Commonly known as the "Red Album" - the 2LP vinyl set "1962 - 1966" became an instant classic when it was first released in April 1973 - as did its "Blue" counterpart "1967-1970". When they were finally reissued onto the new CD format in 1993 however - they caused consternation because of their extortionate full price.
So is this newly Reissued October 2010 mid-priced 2CD reissue on EMI/Apple 5099990675225 any better (featuring the 2009 Remasters)? The answer is an emphatic 'yes'. Here are the nitty gritty details…
Disc 1 of "1962-1966" (31:02 minutes):
1. Please Please Me
2. She Loves You
3. All My Loving
4. Love Me Do
5. From Me To You
6. I Want To Hold Your Hand
7. Can’t Buy Me Love
8. A Hard Day’s Night [Side 2]
9. Eight Days A Week
10. Ticket To Ride
11. And I Love Her
12. I Feel Fine
Disc 2 of "1962-1966" (31:45 minutes):
1. You’ve Got To Hide Your Love Away [Side 3]
2. Day Tripper
3. Norwegian Wood (This Bird Has Flown)
5. We Can Work It Out
6. Drive My Car
7. Nowhere Man [Side 4]
8. In My Life
9. Paperback Writer
10. Yellow Submarine
13. Eleanor Rigby
The first thing you notice is that the clunky double jewel-case of the 1993 reissue has been dumped for a three-way foldout card sleeve. The centre and right flaps picture the photograph on the inner gatefold of the original vinyl double album (St. Pancras Old Church in London, 27 July 1969, The Beatles with the public looking through the railings). It also houses the two CDs - CD1 has the full Apple label and the 2nd CD has the half Apple logo (as per the original vinyl LPs). The 2010 vinyl set is yet to come, the Digital Download versions are available from 25 Oct 2010 and there's also an issue that lumps both the Red & Blue reissues together as one package in late November 2010.
The left flap houses a new 32-page booklet. The lyrics are intact from the inner sleeves of the original album issue, there's new liner notes by BILL FLANAGAN the MTV Executive and author of "Evening's Empire" (a book on Rock in the Sixties) and there's plenty of superb colour photos from the period - it's impressively done. Downsides - some complained that the 09/09/09 card digipak sleeves for The Beatles reissues were easy to smudge once out of the shrinkwrap and worse - the inner flaps easy to tear as you removed the disc. I'm afraid these are the same. I suppose I would have been naïve of us to think that EMI would actually listen to the complaints of 2009 about packaging, but they haven't - the need for these issues to look the same as the preceding ones has overridden all considerations... Having said that, I still think they look great - substantial even...
It doesn't take a particular genius to work out from the playing times provided above that this set could easily have fitted onto 1CD (and even included bonus tracks). But EMI would of course argue that this would fundamentally alter the aesthetic of the original release. At least this time, the reissue is at mid price, so we're not being charged for the privilege. I think the new price pitch makes the 'one disc' argument a mute point. Besides, I like the break, taking out the first disc and putting in the second - it's how the original 2LP issue was. And better, it doesn't actually diminish the listen, if anything it enhances it.
The compilation itself is basically the A-sides of all their UK 7" singles releases between 1962 and 1966 in chronological release date order with a few key album tracks thrown in for good measure. Eagle-eye fans would therefore note that as ALL Beatles UK 7" singles for that period were issued only in MONO, so the tracks on the album should reflect that - the MONO single mixes. But EMI did nothing of the sort. In fact the original 1973 albums stated only STEREO on the labels and only the STEREO code was reflected in their catalogue numbers too. At least this time this new 2010 issue notes that Tracks 1 to 4 on Disc 1 are in MONO, while all other are in STEREO ("Love Me Do" is the album mix and not the single version). Bottom line - I would argue that accuracy's loss is the listener's gain, because the STEREO versions used here are awesome.
Although the compilation is copyrighted to 2010 (released Monday 18 Oct 2010 in the UK and 19 Oct 2010 in the USA), the liner notes don't try to hide that these are the 2009 remasters by the same team who did the much-praised Beatles catalogue of 09/09/09. The sound quality is fantastic - breathtaking clarity on instruments - George Harrison's sitar on "Norwegian Wood" - the string quartet on "Eleanor Rigby" and so on.
But what impresses most is the actual listen itself. Even now, it's truly shocking to hear just how accomplished The Beatles were. Re-listening to each disc in straight order is a gobsmacking experience - and by the time you get to the real song-writing genius of "Ticket To Ride" and especially "Yesterday" (the song that single-handled shut all the begrudgers up) - you're left with a renewed sense of awe. "We Can Work It Out" and "Day Tripper" were a single for God's sake - not on any English album at the time of release! "Paperback Writer", "Ticket To Ride", "Michelle" - track after track of brilliance... Were they really 'this' good - and so early on - the answer is yes - and always will be.
To sum up - the sound on these new reissues is fabulous; the packaging better than the 1993 versions and each is being sold at mid-price - available in most places for less than the price of a single new album. You can't help but think that millions of people globally will take one look at these beauties on a shelf somewhere and slap them straight into their shopping baskets. And rightly so...
I've loved re-hearing these classic Beatles songs in this beautiful sound quality - I really have - and despite some minor packaging quibbles - the 2010 version of the "Red" album is wholeheartedly recommended…
on 21 June 2004
Having only been born in 1968, it was this album in my parents' household that introduced me to the Beatles in the seventies. I came face-to-face with it again when my girlfriend (now wife) moved in and our CD collections merged.
Enough about me.
For the record, this is a fine collection of their excellent work from 1962 to 1966. You've probably looked at the track listing and know every song.
Of course this, and any, Beatles album merits five stars. You may prefer the later ones to the earlier ones, or vice-versa, but every one is excellent.
...which is exactly why you should not buy a compilation like this!
Most bands' careers do not stretch far enough to be worthy of a "Greatest Hits" album. The Beatles, on the other hand, hit the target with every single one of their original releases. If you're thinking of buying this album, then maybe you're a bit younger and exploring the fab four for the first time. My advice to you: dig deep into your pocket, go the extra mile and build up your collection with the original albums instead. You won't regret it!
on 2 July 2000
This CD, along with its' companion (The Beatles 1967-1970), represent the only currently available "Best Of" Beatles anthologies available on CD and were originally released as two double LP sets back in the early 1970s. Most commonly referred to as the Red and Blue albums (the scheme supposedly requested by the ex-Beatles themselves to represent the colours of Liverpool's two soccer clubs), these double albums collect together all the Beatles UK hits, along with selected album tracks. I am not a huge fan of compilation CDs myself but these two double CDs are vital for any serious music fan and are as valid a part of any decent CD collection as the Beatles' original studio albums. Like many second generation Beatles fans, I grew up listening to these albums and these compilations really capture the essence of the Beatles' music although they are by no means totally representative. EMI has come in for a lot of criticism for making this CD a double disc set (when it will fit on one CD) but I have to say I think they were right to replicate the original vinyl releases. All the hits of the early Beatles career are here - from 1962 debut single Love Me Do through to the double A-sided Eleanor Rigby/Yellow Submarine single from 1966. The big criticism I do have of this set is the absence of albums tracks from Revolver - whoever made the track selection really should be severely punished for this! Given that this album is considerably shorter in running time than the accompanying Blue Album (and there are less songs on this compilation), extra tracks could have easily been included. It's the only thing that lets this CD down and it's a real shame some of the great Revolver tracks are not included (Taxman, She Said She Said, Here There & Everywhere, Tomorrow Never Knows), especially when you consider the fact that Rubber Soul is represented by no less than 6 songs - none of which were released as singles. Nevertherless these digitally remastered CDs offer vastly superior sound quality to the 1987 CD album releases and it's high time EMI did the decent thing and remastered the Beatles entire back catalogue in this way. 5 stars for timeless, brilliant, original pop songs. 3 stars for under-representation of Revolver.
on 5 May 2007
There is no better album to buy as the definitive starting place to journey into the music of the Beatles. All compositions on this CD are by the band and the freshness of the original vinyl version has for most part been kept that other more recent 'digitally remastered' compilations have lost. To select any one song among the plethora of classics is somewhat pointless so enjoy the early years of the Beatles and don't forget to buy the Blue 1967-70 CD at the same time. The change in the bands style clearly transposes from one CD to the other.
on 8 September 2010
For Beatles fanatics, Record Collector magazine have stated that this release uses the September 2009 masters, in case you were wondering whether the music had been remastered again!
Enough has already been said about this timeless collection of great Beatles tracks and the even superior 1967-70 blue album. This is a better investment than the 1 album if you are a casual Beatles fan (do they exist!!!) or a younger newcomer to the Beatles. Buy this though and you will probably want everything they have ever released - a lifetime joy and addiction to the greatest band the world has ever seen. As time goes by it also appears that we will never experience the like of the Beatles again. So many boundaries broken through and so much creativity it is one long ecstatic trip! How did they get to be so good? Have a read of Ian Macdonald's "Revolutiuon in the head" for plausible reasons why the 60's were the pivot on which the modern world emerged and how the Beatles and their genius are representative and attuned to the upheavels/transitions that have altered the world radically and forever.
on 21 October 2010
Having collected pretty much all the Beatles' CD releases since 1987, I would like to present my considered (but by no means definitive) views on the re-release of the 'Red' Album Compilation (1962 -1966) which has been newly minted in remastered form by Apple Records.
For all fellow Beatles fans considering whether to invest (again!) in this title - I have played and compared it, track by track, against the original 1993 CD and also against previous digital releases that hold some of the same tracks, namely The Yellow Submarine 'Songtrack' CD Album (from 1999) and The Beatles '1' CD Album (from 2000). My aim is to provide a useful, constructively-critical guide to anyone unsure about committing themselves to this purchase.
1."Love Me Do" - 2:23 (Mono)
I found the version on the '1' Album to have better focus to the vocals and more clarity to the tambourine than both the 1993 & 2010 Red versions.
2."Please Please Me" - 2:03 (Mono)
I think The 2010 'Red' version has better bass definition than the 1993 'Red' version and the electric guitars sound crisper, Ringo's background drum fills are also cleaner.
3."From Me to You" - 1:57 (Mono)
It seems to me that the '1' Album's version sounds less bright overall than the 1993 & 2010 'Red' versions, with John & Paul's vocals being noticeably clearer with less (distracting) delay to the studio echo which George Martin applied to them.
4."She Loves You" - 2:22 (Mono)
In my view the '1' Album has the better version of this track than both the 1993 & 2010 'Red' versions as the mix is less muddy and the symbols don't tend to wander in and out of focus, Paul's bass and Ringo's drums are also better defined.
5."I Want to Hold Your Hand" - 2:26
Although I think that the new 2010 'Red' Album version is an upgrade of the 1993 release, it's only slightly better than the version on the '1' Album, with the stereo image being slightly wider and the hand-claps that punctuate the track (which are provided by all four Beatles)sounding more lifelike.
6."All My Loving" - 2:08
I actually prefer the 1993 'Red' Album version of this track to the 2010 'Red' Album version, as the vocals and guitars appear clear and crisp in the centre of the stereo image - the newer release has them driven (annoyingly) hard right with the remaining instrumentation placed more distantly left of centre.
7."Can't Buy Me Love" - 2:13
In my view the version found on the '1' Album contains a better rendition than either the 1993 or 2010 'Red' Albums - having a bolder presentation of Paul's vocals, cleaner lead and rhythm guitars and added depth to the bass; there's also a satisfying punch to Ringo's kick-drum.
8."A Hard Day's Night" - 2:34
The 2010 'Red' Album gives a slightly wider and taller stereo image than it's 1993 counterpart, it also presents far more detailed and realistic bongos and better focused vocals, bass and electric guitars.
9."And I Love Her" - 2:31
The 2010 'Red' Album again beats the old 1993 CD release with a rendition that adds just the right amount of gain to bring out the full emotion of Paul's lead vocal, perhaps at the expense of just a touch more audible tape hiss, the trademark blocks used as percussion throughout the song also have a more realistic 'clack' which is all conveyed with better reverb & studio depth.
10."Eight Days a Week" - 2:45
The smoother intro to The 2010 'Red' Album version and its more accurate portrayal of Ringo's drums and symbols steadily builds to create an image that beats the 'splashy' mix on the previous 1993 release.
11."I Feel Fine" - 2:19
The new 2010 'Red' Album's rendition is now far less 'brittle' as the opening guitar feedback is generated and the lead guitars kick in, John's double-tracked vocal is also now clearly portrayed in the centre of the stereo image.
12."Ticket to Ride" - 3:10
I actually prefer the Beatles '1' Album version of this track, the stereo is ever so slightly wider with larger sound to the vocals, guitars and drums.
13."Yesterday" - 2:05
Again I feel that The Beatles '1' Album has the better sounding version of Paul's classic song, his acoustic guitar sounds a little more 'real' with a more audible ring after the strings have been gently strummed; the chamber Orchestra sounds fuller and cellos especially can be heard to better effect than the 2010 release.
1."Help!" - 2:19
In my opinion the 2010 'Red' Album version relays the best version of this superb song, the added clarity now means there is now no doubt that both 6 string and 12 string guitars exist in the rhythm track and John's pleading vocals are placed fully forward in the mix.
2."You've Got to Hide Your Love Away" - 2:11
In my opinion The 2010 'Red' Album version has the best portrayal of the tambourine, maracas and 12 string guitar used on the backing track, John's vocals are superior to the 1993 release.
3."We Can Work It Out" - 2:16
It's my belief that The Beatles '1' Album has the best sounding version of this joint collaboration between John and Paul, as Ringo's drums sound more realistic and the picture painted by backing track comprising the accordion, tambourine and symbols is more solid and crisp than the 2010 'Red' version.
4."Day Tripper" - 2:49
I think the best lead and harmony vocals of this track can be found on the Beatles '1' Album version , they also don't suffer from audio drop-out and the lead and bass guitars sound far better than the 2010 remaster.
5."Drive My Car" - 2:27
The 2010 'Red' Album now gives a clean and accurate representation of this bouncy song that beats the old 1993 'Red' album version with ease the vocal echo now gives studio depth to the lead vocal provided by Paul.
6."Norwegian Wood (This Bird Has Flown)" - 2:05
I believe The 2010 'Red' Album has the best sounding version of this song from John, the remastering now brings clarity to George's Sitar and makes is clear that there were timpani bells as well as tambourine used in the percussion.
7."Nowhere Man" - 2:44
I believe the version on The Yellow Submarine 'Songtrack' CD sits head and shoulders above those created for the 1993 or 2010 'Red' Album releases in fact the stereo image is so broad, defined and detailed it makes the other albums' versions sound almost mono in comparison.
8."Michelle" - 2:42
Starting a run of three tracks that sees the 2010 'Red' Album as the place to find the most satisfying versions, this pseudo-French song from Paul is now a step-up from the 1993 release in most departments, most obviously with the fuller bass and cleaner vocal.
9."In My Life" - 2:27
The 2010 'Red' Album continues its run with John's moving retrospective song, the new remastering bringing Ringo's drums and symbols into a fuller stereo image packed with information.
10."Girl" - 2:31
The final track in this fine run for the 2010 'Red' Album has the sultry brushwork by Ringo on his snare drum clearly sweeping around the mix with ultimate realism, the strong intake of 'breaths' from John are also now far more detailed.
11."Paperback Writer" - 2:31
I think the Beatles '1' Album gives a better view of this song than either of the 1993 or 2010 'Red' Album releases, the lead vocal stands further forward of the harmonies and the bass really drives hard.
12."Eleanor Rigby" - 2:08
It's abundantly clear to me that the version contained on the Yellow Submarine 'Songtrack' CD is the one that leaves the listener most satisfied; it has been created without the clumsy panning to the right when Paul first delivers the vocal of 'Eleanor...Rigby' and it also includes superior depth and detail to the cellos as well as conveying all the drama of the score George Martin created for the Chamber Orchestra.
13."Yellow Submarine" - 2:37
Without a shadow of a doubt the best version of this track still remains the title track from the Yellow Submarine 'Songtrack' CD, it surpasses the version on the 2010 'Red' album in every respect.
So in closing, I recommend this new 2010 release to all those new to the Beatles musical catalogue as it's the best place to start your journey of discovery - for all those others who are already 'hooked', you can buy this CD knowing most of the tracks will give an upgrade in sound quality to the 1993 release....
However, if you don't have them already, I also recommend that you buy The Yellow Submarine 'Songtrack' & '1' CD albums to fully realise the best sounding versions of these 26 tracks.
on 12 September 2010
Ignore the previous review that states this is the same as the previous CD release. This is a brand new remaster, see the official website: [...] Although I do agree with a previous review that states the "Red Album" could and should fit onto one disc. It's always been a bit of a mystery why they never released it that way. I suppose they want to keep it in line with the original vinyl release in keeping it a double. Anyway, regardless of packaging it is (when coupled with the "Blue Album") the best music you will ever hear.
on 22 June 2000
This really is superb, and it sums up the best perios of the beatles I think. I highly recommend it, and in the album it shows the change in the beatles over the period of time, it is obvious that their type of music is completely different at the end than it is at the start. BUY It!
This collection contains the highlights of their career from Love me do, which was a British top 20 hit in 1962, to the end of 1966. Love me do became more successful later – it topped the US charts in 1964 and reached the UK top five when re-issued as a single in the eighties.
The Beatles were very good musicians, but what set them apart from everybody else was their songwriting. In those days, it was normal for songs to be written by people who did just that, leaving others to record them. Perhaps people assumed that performers would be too busy to actually write their own material, but the Beatles proved that it could be done. Indeed, they were so good at it that they had enough songs left over for others to have hits with covers of their songs. So here you get the Beatles’ own version of Michelle, which topped the British charts for the Overlanders, as well as many songs which became hits for the Beatles.
The songs that were released as singles varied from one country to another. For example, Eight days a week and Yesterday were both number one hits in America, but neither were released as Beatles singles in Britain. Instead, Yesterday was a hit for Matt Monro while Eight days a week was given to Alma Cogan. Nevertheless, some songs were number one in both countries, including I want to hold your hand, Can’t buy me love, A hard day’s night, I feel fine, Ticket to ride, Help, Paperback writer and the double-sided coupling of Day tripper with We can work it out.
Such is the strength in depth that most of the songs here are famous. The only possible criticism of this set is that, with only 65 minutes of music, it could have fitted on a single CD. A better idea would be to add extra tracks. There are other songs from this period that were hits for others, including Do you want to know a secret, I wanna be your man and Got to get you into my life. Other songs, such as I’ll follow the sun, If I fell, Act naturally, I’ve just seen a face, Here there and everywhere and For no one, have been well-covered down the years. All of these and others could be added to this set without reducing the quality.
Despite the running time, this is still an outstanding compilation of music by the Beatles, the most important pop group of the twentieth century.
The Beatles were the greatest band in the world.
This and their Blue Album were two of the finest albums.
just about every Beatles song worth having is on these two albums.
I was lucky enough to have them originally in vinyl and played them to destruction.
Super records from a sensational group.