Apparently, there was a gap in the Beatles' catalog after all -- all the big hits weren't on one tidy, single-disc compilation. It's not the kind of gap you'd necessarily notice -- it's kind of like realizing you don't have a pair of navy-blue dress socks -- but it was a gap all the same, so the group released The Beatles 1 late in 2000, coinciding with the publication of their official autobiography, the puzzlingly titled Anthology . The idea behind this compilation is to have all the number one singles the Beatles had, ...
Apparently, there was a gap in the Beatles' catalog after all -- all the big hits weren't on one tidy, single-disc compilation. It's not the kind of gap you'd necessarily notice -- it's kind of like realizing you don't have a pair of navy-blue dress socks -- but it was a gap all the same, so the group released The Beatles 1 late in 2000, coinciding with the publication of their official autobiography, the puzzlingly titled Anthology . The idea behind this compilation is to have all the number one singles the Beatles had, either in the U.K. or U.S., on one disc, and that's pretty much what this generous 27-track collection is. It's easy, nay, necessary, to quibble with a couple of the judgment calls -- look, "Please Please Me" should be here instead of "From Me to You," and it's unforgivable to bypass "Strawberry Fields Forever" (kick out "Yellow Submarine" or "Eleanor Rigby") -- but there's still no question that this is all great music, and there is a bit of a rush hearing all these dazzling songs follow one after another. If there's any complaint, it's that even if it's nice to have something like this, it's not really essential. There's really no reason for anyone who owns all the records to get this too -- if you've lived happily without the red or blue albums, you'll live without this. But, if you give this to any six- or seven-year-old, they'll be a pop fan, even fanatic, for life. And that's reason enough for it to exist. [As one of the best-selling items in the Beatles catalog, 1 is ripe for an anniversary expansion, even if the 15th anniversary isn't necessarily an auspicious birthday. Nevertheless, Apple/Universal found 2015 the ideal time to turn 1 into 1+, once again remastering the original 27-track compilation and, in something of a fan's dream come true, adding the accompanying original promo videos in a single DVD/Blu-ray incarnation and rounding up the rest in a deluxe set. Back in 2011, Apple reissued 1 with the 2009 remasters, a significant upgrade over the 2000 original, and if this 2015 edition isn't as startling, it is often notably different, particularly on the earliest singles, which are given bright, muscular new stereo mixes. As good as this sounds, the CD is an afterthought to the first-ever commercial release of the Beatles promo clips. Sequenced to mirror the track listing of 1 -- therefore, anything that wasn't on the compilation, such as Strawberry Fields Forever , which is perhaps their best and best-known short film, gets relegated to the bonus disc on the deluxe edition -- 1+ doesn't have every famous televised performance the Beatles ever gave (only one song, "From Me to You," is pulled from the legendary 1963 Royal Variety Performance ), but it effectively has all the full-length versions of the films that are frequently excerpted ("Paperback Writer," "Rain," "Penny Lane," "Strawberry Fields Forever," "Hey Jude," "Revolution," the rooftop and in-studio sessions from Let It Be), along with a host of clips that have never been circulated or were only seen in passing snippets during Anthology . Although there is perhaps one too many posthumous montages and animations on the set, delights abound, particularly when the deluxe edition is taken into equation: an actual live performance of "She Loves You" for Swedish television in 1964; "I Feel Fine," where Ringo rides an exercise bike throughout, and its alternate where the Fabs are more interested in devouring fish and chips than lip-syncing; John mugging for the camera during "We Can Work It Out;" the fadeout of the otherwise mimed "Hey Jude" that sees Paul riffing on "take a load off," while the intro finds him joshing around playing a shambling live boogie; and the group sounding ferocious on the full-length "Revolution." Such moments, along with the sterling restoration, are what makes a repurchase -- or perhaps a first-ever purchase -- of 1 necessary for Beatles diehards.] ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine, Rovi