808s / The World's Greatest Hits

The World’s Greatest Hits: 1962-1966 (The Red Album) – The Beatles

1962-1966 (The Red Album) – The Beatles – 1973

Claimed Sales: 15m

First listen?: Yes (this collection at least)

Format Listened?: Apple Music

Beatles compilations are a funny thing. During the heyday of Beatlemania there were countless official, unofficial and seemingly random compilations for various territories across the world. Of course this kept the focus purely on the main album and single releases for the band but it means that it wasn’t until 1973, well after the band had parted ways that two proper compilations were simultaneously released and became some of the biggest releases of the band’s discography. The first of these, often named ‘The Red Album‘ covers the years in its title, which takes the listener through the heights of Beatlemania. The most notable thing is the focus on original compositions, which is why the likes of Twist and Shout don’t appear here, while the album also includes a number of key selected album tracks alongside the singles. This is all good, except when you end up with six songs being included from Rubber Soul, as well as the accompanying double A side of Day Tripper and We Can Work It Out which makes an entire record side come from one album. It’s the earlier moments of the record that work the best, these are short shots of 60s pop rock that still hold up today: She Loves You, Can’t Buy Me Love, Eight Days a Week, Help!, Ticket To Ride, I Feel Fine and A Hard Day’s Night are all knockout songs. Together they keep the pace of this compilation up and allow the ballads like Yesterday truly shine when they appear. Given 1962-1966‘s place alongside the simultaneously released 1967-1970 the duo of records certainly cover near enough every one of the band’s greatest hits. As one listen though, I’d definitely opt for the tighter compilation 1, which may not be a definitive collection, but manages to retain just about all of the songs I really loved from here. That said, as a document of the biggest music phenomenon in history 1962-1966 certainly does the trick.

Rating: 7/10

Will I listen again?: I would go for 1 over this collection.

Best Track: I’ve previously said that Eleanor Rigby is my favourite Beatles song, but this time I’ve opted for I Feel Fine, which sums up the the perfect pop sound the group took over the world with that this compilation focuses on.

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