Properly "The Beatles 1962-1966" and "The Beatles 1967-1970" respectively, the two sets were compiled in a great hurry in 1973 to combat a pirate greatest hits set. Blame it on the discord of Apple that they have not been replaced by something better in all these years. By now, of course they are themselves part of history, and many fans who've become fans since 1973 have got their start with these sets, and look back fondly on them.
Maybe the problem is that I knew the Beatles' records before 1973. The way the sets present the Beatles' career seems wrong. Presentation affects perception. This presentation says the Beatles' career may be divided into two parts. Do you agree? If you learned the Beatles off the red and blue albums, do you simply take for granted that that's the way it really was?
I think Capitol just wanted to issue a pair of two-LP sets, because that's what the pirate release was. The physical format set the ground rules, and they worked within it.
To me, the the Beatles' career had seemed to fall naturally into a tripart scheme. It is interesting to see that the Beatles' own view in the "Anthology" uses three parts, and so does the critical book, Ian MacDonald's "Revolution in the Head". Those parts are namely: a rock and roll band period, a middle period of experimentation and then psychedelia, and a final period of return to roots. While the exact division points will vary in different analyses, few would gladly separate "Revolver" and "Sgt Pepper" as the red and blue sets do, or give "Revolver" so little attention.
So if I ran Apple... I'd trash the red and blue, and make my own 3-CD set stuffed with the most familiar and worthy songs, using of course my own judgement. I'm sure your judgement differs. You don't have to tell me. I'm sure the Beatles' judgement differs, so even if I did run Apple, I'd never get this the way I want it. Forget that. Don't confuse me with reality. I'm running Apple, and the Beatles bow to my whims. That's how this goes.
I would stay mono from "Love me do" straight through "She loves you", rather than cut between mono and twintrack, but for historical reasons we should let people hear a little of that twintrack sound, via the next 3 songs. I'd like to do the "Rubber Soul" era stereo following the stereo mix image of the previous albums rather than the experimental "hole in center" mix. Where there are variations, I'd like to follow what was done on the mono mix when it's better-- let's get the phasing right on "Lucy in the sky" and the speed right on "She's leaving home" to take two examples. And I want the "Get Back" songs as on the "Get Back" album. As long as I'm living in a dream world, I'm going all out.
I made up some rules for myself to insure evenhandedness:
There. Sure, that's objective. But, really, it means I'm not just making a tape of my favorite obscurities. I'm trying to summarize the popular music. So here are 3 pretty long CDs. Imagine these being someone's intro the Beatles, or their only Beatles CDs.
Postscript: The release of the 1 CD made me think about this again in 2000. I decided we had to have "Rain" and "She's a woman" and dropped songs accordingly (do you miss them?), and dropped "Do you want to know a secret" on the (lack of) merits.
Post Postscript: At long last I actually created these playlists and made some changes after listening to the sequencing.
|2:23||1||CRY FOR A SHADOW|
|2:22||2||LOVE ME DO|
|2:00||3||PLEASE PLEASE ME|
|2:50||4||I SAW HER STANDING THERE|
|1:55||5||FROM ME TO YOU|
|2:19||6||SHE LOVES YOU|
|2:10||7||IT WON'T BE LONG|
|2:08||8||ALL MY LOVING|
|1:58||9||I WANNA BE YOUR MAN|
|2:24||10||I WANT TO HOLD YOUR HAND|
|2:09||12||CAN'T BUY ME LOVE|
|2:33||13||YOU CAN'T DO THAT|
|2:31||14||A HARD DAY'S NIGHT|
|2:17||15||IF I FELL|
|2:28||16||AND I LOVE HER|
|2:19||17||I FEEL FINE|
|3:02||18||SHE'S A WOMAN|
|2:27||19||I'M A LOSER|
|2:42||20||EIGHT DAYS A WEEK|
|1:47||21||I'LL FOLLOW THE SUN|
|3:07||22||TICKET TO RIDE|
|2:27||24||I NEED YOU|
|2:07||25||YOU'VE GOT TO HIDE YOUR LOVE AWAY|
|2:13||28||WE CAN WORK IT OUT|
|2:27||30||I'M LOOKING THROUGH YOU|
|2:24||33||IN MY LIFE|
|79:36 total with :02 between|
|2:57||1||TOMORROW NEVER KNOWS|
|2:22||4||HERE, THERE AND EVERYWHERE|
|1:57||7||FOR NO ONE|
|4:07||8||STRAWBERRY FIELDS FOREVER|
|2:37||10||WHEN I'M SIXTY-FOUR|
|3:27||11||LUCY IN THE SKY WITH DIAMONDS|
|2:35||12||WITH A LITTLE HELP FROM MY FRIENDS|
|5:04||13||WITHIN YOU WITHOUT YOU|
|3:24||14||SHE'S LEAVING HOME|
|5:07||15||A DAY IN THE LIFE|
|2:09||16||ALL TOGETHER NOW|
|3:47||17||ALL YOU NEED IS LOVE|
|2:56||19||THE FOOL ON THE HILL|
|4:33||20||I AM THE WALRUS|
|2:34||22||THE INNER LIGHT|
|3:56||25||ACROSS THE UNIVERSE|
|78:31 total with :02 between|
|4:44||4||WHILE MY GUITAR GENTLY WEEPS|
|2:42||5||BACK IN THE U S S R|
|2:03||6||I'M SO TIRED|
|2:42||9||HAPPINESS IS A WARM GUN|
|3:03||11||LONG LONG LONG|
|0:28||13||CAN YOU TAKE ME BACK|
|4:30||15||DON'T LET ME DOWN|
|4:14||16||LET IT BE|
|3:45||17||THE LONG AND WINDING ROAD|
|2:58||18||THE BALLAD OF JOHN AND YOKO|
|3:17||19||OLD BROWN SHOE|
|3:04||23||HERE COMES THE SUN|
|4:08||24||GOLDEN SLUMBERS / CARRY THAT WEIGHT / THE END|
|79:26 total with :02 between|
Joseph Brennan, February 1996. revised November 2000. revised March 2014.