Whether or not you like their music (which, to be perfectly honest, doesn’t make any sense in my brain), pretty much everyone knows about The Beatles and can recognize their work when they hear it. If you’re a bit obsessed *cough* you can recognize a lot of their work when you hear it. In conversations with other fans or music lovers in general, I’ve found that the Beatles albums that get cited the most as favorites are Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, The White Album (or The Beatles, to use its true name), and Abbey Road. There are many admirable things about these albums, but I would like to take a moment to shed some light on what I feel are some under-appreciated gems in The Beatles’ catalog.
1. With The Beatles
I debated between including this second album or Please Please Me, their first, but the only thing I could think to say about Please Please Me was, “It was the first one and it’s got “Twist and Shout” on it,” so With The Beatles won out instead. In all seriousness, though, I think the tracks on With The Beatles have a really fun vibe that carries the listener smoothly from first song to last. Whether through covers of rock and roll greats like “Roll Over Beethoven” or through original Lennon/McCartney compositions like “All My Loving,” an unbridled energy shines throughout this album.
My favorite tracks: – “It Won’t Be Long”
– “Please Mister Postman”
– “Hold Me Tight”
2. A Hard Day’s Night
My personal favorite. A title that makes no sense, an accompanying movie of tomfoolery and funny one-liners, the back of George’s head on the cover…what’s not to love? Putting all that aside, though, and focusing on the songs, this album plays like a more mature With The Beatles, and it is notably the first album released by the band to feature all original compositions. It’s got catchy melodies and easy-to-sing-along lyrics as well as a couple of tracks that tug on the heartstrings in an interesting this-isn’t-really-painful-but-it’s-still-a-little-sad kind of way (“Things We Said Today” and “I’ll Be Back” in particular come to mind). This is actually the album that launched what I like to call my “Beatles Awakening,” the album that made me want to listen to ALL THE BEATLES SONGS EVER!
My favorite tracks: – “A Hard Day’s Night”
– “Tell Me Why”
– “Things We Said Today”
3. Beatles for Sale
I might have lied, this one might actually be my favorite. I don’t know. I’m conflicted. Going back to a mix of covers and original songs, Beatles for Sale takes that element of slight melancholy that showed up first on A Hard Day’s Night and expands upon it in tracks like “Baby’s In Black” and “I’ll Follow the Sun.” In and amongst that, though, are some fun vocals to be found in songs such as “Mr. Moonlight” and “Kansas City/Hey-Hey-Hey-Hey!” This album manages to be both energetic and pretty in its own way. And you have to clap when they clap during “Eight Days a Week.” Those are the rules.
My favorite tracks: – “I’ll Follow the Sun”
– “Every Little Thing”
– “What You’re Doing”
There’s usually something good to be found on every Beatles album. They have a lot of material that spans different genres and tastes. So perhaps if you’ve only ever heard Sgt. Pepper’s or something else and thought, “This is not for me,” give one of these other recommendations a shot! Or just play “Twist and Shout” on repeat. Everyone loves that one.