The most successful band in the history of popular music!
The Beatles are the most commercially successful and critically acclaimed band in the history of popular music.
Estimated by EMI, The Beatles have sold over one billion discs and tapes worldwide.
Being the clear leaders of the so-called British Invasion (other acts include The Kinks, The Who, The Rolling Stones, The Animals, Cream, The Yardbirds, and Dusty Springfield), they took America by storm. With their catchy rock n roll-infused pop, there was hysteria everywhere they went.
On the 29th of August, 1966, The Beatles played their last live show. It was held at the Candlestick Park in San Fransisco, U.S. Performing with not much more than a Vox AC30 each, it has famously become a landmark.
The Fab Four had at this point had enough of not hearing themselves over all the screaming fans, and the saying goes that modern touring was invented fifteen minutes after this show. After all, necessity is the mother of invention.
There is so much to talk about when it comes to The Beatles, you could spend a lifetime researching their impact on popular culture. Perhaps these 10 books are a good starting point.
Here at Spytunes, we focus on the tunes so let’s go through their impressive catalog and pick out the (many!) highlights from each studio album.
Starting out in March 1963, The Beatles released their first studio album, Please Please Me. Apart from the title track, other important tunes were Love Me Do, I Saw Her Standing There, Do You Want To Know A Secret, as well as Twist & Shout.
The debut contained half original material and half covers, the aforementioned Twist & Shout was a cover and so was Baby It’s You, written by Burt Bacharach.
Only six months later, they released their second studio album, With The Beatles. Here we get treated to more covers and original material.
None of the original tunes became hits. Among the covers we heard Money (That’s What I Want), You Really Got A Hold on Me (Smokey Robinson), and Please Mr. Postman, all Motown material, clearly showcasing their main influence. We also heard Roll Over Beethoven, a classic Chuck Berry tune.
On the American version, the order was different and the album was called The Beatles Second Album. The last tune on the B-side, She Loves You would become a huge success as a single, hitting the #1 spot in several countries, even breaking sales and chart records.
In 1964, The Beatles released another two albums, the first came with a movie and was called A Hard Days Night.
Apart from the title track we also got And I Love Her and Can’t Buy Me Love. All tunes on this album were original compositions.
Later the same year they released Beatles for Sale and the covers were back with tunes by Carl Perkins, Chuck Berry, and Buddy Holly.
However, the best tune on this album opened up the B-side and was an original composition dubbed Eight Days A Week.
1965 and it’s more of the same from the Fab Four as they release Help! Here we get the title track, You’ve Got To Hide Your Love Away, Ticket To Ride, Act Naturally (cover), and the immortal Yesterday.
As the hard-working boys they were, they managed to release another album the same year, and now things are getting more complex.
Big tunes from Rubber Soul are Drive My Car, Norwegian Wood, Nowhere Man, Michelle, Girl, and I’ve Just Seen A Face.
Any band would be well happy with all these hits, The Beatles was only halfway through!
The second half
Next, they released Revolver in 1966, this is even more complex and would be the only album they released that year. Big tunes from Revolver include Taxman, Eleanor Rigby, Here, There and Everywhere, Yellow Submarine, Good Day Sunshine, For No One, and Tomorrow Never Knows.
Clearly, by now the band has a different level of production techniques, although this pales in comparison to what they are about to drop!
In 1967, The Beatles released Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. Here we have one of the most legendary recordings ever made. The entire world was in absolute awe at how a band could sound like this.
What is so insane is that it was all done on a four-track tape machine!
The biggest tunes on Sgt Pepper were the title track, With A Little Help From My Friends, Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds, Being For The Benefit Of Mr. Kite!, Within You Without You, When I’m Sixty-Four, and of course, the immense A Day in the Life.
How do you possibly follow something like Sgt. Pepper? With a double album called The Beatles, or The White Album as the world knows it.
Here we find Back In The U.S.S.R., Dear Prudence, Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da, While My Guitar Gently Weeps, Blackbird, Rocky Raccoon, Yer Blues, Mother Nature’s Son, Helter Skelter, Revolution, and Savoy Truffle.
These last two albums are some of pop music’s most important work so what comes next is almost a bit of a break as The Beatles release Yellow Submarine. Although it did contain All You Need Is Love.
Before the boys call it a day and pursue solo careers, they have two more studio albums for us, first, Abbey Road which had Come Together, Something, I Want You, and Here Comes The Sun on it. This album was released in 1969, the same year as Yellow Submarine.
1970 is the year the story of The Beatles comes to an end with the release of Let It Be. Apart from the title track we also got Across The Universe, Get Back, The Long and Winding Road, and my favorite which only appeared as a B-side on the single for Let It Be, Don’t Let Me Down.
I don’t know about you but to me, no band or artist has ever released a more impressive string of hit tunes than The Beatles did between 1963 and 1970.
The Beatles broke up on 31 December 1970 as Paul filed suit for their contractual partnership to be dissolved. It would take four years before John signed the papers, effectively ending the band.
Post The Beatles, Paul, John, and George set off on individual solo careers, all doing very well.
Paul McCartney’s post-Beatles tunes
Paul’s first big tune was Maybe I’m Amazed from his debut album McCartney (1970), the follow-up, Ram, came the next year but didn’t have any big hits.
After Ram, Paul formed a band called Wings with his wife Linda, the debut also came in 1971. Single Love Is Strange featured in Dirty Dancing many years later, although it wouldn’t be the main tune from that film (Do You Love Me and Time Of My Life were).
Wings’ next album, Red Rose Speedway came with the single My Love which was the band’s first big tune in the U.S., although not as big as their next two releases.
For the 1973 James Bond film, Live And Let Die, Wings provided the theme tune and then followed it up with their signature song the same year, Band On The Run. This was the lead single from their best-selling album. One more single is found here in Jet. All three did well in the charts.
The rest of the ’70s would see more albums from Wings, their biggest tune during the latter years was Mull of Kintyre which was only released as a single in 1977. McCartney decided to go solo again in 1980.
It would take until 1982 before a collaboration with Stevie Wonder resulted in Ebony and Ivory from the album Tug of War. This would be McCartney’s last big tune.
John Lennon’s post-Beatles tunes
Just like Paul, John would collaborate with his wife, Yoko.
His first release, John Lennon, Plastic Ono Band came with one tune, Working Class Hero. This was wildly regarded as a Dylan-esque composition. The only single from the debut was Mother, it wasn’t perceived very well. Overall, this album felt bitter. His next release couldn’t be more different.
A year after the debut, John had seemingly chilled out as he released the epic Imagine, the lead single being one of the world’s most recognized tunes. There was another fantastic tune on this album in Jealous Guy. There’s a cover version of this by Donny Hathaway which is my favourite live recording of all time (included in the playlist above).
Lennon would continue to release albums, although the hits dried up after Imagine. His final album, Double Fantasy came in 1980. Here we find his last big tune, Woman.
John Lennon was murdered in New York on the 8th of December 1980 by a crazy fan.
George Harrison’s post-Beatles tunes
George was actually the first out of the blocks, releasing two solo albums before The Beatles had even called it a day.
The first, called Wonderwall came in 1968, no big tunes are to be found here. The follow-up, Electronic Sound, was an experimental two-song album that wasn’t well received.
On George’s third album, however, All Things Must Pass, he knocked it out of the park with the huge My Sweet Lord. This was the first #1 by an ex-Beatle.
Following My Sweet Lord, George released several albums without hits until 1987’s Cloud Nine which had Got My Mind Set On You.
Cloud Nine was produced by Jeff Lynn (ELO) and during the recording the two came up with the idea for supergroup the Traveling Wilburys.
Appropriately named, this was the last big tune to come from a Beatle.
The Beatles tunes | Related pages
Back In The U.S.S.R.
You can learn how to play Back In The U.S.S.R. by The Beatles using chords, lyrics, chord analysis, and the original recording.
| A | D | C | D7 |
Flew in from Miami Beach B.O.A.C. Didn’t get to bed last night…
You can learn how to play Blackbird by The Beatles using chords, lyrics, TAB, chord analysis, and Spytunes video guitar lessons.
| 3/4 G Am7 G/B | 4/4 G |
Blackbird singing in the dead of night…
Can’t Buy Me Love
You can learn how to play Can’t Buy Me Love by The Beatles using chords, lyrics, and the original recording.
| C | C | C | C |
I’ll buy you a diamond ring my friend, if it makes you feel alright…
You can learn how to play Come Together by The Beatles using chords, lyrics, chord analysis, TAB, and the original recording.
| Dm7 | Dm7 |
Here come old flat top, he come grooving up slowly…
Drive My Car
You can learn how to play Drive My Car by The Beatles using chords, lyrics, chord analysis, TAB, and the original recording.
| D7 | G7 | D7 | G7 |
Asked a girl what she wanted to be, she said, Baby, can’t you see…
End Of The Line
You can learn how to play End Of The Line by the Traveling Wilburys using chords, lyrics, chord analysis, TAB, and the original recording.
| D D/A | D | D A | G |
Well, it’s alright, ridin’ around in the breeze…
You can learn how to play Get Back by The Beatles using chords, lyrics, chord analysis, and the original recording.
| A5 (A6) | A5 (A6 A7) | D7 (D6) | A5 (A6 A7) |
Jojo was a man who thought he was a loner, but he knew it couldn’t last…
I Feel Fine
You can learn how to play I Feel Fine by The Beatles using chords, lyrics, chord analysis, TAB, and the original recording.
| G7 | Gsus4 Gadd9 | G7 | Gsus4 Gadd9 | D7 | Dsus4 Dadd9 |
Baby’s good to me, you know she’s happy as can be, you know she said so…
I Saw Her Standing There
You can learn how to play I Saw Her Standing There by The Beatles using chords, lyrics, chord analysis, and the original recording.
| E7 | E7 | A | E7 |
Well, she was just seventeen, you know what I mean…
Money (That’s What I Want)
Learn how to play Money (That’s What I Want) by Barrett Strong using chords, lyrics, TAB, backing track, and Spytunes video guitar lessons
| F N.C | N.C Bb C |
The best things in life are free…
Now And Then
You can learn how to play Now And Then by The Beatles using chords, lyrics, chord analysis, TAB, and the original recording.
| Am (Asus4) | G6 | Am (Asus4) | G6 |
I know it’s true. It’s all because of you…
Roll Over Beethoven
You can learn how to play Roll Over Beethoven by Chuck Berry using chords, lyrics, chord analysis, and the original recording.
| D7 | G7 | D7 | D7 |
Well, I’ma write a little letter, I’m gonna mail it to my local DJ…
She Loves You
You can learn how to play She Loves You by The Beatles using chords, lyrics, chord analysis, TAB, and the original recording.
| G | Em | Bm | D7 |
You think you’ve lost your love. Well, I saw her yesterday…
Twist & Shout
You can learn how to play Twist & Shout By The Beatles using chords, lyrics, TAB, chord analysis, and the original recording.
| A5 (C#) | D5 G5 A5 |
Well, shake it up, baby, now (shake it up, baby)…