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4.4 out of 5 stars
The Beatles 1
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Showing 1-10 of 207 reviews (4 star)show all reviews
19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
on January 16, 2001
Format: Audio CD
If you want to introduce somebody to the music of the Beatles for the 1st time and the Red and Blue Album collections (1962-1966, 1967-1970) are out of your price league, this is a short but sweet resume. Even if you're not a fan of the Fab 4 or their music doesn't grab you, you can't deny their influence (which is still going strong after nearly 40 years), creativity, or talent (they wrote, played, and sang their own songs!). This collection is reminiscent of "20 Greatest Hits", a vinyl collection which was released in the mid-1980's (with an edited version of "Hey Jude" at only 5 minutes- fortunately, you get the full-length version here).
It starts out with "Love Me Do", their 1st single ever (1962). Ironically, it didn't reach the US until 1964, but made #1 there (not the UK). The 1st US single was "From Me to You" (1963). It wasn't until the releases of "She Loves You" and "I Want to Hold Your Hand" that the Beatles broke through in the US. Songs from their experimental period include "Help!", "Yesterday", "Eleanor Rigby", "Penny Lane", and "All You Need Is Love". In addition are some of their later hits like "Let It Be", "Something", "Come Together", and their last single "The Long & Winding Road" (1970).
Collectors will want this for the CD booklet, which is lavishly decorated with original picture sleeves from around the world (Asia, France, and Spanish speaking countries). Plus it features Richard Avedon's beautifully surrealistic artwork of each of the Beatles and a nice foreward by their multitalented producer George Martin (who is also a fine musician, conductor, and composer).
Since these are only Beatles songs that made #1 either in the US or the UK, some of your favorite songs may not be included on this collection ("Hey, where's 'Revolution', 'I Am the Walrus', 'Strawberry Fields Forever', 'The Fool on the Hill', 'Here Comes the Sun', or 'All My Loving'?"). Furthermore, there's nothing from With the Beatles, Rubber Soul, Sgt. Pepper, or the White Album (but neither Pepper or the White Album sported any original singles anyways). Nevertheless, it's still a good overview and more music and 1 more song than on the Red Album alone!
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on December 7, 2000
Format: Audio CD
When I was a kid my parents would talk about The beatles and play the Beatles in our house..My mom especially..and my Dad for one birthday make a tape w/ some of the Beatles songs on it..I just thought good songs and catchy beats..But then after watching all this stuff about their anniversary..I bought this album and let me tell you its been stuck in my cd player ever since and I just love it..The songs are haunting..especially Yesterday, Eleanor Rigby, Come Together..If you know History or have been told how it was during that time..you have a better understanding of what power the beatles had and still have for all the people that are just learning about them..their songs are much more then catchy tunes and nice beats..but what that time was and how things changed..I love this cd and I appreciate the Beatles alot more then I did..I also have a better understanding for what my parents went through when they were my age. How lucky they were to see the world changed dramatically..
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on September 3, 2007
Format: Audio CD
The four stars are for the #1 compilation itself, not a rating of The Beatles' music on the disc, nearly all of which is obviously genuine "5 Star" material! So, with over a thousand reviews here at the time of writing, why yet another? Because it needs to be pointed out that this is not a complete "Best Of" compilation nor a fair cross section of what the Beatles were musically capable, and that popularity (ie.sales) should not be a validation of worth. One thing that can be said with certainty is: A top numerical position on the charts does not necessarily mean that a compilation of these number ones is the definitive best of the Beatles. We DO get rollicking rockers such as "Can't Buy Me Love", "I Feel Fine", "Lady Madonna", and "Get Back" as well as the beloved ballads "Yesterday", "Hey Jude", "Eleanor Rigby" and "Something", both categories proving the band mastered those styles, but what about the superb in-between music played regularly by progressive radio stations everywhere and represented by the 'Rock Beatles': "Revolution", "Rain", "While My Guitar Gently Weeps" and psychedelic-era Beatles tracks - "Tomorrow Never Knows", "Lucy In the Sky With Diamonds", "I Am the Walrus", "Strawberry Fields Forever"? The answer is: Of course they're not here because they weren't #1 charting songs. (Though the non-#1 "Penny Lane" mysteriously IS, while "Please Please Me", a true Number One in many countries, is NOT.) If you want to enjoy the full glory of the Beatles' music and understand them more, you need these latter tracks...Still, #1 is a more sensible collection than the earlier ill-conceived LOVE SONGS and ROCK & ROLL compilations, but not as honest as the vinyl-only GREATEST HITS or import-only vinyl LIVERPOOL BOX. The BEATLES 1 set has other strengths, such as the beautiful and generous color booklet and fine remastered sound. Four-and-half stars: Slightly skewed selection but otherwise good value.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on August 10, 2007
Format: Audio CD
I didn't buy this for years because I already had the songs on other CD's, vinyl singles and LP's. I gave in and bought it recently for several reasons. First, I wanted to hear the songs remastered. Second,
I wanted a hits collection without buying the red and blue collections which would overduplicate my existing collection and , lastly, I wanted the booklet with the pictures of various singles sleeves.
Overall, I find it an enjoyable collection.

The Beatles were, first and foremost a tightly-knit performing unit capable of grinding out rock 'n' roll on par, if not better than, any group extant in the sixties. Listen to any early live recordings from
Germany or Liverpool, or any BBC sessions. This collection will not bear witness to that. I bring this up because someone, perhaps George Martin although I'm not sure, seems to have toned done the mixes somewhat and some of the rockers tend to lose the original edge, especially with on drum tracks. The more pop-oriented selections and orchestral selections do shine, benefitting from the remastering immensely.

Of course, their hits are not always their best works, however often enough, they are as good as any album cut even if they are more pop oriented. And they are hits. Enough said.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on March 13, 2001
Format: Audio CD
Any attempt at a compilation of the Beatles' best tracks (unless compiled by a deaf person) is going to (a) be a non-stop barrage of unsurpassed melody and imaginative song craftsmanship and (b) cause massive contention about what tracks should have been included. This means that many of the things a reviewer might normally say about the quality of a compilation would, with regard to this album, be either self-evident or merely a matter of opinion. Nevertheless, I hope the following remarks don't (quite) succumb to these failings. My message is this: of all the inappropriate methods of choosing what should go onto a best-of, the strategy of sticking to number one singles strikes me as downright clueless, at least in the case of the Beatles. Here is some evidence: there is not a single track from what most people consider to be their best album, Sgt Pepper's, the reason being that there were no singles, and consequently no number ones, released from it. I strongly doubt whether 'A day in the life', 'She's leaving home' or 'Lucy in the sky' from that album are worse than, say, tracks 22 and 23 and a fair slab of the early stuff with its airhead lyrics. And although 'Strawberry Fields' might have been merited inclusion, it didn't even come into contention for this compilation due to a quirk of history: it was released on the other side of the 'Penny Lane' single, and thus ran into some unfairly stiff competition. Rather than getting bitter and twisted about all this, I will make some positive suggestions for people who are interested in gaining an initial acquaintance with the Beatles' output. If you only want to buy one album, then this compilation would probably be the best choice, despite the above criticism. If you find that you like their stuff, you can always get Sgt Peppers without doubling up on any tracks. If you have the funds, it would be better to go for the older four-disc best-of comprising 1967-1970 (The Blue Album) and 1962-1966 (The Red Album). Here the order reflects my bias towards late Beatles, but beware that other fans dig the earlier work more -a fact which reduces my faith in humanity less than the song selections on the album under review did.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on August 15, 2007
Format: Audio CD
At 21 I have been a Beatles fan longer than some people my age. I have loved these guys since I was 5 or 6 years old. While I may not know as much about this band as some of you older fans, I do know REALLY GOOD music when I hear it! I don't care what the original version of whichever song was like or what the retakes of it today may sound like...it's still the same in essence and as long as the songs' messages are conveyed that is what's important. This is a way of ensuring The Beatles live on for future generations who deserve the chance to get to know this band and learn about them. Check this album out! First time fans are guaranteed to like at least some of the songs! Also, the cd booklet is really cool! You can brush up on your knowledge of the singles! There's a story behind each one...how great is that? Another noteworthy thing is that I rarely buy collections of songs like this, that have been re-released and that are from different albums. I strongly prefer to stick with the album/s that the songs came off of originally. Of over 100 cd's in my music collection I only have 3 or 4 that are collections such as this. If it has something to offer me that I haven't seen before or that I really like (and most of this type don't) I will buy it. The Beatles 1 is one such example of such greatness.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on February 25, 2008
Format: Audio CD
Some songs never get old. If you love the Beatles you'll love this CD. The sound quality is great, and those early songs that were mono on vinyl sound great on todays 5.1 sound systems. If you're too young to have listened to the Beatles when they were together this is a good way to listen to how their music developed in their short but remarkable time together.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on February 12, 2005
Format: Audio CD
It's a 4.75 for me. I can't give it a true 5 because alot of my favorite Beatles songs arent on it. But that's by design so I don't penalize it too much. But also for that reason it doesn't have the perfection 5 stars would suggest.

I bought this album shortly after it was released to see what all the fuss was regarding the Beatles. Non-commercial hip hop is my first love, but I like something from practically all styles and genres of music, so I said "What the hay? Other people seem to like it..." Years later, this CD is still in heavy rotation within my rather large collection. From the very first listen, I understood why the band has been the recipient of so many critical and popular accolades.

As other reviewers have noted, "1" was a springboard to Beatles fandom for me (tho it was a complete play-thru of all their American releases a year ago, in commemoration of their first Sullivan gig, by radio station 97.1 here in Chicago that really increased my interest in them). Since then, I have obtained all their original albums from "Rubber Soul" to "Let it Be", have settled on a favorite period of the band's career (psychadelic onward; all their subject matter before and parts of "Rubber Soul" were boy-bandish, tho I do appreciate the fine instrumentalism), have decided on favorite albums ("Sgt Pepper" and especially "Abbey Road"), and have developed other informed opinions on the band. While I don't feign to act like I can keep up with the most dedicated Beatles aficianodos, I can surely say I can contribute to conversations about them. That may never have been that case had I never listened to "1".

I can understand some of the problems people have with this CD. Many fans who were around when this was new music heard the songs in mono, and have a preference for such over stereo--George Martin himself had issues with stereo compared to mono in the 1960s. It's like the vinyl-vs-CD debate. Well, I'm 26; I'm of the digital-and-stereo generation. I admit I've heard few of their songs in mono form, so I'm not able to make an informed comparison. But the stereo's cool with me. True, there are some imperfections with the channel mixing. But it's not as if the engineers for this CD had flawless material to work with. And, as a fan of clarity, I'm really feeling the quality in that department.

As for the band and their music heard here: They're crafty lyricists and play their instruments well (tho as a former drummer I have my personal reservations about Ringo), they're versatile in styles, and the chemistry is noticeable. Can't say much that hasn't already been said. Believe the hype.

Yes, I have heard of "20 Greatest Hits" from over 20 years ago, and how it was a nearly identical compilation to "1". But not many in my generation were old enough or alive to have been aware of that. Yes, there are more thorough Beatles compilations ("Red" and "Blue" albums, for example). I don't believe they're as accessible, literally or figuratively. And yes, EMI made a huuuuuuuuge amount of money on this CD. But to use that fact as evidence to support an argument to detract fom this CD is silly. Capitalism aside, this CD was (partly) designed to give the mp3 generation a neatly-packaged introduction to the Beatles. And when you look at the praise lavished on it by Billboard and others when it was new, it was pretty successful in that purpose.

I would agree this is not a necessary album for many hardcore Beatles fans, nor a perfect compilation (based on tracklist) by many criteria. But to suggest to others not to buy it--as some here have--yet go around to "Spread The Word" about the band like Gospel and how others are simply lesser, does a disservice not only to music fans not exposed to the Beatles but perhaps in a small measure to the legacy of the band. If you're unfamiliar with the Beatles, but have an interest in seeing what they are about from beginning to end yet don't know where to start, I say this is the CD to pick up. Then ya just take it from there...
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Format: Audio CD
While, it's the most complete collection of The Beatles' biggest hits to date, "1" still leaves us a huge feeling of incompleteness. By limiting it to just numer one hits, many of their biggest hits - "Do You Want To Know A Secret", "She's A Woman", "Tiwst And Shout" and most glaringly "Strawberry Fields Forever" - are not here.
Don't get me wrong. I absolutely love the songs here. You can't argue the timelessnss of numbers like "I Wanna Hold Your Hand", "Lady Madonna", "Come Together", "Something", "Love Me Do" and the many others.
But still leaves a hairraising question: why couldn't this have been a boxd set of all their singles? A Boxed set would have pleased both casual fans and ones who have listened to them for years. The Beatles scored 70 chart entries between 1964 and 1996, and 32 of them made the top 10. With only 27 here, it leaves oom for more. I know it's going to take up space and proably won't get me any helpful vots, but here's a list of all the missing songs.
"Please Please Me" (number 3)
"I Saw Her Standing There" (number 14)
"My Bonnie" (number 26)
"From Me To You" (number 41)
"Twist And Shout" (number 2)
"Roll Over Beethoven" (number 68)
"All My Loving" (number 45)
"Do You Want To Know A Secrer" (number 2)
"You Can't Do That" (number 48)
"Thank You Girl" (number 35)
"There's A Place" (number 74)
"Why" (number 88)
"P.S. I Love You (number 10)
"Sie Liebt Dich" (number 97)
"Ain't She Sweet" (number 19)
"I Should Have Known Better" (number 53)
"And I Love Her" (number 12)
"I'll Cry Instead" (number 25)
"If I Fell" (number 53)
"Matchbox" (number 17)
"I'm Happy Just To Dance With Her" (number 95)
"Slow Down" (number 25)
"She's A Woman" (number 4)
"I Don't Want To Spoil The Party" (number 39)
"Yes It Is" (number 46)
"Act Naturally" (number 47)
"Nowhere Man' (number 3)
"What Goes On" (number 81)"Rain" (number 23)
"Strawberry Fields Forever" (number 8)
"Baby You're A Rich Man" (number 34)
"I Am The Walrus" (number 56)
"The Inner Light" (number 96)
"Revolution" (number 12)
"Don't Let Me Down" (number 35)
"Got To Get You Into My Life" (number 7)
"Ob - La - Di, Ob - La - Da" (number 49)
"Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band - With A Little Help From My Friends" (number 71)
"The Beatles Medley" (number 12)
"Baby It's You" (number 67)
"Free As A Bird" (number 6)
"Real Love" (number 11)
See what I mean? All these great hits are missing. Just hope that a boxed set will be released in the future.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on November 18, 2000
Format: Audio CD
Before you shrug this off as another mass-market tie-in or money-grab, take stock in the fact that these songs are finally being given a playable quality they richly deserve. The 24-bit mastering process breathes a life back into these recordings that has been sorely lacking in any of the original CD releases of the original Bristish LP's or the two companion single/EP Past Masters discs. The 30th anniversary edition of the 'white album' was an improvement thanks to 20-bit technology, and the new Yellow Submarine was a high-quality improvement, thanks to the efforts put forth by those who re-created the songs by going back to all original session tapes and overdubs to create a pristine edition, and now if it is at all possible, EMI, please go back to the original master tapes and start re-mastering all the original catalogue! Other record companies are doing it to their back catalogue with lesser artists. Your most important franchise deserves it more than any other artist.
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