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Is Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band Really The Best Beatles Album?

We’ve adopted a “completely scientific approach” to decide once and for all which Beatles album tops us all. Find out the winner here!

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50 years have passed since The Beatles’ widely regarded best album Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band was released. The upcoming golden jubilee is being celebrated and heralded in a way that few albums have before, but is Sgt Pepper’s worth the hype? Is it even the best of The Beatles’ studio albums? We’ve taken a look at the three albums that encompass The peak of the band’s commercial and critical success to work out which of their albums come on top.

Firstly we have Rubber Soul, the album which arguably moved the Beatles away from straight up pop and into a more expansive sound. Revolver then took this idea further by incorporating psychedelia into the mix, alongside studio innovation. Sgt Pepper was the culmination of this period, pushing those ideas through a loose concept to create one of the best albums ever.

We’re going to score each of these albums on different criteria to come to a not so scientific conclusion as to which album comes up on top.

Opening Track

It may seem daft, but albums are only really as strong as their opening track. It’s the song that sets the scene for the next 30+ minutes. If you’re reaching for the skip button before track one wraps up, it’s unlikely you’re going to bother seeing the album out.

For this category, we’ve scored each album’s opening track out of ten to contribute towards its albums final score.

Rubber Soul – Drive My Car

It may be a tad lightweight compared to other opening tracks, but it shows what Rubber Soul was all about; perfecting pop without reaching for clichéd tracks about love and heartbreak. The track takes in a cracking Motown-inspired groove. It’s a song that you can’t help but sing along to and raises a smile from even the most hardened soul.

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Rating: 8/10

Revolver – Taxman

If Lennon and McCartney were the core of The Beatles, then George Harrison was the meat on the bone of the band. He provided the perfect lead guitar for every song and contributed some classics to the mix himself. Arguably Harrison’s first excellent Beatles track, Taxman only loses points for its hypocritical subject matter. It may have been well-intentioned, but it’s still a wealthy young man ranting about paying more tax. Maybe Teresa May should take this one on for her election campaign.

Rating: 7/10

Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band

It sets the scene well, the psychedelic lead, the group vocals painting the imaginary story of the band’s alias. However, in reality, it’s one of the more lightweight tracks on an album that packs some pretty weighty tunes.

Rating: 7/10

Full Tracklisting

Putting the opening tracks aside, it’s the whole album that we remember. So without further ado, let’s grade every track on the album.

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You’ll notice that we’ve counted the opening tracks scores again, so essentially count for a double on our scoring.

Rubber Soul

Drive My Car 8/10

Norwegian Wood (This Bird Has Flown) 9/10

You Won’t See Me 5/10

Nowhere Man 8/10

Think For Yourself 4/10

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The Word 7.5/10

Michelle 7/10

What Goes On 5/10

Girl 8/10

I’m Looking Through You 6/10

In My Life 9/10

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Wait 7/10

If I Needed Someone 8/10

Run For Your Life 4/10

Total Score: 95.5

Revolver

Taxman 7/10

Eleanor Rigby 9.5/10

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I’m Only Sleeping 7/10

Love You To 6/10

Here, There And Everywhere 8/10

Yellow Submarine 7/10

She Said She Said 8/10

Good Day Sunshine 7/10

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And Your Bird Can Sing 6/10

For No One 8/10

Doctor Robert 7/10

I Want To Tell You 6/10

Got To Get You Into My Life 7/10

Tomorrow Never Knows 9.5/10

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Total Score: 103 

Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band

Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band 7/10

With A Little Help From My Friends 8/10

Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds 9/10

Getting Better 8/10

Fixing A Hole 8/10

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She’s Leaving Home 8/10

Being For The Benefit Of Mr. Kite! 7/10

Within You Without You 4/10

When I’m Sixty-Four 3/10

Lovely Rita 8/10

Good Morning Good Morning 6/10

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Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band (Reprise) 6/10

A Day In The Life 10/10

Total Score: 92

Sales

The adage goes that the best products sell the best. It doesn’t explain why Adele and Bieber sell so well, but we thought we’d take it into account anyway. We’re using this list of the best selling albums of the 60’s. For every position down the list, the album loses 0.5 points from a maximum 10.

Rubber Soul –  8th place = 7.5 points

Revolver – 11th Place = 6 points

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Sgt. Peppers – 1st Place = 10 Points

Critics

Us critics know nothing right? Well, more times than not we usually get things near enough right. Thus we’ve included critics score in the scoring criteria, but which analyst to use? We’ve combined two sources to try and keep it unbiased. The hipsters choice Pitchfork and the hipsters second choice Allmusic. Each critic earns the album five marks for a perfect score.

Rubber Soul

Pitchfork – 10/10

Allmusic – 5/5

Revolver

Pitchfork 10/10

Allmusic – 5/5

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Sgt Pepper’s

Pitchfork 10/10

Allmusic – 5/5

Well, this is awkward…

The Ringo Factor

This factor could well be the decider for our winner; which album did Ringo make the best singing contribution? His songs are never going to be the highlight of the album, but when he’s at his worst it can bring an album down (sorry Ringo!) For each mark below 10/10, the album loses a point.

What Goes On – 5/10

Yellow Submarine – 7/10

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With A Little Help From My Friends – 8/10

The Final Scores

Rubber Soul – 116 Points

Revolver  – 123 Point

Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band – 117 Points

So there we have it, Sgt Pepper isn’t the best Beatles album of all time, as not so scientifically concluded by us. Revolver takes the trophy for best Beatles album, but like all good races, it’s only by a short distance.

 

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