November 8, 2023
The Beatles’ iconic red and blue compilation albums, which started a trend in 1973, are fifty years old. Of the 21 extra tracks on the reissue, the ‘new’ single is redundant.
Half a century ago, the then Beatles manager Allen Klein came up with the initiative for two double albums. He realized that the general public needed the biggest hits from their favorite band without having to include the lesser-known album tracks. In the wake of success, compilations of hits became a permanent fixture in the schedules of artists and record companies.
The current reissue of the iconic Beatles compilations was preceded by ‘Now and Then’, a nostalgic sounding no-nonsense piece that recovered vocal parts from a demo that the late John Lennon had recorded at his home in 1979. In 1995, the late George Harrison didn’t think it was worth finishing it for the ‘Anthology’ project. The two remaining Beatles now received the blessing of his widow to enter the studio after all. But no matter how well the AI software – developed for the ‘Get Back’ documentary – managed to filter Lennon’s vocals from the demo he had given Paul McCartney, the result does not exceed the bar set by the Liverpool quartet with a long procession of sixties singles itself.
Adding a new gem as the last track to a career overview that runs from 1962 to 1970 is a falsification of history.
You cannot blame the heritage managers, led by McCartney and Ringo Starr, for also trying to appeal to younger generations, if necessary with AI, but sticking the gem as the last track to a career overview that runs from 1962 to 1970 is a falsification of history.
Mix like an express train
The red double album bundled 26 singles with a Lennon and McCartney signature from the early period, the more adventurous blue 28 hits from the later years. ‘1962-1966’ still rushes by like an express train in 2023 in a flawless stereo mix. That’s the way it is with songs that last barely longer than two minutes and have stuck in your memory for decades.
A new generation of listeners will also experience the artistic evolution of the group.
In addition, a dozen additional songs, including The Beatles’ best-known covers ‘Twist and Shout’ and ‘Roll over Beethoven’, have been skillfully and chronologically slotted into the original track listing. This way, a new generation of listeners will also experience the artistic evolution of the group.
The blue compilation ‘1967-1970’, which zoomed in on the more experimental ‘studio years’, has eleven extra tracks. Here are most of the mixes lifted from previous album reissues. With ‘Within you without You’, ‘Dear Prudence’, ‘Blackbird’ and ‘I Want You (She’s So Heavy)’, several notorious non-singles get their deserved place on what was and is the mother of all hit compilations.
The reissues of ‘1962-1966’ and ‘1967-1970’ by The Beatles will be released on Friday via Universal.