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The Beatles/1967-1970
The Beatles

Apple 3403
Released: April 1973
Chart Peak: #1
Weeks Charted: 169
Certified Gold: 4/13/73

More than three years after the Beatles officially called it quits, the group scored its 15th Number One album with the two-disc greatest hits set The Beatles/1967-1970. The album, which covered the second phase of the band's career, was released simultaneously with another two-record set, The Beatles/1962-1966. The two albums were released primarily to combat the growing market for Beatles "greatest hits" bootlegs.

The collections are often referred to as the "Red" and "Blue" albums, because of the colored borders adorning their front-cover photos. The Beatles/1962-1966, or the Red album, featured the photo that originally graced the cover of the band's first British album, Please Please Me, while the The Beatles/1967-1970, or the Blue album, featured the foursome posed at the same location, approximately eight years later, only the once-clean-cut moptops had grown their hair (and, in some cases, mustaches and beards) and changed their overall look considerably. The second photo had originally been slated to run on the LP cover of the troubled Get Back project, which eventually saw the light of day as Let It Be.

The album contains songs from such chart-topping albums as Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, Magical Mystery Tour, The Beatles, Abbey Road, and Let It Be, as well as assorted singles first compiled on Hey Jude. That album, featuring various tracks from 1964 to 1969, peaked at number two on the Billboard Hot 200 in March 1970. However, most of its later-day offerings were also included on The Beatles/1967-1970.

The single "Hey Jude" is notable for several reasons. It was the first release on the Beatles' Apple imprint and was the group's longest-running Number One single by two different measures: The single, which hit Number One on the Hot 100 on September 28, 1968, stayed at the peak for nine weeks, longer than any other Beatles hit; and at seven minutes and 11 seconds, it was the longest single ever to top the Hot 100 at the time.

The single's B-side, "Revolution," is a sped-up version of "Revolution 1," which appeared on The Beatles. The single version of "Revolution" was also included on the Hey Jude album.

In all, The Beatles/1967-1970 includes eight Number One singles and a total of 13 top 10 hits, spanning the group's incredibly impressive body of work. Yet John Lennon was never quite satisfied with the Beatles' recordings, says George Martin, who produced all but three of the tracks on The Beatles/1967-1970. Says Martin, "Many years after we did [Sgt. Pepper's] I was with John in his Dakota apartment and he suddenly turned to me and he said, "If we possibly could, I would love to record everything we did all over again."

The Beatles/1967-1970 outperformed The Beatles/1962-1966, which peaked at number three. Yet the Blue Album didn't have the chart potency of the group's previous Number Ones. It only stayed at the pole position for a week -- the shortest stay of any of the group's previous chart-toppers -- before it was knocked out of the top spot. Yet Paul McCartney couldn't feel too bad about this turn of events: It was his Red Rose Speedway that dethroned the Beatles' 15th Number One, and that album was in turn knocked from the top spot by George Harrison's Living in the Material World.

- Craig Rosen, The Billboard Book of Number One Albums, 1996.

Bonus Reviews!

The Beatles/1962-1966 and The Beatles/1967-1970 are decent enough compilations -- there are lots of fine songs, selected in a straight-ahead fashion. But you're always better off with any single Beatles LP -- each works by itself quite well. Collections obviously fail to capture the spirit of any of the individual albums. * * * * *

- Peter Herbst, The Rolling Stone Record Guide, 1979.

Twenty-eight songs from the second half of The Beatles' career, focusing on the hits but also including key album tracks. Released on CD Oct. 5, 1993. * * * * *

- William Ruhlmann, The All-Music Guide to Rock, 1995.

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