Sunday, January 16, 2011

A Strange Single

The first single released after the expiration of the Beatles contract from EMI and Capitol was released in North America (I'm not sure if the single was available in Canada). Capitol records decided to issue a promotional single of the song "Helter Skelter". The song appeared on both sides of the 45 with a mono version on one side and a stereo version on the other side.

The mono mix was not the one used on the UK Apple LP/CD "The Beatles (White Album)" but rather a fold down mix of the stereo version. The label of the single is white and the catalogue number is P-4274. The "P" meaning promotional. The single was issued to radio stations in the United States during the spring of 1976. Both sides have the fade out/ fade in with Ringo's comment at the end. This may be a reason that this song was not eventually released commercially as the A-side. The catalogue number was re-used at a later date (more about that in a future post).

It must also be noted that during two days in April 1976 (1 and 2), the CBS television network featured the television film "Helter Skelter" with the subject being the Charles Manson murders adapted from the book of the same name by Vincent Bugliosi. It could be that Capitol released the promotional single in order to garner interest in the song as "Helter Skelter" (the song) would be featured on an upcoming LP from Capitol being prepared for imminent release.

Lastly, it's interesting to note that this release is the only Capitol Records release to feature the group's name as "Beatles" rather than "The Beatles".

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