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Beatles: Pre-Rubber Soul


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#1 of 33 Patrick Larkin

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Posted April 05 2003 - 03:53 PM

Can anyone help me out on Pre-1965 Beatles? I'd like to fill in my Beatles collection and could use some help deciphering their releases. I've looked at a couple discography sites and notice a lot of releases were duplicates of others and the U.K releases are different still.

I have no Beatles CDs at all before Rubber Soul except Help! What others do I need to to make a somewhat complete collection?

#2 of 33 Peter Mazur

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Posted April 05 2003 - 04:20 PM

You need the following:

Please Please Me
With The Beatles
A Hard Day's Night
Beatles For Sale
Past Masters, Vol. 1 (all their early singles)

#3 of 33 Patrick Larkin

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Posted April 05 2003 - 04:25 PM

So, available CDs are the UK releases? That makes it easier. I suppose I should get both Past Masters CDs too.

I notice an album titled Live at the Hollywood Bowl. Is that on CD? what other CDs are there besides the major releases?

Thanks...

#4 of 33 Marvin

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Posted April 05 2003 - 04:33 PM

Yes, definitely get 'Past Masters' - both volumes - since they contain songs - some of their best ones - not on the other CDs. Other than that, get the 4 that Peter listed.

I'm not certain but I think Hollywood Bowl was officially released on LP but not CD, though I suppose it's available on bootleg CDs.

The anthology CDs (there are 3 of them) are official and are worth it if you're more than a casual fan. I'd stay away from the various greatest hits CDs ("1" or the earlier "red" or "blue" CDs) since this will result in a lot of duplication of songs.

#5 of 33 Peter Mazur

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Posted April 05 2003 - 04:33 PM

Both Past Masters are definitely must haves. They include all their singles, some of their best known songs. "She Loves You", "I Want To Hold Your Hand" etc.

The Anthology series is also worth picking up, and "Live at the BBC".

#6 of 33 Paul D Young

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Posted April 05 2003 - 07:14 PM

Patrick, I was in your shoes once too. I remember the initial confusion when I saw all the american and UK versions (I introduced myself on the vinyl first). The CDs make it much easier. Although it may not be exactly how it was released originally, here is how the catalog stands today on CD:

1963 Please Please Me
1963 With the Beatles
1964 A Hard Day's Night [UK]
1964 Beatles for Sale
1965 Help! [UK]
1965 Rubber Soul [UK]
1966 Revolver [UK]
1967 Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band
1967 Magical Mystery Tour
1968 The Beatles [White Album]
1969 Yellow Submarine
1969 Abbey Road
1970 Let It Be

And then in 1988 when Capitol decided to release all of the previous albums in the current form, they added:

Past Masters, Vol. 1
And
Past Masters, Vol. 2

These collect all of the missing songs released as singles and EPs that did not appear on the current incarnations.

If I made any mistakes or over-generalizations, I'm sure they will be corrected immediately.

#7 of 33 Colin Jacobson

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Posted April 06 2003 - 05:05 AM

Quote:
I'm not certain but I think Hollywood Bowl was officially released on LP but not CD, though I suppose it's available on bootleg CDs.


This is correct. Official LP release in 1977 - my first-ever Beatles album at age 10! - but no official CD release ever. I think they only ever put out Hollywood Bowl because the unofficial Star Club recordings emerged and Capitol wanted to combat those with "real" product. I believe George Martin's always felt somewhat embarrassed with the quality of Hollywood Bowl and that's part of the reason the set never got a CD release. (Could be wrong - this is a vague memory about the lack of CD version...)

There are indeed plenty of boots of Hollywood Bowl, some with material not on the LP, I believe. I've heard some good things about them but haven't actually HEARD them myself...
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#8 of 33 Mitty

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Posted April 06 2003 - 10:11 AM

Quote:
So, available CDs are the UK releases?

Yup.

Quote:
That makes it easier.

Sure does. You know, however, that when they re-release The Beatles' catalogue down the road on remastered SACD/DVD-A/whatever, they'll release both the American and UK releases just to suck more dollars out of the collectors' pockets, sorta like the Rolling Stones ABKCO catalogue.

Quote:
I suppose I should get both Past Masters CDs too.

Yes sir. My personal fave Beatles song, "I Feel Fine" is on PM1. Plus German versions of "I Wanna Hold Your Hand" and "She Loves You" (Komm, Gib Mir Deine Hand and Sie Liebt Dich)!

#9 of 33 Jagan Seshadri

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Posted April 06 2003 - 11:03 AM

Be aware that the CD releases of the albums before "Help!" are monophonic and are also horrible sounding. They need not be, especially since those early albums came out as Stereo LPs.

Hopefully those albums will be re-released with higher fidelity. The Anthology DVD set has some of those early songs in great sonic shape.

Avoid the CD versions of those early albums. Or buy them and see what I mean.

-JNS

#10 of 33 Colin Jacobson

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Posted April 06 2003 - 02:05 PM

Quote:
You know, however, that when they re-release The Beatles' catalogue down the road on remastered SACD/DVD-A/whatever, they'll release both the American and UK releases just to suck more dollars out of the collectors' pockets, sorta like the Rolling Stones ABKCO catalogue.


You state this as though it's fact, which it is not...
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#11 of 33 Marvin

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Posted April 06 2003 - 02:59 PM

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You know, however, that when they re-release The Beatles' catalogue down the road on remastered SACD/DVD-A/whatever, they'll release both the American and UK releases
I would doubt that, since they didn't do it the first time around. As I understand it, the Beatles hated the way Capitol released their albums in the US.

And for what it's worth, the early Beatles CDs don't sound horrible to me. Just my opinion...

#12 of 33 Jagan Seshadri

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Posted April 06 2003 - 03:45 PM

Ok, they don't sound horrible, but they could and should and can sound better. It's especially a shame that A Hard Day's Night is currently issued in muddy mono when it sounds so much more vibrant in stereo.

Good thing I have the early ones in stereo, albeit recorded off of vinyl. I just hope that official re-releases come out soon.

-JNS

#13 of 33 Michael St. Clair

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Posted April 06 2003 - 04:05 PM

They sound way better off vinyl. The CDs are poor. I have not heard the mono vinyl but the stereo vinyl is much more dynamic and clean. I have nothing against mono but the first four Beatles CDs are even worse than the rest of the regular CD releases.

#14 of 33 andrew markworthy

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Posted April 06 2003 - 06:07 PM

Quote:
Be aware that the CD releases of the albums before "Help!" are monophonic and are also horrible sounding. They need not be, especially since those early albums came out as Stereo LPs.

The early 'stereo' releases simply consist of some instruments on one channel and some on the other. If memory serves me correctly, the first few albums were released that way to appease the American market, but they were categorically *not* the official approved versions. That is why the early albums were released in mono - George Martin knew what he was doing.

A huge mistake in listening to The Beatles is to assume that the stereo version is the better or more approved one. Until the last couple of albums, far more time was spent on the mono than the stereo mixes because that was seen as the prime market. In the case of Sgt Pepper, the mono mix is *radically* different from the stereo mix most folks know.

To return to the question - Patrick, I'd respectfully differ from the advice given by other contributors and suggest you get the red greatest hits album first. This will give you a high proportion of the best of the early stuff. Early Beatles albums contain gems, but amongst some real dross. There are a lot of cover versions and some early Lennon-McCartney stuff is pretty routine. If you're hooked on the Beatles (as I am) then you'll go on to get all their albums, but it can't be denied that the 'quality density' rose as the group developed (until Let it Be, that is).

The Hollywood Bowl concert is worthy of release, I'd say, but there are other, better-quality early concerts available, such as the one done for Swedish radio in 1964(?) which is soncially pretty good.

Oh, and in the list of early Beatles stuff, don't forget the 2-CD set of Beatles at the BBC.

#15 of 33 Philip Hamm

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Posted April 07 2003 - 01:03 AM

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I'd respectfully differ from the advice given by other contributors and suggest you get the red greatest hits album first.
Agreed! Get the red album!
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#16 of 33 Patrick Larkin

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Posted April 07 2003 - 01:35 AM

I dont want any greatest hits albums - thanks! I'm too much of a completist.

I'd have to agree that the Beatles songs stepped to another level beginning with Help! but I'd still like their early stuff just to be complete.

What about the "Rarities" album released in 1980. Is that captured on a CD somewhere?

I would get the Anthology but they are so EXPENSIVE. Thats a whole other thread altogether but I'm somewhat amazed that after all the success the CD's are much more expensive than others. I got the Anthology DVD set for $45 but the CD's are $30 each.

#17 of 33 Marvin

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Posted April 07 2003 - 02:04 AM

Quote:
I dont want any greatest hits albums - thanks! I'm too much of a completist.
Way to go!

Quote:
Early Beatles albums contain gems, but amongst some real dross. There are a lot of cover versions and some early Lennon-McCartney stuff is pretty routine...it can't be denied that the 'quality density' rose as the group developed (until Let it Be, that is).
I haven't worked it out but I assume the Q.D. on "With the Beatles" and "A Hard Day's Night" is higher than that of "Please Please Me" and "Beatles for Sale" - and also of some of their later albums. Some of those cover versions are quite excellent; I'd take their versions of 'Twist and Shout', 'Long Tall Sally', 'Devil in her Heart', 'Boys' etc. over 'Maxwell's Silver Hammer' and 'Octopus's Garden' any day.

Quote:
What about the "Rarities" album released in 1980. Is that captured on a CD somewhere?
This hasn't been released on an official CD. As I recall, this consisted mostly of the "B" sides of singles. These can be found on the Past Masters CDs.

#18 of 33 Michael St. Clair

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Posted April 07 2003 - 02:52 AM

Quote:
A huge mistake in listening to The Beatles is to assume that the stereo version is the better or more approved one. Until the last couple of albums, far more time was spent on the mono than the stereo mixes because that was seen as the prime market. In the case of Sgt Pepper, the mono mix is *radically* different from the stereo mix most folks know.

Have you ever sat down and listened to the stereo 'Beatles for Sale' (UK version), and compared it to the mono CD? Even if you fold it down to mono, you would hear that the real mono version is much less dynamic.

I actually prefer the mono version of many albums, especially Revolver, The White Album and Sgt. Peppers. But the "real" Beatles fans know that the various versions can have merit of their own. The stereo versions of the first few albums sound so much better than the mono that it isn't funny....and it's not because they are in mono.

Also worth noting is that Help and Rubber Soul are remixed on CD. Talk about not the original intent...

Quote:
To return to the question - Patrick, I'd respectfully differ from the advice given by other contributors and suggest you get the red greatest hits album first. This will give you a high proportion of the best of the early stuff.[/


The 'Red' album has even more noise-reduction and processing than the 'regular' CDs...it sounds worse!

The best 'greatest' type CDs to buy are Past Masters V1 and V2, and the out-of-print (but not too hard to find) EP CD box.

The former gets you different songs and different versions than on the albums, and the sound quality is better than the album discs.

The latter gets you tons of excellent mono mixes (and MMT in both mono and stereo), and several non-album cuts. Sound is the best ever for the Beatles on CD.

#19 of 33 Mitty

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Posted April 07 2003 - 02:57 AM

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You state this as though it's fact, which it is not...

Well, since there's not even been a whisper (that I've heard anyway) of a re-release of these albums, of course I'm not stating it as fact.

#20 of 33 Philip Hamm

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Posted April 07 2003 - 04:58 AM

Quote:
I dont want any greatest hits albums - thanks! I'm too much of a completist.
The red album contains stereo tracks from "A Hard Day's Night" that were only released in mono on the original album. The stereo versions sound different (and better to me). So if you're a real completist you need the red album anyway!
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