John Lennon Solo Albums Ranked

1. Walls and Bridges by John Lennon (1974) 
Walls and Bridges

Lennon’s most complete, satisfying and well produced solo album containing some of his finest post-Beatles songs. Head and shoulders above his other albums which by comparison seem under-developed.   

Essential tracks
Whatever Gets You Through The Night
#9 Dream
Steel and Glass

Beatles Handbook rating: 4 Stars
Buy this album: Walls and Bridges by John Lennon 

2 Mind Games by John Lennon (1973)
Mind Games

Mind Games is the first great solo Lennon song and the album is his most consistent effort up to that point. Thankfully, the clumsy sloganeering that characterised his previous album Some Time In New York City is set aside, allowing Lennon’s emotional side to shine.

Essential tracks
Mind Games
Aisumasen (I’m sorry) 
Bring On The Lucie

Beatles Handbook rating:
3 stars
Buy this album:
Mind Games by John Lennon

3. Imagine by John Lennon (1971)
Imagine

A pretty solid collection including some beautiful heartfelt love songs is marred by self indulgent nonsense like Crippled Inside, I Don’t Wanna Be A Soldier Mama (a none-more-70s title) and the execrable title track. 

Essential tracks
Jealous Guy
Oh My Love
Oh Yoko

Beatles Handbook rating:
3 Stars 
Buy this album: Imagine by John Lennon

4. Double Fantasy by John Lennon and Yoko Ono (1980)
Double Fantasy
A bizarre mix of Lennon’s MOR tracks alternating with Ono’s post punk stylings that make for an unsettling and wholly unsatisfying listen, despite the presence of some great songs by both parties. A side each would have made so much more sense, but at least we now we know what a collaboration between Jeff Lynne and Hazel O’Connor would sound like. 

Essential tracks
Watching The Wheels
Woman
(Just Like) Starting Over 

Beatles Handbook rating:
3 stars
Buy this album: Double Fantasy by John Lennon and Yoko Ono

5. Rock’n’Roll by John Lennon (1975) 
Rock n roll

Lennon puts his back into a set of cover versions of songs from his not that distant youth with more success than most of the British chart act revivalists of the time (Showaddywaddy et al). A footnote to a catalogue that doesn’t really have room for one. 

Essential tracks
Slippin’ and Slidin’
Be-Bop-A-Lula
Ain’t That A Shame  

Beatles Handbook rating: 3 stars
Buy this album:
Rock’n’Roll by John Lennon

6. Milk and Honey by John Lennon & Yoko Ono (1984)
Milk and Honey

A big old posthumously-released mess of a cash-in. The mix of Lennon demos (and some completed tracks) and newly recorded Ono originals refuses to gel into a cohesive whole. Not the most dignified end to a career. 

Essential tracks
Nobody Told Me 
I’m Stepping Out 
Borrowed Time 

Beatles Handbook rating:
3 Stars 
Buy this album: Milk and Honey by John Lennon & Yoko Ono

7. John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band by John Lennon (1970)
John Lennon Plastic Ono Band

Solipsistic, self pitying, morbid and badly underproduced…and that’s just ‘Working Class Hero’. Mostly unlistenable apart from a few saving graces. A bad beginning to Lennon’s solo career (I think we can safely ignore the false starts of Two Virgins and Life With The Lions).

Essential tracks
Remember
Hold On 
Look At Me

Beatles Handbook rating:
2 stars
Buy this album: John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band by John Lennon

8. Sometime In New York City by John Lennon (1972)
Some Time In New York City

Hard to credit a man in his 30s could have written some of the more juvenile lyrics on this album. In the 21st century, the opening track has become even more of an ideological minefield than when it was first released; best skipped over for everyone’s sake. The overtly anti-establishment sentiments occasionally mesh well with some hard rock stylings to create moments of true excitement, but Some Time is mostly a chore to listen to, especially Yoko’s 7 minute-long filler ‘We’re All Water’.

Essential tracks
Attica State 
Sunday Bloody Sunday 
Angela

Beatles Handbook rating: 2 stars 
Buy this album: Sometime In New York City by John Lennon

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Andy Lynes

I'm a food and drink writer and author.

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