1 is a compilation album by the Beatles, released on 13 November 2000. The album features virtually every number-one single released in the United Kingdom and United States from 1962 to 1970 by the Beatles. Issued on the 30th anniversary of the band's break-up, it was their first compilation available on one compact disc. 1 was a commercial success, and topped the charts worldwide. 1 has sold over 31 million copies.
In addition, 1 is the fourth best-selling album in the U.S. since Nielsen SoundScan began tracking U.S. album sales in January 1991, and the best-selling album of the decade in the U.S. from 2000 to 2009, as well as the best selling album of the decade worldwide. It is also the fastest selling album in history.1 was re-released in digitally remastered format in September 2011.
Compiled by producerGeorge Martin and the (then) three surviving members of the band, 1 includes the 27 Beatles songs that went to number one in the United Kingdom on the Record Retailer magazine charts and/or the United States on the Billboard magazine charts. It is worth noting, however, that the song "For You Blue" was listed in Billboard chart compilations at No. 1, as a double A-sided single with "The Long and Winding Road", but Capitol Records treated "For You Blue" as strictly a B-side and did not promote it as an A-side. Meanwhile, "Day Tripper" was included on 1, since it charted at No. 1 in the UK as a double A side with "We Can Work It Out", while in the US, only "We Can Work It Out" was No. 1. The only singles released in both the UK and US that did not reach No. 1 in either country, and were therefore ineligible for inclusion on the album, were "Please Please Me" and "Strawberry Fields Forever"—both reached No. 2 in the UK charts. The former was largely known as "The Beatles' first UK number one single"; however, it reached the top spot in the musical magazines New Musical Express and Melody Maker but not on the chart published by Record Retailer (now Music Week). On the other hand, "Strawberry Fields Forever" was part of a double A-side single along with "Penny Lane". Being a double A-side, UK sales policies counted the sales as a half of the real amount sold, a fact that kept the single at No. 2 in the charts, behind Engelbert Humperdinck's debut single "Release Me".
This album is essentially a combination of both the US and UK versions of the earlier album 20 Greatest Hits, with "Something" added to the mix (that song was left off 20 Greatest Hits because of time constraints). On 1, "Hey Jude" was released in its original full-length version (slightly over seven minutes); on the American version of 20 Greatest Hits it had been released as a shortened version.
But the songs on 1 were remastered specifically for the release in 2000. According to the liner notes of the album, the original analogue masters were "digitally remastered at 24 bits resolution, processed using Sonic Solutions NoNoise technology and mastered to 16 bit using Prism SNS Noise Shaping." The remastering was overseen by Peter Mew of Abbey Road Studios and took place there.
In 2011, 1 was re-released on CD and digitally via iTunes. This newest release used the 2009 remasters rather than the original 2000 remasters.
The package of 1 was intended to be simplistic and ambitious at the same time. Its cover was designed by Rick Ward, and consists of a pop-art yellow number one on a red background. (The emphasis on the 1 digit was used on many of the compilations of number-one hits by different artists that followed this album; for example, ELV1S by Elvis Presley or Number Ones by the Bee Gees). The album's back cover features the famous photos of The Beatles taken by Richard Avedon copyrighted on 17 August 1967. The design exclusively uses variations of the Helveticatypeface.
1 was released on mainly in the UK in three formats — CD (on Apple 7243 5 29970 2 2), vinyl (Apple 529 3251) and cassette (529 9704), and Worldwide in two formats — CD (Apple 7243 5 29325 2 8), and cassette (Apple 7243 5 29325 4 2). The CD includes a 32-page booklet with a coloured page with international picture covers (a total of 163 covers are displayed on the whole booklet) and details (recording date, location, release date, chart stats) for each of the singles. It also includes on its first two pages a collage with 27 1's in different colours (all of them following the same art as the cover) with the sentence "27 No. 1 singles = 1" (which was used as a catch phrase for the promo ads for the album), and a foreword by George Martin.
The LP and cassette keep the main art of the CD version, but in a different form. The double vinyl record version was not released in the US, but the imported British edition was available. The vinyl version features a large full-color fold-out poster showing 126 picture sleeves (37 fewer than on the CD), and reproductions of the four Richard Avedon photos. The Avedon portraits also appear on the inside of the gate-fold cover. The records have custom labels featuring the same graphics as the front cover and are packaged in custom inner sleeves. The deluxe packaging of the vinyl album, with its four portraits and poster, is reminiscent to that of The Beatles. The cassette included a 20-page insert, including the collage, the George Martin commentary and paged Avedon's portraits on its inlay and the whole description for the tracks as a total of 36 covers on its inlay reverse.
Sales and chart performance
The reception of 1 surpassed all critical and commercial expectations. It reached No. 1 in over 35 countries, achieving the record for the album debuting at the top of the most national charts ever. It became the highest-selling of 2000 and later, of the entire decade. This achievement made The Beatles the first and only artist to have the best-selling albums of two different decades. They also had the best-selling album of the 1960s, Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band. No tracks from Sgt. Pepper appear on this album. With this album, The Beatles also achieved having an album hit the No. 1 position in the U.S. in four non-consecutive decades (1960s, 1970s, 1990s and 2000s).
In the United Kingdom, 1 became The Beatles' 17th No. 1 album with sales of 319,126 copies (achieving record sales for only one week in 2000). On 18 December 2000, Ananova.com reported that the album has "become 2000's biggest-selling album—in only five weeks." 1 was the first album to stay at the top spot for nine weeks in almost ten years (the last being the Eurythmics's Greatest Hits), the best-selling album of 2000, and the fourth best-selling album of the 2000s so far in the UK. In its eleventh week, 1 sold a total of two million copies in the UK. It spent a total of 46 weeks inside the Top 75. On July 2013 it was certified 10× platinum by the BPI, for over 3 million copies sold in the UK. It is the 26th best-selling album in the UK—according to an assessment by the Official Charts Company and the British Phonographic Industry that counted album sales in the UK from 28 July 1956 to 14 June 2009—, and the second best-selling Beatles album in that country (only beaten by Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, which is the second best-selling album in the UK).
In the United States, the response was similar. 1 debuted at No. 1 with a sales over 595,000 copies. In its second week, sales increased to 662,000 but it was knocked off the top spot by Backstreet Boys's Black & Blue. The album returned to the No. 1 spot the following week, and spent a total of eight weeks at No. 1, a record The Beatles share only with Creed's 2001 title, Weathered. The album sold 1,258,667 copies during Christmas week of 2000, which was its highest-selling week. With this number, The Beatles achieved a new record: it was the seventh highest one-week sales in Soundscan history, and the highest for an album not in its first week of sales. The album spent 104 weeks inside the Billboard 200 and became the sixth best-selling album in the United States in 2001. On 15 April 2005, 1 was certified Diamond in America, and 1 is included on the list of the Top 100 Albums by the Recording Industry Association of America. By July 2012, 1 had sold 12,108,000 units, and it is the best-selling album of the 21st century in the U.S. and the fifth best-selling album in the Soundscan era (1991–present).
In Canada, 1 debuted at No. 1 on the Canadian Albums Chart, selling 54,668 copies in its first week. The album was certified Diamond (1,000,000 units) by the CRIA in February 2001, just four months after its release. As of 2009, 1 has sold 1,103,000 units in Canada, making it the fifth best selling album ever in Canada of the Nielsen SoundScan era.
In Germany, 1 debuted at No. 1 and managed to stay there nine non-consecutive weeks. Though this, it stayed only seventeen weeks in the top ten of the German Albums Chart, but fifty weeks in the total chart. By selling 1,650,000 copies and reaching 11× Gold, it's the third best-selling album of the decade 2000–2009 and the best-selling non-German language album.
In 2009, Apple Corps, The Beatles' company, stated that worldwide sales of 1 had exceeded 31 million copies worldwide. Worldwide in 2000 the album sold 13.8 million copies with 2 million or more copies sold during 2 consecutive weeks and was the fourth best selling album behind Eminem's The Marshall Mathers LP, Britney Spears' Oops!... I Did It Again, and Santana's Supernatural.
2000 CD. Apple 7243 5 29970 2 2 (Released in UK only)
2000 CD. Apple 7243 5 29325 2 8 (Worldwide Release)
2011 remastered CD release. Apple 50999 083070 2 6
1 has received generally positive reviews. Stephen Thomas Erlewine of Allmusic gave the album five stars out of five. He stated that there is "no question that this is all great music", although he also stated that "there's really no reason for anyone who owns all the records to get this too".
Released in the UK on 5 October 1962, and in the US on 27 April 1964, where it reached No. 1 in the US for one week on 30 May. This is the version released in the US with Ringo Starr on tambourine and session musician Andy White on drums.
Released on 26 August 1968 in the US and on 30 August in the UK. It reached No. 1 in the UK for two weeks on 11 September and was No. 1 for a record nine weeks in the US, starting on 28 September 1968.
Released in the US on 11 May 1970 and reached No. 1 for two weeks on 13 June 1970. This version has the orchestral "wall of sound" added by re-producer Phil Spector. It is the only track not produced by George Martin.
Each of the four sides of the vinyl represented appropriately different styles and phases of The Beatles' career: in order, Beatlemania's Mersey Beat, folk-rock/pre-psychedelic style, purely experimental/psychedelic style, back-to-basics/rock style. This was apparently a coincidence, considering that the songs are distributed on the sides following a balance-time rule. (The cassette edition comprises the first two vinyl sides on its side A and the last two vinyl sides on its side B, with a length of 38:32 and 40:35 respectively.)
In the 2002 direct-to-video film The Rutles 2: Can't Buy Me Lunch, David Bowie is seen holding a vinyl album entitled The Rutles 1. He calls it a "piece of marketing extravagance." The album's cover is practically identical to that of The Beatles' album, with the Rutles' name appearing in the same dropped-T logo as the one that was used by The Beatles and a large painted "1" in the center, backed a red background.