by David Chiu
The Beatles have reissued 1, their best-selling compilation from 2000 of songs that peaked at the top spot on the U.K. and U.S. charts. It is incredible that the Fab Four collectively had 27 number one songs from 1962 to 1970, a feat that is unprecedented and still remarkable decades later. And while 1 is no substitute for a more comprehensive set like the Red and Blue albums, it does feel like it covers all the bases in tracing the Beatles’ evolution from pop balladeers to groundbreaking musicians. The huge success of 1 prefigured the release of number one hits compilations from other successful artists such as Elvis Presley, ABBA, Michael Jackson and the Bee Gees.
Yet, the reissue of 1 is not the real story. The big thing is that this new version of 1 pairs the 27 classic hits from that collection with their corresponding videos — from TV performances to conceptual films — for the first time on DVD or Blu-Ray. What’s even more special is that the videos in 1+ have been beautifully restored to pristine quality. For fans who have previously seen the promo videos for “Penny Lane,” “Strawberry Fields Forever,” “A Day in the Life,” and “Hello, Goodbye” from years ago are going to pleasantly surprised by these newly-restored versions of those and other clips—the picture quality is amazing. (You can see that for yourselves on YouTube).
On the deluxe DVD and Blu-Ray editions is a bonus disc of 23 more video clips, including “Free as a Bird” and “Real Love,” originally aired during the TV broadcast of The Beatles Anthology. With the music and improved visuals combined together, 1+ is just a reminder of how the Beatles were not only pioneers musically, but how they foresaw power of film and video for promotional purposes long before MTV.