The Beatles "1" Compilation. Why So Successful when Past Masters Wasn't?

Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by Chemically altered, Mar 9, 2023.

  1. Chemically altered

    Chemically altered Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Ukraine in Spirit
    Rated as the 4th best selling album of the 2000's in the US, and the number one seller world wide in the 2000's, why so successful? I believe it got a big boast from the interest in the Anthology Series released in the mid 1990's. The album was even remixed in 2015 by Giles Martin. Also, does anyone have opinions the the remix?

    1 Love Me Do
    2 From Me to You
    3 She Loves You
    4 I Want to Hold Your Hand
    5 Can't Buy Me Love
    6 A Hard Day's Night
    7 I Feel Fine
    8 Eight Days a Week
    9 Ticket to Ride
    10 Help!
    11 Yesterday
    12 Day Tripper
    13 We Can Work It Out
    14 Paperback Writer
    15 Yellow Submarine
    16 Eleanor Rigby
    17 Penny Lane
    18 All You Need Is Love
    19 Hello Goodbye
    20 Lady Madonna
    21 Hey Jude
    22 Get Back
    23 The Ballad of John & Yoko
    24 Something
    25 Come Together
    26 Let It Be
    27 The Long and Winding Road
    Last edited: Mar 9, 2023
  2. Ken_McAlinden

    Ken_McAlinden MichiGort Staff

    Livonia, MI
    Past Masters 1 & 2 were part of the original CD reissue program and competing for fan dollars with all of the other albums which had recently been released on CD. "1" was the first significant Beatles release since the Anthology series four years earlier (or second depending on how you feel about the Yellow Submarine Songtrack), and there had (surprisingly) never been a career-spanning "all killer no filler" single CD hits collection up to that time.
  3. micpoc

    micpoc Forum Resident

    New Orleans
    Single disc of all hits, while Past Masters is two discs with some obscure material (relatively speaking) and lacking some big hits (Penny Lane, Strawberry Fields, I Am The Walrus, A Day In The Life, etc.).

    The 1973 compilation albums 1962–1966 and 1967–1970 would be a better comparison.
  4. Ken_McAlinden

    Ken_McAlinden MichiGort Staff

    Livonia, MI
    Forgot to offer thoughts on the remix. It was not a big draw for me since even the original mixes I know to be bad or dated are kind of burned into my brain that way. I imagine I would like many of them better if I were a frequent headphone listener, though.
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  5. Evethingandnothing

    Evethingandnothing Forum Resident

    I haven't heard the album but I have heard the remix of Day Tripper. I was unaware that I was listening to a remix but instantly knew that something was different. The verses sounded pretty good, more spacey, but the remix totally destroyed the solo section and took all of the pep and excitement out of it. As a result I have no interest in hearing any more Beatles remixes as it was too annoying to have my emotional responses to the music altered. Very different to listening to alternative takes or live versions for the first time where you don't have any expectation of a particular response.
  6. Judge Judy

    Judge Judy Forum Resident

    Brooklyn, NY, USA
    It's a single disc containing only their most popular songs. As a single disc it's less expensive than a double, so it had a leg up on Past Masters right there. Also Past Masters had a couple of more obscure cuts, while 1 was nothing but their most popular songs. That made it a reasonably-priced no-brainer for the average consumer, where Past Masters was a little more expensive and geared towards people who already had some familiarity with the wider catalog.
  7. Kent Gray

    Kent Gray Resident

    "1" is a "Best Of ..." compilation. Those usually sell well. "Past Masters" was aimed at more ardent fans where "1" was aimed at casual fans. There's more of the latter.

    The timing of those releases also makes a difference.
  8. dkmonroe

    dkmonroe A completely self-taught idiot

    Wasn't 1 given a pretty good marketing campaign, both times it was released? Past Masters seemed at the time to be clean-up after the original albums were released, but everyone knew about 1. Even the title "Past Masters" seems like a for-collectors-only type of thing.
  9. Swansong

    Swansong From Planet Earth

    I think it was more of a draw for the casual fans, whereas Past Masters was a dedicated fan item.
    Rojo, Nintari, ARK and 4 others like this.
  10. YardByrd

    YardByrd rock n roll citizen in a hip hop world

    the remix drives me mostly batty because the tambourines aren't blended nicely, jumping out and slapping me in the side of the head... in some of the songs I'd really never noticed the tambourines in the original mixes but the remix made sure I knew they were there! And not in a good way, mind you...
  11. apple-richard

    apple-richard Overnight Sensation

    The omission of Please Please Me is a crime against humanity. Oh the horror.
    RAZORMADE, Paulwalrus, t213 and 30 others like this.
  12. 7solqs4iago

    7solqs4iago Forum Resident

    never bothered with either compilation, adopted Past Masters as part of my mono CD box-set
    Chemically altered likes this.
  13. Chemically altered

    Chemically altered Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Ukraine in Spirit
    It was a single, but didn't hit number 1? That's wild.
    Vic_1957 and dlokazip like this.
  14. 7solqs4iago

    7solqs4iago Forum Resident

    It all creates a new audience that may some day discover there was a White Album, won't that be fun to listen to for the first time :D
  15. Hombre

    Hombre Forum Resident

    The mid-way between Past Masters and 1 would be a double-CD singles collection featuring all UK A-sides and B-sides (including the original mono mixes). I wonder how it would have sold in comparison to Past Masters and 1, since I think it would have captured the attention of both casual fans and dedicated collectors.


    Love Me Do
    P.S. I Love You
    Please Please Me
    Ask Me Why
    From Me To You
    Thank You Girl
    She Loves You
    I'll Get You
    I Want To Hold Your Hand
    This Boy
    Can't Buy Me Love
    You Can't Do That
    A Hard Day's Night
    Things We Said Today
    I Feel Fine
    She's A Woman
    Ticket To Ride
    Yes It Is
    I'm Down
    We Can Work It Out
    Day Tripper
    Paperback Writer
    Yellow Submarine
    Eleanor Rigby


    Strawberry Fields Forever
    Penny Lane
    All You Need Is Love
    Baby You're A Rich Man
    Hello, Goodbye
    I Am The Walrus
    Lady Madonna
    The Inner Light
    Hey Jude
    Get Back (single version)
    Don't Let Me Down
    The Ballad Of John And Yoko
    Old Brown Shoe
    Come Together
    Let It Be (single version)
    You Know My Name
    Last edited: Mar 9, 2023
  16. Another Steve

    Another Steve Senior Member

    No superfluous, foreign language songs?
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  17. overdrivethree

    overdrivethree Forum Resident

    1 was aimed at the casual fan or younger folks who weren’t wholly aware of the Beatles. I was in college at the time and I remember hearing 1 blaring from CD players a handful of times.

    Past Masters was/is a catalog release, serving as the album placement for non-album (primarily singles and EP) tracks. Even while it has some big hits like “I Want to Hold Your Hand” or “Hey Jude”, it’s a must for the diehard fan who wants to collect the entire recorded catalog via album.

    Two different sort functions and purposes, though each taken on their own still provide a fantastic abbreviated career history for the Beatles’ evolution.
  18. Chemically altered

    Chemically altered Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Ukraine in Spirit
    Unfortunately no. And no Strawberry Fields. Oh the humanities! ;)
    apesfan, apple-richard and MitchLT like this.
  19. pdenny

    pdenny 21-Year SHTV Participation Trophy Recipient

    Hawthorne CA
    Most people just want the hits and never venture into album tracks. The end. One stop shopping for the masses. Not bad, not good, just is.
  20. dlokazip

    dlokazip Forum Transient

    Austin, TX, USA
    Regardless of the act, there is always a market for an album of just the biggest hits. To make 1, Apple combined the US and UK 20 Greatest Hits albums (which were still available on cassette at the time) and added "Something". Voila! A single CD of the biggest hits.

    Past Masters was a house cleaning release, not a greatest hits album. It was a collection of single, EP, and rarity tracks that weren't on the other CDs. Half of the songs on 1 had been on albums. Some may have bought 1 as a complimentary supplement to Past Masters.

    At the time, the Red and Blue albums were still unreasonably expensive. In the US, you could get the Red and Blue albums for about $50 (and the two fatboy cases took up a lot of space), the two Past Masters for $35, or a single disc of hits for $17 or less. I'm sure those price considerations were comparable in the rest of the world. For the casual fan, that became a no-brainer.

    At one point, you could buy 1 and Rubber Soul for less than what the Red Album cost. You got 15 extra songs in exchange for the four that you wouldn't get from the Red Album.

    Finally, 1 was heavily promoted. Past Masters was released with little promotion.
  21. KJTC

    KJTC Forum Resident

    As well as it sold, it unfortunately missed the peak of the CD era. If they had released this in the late 80s or early 90s, it might be the best selling album of all time by now. It’s a testament to their significance and enduring popularity that it put up those numbers post-Napster.
  22. Hombre

    Hombre Forum Resident

    1 would have been better with "Please Please Me" and "Strawberry Fields Forever" instead of the US #1 hits "Eight Days A Week" and "The Long And Winding Road"; but it would have had to be promoted as a collection of UK A-sides rather than a collection of #1 hits ("Yesterday" could have stayed as a bonus since it was released as a single in UK in 1976).
    Zerox, apple-richard, MitchLT and 3 others like this.
  23. overdrivethree

    overdrivethree Forum Resident

    The remixing (or was it just remastering? I can’t recall!) was a big sell for this at the time, too. Despite it being a straightforward one-stop hits collection, it had that aura of being something of an upgrade.

    And back then, mp3s from Napster were often low-res enough to easily tell the difference, with artifacts scattered throughout a track. But 1 was all about having the cleanest-sounding Beatles up to that point.
    KJTC likes this.
  24. abzach

    abzach Forum Resident

    To completely different kind of compilations.
    Vic_1957 and Binni like this.
  25. mBen989

    mBen989 Senior Member

    Scranton, PA
    Because there was a need for a $16.98 compilation CD and the US/UK number ones fit the bill.

    By the way, the best sounding CD is the one in the digipack filled with the 09/09/09 remasters.

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