Today begins a 12 part blog on The Beatles U.S. Albums set released earlier this week. There are 13 albums in the box, but since the documentary album ‘The Beatles Story’ is exactly the same as the stereo album, there’s no need to go into detail for that one.

Speaking of detail, this new release goes into much more of that than the 2004 Capitol releases, going so far as to replicate the original Capitol lp covers, but also the inner sleeves as well.

Capitol Records first Beatles album ‘Meet the Beatles’ was released on January 20, 1964 in mono and stereo – just under three weeks before their iconic appearance on CBS-TV’s Ed Sullivan Show. By February 15, the album was at the top of the Billboard album chart where it remained for eleven weeks before being knocked out of the top spot by ‘The Beatles Second Album’.

Ten out of the twelve tracks on ‘Meet The Beatles’ were originals written by Lennon-McCartney, one track written by George Harrison (his first ever) ‘Don’t Bother Me’, with only one cover song on the album. ‘Till There Was You’ was written by Meredith Wilson for the broadway musical (and later movie) ‘The Music Man, and was the second song The Beatles sang on their first Ed Sullivan show appearance on February 9 – probably to placate the parents watching that night.

Here’s a song by song rundown of this weeks release compared to the original Capitol vinyl albums. The new discs contain both mono and stereo versions of the album. While the original Capitol albums were pressed using second generation masters that were occasionally ‘doctored’ by Capitol engineers, the mono masters for this latest compact disc were taken from the 2009 remasters used in the British issues that year, making them sound bit warmer in comparison. The two fake stereo (duophonic) tracks on the 1964 Capitol vinyl release ‘I Want To Hold Your Hand’ and ‘This Boy’ have been replaced with true stereo versions from the 2009 remasters.

John sang lead vocals on four tracks on ‘Meet The Beatles’, as did Paul. Ringo and George each sang lead on one track, John and Paul on one track, and John Paul and George on one track.

The timings vary just a tad between the mono and stereo versions, possibly because of varying gap times between songs:

Mono Stereo Song – Lead
2:28 2:24 I Want To Hold Your Hand (original album Duophonic) – John/Paul
2:55 2:56 I Saw Her Standing There – Paul
2:16 2:16 This Boy (original album Duophonic) – John/Paul/George
2:14 2:14 It Won’t Be Long – John
2:05 2:05 All I’ve Got To Do – John
2:09 2:09 All My Loving – Paul
2:30 2:30 Don’t Bother Me – George
1:49 1:49 Little Child – John
2:16 2:16 Till There Was You – Paul
2:34 2:34 Hold Me Tight – Paul
2:02 1:59 I Wanna Be Your Man – Ringo
2:06 2:11 Not A Second Time  (cleaner than Capitol vinyl album) – John


Meet The Beatles front cover - inner sleeve - r Meet The Beatles back cover - inner sleeve -r

Producer George Martin was sharp in his criticism of Capitol Records.

Tomorrow: The Beatles Second Album


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