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THE BEATLES IN THE USA: Between January of 1964 and February of 1970, Capitol Records issued 13 albums by The Beatles in the United States, ushering in the first tidal wave of global Beatlemania and eventually putting forth the penultimate statement by the greatest band of all time.
To first-wave American Beatles fans (and a sizable number of purists), these recordings – starting with Meet The Beatles! and ending with Hey Jude – represent something close to sacrosanct. As it turned out, the albums were, in many cases, far and away from what the band intended.
Because The Beatles' recordings were licensed to Capitol from EMI, the US company was free to slice and dice the original British LPs at will, resulting in sometimes shockingly abridged versions of classics like Rubber Soul and Revolver to surprisingly sturdy, hit-filled compilation albums that went by the names of Beatles '65, Something New and Yesterday And Today.
The changes didn't just affect tracklistings and artwork. Albums were, in many cases, released in both stereo and mono. When no stereo mixes were available, Capitol created them, splitting the mono signal between two channels, tweaking the bass and treble and resulting in "duophonic" mixes. Conversely, for some mono recordings, "fold-down" mono mixes that blended two discrete stereo channels into one mono master, were assembled.
All of which no doubt drove The Beatles bananas whenever they took a second from changing the world and dropped one of the US releases onto their turntables. (In fact, when they were renegotiating their deal with EMI in 1966, one of the key sticking points was their demand that the US would adhere to issuing their studio albums as is, beginning with Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band.)
In 2009, The Beatles catalogue was reissued in lavish stereo and mono box sets (as well as for iTunes), and in a move that will perhaps chafe purists, these same stereo and mono remasters, with rare exceptions, are what appear on a 13-CD box called called, appropriately enough, The Beatles: The US Albums (Apple Corps Ltd./Capitol). For early Beatles fans looking to bathe themselves in nostalgia or young'uns intent on completing their collections, it's a stupendous package, with tracklistings and artwork slavishly reproduced even down to the occasional song title typo.
On the following pages, we take you through The Beatles: The US Albums disc by disc.