Pass the Pepper, Please…

The Beatles ‘Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Heart’s Club Band’ is the greatest album of all time.

It’s on top of almost every possible  list as the greatest album made.  Rolling Stone, every other major  magazine, VH1, you name it it’s at the top.  And they are correct.  It IS THE most influential, flawlessly put together album in history.  The Greatest.

Funny though.  It’s not The Beatles best album.

Only The Beatles could pull that off.

Sgt Pepper basically of started the whole concept of an “album”.  A collection of songs that cohesively go together and need to be heard together.  It also had the packaging that gave people something to look at and be enthralled with.  It was the first album that gave you the lyrics.

It was the first.

Pop music became art on its release.  It’s that important.

It’s also a timepiece.  A wonderful timepiece, the summer of love might not have happened without it.  Everything went Technicolor with its release.  Popular music would be different without it.

So it’s the greatest album of all time.

But it’s probably around the 4th best Beatle record.


If you are talking about just the music and creative output then…

Revolver is the Beatles at their best.

Revolver is ageless.  It was truly the last of The Beatles working together as a real band.  All for one and all.  It’s also a “tweener” record, which seems to be peak periods for them.   They weren’t moptops” anymore.  But they were not fully “psychedelic” either.  (The White album was also a tweener, coming out of psychedelia into rock, and it’s on my list as a very close number two, but they were fragmented as a band by then).

Revolver gave us George as a legitimate songwriter with “Taxman” and “I want to tell you”

It gave us the first glimpse of the real John Lennon with “I’m only sleeping” , “She said she said” and the nod to the future album with “Tomorrow never knows”.  And McCartney was at his eclectic best with “Eleanor Rigby”,  “Got to Get you into my Life”, “Here There and Everywhere”, and the heartbreaking “For No One”.  In fact, McCartney was at his personal best on this record.  Listeners more inclined to lean Lennon might put “Rubber Soul” highest because that might have been when HE was at the top of his game.

But “Revolver” was the proof that The Beatles were maturing and nothing after this was going to ever be the same….

And it wasn’t.

The Lists:

Greatest albums of all time:

1. Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band

2. All of the others.

The Beatles Greatest Albums:

1. Revolver

2. The Beatles (White Album)

3. Abbey Road

4. Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Heart’s Club Band

5. Rubber Soul

6. A Hard Day’s Night

7. Let It Be

8. Help!

9. With The Beatles

10. Magical Mystery Tour

Have an opinion on the greatest albums?

Have a list of Beatle albums in order of greatness?



4 responses

  1. Indeed, only the Beatles could pull that off. Great post. Though Abbey Road is my favorite, I think you’re spot on about the BEST.

    March 5, 2011 at 1:47 pm


    Greatest albums of all time:

    1. Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band

    2. Pet Sounds-Beach Boys (After all, it WAS the inspiration for SPLHCB)

    3. All of the others.

    The Beatles Greatest Albums:

    1. Revolver

    2. Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Heart’s Club Band

    3. (tie) The Beatles & Abbey Road

    4. Rubber Soul

    March 5, 2011 at 2:56 pm

  3. Best albums of all time:

    1. Sgt. Pepper
    2. Dark Side of the Moon
    3. Who’s Next
    4. Alvin and the Chipmunks Christmas Album
    5. All the rest

    Beatles greatest?

    1. Revolver
    2. Abbey Road
    3. Rubber Soul
    4. Sgt. Pepper (I know, I’m gonna hear about this!)
    5. A Hard Day’s Night
    6. With the Beatles
    7. Let It Be
    8. Help
    9. Meet the Beatles
    10. Magical Mystery Tour
    11. The White Album (Oh yeah, this too!)

    Felt to me like the Beatles worked as a group on Revolver, and then came BACK together, knowing Abbey Road would be the last one.

    March 5, 2011 at 7:02 pm

    • mark Lanter

      ok, so I mostly agree with J.
      according to Lennon, St. Pepper is not a “conceptual” album, but a collection of songs that McCartney tried to make a conceptual album. The cohesion comes from the medley affect of going straight into ” With a Little Help From My Friends” from “Pepper” and the reprise of “pepper” on side two…other than that, none of the songs themselves have anything to do with each other ( unlike “Tommy” by the Who)otherwise, nonetheless, still the greatest pop album of all times , agreed!
      The concept of an alias band leaving Beatle Mania behind…wax figures and all, the psychedelic drenched production,which was a ground breaking achievement all its own, and the fact that there’s not a single Love Song on the whole album!( a first in pop music?) ” A Day in the Life”, the crowning jewel set an entire new precedent for pop music as did the cover art work ( including the back photo with MCartney’s back to the camera)…yes, the lyrics included on the back cover…was it a first??? In context of place and time, it was shocking like no album that had come before. everyone was grinning and scratching their head, reassessing…it was Beatle magic at its best and changed pop music and album making forever…the bar was set and nobody has topped it yet!!
      so…best Beatle album? arguably so…but, my list:
      1. Rubber Soul/Revover (tied)
      2. St. Pepper/ Magical Mystery Tour ( tied again)
      *both ties were albums recorded in the same period…Rubber Soul was the first break away to what I’d describe as “Modern Beatles” and Magical Mystery Tour was the pinnacle of their psychedelic adventures, plus when you add side two, pound for pound, arguably a better song collection than Pepper…for heaven’s sake, Strawberry Feilds, All You Need is Love, I Am The Walrus? uh hummm…anyone say JOHN LENNON?!!!!
      3. With The Beatles
      4. White Album
      6.Hard Days Night
      7. ok, Abbey Road…
      8.Please , Please Me
      9.Let It Be
      10. Beatles for sale

      March 6, 2011 at 11:51 pm

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