The Beatles, as a group, revolutionized popular music, and left behind a body of work that will endure for centuries. The solo recordings from John, Paul, George and Ringo have been spottier, but still, at their best, each has produced superb albums that sit handsomely alongside the catalog of their former band. Below are 10 solo albums made by Fab Four alumni that should be a part of everyone’s record collection.

Plastic Ono Band – John Lennon (1970)

Even the most knowledgeable Beatles fans were likely surprised by the searing introspection John Lennon unleashed on his first solo album. Having recently undergone primal scream therapy – a demanding process intended to bring repressed childhood memories to the surface -- Lennon composed material that gave new meaning to confessional songwriting. Classics such as “Mother,” “Working Class Hero,” “Love” and “Well Well Well” were the result.

Beatles solo albums

 

 

Ram – Paul and Linda McCartney (1971)

Most fans know that the 1980 Double Fantasy album was credited to John and Yoko, but many forget that Ram was credited to Paul and Linda. Featuring more elaborate production than McCartney’s self-titled post-Beatles debut, the album nonetheless contains a tossed-off charm that’s aged well. The whimsical two-part suite, "Uncle Albert/Admiral Halsey,” remains quintessential McCartney. “Ram reminds me of my hippie days,” McCartney once said, in a post on his website.

Beatles solo albums

 

 

All Things Must Pass – George Harrison (1970)

Sad as it was, the Beatles’ breakup nonetheless afforded George Harrison the opportunity to fully unleash the songwriting prowess that had long been brewing in him. This triple-album opus – the first box set in rock music history – also introduced the spiritual themes and a slide-guitar emphasis that would become central to Harrison’s work going forward. High points include the classics “My Sweet Lord,” “Isn’t it a Pity” and “What is Life.”

Beatles solo albums

 

 

Ringo – Ringo Starr (1973)

The framework for Ringo’s All-Starr Band concept can be traced back to this terrific album. Contributions came not just from Ringo’s former mates in the Fab Four, but also from friends such as Marc Bolan, Harry Nilsson, Nicky Hopkins and members of The Band. “Photograph,” a pop gem written by Starr and George Harrison, and a delightful cover of “You’re Sixteen” both topped the charts in the U.S.

Beatles solo albums

 

 

Imagine – John Lennon (1971)

John Lennon mellowed a bit for the follow-up to his harrowing solo rock debut, but the softer stance was merely relative. “Jealous Guy” held a mirror up to Lennon’s vulnerability, but “Gimme Some Truth” and “How Do You Sleep” howled with a spirit as tempestuous as anything Lennon had done previously. Most importantly, the utopian vision offered up in the title track remains as relevant as the day it was recorded.

Beatles solo albums

 

 

Band on the Run – Paul McCartney & Wings (1973)

Who could have imagined that Paul McCartney would record his finest post-Beatles album in Lagos, Nigeria? Powered by the hits “Jet,” “Helen Wheels” and the title track, the album was an instant classic that’s only grown in stature. Lennon, who rarely complimented McCartney’s solo work, gave the album a whole-hearted thumbs-up. “Band on the Run is a great album,” he told Rolling Stone. “You can call them Wings, but it’s Paul McCartney music – and it’s good stuff.”

Beatles solo albums

 

 

Cloud Nine – George Harrison (1987)

George Harrison ended a five-year recording hiatus with one of the most accomplished releases of his career. Enlisting ELO leader Jeff Lynne to co-produce, Harrison brought in pals Eric Clapton, Ringo Starr, Elton John and Jim Keltner to breathe life into some of his finest compositions. A cover of the obscure nugget, “Got My Mind Set on You,” reached Number One in the U.S., and the Beatles tribute “When We was Fab” did nearly as well.

Beatles solo albums

 

 

Double Fantasy – John Lennon and Yoko Ono (1980)

Lennon shared billing on this album with wife Yoko Ono, but the strength of the Lennon-penned compositions alone merits the LP’s inclusion on this list. Like much of Lennon’s best work, the pop brilliance of “(Just Like) Starting Over” and the stately splendor of “Woman” dip a toe in the past while pushing toward the future. One can’t help wondering about the impact Lennon would have had on ‘80s music, had he survived.

Beatles solo albums

 

 

Time Takes Time – Ringo Starr (1992)

This album, Ringo’s first studio LP in ten years, was widely hailed as his best effort since 1973’s Ringo. Recorded sporadically during 1991, the album features such diverse material as a cover of The Posies’ “Golden Blunders” and a Diane Warren-penned track titled “In a Heartbeat.” A McCartney-Starr composition, titled “Angel in Disguise,” was recorded for the album, but unfortunately Starr opted not to include it. The song would have been the first composition to bear such a credit.

Beatles solo albums

 

 

Memory Almost Full -- Paul McCartney (2007)

It’s a testament to McCartney’s enduring artistry that, well into the fifth decade of his career, he crafted one of his finest albums. Lively melodies abound, and though the lyrical tone is reflective, the music is anything but maudlin. The phrase “memory almost full” alludes to a digital message, of course, but it also happens to be an anagram of “for my soul mate LLM” (Linda McCartney’s full initials). Interestingly enough, McCartney insisted the reference was unintentional.

Beatles solo albums