John Lennon first rose to fame as part of the Beatles, alongside Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr, and George Harrison. However, after the Beatles, Lennon went on to have a solo career and to release music with his wife, Yoko Ono. As a solo artist and with Ono, John Lennon released a total of 11 studio albums, 15 compilation albums, 14 video albums, three live albums, five box sets, 63 music videos, and 23 singles. Here are all 11 of John Lennon’s studio albums ranked.
11. Wedding Album (1969)
Unofficially, ‘Wedding Album’ is the third in a trilogy of experimental albums that John Lennon and Yoko Ono recorded together, and the second album the couple released in 1969. It only reached 178 on the Billboard 200 and did not chart in other countries. The first side of the album is called ‘John & Yoko,’ and it consists of the couple shouting out each other’s name at various tempos, volumes, and emotions. There is a backdrop of their hearts beating. The album’s second side is called ‘Amsterdam,’ and it was recorded before the first side. Lennon and Ono recorded the music in a room at the Hilton Hotel in Amsterdam. It consists of conversations and interviews between themselves about their campaign for peace that was recorded during their famous honeymoon ‘Bed-In.’
10. Unfinished Music No. 2: Life with the Lions (1969)
‘Unfinished Music No. 2: Life with the Lions’ was the second album Ono and Lennon released, and it reached 174 on the Billboard 200. The recording of the album took place in two halves. Some parts of the album were a live recording from Cambridge University, and the other half was recorded at Queen Charlotte’s Hospital in London. The album’s content was influenced by Fluxus art, which is an art movement involving artists of various disciplines who favor the art process over the finished product.
9. Unfinished Music No. 1: Two Virgins (1968)
After leaving the Beatles, John Lennon’s first album was ‘Unfinished Music No.1: Two Virgins,’ and part two of the album duo was released the following year. Lennon recorded the album with his wife, and the album resulted from a night of music experimentation at Lennon’s home studio. In addition to the music within the album, it became famous for its front cover, which featured Lennon and Ono naked.
8. Mind Games (1973)
Lennon’s seventh studio album was ‘Mind Games,’ which was released in 1973. It was the first time that Lennon had self-produced an album, although he was supported by Phil Spector. Like his previous album, ‘Some Time in New York City,’ many of the tracks had a political theme. At the time of the recording, Lennon was facing immigration issues, and it was the beginning of his 18-month separation from Yoko Ono. The album was a top ten hit in Norway, the United States, and the Netherlands.
7. Some Time in New York City (1972)
‘Some Time in New York City’ was Lennon’s sixth studio album and the fifth studio album he recorded with Yoko Ono. The album was most successful in Norway, where it reached number two on the album charts, and it was a top ten hit in Italy. In the United States, it only reached number 48. Many of the tracks on the album were based on political themes. At the time the album was recorded, Lennon and Ono had moved to New York City and become involved in the causes of the counterculture era, such as the oppression of women.
6. Rock ‘n’ Roll (1975)
‘Rock ‘n’ Roll’ was released in 1975, and it was a top ten hit on the album charts in the UK, Australia, Canada, France, Norway, and the United States. It took an entire year to record the album as there were problems along the way. The two singles released from this album were ‘Stand by Me’ and ‘Ya Ya.’ Lennon co-produced the album with Phil Spector.
5. Walls and Bridges (1974)
‘Walls and Bridges’ topped the charts in the United States and Canada, and it was a top ten hit in the UK, Norway, and Australia. Lennon wrote and recorded the tracks for this album during an unsettled period of his life. He had begun a relationship with his and Ono’s personal assistant during the time of his separation from Yoko Ono with Ono’s consent. He was also trying to form a relationship with his young son Julian, who he had not seen for four years. The two singles released from this album were ‘Whatever Gets You Thru the Night’ and ‘#9 Dream.’
4. Milk & Honey (1984)
John Lennon and Yoko Ono began working on ‘Milk & Honey’ at the same time as they worked on ‘Double Fantasy.’ However, after Lennon was tragically murdered in December 1980, the release of the album was put on hold. It was eventually released posthumously in 1984. The three singles released from the album were ‘Nobody Told Me,’ ‘Borrowed Time,’ and ‘I’m Stepping Out.’ ‘Milk & Honey charted in the top ten in the UK, Australia, Norway, the Netherlands, and Japan. However, it only reached number 11 on the Billboard 200.
3. Double Fantasy (1980)
‘Double Fantasy’ was Lennon’s penultimate album and the final album released before his death. He released the album with Yoko Ono after the couple had resumed their relationship after their separation. It was a number one hit in the UK, Australia, Canada, Norway, and the United States. The three singles released from this album were ‘(Just Like) Starting Over,’ ‘Woman,’ and ‘Watching the Wheels.’
2. Imagine (1971)
‘Imagine’ was John Lennon’s debut solo album and is widely considered his best solo work. It was also his most commercially successful album. The album topped the charts in the United States, the UK, Australia, Italy, Japan, the Netherlands, and Norway. It was also a top ten hit in Germany, France, and Canada. The only single released from the album was the title track ‘Imagine,’ which had ‘It’s So Hard’ as its B-side. Lennon’s former bandmate George Harrison guested on more than half the tracks on this album.
1. John Lennon/ Plastic Ono Band (1970)
Although ‘John Lennon/ Plastic Ono Band’ was not Lennon’s most commercially successful album, Rate Your Music lists it as one of the best, and many fans and music critics would agree. ‘John Lennon/ Plastic Ono Band’ was Lennon and Ono’s fourth album together, and it was the couple’s first to achieve commercial success. It topped the charts in the Netherlands, and it was a top ten hit in the United States, the UK, Australia, Canada. Germany, Italy, Japan, and Norway. Bizarrely, Yoko Ono released her own version of this album, titled ‘Yoko Ono/ Plastic Ono Band.’ The couple was influenced by their experiences of undergoing primal therapy together.