Yellow Submarine album cover

The Beatles Best Albums by Record Sales

The Beatles music took the world by storm and shaped the music industry for decades to come.   Widely regarded as the greatest and most influential band in the history of pop music.  John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr’s collective catalogue of albums have sold well over one billion copies.  The reason the band stayed interesting for so many years was partially because they experimented with creative production techniques.

1.  Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, 1967 – 32 million copies sold

Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Album Cover

Many fans believe this album was the one that singularly defined the Beatles. The influence of ‘Sgt Pepper’ changed not only music, but pop culture at large.  The album is an adventure in sound, song writing and studio technology.  The album is not just a bunch of songs, as every song is part of a larger theme.  It all comes together as if you were reading a book.  The cover album art caused some controversy and the album went on to become the biggest-selling UK record of all time.

Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band Track playlist

‘Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band’
‘With A Little Help From My Friends’
‘Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds’
‘Getting Better’
‘Fixing a Hole’
‘She’s Leaving Home’
‘Being for the Benefit of Mr Kite’
‘Within You Without You’
‘When I’m Sixty-Four’
‘Lovely Rita’
‘Good Morning Good Morning’
‘Sgt. pepper’s lonely hearts club band (reprise)’
‘A Day in the life’

2. Revolver, 1966 – 27 million copies sold

Revolver Album Cover

The bands seventh studio album Revolver was released on 5 August 1966.  A brilliantly technically sophisticated, studio-crafted album which they wrote after a 3-month break.  Often referred to as the bands psychedelic period.  Songs seems to reflect their interest in the drug LSD and Eastern philosophy. The record was recorded at EMI Studios on Abbey Road in London. The boys wanted to record it in America, but EMI were unwilling to put up the money for them to do so. Their contract with EMI expired during the making of this album so they weren’t under contract with the label as this was signed the following year.  They more of less gave this album to EMI.  During the recording they started experimenting with new technology that hadn’t been used before such as playback loops, overdubbing, close audio miking, and instruments outside of their standard live set-up.  The songs from the album were never going to be played live because they didn’t feel it was possible to reproduce the songs on stage.   

Revolver Track playlist

‘Taxman’
‘Eleanor Rigby’
‘I’m Only Sleeping’ – This song uses backward guitar sound
‘Love You To’
‘Here, There And Everywhere’
‘Yellow Submarine’
‘She Said She Said’
‘Good Day Sunshine’
‘And Your Bird Can Sing’
‘For No One’
‘Doctor Robert’
‘I Want To Tell You’
‘Got To Get You Into My Life’
‘Tomorrow Never Knows’

3. Rubber Soul, 1965 – 16.5 million copies sold

Rubber Soul Album Cover

This was the album, pre their psychedelic period where they started to write about more introspective adult subject matter.  It was their sixth studio album and their most artistic album to date.   You can tell there is slight steer away from the heavy demands of teen pop which brought about Beatlemania.  The songs lacked the carefree lyrics of previous songs, and were much deeper with an almost melancholic feel to them.  Around that time critics said it was a transformative time for the group and it shows how the band who were once boys have grown into men.

Rubber Soul Track List

‘Drive My Car’
‘Norwegian Wood (This Bird Has Flown)’
‘You Won’t See Me’
‘Nowhere Man’
‘Think For Yourself’
‘The Word’
‘Michelle’
‘What Goes On’
‘Girl’
‘I’m Looking Through You’
‘In My Life’
‘Wait’
‘If I Needed Someone’
‘Run For Your Life’

4. The Beatles, 1968 – 16 million copies sold

The Beatles Album Cover

This album was created between 30 May – 17 October 1968.  It was recorded at EMI Studios on Abbey Road in London and also Trident Studios at 17 St Anne’s Court in London’s Soho district.  The album is also known as the ‘White Album’ due to the fact the album cover artwork was just plain white with the only the words ‘The Beatles’. This ninth studio album was the only double album by the band.  Most of the songs on the album were written at a Transcendental Meditation course in Rishikesh, India.  It is recognised for its fragmentary style and diverse range of genres across the songs.  Folk music, British blues, ska, music hall and the avant-garde are all prevalent. It has since been viewed by some critics as a postmodern work, as well as among the greatest music albums of all time.

The Beatles Double Album Playlist

‘Back In The USSR’
‘Dear Prudence’
‘Glass Onion’
‘Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da’
‘Wild Honey Pie’
‘The Continuing Story Of Bungalow Bill’
‘While My Guitar Gently Weeps’
‘Happiness Is A Warm Gun’
‘Martha My Dear’
‘I’m So Tired’
‘Blackbird’
‘Piggies’
‘Rocky Raccoon’
‘Don’t Pass Me By’
‘Why Don’t We Do It In The Road?’
‘I Will’
‘Julia’

‘Birthday’
‘Yer Blues’
‘Mother Nature’s Son’
‘Everybody’s Got Something To Hide Except Me And My Monkey’
‘Sexy Sadie’
‘Helter Skelter’
‘Long, Long, Long’
‘Revolution 1’
‘Honey Pie’
‘Savoy Truffle’
‘Cry Baby Cry’
‘Revolution’
‘Good Night’

5. Abbey Road, 1969 – 10 million copies sold

Beatles Abbey Road Album Cover

Abbey Road was the last album ever recorded by the group. Not that anyone realised this at the time.  The music was fresh and exciting and it certainly didn’t seem like it was coming from a band that was on its last legs. It was an immediate commercial success and reached number one in the UK and US charts. Originally the album was going to be called “Everest” (after a brand of cigarettes smoked by Geoff Emerick, one of the engineers). The packets had a silhouette of Mount Everest on them and The Beatles liked the imagery. However, the idea was dropped as none of The Beatles wanted to travel to Nepal for a cover shoot. Paul McCartney suggested they just go outside, take the photo there and name the album after the street. So on the morning of 8 August 1969, the now iconic photo of the boys walking across Abbey Road was created.

Abbey Road Track List

‘Come Together’
‘Something’
‘Mazwell’s Silver Hammer’
‘Oh! Darling’
‘Octopus’s Garden’
‘I Want You (She’s so Heavy)’
‘Here Comes the Sun’
‘Because’
‘You Never Give Me Your Money’
‘Sun King’
‘Mean Mr.Mustard’
‘Polythene Pam’
‘She Came in Through the Bathroom Window
‘Golden Slumbers’
‘Carry That Weight’
‘The End’
‘Her Magesty’

So that is the top five albums in terms of sales as of 2021.  Of course people will argue which is the greatest Beatles album of all time, but few argue they are THE most influential pop/rock act of all time.

Beatles Stats

The Beatles broke up in 1970 but all remain record holders as the act with the most number 1 albums in Official Chart history:

Single Stats

  • 17 UK number 1 hits
  • 28 UK Top 10 hits
  • 38 UK Top 40 hits
  • 56 UK Top 75 hits
  • 65 Weeks at Number 1
  • 188 Weeks in Top 10
     
  • 365 Weeks in Top 40
  • 461 Weeks in Top 75

Album Stats

  • 16 UK Number 1 hit albums
  • 33 UK Top 10s
  • 44 UK Top 40s
  • 55 UK Top 75s
  • 176 Weeks at Number 1
  • 477 Weeks in Top 10
  • 1044 Weeks in Top 40
  • 1548 Weeks in Top 75

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