Monday, April 13, 2020

Beatles - Discography - And in the end...

Many consider Rubber Soul to be the very first pop album, and by that I mean that each song was meant to be listened to, in order, with the album as a whole the focus rather than it being a collection of singles. Because of that, Rubber Soul is one of the most influential albums in music history; in particular, it is the album that inspired Brian Wilson to create his masterpiece Pet Sounds, Rolling Stone’s No. 2 album of all time.

Once again though, the British release of Rubber Soul was different from the one released by Capitol in the US. While I admire Capitol's reasoning for Meet the Beatles (all original material) and considerate it the better album over its British counterpart, I have mixed emotions about the differences in Rubber Soul.

Capitol's goal was to cash in on the acoustic folk craze in the U.S., and so they left off the songs "Drive My Car," an up-tempo rocker, the ballad, "Nowhere Man," "If I Needed Someone," and "What Goes On," replacing them with "I've Just Seen a Face" and "It's Only Love," from HELP! Both editions of the LP are stellar, and I go back and forth, leaning a little more to the American release, which will not be the case once we get to Revolver.

Before we do though, in America there was an album in-between called Yesterday and Today, which has four songs that weren"t on the American issue of Rubber Soul, three that won't be on Revolver when it’s released later in the year, two from HELP! and the singles, "We Can Work it Out" and "Day Tripper." There's nothing to compare it to in terms of a British equivalent, but it is an LP that truly stands on its own with songs like "I'm Only Sleeping," "Yesterday," "Nowhere Man" and "Drive My Car." The LP is famous for its "butcher cover," which we’ve covered before, making it one of the most valuable collectibles on vinyl.

The Beatles responded to the Beach Boys' Pet Sounds with Revolver. There were 14 songs on the British addition and for the American release, all Capitol did was to remove those three songs that appear on Yesterday and Today. And while I'm a fan of "And Your Bird Can Sing" and "Dr. Robert," it’s the omission of "I’m Only Sleeping" that for me makes the British release far superior.

Sgt. Pepper would be the very first Beatles LP to be a standard-issue for both the American and British audience, but that would not be the case for Magical Mystery Tour. The remainder of the British LPs would be identical to those released in the U.S. and include The White Album (officially called The Beatles), Yellow Submarine, Abbey Road and Let It Be, but Capitol Records wasn't done cashing in on The Beatles, and so before the release of Let It Be came the album, Hey Jude, an LP that kind of collects everything that wasn't used already. There are two songs from A Hard Day's Night, the double-sided "Paperback Writer" and "Rain" single, the double-sided "Revolution" and "Hey Jude," the double-sided "Old Brown Shoe" with "The Ballad of John and Yoko," plus "Lady Madonna" and "Don’t Let Me Down." The LP has a stellar album cover and serves really as a survey of their career going all the way back to 1964. Keep in mind that with the exception of the songs from A Hard Day's Night, the rest of the LP is essentially all original material never before released on an album. The LP was originally titled The Beatles Again, but was changed last minute to promote the "Hey Jude" single. Collectors note: this is an inexpensive collectible (around $40). While it does not say The Beatles Again on the cover, it is written on the spine and on the label. One more note: the front cover was initially the back cover, once again swapped last minute.

Just three months later the last of the 11 British LPs, Let It Be, was released, a month after the Beatles had called it quits. On the back of the Let It Be cover you’ll find the words "This is a new phase BEATLES album," but of course, it wasn't.

On April 10, 1970, Paul released his first solo LP and stated in a Q&A that the Beatles had called it quits. Was that the new phase? The news was announced to the world the next day, but Let It Be was still to come.

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