For any musician/band that has made it big a greatest hits album is almost guaranteed. But, what happens when you have an incredibly big band, considered by many one of the greatest group of musicians of all time…Maybe the best group ever. Few bands have been able to claim that honor. To be considered great by millions of critics and millions of fans. To have an enduring legacy that, to this day, still holds power over popular musicians. The Beatles is a band like that.
Now, back to that greatest hits thing. Being a huge band it should come to no surprise that The Beatles would have a greatest hits album. Ever since 1966 Beatles compilations have been released. Some have been good(The Red & Blue albums)and some weak(Rock n Roll Music). The problem is most greatest hits albums are made for new fans, people who just discovered the band. With such a legacy it’s natural young people would want to listen and discover why this “Fab Four” is so popular, but most of the compilations have been discontinued or are not made specifically for newcomers. The Red & Blue albums can go anywhere from $20-$40. The price isn’t really appealing to new fans is it? Well, now these new fans have a savior in the form of an album simply titled “1”. The album features The Beatles “1” songs, which basically means songs that have hit the top slot on the music charts in the United States or the United Kingdom. Priced at a mere $11 at some stores this is the perfect album for the new Beatles fan. From their humble start of “Love Me Do” to their dramatic finale “The Long and Winding Road”, “1” almost covers The Beatles’s entire career. Almost, is our keyword.
The Start of a Legacy(Beatlemania):
“Love Me Do” begins our album as it was The Beatles first No.1 in Britain and the song that possibly kick started Beatlemania. From the sloppy beat to the harmonica intro to the incredible harmonizing voices of Paul and John it’s obvious why it became No.1.
“From Me To You” is a nice poppy tune and is our first look into The Beatles’s melodic ways. It doesn’t have much of an impact when compared to other early songs, but it is a nice song that probably wouldn’t of been featured on other compilations.
So, “Love Me Do” started off Beatlemania in Britain, but what about America? That’s where “She Loves You” comes in. Probably the most famous early Beatles tune, “She Loves You” is essential to any Beatles collection. It has a first look into The Beatles’s quickly evolving lyrics. Instead of making it the typical “Boy-Girl” love song, the boy being the singer, the song actually tells a story about a boy who “lost his love” only to be reassured that “she loves you and you know you should be glad”. This writing technique would be used by Paul quite a few times in the mid to later years of The Beatles.
“I Want To Hold Your Hand”, though featuring some weak lyrics by Beatle standards, is another classic that no Beatle compilations can go without. It’s a very nice tune that isn’t really breathtaking, but then again when you have “She Loves You” before you and “Can’t Buy Me Love” after, you would start feeling inadequate too.
“Can’t Buy Me Love” is another song written by Paul and features some great lyrics stating that Paul obviously doesn’t care much for money and would rather have love. A first step into songs with greater meaning? Possibly, but for now it’s a great tune.
“A Hard Day’s Night” is another great tune that has a movie of the same name. It has not only a notable intro, consisting of one chord, but also a great exit of tremoloing guitars. The guitar solo is also one of George’s best focusing heavily on quick hammer ons. It’s one of The Beatles’s first steps into more musically powerful songs.
“I Feel Fine” is a personal favorite and one of the few Beatles songs played with a continuing guitar riff. The riff itself is very catchy and starts off the song along with the distorted “A” note and Ringo’s pounding intro. Another great solo by George and nice, uplifting lyrics by John.
“Eight Days a Week” is one of the few, if not only remembered songs from the “Beatles For Sale” album. An incredibly fading in intro starts of the song with lyrics talking about how the singer would love his girl all the time, even “eight days a week”. A great outro takes the song away.
The Mid Years(Invention, Creation, Innovation, and Drugs)-
“Ticket To Ride” has a very trippy riff with some very trippy lyrics. The title itself is a double, possibly triple, entendre. It is considered by Lennon to be one of the first heavy metal songs. I find this hard to comprehend, but Lennon is Lennon and you can’t argue with that. It has a nice, odd beat with that great drumming Ringo showed in “I Feel Fine”.
“Help!” is one of the Beatles most famous songs and really win me over because of the lyrics, the singing, and the franticness of it. Paul literally takes the word out of John’s mouth by singing the start of John’s line before John begins. It works incredibly well and adds a whole layer of greatness to an already great song. Of course, great lyrics by John like always. The song itself is lead by John’s acoustic guitar and the descending guitar/bass notes in the chorus.
Covered over 3,000 times by various artists, “Yesterday” is one of Paul’s most enduring songs. Why do I say only Paul? Well, it only has Paul on lead and backing vocals, guitar, and some strings added in. This song is truly Paul’s time to shine and is magnificent in nearly everyway. “Yesterday” proves that simplicity is power.
“Day Tripper” is another Beatles song led by George’s guitar riffs, Ringo’s drumming, and Paul and John’s harmonized voices. The latter truly is the shining point of the song with it stopping at times to have Paul singing the first few words of a line quickly with John jumping in to finish up soon after. The coda adds some great tension with the song starting about with the riff and Ringo’s drums. It’s truly a song that lets the whole band shine.
“We Can Work It Out” is one of my favorite tunes and is incredibly catchy. At first it may seem the opposite of “Yesterday” with Paul singing that “we can work it out”, trying to convince his girlfriend that he has the right idea. John then swiftly comes in stating that life is just to short for fussing and fighting. Ultimately, the mixing of those two elements makes this song an incredible one that only The Beatles could think of.
“Paperback Writer” is led on by a solid, distorter guitar riff which makes this another unique Beatles composition. It’s Paul’s first step into the hard rock of The Who and Jimi Hendrix and what eventually would be Helter Skelter. More “story book” lyrics accompany this song telling a story about a man who wants to be a paperback writer. Okay, it’s not Paul’s best, but it’s still a very enjoyable song that is very catchy.
One of The Beatles most famous and well known songs among many is “Yellow Submarine”. Long before the movie of the same name was released, “Yellow Submarine” was released on a “little” album called Revolver and was sung by Ringo. What, I think, really makes this song special is the added sounds. For example, there is sounds of a band playing after the verse “And the band begins to play” and before another verse you hear the sound of people getting ready to set sail. Also, singing backing vocals to Ringo is a sailor!
Another one of Paul’s classics is “Eleanor Rigby”. Like Yesterday, “Eleanor Rigby” is simple featuring only stringed instruments and Paul singing.(I’m not exactly sure if John and George are backing him up.) Paul’s vocals are amazing while the violin following him around adds an eerie atmosphere. Yet another story by Paul*, this tune tells a story about Eleanor Rigby, a lonely maiden, and Father McKenzie, a church’s pastor/priest. So far, Paul’s best in terms of story telling and music.
“Penny Lane” is our first look into the Sgt Pepper era on “1” and is very underrated. Many people mention John’s contributing on Strawberry Fields to the double A-Side, but Penny Lane is just as good, just not as different as Strawberry Fields. Paul’s vocals and bass line really shines through here along with Ringo’s gentle drumming. The chorus is an absolute delight to listen to with an accompanying horns section and backing vocals by John. The lyrics are, yet again, a story by Paul and are very odd. It tells a story of “Penny Lane” and the many people that are there. Probably a bunch of symbolism I’ll never get.
“All You Need Is Love” is one of my favorite tunes mainly because of it’s message. Written by John for a television broadcast, “All You Need Is Love” is a simple song that is combined with other tunes. It’s our last look into Sgt. Pepper’s era and the flower power song. The encouraging lyrics and vocals by John are really the winners in this song and, without a doubt, some of the best The Beatles released. It’s hard to express how powerful the message is. It’s something everyone should really follow.
Our first song by Paul that doesn’t tell a story? Holy crap! “Hello Goodbye” is another catchy pop tune by Paul and is very strong musically. Like always, Paul’s vocals are in tip-top shape, but the main problem is you can’t really hear any guitars. Of course, this is the same problem for me with other later Beatles tunes, but I really think some guitars would add a lot of life into this song. Thankfully, you can still hear a somewhat distorted electric sliding down in the verses and heading up the frets in the chorus. Paul isn’t the only star here, with John and George contributing some great backing vocals that will make you recall the song Help!, which now seems decades ago. “Hello Goodbye” has been criticized by many, including John, for some weak lyrics. Personally, I like them. Like All You Need Is Love, the lyrics for “Hello Goodbye” are simple, but effective.
To be honest, “Lady Madonna” sounds like filler to me. But, when you think about it, a filler track by The Beatles should still be incredible, right? Well, almost incredible. It’s still a catchy tune, but it does have some weak lyrics. The rhythm section is still great though with Paul playing a catchy bass line and Ringo pounding away. The saxophone bit is nice and it has some of George’s best backing vocals.
Without a doubt, “Hey Jude” is one of The Beatles’s most popular songs and is a timeless classic. Everything about it is so…Perfect. It’s the song that would eventually make way for other lead singles like “Stairway To Heaven” and “Bohemian Rhapsody”. It’s the biggest song and it’s certainly an epic. It begins with Paul on piano and gradually builds up to a full crowd of “Na-Na-Nana”s near the end. Paul gets wild with his vocals in the end and, best of all, it’s yet another encouraging song. Paul was always good with ballads, “Hey Jude” is his finest hour.
After “Hey Jude” you think Paul would be burned out, right? No way. Whereas “Hey Jude” is a powerful ballad, “Get Back” is a laid back, bluesy tune that is pure fun. Paul definitely fooled around with the lyrics and it has nice, sloppy guitar playing at the beginning. Billy Preston’s piano playing is a nice addition and makes the song feel whole.
Like “Get Back”, “The Ballad of John and Yoko” is a laid back tune by John. The lyrics aren’t anything special, it’s basically about what John and Yoko recently did during that era. The whole tune is just really laid back and that’s what makes the tune. Near the mid section the song starts to get tense with a complete stop and then back to the regular tune. It’s a nice because you could really feel John with the music. The ending is incredible and harkens back to the early days.
“Something” is, needless to say, beautiful. By The White Album, George had grown into an incredible song writer. On Abbey Road, George hit is peak with Here Comes The Sun and “Something”. “Something” is so perfectly put together, it’s a songwriter’s dream. The best song by George? Arguably. One of the best songs on “1”? Without a doubt. Listen to this song, now. Paul plays a gorgeous bass line and George’s guitar bits are laid behind his fabulous vocals.
“Come Together” is a great rock tune and is led by some of John’s best vocals. Like most Beatles tunes, the rhythm section is powerful. Paul plays another great bass line and Ringo’s drumming is classic. Odd lyrics, but they work. The only problem is the guitar is underplayed. Hardly hearable, the only exception being the chorus and solo. The coda is great and the piano adds an eerie atmosphere to the already psychedelically eerie song.
Paul’s infamous “gospel” tune and one of The Beatle’s best, “Let It Be” is a perfect ending to The Beatle’s career. Paul’s encouraging lyrics, combined with perfect backing vocals and music is absolute bliss. “Let It Be” is just incredible meaningful to me and it can hold something special to anyone who hears. My only problem is I dislike the solo. There are numerous versions and I prefer the original solo.
Wait, did I say “Let It Be” was The Beatles’s final bow? Sorry, “The Long and Winding Road” is and it certainly does a good job of it. I’m sure many people were sad when The Beatles broke up and many are still sad. “The Long and Winding Road” reminds us all that there is still something to go to. Something to live for. Like Let It Be anyone can relate to this tune. Everyone has some struggles in their life and Paul combines them all here. Excellent job.
And there you have it. The incredible journey of The Beatles from “Love Me Do” to “The Long and Winding Road”. Is it worth $10 for the new Beatles fan? Of course! Is it worth $10 for a huge fan of The Beatles? Maybe. It doesn’t have every single good song by The Beatles, but it has the essentials. Then again, what single CD can hold all of The Beatle’s great tunes?
*(From Eleanor Rigby)There is some debate on the writing of Eleanor Rigby.
It is said that George, Ringo, and Pete Shotton contributed to the lyrics.
However, it is credited to Lennon/McCartney and it is considered Paul's song so I just said Paul.
+Great introduction to The Beatles
+Has essential single only songs
+Overall, one of the best Beatles compilations
+Absolutely no songs from Rubber Soul, Sgt. Pepper's, or The White Album
+Only 2 songs from Revolver
+Already Beatles fans need not buy
(Yes, I know there is already a review up. I started this review a few weeks back and sadly I didn't finish it until today. I still hope you enjoy my review. It's my first review and I except all critism and comments.)