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The Beatles Past Masters (Remastered) album cover
4.65 | 56 ratings | 3 reviews | 70% 5 stars

Essential: a masterpiece of
rock music

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Boxset/Compilation, released in 2009

Songs / Tracks Listing

Disc 1
1. Love Me Do (Single Version)
2. From Me To You
3. Thank You Girl
4. She Loves You
5. I'll Get You
6. I Want To Hold Your Hand
7. This Boy
8. Komm, Gib Mir Deine Hand (I Want To Hold Your Hand)
9. Sie Liebt Dich (She Loves You)
10. Long Tall Sally
11. I Call Your Name
12. Slow Down
13. Matchbox
14. I Feel Fine
15. She's a Woman
16. Bad Boy
17. Yes It Is
18. I'm Down

Disc 2
1. Day Tripper
2. We Can Work It Out
3. Paperback Writer
4. Rain
5. Lady Madonna
6. The Inner Light
7. Hey Jude
8. Revolution
9. Get Back
10. Don't Let Me Down
11. The Ballad Of John And Yoko
12. Old Brown Shoe
13. Across The Universe
14. Let It Be
15. You Know My Name (Look Up The Number)

Line-up / Musicians

- John Lennon / guitar, piano, vocals
- Paul McCartney / bass, piano, vocals
- George Harrison / guitar, vocals
- Ringo Starr / drums, vocals

Releases information

Apple/Capitol/EMI 2009 remaster of Past Masters Volumes One and Two released as a combined set.

Thanks to DocB for the addition
and to proglucky for the last updates
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THE BEATLES Past Masters (Remastered) ratings distribution

(56 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of rock music(70%)
Excellent addition to any rock music collection(23%)
Good, but non-essential (7%)
Collectors/fans only (0%)
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)

THE BEATLES Past Masters (Remastered) reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by baz91
5 stars The Completionist's Set

As you probably know, there are a lot of Beatles songs that didn't appear on any of their studio LPs. Many of the popular hits like She Loves You, Paperback Writer and Hey Jude do not appear on any of the Beatles 13 studio records, but released instead as singles or on EPs. However, nearly 50 years on, we require a different way to have these songs on CD. This is where YOU have to make a decision! Are you just a person slightly interested in the Beatles who wants to hear just the classics like the ones mentioned above, or are you a more in-depth fan who would fancy hearing a bit of Rain every now and again? In the former case, I recommend looking at the 'Greatest Hits' collection(s) as those will have everything you need, and they are a great way to start listening to The Beatles. In the latter case, however, this is the item for you. This double-disc album is a great way of rounding up all the non-album tracks into one tidy set, so that the completionist inside you will feel happy. Of course, with 33 non-album tracks spanning the entire Beatles career makes this a wildly inconsistent listen, but a very entertaining and rewarding one too!

I can't possibly go through the entire tracklist, but I'll say that there are some very interesting songs on here. Unless you absolutely know The Beatles inside-out, there will be something here to fascinate you, eg the alternate version of Across The Universe, or the mystical eastern The Inner Light. Of course there are many classic songs on here - the sort to get put on the 'Greatest Hit' collection - and these brighten up this compilation no end. The B-sides are sometimes just as good, e.g. the rock'n'roll I'm Down, the psychedelic Rain featuring the first ever backwards music, Harrison's astonishing Old Brown Shoe with an amazing guitar solo, and one of my personal favourites You Know My Name (Look Up The Number) which is a comical piece where the group play the same short song in several different styles! This compilation even includes a special German single titled Komm, Gib Mir Deine Hand / Sie Liebt Dich, which sound hilarious in my opinion.

With everything including the kitchen sink thrown in here, this is a wonderful eclectic cross-section of The Beatles entire career. There are some prominent hits, and some rare obscurities all remastered with perfect sound quality. Before 2009, this set used to be split in half, with a 'Vol 1' and 'Vol 2' seperating the early years and the later years. This would make both sets seem less attractive, and was also a much messier way of completing ones collection. To be honest, comparing this to the 'Greatest Hits' collection, I think 'Past Masters' is the better compilation. For one, rather than the 'greatest' songs, you get a much more rounded view of The Beatles, and also, once purchasing this, you could buy the rest of the albums without having to double up on any tracks! If you're contemplating buying some Beatles albums, you should make this album one of the first you buy, rather than waiting until the end! There are just so many wonderful tracks here, and really, this album is essential to any Beatles collection.

Review by jamesbaldwin
5 stars Past Masters includes singles, side A and B, and songs of the EP not present in the Beatles albums. It's a very important collection because a lot of beautiful songs written by the Beatles were produced only for 45 rpm discs or for Extended plays.

Love Me Do, single version, has a drums and bass sound softer than the album. Items less in the foreground. Slightly worse. From Me To You, second 45 laps to reach the summit (after Please Please Me), a typical Beatlesian first period song: country harmonica, pop rhythm, vocal harmonies. Fresh, unobtrusive. Very short. Beautiful melodies in the minor part. His side B, Thank You Girl, is beautiful rock and roll without great melody but with many variations in the vocals and in the instrumentals parts with harmonica. She Loves You is the 45 rpm of Beatlemania, it's Mersey Beat, that is melodic electric rock with vocal harmonies and lots of yeh yeh yeh. Even today it is a song overflowing with good humor, contagious in its exuberance. His B side is the modest I'll Get You, with as many yehs, and sly trend, however pleasant. With I Want To Hold Your Hand the Beatles break through in America and so beatlemania is planetary. Also here is a very good Mersey Beat, with a more melancholic rhythm than She Loves You, especially in the bridge, clapping, and more vocal harmonies that reach up to the cacophony (and you can see the girls screaming hysterically and tearing their hats). Great piece. The B side, a slow one by Lennon, style vocal groups of the Fifties, is also excellent, with a bridge sung in a sensational way; almost 8. (Love Me Do (Single Version) 7+; From Me To You 7,5; Thank You Girl 7+; She Loves You 8+; I'll Get You 7; I Want To Hold Your Hand 8+; This Boy 7,5/8;).

The Long Tall Sally EP contained four songs. A bewildered cover of Long Tall Sally, with Macca soloist in particular dusting. As a cover is great, the song is still not much. I Call Your Name, the only original, with Lennon on vocals, is a school beat that has variations only in the voice and the guitar, but not in the arrangement. Modest song. Slow Down, cover rock sung by Lennon, with rhythm and piano phrase always the same, stands out only for the guitar solo and the interpretation. Matchbox, the last piece, still a cover, the best of the compositional composition of the EP, is left to Ringo, which together with the arrangement does not excuse. (Long Tall Sally 7,5; I Call Your Name 6,5/7; Slow Down 7; Matchbox 7+).

I Feel Fine starts with a distorted guitar, then continues with an excellent riff in the verse and an almost jazz drumming, then becoming melodic in the refrain. Great piece of Lennon, among the best A sides of the first period. She's a Woman, his B-side, by Macca, is a good, no-frills, syncopated, very original rock, sung well, that does not enjoy the appropriate arrangement. Hard sound, rhythmic guitar in the foreground, and then solo. It's a good test for the rock songs that will come. Bad boy, cover sung by Lennon, entered only in a compilation of American hits, is an excellent rock and roll song with a jaunty pace, unfortunately short. Yes, It Is is the B side of Ticket To Ride. It is a slow melancholy ballad of the fifties with a plaintive guitar sound instead of the usual phrases or choirs. Well sung by John, especially in the bridge. It resembles this Boy's rhythm but the arrangement here is more original. Atypical song, much better than various Help songs. I'm Down is the B side of Help! It's a crazy fifties rock and roll song with great portrayal of Paul and great solos. The text is completely divorced from the melody and rhythm that are among the most exuberant. Solo out of John's lines on the floor. (I Feel Fine 8; She's a Woman 7,5; Bad Boy 7,5; Yes It Is 7,5; I'm Down 7,5).

Day Tripper, above all by Lennon, is a rock that stands on a riff, something new for the Beatles (I Feel Fine goes there near), is their heaviest piece up to now. Great piece. Drive My Car soon repeats the experiment on Rubber Soul. It was side A of a double side A together with We Can Work It Out, which is above all of Paul, acoustic, characterized by the organism played by Lennon seems like a French piece, with a beautiful double voice in Lennon's melancholic bridge. Among the melodic apices. Paul's Paperback Writer is again based on the same guitar riff but here the vocal harmonies prevail, replacing the refrain, so it almost always remains on the same chord creating a quite obsessive trend. Nice piece, near the prized area. Lennon's Rain, B's side of Paperback is a psychedelic ballad with great work by Ringo, hypnotic trend, same chord of chords as in side A, here the song is more experimental in the sounds that remain electric. (Day Tripper 8; We Can Work It Out 8; Paperback Writer 7,5/8 ; Rain 7,5/8).

Lady Madonna, A side in style Fats Domino with great work of piano, drums, bass and saxophones, is a beautiful song by Paul from the excellent rhythm, without a real distinction between verse and refrain, which flows a lot but is not really inspired. Inner Light, his side B, recorded by Harrison with an Indian group (his third and last piece raga) despite having a nice melodic high phrasing, and a beautiful melody sung, after a while 'puts a strain on the sounds overdoes repeated. Hey Jude is a melodic classic by Paul, one of the best known melodic songs, but also one of those that appears more dated also for the very long final jam that today, however pleasant it seems, is a meatloaf. However it is a song with a clear and inspired melody in the first three minutes conducted by voice and piano, and then pleasantly goliardic in the 5 minutes of Lalalalalalalala. Revolution is the B-side of Jude, and features accelerated Revolution # 1 of the White Album with heavy metal sounds, disturbing distorted guitars, pressing rhythm with voices and choirs, blues solo on Nicky Hopkins's electric piano; it's a hard rock, sometimes almost cacophonous song that has a farcical and frenetic sound. Certainly it is a noise as well as its title. It remains more effective than the album version, which is relaxed, slow and acoustic: this gives a better sense of revolution, and for sounds reaches the maximum distortion ever achieved by the Beatles. Aggant 8.

Get Back, electric rock ballad, with guitar solo by Lennon and piano solo by Billy Preston, is a great piece of seventies style written by Paul, close to excellence (8+). Adds a queue to the LP that lengthens it by 40 seconds, improving it. Dont Let Me Down, his B-side, is a Lennon rockblues masterpiece, with dramatic singing, seventies sounding with Preston's final electric piano solo. The Ballad of John and Yoko is a blues ballad: voice, drums and bass, with electric blues guitar sounds, played in full by John and Paul. Good rhythm, based on the text, with few variations. Old Brown Shoe, after While My Guitar ... is Harrison's second rockblues masterpiece that does the damage of recording the distant voice, to give an effect of old blues, so that the song seems to come from beyond the grave and appears thin, and also the guitar is not in focus. Ruined by the production (it could have been 8.5 / 9), from a compositional point of view it is a masterpiece, and we can see Paul's brilliant turn on bass. Across the Universe, with bird flights, supercharged choirs and wah wah, makes the original worse. Arranged to enter an environmental collection. Let It Be single version in practice has less Harrison's guitar part, which plays an inconsistent solo here, only to remain in the background. Also missing are the trumpets added by Spector in the refrain. Enough to get it from a 9+ to an 8+. It remains an excellent melodic song piano and voice but lacks the arrangement that elevates it to absolute masterpiece. You Know My Name, his side B, is a joke of the Beatles who have fun making a parody, but is supported by an excellent melodic line almost jazz. (Lady Madonna 7,5; The Inner Light 7+; Hey Jude 8+; Revolution 8; Get Back 8; Don't Let Me Down 8,5; The Ballad Of John And Yoko 7,5; Old Brown Shoe 8+; Across The Universe 7; Let It Be 8+; You Know My Name (Look Up The Number) 7+).

Great collection. Vote 9+. Rating: Five Stars.

Review by patrickq
4 stars Past Masters was originally released in 1988 as a double-album on LP and cassette, but as two separate CDs (as Volume One and Volume Two) since 2009, the two-CD set has been the standard, and it's the version I'll discuss here.

What makes the Beatles' Past Masters unique among compilation CDs is that it's absolutely essential to the group's fans - - even casual fans. Regardless of the quality of the tracks, it contains one or both sides of fourteen non-LP singles - - 24 songs in total - - plus five other non-album songs (the other four tracks are alternate versions of album cuts, including three from Let it Be). Since the group decided against including bonus material on the CD versions of their albums, Past Masters is, in effect, the "home album" of these 29 songs.

Of course, we could consider the quality of the tracks. By my count, the Beatles had roughly 20 truly great songs, and a quarter of them are here: "She Loves You," "Day Tripper," "We Can Work it Out," "Hey Jude," and "Lady Madonna." There are plenty of other gems, like "This Boy," "I Want to Hold Your Hand," "I Feel Fine," "Bad Boy,"* "Paperback Writer," the hit version of "Revolution,"** and "The Ballad of John and Yoko."

The remainder of Past Masters's 33 tracks aren't at the same level (but really, how could they be)? There aren't too many lemons, but in some cases you could see why a song here or there was left off of that year's album. The German singles are strictly for completists, and the alternate versions, even of all-time classics like "Get Back" and "Let it Be," are for serious fans only; none varies significantly from its respective album version.

On one hand, every one of these cuts could've fit comfortably and sensibly as a "bonus track" on one of the standard Beatles albums. That would've translated into lost profits, though, and some would have complained about the integrity of the original LPs. But at least a kitchen-sink philosophy was used in compiling these non-LP tracks: Past Masters includes everything applicable: the proverbial good, band, and ugly. As a result, the album doesn't have a Greatest-Hits feel; there's a twelve-song run on the first disk, for example, which contains just one hit ("I Feel Fine").

But especially given the fact that the compilers had very little say in song selection - - and none in song sequencing - - Past Masters stands on its own as a very good album, and a fine edition to the record collection of any fan of rock music.


*Technically not a non-album song in the US, where it appeared on Beatles VI. The story of the songs from the Long Tall Sally EP is similar. Anyway, since the Beatles UK albums were the ones committed to CD, these are all non-album tracks.

**I'm counting this as a non-album song even though there was a very different arrangement on The Beatles.

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