Before the Beatles' catalog was placed on compact disk, many of the band's music in the United States was available in different configurations on sometimes differently named albums.
For example, those of us who grew up in the 1960s and 70s remember LPs such as Meet the Beatles, Something New and Yesterday and Today, which were never released in Britain.
Capitol Records did this, mainly, to put out more Beatles product early in the band's career and also to do some catching up with the band's output in Britain, where they hit the charts a full year ahead of the U.S.
The Capitol albums were more numerous, featured fewer tracks, and sometimes altered mixes and edits and extra studio processing, such as heavy echo.
The American soundtracks for "A Hard Day's Night" and "Help!," both issued on the United Artists label, were also different, featuring George Martin's instrumental tracks from both films.
Whereas the Beatles only rarely put songs released as singles on their LPs, Capitol had no qualms about double-dipping, putting singles out as 7-inch singles and including them on LPs.
Once the Beatles' output slowed down a bit with Sgt. Pepper, the albums in the U.S. and U.K. featured the same names and track lineups.
Many fans prefer the English versions. Those are the LPs the Beatles themselves approved for release. But some of us also are nostalgic about the Capitol LPs, even those the label screwed up with too much echo and haphazard track selection and sequencing. Not to mention, the tossed off cover art.
Capitol has released most of the American albums on a pair of CD box sets, but now comes news of a new, bigger, better collection. Out January 21, The Beatles U.S. Albums features all 13 of the band's pre-Pepper U.S. releases.
The albums also will be available individually on CD (click the individual album links below), which comes as good news to folks who want to cherry pick their favorites and/or those that are "most different" from their British cousins. No word on vinyl, yet.
Some additional info on the box:
These new releases seek to replicate the unique listening experience heard by Americans at the time by preserving the sequences, timings, and artwork found on the albums. Capitol’s engineers in the 1960s took great care to produce what they believed to be the best possible sound for the playback equipment in use at that time. Due to the limitations of the record players of the day, engineers often compressed the sound by raising the volume of the softer passages and lowering the volume for the louder parts of the songs. They also reduced the bass frequencies since too much bass could cause the record to skip. In some cases, reverb was added to the tracks to make them sound more “American.”
The CDs are packaged in miniature vinyl sleeves that faithfully recreate the original U.S. LP releases down to the finest detail, including the inner sleeves. 11 original U.S. albums presented in both mono and stereo. Hey Jude and The Beatles’ Story are in stereo only. A Hard Day’s Night [Original Motion Picture Soundtrack], The Beatles’ Story, Yesterday And Today, Hey Jude and the U.S. version of Revolver are presented on CD for the first time.
Yesterday And Today features the original album cover of The Beatles posing with raw meat and baby dolls. The package also comes with a collectible sticker of the subsequent Yesterday And Today cover art. Also included is a 64-page booklet which includes a new essay examining the U.S. albums and their historical significance, written by American author and television executive Bill Flanagan. The box set’s dimensions are: 6 inches wide x 6 1/8 inches tall x 3 ¼ inches thick.Here's the lineup.
- Meet The Beatles (The U.S. Album)
- The Beatles' Second Album (The U.S. Album)
- A Hard Day's Night [Original Motion Picture Soundtrack] (The U.S. Album)
- Something New (The U.S. Album)
- The Beatles’ Story (1964) - NOT LISTED YET on Amazon
- Beatles '65 (The U.S. Album)
- The Early Beatles (The U.S. Album)
- Beatles VI (The U.S. Album)
- Help! [Original Motion Picture Soundtrack] (The U.S. Album)
- Rubber Soul (The U.S. Album)
- Yesterday And Today (The U.S. Album)
- Revolver (The U.S. Album)
- Hey Jude (The U.S. Album)