Timeline of the early Beatles solo era

George Harrison was the first Beatle to put out a solo project when he released his Wonderwall Music soundtrack on November 1, 1968. At that point, the Beatles were still together and had just wrapped up the recording of the White Album. They would spend the month of January 1969 filming and recording what eventually became Let It Be. By the end of August 1969 Abbey Road was in the can, and the next month John Lennon told the other Beatles, “The group’s over, I’m leaving.” They all kept quiet about it while they renegotiated their record contracts. But Paul McCartney told Life magazine in November 1969, “The Beatles thing is over. It has been exploded, partly by what we have done, and partly by other people. We are individuals, all different.” Nobody seems to have picked up on this at the time though.

It wasn’t until April 1970, when Paul released McCartney, that the world figured out that the Beatles had in fact broken up. By that time, though, there had already been six prior solo albums released and three singles.

When you look at the timeline from the release of Wonderwall Music through the end of 1970, it’s crazy how much stuff they put out.

November 1, 1968: Wonderwall Music (George)
November 11, 1968: Unfinished Music No. 1: Two Virgins (John)
November 22, 1968: The Beatles (White Album) (Beatles)
January 13, 1969: Yellow Submarine (Beatles)
April 11, 1969: “Get Back” (Beatles)
May 30, 1969: “The Ballad of John and Yoko” (Beatles)
May 9, 1969: Unfinished Music No. 2: Life with the Lions (John)
May 9, 1969: Electronic Sound (George)
July 4, 1969: “Give Peace a Chance” (John)
September 26, 1969: Abbey Road (Beatles)
October 6, 1969: “Something”/”Come Together” (Beatles)
October 20, 1969: Wedding Album (John)
October 20, 1969: “Cold Turkey” (John)
December 12, 1969: Live Peace in Toronto 1969 (John)
February 6, 1970: “Instant Karma!” (John)
February 26, 1970: Hey Jude album (Beatles)
March 6, 1970: “Let It Be” single (Beatles)
March 27, 1970: Sentimental Journey (Ringo)
April 17, 1970: McCartney (Paul)
May 8, 1970: Let It Be album (Beatles)
May 11, 1970: “The Long and Winding Road” (Beatles)
September 25, 1970: Beaucoups of Blues album (Ringo)
October 5, 1970: “Beaucoups of Blues” single (Ringo)
November 23, 1970: “My Sweet Lord” (George)
November 27, 1970: All Things Must Pass (George)
December 11, 1970: John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band (John)
December 28, 1970: “Mother” (John)

* When UK and US release dates differ, the earlier of the two is displayed.

Image is a detail of the cover of Electronic Sound, painted by George Harrison.

2 thoughts on “Timeline of the early Beatles solo era”

  1. Here’s 1971 in the same format:

    February 15, 1971: “What Is Life” (George)
    February 19, 1971: “Another Day” (Paul)
    March 12, 1971: “Power to the People” (John)
    April 9, 1971: “It Don’t Come Easy” (Ringo)
    May 17, 1971: Ram (Paul)
    July 1, 1971: “God Save Oz” / “Do the Oz” (John)
    July 28, 1971: “Bangla Desh” (George)
    August 2, 1971: “Uncle Albert/Admiral Halsey” (Paul)
    August 13, 1971: “The Back Seat of My Car” (Paul)
    September 9, 1971: Imagine album (John)
    October 11, 1971: “Imagine” single (John)
    December 1, 1971: “Happy Xmas (War Is Over)” (John)
    December 7, 1971: Wild Life (Paul)
    December 20, 1971: The Concert for Bangladesh (George)

  2. Seems crazy to think that “McCartney” came out a month before the Let It Be album. When the Let It Be single came out a month before that, did people have any inkling they were listening to a band that no longer was?

    What about all of the marketing for the album and single? Were they hypocritical in nature, not alluding to the posthumous nature of the releases? I remember reading the blurb on the Let It Be sleeve, alluding to a “new phase Beatles album” and always interpreting it as a deliberate attempt at optimism by the writer but, in hindsight, he was probably just trying to hide the truth.

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