The final Beatles project before the end of Apple Records in the 1970s consisted of two double LPs containing selections of key tracks and singles encompassing the Beatles' recording career. The first double LP contains tracks from 1962 to 1966 (hence the title) and is also known as the "red" album.
The concept of this "greatest hits" package came about due to some pirated records that started appearing in television ads and magazine ads in the United States. One of these pirated projects was a four LP set entitled "Alpha Omega" which was released (as Vol. 1 and Vol. 2) through TV Products Inc. of Cleveland, Ohio and Audio Tape Inc. in Ashbury Park, NJ.
The Beatles 1962-1966 was first released in North America on April 02 1973 with the catalogue number Apple SKBO 3403. It was released in the UK two and half weeks later on April 19 1973 with the catalogue number Apple PCSP 717.
The front cover of the double LP has the Beatles posed from the EMI headquarters staircase and is an outtake from the 1963 Angus McBean session for the first Parlophone LP "Please Please Me". The back cover has the Beatles once again posed from the EMI headquarters staircase and is an un-used photo originally planned for the "Get Back" LP cover from the 1969 Angus McBean session. The sleeve is gatefold with a large photo from the July 28 1968 "Mad Day Out" photo session taken by Don McCullin featuring the Beatles behind an iron fence near Pancras Old Church in London. The track listing is below the large photo.
Speaking of song selection, this task was completed by Allan Steckler. The song selection for this LP was lacklustre and (in my opinion) could have been done much better than it was.
Side one consists of the first five singles (A sides only), one LP track from "With The Beatles" and ends with another A side single. Side two has two tracks from "A Hard Day's Night" (including the title track), one LP track from "Beatles For Sale", two A side singles and one LP track from "Help!". Side three has the "Help!" single, another LP track from "Help!", both sides of the single from the "Rubber Soul" sessions and ends with an LP track from "Rubber Soul". Side four consists of four LP tracks from "Rubber Soul" and ends with an A side single and only two LP tracks (later released as a single) from "Revolver".
Unfortunately, the set is extremely unbalanced and I suppose Mr. Steckler's favourite LP is "Rubber Soul" as there are seven tracks from these sessions with only two or three tracks from all other early sessions.
In North America, the track listing was the same as the UK, but with different and inferior mixes(using mono mixes on some tunes when the stereo mix is available). EMI did not supply master tapes for this mainly Capitol incentive.
The LP also came with an insert in North America that had the track listing on one side and featured which LP the song could be found on in the Capitol catalogue (errors include having "A Hard Day's Night" and "From Me To You" on the "Help!" LP). The other side of the insert (in the US only, not in Canada) has a Capitol /Apple Discography for Albums, Cassettes, Eight Tracks and Singles ( an error includes listing Apple 1800 which was not by The Beatles). The Beatles 1962-1966 included Apple labels on the LPs with a red background.