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Saturday, February 28, 2015

1

The Beatles greeted the new millennium by releasing what should have been the ultimate greatest hits collection.  While it does achieve the feat of putting all of these recordings on one CD for the first time, as usual, there are disputes about what does or does not constitute a number one hit in a few instances.

All tracks were remastered for this release, which was not as controversial a decision for most fans as the remixing done for the Yellow Submarine Songtrack, especially since the band's original producer, George Martin, was involved in the process this time.

Of course, the collection was also released in a vinyl LP format, so I will list the tracks (along with any pertinent comments) as they appeared on that 2-record set, as is my wont.

SIDE ONE

Love Me Do - This is the version with Alan White on drums and Ringo on tambourine which went to number one in the US in 1964.
From Me to You
She Loves You
I Want to Hold Your Hand - Starting with this track, all songs are presented here in stereo, though up until 1969, all of the original singles were mono.
Can't Buy Me Love
A Hard Day's Night
I Feel Fine
Eight Days a Week

SIDE TWO

Ticket to Ride
Help! - This, too, is the stereo version, but since this package is supposed to represent number one singles, it should be the mono release with the alternate Lennon vocal.
Yesterday
Day Tripper - This remastered version finally fixes the momentary guitar dropout in the final verse.
We Can Work It Out
Paperback Writer
Yellow Submarine
Eleanor Rigby

SIDE THREE

Penny Lane
All You Need Is Love
Hello Goodbye
Lady Madonna
Hey Jude

SIDE FOUR

Get Back - This was the last single to be released in mono in the UK, yet the first to be issued in stereo in the US.
The Ballad of John and Yoko
Something
Come Together
Let it Be
The Long and Winding Road

If you can find printings of the actual charts from the 1960's, the inclusions of both Yellow Submarine and Something are questionable (even William J. Dowlding's book Beatlesongs from 1989 does not list them as number one hits), yet they have come to be regarded as number ones due to some revisionist history.  But the exclusion of Please Please Me, the single acclaimed as the group's first number one in early 1963, is simply inexcusable.  Sadly, the Record Retailer, the chart used as a resource to assemble this collection, was the only UK chart on which the song did not hit the top spot at the time of its release.

Despite these inconsistencies, fans both new and old eagerly embraced this collection in a record-setting way.  Appropriately enough, the CD debuted in the number one position in the US, hit the top spot in many countries all around the world and eventually became the biggest seller of the decade.  Not too shabby for a group that had ceased to exist thirty years earlier.

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