The Beatles U.S or U.K releases Which Do you like best? (or Do you like both?)

Bobberman

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Thread Starter
I dont know if this has been ever discussed here or if this would qualify as "Off Topic" but I thought I'd give this a go. I for one enjoy the differences between the Beatles U.S and U.K album and single mixes both stereo and mono Equally being a Fab Four fan since almost age 13 (July 1980) at that time we only had the Capitol mixes (as mixed by the infamous Dave Dexter Jr and Later in 1966 by Bill Miller) then the first CDs in 1987 which were the UK versions which in my opinion sounded a bit too different than what I was used to but in 2009 they remastered the UK catalog and with much better sounding results in my opinion and the Capitol mixes from "Meet the Beatles to "Rubber soul" in 2 CD set Volumes were released sometime between 2004 and 2006 and in 2014 they were released again as a box set with added albums such as "The infamous Yesterday and Today The U.S version of Revolver the U.S Hard days Night soundtrack and The Late compilation collection " Hey Jude" or "The Beatles Again" the Box set adds the Rare Biographical album "The Beatles Story" of course I expect views and opinions on this subject to vary and that's ok with this in mind "What are Your thoughts and Experiences with the Aforementioned Beatles products? even those oddities and rarities that haven't been mentioned yet. A splendid time should be had by all.
 

Harry

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Other than a few old discussions on Beatles tunes done by A&M artists, I don't believe we've had discussions about the actual Beatles music releases - and it's a great topic. And it certainly belongs in "Music", so I've moved the thread to there.

My Beatles history is an on-again-off-again affair. I recall right after the Ed Sullivan appearance that I was fascinated enough with the whole Beatlemania phenomenon that I tuned into our local top-40 radio station (WIBG) and listened as they played nearly non-stop Beatles records for days after that appearance. Something about the Beatles' harmony was like nothing I'd heard before. Most vocalists of the day - think Everly Brothers - would harmonize in thirds. Somehow it seemed to me that the Beatles did a lot of harmonies landing on fourths and fifths. I was taking piano lessons at the time, which is why I noticed this. That fascination lasted just a short while and I never bought a 45 or album of the Beatles.

As I aged through the sixties toward adulthood, my musical fascination turned to Herb Alpert and all things A&M. The Beatles were sometimes around on the radio, but I didn't pay them any attention. Whenever they were played, the softer stuff on the MOR station listened to, they just went relatively unnoticed. Oh yeah, those Beatles guys from 64 are still around, huh?

In 1973, that very radio station ran a weekend special that featured giveaways of the Red and Blue Beatles compilation albums. Winners of the contest would receive both 2-disc sets, and I managed to be one of the winners. So, from owning zero Beatles records, I suddenly went to four LPs that contained essentially all of their important hits. These sets were the US Capitol versions, which I later learned differed a good bit in mixes used from its UK counterpart. At this point in time, I wouldn't have even KNOWN that there was a British counterpart or that any of the earlier albums would have been different.

So, for a few years, as I explored these two albums, I enjoyed revisiting the old songs I remembered from the 60s, and the newer songs that I also recognized. It was impossible, as a college student in the late sixties, to have escaped the influences of "Hey Jude". It was everywhere, all the time. It was played endlessly on jukeboxes as its 7+ minutes offered value for that dime or quarter.

In the latter part of the 70s, I acquired a few Beatles albums from throwaway piles at the radio station. As I recall, I grabbed a copy of THE BEATLES SECOND ALBUM that was in pretty good shape, a raggedy copy of MAGICAL MYSTERY TOUR, and maybe a copy of LET IT BE or HEY JUDE. Truthfully, for my purposes, none of these were really needed as those hits compilations pretty much served all of my Beatles needs.

As we entered the 80s, I saw a record in a store called THE BEATLES RARITIES. Why in the world that would fascinate me, I don't know, but the thought of hearing some things that had not been easily obtained seemed like a fun way to spend some time, so I bought it. I became fascinated with the different versions I was hearing after all these years, though some I was admittedly unfamiliar with totally, so there were no revelations for me other than what I was reading in the liner notes. And I learned of American and UK recording differences here for the first time.

As I browsed through a bookstore, I spotted a book called THE BEATLES ON RECORD by Jeff Russell. Here was a track by track, blow by blow description of the Beatles discography that also enumerated the many differences in recordings around the world. Armed with this info, I began perusing what I owned and found some interesting differences. I now realized the fake stereo stuff that Capitol had released in the US as heard on the SECOND album and the MMT album's second side. I heard the difference between the two versions of "Let It Be" as presented on the Blue album (single version) and the LET IT BE album version. And I wanted more!

So I began a massive purchase of Beatles albums in new condition from record stores. At this time, the labels were the purple Capitols, and I assembled a nearly complete collection of those. Along the way, I picked up a few imports too, as Mr. Russell's book pointed me towards some rare tracks on Australian, German, and British releases that were carried in stores in their import sections. I managed to assemble, using the albums I'd amassed, all of the Beatles discography and went about re-ordering them into proper British chronological order on cassette. The tracks of PLEASE, PLEASE ME were followed by the singles from that era, the the WITH THE BEATLES tracks and it's singles and EPs, all the way through the LET IT BE/ABBEY ROAD period. Hearing them in that way gave me a new perspective on the "proper order". Oh, and at this time in my life, unless it wasn't available, everything HAD to be stereo.

Prior to 1987, when compact discs were the new thing, and other than a rare Japanese ABBEY ROAD, there wasn't much of Beatles on the new format. I managed a George Harrison Hits album that had his Beatles tracks on one side of the LP, and a John Lennon soundtrack to the IMAGINE film that provided a few more Beatles tracks in the new shiny, digital form.

Then it was announced that The Beatles first four albums would be out on compact disc, and I was initially quite happy to hear that news. Then as release day drew near, the story became that these first four albums would be the British order, and in mono. I could certainly live with the British order - I'd gotten used to hearing them that way with my cassettes, but mono? Were they kidding? The Beatles - with the greatest separation of vocals and instruments ever in stereo - reduced to mono? I didn't get it - and I didn't get them. As things turned out, on release day, we happened to be on vacation down here in Florida, visiting my wife's sister and she dragged us to a shopping mall for something or other. I found the record store and there was the huge display of the new Beatles CDs - all in mono. It killed me, but I held off buying any of them. I had proper stereo releases on LP - why would I want mono versions?

Then later on the further albums appeared, and they were in stereo. I picked those up one by one as they came out, right up through ABBEY ROAD and LET IT BE. They sounded pretty great on CD. I was most happy with MAGICAL MYSTERY TOUR, which used the US configuration to make an album, and included the singles on the second side in full stereo.

Seeing all of the titles on the shelf, I was irked that it was incomplete because of those missing first four. I rationalized to myself that I could complete the set by buying used copies of those first four, that way my money wouldn't go to what I thought was shoddy product. And over a number of months, I found those first four in the used sections.

Once again, I thought that this was surely all of the Beatles stuff I'd ever need. But compilations like the Red and Blue came along on compact disc, and I bought those, and then the ANTHOLOGY TV specials were released with three sets of double-CDs, so I bought those, and then the "1" compilation came out and I bought it.

Surely, that would be it, right?

Nope. In 2004, Capitol Records got permission from the folks at EMI to release a set of the first four US albums on CD, mastered from Capitol's own master tapes. These were all a few generations down and audiophiles were puzzled as to why anyone would want to hear the echo-laden, fake-stereo abominations that Capitol had foisted upon its customers in the 60s. The fact was, people DID want that. It was the way they grew up with The Beatles, and they wanted them represented on CD. So MEET THE BEATLES, THE SECOND ALBUM, SOMETHING NEW and BEATLES '65 were packaged in mini-LP sleeves in a box-set and released. These were from the original Capitol masters, lovingly remastered by Ted Jensen and the results were stunning. And on each disc, to be thorough, you could find both the stereo and mono albums in full.

Then in 2006 the second set of albums up through RUBBER SOUL in the US were issued on Volume 2. With those two sets, nearly all of the early Beatles tracks were now available on CD in stereo for the first time.

As I listened to these American "abominations", I was amazed at how good they really sounded. The magic of Beatlemania came alive with some of these albums. THE BEATLES SECOND ALBUM is a great creation, whether it was accidental or not. If you compare the tracks on that album's stereo version with the rather flat UK versions, it's like they have more energy on the SECOND album.

Back in the 60s, those first records were thrown together at Capitol by Dave Dexter, Jr. Fans today refer to the tracks that he altered as "Dexterized". Since Capitol jumped on the Beatles bandwagon late, he was faced with not only playing catch-up, but reducing the number of tracks on the albums because of differing royalties calculations in the US and the UK. In the UK, most artists, Beatles included, would provide 14 tracks to an album, because the royalties were paid per album. In the US, 12 was the standard as they paid royalties on a per-track basis.

So Dexter had to come up with albums, titles, and tracklists that differed from the UK configurations. Thus, we in the States got more albums than the UK, and while Parlophone in the UK made efforts to not have singles on albums, Capitol very often compiled Beatles albums with their current singles on them. This, I believe accounts for why a UK Beatles album, while properly recorded, falls a little flat in its overall effect. The hit songs are generally not there, so it's just a bunch of album tracks making up an album. On the US albums, the hit singles were there, giving a bit of a boost to the overall sound of the album.

Now, by SGT. PEPPER, the four Beatles themselves had it in their contract with EMI/Capitol, that their albums were to be released the same in all territories including the US. So from there through ABBEY ROAD/LET IT BE, the albums were the same. But even with that in effect, Capitol in the US managed one more album of its own, HEY JUDE (also titled THE BEATLES AGAIN), as a compilation of later titles issued as singles, combined with a few HARD DAY'S NIGHT era songs that had never managed to make it to an album in the US in stereo.

In 2009, the entire UK catalog was re-remastered and re-released. Some think that the 2009s sound better than the 1987s, some go the other way, with a number believing that each set has its merits. I tend to like the 2009 remasters.

in 2014, to celebrate the arrival of the Beatles in the US, they issued a worldwide release of the US configurations with a serious caveat. They decided to use the 2009 remasters for all cases of songs that were essentially the same in both UK and US albums, eliminating all fake stereo and substituting either proper stereo or true mono, and filling in with most of the unique US mixes. The set was one of those "neither fish for fowl" efforts, leaving many either unhappy or unsatisfied. The old Capitol Volume 1 and 2 sets had the authentic mixes, while the 2014 BEATLES U.S. ALBUMS set offered more authentic graphics and packaging. With this 2014 set, you also got for the first time ever on CD, the A HARD DAY'S NIGHT album, originally a United Artist release, the YESTERDAY & TODAY album with its two famous covers, and the HEY JUDE album. Oh, and THE BEATLES' STORY album for the real completist.

Well, then in 2017, faced with the 50th anniversary of SGT. PEPPER, the bright idea was hatched to remix the entire album and release it with some outtakes and other special tracks. Big box sets were available alongside more sensible 2-CD sets. I opted for the 2-CD set. I think I'd reached my saturation point by this time. While GIles Martin's remixes were pretty good, I still feel like original is where the magic is. But once in awhile, hearing a song a new way is fun.

The same occurred with the WHITE ALBUM and ABBEY ROAD to this point in time. I've opted for the smaller sets in both of those cases too.

There is so much more out there in Beatles release-land like DVDs and Blu-rays, movies, concert tapes, videos, BBC broadcasts. The catalog is certainly rich.

Now, to answer Bobberman's question:

The Beatles U.S or U.K releases Which Do you like best? Answer: Yes.
 

tomswift2002

Well-Known Member
Canada even got some different Beatles releases. The only Beatles thing that I own is the Canadian-only mono “All My Loving/This Boy” 45 which I found for like 10 cents at a garage sale in the 2000’s That was very quiet, no cover, and it’s still quiet in 2020.

Another thing I have is a 2-CD set from Quality records from the early-90’s called “Party Mix” that has a 10 or 12 minute tracks that contains 30 second samples of Beatles songs. I’m not sure if it’s the actual Beatles tracks or if they are sound-a-likes, since its done like a Stars on 45 track (and there are other credited Stars On 45 tracks for like Stevie Wonder, Motown and ABBA).
 

Bobberman

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Thread Starter
Thanks Harry for the slight Modification in moving this thread to its proper place and my U.s Beatle vinyl was a mix of the capitol purple label.the orange a couple of Apple labels and my favorite the 60s era black center/rainbow outer color band labels but they all sounded very good on my parents console stereo now I have everything Beatles on CD And Download I agree their catalog is very rich and worth checking into
 

Bobberman

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Thread Starter
[QUOTE="tomswift2002, post: 200654, member: 884"

since its done like a Stars on 45 track (and there are other credited Stars On 45 tracks for like Stevie Wonder, Motown and ABBA).
[/QUOTE]
I remember Those stars on 45 they were getting heavy airplay in 1981 as I was in J.R High school at the time and finally my fellow classmates were singing the lyrics to the Beatles when before that they were criticizing me for being Behind the times musically
 

Bobberman

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Thread Starter
Ironically the very first Beatle album I heard was the 1977 compilation "Love songs" which my older sister had the pseudo gold pseudo leather cover with lyric booklet seemed special but sadly when it was in stock in the stores I didnt have enough money and when I had the money it wasnt in stock it was so frustrating I decided what the heck Buy all the regular lps and if it's still available afterwards get it as a completion. Or make a tape of the songs from all the Lps living in a rural area where the closest record shop was 35 to 40 miles away often times proved difficult
 

Rudy

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Staff member
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Not a big Beatles fan, so for me the UK releases are the "definitive" versions. I bought the stereo vinyl box a few years back as I had a gift certificate and it was deeply discounted at Amazon CA (which were the UK pressings, not the horrible US Rainbo pressings). I'm lucky if I listen to one side of any particular record in a year...
 

Bobberman

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Thread Starter
Not a big Beatles fan, so for me the UK releases are the "definitive" versions. I bought the stereo vinyl box a few years back as I had a gift certificate and it was deeply discounted at Amazon CA (which were the UK pressings, not the horrible US Rainbo pressings). I'm lucky if I listen to one side of any particular record in a year...
I'm wary of reinvesting in vinyl these days for that very reason " Horrible quality pressings" which have become pandemic more often in recent years I had much more confidence in the old Capitol reissues of the Beatles American Lps far more than anything that is coming out these days the current Vinyl reissues just dont sound the same as before let alone any better
 

Rudy

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It depends on the pressing plant--there is a lot of good product, and the days of recycled/reclaimed vinyl are long gone. I would say that overall, most of my new purchases are as good as any I bought back in the day, and I've had only a very small number of bad pressings. It's also a matter of knowing which labels and/or pressing plants to avoid. Which was the case with the Beatles sets. The US sets were the bad ones; the UK pressings are flawless, some of the best quality pressings I've ever heard. But I learned that through a few other forums I visited back then. :)

On the audiophile labels especially, the sound quality usually beats anything else out there, even more so when cut at 45 RPM. And since the playback equipment is better today than it was decades ago, the records are cut with a higher sound quality since the stylus can track them better than most cartridges could back in the 60s and 70s. (Some of those infamous recalled pressings, like Led Zep II when it was first released and skipped on common record players of that era, would play back with no problem today.) Today, the good vinyl mastering engineers master for high quality sound; decades ago, they had to cut more for compatibility, so they would play back on even the dumpy systems out there without skipping or distortion.
 

AM Matt

Well-Known Member
The song "Drive My Car" (from 1976 "Rock And Roll Music") was the Beatles singing on the left speaker until it switches on both speakers "& baby I love you"!! The original on "Rubber Soul" (1965) has them singing on both speakers!!
 

Bobberman

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Thread Starter
One thing I always liked about some of the early Beatles albums was the 2 track stereo mixes where most of the instruments were on the left side and all the vocals on the right I sometimes liked to listen to just the instruments side and in retrospect they had a do it yourself Karaoke feel to them I loved that effect and that wasnt just the Beatles many stereo albums of that period seemed to have it too
 

tomswift2002

Well-Known Member
One thing I always liked about some of the early Beatles albums was the 2 track stereo mixes where most of the instruments were on the left side and all the vocals on the right I sometimes liked to listen to just the instruments side and in retrospect they had a do it yourself Karaoke feel to them I loved that effect and that wasnt just the Beatles many stereo albums of that period seemed to have it too
Well the early-sixties most places were still using 3 or 4 track recorders. So a lot of times the instruments would be mono and just on one track with the remaining tracks left for vocal stereo acrobatics.
 

Bobberman

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Thread Starter
Well the early-sixties most places were still using 3 or 4 track recorders. So a lot of times the instruments would be mono and just on one track with the remaining tracks left for vocal stereo acrobatics.
And that's understandable as it was easy to mix down to Mono as the Beatles primarily focused on Mono as it was the preferred format until after " The White album".
 

Rudy

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Herb's Whipped Cream album was recorded on 3-track as well--that's all that Gold Star had on hand at the time. They did have to bounce to another 3-track to get everything recorded, from what I understand. I find that to be very creative as opposed to being offered an unlimited number of tracks today to mess around with. And it arguably is a more "pure" recording experience since everyone had to play together at the same time and get it right, vs. having replacement parts overdubbed/punched in at a later time to fix mistakes. Maybe that's why many of the older recordings sound so much more organic to me, back when the musicians actually played together in the same room...
 

Bobberman

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Thread Starter
Who remembers The Vee Jay Label releases that came out supposedly before Capitol's ?especially one Capitol couldn't claim called " Hear the Beatles tell all" featuring interviews with the fab four conducted by L.A Radio DJ's Jim Steck and Dave Hull ( the Album which I throughly enjoyed) of course Vee Jay Disappeared after a time and nothing is known about whether any of their masters still exist or not
 

Harry

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There were two other stateside labels that released early Beatles singles before Capitol finally relented, Tollie and Swan.
 

Bobberman

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Thread Starter
There were two other stateside labels that released early Beatles singles before Capitol finally relented, Tollie and Swan.
I remember the story very well from what I heard and read from various sources at that time Capitol refused the Beatles because they didnt feel British acts did very well beyond just " one hit wonders" ( at that time it was generally true) but they were getting bigger and bigger the Vee Jay and Swan and Tollie releases were making inroads starting to sell and by December 1963 it seems Capitol was pretty much Forced to Release the single " I Want to Hold your Hand" along with the first Capitol album " Meet The Beatles" and The rest as they say is History.
 
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