on October 30, 2010
Having collected pretty much all the Beatles' CD releases since 1987, I would like to present my considered (but by no means definitive) views on the re-release of the 'Red' Album Compilation (1962 -1966) which has been newly minted in remastered form by Apple Records.
For all fellow Beatles fans considering whether to invest (again!) in this title - I have played and compared it, track by track, against the original 1993 CD and also against previous digital releases that hold some of the same tracks, namely The Yellow Submarine 'Songtrack' CD Album (from 1999) and The Beatles '1' CD Album (from 2000). My aim is to provide a useful, constructively-critical guide to anyone unsure about committing themselves to this purchase.
1."Love Me Do" - 2:23 (Mono)
I found the version on the '1' Album to have better focus to the vocals and more clarity to the tambourine than both the 1993 & 2010 Red versions.
2."Please Please Me" - 2:03 (Mono)
I think The 2010 'Red' version has better bass definition than the 1993 'Red' version and the electric guitars sound crisper, Ringo's background drum fills are also cleaner.
3."From Me to You" - 1:57 (Mono)
It seems to me that the '1' Album's version sounds less bright overall than the 1993 & 2010 'Red' versions, with John & Paul's vocals being noticeably clearer with less (distracting) delay to the studio echo which George Martin applied to them.
4."She Loves You" - 2:22 (Mono)
In my view the '1' Album has the better version of this track than both the 1993 & 2010 'Red' versions as the mix is less muddy and the symbols don't tend to wander in and out of focus, Paul's bass and Ringo's drums are also better defined.
5."I Want to Hold Your Hand" - 2:26
Although I think that the new 2010 'Red' Album version is an upgrade of the 1993 release, it's only slightly better than the version on the '1' Album, with the stereo image being slightly wider and the hand-claps that punctuate the track (which are provided by all four Beatles)sounding more lifelike.
6."All My Loving" - 2:08
I actually prefer the 1993 'Red' Album version of this track to the 2010 'Red' Album version, as the vocals and guitars appear clear and crisp in the centre of the stereo image - the newer release has them driven (annoyingly) hard right with the remaining instrumentation placed more distantly left of centre.
7."Can't Buy Me Love" - 2:13
In my view the version found on the '1' Album contains a better rendition than either the 1993 or 2010 'Red' Albums - having a bolder presentation of Paul's vocals, cleaner lead and rhythm guitars and added depth to the bass; there's also a satisfying punch to Ringo's kick-drum.
8."A Hard Day's Night" - 2:34
The 2010 'Red' Album gives a slightly wider and taller stereo image than it's 1993 counterpart, it also presents far more detailed and realistic bongos and better focused vocals, bass and electric guitars.
9."And I Love Her" - 2:31
The 2010 'Red' Album again beats the old 1993 CD release with a rendition that adds just the right amount of gain to bring out the full emotion of Paul's lead vocal, perhaps at the expense of just a touch more audible tape hiss, the trademark blocks used as percussion throughout the song also have a more realistic 'clack' which is all conveyed with better reverb & studio depth.
10."Eight Days a Week" - 2:45
The smoother intro to The 2010 'Red' Album version and its more accurate portrayal of Ringo's drums and symbols steadily builds to create an image that beats the 'splashy' mix on the previous 1993 release.
11."I Feel Fine" - 2:19
The new 2010 'Red' Album's rendition is now far less 'brittle' as the opening guitar feedback is generated and the lead guitars kick in, John's double-tracked vocal is also now clearly portrayed in the centre of the stereo image.
12."Ticket to Ride" - 3:10
I actually prefer the Beatles '1' Album version of this track, the stereo is ever so slightly wider with larger sound to the vocals, guitars and drums.
13."Yesterday" - 2:05
Again I feel that The Beatles '1' Album has the better sounding version of Paul's classic song, his acoustic guitar sounds a little more 'real' with a more audible ring after the strings have been gently strummed; the chamber Orchestra sounds fuller and cellos especially can be heard to better effect than the 2010 release.
1."Help!" - 2:19
In my opinion the 2010 'Red' Album version relays the best version of this superb song, the added clarity now means there is now no doubt that both 6 string and 12 string guitars exist in the rhythm track and John's pleading vocals are placed fully forward in the mix.
2."You've Got to Hide Your Love Away" - 2:11
In my opinion The 2010 'Red' Album version has the best portrayal of the tambourine, maracas and 12 string guitar used on the backing track, John's vocals are superior to the 1993 release.
3."We Can Work It Out" - 2:16
It's my belief that The Beatles '1' Album has the best sounding version of this joint collaboration between John and Paul, as Ringo's drums sound more realistic and the picture painted by backing track comprising the accordion, tambourine and symbols is more solid and crisp than the 2010 'Red' version.
4."Day Tripper" - 2:49
I think the best lead and harmony vocals of this track can be found on the Beatles '1' Album version , they also don't suffer from audio drop-out and the lead and bass guitars sound far better than the 2010 remaster.
5."Drive My Car" - 2:27
The 2010 'Red' Album now gives a clean and accurate representation of this bouncy song that beats the old 1993 'Red' album version with ease the vocal echo now gives studio depth to the lead vocal provided by Paul.
6."Norwegian Wood (This Bird Has Flown)" - 2:05
I believe The 2010 'Red' Album has the best sounding version of this song from John, the remastering now brings clarity to George's Sitar and makes is clear that there were timpani bells as well as tambourine used in the percussion.
7."Nowhere Man" - 2:44
I believe the version on The Yellow Submarine 'Songtrack' CD sits head and shoulders above those created for the 1993 or 2010 'Red' Album releases in fact the stereo image is so broad, defined and detailed it makes the other albums' versions sound almost mono in comparison.
8."Michelle" - 2:42
Starting a run of three tracks that sees the 2010 'Red' Album as the place to find the most satisfying versions, this pseudo-French song from Paul is now a step-up from the 1993 release in most departments, most obviously with the fuller bass and cleaner vocal.
9."In My Life" - 2:27
The 2010 'Red' Album continues its run with John's moving retrospective song, the new remastering bringing Ringo's drums and symbols into a fuller stereo image packed with information.
10."Girl" - 2:31
The final track in this fine run for the 2010 'Red' Album has the sultry brushwork by Ringo on his snare drum clearly sweeping around the mix with ultimate realism, the strong intake of 'breaths' from John are also now far more detailed.
11."Paperback Writer" - 2:31
I think the Beatles '1' Album gives a better view of this song than either of the 1993 or 2010 'Red' Album releases, the lead vocal stands further forward of the harmonies and the bass really drives hard.
12."Eleanor Rigby" - 2:08
It's abundantly clear to me that the version contained on the Yellow Submarine 'Songtrack' CD is the one that leaves the listener most satisfied; it has been created without the clumsy panning to the right when Paul first delivers the vocal of 'Eleanor...Rigby' and it also includes superior depth and detail to the cellos as well as conveying all the drama of the score George Martin created for the Chamber Orchestra.
13."Yellow Submarine" - 2:37
Without a shadow of a doubt the best version of this track still remains the title track from the Yellow Submarine 'Songtrack' CD, it surpasses the version on the 2010 'Red' album in every respect.
So in closing, I recommend this new 2010 release to all those new to the Beatles musical catalogue as it's the best place to start your journey of discovery - for all those others who are already 'hooked', you can buy this CD knowing most of the tracks will give an upgrade in sound quality to the 1993 release....
However, if you don't have them already, I also recommend that you buy The Yellow Submarine 'Songtrack' & '1' CD albums to fully realise the best sounding versions of these 26 tracks.
on February 18, 2003
The Beatles 1962-1966, also known as the "red" album, along with its counterpart, 1967-1970, the "blue" album, make a great starter combination for new fans.
1962-1966 is packed with great music, from the early hits "Love Me Do" and "She Loves You" to the beginning of the experimental era with "Eleanor Rigby" and "Yellow Submarine." You get all the key A-side singles not found on the regular releases, such as "I Want to Hold Your Hand" and "I Feel Fine" plus essential album tracks like "Yesterday" and "Nowhere Man."
Yes there are plenty of omissions, but the 26 tracks are all classics. I also agree that Rubber Soul is weighted over Revolver, and that there should have been a couple George Harrison tunes. And here's a final quirk. A cassette version I listened to a lot in college had the original soundtrack intro to Help!, a James Bond-like bit that gave the disk a bit of humor. That has been deleted here. I don't know why. There is plenty of time on the disks.
Oh well, you still can't go wrong with this collection, plus you get the lyrics in the liner notes and some fun shots of the Beatles as the mature through the 1960s.
on September 18, 2003
Here are the Beatles' best recordings from 1962 to 1966. The front cover photo was taken in February 1963 at the EMI Studios in London. However,the Beatles didn't become popular in America until 1964. An album called INTRODUCING THE BEATLES was released in America in '63 but it didn't sell so much then. In 1993,Apple Records was refounded in commemoration of the 25th anniversary of ite initial foundation by the Beatles. The Apple label was designed by Gene Mahon. CD 1 features a whole granny smith apple and CD 2 features a halved granny smith apple with the sliced side seen. This set has a red background like the border on the cover and the compact disc panel. Now the songs: LOVE ME DO was the Beatles' first hit ever(in the UK of course). PLEASE PLEASE ME is from the album of the same name. FROM ME TO YOU is an enjoyable love song. SHE LOVES YOU really rocks. I WANT TO HOLD YOUR HAND was a hit when the Beatles came to America for the first time in '64. ALL MY LOVING is Paul McCartney's love song. CAN'T BUY ME LOVE,A HARD DAY'S NIGHT and AND I LOVE HER are from the Beatles movie entitled "A Hard Day's Night".EIGHT DAYS A WEEK and I FEEL FINE are cool. From the Beatles' second movie HELP! are the title track,TICKET TO RIDE and YOU'VE GOT TO HIDE YOUR LOVE AWAY. There's Paul McCartney by himself with another love song of his,YESTERDAY. WE CAN WORK IT OUT and DAY TRIPPER can really rock. RUBBER SOUL tracks are DRIVE MY CAR,NORWEGIAN WOOD(This Bird Has Flown),NOWHERE MAN,MICHELLE,IN MY LIFE and GIRL. PAPERBACK WRITER is about an aspiring novelist. REVOLVER tracks include ELEANOR RIGBY,which is again,Paul by himself with a string quartet instead of his three fellow Beatles,and YELLOW SUBMARINE,later recycled for the soundtrack album of the same name.
on August 13, 2003
I'm neither a rabid Beatles fan nor a frothing Beatles hater. Some of their music is ok, some of it isn't. These CDs basically reflect that. In general, I like Disc 2 of this set slightly better than Disc 1. But, here are my individual ratings:
1. Love Me Do = 3 Stars
2. Please Please Me = 2 Stars
3. From Me to You = 2 Stars
4. She Loves You = 2 Stars
5. I Want to Hold Your Hand = 2 Stars
6. All My Loving = 2 Stars
7. Can't Buy Me Love = 3 Stars
8. Hard Day's Night = 3 Stars
9. And I Love Her = 4 Stars
10. Eight Days a Week = 3 Stars
11. I Feel Fine = 3 Stars
12. Ticket to Ride = 3 Stars
13. Yesterday = 4 Stars
1. Help! = 4 Stars
2. You've Got to Hide Your Love Away = 2 Stars
3. We Can Work It Out = 3 Stars
4. Day Tripper = 3 Stars
5. Drive My Car = 2 Stars
6. Norwegian Wood (This Bird Has Flown) = 3 Stars
7. Nowhere Man = 2 Stars
8. Michelle = 4 Stars
9. In My Life = 3 Stars
10. Girl = 4 Stars
11. Paperback Writer = 3 Stars
12. Eleanor Rigby = 4 Stars
13. Yellow Submarine = 2 Stars
on April 21, 2003
[Don't get me wrong, I LOVE the Beatles, that's why I'm being so hard on this compilation...]
In the early seventies, following the break-up of the Beatles, two hits compilations were released - 1962-1966, which covered the band's "oldies" years, and 1967-1970, which covered their "classic rock" years. This review is for the former compilation. Read on to see how it measures up.
Love Me Do was the band's first number one hit. It's made extremely catchy by the harmonica playing.
Please Please Me is another catchy tune, easily one of the band's finest.
From Me to You is a decent song. It's not extremely memorable, but certainly not a must-skip.
She Loves You features the band using a primitive rock and roll sound you can't help but love.
I Want to Hold Your Hand is one of the band's biggest hits ever, period. It's a sin not to love this song.
All My Loving is the happy medium between a ballad and a rock and roll song. It's a masterpiece.
Can't Buy Me Love is another early Beatles classic. It's yet another one of many catchy songs.
Hard Day's Night is extremely memorable. This is certainly another masterpiece. That guitar riff that opens the song is just too cool.
And I Love Her is one of the band's ballads. Whenever these guys did a ballad, they (almost always) did it right.
Eight Days a Week is the only song from Beatles For Sale featured here. It's a good choice too, being one of the most memorable songs the Lennon/McCartney writing duo ever came up with.
I Feel Fine is yet another masterpiece. Once you hear the little guitar solo that kicks this one off, it's gonna be stuck in your head forever.
Ticket to Ride is - you guessed it - ANOTHER masterpiece. The bass line in this song is just hypnotic, and I mean that in a GOOD way.
Yesterday is another ballad. A damn good one too.
Help! is a rocker in which the singer is in need of, well, help. The lyrics here are excellent.
You've Got to Hide Your Love Away is a slow acoustic track, but certainly not a ballad. It's probably the best song the compilation offers.
We Can Work It Out is a faster and lighter tune dealing with disagreements. Once again, this is a song that sticks in your mind long after you've listened to it.
Day Tripper is as close as the Beatles came to doing hard rock. How can you NOT love that guitar solo that opens this track?
Drive My Car is another excellent track that will stick in your mind long after you hear it.
Norwegian Wood (This Bird Has Flown) is an acoustic ballad that also uses sitars (the first time they were ever used on the pop charts.) You can't have a best of the Beatles without this song.
Nowhere Man is a lighter and faster rocker about a man who is alone in the world. You guessed right, it's another masterpiece.
Michelle is - if you guessed "another masterpiece," you're wrong. It's very rarely the Beatles dished out a piece of junk, but here they did it. THIS SHOULDN'T BE ON A BEST OF, PERIOD!
In My Life is an excellent acoustic ballad. If you don't like this, you're not a Beatles fan.
Girl is basically a subpar Beatles track. However, it's still better than most of the stuff other bands were dishing out in this era.
Paperback Writer is a slightly hard rocking track about a man who wants to quit his job to write. It's another excellent song.
Eleanor Rigby is an awesome song that employs the usage of strings. It's not quite a ballad, and not quite a rock song.
Yellow Submarine is one of the band's most popular songs, and it's certainly an essential classic.
This compilation suffers in one major area - Length. Each disc is only about thirty-five minutes long! That means all of these songs could easily have fit on ONE disc, along with about three more! Also, it's a TWO DISC GREATEST HITS. TWO DISC GREATEST HITS are useless. Casual fans want single disc hits compilations (the new 1 compilation fills this need just fine,) and die-hard fans of the band want every album. THERE IS NO IN BETWEEN! If you're a casual fan, get 1, not this. If you're a die-hard fan, get all of the albums. As good a band as this is, this is NOT that good of a compilation.
This collection contains the highlights of their career from Love me do, which was a British top 20 hit in 1962, to the end of 1966. Love me do became more successful later - it topped the US charts in 1964 and reached the UK top five when re-issued as a single in the eighties.
The Beatles were very good musicians, but what set them apart from everybody else was their songwriting. In those days, it was normal for songs to be written by people who did just that, leaving others to record them. Perhaps people assumed that performers would be too busy to actually write their own material, but the Beatles proved that it could be done. Indeed, they were so good at it that they had enough songs left over for others to have hits with covers of their songs. So here you get the Beatles' own version of Michelle, which topped the British charts for the Overlanders, as well as many songs which became hits for the Beatles.
The songs that were released as singles varied from one country to another. For example, Eight days a week and Yesterday were both number one hits in America, but neither were released as Beatles singles in Britain. Instead, Yesterday was a hit for Matt Monro while Eight days a week was given to Alma Cogan. Nevertheless, some songs were number one in both countries, including I want to hold your hand, Can't buy me love, A hard day's night, I feel fine, Ticket to ride, Help, Paperback writer and the double-sided coupling of Day tripper with We can work it out.
Such is the strength in depth that most of the songs here are famous. The only possible criticism of this set is that, with only 65 minutes of music, it could have fitted on a single CD. A better idea would be to add extra tracks. There are other songs from this period that were hits for others, including Do you want to know a secret, I wanna be your man and Got to get you into my life. Other songs, such as I'll follow the sun, If I fell, Act naturally, I've just seen a face, Here there and everywhere and For no one, have been well-covered down the years. All of these and others could be added to this set without reducing the quality.
Despite the running time, this is still an outstanding compilation of music by the Beatles, the most important pop group of the twentieth century.
on March 24, 2003
This was the album that gave me my introduction to the Beatles, and by extension to rock 'n' roll in general, at the tender age of 5 the year this album was released. (Thanks, Dad!) These all are essential Beatles tracks, and they led me to search out the original albums--one of my prized Christmas presents in 1979 was a UK vinyl version of A Hard Day's Night, especially as the UK albums were impossible to find until Capitol's reissue campaign began in earnest in 1987, setting to rights the Beatles' back catalogue once and for all. Now they need to do as ABKCO did with the Stones and remaster the lot for SACD.
My one real complaint with the CD version of 1962-1966 is that, between the two discs, you have a total of about 63 minutes of music. You would think that EMI would have had the sense to compress this set to one disc, thus lowering the price and making the album a bit more accessible to the CD-buying public...but that's where thinking would get you. :) Nevertheless, the red album is a gem, and the best starting point for Beatles beginners there could ever be, along with the blue album (1967-1970). Rock fans, teach your children...and get them started with this classic collection.
on October 2, 2002
Teenage appeal aside, the Beatles were a tremendous group that were peerless in talent, chart supremacy, and cultural impact. Casual listeners may want to consider "1," but for a more comprehensive survey of the band's early work, "1962-1966" (or the "Red" album) is the way to go. I won't go on about the Number One hits ("She Loves You," "Yesterday," "We Can Work it Out," and so forth). What makes this CD a must-have is how it compiles the group's work by also including lesser hits and album cuts that were never released commercially but are key favorites. There's Lennon's introspective and remarkably mature lyrics in "In My Life," the catchy "You've Got to Hide Your Love Away," McCartney's perky "All My Loving," and the folk-ish flavor of "Norweigan Wood." Personally, I would have liked to have seen more tracks from the "Revolver" album (such as "Got to Get You into My Life"), but that's a small gripe from me. "1962-1966" is a fun ride and a brilliant glimpse of the best pop group of all time.
on January 17, 2002
The "Red" and "Blue" Beatles CDs are testament to the genius of the band's music and are an excellent overview and a great place to start for those uninitiated (if there are such people) with the greatest band in history.
1962-1966 ("Red") covers the Beatles' Merseybeat era, a time when the Beatles were considered a singles "teenybopper" band. Among the best cuts on the first CD are "Please Please Me", "She Loves You", "Eight Days a Week", and "Ticket to Ride".
Their progression from teenyboppers to "serious band" begins to show in the songs from 1965's Rubber Soul, including "Norwegian Wood", featuring George Harrison on the sitar, and John Lennon's introspective "In My Life", which hints at the band's glorious and more complex studio work that was to follow.
The Red CD collection ends with two songs from 1966's Revolver, a record that placed the band on even higher creative ground: Paul McCartney's masterpiece "Eleanor Rigby" is the first time a string quartet accompanied a rock and roll record, and "Yellow Submarine" was one in a line of catchy, childlike songs written for resident jester and drummer extrodinaire Ringo Starr.
The first disc of 1967-1970 ("Blue") has the far more unenviable task of selecting four representative tracks from 1967's Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, still considered to be the most ground-breaking and influential album in the history of rock. "A Day in the Life" is the standout -- Sgt. Pepper's closer and emotional peak.
The CD closes with the two songs that best demonstrate the eventual clash in Lennon and McCartney's songwriting styles: McCartney's "Hey Jude" and Lennon's "Revolution" were sides A and B respectively of the Beatles' greatest-selling (and perhaps just "greatest") single. Where Lennon's song is a snarling, self-righteous rocker, McCartney's is a sing-song orchestral ballad. The one you like best probably depends on whether you're a "John" or "Paul" person -- truth is they're both great.
The final CD spans from 1968's The Beatles ("The White Album") to the end of the band's career. McCartney's best moments "Let it Be", "Get Back", and "The Long and Winding Road" (Despite that over-the-top Phil Spector production) are here, as are Lennon's "Don't Let Me Down" and "Come Together". The closer is "Long and Winding Road", though it's perhaps a weaker conclusion than "Two of Us" might have been.
The Red and Blue collections are awesome reminders of the Beatles' past accomplishments and their continued vitality even today.
on December 4, 2001
...particularly in light of last year's release, "1". That's a much better place to begin, if you are new to Beatle recordings.
Its criminally short running time aside, the problem with "1962-1966" has always been its heavy reliance upon chart singles to document the group's early years. The absence of two of the group's best and most famous early numbers, "I Saw Her Standing There" and "Twist and Shout" is particularly difficult to fathom. Listening just to this album, one might think the early Beatles were just a bouncy pop band who made occasional forays into elevator music and bleached bossa nova. You'd have no idea of the fury with which they could rip into a number like "Money", "Long Tall Sally" or "Rock 'n' Roll Music". Nor would you fully understand how inventive they were as songwriters, right from the start. Fortunately, on the second disc, some true flashes of brilliance begin to come through, but overall, "The Beatles 1962-1966" is just too narrow and too aggressively middle-of-the-road in its approach to be an effective document of the band in those years.