Elsewhere in these columns, I have explained WHY the Beatles were The Greatest: they had not one, not two, but THREE of the greatest dozen or so songwriters of the Twentieth Century in their number.
But how do you PROVE they were The Greatest? Simple.
When any artist or group have completed their Golden Era, their record company issues a “Greatest Hits” album. Thousands have been issued – but how many are truly deserving of that title?
Fact is, if you take a cold, hard look at them – you will discover that out of, say 14-18 tracks, only maybe 3-8 of them are GENUINE hits. Several more will be near-hits. And the rest will be FILLER.
Only a few hundred of these albums will contain nothing BUT hits.
But then, what of those artists whose record companies had the temerity to issue a DOUBLE album of their Greatest Hits? Same story. VERY FEW are the artists whose Greatest Hits DOUBLE albums contain ONLY genuine hits.
Elvis, Sinatra and at a pinch, the Beach Boys – that’s about IT.
Which brings us to the Fab Four. THEIR record company issued a companion set of TWO double albums of Greatest Hits. And all FIFTY-FOUR of the tracks included genuinely WERE.
THAT is what makes the Beatles The Greatest.
Furthermore, you could fill ANOTHER double album with the hits they GAVE AWAY to other artists and the ones they had as individual artists, post-Beatles.
There are many good arguments for other artists. Elvis had the same number of Number Ones as the Beatles (curiously, he beat them in the UK, but was beaten BY them in the US) and Sinatra did all right. But both those guys had their hits written FOR them.
And while the Stones are all pensioners now, they are still rockin’ and next year will tour once again, selling out stadium after stadium. And they DID compose most of their hits.
But great as the Stones are, they don’t have TWO DOUBLE ALBUMS of Greatest Hits to their name. NO-ONE does – apart from the Beatles.
And that is why THEY are The Greatest. I rest my case.
Footnote: for those too young to remember “albums”, I would refer you to the Beatles CD – “1”. It contains their Number One hit singles. All TWENTY-SEVEN of them.