The Beatles’ Biggest Album in the U.S. Wasn’t a Studio Album

The Beatles gave the world many classic albums — but one reigned supreme in the United States. One of The Beatles’ many compilation albums spent years on the American chart. During an interview, producer Giles Martin described what he was trying to accomplish with the album.

The Beatles' Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr, John Lennon, and George Harrison standing in a row
The Beatles’ Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr, John Lennon, and George Harrison | John Pratt/Keystone/Getty Images

‘Love Me Do,’ ‘Let It Be,’ and ‘Hey Jude’ all appeared on 1 Beatles compilation

The Beatles gave the world numerous outstanding records, including Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, Rubber Soul, and Abbey Road. In 2000, the remaining members of the band released 1. 1 is a compilation album featuring most of their No. 1 hits, including “Love Me Do,” “Let It Be,” and “Hey Jude.”

In 2015, a remastered version of 1 was released. During a 2015 interview with Entertainment Weekly, Martin revealed he wanted to optimize the songs for modern stereos. “You have to understand, the original Beatles mixes were designed for mono playback,” Martin explained. “The stereos that we all know and love were done very, very quickly. The band was never present when the stereos were made.” For context, mono files have one audio channel whereas stereo files have two.

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How Giles Martin remastered classic Beatles songs for the 2015 version of the album

Martin explained how he approached The Beatles’ songs. “My approach was to be respectful of everything,” Martin revealed. “I had sessions and sessions where I flipped between previously remastered stereos, the mono remasters, and the remixes we’ve done. I flip between everything and make sure I prefer what we’ve done.”

“It’s vastly different,” Martin says. “The remasters went back to these final mixtapes and remastered them. They cleaned them up and then they EQ-ed them and released them. What we’re doing is remixing. We’re going not to the final mix, we’re creating our own mixes.”

Martin noted how much the Fab Four’s music meant to fans. “I don’t think these mixes change that in a big way, but you want to make sure you do the best job you can,” he said.

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The way audiences in the United States and the United Kingdom reacted to The Beatles’ ‘1’

1 became a massive hit. For eight weeks, the album was No. 1 on the Billboard 200. The record stayed on the chart for 507 weeks. The Beatles’ second most popular album, Abbey Road, was No. 1 for 11 weeks of its 449-week run.

1 was popular in the United Kingdom as well. According to The Official Charts Company, it was on the chart for 353 weeks, staying at No. 1 for nine of those weeks. None of The Beatles’ albums were as successful in the U.K. The Beatles’ second-best performing album in the U.K., Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, was No. 1 for 28 of its 277 weeks on the chart. 1 didn’t feature any new songs — but that didn’t stop it from becoming a chart juggernaut.

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