The Usenet Guide to Beatles Recording Variations

Version 2
compiled by Joseph Brennan

Notes on US Record Releases

Just so I say it, the four Tony Sheridan songs on the MGM LP "The Beatles with Tony Sheridan and Their Guests" were reissued in 1966 on the Metro LP "This Is Where It Started", and the four on the Atco LP "Ain't She Sweet" were reissued in 1966 on the Clarion LP "The Amazing Beatles and Other Great English Group Sounds". Two from each set also appeared on the evidently unauthorized Savage 1964 LP stutteringly titled "This Is the... the Savage Young Beatles". I think there's even another collection I've forgotten, and the situation abroad is different but no simpler to sum up. I'm just not going to repeat all those under each of the eight songs! If you want more detail, see Gottfridsson's book, which does enumerate them all.

Vee Jay issued several LPs recycling 16 songs in different combinations. Of these I include only "Introducing the Beatles" in its 2 variants, and the 2 additional songs on "The Beatles and Frank Ifield Live on Stage". Stereo versions are so rare I nearly omitted them as unlikely reference sources for a variations collector, but they are here for their historical significance. Frank Daniels has confirmed what is on them.

"Meet the Beatles", "The Beatles Second Album", and "The Early Beatles" all have quite a bit of echo added, and the twin-track stereo mixes have been remixed in an effort to make them less separated, especially the "Second Album". Mixing mixes doesn't pay though. I list all of these as remixes because of the deliberate differences.

The white album and "Abbey Road" were filtered by Capitol to remove most of the bass sound and some of the treble, for the mundane purpose of making it easier to cut LP masters of their long 25-minute sides. Good bass sound requires a relatively wide pitch (distance between grooves), and the proper way to cut these long LP sides is to vary the pitch, making it narrow during quiet parts, so the whole thing will fit on the side at normal volume. It might take a few tries to get right. Capitol may be the only affiliate that found this too difficult to bother about, and in fact they even dropped the volume as well, causing us to turn up the volume on playback and hear the surface noise better. I have NOT marked these as deliberate mix differences. They are extreme examples of what might be called pressing differences, a further category I think I want to keep away from.

"The Beatles Book" (magazine) in 1968 reported George Harrison remixing the white album for Capitol in Hollywood after hearing how bad it sounded. This is nonsense, whether on grounds of George H's ability to do so, the unlikelihood of EMI sending all the masters away for this, or the horrible quality of the final product. It still sounds awful, so what did he do?

The second reel-to-reel tape release of Capitol's white album, blue-edge box, two tapes, has several songs edited bizarrely as described in the "Every Little Thing" book, which however fails to mention that the edits appear only in the second issue (thanks, Frank Daniels, for this info). The reasons for this work were never revealed. Some of the albums on Capitol 8-track have extra songs from other albums, e.g. "Yellow Submarine" has Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds. The Capitol cassettes to this day have the songs in a different order than the albums, as usual for unknown reasons.

Capitol's 2-LP set "Rock and Roll Music" supposedly has all songs remixed by George Martin from the original tapes, as stated in "Every Little Thing" for example. Reading near-contemporary interviews with George Martin convinces me he did the work in 2 days at Capitol's Hollywood studios, so he must have just fiddled with the mixed tapes Capitol had, not the originals, and the only ones that got noticeable work were some of the twintrack recordings, which do sound better. All of them got their stereo reversed by a simple and stupid error of crossing cables. Note: The first UK release uses the old unimproved mixes, so I list these remixes only as the Capitol release. The UK reissue on MFP as two separate albums uses the remixes.

I mention the later compilations on Capitol only where they are a source of something not on the Capitol originals: "Love Songs", "Ballads", "20 Greatest Hits", "Reel Music". Songs on the latter two actually sound better than on any earlier Capitol LPs, but then so do the CDs and the very late LP issues made from the CD masters.

Capitol singles starting in the mid-1970's began differing from the original. Songs may appear in stereo, or in mono made from the stereo mixes. The labels are unreliable as to whether the record itself is mono or stereo, and some are even mono on one side and stereo on the other. These are nearly useless for anyone collecting mixes. It's a gamble what version you'll get. I hear the same may also be true for issues in other countries.

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