The Capitol Albums, Vol. 1

( 11 )

Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - Lydia Vanderloo
"You've read about them in Time, Newsweek, The New York Times. Here's the big beat sound of that fantastic, phenomenal foursome: Meet the Beatles!" So proclaims the record jacket for Meet the Beatles!, the Fab Four's first U.S. album and the first of four to be released by Capitol Records in 1964. Once acquainted, Americans fell head-over-heels for their fantastic, phenomenal sound -- picture, in black-and-white, John, Paul, George, and Ringo's arrival at JFK, the girls' tear-stained faces, the Ed Sullivan appearances. That's the energy this four-disc box set captures to a tee. The songs spread over the four albums contained on The Capitol Albums Vol. 1 -- released ...
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Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - Lydia Vanderloo
"You've read about them in Time, Newsweek, The New York Times. Here's the big beat sound of that fantastic, phenomenal foursome: Meet the Beatles!" So proclaims the record jacket for Meet the Beatles!, the Fab Four's first U.S. album and the first of four to be released by Capitol Records in 1964. Once acquainted, Americans fell head-over-heels for their fantastic, phenomenal sound -- picture, in black-and-white, John, Paul, George, and Ringo's arrival at JFK, the girls' tear-stained faces, the Ed Sullivan appearances. That's the energy this four-disc box set captures to a tee. The songs spread over the four albums contained on The Capitol Albums Vol. 1 -- released in January, April, July, and December 1964 -- were rearranged assemblages of albums, EPs, and singles that had appeared in the U.K. Ostensibly, that's the way the Beatles would have liked it, but it's the domestic configurations of these albums that fans in the U.S. will always remember. And now -- years after Capitol's grand Beatles reissue program in 1987 -- they are once again available with the cover art reproduced on miniature cardboard slipcases and running order most familiar to American fans.

Culling the 8 original tunes from the U.K. album With the Beatles, Meet the Beatles! was an essential distillation of the Mop Tops' inspired fusion of R&B and rock 'n' roll; the album was rounded out by 3 then-new songs, including the single "I Want to Hold Your Hand." The Beatles' Second Album collected the cover tunes from With the Beatles, emphasizing that the boys had done their homework with inspired versions of songs by Chuck Berry, Smokey Robinson, and Little Richard, and added the inimitable single "She Loves You." Something New wasn't, in fact, as it contains 8 of the 14 songs from the soundtrack to A Hard Day's Night, issued by competitor United Artists, but it did add two fun covers and the German-language "Komm, Gib Mir Deine Hand." Beatles '65 likewise pulled 8 tracks from the British Beatles for Sale, adding the single "I Feel Fine," its B-side, and "I'll Be Back" from A Hard Day's Night. Each disc in this box features two versions of every song -- one in stereo or newly created duophonic sound and one in mono -- and the set comes with a 48-page booklet containing essays, quotes from the band, and plenty of photos and period graphics. Whether fans ultimately prefer the American or British packages, the fact is that these recordings sound every bit as good today, four decades after their original release. Since we first met the Beatles in 1964, things have never been the same.

All Music Guide - Stephen Thomas Erlewine
When the Beatles' albums were reissued on CD in 1987, the group seized the opportunity to standardize their catalog internationally, choosing to release the British version of their LPs on CD in every territory throughout the world. From their standpoint, it made sense creatively, since these were the albums they intended to make, and it also made sense from a consumer standpoint, since these British LPs were longer than their foreign counterparts, particularly the American LPs released between 1964 and 1965. While the reasoning behind the move was sound, it was controversial in America, since the vast majority of their audience there not only grew up on the U.S. versions, they may not have even been aware that there were great differences in how the music was issued in both the U.S. and U.K. up until Sgt. Pepper in 1967. To make matters even more complicated, the first four albums -- 1963's Please Please Me through 1964's Beatles for Sale -- were released in mono on CD, which was like pouring salt into the wounds for American fans: not only could they not get the versions they grew up with, they didn't even sound the same. The Beatles were hardly the only British rock & roll band to have its LPs released in different incarnations in the U.S. During the height of the British Invasion in the mid-'60s, it was standard practice for U.S. record labels to shuffle songs between records, either to help promote singles or squeeze out as much product as they could out of a limited number of songs, and since LPs were released in both mono and stereo mixes, there several different variations of the basic album on the marketplace. This was done without the artist's consent, and the Beatles protested the issue with the notorious "butcher" cover of the U.S. album Yesterday...and Today, where the Fab Four dressed up in butchers coats surrounded by decapitated baby dolls and raw meat -- not a subtle criticism, but not an inaccurate one, either. After Sgt. Pepper ushered in the album rock era, this practice faded away. Years later, in the thick of the CD reissue boom, there was heavy nostalgia among record collectors for these American and British and stereo and mono variants, which led to '90s reissues of classic '60s rock albums containing both the stereo and mono mixes, or individual reissues of the U.S. and U.K. versions of particular albums. The Rolling Stones, Kinks, Animals, and many other peers of the Beatles were given reissues of these variants, but not the Beatles themselves, even though these were among the most requested reissues and were among the most interesting of these variations. Interesting is a word that cuts both ways -- they were interesting because they were popular, the records that brought Beatlemania to America, but interesting because they were wrong-headed, sometimes in their sequencing but often in their mixes. Under the supervision of Capitol executive Dave Dexter -- who initially rejected the Beatles for Capitol -- the original mixes were given ludicrous layers of echo on the stereo versions that changed the feel of the albums. To those legions of American fans, it didn't matter that these American versions didn't sound as good, weren't approved by the band, and offered less value for the money, or that they could assemble the albums on CD-Rs or iPods. These were the versions that they grew up with, and they wanted them on CD, so they bought bootlegs of these albums at exorbitant prices. The heart wants what the heart wants, apparently. After years of being stuck at this impasse, Capitol suddenly announced in the fall of 2004 that the first four American albums -- Meet the Beatles!, Second Album, Something New, Beatles '65 -- would be released as a box set for the holiday season, containing stereo and mono mixes of each album. Fans in the U.S. celebrated, although there still was lingering controversy among some fans about whether they should be even be reissued or not, since they were not what the band wanted. This ignored a couple of facts. First, there was a market out there for these, one primed by reissues of other band's albums and one that had to turn to bootleggers because it wasn't getting what it wanted. Second, these are historical artifacts that deserve to be officially released on CD -- if the Stones' hodgepodge Flowers is on CD, Meet the Beatles! should be out as well. Third, the Beatles' catalog is in desperate need of remastering, so any new versions are welcome. That final point is the sticking issue for most hardcore fans, particularly outside of the U.S.: why remaster the bastardizations while leaving the originals in print with subpar sound? It's a fair criticism, and hopefully it's one that will be addressed soon, since every one of the Beatles' albums needs new remastering, something that's all the more evident after hearing this box set. Sonically, this set is brighter, fuller than the 1987 issues. Thing is, these aren't necessarily the mixes that you'd want to have remastered. While the mono mixes are more or less the same only the hardcore will hear the differences, many of the stereo mixes are either fake mixes or are balanced so awkwardly they might as well be phony. Most egregiously, the stereo Second Album is drowning in echo; it sounds as if it were mastered inside a cavernous tank. However, Something New and Beatles '65 have mixes that are close to true stereo, even if they still can sound heavy and off-balance. While the sound of the mixes on the American LPs simply isn't as good as the mixes on the British LPs, it has to be said that there's something admirable in preserving the original U.S. records on CD -- after all, nostalgia is the primary reason for this release, so why not go the whole hog and put out the albums in the same cruddy versions as they originally appeared? It not only satisfies baby boomers' longing for the initial rush of Beatlemania, it's instructive for all the Beatles fans who came later, since it is definitive proof that, yes, these records did sound worse, even if the sequencing on the individual albums did have some worth Meet the Beatles! is an excellent summary of their first two records, Second Album is a terrific all-out rock & roll album, Beatles '65 is Beatles for Sale with the considerable benefit of the "I Feel Fine"/"She's a Woman" single; only Something New sounds incoherent. Having these albums out on CD doesn't diminish the Beatles' catalog and in fact helps fill out a crucial part of their story. It's good to have the American LPs on CD -- and if the title of Capitol Albums, Vol. 1 is to be believed, the rest will follow in the near future -- but it's hard not to wish that the packaging were a little classier. The box set is smaller than a book-sized box and it holds a small cardboard box creased in the middle that's the size of a CD when folded in two, but it always pops open and there's no writing on the spine of the box or on the mini-LP jackets for the four individual CDs, so it can't be put on the shelf and, frankly, if it were on the shelf, there's nowhere to put the box. Then, the booklet is designed like a coffee table book, with the obligatory essay from Beatles expert/scholar Mark Lewisohn that's not only way too brief, it never mentions the considerable controversy over Dave Dexter's mixes. Ultimately, this is all nitpicking, since what counts is that the American LPs are out on CD in accurate mixes, sounding better than they ever did. Which leaves a final crucial point: if these LPs have been given remasters but the corresponding British albums have not, why not release remasters of the U.K. LPs at the same time?
Rolling Stone - James Hunter
This set presents [the Beatles] the way they first fascinated America: new, punk and polite.

This set presents [the Beatles] the way they first fascinated America: new, punk and polite.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 11/16/2004
  • Label: Capitol
  • UPC: 724386687821
  • Catalog Number: 66878
  • Sales rank: 1,532

Album Credits

Performance Credits
The Beatles Primary Artist
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 11 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 11 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Capitol's "butchering" of Beatles albums

    contrary to what the article states, the original cover of the Beatles "Yesterday & Today" LP had NOTHING to do with the fact that Capitol Records "butchered" the U.K. versions of Beatles albums. according to John Lennon in a 1974 interview, "surrealist" photographer Robert Whitaker had brought various props along for the photo session, resulting in the infamous LP cover. along with the "usual" posed pics also done that day, the "butcher" photos were sent out for use in promotions, etc. only to be recalled due to public outcry at the time.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Already available.

    All of the songs contained on this box set are already available on the original Palophone CDs from the 80s. If you own those discs as I do, then it is a waste of money to purchase them again. Also, the sound quality is far superior on those discs. This is just another way to get people to re- buy the exact same music that they already own.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Unbelievable!

    Take it from me. This box set is the best thing to ever come out on The Beatles. This is unquestionably the greatest recording of music ever done before, taking into account the full history of music across all artists. Why? Because all previous versions of CD releases of these songs were mostly in mono. You can't hear the separation of the instruments. But in stereo these early versions are a knock out! You hear the harmonies split into 2 or 3 different places. You hear instruments that are standing alone that can't be heard on any of the fake versions of the mono recordings. You get guitar licks that are cooler than any other anywhere that couldn't be heard until now. No one doubts that The Beatles were the best music group ever. Only here you hear what they sounded like in their early days as if you were sitting there in the studio. There should be a ban on mono versions. Even poor stereo is 10 times better than any flat mono version. If you want to know what The Beatles really sounded like in their early days, quite frankly these are the only recordings that will do it. No other version even comes close!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Thank You

    I must admit. I haven't heard these cds yet, but I have all the American LPs. First of all, sound quality is subjective. Who doesn't want to hear "She's a Woman" with reverb? Or "I Feel Fine"? The English mixes of "Dr. Robert", and especially "And Your Bird Can Sing" are dreadful. Let's hear that Quick slap delay on John's voice. Not too overpowering. His voice needs to wrestle a bit for space with the guitar. The vocals are too loud on all the early Beatles stuff, and the recordings are too dry, in my opinion. "Help"? Where's the cool "Secret Agent" intro on the English version? Gone. Boy are the guitars low on "Here, There, and Everywhere". I know the American versions are abbreviated albums, but the mixes rock.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    For fans who've waited for the American verisons of the first four LP's on CD

    The music needs no introduction -- what more can be said of Beatles classics "I Want to Hold Your Hand", "She Loves You", "You Can't Do That" and "I Feel Fine"? That this is the first time the first four American LP releases are on CD, plus finally available in stereo, makes it worth getting 'The Capitol Albums, Vol 1'. The sound of the stereo versions is worth it alone -- even if some of it is the 'fake stereo' that some have long complained about. Good as it was back in the 80s when Beatles CD's first appeared, and that they were in the original British album configuations the group intended, it's nice to have the US versions that we Americans grew up with, even if they eventually were to cause the Beatles to do the 'butcher cover' in response to what Capitol did to their albums. Beatles music is generally five-star quality, but I gave this box set one less star due to the slip-shod packaging -- they really could've done a better job.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Ummm, what happened here?

    Being a listener of the MFSL releases of the Beatles catalog from the 1980's, I must admit that I am used to a high standard for quality. Sadly, these 2004 releases (especially the stereo versions) sound pretty poor. They aren't terrible, but frankly, I have original vinyls that sound better. Of course here is the advantage of having the non-MFSL released hits, (as they only published the british catalog), and for that I would recommend it. But coming from an audiophile, I was somewhat disappointed. Also, the novelty of the stereo/mono seems like a gimmick, as the releases are relatively similar as it is.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Add it to your collection

    To be honest, I have not paid attention to the Beatles for awhile since the released of the previous Beatles CD (Let It Be/naked) and (Number 1). There wasn't special about them and it was just ok. But this past few days, I was going through Sunday's ad and saw the released date of the Capitol Albums, Vol. 1 and I thought I was dreaming at first. Finally, a new material from the best band in the world!!! I can finally hear the stereo versions of most songs from Please, Please me, With the Beatles, A Hard Days Night, and Beatles For Sale. Is not the actual British released album which I would rather prefer but that is just fine. Who knows, maybe we might see the day of light of these albums in Stereo eventually. But for now I will just enjoy these four CDs.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    The Beatles American releases finally remastered on CD!!

    Incredible music -a must have for any Beatles fan!!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 28, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted February 24, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted October 26, 2008

    No text was provided for this review.

Sort by: Showing all of 11 Customer Reviews