Editors’ Notes Because The Beatles were so central in developing our concept of the album as a unified statement of artistic purpose, it’s easy to forget that they started their career at a time when most artists measured success in stand-alone singles. “I Want to Hold Your Hand”? Not on a Beatles album—at least not in the UK. (Capitol repurposed some of the band’s early material in the US, but hodgepodge.) Ditto “She Loves You,” and “Day Tripper,” and “Paperback Writer.” Even after Revolver and Sgt. Pepper’s helped redefine the boundaries of what albums could do, the band still saved some of their best material for singles: “Get Back,” “The Ballad of John and Yoko,” the eternally cathartic “Hey Jude.” (As to the latter in particular, producer George Martin worried that radio wouldn’t play a seven-minute-long single, to which Lennon—never exactly meek, especially by 1968—said, “They will if it’s us.”)

As a collection, Past Masters serves the separate function of summarizing the short career of a singularly dynamic band. Like vast country seen from the window of a plane, things move quickly and at geologic scale: the early club years, Beatlemania, the advent of psychedelia, the imperial phase of the late '60s, the rootsy autumn—90 minutes, eight years, a microcosm of rock music in its radical adolescence. And to think they started stamping it out as nothing more than product.

SONG
Love Me Do (Single Version)
1
2:24
 
From Me to You
2
1:57
 
Thank You Girl
3
2:03
 
She Loves You
4
2:21
 
I'll Get You
5
2:06
 
I Want to Hold Your Hand
6
2:26
 
This Boy
7
2:16
 
Komm, Gib Mir Deine Hand
8
2:25
 
Sie Liebt Dich
9
2:19
 
Long Tall Sally
10
2:02
 
I Call Your Name
11
2:08
 
Slow Down
12
2:56
 
Matchbox
13
1:58
 
I Feel Fine
14
2:19
 
She's a Woman
15
3:02
 
Bad Boy
16
2:20
 
Yes It Is
17
2:42
 
I'm Down
18
2:31
 
Day Tripper
1
2:48
 
We Can Work It Out
2
2:15
 
Paperback Writer
3
2:18
 
Rain
4
3:01
 
Lady Madonna
5
2:17
 
The Inner Light
6
2:36
 
Hey Jude
7
7:09
 
Revolution
8
3:24
 
Get Back
9
3:11
 
Don't Let Me Down
10
3:35
 
The Ballad of John and Yoko
11
2:59
 
Old Brown Shoe
12
3:18
 
Across the Universe
13
3:49
 
Let It Be
14
3:51
 
You Know My Name (Look Up the Number)
15
4:17
 

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