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VINE VOICEon December 9, 2012
as a lifelong Beatles fan, i have occasionally made compilation cds & playlist of solo Beatles tunes by year for my own enjoyment, also imagining what Beatles albums might have been had they stayed together.

now here's a book that does this properly. this is the best new & original Beatles book in years. i like the structure of 14 songs per album like the original British lps. the book also gives a capsule history by year which is useful for newer Beatles fans. also the song details are pretty full & fun to read.

as a geek, i was inspired to make my own fantasy compilations so i submit mine here for discussion. for me, there could be 11 strong collections. some years, i retain some solo album titles because in that year, they were monster songs and they fit the theme for that year.

1970 All Things Must Pass

Instant Karma! John
My Sweet Lord George
Give Peace A Chance John
Wah-Wah George
Maybe I'm Amazed Paul
Early 1970 Ringo
Cold Turkey John

Mother John
Every Night Paul
Love John
All Things Must Pass George
Working Class Hero John
Man We Was Lonely Paul
God John

1971 Imagine

Imagine John
Uncle Albert Paul
What Is Life George
It Don't Come Easy Ringo
Jealous Guy John
Another Day Paul
Beware Of Darkness George

Smile Away Paul
Awaiting On You All George
Crippled Inside John
Too Many People Paul
Oh Yoko John
Isn't It A Pity George
The Back Seat Of My Car Paul

1972 Power to the People (the Beatles political year)

Power To The People John
Bangla Desh George
Give Ireland Back To The Irish Paul
Woman Is The N***r Of The World John
Hi Hi Hi Paul
Apple Scruffs George
John Sinclair John

Back Off Boogaloo Ringo
C Moon Paul
I Dig Love George
Little Woman Love Paul
Deep Blue George
Tomorrow Paul
Art Of Dying George

1973 In the Material World

I'm The Greatest Ringo
Give Me Love George
Live And Let Die Paul
Mind Games John
Sue Me, Sue You Blues George
Tight A$ John
My Love Paul

Photograph Ringo
Get On The Right Thing Paul
Don't Let Me Wait Too Long George
Helen Wheels Paul
Miss O'Dell George
Out The Blue John
Living In The Material World George

1974 On The Run

Band On The Run Paul
Whatever Gets You Thru The Night John
Goodnight Vienna Ringo
Jet Paul
Dark Horse George
Going Down On Love John
You're Sixteen Ringo

Junior's Farm Paul
#9 Dream John
So Sad George
Oh, My My Ringo
Mrs Vandebilt Paul
Steel And Glass John
Nineteen Hundred And Eighty Five Paul

1975 Rock Show

Venus And Mars - Rock Show Paul
You George
Listen To What The Man Said Paul
What You Got John
Only You Ringo
Magneto And Titanium Man Paul
Snookeroo Ringo

Letting Go Paul
No-No Song Ringo
Be-Bop-A-Lula John
You Gave Me The Answer Paul
Stand By Me John
Tired Of Midnight Blue George
Nobody Loves You John

1976 Silly Love Songs

Let 'Em In Paul
Crackerbox Palace George
Silly Love Songs Paul
Beautiful Girl George
Rock & Roll People John
A Dose Of Rock 'N' Roll Ringo
Beware My Love Paul

This Song George
Here We Go Again John
She's My Baby Paul
Hey Baby Ringo
Ya Ya John
Dear One George
Warm And Beautiful Paul

1980 Starting Over

Just Like Starting Over John
With A Little Luck Paul
Blow Away George
I'm Losing You John
Spin It On Paul
Woman John
Coming Up Paul

Watching The Wheels John
Here Comes The Moon George
Goodnight Tonight Paul
Dear Yoko John
Girls' School Paul
Not Guilty George
Mull Of Kintyre Paul

1985 Borrowed Time

I'm Stepping Out John
Take It Away Paul
I Don't Wanna Face It John
Tug Of War Paul
Borrowed Time John
I Don't Want To Do It George
Ebony And Ivory Paul

Nobody Told Me John
No More Lonely Nights Paul
Wrack My Brain Ringo
Ballroom Dancing Paul
All Those Years Ago George
Here Today Paul
Grow Old With Me John

1993 We Are Fab (John is gone, George has creative rebirth)

When We Was Fab George
My Brave Face Paul
Got My Mind Set On You George
Hope Of Deliverance Paul
Cockamamie Business George
Weight Of The World Ringo
Fish On The Sand George

Handle With Care Traveling Wilburys
This One Paul
Poor Little Girl George
I Don't Believe You Ringo
Cheer Down George
Put It There Paul
Devil's Radio George

2002 End of the Line

Real Love The Beatles
The Song We Were Singing Paul
Any Road George
Young Boy Paul
La De Da Ringo
Little Willow Paul
End Of The Line Traveling Wilburys

Free as a Bird The Beatles
Brainwashed George
The World Tonight Paul
The Rising Sun George
Flaming Pie Paul
Between The Devil & The Deep Blue Sea George
Beautiful Night Paul
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon September 4, 2012
There have been several books chronicling the solo musical efforts of the Fab Four, the latest being Andrew Jackson's STILL THE GREATEST. Jackson's book differs from other previous volumes in that, as the book's subtitle notes, he selects THE ESSENTIAL SONGS OF THE BEATLES' SOLO CAREERS and then arranges them into "Beatles Albums That Should Have Been, 1970-2011." Whether you buy the fantasy album concept ot not, Jackson's book is an entertaining trip through some marvelous songs and fascinating Beatles history.

STILL THE GREATEST highlights 182 songs including memorable chestnuts like 'Maybe I'm Amazed,' 'Cold Turkey,' 'It Don't Come Easy,' 'Apple Scruffs,' 'Monkberry Moon Delight,' 'Oh Yoko,' 'Live and Let Die,' 'Whatever Gets You Through the Night,' 'This Song,' 'Mull of Kintyre' and 'When We Was Fab' along with lesser-known songs like 'Mama's Litle Girl,' 'I Don't Want to Do It' and 'I Don't Believe You.' Jackson slots the songs chronologically into albums named 'Year One' (1970), 'It Don't Come Easy' (1971), 'Gimme Some Truth' (1972) and so on until 'Ever Present Past' (2011).

Jackson does a marvelous job exploring the various songs, especially those 'lesser hits' that may have passed under the buying public's radar. Along with who-what-where production details, he provides the back-story of each song and provides appealing summaries of each. Since the book also covers JPG&R's personal growth, readers do get a warts-and-all overview of affairs/marriages/divorces/feuds, drug and alcohol problems, etc. While it's not mean-spirited, STILL THE GREATEST hurls a fair amount of brickbats.

Personally I thought the fantasy album concept was flimsy. Having said that, I enjoyed STILL THE GREATEST immensely. While the personal details on JPG&R from 1970 to 2012 were informative, Jackson's insightful exploration of all those wonderful songs makes for delightful, evocative reading. STILL THE GREATEST is a treat for Beatles fans young and old. Recommended.
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on September 3, 2012
While Andrew Grant Jackson's new book is a self-admitted exercise in "fantasy football for Beatles geeks", he skillfully manages to blend in the right amounts of reference material and imagination to make this one of the most enjoyable Beatles books in years, especially for aficionados of the individual Fabs' work of the past 40+ years, which the author clearly is.

Constructing a mirror-image catalog to the Group's collective recorded album output (and yes, one of them is a double-album set), Jackson colors in the reasons for his selections by placing them in the context of which they originally appeared. That said, a healthy dose of the material (six of the twelve compilations, including the aforementioned double disc set) emanates from the 1970-76 period immediately following the Group's demise, which frequently found John, Paul, George and Ringo living in each other's shadows. Of course, this was also the golden era for the members' chart successes, especially for John and Ringo. Not surprisingly, several of the author's picks from this era had appeared - in whole or in part - in embryonic form during the band's final years.

An inevitable yet delightful by-product of reading the book is the "I'd have chosen this song instead of that one" factor (witness the author's presentation in front of a captive audience at the recent Fest for Beatles Fans in Chicago). For those less familiar with the most recent of the subject material, the impetus to explore it will no doubt lead to an enhanced appreciation for many of these overlooked commodities. Everybody wins.

And while subjectivity naturally comes into play here, Jackson demonstrates not only a solid knowledge of post-Beatles history (the relatively few dating and other minor errors do not detract from the essence of the book, as they would in a pure "reference" tome), but he astutely balances the biographical backstory for each of the songs as well. Beyond the musicians' credits, release dates, chart positions and such, he captures the songs' essence eloquently, best exemplified by his assessment of "Too Many People", Paul's volley to John in the very wake of the Beatles songwriting team's divorce. Comparing its taunting message to Lennon's all-out assault of "How Do You Sleep", Jackson inspires the reader to subconsciously contrast the approaches that would come to define John & Paul's public personas that developed at that time, which to a great extent continue (right or wrong) to this day. In reading of Paul's subsequent peace offering "Dear Friend", we learn that Lennon responded in kind with a Christmas gift of the Decca audition bootleg to his estranged partner. How cool is that ?

Aesthetically, Jackson demonstrates an uncanny ability to turn words (his, and the artists) into mini aural landscapes in his descriptions of the songs' musicality. His take on "Uncle Albert / Admiral Halsey" paints a picture of the sound so vivid that if one had never heard the actual record, they could virtually imagine it quite precisely in their head.

Jackson goes on to demonstrate a deft command of pop/rock culture as well, connecting the dots beyond the Beatles' world. In commenting on Lennon's "Isolation", he notes that Pink Floyd's Roger Waters called it one of his all-time favorite songs, which makes sense as he went on to be the auteur of the epic of isolation, "The Wall".

The only unfortunate shortcoming here is that the suggested compilations, chronological as they are, drop off in Lennon and Harrison material in the later installments due to obvious circumstances; indeed, the final collection is comprised of only Paul & Ringo songs. If it was Jackson's intent to makes you miss John and George even more, it worked.

Intellectually stimulating and at the same time lots of fun, this one should be on every Beatle fan's bookshelf.
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on February 9, 2014
If you are a Beatles fan, or more importantly, a fan of the solo Beatles' music, then you are sure to enjoy this excellent, well-written book that examines more than 160 of their best solo tunes, from 1969-2012. The author, Andrew Grant Jackson, breaks the best songs up by year and creates "albums" that the boys might have released had they not broken up. I must confess that I have done this myself, even creating CDs of such "albums." Jackson then examines each song, giving details such as when and where they were recorded, and who played on them and what instruments they played. He also provides anecdotes and details about the songs and demonstrates how many of them are biographical, reflecting the ex-Beatles' emotional status at the time. Much has been written about the Beatles' songs, but their solo songs have been somewhat overlooked. This is unfair, as the lads (I guess they were no longer lads) produced some great music and had twenty number 1 hits as solo artists. I found the book to be highly informative and enjoyable.
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on September 19, 2012
I got the book after reading about it in Rolling Stone. I read a lot of rock histories and love the Beatles but that particular story has been pretty well picked over. I liked the idea of a book that focused on these guys' second acts, which is a story that's still pretty fresh for me. I also liked the fact that the book served as a guide to navigate the best of the solo catalog. I keep hearing great songs from this period (especially on movies and TV shows) that I haven't heard before then am surprised when I find out it's a forgotten McCartney track but there's a ton of material and it's hard to know where to start. I figured the book would at least be a good reference guide for getting into the post-Beatles back catalog. Jackson has an easy to read, almost Beat, style and I found it to be an entertaining account of this era with a lot of suprising insidersh biographical detail to complement the wonkish recording of details about the songs themselves.
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on May 25, 2014
Jackson's concept, assessing the Beatles' solo work, not simply on basis of the songs' own merits, but as likely tracks on post 1970 Beatles LPs (assuming they had patched up differences enough to continue recording together, or at least to continue contributing songs to group albums), is an intriguing one, and one that generally works. The selections themselves run the expected gamut from the obvious, to the author's idiosyncratic choices, to the WTH was he thinking? A different mix than any one reader would create, but with the same overall result of track listings not completely shared by anyone else on the planet. You'll find your own assessments both buttressed and challenged. Recommended for fans of The Beatles' music, whether you're familiar with the solo output or new to it.
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on October 7, 2012
Still The Greatest posits an intriguing concept: What songs, out of the solo Beatles' catalogs, would have made it as actual Beatles songs? Andrew Grant Jackson takes the concept and runs with it, up and including 2011 releases. While he (for obvious reasons) runs out of John and George material toward the end, he comes up with a dozen albums, including a double album, that would have rivaled the gifts we received from the Beatles originally. While I might quibble with some of his selections, and I might have come up with a good compilation album or two a la Yesterday And Today (or even better, a MUCH better version of Reel Music!), his choices are worthy and enjoyable. A friend of mine has borrowed my copy of the book to actually create the albums for himself! I'm looking forward to his completing the project to see if it works as well in sound as the book works in print.
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on September 13, 2012
I'd say this might be the best Beatles book I've read, certainly it's the best work that covers the solo careers. In short, the book imagines the group never broke up, and it takes solo songs from each year to imagine the Beatles albums that could have been. The really interesting part is that the author gives the historical background behind each song, which essentially provides a historical perspective for each members' solo career with an eye toward either relationships with each other. The book references many great stories from their times together and apart, and looks at the social dynamics between each other, the fans, the press and the world as a whole. In many ways, it is a Beatles history book, but it is a book that tells the history through a fascinating and new lens. I totally recommend the book.
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on July 24, 2013
Imagine a world where John, Paul, George and Ringo sorted out their creative and professional differences.

What would The Beatles albums of the 1970s to present day have sounded like?

Andrew Grant Jackson serves up the fantasy track lists on a silver platter.

His meticulous consideration for the personal history of the players and the inspiration and construction behind every song makes each listen feel like an actual Beatles album.

Buy the book, assemble iTunes playlists and enjoy the albums The Fabs were releasing right under our noses.

If you're a fan, you won't be disappointed - even if it is pure fantasy.
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on May 2, 2014
This book is a analysis of Jackson's fantasy Beatles albums after the breakup using the solo releases of the lads. Each song is listed with recording date and personnel with the added 2 cents (or 10 cents) of comments on history of cut and state of mind, etc. As a life long Beatles fan, I found Jackson's book to be overly opinionated as to the motivations for the songs and the individuals themselves. Some opinions quite offensive in fact. A little more objectivity would have been easier to digest. In the end just one guy's (Jackson's) interpretation of the Beatles solo work. More closely suited to a Beatle blog running off than a book. Not worth the effort of reading in my review.
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