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Review: It was 50 years ago today — The Beatles U.S. reissues on CD Special

Posted Jan 29, 2014 by Mindy Peterman
Fifty years have passed since The Beatles invaded U.S. shores and changed the world. To celebrate, Capitol Records has released versions of the Fab Four's albums which were never before issued on CD.
The Beatles on The Ed Sullivan Show on February 9  1964.
The Beatles on The Ed Sullivan Show on February 9, 1964.
Capitol Photo Archives
How many times have you repurchased your Beatles albums? If you grew up in the 60s, you might have had the records either given to you by music savvy relatives or bought with your allowance money. Maybe you replaced those in the 70s and 80s with more pristine copies of the vinyl. Later, with the advent of CDs, you probably shelled out more bucks for the collection on compact disc. But those CDs were not the U.S. versions of the albums. They were the British versions, with different track listings. The early to mid-period British Parlophone albums contained 14 tracks to the U.S. Capitol’s 12 (this was Capitol being cautious of losing fidelity due to “groove cramming”).
So if you were a purist or just longed for the albums the way you remembered them, you might have been disappointed.
In 2004 and 2006, respectively, Capitol attempted to right this wrong by issuing The Capitol Years Volume 1 and Volume 2. These sets contained for the first time on CD, in mono and stereo, eight of the U.S. releases: Meet the Beatles, The Beatles Second Album, Something New, Beatles ’65, The Early Beatles, Beatles VI, Help! The Original Motion Picture Soundtrack, and Rubber Soul. Nice try, Capitol, but, again, the purist had reason to be miffed. Missing were A Hard Day’s Night Original Motion Picture Soundtrack, The Beatles Story, Yesterday and Today, Revolver, and Hey Jude.
Now, in honor of the 50th Anniversary of The Beatles invading America (as well as their subsequent appearances on The Ed Sullivan Show), Capitol Records (actually, it's Universal Records now) has rectified the situation, releasing The U.S. Albums, a 13-CD box set of the U.S. releases. Each CD contains the album in mono and stereo (except for The Beatles Story and Hey Jude, which are stereo only). The set also contains the original Capitol Records inner sleeves, original album art and Obi strips on each release (one more nice touch is the infamous "dead babies" photo placed underneath the ‘trunk’ photo on Yesterday and Today). The collection contains a 64-page booklet with Beatles photos and promotional art of the era, as well as a new essay by American author and television executive Bill Flanagan. The whole shebang is also available on iTunes.
If you can’t see yourself repurchasing the collection yet again, never fear. For a limited time, each title will be made available separately, so you’ll be able to economize and buy only the titles that have never been available on CD before. Either way, it's a grand way to celebrate the Fab Four's contribution to art, music and life.