Compilations are a funny thing. You’re never going to please everyone but, in theory, you need to give a good reason for existing fans to buy (and a hastily recorded or re-recorded track not considered good enough for the previous album doesn’t count) and enough solid quality to give a career-overview for new / cursory fans to get hooked.
Some people go as far as to turn their nose up at them. Yet I’ve used a ‘Best of’ to get into a fair few bands over the years (Asides from Buffalo Tom remains one of my most-played discs).
When it comes to grabbing compilations from bands I already hold the back catalogue of, I don’t tend to go the Best Of or Introduction To route. Especially on those groups or individuals that are no longer active. Yet I’ll still want a compilation – especially for car use – for those times I don’t particularly want to listen to just one specific album. The problem is, though, that my choice of what I’d consider essential listening very rarely coincides completely with the ‘official’ compiler’s (usually because they’re doing so with a specific aim rather than just cherry picking). So that’s when the old adage “if you want a job done right do it yourself” comes into play and I’ve a fair few of these home-made comps so far.
With the use of Spotify I can even share these here.
So here we go with the first.
Oddly enough the need for a self-compiled disc of The Beatles doesn’t quite fit the ramble above. I don’t own anything from their back catalogue (with the exception of The Magical Mystery Tour). Yet their output is so large that there’s a number of different compilations out there, again each with a different purpose – 1 obviously the chart-toppers, The Past Masters and Anthology seemed too wide-ranging for a good, succinct compilation. 1962-1966 and 1967-1970 came closest but again contained a lot of stuff that I didn’t really care for and when you consider the pricing of all releases Fab Four themed… no thanks. It’s worth noting that this compilation was created before they deigned to allow their songs available via iTunes and streaming so the borrowing of CDs to create this was necessitated (and no piracy was involved) – to be honest though I’d still do so as the idea of paying the required for the whole still makes me flinch.
I’m not a huge Beatles fan. I like a lot of their songs a lot, though, and enjoy them more as I get older, yet I could quite happily never hear some of their earlier stuff again.
So, my choice of Beatles tracks, and the compilation that I’ve kept in my car for some years now also serves as a “my favourite Beatles songs” list – all wrapped around the centrepiece of the amazing While My Guitar Gently Weeps… *
*Yes; George was the best Beatle. You might argue but you’d be wrong.
5 thoughts on “Self-compiled; The Beatles”
Agreed that if a compilation is wanted, you pretty much have to do it yourself if possible. As to the Beatles, I admit to being much more of a besotted fan than you. I can (and do) still listen to older stuff like ‘Anna’, ‘I’ll Be Back’, and for that matter, all of ‘A Hard Day’s Night.’ (Truly my favorite of all their early albums).
So for me, a ‘compilation’ would be damn near their entire catalogue (minus, ‘Octopus’ Garden’, ‘Maxwell’s Silver Hammer,’ and ‘Paperback Writer.’ for a few. However, if I had to narrow it down to 20 or so as you’ve done, hmmm. I’d have to think about that. Certainly some of your list would be on mine, starting with ‘Hey Jude’ and the wonderful ‘Don’t Let Me Down.’
I’ve certainly started listening and enjoying the Beatles a lot more than when I put the compilation together (I think this compilation goes back 7 maybe 8 years) especially thanks to being able to stream them and were the albums not so over-priced I’d probably buy a few more of them (that being said I do have first pressings of Revolver and Magical Mystery Tour in the vinyl collection).
The odd thing about my saying “early vs late” is that it really isn’t that far apart in time. I prefer the later stuff (I do like a loft of A Hard Day’s Night) perhaps because I feel that they really took off as songwriters and exploring something left-of-the-expected from Help! onwards but when you consider that Yesterday and You’ve Got To Hide Your Love Away are only separated from All My Loving by a year and a half it’s phenomenal – I think it wouldn’t be a stretch to say that no other artist grew so much in such a short space of time.
Yes, my own favorite comparison is the simplistic ‘Love Me Do’ to ‘A Day in the Life.’ Five years difference. Truly mind-blowing.
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