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The U.S. Albums box set – a more detailed look

The Beatles US Albums 13-CD Box Set released on Jan. 20/21, 2014

The Beatles US Albums 13-CD Box Set released on Jan. 20/21, 2014

 

Last month I announced here that on January 20, 2014 (Jan. 21 in U.S.), Apple will release The US Albums – a new Beatles 13-CD box set that contains mono and stereo versions of all of the unique Capitol albums released by The Beatles. Since then, The Beatles Rarity Headquarters has been inundated with questions about this new release – mostly concerning the mixes used. I thought an update was in order but first a little recap.

The set will contain mono and stereo versions of all Capitol Beatles albums between 1964 and 1966 to include (click for album art and track listing) Meet The Beatles!, The Beatles Second Album, Something New, The Beatles Story, Beatles ’65, The Early Beatles, Beatles VI, Help!, Rubber Soul, Yesterday And Today and Revolver. It will also include the 1964 United Artist US soundtrack to A Hard Day’s Night that Capitol obtained the rights to in 1980. Additionally it will include the 1970 US-only Hey Jude album which compiled 10 tracks not previously issued on an American Capitol LP. The Beatles Story, a spoken word documentary originally issued as a double-LP will only be issued in stereo. Hey Jude was originally released after mono was phased out in the US and will also only be issued in stereo. All of the other discs begin with the mono version of the album and then follow with the stereo version. Each album will also be sold individually and released on the same dates given above with the exception of The Beatles Story which is exclusive to the box set.

The discs will be housed in a thick box similar to The Beatles in Mono box set issued in 2009 (see photo above and below). A 64-page booklet is included with liner notes and photos of The Beatles and promotional art from the era. A decal will be included that has the re-issued trunk cover for Yesterday And Today and fits right over the “butcher cover” version of the artwork in which the album was first packaged.

 

The US Albums box set, 2014

The US Albums box set, 2014

 

Unlike the 2004 Apple box set (The Capitol Albums Vol. 1) that included 4 of these albums in mono and stereo and the 2006 Apple box set (The Capitol Albums Vol. 2) containing an additional 4 of these albums in mono and stereo, the new set will not be using the original Capitol master tapes. Apple has cited in a press release that this would not have created the best possible listening experience due to some fidelity limitations with the Capitol mixes. These include mixes made from second, third or even fourth generation tapes and many of the songs being in a duophonic mix instead of “true” stereo (duophonic, otherwise known as “fake” or “rechannelled” stereo is a means of simulating stereo from a mono source). For this reason and with a few exceptions that I will get to in a minute, the remasters that were issued in 2009 of the British mixes will be used for the majority of the tracks. In most cases where a U.S. mix differed from the U.K. mixes now included on the 2009 remasters, most – but not all – U.S. mixes will be used.

Here is a summary of the methodology on selecting the source of these recordings:

  1. If Capitol’s original mix on a stereo album was a duophonic mix – the true stereo UK mix remastered in 2009 was used instead (e.g. “Ticket To Ride” but lots of others that were for the most part a & b sides of singles)
  2. If Capitol’s original mix on a mono album was a “Type B” mono (i.e. reduced to mono from stereo mix) – the original UK mono mix was used instead. This would cover tracks on the mono Meet The Beatles!, The Beatles Second Album, The Early Beatles, Help! and even “Drive My Car” from Yesterday And Today.
  3. In the few cases where there was no stereo mix to use and Capitol made duophonic mixes (e.g. “She Loves You,” “P.S. I Love You” and “Love Me Do”) – the original UK mono mix was used instead.
  4. There are a few edits and mixes sent to Capitol by producer George Martin that make the US versions of certain tracks unique. Apple has confirmed that these will be remastered and included with the set. However, there is no confirmation on what specific tracks these are. I’ve annotated 5 possibilities and what’s different about the original US Capitol US mix vs. the 2009 remasters below:

     

    • “I’ll Cry Instead” – extra verse on mono version of A Hard Day’s Night and Something New
    • “I’m Looking Through You” – false starts on the stereo mix of Rubber Soul
    • “I’m Only Sleeping” – backwards guitar fading up and down in different spots than UK mixes on both stereo and mono versions of Yesterday And Today
    • “Dr. Robert” – slightly longer fade on mono version of Yesterday And Today
    • “Paperback Writer” – reversed right and left channels on Hey Jude

    Of course the first two in this list were already released on the earlier Capitol box sets.

  5. For everything not covered in 1-4 above – the 2009 remasters will be used.

So in all cases above except “4,” the 2009 remasters will be re-sequenced to “fit” the track listing of the original Capitol LPs.

Finally, for those of you who prefer to have the digital versions of the original Capitol mixes, if you don’t already have the two earlier box sets – The Capitol Albums Vols. 1 & 2 – you better get them soon because this set will replace them and they will undoubtedly be out of print in the near future.

 


Here are some Amazon links to read more on, or purchase, some music related to this post:

1) The U.S. Albums – Commemorative 2014 13-CD box set of original Capitol Beatles Albums reconfigured from the 2009 UK remasters.

2) The Capitol Albums Vol. 1 – 2004 remastered 4-CD box set containing mono and stereo versions of Meet The Beatles!, The Beatles Second Album, Something New and Beatles ’65. All use the original Capitol mixes. This set will soon be out-of-print.

3) The Capitol Albums Vol. 2 – 2006 remastered 4-CD box set containing mono and stereo versions of The Early Beatles, Beatles VI, Help! and Rubber Soul. All use the original Capitol mixes. This set will soon be out-of-print.

4) Any of your favorite Beatles-related music: The Beatles, John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr.

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49 Comments

  • Sherman Applegate says:

    I wonder if they have fixed the mistaken quote in The Beatles Story. In one obvious error he narrator names the wrong Beatles prior to the actual quote. I’ve forgotten where it is but I’ll give a listen again tonight and let you know. Thanks for the info!!!

  • Stephen Bourassa says:

    Hey, Nat

    Happy New Year!

    Someone on Amazon noted these…

    “Lennon’s harmonica overdub on Thank You Girl, which was only in America, guitar overdub in Money, the extra verse in the US mono I’ll Cry Instead (but not the stereo), the single-track McCartney vocal in the US mono And I Love Her, the double-track intro vocal on the US stereo If I Fell,”

    Interesting to hear. I loved the US copies and think at least in one case, Rubber Soul, the US version was a more focused record – more acoustic/folk sounding, than the original UK.

    Best,
    Stephen

    • Happy Nat says:

      Thanks Stephen. The harmonica on “Thank You Girl” will definitely be on the stereo Beatles Second Album but may be missing on the mono. It occurs only on the stereo mix and in the US Capitol “flattened” the stereo mix into mono for the mono version(known as Type B mono) of The Beatles Second Album. Therefore I’m fairly certain Apple will not use that mix in this set (see my rule 2 above). The guitar overdub is missing on the mono “Money” since they use the UK 2009 remaster – I’ve confirmed this from the 25-track promo sampler. As for the other things, it will be interesting to see.

      • Tom says:

        Actually I hope there is no harmonica overdub on the mono, Thank You Girl, because thats what I grew up with. I grew to love the single but I did not hear the stereo version until 1970. The reason for this is I grew up in Canada, We had the Long Tall Sally LP. The Beatles Second Album was not available in Canada, except in second hand record stores. I actually bought my copy of that after the Hey Jude album hit the markets. When I got the album home. I listened two it. It was a shock to hear the harmonica for the first time. I have never liked it.

        • Happy Nat says:

          But the mono (i.e. harmonica-less) mix is not the appropriate mix heard on “The Beatles Second Album.” Isn’t it sort of like hoping Batman is wearing a bright blue shirt with a big red and yellow “S” symbol on it in the next Batman movie? I guess a large consensus feels that way anyway.

          • Tom says:

            On The Beatles Second Cassette, Thank You Girl, was moved to side 2 after She Loves You. In that case, it is appropriate. That make the last three, mono. On the stereo set, I mean.

            Actually it would be interesting to burn a CD with both. Leave the stereo one where it is, and put the mono one last.

          • Happy Nat says:

            Tom, “Thank You Girl” was the stereo mix on (stereo) copies of “The Beatles Second Album.” It was in true stereo and had the extra harmonica edit pieces in it. “Thank You Girl” on the mono copies of the album also had the same attributes because it was really the same mix reduced to mono. The true mono mix without the extra harmonica was used on all UK releases (the b-side of the Parlophone “From Me To You” single and even the UK “Rarities” album from 1978). The mono mix was also in the US on numerous Vee-Jay (or their Oldies subsidiary label). I don’t understand your comment about it being in mono on the cassette.

          • Tom says:

            This is The Beatles Second Cassette. Thats what I call it.http://www.oocities.org/es/melgarbeatles12/4xt2080.html

        • Tom says:

          I mentioned the cassette because the songs are in a different order:

          PROGRAM 1
          ROLL OVER BEETHOVEN
          YOU REALLY GOT A HOLD ON ME
          DEVIL IN HER HEART
          MONEY
          YOU CAN’T DO THAT

          PROGRAM 2
          LONG TALL SALLY
          I CALL YOUR NAME
          PLEASE MISTER POSTMAN
          I’LL GET YOU
          SHE LOVES YOU
          THANK YOU GIRL

          That is the cassette order.
          Moving just one song can change the entire album.
          I like this order better.

          Meet The Beatles on cassette is the same order as the record.

  • Russell Taylor says:

    I thought there was something unique to the mono version of And Your Bird Can Sing from Yesterday & Today. Can’t remember exactly what it is.
    Do you have any info on this?

    • Happy Nat says:

      That info is here Russell (along with a picture of one of my albums).

    • Tom says:

      Does anyone remember the “2nd Album” (stereo) version of I CALL YOUR NAME?..NOT the same as the PAST MASTERS mix. In fact, there are a few edits not on 2nd album. On John’s entrance, his first word “I” is single-tracked, then immediately to doubled, whereas on Past Masters, the entire “I call your name” phrase is single-track, then actually breaks tempo at the edit. Also, after the guitar solo, on “Don’t you know I can’t”..the bass line is different. I’ve actually long preferred the 2nd Album stereo version-except for that dreaded reverb wash..on every cut, too. I realize, on YOU CAN’T DO THAT, for example, CAPITOL hadn’t yet acquired a true stereo mix, but that was OK. Those mono-only cuts should have been left alone. So, except for I CALL YOUR NAME, the UK stereo mixes should have been used, in my opinion..leave SHE LOVES YOU & I’LL GET YOU in MONO, as well. While I’m at it, the 1st box versions of BEATLES vi and RUBBER SOUL in MONO, respectively, were NOT the true mono mixes, but rather “fold-downs” of the stereo on both.

  • David Fell says:

    I was listening to the UA LP of A Hard Day’s Night the other day; I had forgotten that Paul isn’t double-tracked on the verse vocals for “And I Love Her.” I hope that’s included.

    • Happy Nat says:

      If they do it right, we’ll have the single-tracked vocal on the A Hard Day’s Night soundtrack (both times) and the single-tracked on the mono version from Something New and the double-tracked vocal on the stereo version from Something New. We’ll see how they do.

    • Happy Nat says:

      David, the sampler indicates that the single-tracked vocal version of And I Love Her is used on A Hard Day’s Night. Looks like they got that right.

  • Randy Berg says:

    Happy Nat, this is the finest article I have seen yet on the US Boxed set. This answers all my questions! You are the BEST!

  • carol says:

    I’m glad they’re adding echo to Americanize the songs. I think they sound better that way and it’s the way I originally heard them. Thanks Nat.

  • Roger Tomlin says:

    Hey Nat,

    I’m sorry, but there are many, many purists out here who lived through the 1960′s and appreciate history as it actually happened. It’s a little dishonest to represent to the masses that these are the “US Albums”. Maybe “dishonest” is the wrong word. The point is that it’s rather disappointing to not be getting the actual tracks the way it was. I mean, that’s how this is being represented, right? With very few exceptions, we all have these remastered tracks. We’re actually purchasing the book and original cover artwork. I’m sorry to be pessimistic and rain on everyone’s parade. However, to truly be the US albums, it’s a great many fans desire they be released as it happened then. Mistakes and blemishes intact. Anything less makes the title of the set incorrect. Just my opinion. Having said all of that, one of the differences I seem to remember was the very ending of “What Goes On”. The stereo version has George playing a cool riff to end the song. That riff is missing from the mono version. Is this the same as the British releases or was this only peculiar to the US version. Any road, it’s a great article Nat. As usual.

    • Happy Nat says:

      No need to apologize to me Roger. I’m with you that I would really prefer they released the Capitol masters for these. Especially since that is how they already started with the earlier 4-CD box sets and should finish up. Now it is a set that will remain incomplete. However I do see the argument for doing what they did too. They want the quality of the music up to today’s standards (instead of 2nd, 3rd or even 4th generation tapes) and are trying to “recreate” as close as possible without giving us the duophonic and mono Type B’s that are somewhat frowned upon these days. I guess there are more than one ways to look at this. I grew up on the sixties vinyl too though and relish it.

      As for “What Goes On,” the closing riff you speak of is no different on the UK stereo version and its absence is no different than what’s heard on the UK mono version. In other words the stereo and mono mixes are respectively the same on both sides of the pond.

  • Sherman Applegate says:

    Hi Nat. Sherman here again. Always wondered about the “long” version of “I’ll Cry Instead”. I understand the mono mix is the only authorized version out there. I’m sure you know there is a stereo version out there with an obvious edit. Is it not being included in this set simply because the edit is so noticeable in stereo but on the mono mix it’s not? Are they even the same tracks or was the stereo version cleverly pieced together by a source way after the fact? (i.e. the Casualties collection). Just curious . Oh I found the mistake on the Beatles Story lp. It is in the chapter “Beatles Will Be Beatles”. The quote is attributed to Paul but it’s obviously George and then John who we actually hear. Check it out. Thanks again Nat for all this good stuff!!!

    • Happy Nat says:

      The US A Hard Day’s Night soundtrack album (stereo and mono editions) and US 45 version of this track contains an extra verse not found on the UK releases. This song is also on the US Something New LP but the extra verse is only found officially on the mono issue of the album. The mono long version contains an extra verse. The stereo mix of the long version that circulates on a few bootlegs is a forgery created by using verse 1 over again with an edit (in other words a copy and paste job). This was issued officially in a montage of still photos that preceded a 1982 VHS issue of the A Hard Day’s Night movie.

      Now Sherman – I’m giving you a homework assignment to do after reading this. Look at the menu bar at the top of the page and click “Search Nat’s Collection.” Think of a Beatles/Beatles solo track you want to know about (e.g. “I’ll Cry Instead”). Click the Songs/Tracks button. Type in the song in the top text box. Optionally feel free to use any of the drop down menu or check box filters to narrow down your search. Click the search button. Voila! Click on any of the songs that met your search criteria and read about it. This is something I worked on for years and is constantly updated. Everything is in there from “Puttin’ On The Style” by The Quarrymen (1957) all the way up to Paul McCartney and Jimmy Fallon singing “Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas” last month. There are 9881 entries totaling 523 and a half hours of music. This is where I found the answer to your question above. It’s not as detailed as a Mark Lewisohn book but it has the main facts – and also follows The Beatles after 1970 up to now. You are invited to give it a whirl.

    • Happy Nat says:

      Ah, I see what you mean on the Beatles’ Story error now. I never noticed that before – good catch. It was during the story about the “Beatles” name spelled with the B-E-A.

  • Sherman Applegate says:

    Thanks Nat. What a great resource! I’m sure I’ll be utilizing it quite often. Can’t wait to hear and see what they’ve done with this new Box Set!

  • Ernie says:

    Hey Nat!

    For us purest old U.S. Beatles fans the other albums in the new box set are readily available from Dr. Ebbetts if you want the genuine U.S. mixes. I compiled what would have been in Volume 3 if Capitol had issued it. The remainder of the albums in the new box set are available in both stereo and mono remastered from pristine vinyl from the good doctor so at least we have that option and they sound great too!

  • Kevin says:

    what about Day Tripper single guitar intro on yesterday and today?

  • Steve Beauchampe says:

    So if I’m understanding this right, we’re now being offered totally new mixes of many of the tracks. i.e. the second/third/fourth genearion tapes and duophonic mixes have been removed and replaced by the 2009 remasters, but these now have echo added to ‘Americanize’ them!

    Whilst I’m pleased that they’re using the original analogue masters for the unique mixes and that the packaging is apparently more authentic than with the 2004/6 box sets I think I’ll be paying Dr. Ebbetts a visit. Anyway, thanks Nat for a great website.

  • Gaz Hat says:

    Happy Nat, this website is truly amazing. I’ve just received the set and was confused with regards to why they used the mono version of I’ll Cry Instead on AHND soundtrack for mono & stereo, and I’ve found the answer on here. I didn’t realise that it also has the extra verse, I must have been asleep when I listened to Capitol Box Set. Thank You!

    As a Beatles fan of 20 plus years I’m still learning stuff all the time ( I’m only 40! ) I have never bothered with the USA mixes because I’m from the UK, and was shocked by the amount of reverb and compression on the Duophonic mixes on The Capitol Years Box Sets which I only bought last year. Before this new set was released, I was actually on the verge of making the USA LP’s from the 2009 UK Remasters ( mp3′s versions of course ) and I’ve since done all the post ’70 best of’s ( minus the red & blue LPs ) including YS Songtrack in mono. ( too much time on my hands ) :)

    Even though I prefer the UK mixes, I was a very pleased to find out that they’ve added extra echo to the UK masters to create “new” versions of the USA mixes.

    Well enough of my babbling, again, Thank You :)

  • Craig says:

    Is it worth buying? I already own all of the British released CD that came out a few years ago that were all remastered.

  • Prefabfan says:

    Hello, and FAIL is my word. I want the Revolver I heard in high school. Not one made from the 2009 remasters which were a FAIL anyway because they were not remixed. I did that. But that’s a different story. And if they want a proper stereo version of the elongated I’ll Cry instead Westwood one had it. They could borrow it back. I got it, I assume Nat does too. EMI, give me the Revolver and Yesterday and Today I remember. From the best tapes you can find.

  • Jim Powers says:

    Sherman,
    Great review of the box set. I do prefer the British masters & I have them. Apple should have released the orginal Capitol masters versions on this new set. It is advertised deception to the fans. I will hold on to the previous Vol. 1 & Vol. 2 of the Capitol sets. I will also hold on to the orginal mono & stereo LPs of Yesterday & Today as well as the Beatles Again LP (Hey Jude album)for those unique mixes like Paperback Writer. I do not debate the best sound comes from the British Masters released in 2009 but Apple should not have mislead fans with an American Capitol Box Set containing mostly British Masters. The Boomers will be disappointed.

  • Yvon-Louis Trottier says:

    Bonjour

    I bought the Box Set Today, and I was very disappointed with the mixes. They should have kept the mistakes, the reverb and everything as presented to the fans in the 60′s . Stick to your vinyl copies, if you still have them or the Capitol CD Box Set 1 and 2.

    I enjoy very much your website

    Merci !

  • Mac says:

    Hi, congrats for your great review.
    I´d like to ask for your opinion. I do not own the Mono Box Set and most of my CD´s belong to the 1987 remasters. Considering music quality itself (leaving nolstagia apart), what would you recommend, trying to find the Mono Box Set or buying this US Albums Box? Considering the latter has both mono and stereo versions extracted from the 2009 remasters.

    Thanks a lot!

    • Happy Nat says:

      While the only way to have everything is to get both – if I had to pick I’d probably go with the U.S. Albums box for the very reason you stated – both mono and stereo mixes together.

    • Gaz Hunter says:

      Mac, if you are familiar with the UK LP track order then go with those, I’m from the UK and listening to the USA LP’s at the moment, they just sound so wrong! Tracks missing, cobbled together, duplicate tracks, granted there are some unique mixes etc, apparently they have ” Americanized ” the tracks, I’ll be honest, I’ve listened to less than half the LP’s in Mono and haven’t heard a great deal of difference between these and the UK 2009 versions. I’d suggest by the UK Mono box set and then get Abbey Road & Let It Be in Stereo. The other option is to buy the US Albums box, rip the tracks to mp3 and create your own files UK track listings from the files ?

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