The Beatles: 1962-1966 (The Red Album) (Remastered, Double CD) & 1967-1970 (The Blue Album) (Remastered, Double CD) - £5.99 Each @ Amazon
Brand new 2010 digital remaster of the classic Beatles albums.
The Red Album
This superb compilation, often called "the red album", brings together the majority of the Beatles' hits from the early to mid 60s. Consequently, it plays like an overview of thesome of the most popular and indelible rock songs of all time. From the "yeah, yeah, yeah"'s of "She Loves You" throughthe amped-up giddiness of "I Want to Hold Your Hand", the minor-key melodicism of "And I Love Her", and on to the chiming power pop of "Eight Days a Week" and the tweaky feedback of "I Feel Fine", these are the songs that turned the entire Western world on its ear.
The second half of the set--in addition to its phenomenal songs-- is interesting in that it charts the Beatles' move from straightforward pop toward the new chapter of rock the band would help script in the late 60s. After the expansive chords and slinky melodies of "Ticket to Ride", the band becomes alternately darkly introspective ("Yesterday") and looser and more groove-obsessed ("Drive My Car"), while trying on allegorical Dylan-inspired narratives ("Norwegian Wood (This Bird Has Flown)"), and happy-go-luck psychedelia ("Yellow Submarine"). These songs are part of our living, breathing cultural identity, and--as this collection reminds us--for good reason.
The Blue Album
The companion piece to the 1962-1966 singles compilation, this set (often called "the blue album", as opposed to its chronological predecessor "the red album"), brings together the Beatles best known songs from 1967 through 1970. The Beatles were fiercely, relentlessly experimental during these years, and the swirling, visionary soundscapes of "Strawberry Fields Forever", which opens the collection, sets the tone with its effects-heavy production and backward tape loops. John Lennon's psychedelic songwriting, which emphasised crystalline melodies and surreal wordplay, can be heard on tracks like "Lucy In the Sky With Diamonds" and "Across the Universe".
Paul McCartney's fascination with English music hall and novelty numbers is clear on "Penny Lane" and "Ob-la-Di, Ob-la-Da", and the set also has some of his finest ballads, including the mega-hits "Let It Be" and "Hey Jude". George Harrison emerged as a fine songwriting talent during these years with "Something" and "Here Comes the Sun". Yet despite evidence of their diverging individual directions, the Beatlesstill rock as a band on cuts like "Revolution". (The set includes the single versions of "Revolution", "Lady Madonna", and "Hey Jude"). The Beatles set the tenor of the late-'60s with this spectacular soundtrack, and it remains--even afteryears of overplaying--original, beautiful music.