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Old 11-22-2005, 03:07 PM   #1
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Beatles Question? (Where to start?)

I've always liked some of the Beatles music, but I don't own any of it. I just looked at some of their albums on Amazon and was overwhelmed at how many there are. So, I was wondering, which album should I buy first? Are the Anthologies any good?
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Old 11-22-2005, 03:15 PM   #2
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I would start with Rubber Soul and Revolver. I'm not really big on anything before that, though Help is ok. From there, they just get better and better. Sgt Peppers, White Album and Abey Road being unreal. The anthologies are good, but more rough cut then the studio albums. If you like the actual albums, it's worth going to the anthologies for a new look.
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Old 11-22-2005, 03:16 PM   #3
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start with the white album...
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Old 11-22-2005, 03:18 PM   #4
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I'd start with The Beatles 1

and if you like their later stuff, go for: Sgt. Pepper's
Abbey Road
The White Album
Magical Mystery Tour
Let it Be

or if you prefer their earlier stuff, go for:
Rubber Soul
Help!
Revolver
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Old 11-22-2005, 03:31 PM   #5
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The Anthologies are basically official bootlegs. Demos, outtakes, live tracks, and such. Get them last, if ever.

The main albums are:
  • Please Please Me (1963)
  • With the Beatles (1963)
  • A Hard Day's Night (1964)
  • Beatles For Sale (1964)
  • Help! (1965)
  • Rubber Soul (1965)
  • Revolver (1966)
  • Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band (1967)
  • Magical Mystery Tour (1967)
  • The White Album (1968)
  • Abbey Road (1969)
  • Let It Be (1970)
Everything from Rubber Soul to Abbey Road is legendary, so grab anything from in there. Let It Be is also really good, although very rough around the edges, so opinions of it are generally mixed.

If you dig on the earlier stuff, the two soundtracks, A Hard Day's Night and Help!, are probably the best out of them. I recommend getting the later, more essential stuff and working your way back, though.

There's also Yellow Submarine (1969), although it isn't considered a hugely important release because it only has four new songs (and half of them suck). It comes in two editions--the original soundtrack (half of which is George Martin's instrumental score) and the re-released "songbook" (entirely Beatles songs from the film, remastered and sounding pretty good)--and I think the songbook is the more listenable of the pair. Plus, you now get your choice between the regular Let It Be and the revised Let It Be Nekkid (2003) (get the original first).

The two Past Masters compilations contain a bunch of non-album singles and B-sides. Basically, if you have all the albums, they complete your collection by giving you everything else they released while together. But they contain some of their most well known songs, so they're worth looking into even for casual fans.

The 1 compilation also has a lot of these non-album singles, so if you start there and then get the albums later, you won't have as much overlap as you think. The double Red and Blue Albums are meatier, if you're into compilations.
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Old 11-22-2005, 03:51 PM   #6
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well, if you want best of releases, there 1962-66, and then 1967-70. I had those as a kid... Both are double albums, and have tons of material to get you started
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Old 11-22-2005, 04:22 PM   #7
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Thanks so much for your replies! They are VERY helpful!!!!
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Old 11-23-2005, 07:07 AM   #8
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Which songs have you heard so far and what are your favourites?
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Old 11-23-2005, 07:47 AM   #9
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Just the mainstream stuff. I've heard most of the One album. I really like Come Together and Let it Be.
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Old 11-23-2005, 07:58 AM   #10
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Maybe start with Let it be and Abbey road, then.
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Old 11-23-2005, 12:56 PM   #11
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You know, I really think Past Masters vol. 2 is a great choice to start with. Because it covers the band's peak years, it gives a nice overview of their progress through that time period. It has some of their classic tracks, a couple novelties, and an equal balance of Paul & John (I think #1s is a little too Paul-heavy). Here's some of what's on there:

Day Tripper
We Can Work it Out
Paperback Writer
Rain
Lady Madonna
Hey Jude
Revolution
Across the Universe
Let It Be
Get Back
Don't Let Me Down
Ballad of John and Yoko.

Arguably the best line-up of any Beatles release.

For comparison's sake, The White Album is a great representation of their abilities as musicians and songwriters, but it's a bit much to slog through for a first-timer. Sgt. Pepper isn't strong enough in the song department, and is more impressive if listened to in context of their whole discography (after hearing its predecessors) Abbey Road is a bit of "advanced" Beatles listening. Rubber Soul isn't innovative enough.

Revolver is the only other album I would think is a good entry point. This is the order I'd suggest:

Past Masters Vol 2.
Revolver
Rubber Soul
Sgt. Peppers
The White Album
Abbey Road
Magical Mystery Tour
Beatles Anthology 2
Beatles Anthology 3
Let It Be
Help
Beatles for Sale

After Revolver, you go back one to hear the best of "old Beatles". Then you hear Sgt. Peppers and see the huge leap they made. The White Album shows the stripped-down, post-psychedelic ease back on the pedal. Abbey Road gives you the blend of the two approaches. After that you fill in the minor missing piece of Magical Mystery Tour, and by this point you're a big enough fan to want to hear all he curios on the Anthologies. Let it Be is a bit of disappointment so it's something best checked out late in the game. The other earlier albums are really well-done ear candy that may be better appreciated at the end of the "study session".

good luck!
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Old 11-23-2005, 02:14 PM   #12
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even though I own many Beatles releases, I may pick up the Past Masters Vol.2 release It's got Rain, and I don't have that! Thanks for the information Lazarus (and what part of L.A. are you in )
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Old 11-23-2005, 05:07 PM   #13
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I started with their red and blue greatest hits albums, which i thought started well, because it was more than just the number 1 hits, and spanned their entire career.
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Old 11-23-2005, 05:11 PM   #14
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If you want to start with an album rather than a best of, I would definitely say start with Rubber Soul. Then Revolver, then Abbey Road. That's the best way to go in my opinion.
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Old 11-23-2005, 08:39 PM   #15
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Wow! You all know a lot! I appreciate all the input. I'm not exactly sure where I'll start yet, but this definitely helps.
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