So you're enjoying THE BEATLES on iTunes, RockBand, Spotify, disc, or vinyl... and what's next? Here are over 400 albums that homage the most diverse and eternal band in Rock history.
I've already posted Music Players which have let you hear hundreds of artists from every era imitating the song styles of John and Paul. Now check out these full albums that directly homage the sonic styles or adventuresome spirit of specific Beatles albums, all in chronological order.
THE BEATLES are eternal for a few reasons: they opened the door for virtually every sound and style that has followed them; they embodied an ideal of a better world though creativity and compassion; and, ultimately, you can't beat a great melody.
It's no wonder this list includes Psychedelic, Prog Rock, Funk, Power Pop, Jazz, Punk, New Wave, Hip Hop, and artists from then to now.
MUSIC PLAYER Shortcut links:
BEATLESQUE ALBUMS Shortcut links:
- PLEASE PLEASE ME-esque
- WITH THE BEATLES-esque
- A HARD DAY'S NIGHT-esque
- BEATLES FOR SALE-esque
- RUBBER SOUL-esque
- SGT. PEPPER-esque
- MAGICAL MYSTERY TOUR-esque
- THE WHITE ALBUM-esque
- YELLOW SUBMARINE-esque
- ABBEY ROAD-esque
- LET IT BE-esque
- PAST MASTERS-esque
B E A T L E S Q U E
BEATLESQUE LPs: '1962-1966'
Hear the unlimited Playlist here.)
PLEASE PLEASE ME (1962)
Be like everything before and sound like no one else.
R'n'B swagger, Girl Group polish, Everly harmonies,
with Perkins gallop and Berry clang.
And melody is absolute!
PLEASE PLEASE ME:
• THE LIVERBIRDS,
"From Merseyside To Hamburg" (early '60s; compilation 2010)
Women have always been in every movement of Rock, but playing groups were pushed out of the spotlight the first 30 years. The '60s was full of all-female combos and here is one straight from Liverpool itself, making their mark in the same German club The Beatles learned their craft!
• CHUCK BERRY,
"St. Louis To Liverpool" (1964)
Chuck responded to The Beatles responding to him, bouncing back from years of setbacks with new fire and sly winks.
> Latter classics like "No Particular Place To Go", "Promised Land", "You Never Can Tell", and the payback nod "Liverpool Drive".
• THE PLEASERS,
A fixture on the late-'70s UK Power Pop scene, it was clear where The Pleasers got their name (and everything else) from. The Punks sneered, but hey, these good melodies defy time.
• THE KNACK,
"Get The Knack" (1979)
An American parallel to The Pleasers, The Knack had too much success with "My Sharona". What gets overlooked is what a consistently fine tunesmith leader Doug Fieger really was.
• NIKKI AND THE CORVETTES,
"Nikki And The Corvettes" (1979)
Barreling in like The Ramones' sisters, this power punk trio left one great album and opened the doors for everyone from Dolly Mixture to The Donnas. And they were rockin' the baby doll irony long before Kat Bjelland and Courtney Love.
• THE SPONGETONES,
"Beat Music" (1982)
Some of the canniest and catchiest Beat music ever made, and this was just their beginning.
(Note: Beat Music and its follow-up Torn Up were later re-released together as Beat & Torn.)
• THE KAISERS,
"Squarehead Stomp!" (1997)
This album rocks every great sound of the early '60s, leading up into Beatlemania.
• FRANK LEE SPRAGUE,
After fine albums with The Sprague Brothers, Frank channeled The Beatles' early years on his solo albums.
• KAISER GEORGE AND THE HI-RISERS,
"Transatlantic Dynamite" (2006)
Scotland's own George Miller teams up with his American cohorts to blow the roof off the dance hall.
• PETER BERRY AND THE SHAKE SET,
"...For Goodness Shake!" (2007)
Shake it up, baby, now, twist and shout!
WITH THE BEATLES (1963)
The three minute Pop song is now a generational declaration of vitality.
Riff + harmony = Joy.
WITH THE BEATLES:
• THE POPPEES,
"Pop Goes The Anthology" (1975; compilation 2010)
The Poppees were one of the first seeds of the Power Pop greenhouse. Many associate the 'skinny tie and suit/"The" band names/tight Pop style' with New Wave, when actually it rolled out of this scene's reinvention of the British Invasion.
• THE NERVES,
"One Way Ticket" (1976)
Some bands were so important they just kept rolling over into other great bands. Paul Collins and Peter Case would next be The Breakaways, before Case then went into The Plimsouls and Collins forged The Beat. This band is most known for their original of "Hanging On The Telephone" which was made famous afterward by Blondie.
• THE RUBINOOS,
"Everything You Wanted To Know About..." (mid '70s; compilation 2007)
The Rubinoos were like a gentler version of The Raspberries. There's a lot of sugar and light in there, but you can't deny the songs are mighty catchy.
Some people want to fill the world with silly love songs, and what's wrong with that?
• THE SCRUFFS,
"Wanna Meet The Scruffs" (1977)
"Apple scruffs" was a playful nickname George Harrison gave to the faithful fans who always waited outside Abbey Road studios. This band puts some extra New York english on their debut homage.
"Seconds Of Pleasure" (1979)
Right when Dave Edmunds and Nick Lowe were doing just fine rising on their own, they did a one-off band with excellent results. Everything from the Everly Brothers to The Fabs gets a new shine.
They probably still get pestered with, "...but when will Rockpile get back together again?"
• THE KAISERS,
"Shake Me!" (2002)
The Kaisers continue their fine run of early-'60s rock with this strong effort.
• MUCK AND THE MIRES,
"Beginner's Muck" (2004)
Boston buddies pound out the Beat with some sway toward Garage Rock.
"Don't Make Me Wait" (2008)
Here's some rabble-rousers whipping you smart on how to do it right.
• THE JIKENS,
"Beat Happening Tonight" (2012)
Part of the Sazanami label stable of retro instability , The Jikens bash their way breathless here through a week's gigs in one hard day's night.
• THE BEAT RATS,
"Have Mersey!" (2013)
Coming on like refugees from CBGB's out to party like it's 1963!
> Also try their A Cellar Full Of Rats.
A HARD DAY'S NIGHT (1964)
You are you're own movie.
Make life one huge Mod stage.
A HARD DAY'S NIGHT:
• THE HOLLIES,
"Stay With The Hollies" (1964)
Many classic bands cut their baby teeth responding directly to The Beatles in real time, and here's a great one, featuring up-and-comer Graham Nash.
• GERRY AND THE PACEMAKERS,
"Don't Let The Sun Catch You Crying" (1964)
The Beatles' amiable rivals continued their winning streak of chart toppers, this time minting such classics as "How Do You Do It", their influential cover of "You'l Never Walk Alone", and the sublime and markedly mature title song "Don't Let The Sun Catch You Crying".
• LOS SHAKERS,
"Por Favor" ('60s compilation; 2000)
'The Beatles of Uruguay', who even had their own film like "A Hard Days Night"! They also did terrific songs that would make their heroes proud, spanning the Beat sound to the Pepper era.
• LOS BRINCOS,
"Los Brincos" (1964)
'The Spanish Beatles' who also rode on canny songcraft from Beat on into psychedelic maturity.
• THE SUPREMES,
"A Bit of Liverpool" (1964)
The Beatles were among the very first to homage Motown in its early ascent, and The Supremes return the favor with covers of Gerry And The Pacemakers, Chad And Jeremy, The Animals, The Dave Clark 5, and them.
• JACKIE DE SHANNON,
"Don't Turn Your Back On Me" (1964)
The mercurial songwriter heartily embraces the Beat sound and improves on it. She toured with The Beatles, and inspired hit cover versions by The Searchers.
• THE SEARCHERS,
"Sounds Like Searchers" (1965)
The Searchers may be the most unfairly unsung British Invasion act, with a fine range of crack songs in a surprisingly short span of time.
• LAS MOSQUITAS,
"Las Mosquitas" (1965)
This all-female quartet from Argentina kicks the hornets nest with cheerful vigor.
• BILLY J. KRAMER With THE DAKOTAS,
"Little Children" (1964)
Billy was blessed to record a handful of early Lennon/McCartney originals that propelled him up the charts.
• THE BEAU BRUMMELS,
"Introducing The Beau Brummels" (1965)
The San Francisco DJ Sly Stone loved The Beatles, and his production of this local band hinged his career into the music industry. The chart smashes "Laugh Laugh" and "Just A Little" are so classic that they are often mistaken for Beatles covers.
• THE ROCKIN' BERRIES,
"In Town" (1965)
A Brummie band who got most of their support from gigging Germany, sailing the British wave.
• THE BREAKAWAYS,
"Walking Out On Love" (1978)
True to form, Paul Collins and Peter Case broke away from The Nerves with this piledriving Pop. Songs that Paul later honed with The Beat were woodshedded here first.
• THE TOMS,
"The Toms" (1979)
The Toms were actually the multi-talented Thomas J. Marolda dubbing himself. This chestnut of perfect pop got overlooked during The Knack's smash success, but is worth cracking open.
• THE 'B' GIRLS,
"Who Says Girls Can't Rock" (1977-1981)
An all-female Beat quartet from Canada who bridged from doll pop on into a more garage growl in their arc.
• DOLLY MIXTURE,
"Everything and More" (early '80s; box set 2010)
Perfect Pop with just the right amount of Punk scuff on it. This female trio wanted to cross The Shangri-Las with The Undertones and superseded that inspired splicing nicely.
• THE SHOP ASSISTANTS,
"Will Anything Happen" (1984)
Scotland gets some kick in with this mostly female force, still a cult favorite.
• THE FLATMATES,
"Best of the Flatmates" ('80s compilation)
The Power Pop and Mod Revival paved the way for many retro revivals in the dawning '80s, including this band steeped in mid '60s perfect hooks.
"Me Gusta Que Te Guste" (1991)
Naturally, Liverpool comes from Brazil; besides belting great Beat originals and English Beatle covers, they do "The Night Before" en espanol.
• THE PEBBLES,
"First Album" (1997)
Japan is rich with great female combos in the great Pop traditions, like Shonen Knife, The 5 6 7 8's, and Puffi AmiYumi. With their naive chops and plucky sincerity, this band had charm to spare.
• THE SPRAGUE BROTHERS,
"Forever And A Day" (2000)
These unsung brothers deserve a sure sight better than to make great albums that nobody knows about. So spread the word and help a brother out!
• FRANK LEE SPRAGUE,
In fact, help this brother out! This is one of Frank's smart solo homages to the early Beatles.
• NIC ARMSTRONG AND THE THIEVES,
"The Greatest White Liar" (2005)
Nic blasts out like a bastard son of Chuck Berry and John Lennon with a mission. Maybe later he felt he had the big head, because he brought the band forward under their new combo name as "IV Thieves".
• FILHOS DA JUDITH,
"Filhos da Judith" (2011)
Another excellent Brazilian band, who thrash out Beat music like they're possessed.
• THE MIDNIGHT TV PROGRAMS,
More frothing and frenzied Beat music from the Sazanami label.
BEATLES FOR SALE (1964)
Get a little ragged, a little wandering,
and make it all work as tight as ever.
BEATLES FOR SALE:
• Various, "Girls With Guitars,
Vol. 1, Vol. 2, Vol. 3, and Vol 4"
Anybody who thinks they can keep the women out of the boys club is going to get a swift kick in their vanity. The Beatles inspired everyone to pick up guitars and be a band. Now listen to this plethora of Beat Girls who'll rock your cuban-heeled boots right off you.
• LOS GATOS SALVAJES,
"Los Gatos Salvajes" (1965)
Another great Beat band from Argentina with some fine British inversion.
• THE ROMANTICS,
"The Romantics" (1979)
You did realize that "What I Like About You" was 1965 as hell when you were belting it out all these years, right? ("Hey!") There's a lot more here where that came from.
• LES CALAMITES,
"C'est Complet" (mid '80s; compilation 1999)
If sunshine was bottled like soda pop, it couldn't be any more of a lift than this French female combo. They were all good, all too brief.
• THE SMITHEREENS,
"Green Thoughts" (1988)
Pat DiNizio writes mid-'60s Beat songs with a certain introspective edge. Their songs always kick, stick in the memory, and touch on your own experience.
• EDDIE ANGEL With THE HI-RISERS,
"Eddie Angel Meets The Beatles" (2005)
A companion piece to Transatlantic Dynamite (2006) by Kaiser George And The Hi-Risers, this jangling party record covers period songs that imitated The Beatles.
• THE HI-RISERS,
"Once We Get Started" (2008)
After warming the engine with Eddie Angel and Kaiser George, The Hi-Risers are revved up and rarin' to go in this set of originals.
• THE MILKEES,
This all-female Japanese combo turns cute into kickass, saccharine into sock-it-to-me.
Strong riffs, gentle ballads, impeccable style,
and above all...exuberance!
• GOLDIE AND THE GINGERBREADS,
"Can't You Hear My Heart Beat" (EP, 1965)
The all-female band did the title tune first, before Herman's Hermits took the hit with it. Goldie later became the iconoclast rocker Genya Ravan, and guitarist Carol MacDonald and drummer Ginger Bianco spearheaded the all-female Funk conglomerate, Isis.
• THE KNICKERBOCKERS,
New Jersey's own hit it big with their roaring hit "Lies", often mistaken for The Beatles. But their tough chops and excellent harmonies lit up many more sharp tunes.
• LOS IMPALA'S,
"Impala's 66" (1966)
The Beatles of Venezuela, who romped and stomped through great covers and originals.
• THE MONKEES,
"The Monkees" (1966)
Calling them "the PreFab Four" is a tired yawn. Every music fan knows the real deal, that they were good musicians in their own right initially backed by the Wrecking Crew, who then graduated on to a trio of classic albums under their own power: Headquarters, Pisces, Aquarius, Capricorn & Jones Ltd., and the perverse Head.
• THE EASYBEATS,
"It's 2 Easy" (1966)
The Aussies' second album continues their Beatle beginnings, just before their Garage phase paved the way for their younger siblings, AC/DC.
• CZERWONE GITARY,
>"To Właśnie My" (1966)
Poland's own Beatles were excellent, with timeless tunes that cross all borders. They lasted until the Soviet clampdown in '68.
• DARA PUSPITA,
"A Go Go" (1967)
This all-female quartet from Indonesia knocked out four great rockin' EPs across 1966 into '67, before returning with an solid LP in '73.
The Ramones got their name from a hotel alias that Paul McCartney used in the early days. Look again at The Beatles in their Hamburg days, wearing leather jackets, sporting the first long bowlcuts, and bashing out rock ditties in seedy clubs...well, do I have to spell it out?
> "I Wanna Be Your Boyfriend".
• THE FLAMIN' GROOVIES,
"Shake Some Action" (1976)
The Flamin' Groovies had been a '60s band that, almost perversely, embraced Beat music again right as Punk exploded. But what seemed to deem them irrelevant was actually prescient, as borne out by their influence on most Power Pop acts of the next decades.
They were the natural successors to The Raspberries without the success, whipping off Paul-esque pop with punch.
• THE BEAT,
"The Beat" (1979)
This album roars like "Day Tripper" in a hopped-up '65 Mustang. An unknown classic that should have sold just as mega-platinum as Get The Knack (but minus the kneejerk backlash, of course.)
Essential. I'll say it again. Essential.
• MARSHALL CRENSHAW,
"Marshall Crenshaw" (1982)
Marshall played John in a touring "Beatlemania" and later Buddy Holly in the film "La Bamba". You can hear a lot of their best in his music, but he has more than enough talent and range of his own to offer. His first two albums are winners on all fronts.
"Talk Show" (1984)
Evolving out of the L.A. punk scene into a Beat and Surf-influenced pop band, this all-female quintet improbably invaded the national Top 20 with the timeless classic, "Our Lips Our Sealed". They've still got it here, with dune tunes like "Head Over Heels".
• THE BANGLES,
"All Over The Place" (1985)
In the early-'80s a loose congregation of Los Angeles bands with '60s affectations got tagged as the Paisley Underground. One of the best of them was the all-female group The Bangs. Some purists laud their rare indie EP, but this major label debut is rock solid. Besides the cover of Katrina And The Waves' "Going Down To Liverpool", it has killer originals like "James", "Tell Me", and "More Than Meets The Eye".
An essential record from four talented writers and singers.
• THE SMITHEREENS,
"Especially For You" (1986)
The Smithereens' astounding album debut with the classic "Blood And Roses". But every song on here is first rate. Kurt Cobain considered it one of his favorite records; tough guitars, strong hooks, a certain lyrical darkness... of course.
• THE SPONGETONES,
"Oh Yeah!" (1991)
Another perfect effort from The Spongetones, jetset to get the Mods rocking and the Rockers nodding.
• CHRIS MARS,
"Horseshoes And Hand Grenades" (1992)
The drummer for The Replacements (who cheekily made an album called Let It Be) steps boldly forward with an album where he plays everything and even paints the covers. And it's all great! "Monkey Sees" is one of the coolest Beat rockers you can find.
• SHONEN KNIFE,
"Brand New Knife" (1997)
Shonen Knife could melt winter in four notes. Once billed as The Osaka Ramones, Naoko Yamano and company put the joy back in life three perfect minutes at a time.
• MANDO DIAO,
"Bring 'Em In" (2003)
Sweden had a great Garage Rock revival this decade with The Hives, Sahara Hotnights, The Flaming Sideburns, and Cato Salsa Experience. These guys have a decided Beat bent in their bashing.
• THE FONDAS,
"Coming Now!" (2003)
Detroit's own featuring lead singer Julie Benjamin (Slumber Party) belting out snarling handclappers.
• THE REDWALLS,
"De Nova" (2005)
Listen to "Rock And Roll", with that tonsil-shredding Lennon vocal straight out of "Twist And Shout". Nuff said.
"Bad Times Good Times" (2010)
On that note, here's some more guys to rip this joint and turn it inside out.
• THE BELMONDOS,
"Always Rumble" (2010)
French revelers named for the actor, with strong currents of Mersey in their Seine.
• THE LIKE,
"Release Me" (2010)
Four girls are doing semaphore-ish moves like the HELP cover wearing Mod dresses that spell 'like'.
OMG, why aren't you buying this album right now?!
• THE MOST,
"Auto-destructive Art" (2013)
This Swedish quartet, a spin-off of the great band Komeda, kicks it out with ferocity!
RUBBER SOUL (1965)
Start experimenting, bring in Folk and Soul,
vibe on the sounds of the world.
• THE BYRDS,
"Mr. Tambourine Man" (1965)
When the former folkies fused The Beatles with Bob Dylan, they paved the way for Rubber Soul. Learn from the masters here and on the follow-up, Turn Turn Turn. Songs like "Here Without You", "It's No Use", and "She Has A Way" are breathtaking.
• THE BEACH BOYS,
"Pet Sounds" (1966)
Rubber Soul was a wake-up call for Brian Wilson, who suddenly knew that a cohesive album statement was the way to go. He stepped out of touring to craft a masterpiece of complex structure, introspection, and seraphic harmonies. It spurred The Beatles on the path to Sgt. Pepper.
• LOS BRINCOS,
"Los Brincos" (1966)
Not to be confused with their self-titled debut album (1964), this expansive set sees them flourish with haunting ballads and canny popcraft.
• THE CLEFS OF LAVENDER HILL,
"Stop! Get A Ticket" (rec. 1967)
Led by Florida siblings, their 45 single tanked (featuring the great Nugget B-side, "Stop! Get A Ticket"), and this terrific full LP was shelved until only recently.
> "You Don't Notice", "So I'll Try", "Will You Go Away".
• THE MONKEES,
The Monkees were no TV stunt. On this third album, they take back control of writing and playing their music with this brash breakout, and only got greater as they went.
• Various Artists,
"Groupe Filles Jeunesse" (compilation)
This delightful set compiles the various 1960s all-female bands of French Canada -like Les Intrigantes, Les Beatlettes, and Les Planetes- who were lucky to get '45s and EPs in their day.
• MIKE FURBER,
"Just A Poor Boy" (1966)
Aussie/Brit surprises and shines on this lesser-known effort.
• THE LUV'D ONES,
"Truth Gotta Stand" (1966-1967)
This brilliant all-female foursome only released two '45s in 1966. But this eye-opening collection of their unreleased work, led by the relentless guitarist Char Vinnedge, burns through shining Beat, fuzzy Garage, and Psyche abrasion.
Out-of-print but essential to find.
• THE RASPBERRIES,
"Fresh Raspberries" (1972)
The previous single "Go All The Way" was a brilliant fusing of Paul McCartney ballads and Pete Townshend guitar breaks. But Eric Carmen and crew had more chops to spare here. Along with Badfinger and Big Star, The Raspberries are the holy trinity of '70s Power Pop.
Blondie was an American Mod revival whether people realized it or not. This album cover even winks at With The Beatles. Lesser known than their later hit albums, this debut charmer is stuffed with great Beatle, Spector, Bowie, and Shangri-Las moments.
• BLUE ASH,
"Front Page News" (1977)
The Beatles soar with The Byrds in these chiming pop reverberations.
• THE LAST,
"L.A. Explosion" (1979)
During the L.A. Punk explosion, this band rebounded between power pop, bouyant surf, and street edge.
Like XTC, Squeeze initially hid their pop craftship behind fractured art-pop. But as Punk's withering sneer relaxed, they flourished here with unabashed love for Beat, Stax, and Dylan.
> "Pulling Mussels (From The Shell)", "Another Nail For My Heart", "If I Didn't Love You".
• THE SINCEROS,
"Pet Rock" (1981)
Bad luck snarled up rising London's New Wave band, and this final album was retooled and delayed until their demise.
• THE PLIMSOULS,
"Everywhere At Once" (1983)
After The Nerves and The Breakaways, Peter Case hit it big with The Plimsouls' "A Million Miles Away". Plenty of Byrds jangle and Dylan snarl throughout.
• KATRINA AND THE WAVES,
Katrina And The Waves (2)" (1984)
Katrina Leskanich is essentially a killer classic Soul singer and, churned by guitarist Kimberley Rew (Soft Boys), the R'n'B outfit boil up choice cuts such as the B-side "Plastic Man". They later became known for the original "Going Down To Liverpool" and the smash Motown-homage "Walking On Sunshine".
• THE dbS,
"Like This" (1984)
'Stands for decibels.' Centered around the formidable songwriters Peter Holsapple and Chris Stamey, who went on to indie solo success.
• THE PRETENDERS,
"Learning To Crawl" (1984)
Chrissie Hynde wore her Kinks and mid-'60s influences with pride. After a regrouping in the wake of tragic loss, she let more of her inner Beatle shine with new jangling guitarist Robbie McIntosh. Later, McCartney tapped him as his own guitarist in the '90s.
• THE TRAVELING WILBURYS,
"Volume 3" (1990)
The world's most casual supergroup -George Harrison, Bob Dylan, Tom Petty, and Jeff Lynne- get a slight more ambitious on this go-round, in their subject matter and harmony structures, while keeping it warm and calm.
• CHRIS VON SNEIDERN,
"Sight And Sound" (1993)
Everyone should own this album. It is absolutely perfect. The documentary title, Why Isn't Chris von Sneidern Famous? (2008), says it all. Every time I hear "Gemini", "Open Wide", and "Annalisa", they leave me speechless.
Buy it now, tell everyone.
• THE GREENBERRY WOODS,
"Rapple Dapple" (1994)
Maryland's sons knocked out two albums and done. What the peak of the Grunge era missed you can make up for.
"Make Your Mama Proud" (1996)
Before their success with "The Way" ("where were they going without ever knowing the way?") came this punky pop fireball. Like "I Feel Fine" blasted out by The Jam in '78.
• REDD KROSS,
"Show World" (1997)
Behind that uncannily Lennon voice, the McDonald brothers pumped out some tight raucous melodies, never better than on this all-around winner. They cover The Quick's "Pretty Please Me", itself a riff on "Please Please Me".
• CHRIS VON SNEIDERN,
"Wood And Wire" (1998)
Here's our man again, with another strong effort. Opens with the astounding "Love", one of the best Beatles song never made, and contains "Split It".
• THE KNACK,
Rickenbacker heaven with some of the solidest Beat era sounds you could hope to hear.
• THE BRISTOLS,
The unreleased Ringo rocker "If You've Got Trouble" had only recently seen the light of day on The Beatles' ANTHOLOGY 2 (1996), but these French upstarts fronted by the great Fabienne Delsol blast through it like they just invented it.
Check out their two albums, and her solo records.
"Presents...The Complete Pet Soul" (2001)
The folk-rock of Dylan and The Byrds inspired much of the Rubber Soul album, which in turn turn turn inspired the Beach Boys' Pet Sounds. Splitsville calms out of their power punk here to envision a fine fusion of their sonic spirits.
"Pretty Together" (2001)
Canada's Fab Four, who all write and even rotate instruments. This one has the stellar "The Other Man", as well as "The Life Of A Working Girl", "I Love A Long Goodbye", and "Are You Giving Me Back My Love?"
• DRESSY BESSY,
"Sound Go Round" (2002)
With a title that alludes to Revolver, this is here because it mentions "RUBBER SOUL" in a sly lyric. Tammy Ealon's voice may remind you of a gentler Breeders doing Mersey pop, but she slides past that easy comparison with a host of solid albums and songs. Just check out "I Saw Cinnamon" and you'll be converted already.
• THE CORAL,
"Magic And Medicine" (2003)
Concurrent with the Garage Revival and Neo Psych groups came slippery bands like Merseyside's The Coral, who stretch out here in arrangements and sounds.
• STEVE BARTON,
"Charm Offensive" (2004)
A left-field choice here of an indie songster with a decided Power Pop drive. Try "Kiss This" and the ramped-up cover of The Beatles' "She's Leaving Home".
• CANDY BUTCHERS,
"Hang On Mike" (2004)
The studio vehicle for Mike Viola, who sang the song "That Thing You Do" for the film of the same name. His title is a personal riff on John's "Hang On John", while the songs sound like Graham Parker recording Rubber Soul or Ram.
• THE RED BUTTON,
"She's About To Cross My Mind" (2007)
This L.A. duo completely nails it with one of the best albums not actually made in 1965. Perfect tunes produced exactly right, lifting you spirits and tipping off your tongue.
• THE YOUNG FRESH FELLOWS,
"I Think It Is" (2009)
Their '90s albums had some Beatle flourishes in their mad scramble, but this refined reunion fuses the right tight to the loose.
• THE YOUNG VEINS,
"Take A Vacation!" (2010)
Hit the beach and let's go-Go-GO! Like playing Rubber Soul and Summer Days (And Summer Nights) on the picnic table at the beach cookout.
"Rubber Soulive" (2010)
What a natural, a Beatles cover album of Soul instrumentals to bring Rubber Soul full circle! A fine companion to Ramsey Lewis' Mother Nature's Son and Booker T. And The MGs' McLemore Avenue.
The album is a personal statement now
of a generation that's just getting started.
Nothing is real, everything is permitted.
• THE KINKS,
"Face To Face" (1966)
Ray Davies leaves the crunchy rockers behind for baroque pop and a sharp tongue in what may be Rock's first thematic concept album. Along with McCartney and Jagger this year, he spins short stories into character pieces with a wry eye.
• THE BYRDS,
"Fifth Dimension" (1966)
After the departure of Gene Clark, our flock strays willfully far afield into mellow country and psyche soundscapes.
• GENE CLARK,
"With The Gosdin Brothers" (1966)
That classic Byrds line-up lost a lot with the flight of Gene Clark, but it was our gain with this spectacular solo album that is wall-to-wall great. "Elevator Operator", "The Same One", "Couldn't Believe Her", and the demo of "So You Say You Lost Your Baby"...wow.
• THE ROLLING STONES,
"Between the Buttons (UK)" (1967)
The Stones, guided by the ever expansive tastes of Brian Jones, grow fully out of their R'nB into much more with this cherished favorite. Listen to the textures, rhythms, and social subtext of songs like "My Obsession", "Cool, Calm, Collected", and "Complicated".
• THE WHO,
"Sell Out" (1967)
The best Who album most have never heard of. A semi-concept album satirizing commercialism, this collection of stunning hooks, ethereal songs, and Pet Sounds harmonies got even better when doubly expanded on CD. "Armenia City In the Sky", "Odorono", "Tattoo", "Our Love Was", "Glittering Girl", it never ends. Astounding!
• THE MERRY-GO-ROUND,
"Listen Listen" ('60s comp; 2005)
More glowing pop from band leader Emitt Rhodes, a cult hero most know by The Bangles' cover of "Live" and Fairport Conventions' "Time Will Prove the Wiser". This CD includes every Merry-Go-Round recording, plus Emitt's first solo album, The American Dream.
• THE MONKEES,
"Pisces, Aquarius, Capricorn, And Jones" (1967)
Continuing their winning streak of independence, this one has "Love Is Only Sleeping", "Words", and "Daily Nightly" (one of the first uses of a Moog ever).
• CAPTAIN BEEFHEART And His Magic Band,
"Safe As Milk" (1967)
If The Beatles took a turn from their Beat style into odd soundscapes, Don Van Vliet similarly corroded the Blues into avant noize. This immensely enjoyable Garage Rock record is propelled by young guitarist Ry Cooder, and foreshadows the inscrutably insane Trout Mask Replica album.
• PETER & GORDON,
"Knight In Rusty Armour" (1967)
McCartney's friends bring forward more of their Folk influences in this solid set.
"Hljómar I" (1967)
Iceland's garage rockers Thor's Hammer leave the fuzz and English behind in this Beatles-soaked reinvention, following the lead of Rubber Soul and Revolver.
• THE SMOKE,
"...It's Smoke Time" (1968)
Infamous for the suspected drug anthem "My Friend Jack", they were also recording clandestinely as Chords Five. This overlooked album smolders.
• THE FLAMIN' GROOVIES,
"Jumpin' In The Night" (1979)
With perverse glee during Disco and Punk, the Groovies party like it's 1966 with these jangling rockers and Beatles, Byrds, and Dylan covers.
• THE JAM,
"Sound Affects" (1980)
Their first albums thrashed out Mod R'n'B with much spittle and vinegar, but Paul Weller relaxed enough at this point to admit their influences and expand their palette.
> "That's Entertainment", "Monday", and "Pretty Green".
"East Side Story" (1981)
After flowering on Argybargy they come to fruition with the Stax of "Tempted", the baroque Paul of "Vanity Fair",and the lysergic John delirium of "F-Hole".
• SPLIT ENZ,
"True Colours" (1980)
The Roxy Music and Sparks angularities start to fade back and Tim and Neil Finn's songcraft comes forward.
> "I Got You", "What's The Matter With You ", "I Hope I Never", and "Poor Boy".
• THE BANGLES,
"The Bangles" (1982)
The rare Indie EP debut by the shining light of the Paisley Underground, rolling in the groove from its Revolver-esque cover to its jangling melodies inside.
(Note: The EP, loose singles, and live tracks were compiled as Ladies And Gentleman...The Bangles! in 2014.)
• THE KNACK,
"Round Trip" (1982)
Even the title forewarns this response to Revolver, a surprising leap forward after a sophomore slamming by jealous kneejerks. Critics alienated by the band's sudden success were won back over by this third one and you will be, too.
> "Just Wait And See", "Sweet Dreams", and the Walrus-esque "We Are Waiting".
• THE RAIN PARADE,
"Emergency Third Rail Power Trip" (1983)
Another Paisley Underground band, with Revolver swirl and Pepper baroque moments.
• THE THREE O'CLOCK,
"Sixteen Tambourines" (1983)
While the Paisley Underground tag applied loosely to Rain Parade's dreaminess and The Bangles' beat, it was most explicitly accurate with the psychedelia of The Three O'Clock. Michael Quercio's mutating assortment, which later included Jason Falkner, rotates through jangle, fuzz, and swirl.
• THE DENTISTS,
"Some People Are On The Pitch They Think It's All Over It Is Now" (1985)
Medway's mindtrippers, who all wrote, tune in their minds, reflect, and float stream-of-conciousness.
• ROBYN HITCHCOCK AND THE EGYPTIANS,
From an alternate reality emerges this hybrid of Lennon and Barrett to fan the phantasmagoric. Few cocked the snook against the slick '80s tide more deliriously than this sneaky snide riding his own timeless tide.
• THE TIMES,
"Up Against It" (1986)
In 1967, rebel playwright Joe Orton wrote a script for a third Beatles film called "Up Against It" which was never made. The neo-Mod band The Times created this album in Beatles stylea for a 1986 staging of the play. Todd Rundgren did the same thing for a different staging in 1989.
(Note: This was combined with another album, Enjoy, on CD.)
• GUADALCANAL DIARY,
"2 X 4" (1987)
This overlooked indie act, often grouped with Jangle Pop bands, made this fine record with producer Don Dixon in the finest tradition of Revolver (including a cover of "And Your Bird Can Sing"), with range and punch. Includes the postmodern hit "Litany (Life Goes On)".
• CROWDED HOUSE,
"The Temple Of Low Men" (1988)
When Split Enz ended, Neil finn split to a packed house. Their debut was great, with the classic "Don't Dream It's Over", but the rich darkness of this elegant sequel is a marvel; the mellotron ache of "Into Temptation" is a stunner.
• THE BEARS,
"Rise And Shine" (1988)
In this pop project's second outing, Adrian Belew flips his signature guitar angles for fuzz and jangle.
• THE REVOLVING PAINT DREAM,
"Flowers In The Sky" (1989)
This is actually a compilation of the band's '80s work, laced with jangle, buzz, and drone galore.
• LOS LOBOS,
Many bands have a Revolver moment, where they go into uncharted territory to try new things and the best come out even wider and better. This is Los Lobos' turning point. An amazing sonic adventure slightly askew, which ushered a decade of great records.
• ADRIAN BELEW,
"Inner Revolution" (1992)
Adrian Belew was known for years as a sorcerer of skronk guitar for King Crimson, Talking Heads, Tom Tom Club, and Laurie Anderson. On his own records he owned up to his inner Beatle making pop gems with a touch of delirium. Here, even the title alludes to Revolver.
• LIDA HUSIK,
The drummer for the punk Mourning Glories phased the speakers from noize into dreamy psyche. She also covered The Rutles' "Good Times Roll" (a spoof of "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds")on a tribute record to the fictional band.
• ADRIAN BELEW,
More neo-psychedelia from Adrian, including the terrific "Never Enough". With a reunited King Crimson, he then did a live version of "Free As A Bird" before The Beatles' reunion version came out.
• LOS FLECHAZOS,
"Días Grises" (1996)
A Mod band from Spain going for glory in their finale album.
• MARTIN NEWELL,
"The Off White Album" (1996)
The former Cleaners Of Venus frontman goes solo, pumping out prolific jangling ditties.
• THE MINDERS,
"Hooray For Tuesday" (1998)
This one is a Revolver with some Pepper in its arrangements. Jangly and jaunty!
• THE MAVERICKS,
Raul Malo grew restless with the restraints of commercial Country, and the band stretches out bravely with carnivalesque arrangements and wide material here.
• MYRACLE BRAH,
"Life On Planet Eartsnop" (1998)
The first of a decade of albums from chameleonic tunesmith Andy Bopp.
• THE VELVET CRUSH,
"Free Expression" (1999)
Their grungy thrash simmers down into thoughtful pop workouts in the spirit of The Beatles and The Beach Boys.
• THE HIGH DIALS,
"A New Devotion" (2003)
Some bands come entirely out of the sound of one song, and this band is the universe inside of "Tomorrow Never Knows".
• THE GURUS,
"The Gurus" (2004)
The debut by this Spanish band is a well-rounded diet of Rubber Soul and Revolver, along with The Who, The Kinks, and more. A great band who deserve more attention.
• THE TELEPATHIC BUTTERFLIES,
"Breakfast In Suburbia" (2008)
More Revolver and Pepper in a swirling mix. All of their albums are great.
An indie band centered around Michael Benjamin Lerner, whose popcraft shines in glimmers somewhere between The Beach Boys and Pixies.
• THE LEN PRICE 3,•
A modern Garage Rock band with hooks galore and a fearless abandon.
• LOUISE BURNS,
"Mellow Drama" (2010)
Indie folk with a moody undercurrent, like playing Revolver on a victrola in the woods of Twin Peaks.
• GROOVY UNCLE,
"Life's A Gift" (2015)
A rotating band around Glenn Prangnell, with stand-out vocals by guest Suzi Chunk, who refract many stellar sounds of '60s pop.
• THE GREEN PAJAMAS,
"To The End Of The Sea" (2016)
This Seattle combo has somehow flown under the radar with over 30 albums in as many years. Catch the drift on which these birds have flown.
BEATLESQUE LPs: '1967-70'
Hear the unlimited Playlist here.)
SGT. PEPPER'S LONELY HEARTS CLUB BAND (1967)
Pop music is an art form, and everything is possible.
Pick everything great from time and then
live every moment like it's the first and the last.
• THE BEACH BOYS,
"SMiLE" (recorded 1967, released 2011)
Brian Wilson worked himself to the point of collapse responding to Sgt. Pepper in 1967 with an album called SMiLE. Fate and fairweather friends put that in the vault for many years. But in 2011, the holy grail of lost Rock was unveiled at last.
A glorious and timeless song cycle of shining beauty every bit as great as its inspiration. Essential.
• THE ROLLING STONES,
"Their Satanic Majesties Request" (1967)
The Sgt. Pepper cover included the message "Welcome Good Guys The Rolling Stones". They responded by putting The Beatles' faces in the tableau of their cover and making a psychedelic statement of their own.
Vibrate along with "2000 Light Years From Home", "Citadel", and "She's A Rainbow".
"Forever Changes" (1967)
Arthur Lee thought apocalypse was coming and made a stunning cinematic screed out of it. A startling tapestry of sound, abetted by the deeply undervalued Bryan Maclean.
• THE FIFTH DIMENSION,
"The Magic Garden" (1967)
The harmonic sway between The Mamas And The Papas and Gladys Knight And The Pips, the 5D had the pulse of the counterculture and the pop charts. This bravely faceted album is too often under-appreciated.
• JIMI HENDRIX EXPERIENCE,
"Axis Bold As Love" (1967)
As if reinventing the guitar and unleashing modern RAWK on his first album wasn't enough, Jimi advanced further with tight songs, aural wizardry, and sci-fi surrealism.
• THE HOLLIES,
As other bands followed The Beatles' lead, they found themselves. Here The Hollies expand upward with supple melodies and adventurous arrangements.
• THE BEE GEES,
Many argue that Odessa is their strongest record, but this one is better. This paradoxically named third album unveils the brothers Gibb taking on Revolver and Pepper, with amazing songs like "Turn Of The Century" and "Every Christian Lion Hearted Man Will Show You".
Ironically, a decade later they would re-record Sgt. Pepper itself with George Martin for the film adaptation soundtrack.
• THE ZOMBIES,
"Odessey And Oracle" (1967)
Many music peers like these guys witnessed the making of "PEPPER" at Abbey Road studios, and hustled hard to keep up with what The Beatles and Brian Wilson were doing. Here's Colin Blunstone and Rod Argent fully up to the task with this gorgeous record, topped out with "Time Of The Season".
• THE KINKS,
"Something Else By The Kinks" (1967)
More excellent tunes from Ray and Dave with social cheek, dancehall burlesque, sunny soul, and baroque fixes.
> "David Watts" (later covered by The Jam), "Love Me Till The Sun Shines", "Afternoon Tea", and the beautiful "Waterloo Sunset".
• BLOSSOM TOES,
"We Are Ever So Clean" (1967)
Pepper spawned a huge wave of great records lazy historians routinely overlook, including this staggering debut. Rich with great melodies, harmonies, and symphonic panache. Catch up on it.
• PINK FLOYD,
"Pipers At The Gates Of Dawn" (1967)
Another Abbey Road-recorded treasure is the debut of the outrageous Pink Floyd led by the alien Syd Barrett.
> "Lucifer Sam" and soundscapes that microwave your brain.
The Swedish band bows out with a master statement.
• MARGO GURYAN,
"Take A Picture" (1968)
At 21-years-old, Margo was known more as a songwriter penning hits for others, but her own worthy debut prisms Brian Wilson with avant Jazz in startling and rewarding ways.
"Around Grapefruit" (1968)
While The Iveys were on their way to becoming Badfinger, this band was already there. Like an alternate earth cross-section of Pete/Tom and John/Paul, this band could do it all, from chamber pop to bounding rock.
• THE LEFT BANKE,
"The Left Banke Too" (1968)
Known mainly for hits like "Walk Away Renee", they also made fine albums like this missed gem.
• CHAD STUART AND JEREMY CLYDE,
"The Ark" (1968)
There would be no confusion with Peter And Gordon on this album, a mesmerizingly lush journey produced by Gary Usher full of great beauty.
• THE 4 SEASONS,
"The Genuine Imitation Life Gazette" (1968)
It's their best album that no one knows. A psyche pop assortment with bravely political packaging and subtext, it curliques through intricate melodic mazes with sunny aplomb.
• LOS SHAKERS,
"La Conferencia Secreta Del Toto's Bar" (1968)
Having made their fame on the early Beatles sound, the band took Pepper as a cue to branch into their own Uruguayan roots musics with this final record.
• LOS BRINCOS,
A Sgt. Revolver from Spain's finest.
• LOS WALKERS,
"Walking Up Con Los Walkers" (1968)
A Sgt. Revolver from Argentina's finest.
• THE BUCKINGHAMS,
They're insane pop success -four Top 20 hits in 1967!- often overshadows this terrific and audacious record. Varied, catchy, and smartly produced, it deserves more light.
• THE TWILIGHTS,
"Once Upon A Twilight..." (1968)
A fine psyche-pop gem from Australia.
• THE GODS,
These brazenly-named bastards -featuring Mick Taylor and two future members of Jethro Tull and Urian Heep- come out kicking.
• LES MERSEYS,
"Le Premier" (1968)
A Gallic gala foreshadowing the later Mellow and Fugu, which includes their French cover of "Lovely Rita".
• OS MUTANTES,
"Os Mutantes" (1968)
From Brazil come the crazed Baptista brothers and Rita Lee. Hold onto your sanity and try to keep up without getting spun out.
• THE PRETTY THINGS,
"SF Sorrow" (1968)
Also recorded at Abbey Road was the first real concept album, a story with powerful songs, by the baddest of the bad boys. No one expected anything as beautiful as "Walking Through My Dreams" or as twisted as "Baron Saturday" from these hoodlums. Everybody missed it and you shouldn't.
• THE SMALL FACES,
"Ogden's Nut Gone Flake" (1968)
Another excellent concept album, this one by The Who's friends Steve Marriott and Ronnie Lane, with insane narration by comic Stanley Unwin and songs that were all over the stylistic map.
• BILLY NICHOLLS,
"Would You Believe?" (1968)
Steve Marriott jumps in for a few tracks, including the scorching "Girl From New York", but it's Billy's sharp songwriting and glorious harmonies that make this 'british PET SOUNDS' a cult favorite heavily sought after.
• DAUGHTERS OF ALBION,
"Daughters Of Albion" (1968)
Greg Dempsey and Kathy Yesse (later Dalton) mix up burlesque and baroque with opulent harmonies and the elastic arrangements of producer Leon Russell.
• THE WHO,
David Gilmore loved SF Sorrow but it's a good bet that Pete Townshend would, too. Everybody has to give it up for the most successful concept album of all time, with a litany of songs that could fill a whole career by themselves.
• LOS IBEROS,
"Los Iberos" (1969)
The Spanish band makes an excellent English-language sunshine pop album to rival Grapefruit and Badfinger.
• LE ORME,
"Ad Gloriam" (1969)
Italy's fabled Prog band made their debut with this fine psyche album.
• PAPER GARDEN,
"Paper Garden" (1969)
Unnoticed at the time, this splendid record is now ranked as one of the era's finest psyche-copias.
• THE IDLE RACE,
"The Idle Race" (1969)
Jeff Lynne was great from the start, and the evidence is all here in his first group.
Liverpool's Koobas also played Hamburg's Star Club in 1963 and were managed by Brian Epstein, but never had good fortune. The garage snarl of their B-side nugget "Magic Potion" still bristles here in this acite set.
"Koncert A Marson" (1970)
Budapest's best canvases all of the late-'60s innovations.
• THE MASTER'S APPRENTICES,
Known for their psyche nugget "War Or Hands Of Time", the Australians graduate into maturity here.
• ROGER GLOVER,
"The Butterfly Ball And The Grasshopper's Feast" (1974)
The drummer of Deep Purple turns a childrens poem into a concept album, rock opera, and animated short film with a little help from an array of famous rockers.
"A Day At The Races" (1976)
The influence of Sgt. Pepper bridges from psychedelia, baroque pop, carnivalesque, burlesque, and cabaret album styles to the rise of Progressive Rock, German experimental music ('krautrock'), and orchestral pop. Which brings us to Freddie Mercury. A whole other level of epic arrangements, stacked harmonies, and schizoid style shifts.
"The Clones Of Dr. Funkenstein" (1976)
George Clinton finally honed all the anarchic maelstrom of his acid-rock band Funkadelic into hits with the glossy Parliament, using the concept album approach that he so loved about Sgt. Pepper and Tommy. And if you notice the background chant of "goo goo goo joob", well, hey...
• Various Artists,
"Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band" Soundtrack (1978)
This movie was pretty much a laundry list of late-'70s slick excesses. But along the way we get George Martin's almost Steely Dan-ish production, Aerosmith's "Come Together", Earth Wind And Fire's "Got To Get You Into My Life", and Billy Preston's "Get Back" (who better?). Also notable is unknown Sandy Farina's beautiful take on "Strawberry Fields".
• ELVIS COSTELLO,
"Imperial Bedroom" (1982)
Declan MacManus gets ambitious and makes a cubist Baroque Pop album that electrifies the critics and mystifies New Wave kids. Check Steve Nieve's homage to George Martin in the string and brass arrangements of "And In Every Home".
• PRINCE AND THE REVOLUTION,
"Purple Rain" (1984)
For some of us "Purple Rain" was the Sgt. Pepper of the '80s, for others it was "London Calling". We all win. And I wonder where he got that band name from. Or that coat.
• THE DUKES OF STRATOSPHEAR,
"Psonic Psunspot" (1987)
In the mid-'80s, looking though the Import bins of record stores, you might find an EP and an LP by this mysterious band. It would take a lot of sleuthing to find out it was XTC traveling back through time with the master tapes.
"Oranges And Lemons" (1989)
When those Dukes Of Stratosphear albums revealed their '60s wellspring, XTC just dropped any lingering avant angles and went straight forward with this pop-adelic double album classic.
• BEASTIE BOYS,
"Paul's Boutique" (1989)
The Sgt. Pepper of Rap. I said it then and I'll say it forever because it's exactly true. They even sample Pepper and Abbey Road on it!
• PUBLIC ENEMY,
"Fear Of A Black Planet" (1990)
Much as Pet Sounds led to Sgt. Pepper, Public Enemy was forced to raise its game to outdo The Beasties. Here's the Axis Bold As Love of Rap"; a dense collage of resounding textures. I can name around ten times when Chuck D has referenced The Beatles in lyrics over the years.
As late-'60s and early-'70s styles came back around in the early-'90s, we got Pet Sounds and Sgt. Pepper here mashed up with Queen and Willy Wonka. Check out "Now She Knows She's Wrong". An MVP here is guitarist Jason Falkner.
• TERENCE TRENT D'ARBY,
"Symphony Or Damn" (1993)
In many ways Terence preceded Lenny Kravitz with less acknowledgement of it. By this point one writer described him as "like Sam Cooke singing Sgt. Pepper, true of this album and the follow-up Vibrator. The latter has three of the best ballads Stevie Wonder never wrote.
• THE BOO RADLEYS,
"Wake Up!" (1995)
While Britpop was making mid-'60s British sounds cool yet again, Merseyside's sons went grandiloquent in their own direction.
• OLIVIA TREMOR CONTROL,
"Dusk At the Cubist Castle" (1996)
Part of the Elephant 6 label nexus of neo-psychers, their experimental pop is thick with harmonies and dissonant textures.
• YOU AM I,
"Hourly Daily" (1996)
The Australian's tight punch opens to embrace horns and strings.
• PAPAS FRITAS,
Shivika Asthana and crew parade through marching sing-alongs for the kid in everyone.
• SUPER RATONES,
"Autopistas Y Tuneles" (1998)
Argentinians regale us with Sgt. Revolver.
• OLIVIA TREMOR CONTROL,
"Black Foliage: Animation Music Volume One" (1999)
The darker, murkier, denser electronic loop textures follow-up album, before they splintered into other acts like Circulatory System.
• OF MONTREAL,
"The Gay Parade" (1999)
Another Elephant 6 band, with a huge discography (21 albums in 20 years) and rotating players. Labyrinthine pop rebounding with every sound possible, challenging and toe-tapping music at every twist.
• CHRIS VON SNEIDERN,
"2-Cute 2-Be 4-Gotten" (2000)
In a side project pop-wunderkind Chris adapts teen girl poetry into surprisingly elastic forms.
• CIRCULATORY SYSTEM,
"Circulatory System" (2001)
Strawberry 'feels' forever. Jaunting tunes bounding through phantasmal swirlpools.
• OF MONTREAL,
"Coquelicot Asleep in the Poppies A Variety of Whimsical Verse" (2001)
It's been five minutes so Kevin Barnes has made another record, as confoundingly upbeat, eccentric, and scattered as possible.
• THE LUCKY BISHOPS,
An ace melodic psyche band.
• TEARS FOR FEARS,
"Everybody Loves A Happy Ending" (2004)
If their "Sowing The Seeds Of Love" (1989) had been a taster, here Roland and Curt go gourmand with the full-on full course. Catchy while complex, and unfairly overlooked.
"Fugu 1" (2001)
This French composer makes artful arrangements inspired by, you guessed it, Pet Sounds and Sgt. Pepper. But they are elements of his own strong craft.
"Ta Det Lugnt" (2004)
Sweden's psyche-prog monsters stretch out.
"The Kiss" (2007)
There are a pronounced amount of homage albums in this period (in synch with the 30th anniversaries of Sounds and Pepper), including this intrepid effort and swan song.
• PANIC! AT THE DISCO,
"Pretty Odd" (2008)
The indie stars go for the grand summit in this venturesome foray, before half left to form The Young Veins.
• KAY KAY AND HIS WEATHERED UNDERGROUND,
"Kay Kay And His Weathered Underground" (2008)
A trio surrounded by a phalanx of friends, creating pop arias washed in wells of sound.
• CHEAP TRICK,
"Sgt. Pepper Live" (2009)
Cheap Trick fearlessly wore their Beatles influences (and The Move, The Who, and T-Rex) all along. But their most overt homage is a complete remodel of Sgt. Pepper with crunchy guitars, capped by the medley from Abbey Road. And there's a DVD of the live performance.
• EASY STARS ALL STARS,
"Easy Star's Lonely Hearts Dub Band" (2009)
John and Paul were hip to Reggae before most anyone, and it's all through their solo work from "Live And Let Die" to "Borrowed Time". Jamaica has been covering nearly every one of their songs since the 60's, and here's the latest love letter. Full of special guests for each song like Steel Pulse, Ranking Roger, and Sugar Minott.
And just what were some of those green plants on the original cover, anyway?
• PORTUGAL. THE MAN,
"In The Mountain, In The Cloud" (2011)
From Alaska, of course, with love. Sunny chorals, string builds, anthemic swells, guitar fills.
• JACCO GARDNER,
"Cabinet Of Curiosities" (2013)
A mirror universe son of Syd Barrett and Brian Wilson with all their gifts brings us this debut wonder filled with translucent grace.
"Sun Structures" (2014)
Harrison's guitar sting, Lennon's carnival whirl, McCartney's bright bounce, Starr's laid-back lockstep, in an album solely this band's own. A gorgeous and radiant mindtrip.
• GLENN TILBROOK,
"Happy Ending" (2014)
Between Squeeze albums, Glenn's solo turn gifts us with perfect melodies dressed in beguiling textures.
• THE FLAMING LIPS,
"With A Little Help From My Fwends" (2014)
having done so with Dark Side Of the Moon, the psyche-noize band enlists all their electrodelic friends in a song-by-song reconstruction of the Pepper album.
• THE AVALANCHES,
An Australian duo making a aural collage of that sounds like Rotary Connection, Philly disco, Rap MCs, and Ambient DJs having a really blissful block party jam session.
MAGICAL MYSTERY TOUR (1967)
Try new things, indulge your dreams,
make mistakes, laugh it off, keep driving forward.
Are you on the bus or off the bus?
MAGICAL MYSTERY TOUR:
• THE MONKEES,
The Monkees throw it all away with hysterical abandon, leaving us a wild film and a great album. "Porpoise Song" and "Circle Sky".
• PINK FLOYD,
"A Saucerful Of Secrets" (1968)
As Syd's light shines out and David's shimmers in, the band's second album goes more epic and atmospheric and eerie.
• THE AEROVONS,
"Resurrection" (Rec. 1968/ Rel. 2003)
Imagine hearing The Beatles recording through a closed studio door and then recording songs from your muffled impressions. The Aerovons did this while working at Abbey Road and for, um, some reason it was never released. Until now, when we can enjoy these smeared and strangely familiar songs for their own merit. "World Of You" is a stone classic.
• PRINCE AND THE REVOLUTION,
"Around The World In A Day" (1985)
The Purple One christens Paisley Park records with this Psyche Pop album that recalls Jimi, Free Design, James Brown, and The Lemon Pipers.
• PM DAWN,
"Jesus Wept" (1995)
Prince B loved "RUBBER SOUL" growing up and covered "Norwegian Wood " on the previous album. This one 'lets its freak flag fly', as Jimi would say. Check out "The 9:45 Wake Up Dream" and "Downtown Venus".
"The Great Escape" (1995)
Throw in copious doses of Ray Davies, Ziggy Stardust, and Pete Shelley and you get this Britpop cocktail. "It could Be You" and "Best Days".
"What Makes It Go?" (1998)
Another absolutely perfect Pop album, all 60's sunshine harmonies, funky bass, electrodelia, and godlike melodies. "It's Alright Baby" is one of the coolest songs ever made. And every other song is another jewel. Essential.
"Another Mellow Winter" (1999)
French masters of mellotron, moog, and melody make electrodelic paradises.
(Note: variants of the same album are called "Another Mellow Spring" and "Another Mellow Summer".)
• TARA BUSCH,
"Pilfershire Lane" (2009)
The queen of keyboards with the voice of an angel takes you down to Strawberry Fields with Kate Bush, Brian Eno, and Edda Dell'Orso. "We Can See Mars" is absolute lysergic glory.
• THE PSYCRONS,
"On A Voyage" (2010)
Japanese band inverts the 1967 Beatles through a lustrous collide-oscope.
THE WHITE ALBUM (1968)
You've got so much to say you almost can't keep it all together.
You need room to expand, no matter what happens.
THE WHITE ALBUM:
• JIMI HENDRIX EXPERIENCE,
"Electric Ladyland" (1968)
Jimi's masterpiece, a stereophonic headtrip from earthy blues to ephemeral arias. Indescribable, overwhelming, indispensable. "Well, I stand up next to a mountain/ and chop it down with the edge of my hand..." All the photos were shot by Linda Eastman, who then met this other musician...
• RAMSEY LEWIS,
"Mother Nature's Son" (1968)
The Jazz pianist's covers record regenerates the White Album into new dimensions of bop, swing, strut, and sass. A fantastic sensoral party.
• HARRY NILSSON,
"Aerial Ballet" (1968)
While The Beatles actually showcases each solo member, 'the one-man Beatles' keeps it cohesive while expansive with this sumptuous set.
• THE KINKS,
"Are The Preservation Green Society" (1968)
Baroque pop and country sunshine, social satire, and more good tunes than a writer has a right to. Try and get the expanded version.
• THE BEACH BOYS,
The Beach Boys were afraid to lose their surf sound and audience, fighting Brian Wilson's efforts to expand their palette with Pet Sounds and the kiboshed SMiLE. Ironically, as Brian faded back, they ended up fulfilling his vision with fine sunshine Folk of their own.
> "Friends", "Little Bird", and "Be Still".
• MARY HOPKIN,
"Post Card" (1969)
Paul's protégé scores with his "Goodbye" and her recasting of "Those Were The Days", along with timeless and lovely folke.
• DOS + UN,
Spanish trio soaring on harmonic hooks.
• THE BEACH BOYS,
The riches of Friends continue with this pearl.
> "Be With Me", "Time To Get Alone", and "All I Want To Do" (the roaring reply to "Back In The USSR").
• LED ZEPPELIN,
"Led Zeppelin III" (1970)
Just like The White Album, Zep stripped it down to folk melodies, blunt rockers, and a healthy dose of surprise in the arrangements. And every song a classic.
• JOHN LENNON,
The White Album proved to be the toe-test for each members solo careers. John perfects his piano ballad anthems, raw rockers, political broadsides, and vulnerable confessions right here.
• PAUL AND LINDA McCARTNEY,
Paul comes into fruition with his partner, nailing it with clarion carols, snarling stompers, and versicolor medleys.
• GEORGE HARRISON,
"All Things Must Pass" (1971)
George makes a timeless double-album about transition, enrapturing us with folk lullabies, spiritual mantras, and Spector blow-outs.
"No Dice" (1971)
The Beatles' true heir apparents, who always delivered and got few of the rewards. But Badfinger is more than just Beatle comparisons, Power Pop mantlehood, or a tragic story. They are four great songwriters with a knack for creating eternal songs uniquely theirs. God bless them all.
> "No Matter What You Do", "We're For The Dark", and the original "Without You".
• HARRY NILSSON,
"Nilsson Schmilsson" (1971)
John Lennon called Harry his 'favorite group'. Many others called him 'The One Man Beatles'. A crazy man with a big heart and a golden voice.
> "Gotta Get Up", "Jump Into The Fire", and the still stunning cover of Badfinger's "Without You".
• PINK FLOYD,
"Obscured By Clouds" (1972)
Thier atmospheric and comtemplative third album, with tranquil odes and corrosive bluesers.
• STEVIE WONDER,
"Songs In The Key Of Life" (1976)
A double album meant really stretching out, saying something, and showing what you can do. Stevie goes well past that with this cornucopia.
> "Sir Duke", "Summer Soft", and "As".
• CHEAP TRICK,
"Heaven Tonight" (1978)
Cheap Trick really kicked into gear with their second album, In Color, then revved it further with this edgy sequel. The snarky "Auf Wiedersehen", The Move's "California Man", and the moody "Heaven Tonight" that recalls "I Want You (She's So Heavy)". The hinge between John Lennon and Kurt Cobain.
• THE CLASH,
"London Calling" (1979)
Strip down your sound, expand your styles, include world musics, be rough, be beautiful, be lunatic. And with a frontman with a smartass mouth and a sensitive heart. Completely in the spirit of The White Album!
> "Clampdown", "The Guns Of Brixton", and Vince Taylor's "Brand New Cadillac".
• FLEETWOOD MAC,
Riding on top of the charts but fragmenting as a group, making personal demos as songs, releasing a sprawling double album that's all over the place. Completely in the spirit of The White Album! Throughout Lindsey Buckingham starts Bluegrass/Punking out, recording himself drumming tissue boxes in hotel bathrooms, going fuzz crazy on songs that fall apart before they can finish. Fantastic.
> "What Makes You Think You're The One", "That's All For Everyone", "Not That Funny", and "That's Enough For Me".
• ROBYN HITCHCOCK,
"Black Snake Diamond Ride" (1981)
The love child of Syd Barrett and John Lennon. More mad and smart than you can keep up with. Formerly of The Soft Boys, our fiend unleashes "I Watch The Cars", "City Of Shame", and destroys the UK police with "Do Policemen Sing?"
• HUSKER DU,
"Warehouse: Songs And Stories" (1987)
A band in tension, backing each other on swapping songs, on a double album, which brought up the eternal question, "Are you a Grant Hart fan or a Bob Mould fan?" Why not like it all?
"Sign O' The Times" (1987)
His first double album, and an embarrassment of riches. Some would argue his last completely brilliant hurrah. "Starfish And Coffee", "The Ballad Of Dorothy Parker", and the title cut. And that cover looks like a Pepper outtake...
• LOVE AND ROCKETS,
"Earth Sun Moon" (1987)
If Bauhaus wore its Bowie on its black sleeve, then Love And Rockets let some more light into the room. Here's a spartan album of side one rock side two acoustic. There's a strong dose of Lennon, especially on the explicitly Beatlesque "The Telephone Is Empty".
"Rattle And Hum" (1988)
U2's first double album, atmospheric, eclectic, political, with a remake of "Helter Skelter" no less. ("This is a song Charles Manson stole from The Beatles. We're stealing it back.") And a sequel to John Lennon's "God" called "God Part II".
• THE SNEETCHES,
"Sometimes That's All We Have" (1989)
Sunshine Psychers and dreamy psalms from these canny tunesmiths, who have a rich body of overlooked work. Bassist Alec Palao become one of the best reissue producers in Rock hhistory (Nuggets).
The bastard scion of Led Zeppelin and Black Sabbath. Ozzy often worships The White Album for being "soooo heavy". In the spirit of that record's fuzz rockers, here's the heavy psyche of "Head Down", the magesterial acid trip of "Black Hole Sun", and the dark soar of "Fell On Black Days".
• AIMEE MANN,
"I'm With Stupid" (1996)
There's a kind of melancholic undercurrent to the Beatle-ish work that Aimee Mann and her husband, Michael Penn, make. A little undertow behind that sunshine, produced by fellow Beatlemaniac Jon Brion.
> "Sugarcoated" and "All Over Now".
• BRENDAN BENSON,
"One Mississippi" (1996)
An assortment of jaunts and swaggers, much co-written with Jason Falkner. Brendan went on to join The Raconteurs with Jack White.
• ERIC MATTHEWS,
"The Lateness of the Hour" (1997)
Like Nick Drake singing the Friends album, with breathy musings over breezily orchestral ditties.
• ELLIOTT SMITH,
It would be too easy to see him as another moody guy with pop chops. But Elliott had a unique blend of bitter asides and fragile avowals that was spellbinding. Gone too soon.
> "Sweet Adeline", "Baby Britain", and "Everybody Cares, Everybody Understands".
• ELF POWER,
A Dream In Waves" (1999)
Indie psyche delirium from the ELephant 6 label with sprightly melodies, happy horns, and electronic loops.
• CHRIS CORNELL,
"Euphoria Morning" (1999)
After Soundgarden, Chris guides us through the acoustic blues, luminous confessions, and grand chorals.
> "Flutter Girl", "Follow My Way", and the beautiful "Moonchild".
"Apple Venus, Vol. 1" (1999)
The acoustic and strings album, with "Knights In Shining Karma" (a wonderful rewrite of "Julia"), "I'd Like That", and "I Can't Own Her".
(The electric Wasp Star, Vol. 2 followed.)
• TOM WAITS,
"The Mule Variations" (1999)
A giant album that canvases all Tom's styles in one place. Bluesy stompers, tender ballads, cabaret, noize. Excellent record.
• THE APPLES IN STEREO,
"Discovery of a World Inside the Moone" (2000)
An Elephant 6 band, with twee snarl, mellotron wooze, glammy saunter, and dime-spin swivels.
• FIONA APPLE,
"When The Pawn..." (2001)
Soon after covering "Across The Universe" for a soundtrack, Fiona collaborates with producer Jon Brion (The Grays) on this stark, eccentric, tough, sensitive album. "I Know" is John incarnate.
• SAM PHILLIPS,
"Fan Dance" (2001)
Tired of playing toward the Pop charts, she strips it all down to herself and a heartfelt guitar, moody backdrops, and sterling melodies. The White Album meets cabaret. Perfectly underproduced by partner T-Bone Burnette.
> "Five Colors", the mellotronic "Taking Pictures", "How to Dream", and "Love Is Everywhere I Go".
Gene Ween and Dean Ween (not related) are dangerous, and there's no telling what they'll do next. As talented as The Wrecking Crew, as subversive as Suicide, they guile through every style.
• SAM PHILLIPS,
"A Boot And A Shoe" (2004)
This time with some hints of Americana and carnivale.
> "Open the World", "Love Changes Everything", and "If I Could Write".
"Sea Change" (2002)
Beck gained mastery of his voice and his craft, and made a balming album for a broken heart. His father does excellent string arrangements to the beautiful folk ache (routing a healthy dose of Ginsbourg's Melodie Nelson).
> "Paper Tiger", "Sunday Sun", and "Little One".
[See also: Beck, "Morning Phase" (2014)]
• KEREN ANN,
An angel's whisper over acoustic guitar.
> "Chelsea Burns", "Roses & Hips", and the breathtaking "One Day Without".
"Treble And Tremble" (2004)
Elliott Smith's running buddies, with some Crazy Horse distortion and oddly luminous singsong.
> "The Hidden Track" and "Unintentional Tape Manipulations".
• LUCKY JIM,
"Our Troubles End Tonight" (2004)
Dylan, Lennon, Cohen, Morricone, flinty, mercurial, breathtaking, unique.
> "You Stole My Heart Away" and "My Soul Is On Fire".
• TRACY BONHAM,
"Blink The Brightest" (2005)
Tracy can out-Grunge anyone, but there's a crystalline glow in there, too. By this album more of the gentle luminosity was shining through. "I Was Born Without You", "Dumbo Sun", and the resplendent "Naked" (a lovely cousin to "Dear Prudence").
• PAUL McCARTNEY,
"Chaos And Creation In The Backyard" (2005)
Paul takes it back to basics with intimate tunes that could have fit beautifully on The White Album.
> "Fine Line", the exquisite "Jenny Wren", the wry baroque of "English Tea", and "A Certain Softness".
"Gimme Fiction" (2005)
Austin's indie heroes make constantly interesting albums with a strong melodic sense amid akimbo angularities.
• DR. DOG,
"We All Belong" (2007)
Mercurial artrock from the city of brotherly love.
• THE FIREMAN,
"Electric Arguments" (2008)
A pseudonym for Paul McCartney and Youth (Killing Joke) making artrock for heart's sake.
> The pulverising Waits-esque abrasion of "Nothing Too Much Just Out Of Sight", the rennaissance ambience of "Travelling Light", the stomping country gospel of "Light From Your Lighthouse".
• STEPHEN MALKMUS & THE JINKS,
"Real Emotional Trash" (2008)
The leader of Pavement spins some bluesy fuzz, devil-may-care ditties, and indie bedlam.
• BEADY EYE,
"Different Gear, Still Speeding" (2011)
Following the end of Oasis, Liam Gallagher consummates his celebration of latter-era Beatles with this psyche outfit.
• THE LONDON SOULS,
"Here Come The Girls" (2015)
A New York duo glissades effortlessly between heavy mod, soulful jingles, and delicate serenades. A fine record.
YELLOW SUBMARINE (1969)
Turn off your mind,
and float downstream.
• THE BONZO DOG DOO-DAH BAND,
"Doughnut in Granny's Greenhouse" (1968)
The court jesters, who appeared in the "I Am The Walrus" sequence of the MAGICAL MYSTERY TOUR film. Holy fools who will take the piss out of anyone. Neil Innes would later be a Python and a Rutle.
• THE SOFT BOYS,
"Underwater Moonlight" (1980)
Featuring Robyn Hitchcock and Kimberly Rew (who later wrote "Going Down To Liverpool"), The Soft Boys cocked a snook at their peers and proudly released 'the first psychedelic album in ages'. Demented, loopy, fun, bright, strobing.
> "Positive Vibrations", "I Wanna Destroy You", "Old Pervert", and "Underwater Moonlight".
• JON BRION,
"I Heart Huckabees" Soundtrack, (2004)
Upbeat, trippy, lysergic, pop art, random. Jon Brion, the secret power, puts the pot into the potpourrie.
ABBEY ROAD (1969)
When you reach the crossroads together, remember everything you've come through,
and pave the paths for others to find their own way.
• JOHN BROMLEY,
Gentle tunefulness, backed by Les Fleur De Lys, too often underprized.
(Note: the album was expanded and reissued as Songs in 2008.)
• BOOKER T AND THE MGs,
"McLemore Avenue" (1970)
Abbey Road was fresh on the streets when the premiere Soul band of all time hit the pavement with their take on it. Named after the street in front of Stax Records. A wonderful funhouse mirror of equal goodness.
Viva Booker, Steve, Duck, and Al!
• GEORGE BENSON,
"The Other Side Of Abbey Road" (1970)
Not to be outpaced, a new Jazz guitarist put his best foot forward with his own stride down that street.
• THE FLAME,
"Psychedelic Essentials" (1970)
A South African band produced by Carl Wilson for the Beach Boys' Brother label. Ricky Fataar and Blondie Chaplin went on to become Beach Boys, and Ricky then became a Rutle!
(Note: this is a compilation of their self-titled debut album.)
• SIMON AND GARFUNKEL,
"Bridge Over Troubled Water" (1970)
Would this album's title song really exist without Let It Be? More in the sonic spirit of Abbey Road, with tuneful, upbeat arrays of songs that feel like a master statement. Check out the McCartney-esque "Why Don't You Write Me".
• THE MOVE,
"Looking On" (1970)
Jeff Lynne (The Idle Race) joins Roy Wood for an epic setlist of brutal chords, martial symphonics, and pop operatics. The barbarous boogie of "When Alice Comes Back To The Farm" practically invents Glam Rock a few years early.
> "Open Up Said The World To The Door", "Brontosaurus", etc.
"The Magic Shoemaker" (1970)
Mostly known for the Nuggets classic "Father's Name Is Dad", this tough and tender song cycle definitley shouldn't be missed.
• PRETTY THINGS,
After the brilliant concept album SF Sorrow failed to recieve the smash success it deserved, the band staggered through line-up rollover and somehow made this fine record. Its short songs of all styles burn through like a medley for a Rock opera that doesn't exist.
• LOS BRINCOS,
"Mundo, Demonio, Carne" (1970)
The Spanish band's swan song sways with butch boogie, angel chorales, weeping chords, deuling guitars, and symphonious ache.
"Twelve Dreams of Dr. Sardonicus" (1970)
Spirit made four albums of consummate greatness in a handful of years, on par with any peer. And this is the best, a record so alive with drive and ideas it still knocks anyone on their ass.
> "Nature's Way", "Mr. Skin", "Morning Will Come".
• THE TOKENS,
Everything right about The Beatles and The Beach Boys in 1968, in one inspired blend.
Alabamans on the progressive frontier, with soulful piano ballads, crunchy jams, and epic builds.
• THE MOVE,
"Message From The Country" (1971)
The Move was blessed by the full-tilt partnership of Roy Wood and Jeff Lynne. Before evolving into Electric Light Orchestra, they pumped out two master theses (see also Looking On album) with butch blues, soaring ballads, and cathedrals of sound. Absolutely excellent!
• THE ROTARY CONNECTION,
"Songs/ Hey Love" (1971)
Here are two LPs on one Cd by one of the most innovative counterculture combos. A Rock'n'Soul band with stunning chorales and the radical avant-Jazz arrangements of producer Charles Stephney (Earth Wind And Fire). Hear a young Minnie Riperton and company completely turn classics by Jimi, Cream, and The Band inside out, and then top them with their own "I Am The Black Gold Of The Sun".
• EMITT RHODES,
"Emitt Rhodes" (1971)
After spinning out of The Merry-Go-Round, Emitt Rhodes made four solo albums that were sabotagued by bad biz, but which earned him cult idol status among the savvy. This second album is usually touted his best, but the link takes you to a double CD that has all four. (Which has a much cheaper price than the expensive and rare single discs.) Like Paul, Emitt made the entire albums by himself in a home studio, with terrific results.
• MARVIN GAYE,
"What's Going On?" (1971)
One of the greatest albums ever made. As much a spiritual awakening as a political manifesto. A song cycle of great complexity and life-affirming warmth.
"Fanny Hill" (1971)
Fanny was the first all-female group signed by a major label to make albums. They could do anything, and here they are in Apple studios proving it with producer Richard Perry (Nilsson, Ringo Starr). Imagine Badfinger getting nervous over songs like "Knock On My Door", "Blind Alley", and the blistering cover of The Beatles' "Hey Bulldog". (Fanny's albums are compiled on a Rhino Records box set; this album is tracks #43 through 53 on the Spotify version.)
"Straight Up" (1972)
This is Badfinger's Abbey Road. Rock solid from first note to last. You'll sing these songs in your head for years. The amen corner of producers included George Harrison, George Martin, Geoff Emerick, and Todd Rundgren.
If I come by your house and you don't have this, I'm gonna be ticked off.
• SLEEPY HOLLOW,
"Sleepy Hollow" (1972)
Oddly, sometimes this album is attributed as "A Tribute To Badfinger", when it's clearly more directly to The Beatles themselves. But having doppelgänger Badfingers is only a win-win.
• FLIED EGG,
"Dr. Siegel's Fried Egg Shooting Machine" (1972)
A Japanese prog band slipping sinuous between keyboard canticles, blistering rawk, and every other grandiosity.
• PINK FLOYD,
"Dark Side Of The Moon" (1972)
After years of combing the stratosphere, 'the first band in outer space' came back with a concept album about inner demons. A sonic turning point in Rock history. And guess what studio it was recorded in?
• THE RASPBERRIES,
Bright tunes, spiritual ballads, bluesy stompers. And who can resist "Go All The Way"?
• TODD RUNDGREN,
Like a collision of Carole King's Tapestry and McCartney's Ram where no one gets hurt. A double album with the inspired ideas of a triple.
• CURTIS MAYFIELD,
"Back To The World" (1973)
With string arrangements and street funk, Curtis makes his What's Going On? and proves that the personal is political.
• BARNABY BYE,
"Room To Grow" (1973)
All the best apsects of Brian Wilson and Paul McCartney in this sunny, misplaced gem.
• RINGO STARR,
Ringo gets by with a lot of help from his friends -John, Paul, George, Nilsson, Bolan, Fanny, etc.- in this exuberant party record. His best.
• WE ALL TOGETHER,
"We All Together" (1973)
Despite a military dictatorship banning English usage, this Peruvian band fights the power with this lovely field of flowers. Includes covers of McCartney's "Tomorrow" and Badfinger's "Carry On Till Tomorrow" and "Walking In The Rain" to rival the originals, and the Nuggets classic "It's A Sin To Go Away".
"Wish You Were Here" (1974)
This is Badfinger's other Abbey Road. Hey, they're that good. Although their luck wasn't, as Pink Floyd overshadowed them soon after with an album of the same name. Rectify that unfortunate fork in their rocky road by buying this fantastic, classic album.
> Peep "In the Meantime/ Some Other Time" and "Meanwhile Back At The Ranch/ Should I Smoke", for starters.
• PAUL McCARTNEY AND WINGS,
"Band On The Run" (1974)
Of the four, Paul has most consistently made solo albums that could have been great Beatles albums. This one is essential.
> Every song.
• ELTON JOHN,
"Goodbye Yellow Brick Road" (1974)
Another double-album bonanza when Elton and Bernie Taupin were on absolute fire. Just listen to the harmonies on the title song; is that "Because" or what? Lennon said at the time, "If something happened to Elton John, I'd throw my radio out the window."
"Living In Fear" (1974)
Two albums and done, this brief prog band hit peak pitch on this effort, which includes a workout on "Paperback Writer".
First good move: recruit George Martin as your producer. His tasteful arrangements and ear bring out the best in this inspired collection of tunes that includes the hits "Tin Man" and "Lonely People"..
"The Man In The Bowler Hat" (1974)
First good move: recruit George Martin as your producer. The prog folkers benefit from his stately focus in their trademark blend of rural folke and chamber-delic pop.
• LES SINNERS,
Montreal's rock collective makes their penultimate statement.
• EARTH WIND AND FIRE,
"That's The Way Of The World" (1975)
Bright, optimistic, anthemic, communal, prismatic. A crowning statement from a first-rate band.
"A Night At The Opera" (1975)
The Beatles, The Move, Brian Wilson, The Who, and Sparks have a debauched jam and the C.I.A. thought to record it. The bookend to A Day At The Races, of course.
• LIVERPOOL EXPRESS,
The Merseybeats played with The Beatles in the Cavern days, and eventually morphed into this lush pop band, hitting the charts with smashes like "You Are My Love" (which Paul loved).
"How Dare You?" (1976)
Sounding like The Beatles possessed by Zappa, their tart snark wasn't at first appreciated. But they graduated into being both one of the best headphone album and lustrous pop bands sof the decade, (Soon after they stunned everyone with the astonishing "I'm Not In Love".)
• BE BOP DELUXE,
Modern Music (1976)
A singularly unique progressive band, deft in every style and challenging the conventions of all of them. This ambitious mélange is like hearing
• THE MOTORS,
"Approved By The Motors" (1978)
Their second album hits it perfect, with four chart hits including the power pop standard "Airport".
"Sir Army Suit" (1978)
For a time in 1976, the world thought this enigmatic band was secretly The Beatles reunited. In truth, this Canadian trio was glossier and and more fantastical, but had plenty of merit on their own. This is their strongest album.
"Dream Police" (1979)
In the wake of the surprise overnight success of the "Live At Budokan" album, they go for glory with a widescreen set of epic roaring rockers and punching pop songs. Like "Baba O'Riley" brawling with "I Want You (She's So Heavy)". Should've sold ten times more than it did.
"Back To The Egg" (1979)
Stung by 'disco sell-out' complaints on one side and snide punks on the other, Paul lashes out with a blistering power pop record on par with any of his juniors, all raw rockers alongside sublime medleys. A great record that everyone still sleeps on.
• THE DAMNED,
"Machine Gun Etiquette" (1979)
Punk firsts: first single, first break-up, first reunion, first to make an epic gamechanger album. They're even walking across a street intersection on the cover! (For a more explicit tribute to their '60s roots, listen to the 1985 song "Grimly Fiendish".)
• ROXY MUSIC,
Their ultimate statement, an otherworldly album of sensual beauty and glamorous cool.
• ELECTRIC LIGHT ORCHESTRA,
"Secret Messages" (1983)
Densely textured with alien synthesizers, choir chorales, and catchy songs. Could have been a gloppy mess of excess but Jeff Lynne pulls it off.
• LET'S ACTIVE,
"Big Plans For Everybody" (1986)
The '80s indie producer of choice' Mitch Easter (REM, Marshall Crenshaw, Suzanne Vega, Pavement) steps out with a sparkling '60s style album that anticipates Jellyfish, Wondermints, and Echobrain years early.
• THE POSIES,
"Dear 23" (1990)
Aur and Stringfellow compose a career statement before they've even gotten started with this majestic cycle of chorals, strums, and strings. Great.
• TEENAGE FANCLUB,
The Scottish alt-rockers breakthrough album, with radio play and critical acclaim.
"Spilt Milk" (1993)
Andy Sturmer, Roger Manning, Jr., and Jason Falkner happenstance into an indie supergroup, topping charts and polls with their Bellybutton debut. Here, after Jason's departure, the psyche-pop gets more ambitious and densely layered.
"Some Fantastic Place" (1993)
Chris Difford and Glenn Tilbrook always brought a fresh-faced Beat Music lilt to their early hits, but this mature statement after their reunion is a new level. The title song is a work of wonder that must've thrilled Paul Mc'. (Keyboardist Jools Holland interviewed all The Beatles for the "ANTHOLOGY" films).
• ULTRA VIVID SCENE,
A dark kaleidoscope of dreamy ditties that came from tomorrow never knows. Like Love And Rockets led by Robyn Hitchcock. Check out the epic "Medicating Angels".
• THE GRAYS,
"Ro Sham Bo" (1994)
An indie supergroup with Jason Falkner and Jon Brion (Jellyfish), a band of guys who hated playing in bands who got in and got out. Their one album, made by rotating songsters, sounds like the crowning statement of a long career that didn't actually happen. Rarer to find than it deserves but worth every minute.
• GUIDED BY VOICES,
"Alien Lanes" (1995)
This lo-fi indie band led by Robert Pollard had an almost phobic mandate of doing fragments of songs and getting out immediately instead of over-doing them. Somehow that raw approach still adds up to this supple and huge album. It plays like a rush of White Album demos laced together in an Abbey Road medley. "As We Go Up, We Go Down", "Game of Pricks", "Closer You Are", "My Valuable Hunting Knife"...
"In It For The Money" (1996)
Imagine if The Beatles had jumped creatively right from "RUBBER SOUL" to "ABBEY ROAD"... and no one bought it. That's what Supergrass did, going from the snotty pop punk of their debut to a sophisticated exposition of shimmering delights. People bought whatever instead so what do you do next? They just kept trying new things and getting better. Set time to rights by discovering this brilliant album: "Late In The Day", "G-Song", "Hollow Little Reign".... There's a second disc of songs that didn't make the cut which beat any other band's best. Well, what are you waiting for?
• THE APPLES IN STEREO,
"Tone Soul Evolution" (1997)
Robert Schneider's ensemble from the Elephant 6 family go stereophonic.
• PAUL McCARTNEY,
"Flaming Pie" (1997)
Chuffed by the triumphant success of The Beatles' ANTHOLOGY documentary series and CDs, Paul goes full unapologetic Beatle, abbetted by producer Jeff Lynne and Ringo. One of his greatest.
> "Calico Skies", "Flaming Pie", "Beautiful Night", "Great Day", etc.
• LOS FABULOSOS CADILLACS,
"Fabulosos Calavera" (1998)
This Argentinian band was known for its rowdy mix of ska, punk, and home Rock styles. But no one was prepared for this explosive blender of an album; thrash, ska, lounge... and that was in just one song. One writer gushed "is this the music of the 21st century?" If only. Put your G-Force seatbelts on and buy this album.
• THE SOUNDTRACK OF OUR LIVES,
"Extended Revelation" (2002)
This Swedish band takes its name seriously, aiming to be every great sound from 1966 to 1975 all at once. Stones jang here, Floyd moog there, Beatle everywhere. Check out "Let It Come Alive" or "Safety Operation" and you'll believe me.
• JASON FALKNER,
"Can You Still Feel It" (1999)
Fans of Neil Finn, Aimee Mann, Michael Penn, Fiona Apple, and Jon Brion should peek this multi-instrumentalist and crack songsmith. Sought out by everyone from Jellyfish and Air, to Beck and Paul McCartney, Jason even taught guitar to the actors in the film "Juno".
"The Harsh Light Of Day" (2000)
People expecting more versions of "The Way" must have bounced off of this follow-up, which is a more ambitious and nuanced record. Their flighty loss, your smart gain. "You're An Ocean" even features Billy Preston!
"The Quiet Vibrationland" (2000)
Sunshine psyche with Wings harmonies, indie crunch, and a broad palette of styles.
A startlingly rich and varied album where every song should be a hit. Genial jaunts, kickdrum rockers, Number-9-Dream chorals, earworm tunes... it's got it all.
• SUPER FURRY ANIMALS,
"Rings Around The World" (2001)
Another stunning hybrid of Brian Wilson harmonics and Beatle pagentry, with a serious dose of sly commentary under all that fun glow. If you think bands don't make them like they used to, catch up to the future. (Because Paul McCartney chewed celery on The Beach Boys' 1967 "Vegetables", they had him do it again on this album's "Receptacle for the Respectable".)
• THE NEW PORNOGRAPHERS,
"Electric Version" (2003)
The progeny of McCartney and Wilson, with some Ocasek and Shelley thrown in. All this and Neko Case, too! Perfect pop for a new future. Proof: "It's Only Divine Right".
Kurt Cobain gets possessed by Syd Barrett and does a mash-up of Grunge dynamics and glorious Psychedelia. At times indescribably beautiful. Led by Dylan Donkin they made two astonishing albums everybody missed out on. "Knock 'Em Out", "Out Of Reach", and "Nobody".
• ROBBERS ON HIGH STREET,
"Tree City" (2005)
If The Strokes made the killer record of 1969, it might match this one. So many great songs I had to struggle to pick for the player.
Comparing them to Primal Scream and Oasis only misses they all come from common roots, and that this band sounds unique in its new use of timeless sounds.
"Never Hear The End Of It" (2006)
Canada's most worthy pumps out an astonishing 30 songs and all of them smack perfect. Runs like a medley of a lifetime's greatest hits.
• MYRACLE BRAH,
"Can You Hear The Myracle Brah?" (2007)
Andy Bopp winds up his psyche pop project with this swaggering grandstander.
"A Collection for Enemies And Friends" (2007)
Looking like at first glance like a Deutsche Grammophon collection of ambient mixes, this joltingly accomplished set of sharp refrains. Yes, they do make 'em like they used to, and with a panache all their own.
Young Modern (2007)
Initially written off as teenagers riding the Grunge wave, this Australian trio comes to full actualization with this masterful album.
"Dig Out Your Soul" (2008)
While the sonic influences of the latter Beatles permeated everything the Britpop band ever made, this swan song brings it all into their best maturation.
"I Was Raised on Matthew, Mark, Luke, and Laura" (2008)
Casimer Pascal's ultimate statement, three years in the making, winding through prismatic medleys.
• THE GURUS,
"Closing Circles" (2010)
The Spanish freakbeaters turn their classic references into accents in their mature form.
• LAWRENCE ARABIA,
"Chant Darling" (2010)
From the first moment of "Because" harmonies that open the album, you know what street you're on.
• TAME IMPALA,
Perfectly insular and expansive, with stereophonic soundscapes galore. Epic guitar and dreamy harmonies for days.
> "Elephant", "Mind Mischief".
• COTTON MATHER,
Spiritual peers of The Beatles, Big Star, and Supergrass, the Texas band slides into glory with this acclaimed and unfairly overlooked centerpiece.
• SMITH WESTERNS,
"Soft Will" (2013)
Starting as punks who went glam, by this coda the Illinois boys soar on shimmering pop anthems, with a spectral undercurrent of George Harrison.
• UNCLE ACID AND THE DEADBEATS,
"Mind Control" (2013)
Black Sabbath was greatly inspired by the heaviness of The White Album. And this band is the exact melding of bonecrushing Masters Of Reality riffs and wafting Abbey Road harmonies.
• JIM NOIR,
"The Finnish Line" (2014)
The pseudonym of Alan Roberts, transmitting everything great about 1970 everlasting. A rock-solid album of perfect, tiemless songs.
• MIKAL CRONIN,
A key player in the new Psyche scene (with Ty Segall, Thee Oh Sees) of the Bay Area, he makes beutiful solo albums between guesting on everyone else's.
LET IT BE
(recorded 1969, released 1970)
Let it become, let it be what it is, let it all go.
Let's be thankful for each other and go forward.
LET IT BE:
• THE BAND,
"Music From Big Pink" (1968)
The White Album and Let It Be wouldn't exist without Dylan and The Band.
Dylan's John Wesley Harding (1968) shocked psychedelia in its tracks, stripping everyting down to roots simplicity. His cohorts The Band expanded this with soulful Americana in this crucial album, becoming the clarion call for the 'back-to-basics' movement of singer-songwriter, raw roots, and personal confessionals. This is a the template for The Beatles' final records and many of their first solo records.
• BOB DYLAN,
"Nashville Skyline" (1969)
Dylan goes country with a lilting beauty and surprisingly mellow golden voice, spinning efortless classics like "Lay Lady Lay" and "I Threw It All Away".
A riff-rockin' counterpart to Badfinger who hit the charts with "Yellow River".
• BILLY PRESTON,
"I Wrote A Simple Song" (1971)
Billy held The Beatles' sessions for Let It Be together with his playing and friendship. This record is a stone classic, with touches of our foursome, Sly Stone, and Ray Charles all through it. "You Done Got Older" is a winking rewrite of "Get Back".
• GERRY RAFFERTY,
"Can I Have My Money Back?" (1971)
Before Stealers Wheel, the Scottish troubadour made this fine downhome record of crack tunes.
• EDDIE HARDIN,
"Home Is Where You Find It" (1972)
One of those great records that no one knows like they should, it sounds like Steve Winwood jamming late night in the Abbey Road studios.
• THE ROLLING STONES,
"Exile On Main Street" (1972)
Tense circumstances, ramshackle recording, a back to basics rawness, accidental genius. Somehow The Stones made their own Let It Be without coming apart.
• JOHN LENNON,
"Walls And Bridges" (1974)
A reflective, humbler John gets funky, rootsy, and loose in this chestnut, containing brilliant songs like the ethereal "#9 Dream" and wry rocker "Steel And Glass".
• BIG STAR,
"3rd/ Sister Lovers" (1975)
Alex Chilton and Chris Bell were unlikely anglophiles coming out of soul central Memphis, but their raspy take on Power Pop became a template for bands for decades. But no one wanted to know at the time. When Alex tried to make a solo album it somehow blurred back into a band album of shambling sprawl and alluring decay. A disaster that somehow works.
• CHRIS BELL,
"I Am The Cosmos" (Rec. 1978; Rel. '92)
Meanwhile Chris Bell made an album that never came out at all. But when it did years after his passing, everybody woke up to this yearning shimmer of Pop longing.
• PETE HAM,
"7 Park Avenue" (Rec. Mid-1970s/ Rel. 1999)
Badfinger was blessed with songwriters, but Pete Ham was its heart. Over the years the prolific popsmith made home demos of songs that never got made, and they were later released here and on Golders Green. Simple and lightly adorned, they ring as pure and true as any work you can name. We were lucky to have this guy.
• LENNY KRAVITZ,
"Let Love Rule" (1989)
The tryst of Sly Stone and John Lennon, with some Costello and Hendrix thrown in. Lenny's debut rebuked the slick production of the time by going all analog with traditional instruments. This album has a raw warmth and direct honesty that is completely timeless. Brilliant from start to finish.
• THE REMBRANDTS,
How many of you realize that the theme to "Friends" is a Beatles song? Well, it practically is, considering The Rembrandts' source sounds. Fans of Crowded House and The Plimsouls, this is there for you.
• PAUL WELLER,
"Wild Wood" (1993)
Wandering in the wilderness for some years after The Jam and The Style Council, Paul Weller returned with a warm R'n'B style that hearkened more to Winwood's Traffic and McCartney's first solo albums.
"In Utero" (1994)
Nevermind had ended with the song "Something In The Way", with its Lennon wooze and title lifted from a Harrison line (lifted from James Taylor). It signaled the next. The tense final album had the band at cross ends, with some cellos and double-tracked vocals along the way. Listen to "Dumb" and "All Apologies" again...
• PAUL WELLER,
"Stanley Road" (1995)
Paul's back, ratcheting up the bluesy soul momentum of Wild Wood with extra gusto and push.
"H.M.S. Fable" (1999)
A prime influence on Oasis, the Head brothers from Liverpool reconvened with these stately shanties and campfire stokers.
• GEORGE HARRISON,
Warm as a soft hearth or an old friend's hug, this deeply underrated swan song by George is lovingly under-produced by his son Dhani and Jeff Lynne.
• THE JAYHAWKS,
"Rainy Day Music" (2003)
That title nails it; warm melodies for a bleary day. Wonderful tunes, slightly bruised, cathartic and haunting. Fans of country Dylan, America, the early Eagles, Gerry Rafferty, The Posies, and alt-country will drop their jaws.
• FISTFUL OF MERCY,
"As I Call You Down" (2010)
A low-key supergroup making unpretentious roots-based songs, like an indie Traveling Wilburys: Ben Harper, Joseph Arthur, and some guy named Dhani Harrison who knows how to do everything really well.
• TOBIAS JESSO JR,
A timeless piano confessional album in the best tradition of McCartney, King, and Newman.
• WEYES BLOOD,
"Front Row Seat To Earth" (2016)
What if Joni Mitchel had recorded the Let It Be album produced by David Axelrod?
Natalie Mering's moody folk blossoms here into a palatial soundscape of almost indescribable beauty, haunting and harrowing and heartfelt. An essential album.
PAST MASTERS 1962-1970
In the '60s, singles were often made between albums and not included on them. These two CDs compiled all The Beatles' loose singles, becoming a sort of alternate overview.
Some artists don't homage a specific album or sound, instead making tributes to varied sounds across The Beatles career. Here are some standouts.
• LOS CHEYENES,
"Sus Singles Y E.P.'s En R.C.A. (1965-1967)"
A garage band from Spain who whiled wild through styles in their two years.
• THE REDCOATS,
"Meet The Redcoats!" (1967)
A New Jersey garage band who barely got noticed, this ear-opening collection reveals their full range as crack Beatlemaniacs.
• THE RUTLES,
"The Rutles" (1978)
Monty Python colluded with SNL to make Eric Idle's almost shocking retelling of an alternate universe Beatles in the very first 'mockumentary' movie. Sacrilegious and yet touchingly reverential at its heart. Neil Innes of Bonzo Dog played the snide Ron Nasty (John) and made a soundtrack covering all their sounds that plays like the best Beatles album never made. Essential beyond words.
• THE RUTLES,
"Here we are/ once again/ somewhere in another universe..." Just in time for The Beatles' ANTHOLOGY came the return of The Rutles! Amazon says the joke's not as funny the second time. They missed the point entirely. Anyone listening will see this is a concept album where Ron Nasty is critiquing the greed, sell-outs, and complacency of the '90s (and even the counterculture) itself. Just like John Lennon would have done.
Smart, sly, and the music is brilliant. Essential.
"Deface The Music" (1981)
Todd Rundgren glosses The Beatles' whole career with these terrific tributes to all their sounds. Harder to find than it should be and worth the finding.
> "Alone", "Take It Home", "All Smiles", and the Walrus-esque "Everybody Else Is Wrong".
• BILLY JOEL,
"The Nylon Curtain" (1982)
Billy had done a few McCartney homages, but then in the wake of John's passing, he made a concept album that referenced many Beatles styles. (Afterward he continued homaging the AM radio styles of his youth with the Innocent Man album.)
> "Laura", "Surprises", and "Scandanavian Skies".
• OFRA HARNOY,
Across her career, this Canadian classical cellist had recorded numerous Beatles covers. This timely compilation included an elegant new recording of "Free As A Bird" just before the actual reunited Beatles version came out.
• THE CLIENTELE,
"Suburban Light" (Singles collection, 1997-2001)
A British band with opulent production, mercurial shifts, and heady lyrics.
• BLUE SKIES FOR BLACK HEARTS,
"Love Is Not Enough" (2006)
Centered around multi-talented Pat Kearns, with a knack for crafting alternate universe classic hits that never actually happened before.
• THE BYE BYE BLACKBIRDS,
"We Need The Rain" (2013)
The best facets of power pop and guitar jangle from every decade all in one fine spritzer.
• "I Am Sam" Soundtrack (2002)
A great film, a sweet soundtrack of modern artists covering our band. Aimee Mann and Michael Penn, Sarah McLachlan, Rufus Wainwright, The Wallflowers, Eddie Vedder, Ben Harper, Sheryl Crow, Ben Folds, The Vines, Stereophonics, The Black Crowes, Chocolate Genius, Paul Westerberg, Grandaddy, and Nick Cave.
• "ACROSS THE UNIVERSE" Soundtrack (2007)
What if you remade the film of "HAIR" with Beatles songs? Julie Taymor did basically that with this movie and it's a win-win. Actors sang the vocals live on location which brings a direct immediacy and freshness to this terrific overview of the greatest band of all time. Check out the album and the movie.
The Beatles are like the sun.
It always comes back around.
It brings warmth and life.
And it's all right.
A splendid time is guaranteed for all!
© Tym Stevens
-The Real History of Rock and Soul!: A Music Player Checklist