Customer Review

18 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating but for fans only!, 22 Jan 2014
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This review is from: The US Albums (Audio CD)
Beatle music has to have five stars from me. No matter what order the tracks are played the music is superb. The packaging is good. Housed in a box similar to the Beatles in Mono, are thirteen albums. Twelve of them released in the period 1964 to 1966. The Beatles released seven albums in the UK up to the end of 1966 (eight if you count Oldies but Goldies). Interesting book enclosed telling the story of the album releases in America and why they were so different. Told from the perspective of a fan at the time who only heard these versions. There is the mono and stereo versions on the same disc. I was under the impression for some reason that Capitol had messed about with the sound, adding echo for example. Not the case according to these discs*. These tracks sound the same as the remastered mono and stereo reissues from 2009.

Whether you buy the package or not would depend how much of a fan/compleatist you are. There is nothing new on here. However for a fan like myself it is fascinating to hear how the Americans first witnessed the Beatles on record. At first you think that it is incredible that the Americans were so late to come to the party. But in 1963 there was not the communications there are today. America was a long way away and had its own huge stars. Why would they be interested in anything from the other side of the pond? Particularly as the Beatles weren't from London. Also in retrospect the early singles and Please Please Me album were not that amazing. It only started to get amazing around the time of She Loves You. The Beatles and George Martin just got better and better in those early days.

Meet The Beatles
The Americans had joined the party so late that there was a wealth of Beatle music already available for them to play. Two albums (please please me/with the beatles plus four A sides and four b sides). It is interesting from their first album the tracks they picked. They took only one track from Please Please Me (they had given the rights away to another record company Veejay!), I saw Her Standing There, and that was probably because it was the B side of their first hit single over there, I Want To hold Your Hand (which starts the album). The rest are mainly tracks from the Beatles second UK album With The Beatles plus This Boy which was the B side of I Want To Hold Your Hand in the UK. A great track which disappeared without trace in the UK until they started releasing rarities albums in the 70's.

Second Album
Even though these albums are a mishmash of the UK releases the writer of the book does point out that even though they accept that the UK versions are the `definitive' these are the albums they were brought up on. They knew no different and the Beatles second album when you see it from that aspect is phenomenal. More tracks from With The Beatles along with a and B sides of She Loves You (I'll Get You another track that fell into obscurity in the UK until the rarities albums) and two tracks from the brilliant EP (not a concept recognised in the US) Long Tall Sally. A great collection even with side two only being 11 minutes long!

A Hard Day's Night
Here the American fans did get short changed says the author. I agree. One of the best albums in my opinion totally butchered on the American version. Only 8 of the 13 uk tracks appear on here. Padded out with instrumental versions of the film songs.

Something New
Then a month later was issued this album with 5 of the 7 film songs. Altogether there are 8 of the 13 songs from the uk Hard Days Night on here. A good collection along with the two other tracks from the Sally EP if you hadn't already bought the previous album!

The Beatles Story
I guarantee that I will not be taking this one out of its little packet again. A very poor, lifeless documentary amateurishly put together. Music snippets which were surprisingly good sound. Not sure that Liverpool would appreciate being described as a `slum town'!

Beatles 65
8 of the 14 tracks from Beatles For Sale plus the single and B side to I feel Fine plus the last track from the UK edition of Hard Days Night! Bizarre! They only put a maximum of 12 tracks on albums (11 on this one). The result, more mishmash albums. I do not blame EMI/the Beatles for being angry at the time and refusing, until now, to release these on CD.

The Early Beatles
Capitol had refused to issue the album Please Please Me so another record company had reaped the rewards. These songs reverted to Capitol in October 1964. So they reissued Please Please Me in this package ie without I Saw Her Standing There (already appeared on meet the Beatles) There's A Place and Misery (these tracks don't appear to have been released on album over there at that time, unless someone knows different?! Apart from the Veejay album of course).

Beatles VI
7 tracks from Beatles For Sale, 2 from UK Help, 2 other tracks (1 B side Yes It Is and Bad Boy).

The 7 film tracks plus orchestral filler.

Rubber Soul
10 of the 14 UK tracks plus and two from the UK Help album. You would have thought that by now the releases could be the same. They are nearly there with this one, even had the same cover, but then......

Yesterday and Today
The 4 missing tracks from Rubber Soul, 2 tracks from Help, 3 from Revolver plus the single Day Tripper and We Can Work It Out. What a hotch potch! The Beatles even sent them the famous butchered photo for the cover. To let them know what they thought presumably? And they used it!!! This is in the box set along with the one used to cover it after the complaints.

11 0f the UK tracks. Devalued by putting three great Lennon tracks on the last album. Right cover though!

Before Sgt Pepper came out the original contract with the Beatles had finished. The new renegotiated contract said that all releases had to be the same. There were two other releases that were agreed to, one of which, Hey Jude is included. Another hotch potch of old material that had not appeared on a Capitol album before. The other (not included here) was Magical Mystery Tour. The Americans did not have EP's so they were allowed to bring out an album of these tracks along with various singles. This was for once a good idea and has been incorporated into the official Beatles Catalogue.

An interesting box set but for fans only!

*I have since seen from another review that the mono versions of I Feel Fine and She's A Woman on Beatles 65 have the different sound. Air craft hanger sound is a very good description Mr R.P.Gregory! On Something New the mono version of And I Love Her has a single track Paul rather than the usual double track. There is also a piano break missing on the mono version of Any Time At All. That last one is not really noticeable. Apparently the American reviewers are very unhappy because in most cases the original 'reverb' sound has been replaced by the 2009 remaster. That sound is what they remember and what they thought they were getting.
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Showing 1-4 of 4 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 22 Jan 2014 18:21:11 GMT
Fantastic review. Really helpful. Thanks.

In reply to an earlier post on 23 Jan 2014 09:42:33 GMT
Thanks very much. I have just added a little more because I have read another review which points out the alternate versions of I Feel Fine and She's A Woman.

Posted on 31 Jan 2014 03:04:43 GMT
Last edited by the author on 31 Jan 2014 03:34:49 GMT
Mike M. says:
Very nice post.

A few side notes speaking from someone in America..

We tried EPs but for some reason people didn't go for them. They seemed redundant. Also, Americans viewed LPs as vehicles to promote the current hits. That's opposed to caring about fans having to buy the same songs twice, which was the concern in England. I guess there's pros and cons to both sides. Songs didn't tend to get buried as the writer claims which is quite true. But if you were a fan who had to own everything released, you did end up buying some things multiple times.

Misery and There's A Place were never on a Capitol album until Rarities was released in the 80s. You could actually only find them as a single on Capitol's budget Starline Series. I know growing up I never saw them around so they were hard to find. Also, Love Me Do (single version), I'm Down, From Me To You, Sie Liebt Dich and The Inner Light had the same fate. Needless to say as a fan who generally waited for the LPs to buy it was very disappointing.

For Beatles VI, they specifically recorded Bad Boy and Dizzy Miss Lizzy for this release. I'm not sure where Bad Boy ended up in England (Oldies But Goldies?).

After listening to this new box, the CD that stands out the most to me that sounds radically different than what I was used to was The Beatles Second Album. This is probably the most disappointing of the bunch. A Hard Day's Night was louder on record too. I'll Be Back on Beatles '65 was also drenched in reverb.

We all recognize now that the British versions are the definitive releases and rightly so. You could find them on record in the 60s but they were pretty expensive. I saw them around but I never bought them.

Today I view the US Capitol versions getting it right 3 times:

Meet The Beatles: perfect record to introduce the Beatles to America. Starts out with the smash hit I Want To Hold Your Hand, followed by the 2 different B-sides. All Lennon-McCartney compositions (except Till There Was You, a song even mom and dad could relate to). The rock and roll covers were deliberately left off since we were familiar with those songs already.

Rubber Soul: A whole different listening experience. By this this time folk music was more prevelant and this record reflected that. I know in the 80s when I first heard it on cd I always cringed when What Goes On came on. It just didn't fit in my mind, just as Yesterday never felt right to me getting buried on side 2 of Help.

Magical Mystery Tour: not in this box but like it was mentioned, it was so much better than a double EP that they included it eventually into the core.

But like you said, it's all Beatle music so no matter how it's released, it's all great. (If you think The Beatles are chopped up you should see how we marketed The Rolling Stones)

Anyway, enjoy!

In reply to an earlier post on 31 Jan 2014 16:24:51 GMT
Thanks for your comments. Very interesting to hear a view from someone who was there at the time. Yes Bad Boy was on Oldies But Goldies. I think the American versions got it right by putting the singles and b sides on albums. At the time it seemed a ripoff in the uk but we soon came round to it in the 70's and have done it ever since. There were so many great b sides from the Beatles that disapeared without trace until the rarities album came out, Thank You Girl, I'll Get You, This Boy, Yes It Is, She's A Woman, I'm Down. The EP Long Tall Sally, Bad Boy. That didn't happen in America because they were all on albums.

Incidentally I agree with you about What Goes On, not one of my favourite tracks. I have to say I have never been a big fan of Yesterday. Some of my favourite tracks are on Help, Yesterday is not Beatly enough for me!
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Andy O'Boogie

Location: Widnes, Cheshire, UK

Top Reviewer Ranking: 488