There are few bands in music history as iconic as The Beatles. Yet even with their untimely breakup in 1970, John, Paul, George and Ringo proved they could still make great music on their own. Take a look at the very best music to come out of the solo careers of The Beatles.
10. ‘Working Class Hero’ – John Lennon
One of the main themes of Lennon’s post-Beatles music was the expression of his political beliefs. Within his first album after the breakup, he explored that theme with this song about social classes. Lennon backed up a bluesy sound that made it powerful and memorable.
9. ‘All Things Must Pass’ – George Harrison
One of the many factors in the demise of The Beatles was Harrison’s growing dissatisfaction with his role in the group. Despite his talents as a songwriter, Lennon and McCartney repeatedly turned down his songs. Such is the case with this brilliant and hypnotic tune which found life in his solo career and further cemented his immense talents.
8. ‘Live and Let Die’ – Paul McCartney
The closest the world has gotten to having The Beatles perform a James Bond song. And a very unique Bond song at that. McCartney’s fun, experimental sounds might feel out of place in the context of a spy thriller, but it proved to be one of those rare Bond themes that is more memorable than the movie itself.
7. ‘Instant Karma’ – John Lennon
Though derided by many fans, Lennon’s partnership with Yoko Ono provided some great music. This song became one of the earliest hits in his solo career. Its rock n’ roll feel and 50s style showed that Lennon was more than willing to have fun with his own music while still voicing those strong opinions.
6. ‘Band on the Run’ – Paul McCartney
Though you’d be hard-pressed to find someone who thinks his career with Wings matches his work with The Beatles, McCartney’s follow-up band produced its share of memorable tunes. This proved to be Wing’s crowning glory. The unusual structure separates into three parts combining to a epic song that really let McCarney do some experimentation.
5. ‘Photograph’ – Ringo Starr
Poor Ringo. Often the butt of many jokes, he is an underrated member of the group with immense talent on his own. Look no further than this hit song Starr wrote with George Harrison. A bouncing and cheerful tune, it’s no surprise it became a pretty significant hit.
4. ‘My Sweet Lord’—George Harrison
Late in The Beatles era, Harrison began directing the band towards the teachings of Hinduism. It is said this caused some rift between the group but the spiritual awakening clearly served to inspire Harrison’s music going forward. This insanely catchy song combined a number of intermingling sounds into a sensational mix.
3. ‘Maybe I’m Amazed’ – Paul McCartney
Reportedly written by McCartney just after the breakup and being an ode to his then-wife, this is maybe the one song after The Beatles era that most sounds like it came from the group. McCartney’s soulful and charming approach feels right at home in the band’s entire catalog.
2. ‘What is Life’ – George Harrison
It could very well be argued that Harrison has the most impressive solo career of all the Fab Four. Nearing the end of the band, Harrison was becoming quite possibly the best songwriter in the bunch and his solo career allowed him to let loose. This, his most popular song, was a testament to those skills and his considerable guitar talents.
1. ‘Imagine’ – John Lennon
Lennon sadly had the shortest solo career, but he managed to deliver a song that rivals anything coming from his time with The Beatles. In many ways, it’s a simple song about complex things. Maybe too simplistic for some, but there’s no denying it’s a worthwhile and powerful message. Lennon’s tragic death cemented the song’s iconic status in history.
What’s your favourite post-Beatles song from the Fab Four?