The Usenet Guide to Beatles Recording Variations

Version 2. Last update: 17 May 2000.

by Joseph Brennan
435 South Ridgewood Road, South Orange NJ 07079

Copyright 1993,1994,1995,1996,1997,1998,1999,2000,2002 by Joseph Brennan.

This document has changed very little since November 1997.

Changes you might care about include:

  • Some comments on I'll Be Back, I Feel Fine, I've Just Seen a Face, Michelle, The Word.
  • Love me do: Better info on the vinyl source used to recover the original single version.
  • Help!: More thoughts on the two lead vocals.
  • Long long long: Clarification on the guitar difference.
  • Get back: Clearer discussion of the dating problem.

2002: Steve Graham reports on that "Past Masters" has the two German-language songs not in mono but in incredibly narrow stereo, which can be re-widened using software (or analog equipment few of us would have).

2002: The references to stereo Canada Capitol ST 6064 "Long Tall Sally" have been removed. This album was released only in mono (T 6064), and appeared in stereo only in the late 1970's. I knew this quite a while ago and forgot to remove the references. Sorry. It had been credited with early stereo appearances of a few songs, but of course that was wrong.

Summer 2000: A contributor is working on the new Yellow Sub CD's deliberate differences. (Note, 2002: Coming soon!)

I don't think it's clear to many people that these mixes (and actually a few from Anthology) begin a new era in Beatles mixes, and call for restructuring of my format. Many Beatles recordings were made by bouncing down, that is, by filling a multitrack tape, typically 2 or 4 tracks, and mixing it down to 1 or 2 tracks of another multitrack, and adding more to the available tracks. This was sometimes repeated one or two times more, and is labelled in the Variations list as "2d generation" and so on. These bouncedown mixes were all-important to variations, because all mono and stereo mixes were made from the last multitrack. The bouncedown mixing was set in stone and could not differ. The method now being used as on Yellow Sub is to synch up all the original source tracks from all the multitracks, which throws out the window the remarks about "2d generation" and makes possible many more mixing variations. The only limits now are sound mixed during recording, like the common combining of rhythm guitar, bass guitar, and drums into one track of the multitrack during recording, and the relatively rare sound on sound mixes, where new sound is added to a track during tape copying. Even those limits are being challenged by new 'mock stereo' technology.

22 June 1999: New variation! Nick Piercey has reported purchasing a Canadian Capitol "Meet the Beatles" in 1980 that has a previously unknown variant of "Don't bother me", with George singing an extra "don't" loud and clear at about 2:00, between "until that day" and "don't come around, leave me alone". Capitol of Canada had issued the song only in mono on "Beatlemania! With the Beatles", and may not have had a stereo master. They issued the American set "Meet the Beatles" in stereo, with the the American catalog number, very late in the LP era, but where did they get this stereo mix from? I have heard a tape copy made from Mr Piercey's LP.

Introduction | Credits | Notes on US Releases | Notes on CD Releases | Notes on Films | Format of entries | Variations Guide