Here’s a bone of contention I’ve been meaning to address for many years. This entry to my blog is very long, confusing, filled with punctuational/grammatical errors, and will make your head hurt.
With that, let’s get straight to the point…
Whenever the subject of the Beatles’ US Capitol Records releases is brought up, it never fails to morph into the stale concept of “Capitol was greedy!” or “Capitol ruined everything!” nonsense. This usually occurs with fans who are either mis-informed or just like to follow the status quo. Granted. Most foreign fans had the releases as they were intended. Most Yankees were not that fortunate and the music was gleaned from what was released in the USA. With that, no one is at fault, but, that all changes when people claim:
“Capitol Records destroyed their music! They ruined the sound on EVERYTHING!”.
Then, there’s my favorite:
“The Beatles always gave value for the fan’s money! They kept the singles separate from the albums!”
What people continuously fail to recognize is the main objective of every record label is to make money. Plain and simple. To think otherwise is downright silly. So, in early 1963, when Capitol US turned down the Beatles, it was due to the fact they’d been burned before, as- 99.9% of the acts they signed from the UK- bombed. With that in mind, why should they take a chance on an unknown English band, who’s music was a complete radical departure from all the safe and stale songs of the day? Thankfully, when they heard “I Want To Hold Your Hand”, they gave the green light.
Oh yes! I forgot to mention, once Capitol USA did sign them, they poured $50,000.00 into promotion for the band. In 1963-64, that was an unprecedented amount of cash.
Meanwhile, in early 1963, Capitol Of Canada did sign them……
…………but- the first three singles- all bombed. Perhaps, the US affiliate took notice?
Let’s take a look:
“Love Me Do”, the version with Ringo Starr on drums, sold a staggering 78 copies. Awesome!
“Please Please Me” fared much better by selling an incredible 180 copies. Amazing!
“From Me To You” broke all records by selling a whopping 500 copies. Incredible!
Combined, all three Canadian singles sold less than 1,000 copies.
So, yes. In Canada, Beatlemania was really taking off with a bang, right?
Also, Canadian radio stations refused to play these three 45’s, but, I guess, that’s OK as they weren’t “American” radio stations. 🙄
Because all three singles bombed so terribly, Capitol Of Canada didn’t even consider releasing The Beatles first album, “Please Please Me”.
Huh?! What?! How?! Why?! Who?! Where?! When?!
Anyway, Paul White, who served as the Canadian label’s marketing manager and worked in the Artists & Repertoire Department, was the reason they were signed. He liked their “fresh, new sound”, and- after the three 45’s bombed- was asked by the higher ups:
“Why are you releasing these records? They are all stiffs!”
“Quite frankly, I like them. This group is dynamite, plus they’re selling zillions in England and they can’t all be wrong”.
The higher ups said:
“We’ll give you one more chance, but get on something different!”
So, to Paul White’s credit, Capitol Of Canada stuck it out through three dud releases by the Beatles. Had he not insisted, the head honchos would’ve dropped them like a pair of old underwear. So, even in Canada- where so many are quick to mention Beatlemania first took full swing in North America- the Beatles were on borrowed time.
Anyway, it was with the fourth single, “She Loves You”, the label realized they were onto something different and special. Capitol US wasn’t so optimistic. OK. Big deal. It happens. If you are up on your Beatles history, Decca and other labels all said “no” as well. Finally, a few months later, Capitol US woke up and made the right decision. How dare they take so long to catch on?! To this day, the silly reaction is that Capitol US was supposed to know, straight off, that this band would be as huge as they were, and, yet, no one says a word about how close they came to being dumped in Canada. See what I’m getting at here, hmm?
By the way, for whichever stupid reason, Capitol Of Canada decided releasing these two LP’s- with identical artwork- was a good idea. “Long Tall Sally” was released in May, 1964, replaced, in 1967, by the April, 1964 US-created “Second Album” and reissued in 1971. From there on, along with the reissued-Canada-only albums: “Twist & Shout”, “Beatlemania: With The Beatles”- and all the US LP’s- it remained in print well into the 1980’s.
NOTE: Both albums share SEVEN songs:
You Really Got A Hold on Me
Devil In Her Heart
Roll Over Beethoven
Long Tall Sally
I Call Your Name
Please Mister Postman
I’ll Get You
Let’s not forget that Capitol Of Canada- the label which first signed the Beatles in North America- had also released “Beatlemania: With The Beatles”. That one shares FOUR songs from each of these albums as well.
I would like someone to show me, one instance- between 1964 and 1971- where Capitol USA did such a thing.
Pardon me, as I sit back, and wait- patiently- for the response….
It was shortly after the “Long Tall Sally” LP that Capitol US sent a directive to their Canuck subsidiary stating that all future releases will coincide with those released in the United States. I think that sucks as I thoroughly enjoy the notion of exclusive creations for each different land.
Anyway, back to the American records…….
Now, for the altering of their releases…….
Just because “procedure” may be handled a certain way in a certain land, doesn’t mean it’s going to gel in other regions of the world. Here’s a prime example:
In the UK, royalties are paid per album, whereas, in the USA, it’s per song.
Because of this, it would cost Capitol a lot more in royalty payments. Hence part of the reason the US albums were recompiled to feature 11 or 12 songs instead of the 14 which is the norm in the UK. Of course, the company wanted to create “more product” and why not? They would keep songs off albums, add some left off previous LP’s, and throw in a current hit single, which- at the time- was common practice in the USA. With this approach, “more product” was achieved. This, of course, was not conducive to what the band intended, but- as a fan who collects records- it means more stuff for me to enjoy. Good! Another bonus for us Western Hemisphere types is- many of the tapes sent to Capitol- featured alternate mixes/edits of songs not available anywhere else.
Yes. I love this notion. 😎
Also, people continuously fail to look to the releases from countries like Germany, France, Spain, Portugal, Italy, all the Scandinavian countries, Japan, Mexico, Australia, New Zealand etc. Take a meander at those discographies and you’ll see the practice of reconfiguring / creating albums and singles was far from exclusive to Capitol Records USA/Canada. Go ahead….dig around and see what I’m talking about.
Now, when it comes to the sound, this is where Capitol did screw up but it wasn’t all the time like so many want to believe. The 45’s were definitely pressed way too “hot”. The only excuse is they were mastered this way so they’d “work well for AM radio”. I agree. It’s lame, but, many US labels mastered their singles in this same irritating manner. One cool aspect of the US Capitol 45’s is the company created picture sleeves for each and every one of them (when Apple showed up, the picture sleeves slowed a bit). Each single was like a celebration. In the UK, there were only two picture sleeves. Boring!
As for the US LP’s, Capitol Records honcho, Dave Dexter, most certainly went too far with the added reverb, but, this was usually exclusive to the stereo pressings only.
He was also attempting to do his job.
Dexter tried to make these “foreign recordings” sound “big” and, what, he thought, how Americans would prefer the music to sound. Yup. He screwed up a few times. No argument there. Again, this applies to the stereo mixes.
Then there’s the subject of “fold down” mixes….
For most of the first two US Capitol albums, plus “The Early Beatles”, the soundtrack of “Help!”, and a few tracks on “Yesterday…And Today”, EMI UK sent stereo dubs only. Why did this occur? No one knows, but, it resulted in Capitol having to create crummy “fold-down” mixes for most of the mono versions of songs on those albums (look up “fold down mixes”). Until a proper answer says otherwise, that blame falls directly on EMI in the UK. The non-fold-down-mono albums all sound great (yes people…..it’s true).
Then, there are those dreaded “fake stereo” mixes……..
These rotten mixes are the result of attempting to create a stereo image from mono recordings. It was nothing new and most labels followed the same procedure (look up “fake stereo”). Do these “duophonic stereo” mixes sound good? Hell, no. They suck and should have simply been kept in their original mono format. The “worst case award” for this irritating practice has to go to “I Feel Fine” and “She’s A Woman” from the stereo pressing of “Beatles’65”. How these two sonic abominations made it past Capitol’s quality control still baffles fans. Aside from the embarrassment factor, they are extremely painful to hear (IMO, the US mono version of “I Feel Fine”– mixed with extra reverb by George Martin- is eons better than the doinky, dry UK mono version). Record labels in other countries made their own fake stereo mixes as well. This includes Parlophone UK who created fake stereo mixes for “Love Me Do”, “PS I Love You” and “She Loves You”…..and they all suck too. Heck, until 1999,“Only A Northern Song” wasn’t mixed for true stereo at all! Yet, the blame always falls on Capitol Records. What’s wrong with this picture?
One thing is for sure, The Beatles never refused the royalty payments from any of these “dreaded” US releases, so- the concept that Capitol Records should be the one label who carries the moniker of “bad guy”- is beyond silly.
Now for my favorite…
“The Beatles always kept singles separate from the albums”.
This notion is the most laughable. Why? Because, starting with their first UK LP, “Please Please Me”, they added both sides of TWO singles. This means, FOUR songs meant for 45’s were placed on their very first album.
Yeah…OK! Nice way to start things off! 🙄🙄🙄🙄
Granted, they utilized the version of “Love Me Do” with Andy White on drums and Ringo Starr on tambourine (as if, at the time, most fans could tell the difference). Regardless, it’s still the same song! To top it all off, later, in 1963- the “Ringo drums” version- was deleted with the Andy White rendition replacing it on the 45. Then, just to make sure there would be no confusion, EMI destroyed the original master tape featuring the version with Ringo drumming! Oh yeah, that was smart! Funny, no one complains about that dopey move. I guess it was, somehow, Capitol’s fault.
Out of the twelve original UK LP’s, the Beatles fulfilled their “no-singles on albums” promise five times.
Also, each year, Parlophone/EMI had a very irritating habit of breathing down the band’s neck to have product available for the “Christmas rush”. Why? Could it be they wanted more revenue? Nah. Not at all! They were merely getting into the Yuletide spirit!
Oh yes! Let’s not forget the “We Have To Cash-in For British Christmas ’66!” release known as “A Collection Of Beatles Oldies…But Goldies”!
My question for all the anti-Capitol people is this:
Are you not aware that Capitol USA completely passed over this cash-cow greatest hits compilation, or, does that not matter?
Even the Beatles were against it, but, EMI/Parlophone said “Screw you! It’s coming out!” So, in the USA, there was a months long lull between “Revolver” and “Strawberry Fields Forever”. Capitol bravely stuck it out (we’ll talk about this greedy cash-in album in a few). While I love “Oldies But Goldies”, please stop accusing Capitol for being the only record company who wanted to make a buck…or a pound…or a Kroner etc.
Then, there’s the case of the “single in disguise” known as the “Extended Play Record”…..
These SEVEN INCH, 45RPM SINGLES featured four songs taken off the band’s latest album or combining hit tracks from previously released 45’s. Supposedly, the justification for this was they were sold as “poor man’s albums”. OK. Granted. Younger fans across the globe were usually low on funds and would settle for buying these nifty little creations with the unique picture sleeves. However, the EP was never embraced in the USA, and younger American fans were just as broke as the kids in the UK and every other country. I’m sure Mommy and Daddy helped more often than not, but, fans always found a way to buy their records. Ha! I can’t count how many times I bought them using nothing but pennies! I’ve been told the four-song UK EP’s usually cost about 14-15 shillings and fourteen-song LP’s were 25 shillings. In comparison, doesn’t that seem a bit pricey for a supposed “poor man’s album” that only offered four tracks? What of the instances where two EP’s were pulled from the same album? If fans went that route, they’d dish out 30 shillings for eight songs. Of course, in the UK, there were “coupons” known as “record tokens”, but, how many purchases had to be made to earn one those thingies? In The USA, Capitol Records released two Beatles EP’s and both bombed. At least they gave the format a shot.
So, via the UK EP’s, Parlophone pulled TWELVE of the FOURTEEN songs from “Please Please Me”, TWO from “With The Beatles”, EIGHT from “A Hard Day’s Night” and “Beatles For Sale” and FOUR from “Help!” and “Rubber Soul”.
They even repeated a song on the clunky double-EP, “Magical Mystery Tour”, yet, they kept “singles” separate?
No! They did not! 😡
No matter what your opinion of the EP may be, they are still seven-inch 45’s, and- outside any exclusive releases- were filled to the rim with ALBUM and SINGLES tracks! That’s that. If the Beatles had really tried to live up to their promise, there would be nothing from any album available in seven-inch form. Just because Parlophone, or fans, or whomever, decided to brand EP’s as off limits to scrutiny, doesn’t change the fact they plastered the market with tons of repeated songs. Yet, Capitol’s approach gets tarred and feathered.
So, in the UK, every album through “Revolver” had songs pulled from it for release on seven-inch records. Same applies to the last three LP’s the Beatles released. Yet, so many are quick to completely dismiss the US releases. Are we not supposed to acknowledge this fact?
Sorry. Not happening.
Aside from attempting to make as much revenue as possible, I get the feeling Parlophone justified packing album tracks and 45 hits onto EP’s by stating how convenient they were. Well, so did Capitol Records USA, but, they did it their own way via singles and albums! Different procedures for different lands. That’s a proper justification.
In the end, the usual approach to this subject is to dissect all the US releases, but, I’m not going to do that. Instead, I will dissect the UK releases so everyone can see the facts which are always conveniently ignored.
Here we go……
45: “Love Me Do / P.S. I Love You” (10/5/62):
45: “Please Please Me / Ask Me Why” (1/11/63):
Album: “Please Please Me” (3/22/63):
“Love Me Do”, “PS I Love You”, “Please Please Me” and “Ask Me Why” were all available on 45’s.
EP’s pulled from LP:
“Twist And Shout” (7/12/63): “Twist And Shout”, “A Taste Of Honey”, “Do You Want To Know A Secret”, “There’s A Place”.
“The Beatles No. 1″ (11/1/63): ” I Saw Her Standing There”, “Misery”, “Anna (Go To Him)”, “Chains”.
The “Twist And Shout” EP was released four months after the LP. “The Beatles No.1”? This thing came out EIGHT MONTHS after the album and that’s OK?! In between these two extended singles, Parlophone released “The Beatles Hits” EP (9/6/63). This extended single featured “From Me To You” and “Thank You Girl” in their SECOND UK appearance within 4 1/2 months, plus, “Please Please Me” and “Love Me Do…..each for a THIRD TIME. After all was said and done, between the two singles and two EP’s, TWELVE of the fourteen songs from the “Please Please Me” LP were made available on 7” discs. This is supposed to appease those with lower funds? Yeah, right. No greed there!
45: “From Me To You / Thank You Girl” (4/11/63)
45: “She Loves You / I’ll Get You” (8/23/63):
45: “I Want To Hold Your Hand / This Boy” (11/29/63):
Album: “With The Beatles” (11/22/63):
Hooray! They got it right! The LP was released in time for all that glorious extra cash for Christmas ‘63, and, no singles are featured!
EP’s pulled from LP:
“All My Loving” (2/7/64): “All My Loving”, “Ask Me Why”, “Money (That’s What I Want)”, “PS I Love You”.
Oh look! Only TWO songs pulled from the LP! Wasn’t that nice of Parlophone? Should I mention, with this release, both “Ask Me Why” and “PS I Love You” were released in the UK for a THIRD TIME within a year and a half? Nah. I won’t say anything about that. It must be the fault of Capitol Records.
Let’s not forget, the previously-mentioned-Capitol-Of-Canada’s 1963 release “Beatlemania: With The Beatles”! Hey! They kept the track listing intact, but- as you can see- they didn’t tamper with the album’s artwork…..🙄🙄🙄🙄
45: “Can’t Buy Me Love / You Can’t Do That” (3/20/64):
EP: “Long Tall Sally” (6/19/64):
With “Long Tall Sally, the Beatles and Parlophone gave the fans an EP featuring exclusive material. Four songs recorded during the sessions for “A Hard Day’s Night” which were only available in the UK via this disc.
Hey! Two of those songs were released earlier in the USA!
What? Who? Why? How? When? Where?
Both “Long Tall Sally” and “I Call Your Name” were released in the USA TWO MONTHS PRIOR than the UK. This happened a few times for us Yankees, and, I must say, I love getting stuff before everyone else! Thank you, Capitol Records! 😃
45: “A Hard Day’s Night / Things We Said Today” (7/10/64):
Album: “A Hard Day’s Night” (7/10/64):
“Can’t Buy Me Love”, “You Can’t Do That” were already available on 45.
The single, “A Hard Day’s Night / Things We Said Today”, was PULLED FROM THE LP and released the same day as said LP.
“No singles on albums”, huh?
But, wait! Parlophone couldn’t help themselves…
EP’s pulled from LP:
“Extracts From the Film ‘A Hard Day’s Night'” (11/6/64): “I Should Have Known Better”, “If I Fell”, “Tell Me Why”, “And I Love Her”.
“Extracts From The Album ‘A Hard Day’s Night'” (11/6/64 or late December, 1964): “Anytime At All”, “I’ll Cry Instead”, “Things We Said Today”, “When I Get Home”.
Some sources say these two EP’s were released at the same time, but, the second was most likely released two months after.
Speaking of the second disc, see the track titled “Things We Said Today”?
Yes, that one.
With the release of this EP, that song was issued in the UK for the THIRD TIME within FIVE MONTHS!
Are you kidding me? 😳
Hello?! In the 25+ years the Capitol releases were available, the label released that version of the song ONCE.
Yet, within 5 months, Parlophone practically saturates the market with it? No greed, huh? Wow! 🙄
I can see them all sitting around, drinking tea, in the Abbey Road Studios canteen, when someone blurts out:
“Sure! We said no singles on albums, and, out of three LP’s, we’ve already screwed up twice!
However! We never said anything about EP’s! Hehehehehe!”
Anyway, between the two singles and two EP’s, ELEVEN of the thirteen songs from this UK LP were made available on 7” 45rpm discs!
If poorer fans followed suit, and bought only the singles and extended singles, they’d wind up spending more than it would’ve cost for all three Beatles LP’s they supposedly couldn’t afford.
Great marketing there, EMI/Parlophone! Of course, this is not greed. How could anyone suggest such a thing? Obviously, it’s a conspiracy conjured up by Capitol Records.
45: “I Feel Fine / She’s A Woman” (11/27/64):
Album: “Beatles For Sale” (12/4/64):
Hooray! For the fourth album, they got it right for the second time! They even got it out in time for Christmas ‘64! Think of all that extra Yuletide revenue! Congratulations, guys!
But, wait! Again, “thoughtful” Parlophone was there to help the not-so-well-off types……
EP’s pulled from the LP:
“Beatles For Sale” (4/6/65): “No Reply”, “I’m A Loser”, “Rock And Roll Music”, “Eight Days A Week”.
“Beatles For Sale No. 2” (6/4/65): “I’ll Follow The Sun”, “Baby’s In Black”, “Words Of Love”, “I Don’t Want To Spoil The Party”.
The first EP was released FIVE MONTHS after the LP. The second? SEVEN MONTHS after. By the time both were released, the Beatles were already well into working on the “Help!” project. Why continue to milk the previous album for what it’s worth? Momentum? Yeah, Ok! Money? Of course!
I guess Parlophone finally noticed that “Eight Days A Week” was a huge hit for Capitol Records and other labels in other countries. With that, they figured they should celebrate by pulling EIGHT of the fourteen songs from the LP for EP single release! I say! Good show!
Speaking of other countries, here’s a prime example of how albums weren’t only tampered with in the USA. This is the jacket of the Australian “Beatles For Sale”. I know it features photos from their stint in the land down under, and, I like the design, but, why was it changed?
45: “Ticket To Ride / Yes It Is” (4/9/65):
45: “Help! / I’m Down” (7/23/65):
Album: “Help!” (8/6/65):
“Help! and “Ticket To Ride” were both available on 45’s. Let’s not forget they used “Dizzy Miss Lizzy” to fill out side two. Why was this track recorded? Well, in May, 1965, the band went into the studio to record two Larry Williams tunes specifically for the Capitol US album “Beatles VI”. Since “If You Got Trouble”, “Wait” and “That Means A lot” were not worthy of release, plus “Yes It Is” and “I’m Down” were both banished to “flip side status”, “Dizzy Miss Lizzy” conveniently filled that last void on the UK LP.
We’ll talk about the other song, “Bad Boy”, soon enough.
Had Capitol Records not requested those two extra tracks, one can’t help but wonder what the band would’ve conjured up to fill out side two of this UK LP.
Ah, but, wait! It’s Parlophone to the rescue again…..
EP’s pulled from LP:
“Yesterday” (3/4/66): “Yesterday”, “Act Naturally”, “You Like Me Too Much”, “It’s Only Love”.
With the two “A” sides plus this, the “Yesterday” EP single, SIX of the fourteen songs on this UK LP were available on 7” 45rpm discs. That aside, I’ve always liked that each Beatle gets a lead vocal on this nifty little release. You know, the EP which was released SEVEN MONTHS after the LP? Once again, EMI/Parlophone must’ve noticed, by releasing the album track known as “Yesterday” as a stand alone single in September, 1965, Capitol had a huge hit on it’s hands.
Wait! It was also released as a hit single in many other markets as well!
Really?! No way! 😳😳😳😳
Well, in between, Parlophone did release “The Beatles Million Sellers” EP (12/6/65). This “greatest hits” extended single featured three songs which were already available on 45’s plus one which was available on a 45 and an album. Jolly good! Notice the date of release? Yes…..just in time for the Christmas rush of 1965! Whatd’ya know about that! Yup! More revenue and jingle bells! No greed there! You mean, Parlophone and the Beatles wanted to make money? Must’ve been “Evil Capitol-istic” thoughts.
….and, by the way, here’s the Swiss album jacket. As you can see, it’s identical to the UK…..🙄🙄🙄🙄
45: “We Can Work It Out / Day Tripper” (12/3/65):
Album: “Rubber Soul” (12/3/65):
Hooray! For this, their SIXTH album, they lived up to the promise for a THIRD time! Mind you, the band was rushed to finish this album. Why? Because EMI “wanted it out in time for Christmas”. On the same day, Parlophone simultaneously issued the 45 “We Can Work It Out / Day Tripper” (remember…..no singles on albums!). Then, three days later, released that “Million Sellers” EP mentioned earlier. There ya go! Lots-o-goodies under British Christmas trees that year!
But, wait! Parlophone didn’t really get what it wanted for Christmas ‘65! To make up for this, the label decided they should celebrate the Summer of ‘66…..
EP’s pulled from LP:
“Nowhere Man” (7/8/66): “Nowhere Man”, “Drive My Car”, “Michelle”, “You Won’t See Me”.
Look at that! My favorite UK EP picture sleeve and only EIGHT MONTHS after the LP! What an achievement! Guess Capitol’s decision to release “Nowhere Man” as a stand alone single, which reached #3, didn’t go unnoticed by Parlophone…….again! They must’ve still been feeling giddy from cashing in on the popularity of “Yesterday”, they forgot to release this EP SINGLE at an earlier date. Notice the inclusion of “Michelle”? Keep reading and see why I just mentioned that groovy tune.
But one tiny pit stop…
Here ya go. The back cover of “Rubber Soul” from Italy. Nothing like using a year old photo which was already featured on the “Million Sellers” EP. Wait. That wasn’t an Italian EP, therefore, changing the back cover with this photo is justified. 🙄 “Beatles 7”? Huh? What? At least they kept the track listing intact.
By the way, the mono pressing from Italy? Guess what? It’s a crappy fold down…….but, just keep slamming Capitol Records, USA- who’s cleverly altered “Rubber Soul”- is the dedicated mono mix.
45: “Paperback Writer / Rain” (6/10/66):
45: “Yellow Submarine / Eleanor Rigby” (8/5/66):
Album: “Revolver” (8/5/66):
Just as they did with “A Hard Day’s Night”, “Yellow Submarine / Eleanor Rigby” were pulled as a single from the LP and released the same day (8/5/66).
At the time of the 45’s release, George Harrison blurted:
“Why should we let someone else have the hits?”
Smart man, that Jorge…….
Why? Well, this was a lesson learned by not releasing “Michelle” as a stand alone single from “Rubber Soul”. It seems there were a few cover versions which took the glow away from the original Beatles rendition. Ah, but we do know it did come out a second time on that “Nowhere Man” EP! Hooray! So, this time around, The Beatles and Parlophone/EMI were taking no chances on losing any well earned revenue.
Really? Nah……couldn’t be!
By the way, in Scandinavia, and various other countries, “Michelle” was released as a 45 and reached #1 in some of those regions. Isn’t that nice? Just remember to continue ragging on Capitol Records for releasing songs that were not intended as singles. 😴😴😴😴
About now, I’m sure, your head is spinning……..
……….we will now pause for intermission……….
Well, that was refreshing…….
OK. Back to the subject at hand……….
From this point, the EP’s popularity began to wane, therefore, no more extended singles were pulled from the albums.
This must’ve pushed everyone at EMI to tears. 😢
Ah, but, wait! What have we got here? Parlophone had another ace up it’s sleeve…..
Drum roll, please…….
Ladies and gentlemen! Direct from the inner sanctuary of EMI’s tape vaults, Parlophone UK proudly presents:
Compilation album: “A Collection of Beatles Oldies…But Goldies” (12/9/66):
Here we go! No greed here! Parlophone UK “wanted product for Christmas ’66”, and, they got it! You see, the Beatles were taking their time working on their next LP. This annoyed the generous folks at EMI so much, they dug into their archives to compile this, the greatest hits album known as “A Collection Of Beatles Oldies…But Goldies”!
I am quite interested in hearing the “purists” justification for Parlophone releasing this blatant cash-cow. Don’t forget, it came out pretty much against the will of the Beatles, but that’s fine, correct?
Hey! Guess what?! In the USA, Capitol Records completely ignored this album entirely! It’s true! Really! It is!
No one ever mentions this. Ever notice?
No……..wait……I just did. 😊
In fact, Capitol/Apple would not release a compilation until 1970’s “Hey Jude” (AKA: “The Beatles Again”). By the way, since the “Hey Jude” LP was such a big selling US import, it was finally released in England in 1979. Why? Because, instead of “greedy” Capitol US, Parlophone UK felt they should make money off this cash cow created for the American market by Allen Klein. Only took them nine years to cash in. Hey! That’s pretty good!
Anyway! Let’s check the track listing of “Oldies…But Goldies”. Just because I can, I’ll load it up with factual info.
Here we go……
- She Loves You – now available in the UK three times in three years.
- From Me To You – ditto.
- We Can Work It Out – now available in the UK two times within one year.
- Help! – now available in the UK three times in 1 1/2 years.
- Michelle – now available in the UK three times within one year.
- Yesterday – now available in the UK three times in 1 1/2 years.
- I Feel Fine – now available in the UK three times in two years.
- Yellow Submarine – now available in the UK three times within four months (!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!).
Everyone following me here? Getting cross eyed? Good. Please, continue…
- Can’t Buy Me Love – now available in the UK four times in 2 3/4 years.
- Bad Boy – Hooray! Something new for the UK! 1 1/2 years earlier, the Beatles specifically recorded this for the US market. You’re welcome!
- Day Tripper – now available in the UK two times within one year.
- A Hard Day’s Night – now available in the UK three times in two years.
- Ticket To Ride – now available in the UK three times in 1 1/2 years.
- Paperback Writer – now available in the UK two times within seven months.
- Eleanor Rigby – now available in the UK three times within four months (!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!).
- I Want To Hold Your Hand – now available in the UK three times in three years.
Did you get all that?
Once again, I must mention Capitol Records completely ignored this “greedy cash-in for Christmas” release. Also, a batch of the early UK singles went out of print in the mid-sixties, which means, songs like “I’ll Get You”, were nowhere to be found until the big UK reissue campaign of 1976.
Please note that all the regular issue US Capitol 45’s remained in print straight through the late 1980’s-early 90’s. Such greed!
Side Note: On October 10, 1965, Capitol released “Misery” “and “There’s A Place” as part of their green label “Starline” series. These six reissue Beatles 45’s, with all but one song in stupid fold-down monophonic mixes, remained in print for two months (that’s just stupid). In 1971, “Misery” reared it’s cute little face again when it was reissued by Capitol’s Jacksonville, Illinois record plant……on my favorite “target label”. That didn’t stay in print for long either. So, to be fair- for a while- those two songs were nowhere to be found, legitimately, in the USA.
Side note again: In 1971-72, when the cash-cow, “Oldies But Goldies” LP was finally issued in Germany, it featured “Ticket To Ride” with a ridiculous edit of the 12-string Rickenbacker intro riff as well as a terrible, Odeon/Apple created fake-stereo mix of “We Can Work It Out”. Again, no one complains. Why?!
Yet, another side note: By cramming sixteen tracks onto one record, the fidelity of this album suffers. The original, now-not-so-common-mono-pressing is worse than the stereo and really sounds like crap. But, please, just keep ragging on the US releases.
It was early 1967 when The Beatles re-negotiated their contract with Capitol Records. Part of the deal was the label could no longer take liberties with their releases. “Sgt. Pepper” was the first of the lot not to be tampered with, and, rightfully so. And they lived happily ever after…
…but, not before we check out the rest of the UK discography…
45: “Strawberry Fields Forever / Penny Lane” (2/17/67) (Ooooh! Look! A picture sleeve!):
Album: “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” (scheduled: 6/1/67 rush released: 5/26/67).
Speaks for itself.
45: “All You Need Is Love / Baby. You’re A Rich Man” (7/7/67):
45: “Hello, Goodbye / I Am The Walrus” (11/24/67):
Woah! What is this? Just when we thought the extended single was part of yesteryear…..
Double EP: “Magical Mystery Tour” (12/8/67):
Disc 1 / Side 1: “Magical Mystery Tour”, “Your Mother Should Know”.
Disc 1 / Side 2: “I Am The Walrus”.
Disc 2 / Side 1: “Fool On The Hill”, “Flying”.
Disc 2 / Side 2: “Blue Jay Way”.
Ah yes. The clumsy, double-EP “Magical Mystery Tour” which gives us a whopping six songs spread out over two seven inch discs (yeah….that’s convenient). One track, known as “I Am The Walrus”, gets a second release within two weeks as it was also the flip-side of “Hello, Goodbye” (11/24/67). Hey! At least they released this zwonky thing in both mono and stereo. The goofy little film aired on Boxing Day (12/26/67), and, again, on New Year’s. Notice the double-EP and 45 were both released in time for the Christmas ’67 sales. Money! Money! Money! It’s so funny!
By the way, I love knowing Capitol’s far superior US album- which has since become part of the Beatles official discography- was so popular in the UK, it wound up charting (mono pressing is the best). In 1976, Parlophone realized it was still selling well, so, they finally released the stereo version and used the same crappy Capitol Records duophonic mixes of the three songs on side two. It’s fascinating to note, in 1971, George Martin had created fresh true stereo mixes of said three songs for the German release of the US Capitol creation. Great job there, Parlophone!
45: “Lady Madonna / The Inner Light” (3/15/68):
45: “Hey Jude / Revolution” (8/30/68):
Album: “The Beatles” (11/22/68).
Hooray! Again, they got it right and in time for Christmas ‘68! Even Capitol followed the renegotiated contract! What a great way to celebrate the band’s new company, Apple!
Ah….but, what is this? In some distant lands, “Back In The USSR / Don’t Pass Me By” and “Ob la Di, Ob la Da / While My Guitar Gently Weeps” were released as separate singles. Isn’t that peachy? Well, not so much for us Yankees as there were no singles pulled from the album. Imagine that. Aw, shucks…..
Album: “Yellow Submarine” (1/13/69):
“Yellow Submarine” and “All You Need Is Love” were both available on 45’s. The former was already available as a single, an album track, and, a compilation album track. Now, it gets to be re-released in the UK for the FOURTH time in just over two years!
There ya go! Awesome! 🙄🙄🙄🙄
In some markets, record labels took liberties and decided to issue “All Together Now” / Hey Bulldog” as a single. Take a guess as to which country that 45 was not released?
It’s interesting to note that the Beatles were concerned that this LP only featured four new songs with side two devoted to George Martin’s film score. They considered, and- nearly issued- what would’ve been a very cool UK EP playing at 33 1/3RPM. A mono master tape was compiled but that was as far as it went. In 2009, these far superior dedicated monaural mixes finally saw the light of day as part of “The Beatles In Mono” box set.
The track listing would’ve been:
1. Only A Northern Song
2. Hey Bulldog
3. Across The Universe
1. All Together Now
2. It’s All Too Much
Now, that would’ve been a nice, unique EP single. Notice the two previously released tracks are nowhere to be found and a bonus song, “Across The Universe”, has been added. Note: The latter is the sped up rendition with the animal effects. Difference is, it’s a dedicated mono mix with a shorter fade and the animal effects on the coda are placed differently.
“Yellow Submarine” was the last UK Beatles LP to be released in monophonic. Even though there were far superior dedicated mono mixes available, and the format was being phased out, the gang in England chose to fold down the stereo version into mono. Yeah. Great idea! Note: I have the 1981 mono reissue and it sounds “lifeless”. Why? Because laziness took over the mixing desk in London!
Oops! One more thing! Have you ever compared the liner notes of the UK album versus the USA? No? Well, as we all know, this LP is a soundtrack to a very clever, animated Beatles movie. The goofy liner notes on the back of the US album jacket start off with a pseudo history lesson, and, then- appropriately- describes said movie and identifies the major characters. Meanwhile, the stupid liner notes in the UK reviews the previous album “The Beatles” (AKA: “The White Album”)! What the hell is that? Again, nobody ever mentions this.
45: “Get Back / Don’t Let Me Down” (4/11/69):
45: “The Ballad Of John & Yoko / Old Brown Shoe” (5/30/69):
Album: “Abbey Road” (9/26/69):
45: “Something / Come Together” (10/6/69):
“Something / Come Together” were pulled as a single from the LP. Same in the USA.
What about that Japanese single “Oh Darling / Here Comes The Sun” (6/5/70)? Yeah, OK. Never mind.
45: “Let It Be / You Know My Name (Look Up The Number)” (3/6/70) (Ooooh look! One more picture sleeve!):
Album: “Let It Be” (5/8/70):
“Let It Be” and “Get Back” were both available as 45’s. Yes, I know. They are different edits/mixes, but they are still the identical takes/recordings featured on the singles! They are the same songs!
As an added bonus, I am including the following compilation:
Compilation: “The Beatles 1” (11/13/00):
Why, you ask, am I including this thing? Well, this colorful, and best selling album, compiles all The Beatles’ number 1 hits from the UK and the UNITED STATES OF AMERICA.
Really?! No way! How can that be?!
Why not the number ones from Norway? Why not the number ones from Chile? Why not the number ones from Australia? Why not the number ones from Japan? Why not the number ones from Germany? Why not the number ones from Greece? Why not the number ones from New Zealand? Why not the number ones from Sweden? Why not the number ones from Brazil? Why not the number ones from Mexico? Why not the number ones from Belgium etc etc etc, blah blah blah blah……..
BECAUSE THE TWO BIGGEST MARKETS FOR THE BEATLES ARE THE UK, AND, THANKS TO CAPITOL RECORDS, THE USA!
Mind you, in November, 2000, this album was released WORLDWIDE, and, once again, just in time for Christmas ($$$). It reached the top of the charts in THIRTY FIVE COUNTRIES with no one as much as whispering a tiny complaint. Especially, from the three living Beatles. Since the US releases are such a thorn in the side of so many, where’s the outcry? How is it, a compilation of hits from the UK AND THE USA, is still selling well nearly twenty years after it’s release? Also, this album has been remixed and reissued. as an added bonus, it’s been compiled as a phenomenal video blu-ray set which includes the audio CD. Mind you, there are 3 or 4 different versions of the set available. You know……..just like the UK EP’s provided for those with low funds? I guess Capitol Records wasn’t so bad after all.
I’d like to add that TWENTY of the TWENTY SEVEN TRACKS were #1 hits in the USA. That’s including singles made exclusively for the US market and some which failed to reach the top in the UK:
“Love Me Do” (#17 in the UK)
“Eight Days A Week” (Released as part of an EP in the UK)
“Yesterday” (Released as the title track of a UK EP)
“Penny Lane” (The double ‘A’ side with “Strawberry Fields forever” reached #2 in the UK)
“Something” and “Come Together” ( #4 in the UK. Due to Billboard discontinuing charting flip-sides separately, both sides charted at #1 in the US)
“Let It Be” (#2 in the UK)
“The Long And Winding Road” (Not a single in the UK).
In the UK, NINETEEN of the TWENTY SEVEN TRACKS reached #1. That’s including both sides of two “double ‘A’ side” singles……which, in my book, is cheating. Even with that, The Beatles had less #1 hits in their home country than the USA.
…..and that’s all she wrote.
NOTE: This collection is slowly on it’s way to outselling every album in history. It will take some time, but, I believe, eventually, it will and that’s fine by me. With that in mind, I’d like to thank Capitol Records USA for releasing all the extra albums and 45’s which made such a huge impact on us American fans. A job, well done, guys!
There you have it. I’m sure I will be adding to this blog, so, keep an eye out for additional sarcasm, yelling in caps, terrible punctuation, run-on sentences, spelling and grammatical errors from me. Have a nice day.