Saturday, April 30, 2011

A Hard Day's Night LP

The soundtrack to the Beatles' first major motion picture was released by United Artists on or about June 26 1964 in Canada and the United States. The catalogue number for the LP was UAL 3366 for mono copies and UAS 6366 for stereo copies.

The front cover of the LP features four large photographs of each individual Beatle from the nose up. This differs from the UK copy which features 20 smaller photos with full head shots of the individual Beatles. The background colour on the front cover is various shades of red depending on the printer."Original Motion Picture Soundtrack" and the album title are in black while "The Beatles" is shown in white. Mono copies have "high fidelity" and the UA logo in white on the bottom while stereo copies have a black banner at the top of the cover with "stereo" artist/title/catalogue number and the UA logo within the banner.

The back cover features 15 black and white photographs of each individual Beatles in various poses from the chest up. Mono copies have the artist/title at the top. Underneath are the credits for the movie and at the right in a black trimmed box is the musical director credit for George Martin. All song by Lennon and McCartney is written underneath the box along with publishing information in small black print. Mono copies have the UA logo at the bottom left with the catalogue number and UA adress at the bottom. Stereo copies have the same information on the back cover as mono copies with the exception of having the logo at the top left with tyhe catalogue number and UA adress at the top.

Original pressings of the LP were on the "United Artists" label which has the four coloured dots at the top perimeter (blue/gold/white and red) and the "United Artists" logo within a white box in gold and white. The bottom perimeter print reads: "High Fidelity" and the New York address. Stereo copies are the same with "High Fidelity Stereo" along the bottom perimeter. Some copies misspelled the song "I'll Cry Instead" as "I Cry Instead". There are also white lable promotional copies in the United states with the four dots and UA logo in black.

Canadian copies have the four dots (all silver) and the silver "United Artists" logo underneath. There is no "High Fidelity" print and the labels were either red or blue or black whereas stereo copies were strictly black. All original Canadian copies were pressed by Compo in Lachine, Quebec.

There are six songs on side one and six songs on side two: Side one starts with two songs from the film; the title track and "Tell Me Why", then "I'll Cry Instead" is featured although it was eventually dropped from the movie by Richard Lester (the director of the film). Next is an instrumental of "I Should Have Known Better" by George Martin and his orchestra, "I'm Happy Just to Dance With You" by the Beatles and side one ends with an instrumental version of "And I Love Her" by the George Martin Orchestra. Side two opens with "I Should Have Known Better", "If I Fell" and "And I Love Her" by the Beatles; "Ringo's Theme (This Boy)" by the George Martin Orchestra, "Can't Buy Me Love" by the Beatles and the LP ends with an instrumental version of the title track by the George Martin Orchestra.

All of the Beatles material was sent to United Artists in mono only from Abbey Road in June 1964. This means that the stereo LP does not contain true stereo versions of the Beatles songs but contains the "duophonic" process and some left and right panning in some cases. The George Martin and his Orchestra instrumentals are in true stereo on the stereo LPs.

Some US copies came with an inner sleeve (either white or checkered) with the United Artists logo and the blurb "The Proudest Name in Entertainment" printed on them.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Long Tall Sally LP

This third and final uniquely Capitol of Canada LP was released on or about Monday April 27 1964. The LP was only available in mono (at the time) and the catalogue number is Capitol of Canada T-6063 (part of the "6000" series).

The front cover of the LP features the exact same photographs and star graphics as the US issued "The Beatles' Second Album". The top of the cover has the same font and size "The Beatles'" print but instead of "Second Album", the black print states the LP name "Long Tall Sally". Underneath are titles of five songs from the LP as well as the blub: "And Others". There is no emerald green "feature" songs on the right hand side of the cover, instead there is the Capitol logo with the "The "6000" series" banner and "High Fidelity" written below the logo. On the lower right hand side is the printers' "Parrs" logo along with the words "Litho In Canada"

The back cover features the same black and white photos and graphics as the US "Second Album" but the large print at the top of the back cover is differenct as well as the catalogue number (naturally). The credits for the photos are the same but placed in the lower right side of the back cover. The track listing is on the left and mini LP covers of both "Beatlemania: With The Beatles" - below the track list and "Twist And Shout" - show diagonally to the right. Joint production credits are "Produced in London by George Martin" and "Canadian Album Production Paul White" are also shown on the lower left.

The labels are similar to the US rainbow labels with the blue lettering above the rainbow rim. My copy does NOT have the word "Canada" in brackets. Originals were pressed at RCA in Ontario.

The track listing is unique to this LP: Side one consists of the A and B side of the single "I Want To Hold Your Hand/I Saw Her Standing There", next is "You Really Got A Hold On Me", "Devil In Her Heart" and "Roll Over Beethoven" (tracks 3,5 and 1 on side two of the UK LP "With the Beatles" respectively). Side one ends with "Misery" (track 2 side one of the UK LP "Please Please Me").

Side two consists of: "Long Tall Sally" and "I Call Your Name" (both from the UK EP "Long Tall Sally"), "Please Mister Postman" (track 7 side one of "With The Beatles"), "This Boy" (the b-side of the UK single "I Want To Hold Your Hand"), "I'll Get You" (the b-side of "She Loves You") and "You Can't Do That" (the b-side of "Can't Buy Me Love").

Unfortunately for Beatles consumers in Canada during this period, four of the songs from this LP had already been released on the previous Capitol of Canada "6000" series LP "Beatlemania! With The Beatles" LP !!

After this release, most of the Capitol issued LPs were configured with the same front cover and back cover (with the exception of the "made in Canada" blurbs and the back cover mini LPs which featured the Canadian catalogue for the earlier LPs).

Saturday, April 23, 2011

The Beatles' Second Album

The second Capitol LP was released on April 10 1964 in the United States (Along with "Meet The Beatles", this LP would not be released in this configuration in Canada until February 1967). The LP was available in mono and stereo. The catalogue number for the mono release is Capitol T-2080 and the stereo release is Capitol ST-2080.

The front cover consists of various sepia toned photos of the Beatles taken by Joe Covello and licensed through "Black Star" (whatevek that is). The front cover also features a large emerald green blurb stressing that both "She Loves You" and "Roll Over Beethoven" are tracks included on the LP.

The back cover several black and whit photos of the group once again credited to Joe Covello and, like the front cover, feature some photos of the Ed Sullivan show appearance, live in Washington DC, a press conference at JFK (on the front), things like that. The back cover also shows a mini album cover of the previously released "Meet The Beatles" with track listings. There is also a George Martin production credit.

The labels feature the classic Capitol black/rainbow type with blue print above the rainbow rim. On most original first pressings, the timings for the first two songs on side two: "Long Tall Sally" and "I Call Your Name" are not present.

The songs included on the LP start with side one "Roll Over Beethoven" ( the first song on side two of the UK LP "With the Beatles"), "Thank You Girl" ( B-side to "From Me To You"), "You Really Got A Hold On Me" (track 3 on side two of "With The Beatles"), "Devil In Her Heart" (track 5 on side two of "With The Beatles"), "You Can't Do That" (b-side of "Can't Buy Me Love").

The songs included on the LP side two: "Long Tall Sally" (from the UK self titled EP), "I Call Your Name" (also from the UK "Long Tall Sally" EP), "Please Mister Postman" (last track on side one of "With The Beatles"), "I'll Get You" and "She Loves You" (both songs from the UK single.

The inner sleeves for this LP were the dark royal blue version with the mini LP covers and the "Caution!" needle statement.

The US mixes on some of these songs are significantly duller than the UK counterparts. The stereo mixes, especially, have lots of added reverb (which would intensify in the next couple of years) and some of the mono-only songs were treated to the "duophonic" process - highs on one side of the spectrum and lows on the other side.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Jolly What ! The Beatles & Frank Ifield On Stage

The second Vee Jay LP to hit the United States and released less than a month after "Introducing The Beatles". "Jolly What!" was released on or about February 26 1964 and the catalogue number for this "cash-in" LP was VJLP 1085 for mono copies and VJLPS 1085 (on certain labels) or VJS 1085 (on covers). The Vee Jay company was never very consistent making these LPs with label and cover variations.

There are versions of the front cover: the first cover released in February 1964 shows a cartoon of a man with a Beatle wig, glasses and Victorian looking mustache/beard in black and red. The mono catalogue number is on the lower right of the front cover but the stereo catalogue number appears on the upper right of the front cover as the slick was moved up or down depending on it's mono or stereo designation. (Fakes usually have the word "STEREO" and the mono catalogue number on the lower right of the front cover). Although the words "On Stage" appear as part of the title for this LP, all tracks are studio recordings. This was probably just a method of trying to sell LPs and misguide teens into thinking this was a live LP which is is not.

The second version of the front cover is the rarest of all Vee Jay LPs. This cover shows the Beatles drawn from a Dezo Hoffmann photograph with George and John having their elbows down and fists holding their chins while Ringo and Paul stand behind them. This is actually a much better and nicer looking cover with the colours mainly blue and the four Beatles songs heard on the LP highlighted below the title. The words: "Jolly What!" are gone and this version is known by collectors as the "portrait cover". There were mono and stereo slicks prepared for this cover version as well with the word "stereo" in blue at the top of the cover when required. This particular second version was a re-issue released probably in September 1964.

The back cover for both versions features black print on a white background. "The Beatles And Frank Ifield" are highlighted and bold and underneath are the short liner notes. There is a great sentence in between the liner notes and the track listing where "compilation" is spelt "copulation". The track listing follows with the side one songs on the left and the side two songs on the right. Of the 12 songs on the LP, only 4 are by the Beatles.

The track listing for side one is: "Please Please Me" (Beatles), "Any Time", Lovesick Blues", "I'm Smiling Now", "Nobody's Darling" (Frank Ifield) and "From Me To You" (Beatles". Side two has "I Remember You" (Frank Ifield), "Ask Me Why", "Thank You Girl" (Beatles), "The Wayward Wind", "Unchained Melody" and "I listen To My Heart" (Frank Ifield). Interestingly, this is the ONLY US LP where "From Me To You" could be found until the 1973 release of Apple's "The Beatles 1962-1966".

The labels for this LP have a variation of the "oval" Vee Jay logo, the "brackets" logo or just the block letters logo. The stereo labels have the stereo wording at the top, at three o'clock or at nine o'clock depending on the logo variation. It should also be noted that the four Beatles songs do not play stereo on stereo copies as Vee Jay never acquired the stereo masters.

My oval logo mono copy came with the white inner sleeve featuring various gospel mini covers on one side and pop mini covers on the other side.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

The Beatles With Tony Sheridan and Guests (MGM)

The recording industry at the beginning of 1964 started to realize the potential of the Beatles and a few "cash-in" LPs were released during this year of Beatlemania. The first of these were issued by MGM in Canada and the United States on or about February 03 1964. The catalogue number for "The Beatles With Tony Sheridan and Guests" was MGM E-4215 (mono) and MGM ST-4215 (stereo) for the United States. Canada only had mono copies released on the same date with the catalogue number E-4214 (C). The "C" was denoted as a Canadian destination. In Canada, the LP was manufactured and distributed by Quality Records as stated on the lower back cover.

The front cover of this horrible LP is an ugly green with "The Beatles" in very large print in white and "With Tony Sheridan and Guests" in very small black print. The four Beatles contributed songs are "featured" in a box on the lower part of the cover. These four recordings are part of the "Tony Sheridan" session in Hamburg for Polydor (more of this in another post).

The back cover is white and once again "The Beatles" in large black thick print and "With Tony Sherican And Guests" in smaller black print is on the left side of the back cover. The left side also includes the track listing and the "artists" or "guests" alongside The Beatles. These "guests" were an unknown band who called themselves the "Titans". The Titans contribute six songs, the other guests are "Tony Sheridan and The Beat Brothers" which is essentially Tony Sheridan with a back-up band (not the Beatles) contributing two songs. There are liner notes on the right hand side of the back cover by Ian bond. My Canadian Copy has a drill hole through the middle of the cover denoting that it has been deleted.

The labels for the LP in the United States are black with the large "MGM" logo (and the lion above it). The large "MGM" logo is in a rainbow colour and the lion above it is also in colour. The track listing is white. The labels for the LP in Canada are orange or yellow and black with the "MGM" in orange or yellow (as well as the lion's head). The track listings are in black with the orange or yellow back ground. Also on the labels are the words "Long Playing" "Microgroove" "Unbreakable" and "331/3 RPM".

Side one contains: "My Bonnie" and "Cry For A Shadow" by The Beatles w/Tony Sheridan, "Johnson Rag" by the Titans, "Swanee River" by Tony Sheridan and the Beat Brothers, "Flying Beat" and "The Darktown Strutters' Ball" by the Titans.

Side two contains: "The Saints" by The Beatles w/Tony Sheridan, "Rye Beat" by the Titans, "You Are My Sunshine" by Tony Sheridan and the Beat Brothers, "Summertime Beat" by the Titans, "Why" by The Beatles w/Tony Sheridan and finally "Happy New Year Beat" by the Titans.

I have not seen any evidence of an inner sleeve being included with original copies.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Twist And Shout LP

This was the second Canadian only release from Capitol of Canada. The release date was February 03 1964 and the catalogue number is Capitol of Canada T-6054. Original copies of this record were only available in mono.

The front cover of the LP has a pink background at the top third of the front with the words "twist and shout" and "The Beatles" written in white (for the former) and black (for the latter). This made the LP stand out from others with it's bright colour flashing at the buyer when the album was lifted up from the rack. A great idea and used many times over the years. The front black and white photo was taken from the UK Parlophone "Twist and Shout" EP showing the Beatles jumping over what looks like building rubble. The front cover also tells us that this LP is part of the "6000 series" and a blurb on the right side of the front covers tells us the LP contains the song "She Loves You".

The back cover of this LP features a famous Dezo Hoffmann black and white photograph of the Beatles (complete with Paul holding his cigarette) that also graced the picture sleeve for the US single "I Want To Hold Your Hand/I Saw Her Standing There" (Capitol 5112). The iconic photograph is placed at the top left hand side of the back cover. The top right hand side features the songs and timings on the LP. Under neath the photo are liner notes supposedly written by Paul White and on the other side under the track listing are short bios of the four Beatles individually. The back cover also features a mini photo of the front cover of the previous LP by Capitol of Canada "Beatlemania! With The Beatles" (Capitol of Canada T-6051) and the track listing below it.

The labels are the classic Capitol rainbow labels with large indents (RCA press) and the perimeter print in white above the rainbow edge. Some copies of this LP contained the Capitol/Angel/ Pathe red and white inner sleeves. Some of the first pressings also contain a bonus glossy promo photo with the Beatles surrounding a chair (Ringo sitting in the chair, Paul to the left, George behind Ringo and John to the right) with the words: "The Beatles" written in large black letters to the left and "Exclusive Capitol Records Recording Stars" written in small black letters with the Capitol logo on the right.

The songs contained on this LP features tracks 3, 4, 5, 6,7 from side one of the UK LP "Please Please Me" (Parlophone PMC 1202) and continues with track 1 from side two of PMC 1202 and the single "From Me To You" to end side one. Side two opens with tracks 2,3,4,5,6 and 7 from side two of the "Please Please Me" Parlophone UK LP and the last track is the single "She Loves You".

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Meet The Beatles

"Meet The Beatles" was the first LP issued by Capitol in the United States on January 20 1964. The LP was released in mono and stereo. The catalogue number for the mono issue is T-2047 while the stereo issue is ST-2047.

The front cover of "Meet The Beatles" uses the same front cover photograph as the one used on the UK LP "With The Beatles" and the Canadian LP "Beatlemania! With The Beatles" although this particular issue has the photograph blue tinted. This photograph was taken by Robert Freeman. The lettering above the photograph has "Meet The" in blue and "Beatles" in various shades of tan or brown or olive green depending on where the cover was printed.

The back covers have a Dezo Hoffman black and white photograph at the bottom right with liner notes on the left and instrumentation information on the right above the photo. The song titles and timings are also on the right. Early back covers for mono and stereo do not have the George Martin production credit. The credit was instituted about a month after it's initial release.

The Capitol labels are black with the rainbow ring and perimeter print in blue above the rim. East coast pressings have the number "1" as a straight I while the west coast pressing have the number with a line diagonal to the straight I to form 1. First pressings do not contain publishing credits whereby later pressings have the songs credited to either ASCAP or BMI.

The songs on "Meet The Beatles" contain the single "I Want To Hold Your Hand" with the North American B-side "I Saw Her Standing There" and then the UK B-side to the same single "This Boy". The "Meet The Beatles" LP concludes side one with the first three tracks of side one of the UK "With The Beatles" LP namely: "It Won't Be Long", "All I've Got To Do" and "All My Loving". Side two of "Meet The Beatles" features the next three tracks (in order) from the "With The Beatles" side one tracks namely: "Don't Bother Me", "Little Child" and "Till There Was You". To end side two of "Meet The Beatles"; tracks 2, 4 and 6 from side two of "With The Beatles" are added to the US version namely: "Hold Me Tight", "I Wanna Be Your Man" and "Not A Second Time". Interestingly, "Meet The Beatles" have all original Beatles compositions either written by Lennon/McCartney or (in one case) Harrison but only one cover: "Till There Was You" (written by M. Willson).

"Meet The Beatles" original issues also included a dark royal blue inner sleeve with black and white miniature LP covers to promote the latest releases by Capitol.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Introducing The Beatles

"Introducing The Beatles" was released in the United States on or about January 10 1964. The catalogue number for this LP is Vee Jay LP 1062 (mono) and Vee Jay SR 1062 (stereo). There are strangely two versions of this LP. Both LPs contain music from the first Parlophone UK LP "Please Please Me" with the exception of the "singles" songs. The first version of the LP contain "Love Me Do" and "P.S. I Love You". These two songs were replaced about a month later with "Please Please Me" and "Ask Me Why".

The front cover shows an Angus McBean photograph that was used on the UK "The Beatles' Hits" EP as well as the re-issue of the "Love Me Do" single in 1982. The photo is cropped and reversed on the "Introducing" cover. The first 6,000 copies of version one include the words "Printed in U.S.A." along the left border of the front cover. These copies are extremely rare. There are differences as well with the mono and stereo covers. The stereo covers have a white banner across the top of the front cover which reads "Stereophonic". Some version two covers have the word "stereophonic" embossed at the top or a "stereophonic" white sticker or a foil sticker that reads: "stereo".

The back cover of the LP can come in various forms. Version one back covers contain either a Vee Jay ad that shows 25 miniature LP covers and the words "Other Fine Albums of Significant Interest" or they may even have blank white back covers !! The most common are back covers with the song titles in between black columns. Version one "column" titles include "Love Me Do" ending side one and "P.S. I Love You" opening side two. Version two back covers only contain the song titles in between black columns with "Please Please Me" replacing "Love Me Do" and "Ask Me Why" replacing "P.S. I Love You".

The records were released on the Vee Jay label and have either the "oval" logo or the "brackets" logo for version one. Version two of the LP contain both logos above as well as a logo without an oval or brackets.

The word "stereo" appears on authentic stereo copies of the LP either at the top or at 3 o'clock or 9 o'clock. Some version two stereo LPs have the word "stereo" on either side of the VJ "brackets".

Of particular interest is that the first song on side one: "I Saw Her Standing There" does not include the full count-in. The "Introducing The Beatles" version of this song starts with the last "four !!" with the beginning of the count-in edited out. No inner sleeves were originally issued with this LP.

Beatlemania ! With The Beatles

The very first North American official LP was released on November 25 1963 (three days later after the UK "With The Beatles"). This LP was released only in Canada through Capitol of Canada. The catalogue number for this LP is T-6051 (part of Capitol of Canada's "6000" series).

The front cover is essentially the same as the UK "With The Beatles" with the exception of the title and some tabloid quotes printed over the familiar Beatles "half shadow" cover used on both "Meet The Beatles" and "With The Beatles".

The back cover of the LP is the same as the UK "With The Beatles" with the liner notes by Tony Barrow.The original release was only available in mono.

The labels for the LP are the usual black/ rainbow labels with perimeter print in white above the rainbow rim. The record label has a wide indentition signifying that the record was pressed in Smith Falls, Ontario. The track listing for the LP is exactly the same as "With The Beatles". Some of the pressings had a red and white inner sleeve promoting "Capitol", "Angel" and "Pathe" records.


Now that we've reviewed basically the UK catalogue and the LP releases post-Apple from the UK and North America, we enter a new phase. The Beatles on compact disc. Before we look at this phase, let's quickly review the original North American LPs from the United States and Canada in order to appreciate the different art work and track listings (in certain cases). When the Beatles started to establish their official catalogue as the compact disc were about to be released, the North American LP versions of their work would slowly be deleted and remain individually out of print (with the exception of the Beatles "The Capitol Albums Volume 1 and 2" box sets where certain titles were officially released in CD form).

Thursday, April 14, 2011

The Mobile Fidelity Sound Lab Beatles Box Set

The Mobile Fidelity Sound Lab (or MFSL ) Beatles Box set was released in 1982 (exact date unknown to me, either October or November). It's official name is "The Beatles/ The Collection" and it's catalogue number is MFSL BC-1.

Before the box set, MFSL had already released three of the Beatles LPs as individual items. The first was "Abbey Road" either on December 1979 or January 1980. The process for the discs included using the master tapes (when available) and then utilizing "half-speed" mastering of the laquers. This was then pressed onto "super vinyl" when sent from California (MFSL headquarters) to the Yokohama factory of the Victor company in Japan in order to fabricate the metal masters and the press the records. This "super vinyl" was transparent when held up to light and was heavy vinyl and harder than regular vinyl in order to establish the best sound possible. The master tape used for "Abbey Road" was actually the Capitol sub-masters and not the original from Abbey Road.

The second Beatles LP from MFSL was "Magical Mystery Tour". The master used for this project was actually from EMI but this version originated from Capitol and was used by EMI for the 1970s re-issue. This didn't make much sense when considering that this version contained second generation stereo for eight songs and fake (duophonic) stereo for three songs. This second release was put out on February 01 1981.

The third Beatles LP from MFSL was "The Beatles (White Album)" issued on January 07 1982. The master tapes used for this project were also sub-masters from Capitol.

All of the above covers were released with colour banners at the top denoting that there were "Original Master Recordings". "Abbey Road" had the standard cover, "Magical Mystery Tour" had the re-issued gatefold without the booklet and "The Beatles (White Album)" was not embossed not did it contain the poster and individual photos. The labels for these three pressings were white with black print. "Abbey Road" has the target Capitol logo, "Magical Mystery Tour" has the EMI logo (ironically) and "The Beatles" has the dome Capitol logo.

The box set was then released. The remaining 10 LPs were as follows: "Please Please Me" (using the original master tape from EMI), "With The Beatles" (also using the original master tape from EMI) "A Hard Day's Night" (also using the original master tape from EMI), "Beatles For Sale" (using a re-mix from the four track tape), "Help!" (using a re-mix tape), "Rubber Soul" (using a re-mix tape), "Revolver" ( using the original master tape from EMI), "Sgt. Pepper" (using a re-mix tape), "Yellow Submarine" (using a re-mix tape) and "Let It Be" (using a corrected copy tape). It is also interesting to note that "Pepper" in this set does not contain the recording of the high frequency or the "inner groove".

Each of the 14 discs in the box set have the white labels with black print. All have rice paper inner sleeves and are surrounded by a cardboard gatefold sleeve and housed in custom covers. The custom covers feature a photo of a tape (actually the same tape is used for all the covers) and an open tape box which shows information as to when the tape was removed from the box and used for issues and re-mixing for various countries, etc. The sound is amazing.

The box set also includes a "Geo-Disc" which is a 12 inch plastic platter used to align and set your stylus and cartridge to a transcription deck !!

The box set also comes with a 12 by 12 40-page colour booklet which explains the MFSL process, contains a certificate of authenticity individually numbered (my copy is 11,734). The booklet also contains reproductions of all the Beatles LP covers - front and back: "Please Please Me" has the "stereo" marking on the front and stereo catalogue number on the back; "With The Beatles" has no marking on the front and stereo catalogue number on the back; "A Hard Day's Night" has the "stereo marking on the front and stereo catalogue number on the back; "Beatles For Sale" has no marking on the front and the mono catalogue number within the left inner sleeve of the gatefold; "Help!" has the "stereo" marking on the front and stereo catalogue number on the back; "Rubber Soul" has no marking on the front and the mono catalogue number on the back; "Revolver" also has no marking on the front and the mono catalogue number on the back; "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band" has the mono catalogue number; "The Beatles" has no indications of denoting "stereo" anywhere on the cover; "Yellow Submarine" has the mono catalogue number on the back and is missing the original red lines from the first pressing releases; lastly "Magical Mystery Tour" and "Let It Be" use the re-issue covers from the 1970s thereby eliminating the booklet for "MMT" and using the EMI/Parlophone logo rather than the Apple logo for "Let It Be". I point this out as all of the issues are in stereo and it would have been nice to use the original covers for all of the above with their stereo catalogue numbers.

The booklet also contains a discography at the back. The whole book is surrounded by a sturdy white cardboard outer sleeve. Finally, the set comes with a "Certificate of Limited Warranty".

Supposedly, 25,000 copies of this box set were released. All sold out within a year.

Starting in June 1984, the rest of the Beatles LPs were released individually as the remainder of the "Original Master Recordings" series start with "Rubber Soul". One anomoly is the version of "With The Beatles" as an individual MFSL record, it is rarer than the others due to the fact that a damaged metal part for the recording ensured it had a very limited run.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Twelve inches of "Love Me Do"

EMI had started to release the Beatles' singles once again due to their upcoming twentieth anniversaries. The first twentieth anniversay single released was "Love Me Do/P.S. I love You" complete with a new picture sleeve and a limited picture disc on October 09 1982. All of the other singles would also be released with picture sleeves on their twentieth anniversary date up to "Let It Be/You Know My Name (Look Up The Number)".

To help promote the "Love Me Do" single, EMI released the first Beatles' twelve inch single on November 01 1982 with the catalogue number Parlophone 12 R4949. This 12 inch single features the two versions of "Love Me Do": the original version with Ringo on drums from September 04 1962 and the later version with Andy White (which appeared on the LP) from September 11 1962. The 12 inch single also included the B-side "P.S. I Love you'. The liner notes on the back cover explain the history of the different versions. The label used for this release is the red Parlophone logo. The front and back cover photos were from the Angus McBean sessions with the back cover photo being used on the US LP: "Introducing The Beatles". This photo was reversed on the LP but is featured in it's original state on the 12 inch single.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

20 Greatest Hits

In the early eighties, it was discovered that the twentieth anniversary of the Beatles' first single "Love Me Do/ P.S. I Love You" was imminent. EMI was ready to mark the occasion by releasing a double LP containing all of the 22 British singles (including the 4 double "A" singles) brining the total to 26 songs spread over two discs. This double LP was to be called "The Beatles Greatest Hits" (very original !!) and white label pressings were made. The project even issued a catalogue number of EMTVS34. The product was to be heavily advertised on television. The double LP was supposed to be released on October 11 1982 (six days after the anniversary of the first single) but was scrapped in favour of a single LP with the A-sides. I'm sure the double LP would have been a massive seller but the record company (in their infinite wisdom) were afraid that the double LP would be compared to the earlier 1973 double LP (The Beatles 1962/1966 and 1967/ 1970). This was utterly ridiculous but...there you go.

Instead EMI released "20 Greatest Hits" as a single disc on Parlophone PCTC 260 on October 18 1982. The LP contained 20 songs from singles that reached the number one spot on the charts in chronological order. "Love Me Do" was also included and opened side one. "Love Me Do" and "She Loves You" are mono but the rest of the material is in stereo. "From Me To You" contains the stereo version with no harmonica intro and "I Feel Fine" has the stereo "whispering" version. The LP was released on the silver and black Parlophone label.

In North America, this LP was also released under the same name and a similar cover. This was released as Capitol SO-12245 in Canada and as Capitol SV-12245 in the United States. The front cover of the LP is different whereby the song titles are featured above the title of the LP on the UK version, the North American version does not feature the song titles - only the title of the LP and the "Beatles" graphic. It must also be noted that there is a difference on the Canadian and US versions of the back cover. The US version contains a barcode on the upper right side of the back cover whereas the Canadian version does not. The inner sleeve is the same for all version featuring a collage of various photographs of the Beatles put together by Chuck Ames.

There are track differences as well between the UK and North America. Six songs that are on the Capitol version but not the EMI version are: "Eight Days A Week", "Yesterday", "Penny Lane", "Come Together", "Let It Be" and "The Long and Winding Road". Six songs that are on the Parlophone version but no the Capitol version are: "From Me To You", "Day Tripper", "Eleanor Rigby", "Yellow Submarine", "Lady Madonna" and "The Ballad Of John And Yoko". The North American version of this LP contained the material on both the purple Capitol labels as well as the re-issued Rainbow styl Capitol labels (for both Canada and the US). My personal copy of the Canadian Rainbow label version also had an invert for Beatles Books. Also noted is the fact that original purple label in the US had "Yesterday" timed on the label as 1:04 and was later changed to it's correct timing of 2:04.

Ironically, the LP stalled at number 50 in the US with a 28 week run. The UK LP did better with the highest position at number 09. My theory is that the public had been saturated in the US with numerous compilations over the past five years (1976-1981) as we have seen. A much better single package of greatest hits would be issued in 2000 with much better results (see post for the Beatles "1"). In the UK, The Beatles' "20 Greatest Hits" was the first UK LP not to contain album tracks.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Reel Music

This compilation LP was compiled by Capitol Records as another of their "theme" albums. This time the songs were taken from the Beatles' four major motion pictures with United Artists/ Apple films as well as the television special "Magical Mystery Tour". The original name for the release was "The Reel Beatles". The logo for the LP was a large movie reel (in case nobody figured out the pun !). This LP was released in North America on either March 22 or March 24 1982. The North American catalogue number is Capitol SV-12199. This LP was released in the UK on March 29 1982. The UK catalogue number was Parlophone/EMI PCS 7218.

The song selections were complied by Randall Davis and Steve Meyer. There are four songs featured from the movie "A Hard Day's Night". The title song appears in true stereo for the first time in the US on this LP. "I Should Have Known Better" has the stereo mix with the harmonica from the intro fixed to sound similar to the intro of the mono mix. "Can't Buy Me Love" "And I Love Her" round out the tunes from this movie. The next three songs are from the movie "Help!" which include the title track, "You've Got To Hide Your Love Away" and "Ticket To Ride" (in true stereo for the first time in the US). Side one ends with the title track of "Magical Mystery Tour".

Side two opens with "I Am the Walrus" (this version having the six bar intro rather than the four bar intro). It continues with two songs from the "Yellow Submarine" film including the title track and "All You Need Is Love". The set closes with three songs from the "Let It Be" film including the title track, "Get Back" and "The Long And Winding Road". Both "Let It Be" and "Get back" are the LP mix versions rather than the 45 single mixes.

The front cover of the LP depicts a drawing of the Beatles arriving at a theater (the "Capitol" theater) in various incarnations of their dress from each film. The inner sleeve depicts photos of the individual Beatles along film reels on one side. The US version of the inner sleeve depict the US LPs available with the caption at the top reading: "The Beatles Collection". The UK and Canadian inner sleeves are black with the "Reel Music" logo at the upper left.

The package came with a 12 page booklet issued as "The Beatles Souvenir Program". This booklet includes liner notes on each film with the last page showing various movie posters for the films. This booklet was printed in the USA and all booklets were imported into the various LP issues for Canada and the UK. The labels used on the vinyl records were custom labels in Canada and the USA. The UK labels are the Parlophone/EMI black and silver labels.

There were also special promotional LPs released which featured gold coloured vinyl issues. The Canadian copy has the large promotional stamp on the bottom left of the front cover. My personal copy is "Limited Edition Serial No. 1373". The US promotional copy was numbered on the back cover in the upper right. My personal copy is "Limited Edition No. 11134 Not For Sale". My US copy proves that although the limited edition was supposed to be limited to 10,000 more than this number were obviously pressed.

My US copies also come with a small sticker on the shrink wrap promoting the fact that 14 songs from their movies and promotes the special 12 page color souvenir program.

This LP was never officially released on compact disc.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

The Beatles Movie Medley

A new single was released in North America on March 22 1982. The single was used for two reasons: the first reason was the "tie-in" with the upcoming Beatles LP "Reel Music" (released on the same day and featured in the next post). The second reason was for the single to have it's own unique twist: The songs featured on the A side and making up the actual "medley" were edited with the intention of having the same beat flowing through the songs similar to the then-popular "Stars on 45" concept. This was not an easy task when you are only using the film music from Beatles movies that are featured on the upcoming theme LP : The medley starts with a bit of "Magical Mystery Tour" before changing awkwardly to the slow shuffle beat of "All You Need Is Love". Then it gets ever weirder when it changes to a song that is in 3/4 time when the rest of the songs are in 4/4 time. The song in 3/4 time is "You've Got To Hide Your Love Away" which is sped up on this recording and changing back to 4/4 time with "I Should have Known Better". This song morphs into "A Hard Day's Night" and then "Ticket To Ride"and finally "Get Back". There is no credit (that I could find) for who butchered this monstrosity. This so-called "Movie Medley" has got to be worst piece of shit I have ever heard.!!!

The B side of the single originally featured an audio recording entitled "Fab Four on Film". This consisted of an interview with the Beatles in 1964 pertaining to their first major motion picture with United Artists: "A Hard Day's Night". The interview lasts six and half minutes and was provided to Capitol Records from the producer of the movie; Walter Shenson. The interview was edited by Randall Davis.

Capitol Records started printing picture sleeves and record labels for the single when it was discovered that the B side "Fab Four On Film" would not be commercially released and the B side was quickly replaced with "I'm Happy Just To Dance With You" which ironically was not featured on the "Reel Music" LP. The original catalogue number for the single before the B side was changed is Capitol B-5100. This includes the promotional single with the catalogue number Capitol P-B-5100. Also released with the original B side is a 12 inch vinyl promotion single with the catalogue number SPRO 9758/9759. The promo single, the commercial single and the twelve inch promotion single all have custom labels similar to a movie reel.

When the B side was changed, only commercial singles replaced the B side with "I'm Happy Just To Dance With You" and the print on the picture sleeve and the labels were changed to the catalogue number Capitol B-5107.

This single was released in the UK on Parlophone R 6055 on May 24 1982 with the B-side being "I'm Happy Just To Dance With You" and the "Movie Medley" has not been officially released on compact disc (thank Buddha !!).