Being as the Past Masters albums represent a net, picking up all the loose ends that don’t appear on any of the thirteen official albums, I always regard this as just as important a piece of the Beatles legacy as those works. For me, they are albums #14 and #15.
There are songs across both Past Masters releases that stand head and shoulders above some of the band’s deeper album tracks, and the only reason they weren’t included on the albums anyway was in line with the band’s policy to avoid including established singles from albums, which was the done thing at the time.
Like most of the record-buying world, I know the Past Masters collection from their CD release – where they are very separate releases. The vinyl version sticks them together as a double-album, which I think is an odd thing to do, joining two very different sets of songs together as an alternative – but incomplete – greatest hits. For this blog, I’m treating them as individual albums – that’s just the way I know them.
It must have been great to be a Beatles fan in 1988 when this came along. Credit goes to Mark Lewisohn who compiled the two albums – going back to see what had been excluded from the LPs throughout the ‘60s. The inclusion of all 4 tracks from the Long Tall Sally EP is great, and it’s nice to hear some of the B-sides get their moment in the sun.
Vol. 1 covers 1962 to the first half of 1965 and can very much be seen as the one album that encapsulates Beatlemania (more than any of the standalone studio albums), given the singles it includes – From Me To You, She Loves You and I Want To Hold Your Hand – while the last A-side included on the album, 1964’s I Feel Fine, points to the second, more creative half of their career.
Anyway, who wouldn’t want to listen to the German-language version of She Loves You and I Want To Hold Your Hand? It’s a shame Die Beatles only released one single – they could have been a great band…
Hit: She Loves You
Hidden Gem: I’m Down