Meet the Beatles

I made an interesting discovery when I went to listen to this album.  See, I had gone on a huge Beatles and John Lennon kick this past summer, and I thought I had every Beatles album in my collection.  So this album shows up on my list, and the cover picture looks familiar to me, so I go to listen to it and the CD is actually “With the Beatles” and I realize it’s different.  So I do a little Wikipedia research, and I discover that “Meet the Beatles!” is actually the first Beatles’ U.S. Capitol release (and technically the second Beatles album in the U.S. as Vee-Jay Records released “Introducing…the Beatles” 10 days earlier), and despite the fact that is has the same cover as “With the Beatles” (which is actually the second U.K. Beatles album), the track list is very different.

With the Beatles

So apparently there were major differences in the Beatles’ record releases worldwide, and this was especially true between the U.K. and the U.S. as they were being distributed by two different record labels (Parlophone/EMI in the U.K. and Capitol in the U.S.).  In fact, the releases were not standardized until “Sgt. Pepper’s”, so all of the albums up to that point were different between the two countries.  This was partly due to the U.S. getting a late start on Beatlemania, and also partly due to the fact that in the U.K. singles were traditionally not released on albums as the fans considered that to be double-dipping (man, I wish record companies still had the same principles, as I am really getting tired of the “Special 20th Anniversary Re-releases” of my favorite 90s albums!).  At any rate, in this particular case, Capitol Records dropped 5 covers from “With the Beatles” (I’m sure it was cheaper than paying the royalties), added two radio hits and a B-side and voila: “Meet the Beatles!” was born.

Well, once I figured all this out, the problem remained that I still didn’t own the album.  So back to the World Wide Interweb I go, only to discover it had never had an official stand-alone U.S. release.  Apparently way back in 1987 when the Beatles catalogue was being released on Compact Disc, the decision was made to standardize it worldwide based on the U.K. releases.  After all, the Beatles were British, and they did have more artistic control over the U.K. releases (the only U.S. release to make it into the standard catalogue was “Magical Mystery Tour”), so I guess I can see why.  But that didn’t change the fact that to get a CD copy of “Meet the Beatles!” I had to buy a boxset from Amazon for $29.90 called “The Capitol Albums Vol. 1” which contained the first for Beatles’ U.S. releases (in both mono and stereo…woo-hoo!).  But I guess I shouldn’t complain, as I actually found the U.S. releases to be pretty fun, and eventually I wound up buying “The Capitol Albums Vol. 2” as well.

Other lists: “I Want to Hold Your Hand” is #16 and “I Saw Her Standing There” is #140 on Rolling Stone’s list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.  Also, “I Want to Hold Your Hand” is #2, “I Saw Her Standing There” is #16, “All My Loving” is #44, “It Won’t Be Long” is #53, and “All I’ve Got to Do” is #97 on the list of the 100 Greatest Beatles’ Songs.

Ch-ch-changes: This album jumped up 6 spots from its rank of #59 on the original Rolling Stone Top 500 Albums list in 2003.

My favourite track: “I Saw Her Standing There” (it was the best track on “Please Please Me”, and it’s the best track on this album too!)

Honourable mention: “I Want to Hold Your Hand”

Quote: “And when I touch you, I feel happy inside” (heh-heh)

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