Having charted high with a grab-bag double album of Beatle rockers, Rock and Roll Music in 1976, Capitol compiled what amounts to the former album's flip side the following year, a two-LP collection of Beatle ballads. The 25-song set covers just about the entire heyday of the band, from their first single ("P.S. I Love You") to their last ("The Long and Winding Road"). No doubt it's a remarkable journey, indelible proof that John Lennon and Paul McCartney -- and, with "Something," George Harrison -- wrote love songs that were built to last, transcending their era. However, grouping them one after another was not a good idea. The Beatles were about balance, about the four personalities interacting, editing and enhancing each other -- and their music reflected that balance even as it grew wilder and more eclectic. This package tilts the balance much too heavily in one direction, and it gives the illusion of making even this endlessly inventive band sound like something that it was not: sentimental, predictable. The whole thing came in a double-pocket, brown imitation-leather sleeve with gold lettering, with a 28-page booket of lyrics and a double-fold Richard Avedon photo of the Fab Four -- a package aimed all-too precisely at holiday impulse-buying traffic. It only got up to number 24, though, the first Beatles Capitol album to miss the Top Ten -- indeed, the Top Three! -- since The Early Beatles.
Share this page
AllMusic Review by Richard S. Ginell