This week on #askNat, Facebook reader George A. Fletcher writes:
I was wondering if I am the only Beatles fan who feels the Tomorrow Never Knows i-Compilation is a little bit of a “rip off” if not just a lazy rehashing of otherwise available material.
Note: George is referring to the Itunes compilation (i.e. ‘i-compilation’) Tomorrow Never Knows that is only available by download from the Itunes Store. It was released on July 24, 2012.
Well George, I must admit that I take this “album” release a bit less seriously than the others because it is only issued as a collection of sound files not otherwise available except by download from the iTunes store. Many disregard it’s validity without a factory pressed optical disc (CD/DVD/Blu-Ray) or vinyl media. As you point out however, it is a compilation. If you criticize it for not having anything new to offer then you have a perfectly valid point, but you should also remember that The Beatles 1962-1966 (“Red” album) or The Beatles 1967-1970 (“Blue” album) compilations did not have anything new to offer either. As a matter of fact, this is the case with many Beatles compilations. Compilations are often only a collection where most or all selections are previously released material. Eagles Greatest Hits, one of the biggest selling albums of all time, had not one track on it that had not been previously released.
Compilations provide a convenient way of getting the most well-known tracks together in one place. For some compilations however, “well-known” is not the intended criteria. For Tomorrow Never Knows the criteria was “most influential.” The track listing (agreed upon and approved by Ringo Starr, Paul McCartney and the estates of John Lennon and George Harrison) goes like this:
- “Revolution” (single version now on Past Masters Vol. 2)
- “Paperback Writer” (single version now on Past Masters Vol. 2)
- “And Your Bird Can Sing” (stereo version from Revolver)
- “Helter Skelter” (stereo version from The Beatles, i.e. “White Album”)
- “Savoy Truffle” (stereo version from The Beatles, i.e. “White Album”)
- “I’m Down” (single version now on Past Masters Vol. 2)
- “I’ve Got A Feeling” (Let It Be…Naked version)
- “Back In The U.S.S.R. (stereo version from The Beatles, i.e. “White Album”)
- “You Can’t Do That” (stereo version from A Hard Day’s Night)
- “It’s All Too Much” (stereo version from Yellow Submarine)
- “She Said She Said” (stereo version from Revolver)
- “Hey Buldog” (stereo version from Yellow Submarine)
- “Tomorrow Never Knows” (stereo version from Revolver)
- “The End” (The Beatles Anthology 3 version)
Not only had all of these songs been released previously, but all of them had been previously available on iTunes except the Let It Be…Naked version of “I’ve Got A Feeling.” Despite this fact, 13,670 downloads were made of the album in it’s first week of release. It peaked at #24 on the Billboard Top 200 album chart. Is that good? I’d say for an album of old recordings that have all been released before – that’s pretty good!
Personally, as a lifelong Beatles fan and collector with all of the Beatles catalog already digitized in house, I still may have bought it if there was a vinyl or CD version of it. That’s only because when it comes to The Beatles – I’m a completist. Without that, it is no more than a playlist for me that I can already construct easily with my iTunes or other software. If I was a more casual fan though, and was just after a quick collection of some good rockers, Tomorrow Never Knows may have been just the way to go. With that in mind, I’m not going to knock it. In a way it just takes the place of some of those 1970′s vinyl themed compilation sets like Love Songs or Rock ‘N’ Roll Music that will never see an official CD release.
So what do you readers think of the compilation? Is it a good choice of songs? Should it have included some things that are new, unreleased or remixed (if it did I would have been awfully disappointed if there was no CD issued with it)? Should it have even been released at all? Give your views in the comments section below and thank you George for a good question!
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Download Tomorrow Never Knows via Itunes (the only way to get it) by clicking here.