48 of 54 people found the following review helpful
The Beatles: #1 then, now, and forever,
This review is from: The Beatles: 1 (Audio CD)
Beatles fans take their love for the Fab Four very seriously, as evidenced by some of the disappointment espoused by some enthusiastic fans over this compilation. I think we can all agree that this is not the ultimate Beatles CD, but - my gosh - you get 27 of the band's most familiar songs crammed on to one single CD. Even if you have all of the essential Beatles CDs already, it's nice to have such a great one-CD collection. I would much rather take this little jewel case out to my car than to try and put together a single disc of my own, and this has better sound than any disc I could make myself on my computer. I'm a big fan but not an expert on the Beatles, so I can't comment on the issue of stereo mastering versus the original mono versions of the earliest hits - to my ears, all of these songs sound great on this CD. I also won't quibble over what tracks got excluded. This is a collection of #1 hits, not a greatest hits collection. These are the songs that hit #1 on the charts of either the UK (Record Retailer) and/or the US (Billboard). Apparently, even such a seemingly straightforward approach to choosing the tracks allows room for debate - it apparently comes down to what your definition of "#1 hit" should really be. In the end, the fact that the three surviving Beatles (now, sadly, only two) authorized this compilation is more than enough for me to accept it with open arms (and ears).
It's easy to get lost in the enjoyment of such stellar individual songs, but when you take a step back you realize that this CD affords you some interesting insight into the evolution of the band over the course of eight years. The early songs, while fantastic, are actually not that musically complicated. By the time you get to the tenth track, Yesterday, you begin to get a wonderful sense of how the Beatles began to innovate and push the boundaries of rock and roll. They redefined music in their own image, and in the final five years of their existence they established a legacy no band will ever equal - they became the greatest band the world will ever know. If you want to really see what stereo can mean, there is still no better teacher than Yellow Submarine or the songs from Sgt. Pepper (none of which, rather ironically, are included on this compilation). I still marvel at the amazing variety of music the band released in its later years - All You Need Is Love, Lady Madonna, Hey Jude, Get Back, Something (the only George Harrison specialty on this CD), Come Together, Let It Be. What can one say about the amazing variety to be heard in such high-quality songs? Just compare the first and last track on this album; Love Me Do and The Long and Winding Road could hardly be more different, yet they are both vintage Beatles classics.
This CD was in a certain sense unnecessary, especially for decades-long Beatles fans, yet look what it accomplished. It immediately jumped to the top of sales charts and inspired yet another grand awakening among the music-listening population of Beatlesmania. Young people had the chance and the means to discover the Beatles on their own; while that experience will never compare to the craziness and excitement of Beatlesmania in its original form, it is still important. Decades after their breakup, the Beatles were #1 once again, and that is just one of many reasons why I love this 27-hit compilation CD.