You don’t have to be the world’s biggest cynic to count on the Beatles’ catalog being recycled ad nauseam—and under every conceivable contrived theme—until the last dollar has been squeezed from their tunes. The fact remains, though, that the new 20 Greatest Hits contains terrific music, and with a playing time of nearly an hour, a lot of it for the money.
In addition, it’s got a legitimate focus in that it collects all of the Beatle hits that made it to the top of the charts. Arranged in roughly chronological order, the set opens by taking us back 20 years (yup,, it’s been that long!) with delights like “She Loves You”; before ending with the whimper called “The Long and Winding Road,” it also offers such lilting gems as “I Feel Fine,” “Penny Lane” and “Hey, Jude.” Yes, you’ll get more pleasure—and a better grasp of the Beatles—by sampling a variety of their original LPs. But for a crash course in the Fab Four, 20 Greatest Hits is the perfect place to go.