Friday, March 16, 2018

The Beatles; U.S. vs. U.K.

The Beatles' official canon is, with the exception of Magical Mystery Tour, the band's British releases, the first LP being Please Please Me (Parlophone, March 22, 1963), with the following playlist: Side One  1. I Saw Her Standing There; 2. Misery; 3. Anna (Go To Him); 4. Chains; 5. Boys; 6. Ask Me Why; 7. Please Please Me. Side Two - 1. Love Me Do; 2. P.S. I Love You; 3. Baby It's You; 4. Do You Want To Know A Secret; 5. A Taste Of Honey; 6. There's A Place; 7; Twist and Shout. Vee Jay Records in the U.S. (July 22, 1963, allegedly) left the play order intact, but omitted "Ask Me Why" and "Please Please Me," for a total of 12 tracks rather than 14, and renamed the LP Introducing the Beatles with an alternate cover photo. These two LPs would set a precedent that would last through Revolver. The British debut contained eight original compositions and six covers.

I grew up in the States with Meet the Beatles (still my preferred tracklist). In the U.K., Parlophone released With the Beatles on November 22, 1963, coincidentally the day of the JFK assassination. The tracklist was: Side One – 1. It Won't Be Long; 2. All I've Got To Do; 3. All My Loving; 4. Don't Bother Me; 5. Little Child; 6. Till There Was You; 7. Please Mr. Postman; 8. Side Two – 1. Roll Over Beethoven; 2. Hold Me Tight; 3. You Really Got A Hold On Me; 4. I Wanna Be Your Man; 5. Devil In Her Heart; 6.Not A Second Time; 7. Money. This time there were nine original compositions and five covers. The American release once again contained twelve songs with Capitol's contention of "groove crowding." My preference lies in the lack of covers on the American release, with the exception of "Till There Was You," from The Music Man, an inclusion that would please parents. Side One – 1. I Want To Hold Your Hand; 2. I Saw Her Standing There; 3. This Boy; 4. It Won't Be Long; 5. All I've Got To Do; 6. All My Loving. Side Two – 1. Don't Bother Me; 2. Little Child 3. Till There Was You; 4. Hold Me Tight; 5. I Wanna Be Your Man; 6. Not A Second Time. The LP cover, the iconic black and white photograph by Robert Freedman, was altered for the American LP with a slightly bluish tint. Meet the Beatles was released January 20, 1964.

Capitol would rush to release The Beatles Second Album just three months later, comprised of what was excluded from the first British releases, with the only original composition being "She Loves You." If there was an LP that exemplified Capitol's exploitation of The Beatles, it was The Beatles Second Album.

The American issue of A Hard Day's Night preceded the British counterpart by two weeks (June 26, 1964/ July 10, 1964). The United Artists release (having the film rights to release an OST) had all the film's original compositions (eight of them) and four George Martin instrumentals. Both the American and British releases contained all original compositions, though the British had five more new Beatles tracks: Side One - 1. A Hard Day's Night; 2. I Should Have Known Better; 3. If I Fell; 4. I'm Happy Just To Dance With You; 5. And I Love Her; 6. Tell Me Why; 7. Can't Buy Me Love. Side Two – 1. Any Time At All; 2. I'll Cry Instead; 3. Things We Said Today; 4. When I Get Home; 5. You Can't Do That; 6. I'll Be Back.

The next American release, Capitol's Something New (July 20, 1964), wasn't the embarrassment of The Beatles Second Album, and included all of the new material from A Hard Day's Night, "Slow Down" and "Long Tall Sally" from the Long Tall Sally EP and the German version of "I Want to Hold Your Hand," "Komm, Gib Mir Deine Hand," with several songs utilizing different single-track mixes and versions of differing lengths depending on whether they were stereo of mono mixes.

While Vee Jay and other labels (like Atco) would continue to release content as long as they were able, Capitol released The Beatles Story, which consisted of song snippets and interviews, and, prior to Beatles VI, they would release The Early Beatles which consisted of songs from Vee Jay releases of years past.

Side One of Beatles for Sale is identical to the American release Beatles '65, with the omission of "Kansas City." Side Two contained 1. Eight Days A Week; 2. Words of Love; 3. Honey Don't; 4. Every Little Thing; 5. I Don't Want To Spoil The Party; 6. What You're Doing; 7. Everybody's Trying To Be My Baby, while Side Two of 'B '65 was 1. Honey Don't; 2. I'll Be Back (from the British pressing of A Hard Day's Night); 3. She's A Woman; 4. I Feel Fine (both 3 and 4 released as a double A sided 45 in the U.K.); 5. Everybody's Trying To Be My Baby; meaning only 11 songs. Each of the omitted tracks would appear on Beatles VI, which also featured "Yes It Is" (the B-side to Ticket to Ride), and two tracks from the yet to be released Help! LP, "You Like Me Too Much" and "Tell Me What You See."

Help! would see The Beatles most sophisticated release to date. Side One included: 1. Help!; 2. The Night Before; 3. You've Got To Hide Your Love Away; 4. I Need You; 5. Another Girl; 6. You're Going To Lose That Girl; 7. Ticket To Ride. Side Two featured 1. Act Naturally; 2. It's Only Love; 3. You Like Me Too Much; 4. Tell Me What You See; 5. I've Just Seen A Face; 6. Yesterday; 7. Dizzy Miss Lizzy. The American issue instead would omit the non-soundtrack tunes and replace them with orchestral filmscores. The remainder of the edited tunes would be distributed among three separate LPs, Beatles VI as mentioned, with "I've Just Seen A Face" and "It's Only Love" released on Rubber Soul and Yesterday and Today receiving the remaining two tracks: "Yesterday" and "Act Naturally".

In its usual shuffle, Capitol replaced four Rubber Soul songs with the two mentioned above. The four omitted songs, "Drive My Car", "Nowhere Man", "What Goes On" and "If I Needed Someone" would appear instead on Yesterday and Today. By then, only those who knew how to do calculus could keep up with Capitol's bait and switch process.
1966's Revolver would again have 14 British release tracks, while the American version had only 11, omitting "I'm Only Sleeping," "And Your Bird Can Sing," and "Dr, Robert," which had already been released on Yesterday and Today.

While there was still the EP/LP issue regarding Magical Mystery Tour, Revolver was the last Beatles LP in which track listings were altered; MMT is, of course, the only American release now considered the primary source. 

Hey Jude would serve as an interim American release between Abbey Road and Let It Be. Though not the travesty the certain Capitol releases were, it was a mish mosh of style and era, though not a bad evolutionary glance at the band. Side One: 1. Can't Buy Me Love; 2. I Should Have Known Better; 3. Paperback Writer; 4. Rain; 5; Lady Madonna; 6. Revolution. Side 2: 1. Hey Jude; 2. Old Brown Shoe; 3. Don't Let Me Down; 4. The Ballad Of John and Yoko; just ten songs.

It's interesting though that there is more to it all than merely tracks included, cover art and play order. Many of the British versions are of different lengths, different mixes, levels of reverb, verse counts, etc. While the post today is quite extensive, look into the alternate versions on The Beatles Bible, You Tube and a myriad of other sources; the intricacies of it all can fill weeks of your time.