Top of the Poppers Present The Beatles' Golden Hits (SHM 742) - 1971
When you’re faced with the task of selecting just some of the greatest hits of the Beatles to put on one LP, then the task demands much more than just a good memory for chart placings. Simply because, ever since they burst upon an unsuspecting pop scene back in the early '60s, the four Liverpool musicians, who transformed the contemporary music scene almost overnight, have been writing good songs with a consistency that dazzles their contemporaries and astounds their severest critics.
That they're all fine musicians has been proved time and time again, but more surprising than their musical ability is their talent to write songs that are not only hit parade entries but songs that last. And the ones that WILL last and which sum up the composing talents of John, Paul and George in particular, have been gathered by the Top of the Poppers on this album.
Among the goodies they've given their own special musical treatment to are former chart hits like "Love Me Do", "Can't Buy Me Love" and "I Want to Hold Your Hand"—all songs that helped establish the Beatles as hit parade artists back in the early days of their success. But what's more, the Top of the Poppers haven't overlooked the more recent Lennon-McCartney songs that have not only provided them with hits but which have found their way on to albums by many international artists.
All of which goes to prove that being asked to choose the best of the Beatles is a tricky task. But once you've made your selection, then what you do have is an album full of good music composed by people who really do know what entertainment is all about.
Comments: This album is probably the most widely distributed Top of the Pops album ever. Aside from the standard edition, it has been re-issued at least three times in the UK, formed the basis of a CD collection and appeared in several overseas territories. There are two different UK cassette editions, and an 8-track edition. Even the iconic cover image has been re-used elsewhere (see below).
Second and third editions
The first two UK re-issues are distinguishable by the lettering on the front. The very first edition is shown above, and titles the album "...Present The Beatles". Next came the edition below left, with better lettering, followed by the edition below right, which arrives at the familiar "...Sing & Play" tag. The backs of the sleeve are unchanged, except that the album title in large print is amended each time to match the fronts.
Yet another version was released, with the same front cover as the third - except that the Pickwick logo has been removed. On the back, we find the large "Pickwick" lettering at the bottom, which was introduced to the main series at volume 30 (April 1973), so this edition probably dates to a little after that.
The picture on the cover was likely inspired by the girl from Goldfinger (1964). This striking photograph has cropped up elsewhere including the cover of the Hallmark-released Popcorn by Hot Butter (SHM 852), and the rival Rediffusion album, The New Rocking Sound of the Ray Martin Orchestra: