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Monday, 13 November, 2000, 15:42 GMT
Costello joins Beatles album vigil
Beatles fans at HMV
The first buyers were few but enthusiastic at London's HMV store
Elvis Costello was among the first Beatles fans to snap up the band's historic greatest hits compilation when it went on sale in the UK at midnight on Sunday.

The singer and songwriter joined a crowd of Fab Four devotees at the special overnight opening of HMV in Liverpool, Merseyside.

Even though it's a greatest hits and most fans have every single track, it's selling phenomenally well

HMV spokesman
"He was among the first 10 into the store so he would have had to queue up for about an hour," said an HMV spokesman.

"People didn't realise it was him until he went into the store as he filed in with everyone else.

The album 1, released on Monday, is the first Beatles greatest hits compilation. It is expected to become one of the biggest-selling albums in history.

Early indications on Monday showed it would shoot to the top of Sunday's chart.

HMV reported that the album was outselling its nearest rival, the Oasis live release, Familiar To Millions, by three to one.

It was also selling five times as many copies as Westlife's Coast To Coast album, which went straight in at number one on Sunday.

A spokesman for HMV said: "It's absolutely massive. Even though it's a greatest hits and most fans have every single track, it's selling phenomenally well."

Elvis Costello waited in the cold and dark
Elvis Costello waited in the cold and dark

Excitement over the album, which features all the group's UK and US number one singles, is running high.

Eight million copies are being shipped out worldwide to meet initial demand.

In London enthusiasm seemed a little flat at first. Only 15 fans turned up at midnight at the Oxford Street branch of HMV.

The store had hoped to be besieged by hundreds of devotees. It was even offering a special certificate for the first 350 buyers.


However, the store's small group of buyers did their best to convey their enthusiasm.

Classic Beatles graphic from the official website
Classic Beatles graphic from the official website

First in line was Japanese fan Naoto Ito. "I'm honoured to be the first to buy the record," he said.

He was followed by Alan Harrington from London, who described himself as "the world's number one Beatles fan".

Harrington added that he had spent about 40,000 on Beatles merchandise since the 60s.

Michel D'Isa from New York was also thrilled to add 1 to his collection of 2,000 Beatles records.


The Beatles' first official website is also launched on Monday.

The site will allow fans to listen to and see video clips promoting the new compilation.

Thousands of Beatle-related fan sites have grown up in recent years.

But the surviving members of the group - as well as John Lennon's widow Yoko Ono - decided it was time to set up an official one-stop site.

They hired top site designers to come up with ideas to illustrate the group.

See also:

13 Nov 00 | New Music Releases
CD Review: The Beatles
01 Nov 00 | Entertainment
Beatles to launch website
19 Oct 00 | Entertainment
Beatles' film producer dies
06 Nov 00 | Entertainment
Westlife: Pretenders to Beatles' throne?
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