For Christmas 2010, I received the CD box set of the official Beatles albums; 16 CD’s in all! The compilation contains all the Beatles studio albums (with their original UK track listings) along with Past Masters volumes 1 & 2 to round out the collection. Every Beatles’ song ever recorded is on this set, and the packaging is outstanding. This truly is a must have set for any Beatles fan. With the exception of Magical Mystery Tour and Yellow Submarine, every Beatles’ album hit number 1 on the charts. Not to mention that they also have the record for most #1 hits in both the US (20) and the UK (17). They are also the biggest selling musical artist in popular music history.
What makes the Beatles so good? Clearly there are other musical artists who are better song writers or better musicians. I think the greatness of the Beatles can be summed up in one word: Groundbreaking. If you listen to their music, even their earlier Mersey Beat music, they don’t sound groundbreaking compared to modern pop music. Until you factor in that they were usually the first ones to come up with some new sound or technique that was copied by everyone else. Most of their early music from 1963 thru 1965 didn’t vary much, though you could still discern the maturation of their sound by 1965. This period was marked by constant recording, promoting and touring. They recorded six LP’s in their first three years. Nowadays musicians are lucky to crank out six albums in 20 years.