlook, because it wasn’t one The Beatles had originally planned.  The song titles are all on the front cover.

#7  Meet The Beatles  (1964)

You won’t find this album on many lists of the best selling Beatles albums, because the official version of this is now With The Beatles, which only sold about 600,000 copies in the U.K.  In America, Meet The Beatles sold over 5-million copies, including 4-million in its first year.  The album kicks off with “I Want To Hold Your Hand”, “This Boy”, and “I Saw Her Standing There”…plus it has “All My Loving”.

#8 Let It Be  (1970) [Recorded in 1969 before Abbey Road]

The public loves this album more than many critics, and it certainly has some strong songs, including three #1 singles…“Get Back”, “Let It Be” & “The Long And Winding Road”.  It’s sold over 5-million copies, and has added sales with the October 2021 remix, which put it at #1 for physical sales (vinyl & CD’s) the week it was released.

#9  A Hard Day’s Night  (1964)

The third album by The Beatles is their first to have all original songs by Lennon & McCartney.  The album contained the big hits “Can’t Buy Me Love” and “A Hard Day’s Night”, as well as one of the most covered songs of all time, “And I Love Her”.  Other standout tracks include John Lennon’s rocker “”You Can’t Do That”, his ballad “If I Fell”, and McCartney’s “Things We Said Today”.  The album has sold over 4.1 million copies.

(First 7 songs were on the soundtrack in the U.S.)

#10  The Beatles For Sale / Beatles ‘65  (1964)

Here’s another album that usually misses the list of best sellers. It’s because of differences between the British and American versions.  Together they’ve sold over 4-million copies.  You can see there are a lot of good songs on the album, but in America, Capitol removed some of them and added the songs from the single at that time, “I Feel Fine” & “She’s A Woman”.  Still, they’re mostly the same album.

#11  Help  (1965)

The Beatles second movie album, Help, is solid, with hits “Ticket To Ride” (#1), “Help” (#1), and the most covered song of all time “Yesterday” (#1).  Other standouts include “You’ve Got To Hide Your Love Away” and “I’ve Just Seen A Face”.  The album sold over 3.6 million copies.

#12  Please Please Me  (1963)

This first album by The Beatles sold 3.2 million copies, which includes the sales of the American versions, Introducing The Beatles The Early Beatles.  Please Please Me featured the first two singles by The Beatles, “Love Me Do” and “Please Please Me”.  The Beatles were surprised when VJ Records released “Twist And Shout” as a single, but it hit #2 and became the song The Beatles most often used to open their concerts.  A self-written rocker, “I Saw Her Standing There”,  was a strong opener for the album.  Eight of the songs were originals, and six were cover songs that The Beatles had been playing live.

Those are the twelve original studio albums by The Beatles, but they’re just the tip of the sales iceberg.  With all the compilations and special releases, The Beatles have sold over 600-million albums.  That’s more than any other artist.  Update:  In mid-2022, EMI (The parent company for Apple Records) estimated The Beatles have sold over 1-Billion records.

Extra:  Using the public’s purchasing totals to rank the albums gives us a solid top five whose totals stand out from the other albums.  Sgt. Pepper, Revolver, and Rubber Soul certainly make a reasonable top three.  If you think #5 Abbey Road should have been ranked higher than #4 The White Album, you may be right.  Abbey Road sold more units (10-million) than The White Album  (8-million units)…but since it’s a double album, each unit officially counts as two, making it 16-million.

The Beatles Get Back on DVD/Blu-Ray (New Date Set)

The complete 8-hour Get Back movie was supposed to be released on DVD & Blu-ray on February 8th, 2022, but was postponed.  Finally, an official announcement has set the new release date for July 12th, 2022.  Here’s the updated listing:

My Amazon DVD order of Get Back (above) was delivered February 28th, 2022.  The delay of the Blu-ray was due to a technical issue with the surround audio.  My three DVD’s played just fine in a quick test.

Crazy Update:  Some of the recalled discs have made their way to eBay.  Here are a couple of completed sales:


The prices varied wildly.  These two March 3rd sales are high priced ones, and the lowest I spotted was $50 from an earlier sale.  It seems nuts to spend a thousand dollars for flawed discs that will be available in corrected form in July.

Meanwhile, there’s more info on the releases, and an audio bonus below.

Before the DVD release, the rooftop concert had a special showing at IMAX theaters on January 30th, which is the anniversary of the original event.  It’s an hour long film, and the presentation included comments from Director Peter Jackson, as well as a Q&A by satellite after the showing.  The event was reported as nearly sold out across the country.  There was also a regular IMAX theatrical showing (no Peter Jackson Q&A) of this one-hour film for one weekend, February 11th-13th (extended a bit in the U.K.). 



Update:  
The entire 40-minute audio of the rooftop concert was released to music streaming services on Friday, January 28th, 2022.  It’s been remixed by Giles Martin and Sam Okell.  The sound quality is excellent, and we can hear all the songs without the breaks for street interviews used in the film.

The full nearly 8-hour 3-part documentary is included with the new DVD release, but apparently no extras are provided.  There’s no word on when (or if) the original Let It Be movie will be upgraded and released.  It would have been great if the DVD set had included Jackson’s original movie-length version that was to be shown in theaters in August of 2020.


The DVD is listed on Amazon as a 3-disc set for $34.99 (lowered to $24.99).  The Blu-ray is listed at $44.99 (lowered to $34.99).

The Blu-ray listing is on Apple’s official site for the full list price of $44.99.  Here’s the information they included:


Based on the run time, the only “extras” are the four collectors cards shown with the Blu-ray set.

Bonus:  Just for fun, check out this custom edit of the three rooftop versions of “Get Back” made into one “best version”:

Here’s the link to my review of the Get Back movie:  https://ontherecords.net/2021/11/the-beatles-get-back-movie-review/

Here’s a review of the Let It Be remix box set:  https://ontherecords.net/2021/10/let-it-be-remix-box-set-review/