Which Beatle Was the Last to Have a Solo Album Reach No. 1?
The Beatles officially parted ways in April 1970, but the writing had been on the wall for a while. In fact, John Lennon told the other members of the band he was leaving late in ’69.
By then, the band was feuding over money and who would be the next manager. Meanwhile, John had already recorded albums with Yoko Ono and jammed with Eric Clapton. He was ready to go out on his own. In 1971, he chalked up his first No. 1 solo album with Imagine.
But Paul McCartney, who by then had become something of an adversary, had already topped the charts with his first solo effort. Paul’s record landed right around the same time as the final Fab Four studio album, Let It Be. (Yes, the other Beatles resented the timing of the release.)
George’s triple-disc All Things Must Pass made its way to No. 1 in between these Beatles’ solo releases. Over the coming decades, these three prolific artists would trade No. 1 singles and albums. (Ringo had some hits, too.) In some ways , the competition never stopped.
As for No. 1 singles, George had the last with 1988’s ‘Got My Mind Set on You.’
They might have called him “the quiet Beatle,” but after the group disbanded George Harrison had plenty to say. In fact, his music connected with audiences right away. With 1970’s “My Sweet Lord,” he became the first Beatle to score a No. 1 single on his own.
Though Paul hadn’t managed that with any tunes from his debut solo album, he did reach No. 1 on the charts with seven songs by 1980. After recording with Michael Jackson and Stevie Wonder, he added two more to the list in the ’80s.
However, Paul’s run of chart-topping singles ended at the close of 1983. By then, John had passed away, so that competition officially ended. However, George was alive and well.
In January of ’88, The Beatles’ old lead-guitar player scored the final No. 1 single of any member of the group with “Got My Mind Set on You.”
Paul’s ‘Egypt Station’ album hit No. 1 on the Billboard charts in 2018.
What kind of career has Paul had as a solo artist? Well, by 1979, he had earned himself three spots in the Guinness Book of World Records. No one had ever posted more gold records or had his songs covered by more artists.
His string of hits carried well into the ’80s, when he joined forces with the most popular musicians of the day. (His collaboration with MJ yielded some collateral damage.) He’d also taken the lead among ex-Beatles with four No. 1 records.
In 1997, he was still at it, and nearly scored another No. 1 album with Flaming Pie. (It peaked at No. 2.) More No. 3 hits followed into the new century, with one notching third place on the Billboard charts in 2013. But in 2018, he made it back to the top.
Paul’s Egypt Station landed at No. 1 in September 2018. In other words, it hasn’t been long at all since a Beatle topped the charts. Fifty years after the band split up, that’s nothing short of amazing.
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