The Beatles' 40 Greatest Post-Breakup Songs: 'Imagine', 'Maybe I'm Amazed' & More (2023)

It can’t have been easy going solo for each of the Beatles after splitting in 1970. How do you follow 10 years of game-changing and ground-breaking in inarguably the biggest band of all time? George, Paul, Ringo and John never achieved apart the dizzying highs they scaled as the Fab Four – how could they? The Beatles were all about four gifted songwriters’ fizzing chemistry. They did, however, write some still-incredible music as solo artists. Here’s their 40 best post-breakup songs presented in no particular order. Think we’ve missed something? Hit us up on Twitter.


George Harrison – ‘My Sweet Lord’

George Harrison – ‘My Sweet Lord’: The first number 1 single by an ex-Beatle, ‘My Sweet Lord’ was 1971’s biggest selling song and understandably so: bolstered by production from Phil Spector, it had the simplicity of a Beatles classic but made daring lunges into the future.


John Lennon – ‘Instant Karma!’

John Lennon – ‘Instant Karma!’: Instant Karma’s gonna get you,” warned John on this 1970 singalong. “Gonna knock you right on the head, You better get yourself together, pretty soon you’re gonna be dead,” the track continues before an expertly massive chorus.


Paul McCartney & Wings – ‘Jet’

Paul McCartney & Wings – ‘Jet’: Named after Macca’s Labrador retriever, this was among Wings’ biggest hits and a definite line in the sand for Paul, distancing himself further from the Beatles’ sound and revitalising him, critically.



Paul McCartney – ‘Temporary Secretary’

Paul McCartney – ‘Temporary Secretary’: “The song is written from the point of view of a fellow who just wants a disposable secretary, and he’s writing to a bureau to try and get one. I just like the idea. I just thought it was funny, you know, asking for a temporary secretary rather than a secretary,” Macca said of this ‘McCartney II’ highlight.


John Lennon – ‘God’

John Lennon – ‘God’: “I was the Walrus… but now I’m John,” sings Lennon on this contemplative, much-scrutinised Plastic Ono Band cut. I don’t believe in Beatles, I just believe in me… and that’s reality.”


Paul McCartney & Wings – ‘Live and Let Die’

Paul McCartney & Wings – ‘Live and Let Die’: MACCA DOES BOND! What’s not to love? This track reunited Paul with Beatles producer George Martin, for a pomp-rock thunderbolt that left you both shaken and stirred.


Paul McCartney & Wings – ‘Band On The Run’

Paul McCartney & Wings – ‘Band On The Run’: A folk-funk slink that’s among the best known post-Beatles tracks, 1973 album title track ‘Band On The Run’ sold one million copies in America alone. And one million can’t be wrong. Right?



John Lennon and Yoko Ono

John Lennon– ‘#9 Dream’: “That’s what I call craftsmanship writing, meaning, you know, I just churned that out. I’m not putting it down, it’s just what it is,” said a rather downbeat John of this ‘Walls and Bridges’ effort. Starry and dreamlike, we like it, even if he doesn’t seem to.

(Video) Paul McCartney - Maybe I’m Amazed


George Harrison – ‘Wah Wah’

George Harrison – ‘Wah Wah’: Propelled by a classic Harrison riff, ‘Wah Wah’ is a rocky, bouncy heart-warmer up there with his best.


John Lennon – ‘Imagine’

John Lennon – ‘Imagine’: Do we really need to explain why the timeless ‘Imagine’ merits in a rundown of the Beatles’ finest post-breakup moments? Didn’t think so. Iconic and era-defining.


John Lennon – ‘Mind Games’

John Lennon – ‘Mind Games’: The title track from his fourth solo album, the germ of this track began in sessions for the Beatles’ ‘Get Back’ and is arguably the most Beatlesy track on the record.



George Harrison – ‘Apple Scruffs’

George Harrison – ‘Apple Scruffs’: Apple scruffs were what the Beatles called the die-hard fans who followed the group, even as Beatlemania waned and the band broke up. George’s sumptuous tribute to them on ‘All Things Must Pass’ is a fitting reward for their dedication.


Paul McCartney & Wings – ‘1985’

Paul McCartney & Wings – ‘1985’: “With a lot of songs I do, the first line is it. With ‘Eleanor Rigby’ I had ‘picks up the rice in the church where the wedding has been,’” said Macca in 76. “With this one it was ‘No one ever left alive in nineteen hundred and eighty-five. That’s all I had of that song for months.” Good thing he finished it: the finished article was a warm orchestral winner.


John Lennon – ‘No One Loves You When You’re Down And Out’

John Lennon – ‘No One Loves You When You’re Down And Out’: Written while depressed and separated from Yoko Ono, this ‘Walls and Bridges’ standout is almost alarmingly raw: “everybody loves you when you’re six-foot in the ground,” he sings, from a point of heartbreaking despair.


George Harrison – ‘Awaiting On You All’

George Harrison – ‘Awaiting On You All’: 1970’s ‘All Things Must Pass’ wasn’t short of ace moments, but ‘Awaiting On You All’ is up there with George’s best ever tracks: a songs that borrowed gospel sounds to criticise the material nature of organised religion (“the Pope owns fifty one percent of General Motors and the stock exchange is the only thing he’s qualified to quote us”).

(Video) The Beatles - Help!


John Lennon & the Plastic Ono Band – ‘Love’

John Lennon & the Plastic Ono Band – ‘Love’: “To be loved, love is touch, touch is love…” this Plastic Ono Band album cut is Lennon at his simplest and most alluring – contemplating the nuances of affection over plaintive piano.


Ringo Starr – ‘Back Off Boogaloo’

Ringo Starr – ‘Back Off Boogaloo’: An excursion into glam rock for Ringo, fresh from directing a documentary about T-Rex called ‘Back To Boogie’. Some interpreted the track as Paul McCartney diss.


John Lennon – ‘Surprise Surprise (Sweet Bird Of Paradox)’

John Lennon – ‘Surprise Surprise (Sweet Bird Of Paradox)’: Found on 1974’s ‘Walls and Bridges’, the sunny funk-guitar jangles of this single sound just like Stevie Wonder.


Paul McCartney – ‘Monkberry Moon Delight’

Paul McCartney – ‘Monkberry Moon Delight’: “So I sat in the attic, a piano up my nose/and the wind played a dreadful cantata,” growls Macca with uncharacteristic aggression on this piano-led ‘RAM’ lament, full of rattling percussion.


Paul & Linda McCartney – ‘Uncle Albert/Admiral Helsey’

Paul & Linda McCartney – ‘Uncle Albert/Admiral Helsey’: Macca’s first Beatles US number 1 single was stitched together from leftover melodies he’d written in sessions working on ‘Abbey Road’.


George Harrison – ‘Beware Of Darkness’

George Harrison – ‘Beware Of Darkness’: Inspired by the teachings of the Radha Krishna Temple, this tune was performed by Harrison at the Concert for Bangladesh in 1971.


John Lennon – ‘Watching The Wheels’

John Lennon – ‘Watching The Wheels’: One of Lennon’s prettiest post-Beatles compositions was given a macabre legacy when his killer Mark Chapman was recorded reciting the song’s lyric “People say I’m crazy”.


Paul McCartney & Wings – ‘Let Me Roll It’

Paul McCartney & Wings – ‘Let Me Roll It’: This ‘Band On The Run’ album track and ‘Jet’ b-side is considered by many to be McCartney’s impression of a Lennon tune, and a riposte to his old friend’s biting ‘How Do You Sleep’.


George Harrison – ‘I Live For You’

George Harrison – ‘I Live For You’: An outtake from ‘All Things Must Pass’, this was recorded in 1970 but not actually released officially until the 2001 reissue of the album.

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Paul McCartney – ‘Coming Up’

Paul McCartney – ‘Coming Up’: The opening track from McCartney’s album ‘McCartney II’ saw the former Beatle experimenting with synthesisers and vocal manipulation.


Ringo Starr – ‘Photograph’

Ringo Starr – ‘Photograph’: Co-written with Harrison, this became the lead single from Starr’s eponymous album ‘Ringo’.


John Lennon – ‘Nobody Told Me’

John Lennon – ‘Nobody Told Me’: Recorded shortly before his death, this song was eventually released posthumously.


George Harrison – ‘Dehradun’

George Harrison – ‘Dehradun’: Named after the capital of the northern Indian state of Uttarakhand, this is one of many songs that Harrison was inspired to write while visiting the country.


John Lennon – ‘Jealous Guy’

John Lennon – ‘Jealous Guy’: Lennon’s soul-searching song is one of his most covered, notably by Roxy Music shortly after his death.


John Lennon

John Lennon – ‘Working Class Hero’: One of Lennon’s most biting and political lyrics, which shows the clear influence of Dylan’s ‘Masters Of War’.


Paul McCartney – ‘Here Today’

Paul McCartney – ‘Here Today’: Originally written just two weeks after Lennon’s death, this song is McCartney’s tribute to his late friend, written as an imaginary conversation.


John Lennon – ‘Mother’
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John Lennon – ‘Mother’: A desperate plea to both his estranged father and his mother, who died when Lennon was just 17. A demo version of the song was used to moving effect in the biopic ‘Nowhere Boy’.


Ringo Starr – ‘It Don’t Come Easy’

Ringo Starr – ‘It Don’t Come Easy’: Along with a guest appearance by Starr, the song was featured in The Simpsons episode “Brush with Greatness”. The song is used as inspirational background music for a montage of Marge Simpson painting a portrait of Mr. Burns.


John Lennon – ‘Whatever Gets You Thru The Night’

John Lennon – ‘Whatever Gets You Thru The Night’: Lennon’s lover May Pang explained: “At night he loved to channel-surf and would pick up phrases from all the shows. One time, he was watching a famous black evangelist, who was saying, “Let me tell you guys, it doesn’t matter, it’s whatever gets you through the night.” John loved it and said, “I’ve got to write it down or I’ll forget it.”


Paul McCartney & Wings – ‘Maybe I’m Amazed’

Paul McCartney & Wings – ‘Maybe I’m Amazed’: If you play ‘Maybe I’m Amazed’ backwards, you’ll find a recipe for a ripping lentil soup.


John Lennon – ‘Beautiful Boy (Darling Boy)’

John Lennon – ‘Beautiful Boy (Darling Boy)’: Released on ‘Double Fantasy’, the last record to be released before Lennon’s death.


John Lennon – ‘What You Got’

John Lennon – ‘What You Got’: Another standout from John’s fifth studio album, ‘Walls and Bridges’, mentioned a number of times here. The best Beatles post-breakup album, perhaps? That’s an argument for another day…


Kanye West & Paul McCartney – ‘Only One’

Kanye West & Paul McCartney – ‘Only One’: This was the first release from Kanye and Macca’s collaborative session – and saw the former Beatle adding piano while Mr West channelled his mother.


Traveling Wilburys – ‘Handle With Care’

Traveling Wilburys – ‘Handle With Care’: Arguably the greatest supergroup ever saw George Harrison team up with Jeff Lynne, Roy Orbison, Tom Petty, and Bob Dylan. All members shared writing credits, but the song bears the unmistakeable fingerprints of George – it was the former Beatle who was inspired to write the song when he spotted a box in Dylan’s garage labelled ‘Handle with Care’.


(Video) Too Many People - Paul and Linda McCartney (1971)

Paul McCartney – ‘Queenie Eye’

Paul McCartney – ‘Queenie Eye’: Proving that he’s still got it in the 2010s, this single from Macca’s ‘New’ record never got old.


The Beatles' 40 Greatest Post-Breakup Songs: 'Imagine', 'Maybe I'm Amazed' & More? ›

Paul McCartney – 22 singles.

Which Beatle had most hits after breakup? ›

Paul McCartney – 22 singles.

What is the most heard Beatles song of all time? ›

The Beatles' Official Top 40 most streamed songs:
56 more rows
Sep 29, 2019

Which Beatles song spent longest at number 1? ›

"Hey Jude" was The Beatles' number one hit that spent the longest on the charts. "Hey Jude" reached No. 1 on September 28, 1968, and spent 19 weeks on the charts.

What was the most aggressive Beatles song? ›

Helter Skelter” was released in 1968 on the second disc of The Beatles' White Album. More than 50 years later, the song has retained its aura of malevolence. Its infamy stems from its association with the cult leader Charles Manson, who claimed to hear prophetic messages in the lyrics.

Which Beatle was an abuser? ›

John Lennon opened up a little more about the song and how it allowed him to reflect on his past abuse behaviour: “I couldn't express myself and I hit. I fought men and I hit women.

Which Beatle cheated? ›

Yes. George was having an affair with Ringo's wife Maureen. Ringo and Pattie were understandably upset. It was one of the factors in Pattie's leaving George for Eric Clapton.

Who has more 1 hits than The Beatles? ›

Elvis' 14 chart-toppers spent a combined total of 62 weeks at #1 on the “Top/Hot 100,” while The Beatles' 20 #1s spent a total of 59 weeks in the top slot.

What is the most famous song in the world? ›

According to Guinness World Records, Irving Berlin's "White Christmas" (1942) as performed by Bing Crosby is the best-selling single worldwide, with estimated sales of over 50 million copies.

Who has more hits than The Beatles? ›

As a result, Drake passes The Beatles, who have 29, for the record over the list's 64-year history. The Beatles held the top-five mark for 55 years, having last reached the region in 1970 with “The Long and Winding Road”/”For You Blue,” which spent two weeks at No.

Did the Beatles ever have a number one hit? ›

Music Industry

Over the years, many artists have topped the list of the country's most popular songs at the time, but none did so more often than The Beatles. With 20 no. 1 singles on the Hot 100 charts, the iconic British rock band are just one hit ahead of Mariah Carey, who has 19 notches in her belt.

What was the Beatles first number one hit in America? ›

On this date in 1964, the Beatles posted their first No. 1 single on the Billboard Hot 100, as “I Want to Hold Your Hand,” their first entry on the list, rose 3-1 in its just its third week on the chart.

What is The Beatles least favorite song? ›

Lennon noted at the time: “I never liked 'Run For Your Life' because it was a song I just knocked off,” he revealed. The track takes a line from Elvis Presley's song 'Baby Let's Play House': “I'd rather see you dead, little girl, than to be with another man”.

What is the darkest Beatle song? ›

  • Run For Your Life.
  • Maxwell's Silver Hammer.
  • A Day in the Life.
  • Yesterday.
  • Misery/I'm Down/I'm a Loser/I Don't Want to Spoil the Party.
  • Nowhere Man.
  • Think For Yourself.
  • Norwegian Wood.

What songs did The Beatles like the most? ›

The Beatles' favourite Beatles songs:

In one interview with Rolling Stone's Jann Wenner, he named five tracks as his favourites of the bunch: “I always liked '[I Am The] Walrus', 'Strawberry Fields', 'Help! ', 'In My Life',” later noting 'I Want To Hold Your Hand' for its raw authenticity.

Which Beatle slept with another wife? ›

Red-blooded seems an understatement when it comes to Harrison, who had an abiding fondness for other men's wives — much like his devotion to marijuana and sitar music. Beatles expert Bill Harry told me this week: "George had hundreds and hundreds of affairs.

Which Beatle was a wife beater? ›

But, as students of Lennon's life readily acknowledge, he was far from the perfect father or husband. He was — by his own admission — physically and verbally abusive to his first wife, Cynthia Powell, who died in 2015, and he was often cold and distant with their son, Julian.

Who was the most peaceful Beatle? ›

He was dubbed the “quiet one,” the Beatle who made music on his own gentle terms. If John was the headline-grabbing radical, he was the press-shy recluse.

Who is the forgotten Beatle? ›

The rise to stardom can sometimes result in a severe crash landing. A sad truth that became reality for one ex-member of The Beatles - his name is Jimmie Nicol.

Which Beatles didn't get along? ›

The Beatles' split and subsequent falling out between John Lennon and Paul McCartney remains a frequently debated aspect of rock history. The tension between the two led to numerous jabs within their albums and singles in the following years, and the two continued to use one another as inspiration after they disbanded.

Which Beatle was banned from the US? ›

Leon Wildes and The Deportation Battle

They had released Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Heart Club, played the Shea Stadium, released the White Album and broken up. On March 23, 1973, John Lennon was ordered to leave the United States within 60 days. Ono, on the other hand, was granted permanent residency.

Who had the most hits after The Beatles? ›

In total chart songs, Elvis more than doubled up on The Beatles. Between 1956 and 1977, Presley put 134 sides in the “Top/Hot 100” charts. That's an average of a little over 6 chart titles per year over 22 years. His first chart record, “Heartbreak Hotel,” entered the chart on March 3, 1956.

Who had more hits Lennon or McCartney? ›

Most number one singles by a songwriter (US/UK)

McCartney is credited as the writer on 32 number one hits in the US to Lennons 26 (with 23 co-written), whereas Lennon authored 29 UK number ones to McCartney's 28 (25 co-written).

How many number one hits did Paul McCartney have after he left The Beatles? ›

With nine No. 1s — outside of The Beatles' record-holding 20 — McCartney is no stranger to the Hot 100. His first solo appearance on the chart came with the release of the double single “Another Day”/“Oh Woman Oh Why,” which peaked at No. 5 in April 1971.

Which Beatle did girls love the most? ›

Not most, but definitely more girls preferred Ringo than any of the other Beatles in 1964 in the USA. They each had lots of fans, but Ringo had the most — I remember reading about it at the time, in the newspapers.

Who has outsold The Beatles? ›

Tears: Ken Dodd record outsold everyone but the Beatles in the 1960s.

What's the #1 song of all time? ›

The Greatest Hit: The New No. 1 Song of All Time. "Blinding Lights" is now the top Billboard Hot 100 song of all time. The Weeknd and his collaborators reveal just how they made history.

Who surpassed Beatles in sales? ›

20-dated chart. As a result, Drake passes The Beatles, who have 29, for the record over the list's 64-year history. The Beatles held the top-five mark for 55 years, having last reached the region in 1970 with “The Long and Winding Road”/”For You Blue,” which spent two weeks at No. 1.

Which Beatle was the most talented musician? ›

Conclusion: Paul Was The Greatest Beatle

One thing that can be safely said is that John was not the lone artistic driving force behind the Beatles as he sometime tried to portray himself post-Beatles, and Paul can confidently claim his place as one of the two best songwriters that ever existed.

Who is more famous than The Beatles? ›

Top-selling artists worldwide as of August 2022, based on certified sales (in million units)
CharacteristicUnits sales in millions
The Beatles183
Garth Brooks157
Elvis Presley139
9 more rows
Dec 8, 2022

Is anyone more famous than The Beatles? ›

However, the authors ​also ​compiled detailed statistics for special categories including Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductees. On that list, Elvis ​Presley ​outranks The Beatles in terms of “significance” (Presley's ranking is 7.116 and The Beatles ranking is 6.707).

Which ex Beatle sold the most records? ›

Paul has sold the most albums as a solo artist, since the Beatles broke up. Unlike the other three ex beatles, Paul has been releasing albums consistently since the Beatles broke up.

Who was the first Beatle to have a solo number 1 single? ›

The first was George Harrison, who took 'My Sweet Lord' to number one in both the US and UK in the late months of 1970 and the early weeks of 1971.

Has anyone surpassed The Beatles? ›

Canadian rapper Drake has surpassed the record of the legendary English rock band – The Beatles as he has officially become the artist with the most top five hits in Billboard Hot 100 history. He achieved the feat with DJ Khaled's 'Staying Alive,' on which he and Lil Baby are featured, debuting at No.

Who is the least liked Beatle? ›

In the ranking of least favorite band members, McCartney (21%) and Starr (18%) are a distant second and third to Lennon, while George Harrison is the least favorite of only 12%.

Which Beatle lost their virginity first? ›

Harrison Lost His Virginity While His Bandmates Listened

In 1960, the band was still trying to make their mark in music. They were living poorly and trying their best to be heard.

Which Beatle was closest to George Harrison? ›

Harrison and Lennon were possibly the closest friends in the group at the time — and following the band's breakup with the guitarist notoriously featuring Lennon's famed Paul McCartney attack song — but their relationship was dramatically withering.


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