The Beatles 1962-1966

US Release: April 2, 1973

Apple SKBO 3403

UK Release: April 19, 1973

Apple PCSP 717

Produced by: George Martin

Side One

 

  1. Love Me Do

  2. Please Please Me

  3. From Me To You

  4. She Loves You

  5. I Want To Hold Your Hand

  6. All My Loving

  7. Can't Buy Me Love

 

Side Two

 

  1. A Hard Day's Night

  2. And I Love Her

  3. Eight Day's A Week

  4. I Feel Fine

  5. Ticket To Ride

  6. Yesterday

1973 was a big year for The Beatles. At least for solo members. Paul McCartney's Red Rose Speedway  and Band On The Run  were both big for him and his band, Wings.  George Harrison had a hit with his album, Living In A Material World  and single, "Give Me Love (Give Me Peace On Earth)". Ringo Starr's album, Ringo  was also big, along with the singles, "Photograph" and "You're Sixteen". And finally, John Lennon's Mind Games  was also a hit and produced the hit title track. But it was Paul that would dominate the charts this year. In addition to the hit albums, Paul would also release the #3 hit single, "Live And Let Die".

 

But The Beatles has a quick comeback with the massive releases, The Beatles 1962-1966 (The Red Album) and it's companion, The Beatles 1967-1970 (The Blue Album). These were two sets of double albums featuring the biggest hits and most common album cuts in the Beatles recording career with Parlophone, Capitol and Apple Records.

 

The cover photos were taken by Angus McBean. The cover of The Red Album  was for their debut 1963 set, Please Please Me. The Beatles got McBean to shoot the cover shot for The Blue Album, which was intended to be the cover for their tentative last album, supposedly titled, Get Back. But plans changed and that final album turned into Let It Be  with a different cover concept.

 

The back covers of The Red & Blue Albums just reverse the order of the shots [PICTURED TO THE RIGHT]

Side Three

 

  1. Help!

  2. You've Got To Hide Your Love Away

  3. We Can Work It Out

  4. Day Tripper

  5. Drive My Car

  6. Norwegian Wood

 

Side Four

 

  1. Nowhere Man

  2. Michelle

  3. In My Life

  4. Girl

  5. Paperback Writer

  6. Eleanor Rigby

  7. Yellow Submarine

The Blue Album, although maintaining a stellar line-up of selected tracks of The Beatles historic career with all hits and some B-Sides and mixes in some more common album cuts and fan favorites, but does not include anything special in the way of alternative versions - except maybe the intro to "A Day In A Life" omits the crowd cheering found on the original Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band.

The Beatles 1967-1970

US Release: April 2, 1973

Apple SKBO 3404

UK Release: April 19, 1973

Apple PCSP 718

Produced by: George Martin

Side One

 

  1. Strawberry Fields Forever

  2. Penny Lane

  3. Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band

  4. With a Little Help from My Friends

  5. Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds

  6. A Day in the Life

  7. All You Need Is Love

 

Side Two

 

  1. I Am the Walrus

  2. Hello, Goodbye

  3. The Fool on the Hill

  4. Magical Mystery Tour

  5. Lady Madonna

  6. Hey Jude

  7. Revolution

Side Three

 

  1. Back in the U.S.S.R.

  2. While My Guitar Gently Weeps

  3. Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da

  4. Get Back

  5. Don't Let Me Down

  6. The Ballad of John and Yoko

  7. Old Brown Shoe

 

Side Four

 

  1. Here Comes the Sun

  2. Come Together

  3. Something

  4. Octopus's Garden

  5. Let It Be

  6. Across the Universe

  7. The Long and Winding Road

The Red Album  includes a couple of specialties, including the parody 'James Bond' intro to "Help!" for the U.S. edition. And the slightly altered intro to "I Feel Fine" which includes a quiet whisper during the the guitar feedback intro.

Also for the U.S. edition, "From Me To You" is available on album form (it had only been available on various Vee-Jay releases in 1964), but for Capitol Records this is a first.

 

For the U.K. edition, some of The Red Album songs are predominantly Stereo mixes, some are noted as 'fake' mixes, for example "She Loves You" was mixed by using reverb and EQ to give the appearance of Stereo. These versions of the songs were only available on the U.S. Capitol albums and singles.

 

But for the U.S. edition, some of these songs were originally released in Mono in 1973 (that was changed in 1987 and 2009 on the CD versions of these albums). Like "Ticket To Ride", "A Hard Day's Night" and "I Feel Fine" are all Mono mixes.

 

For The Blue Album, many White Album  tracks were represented, despite never releasing a single from that album. Plus other songs got a renewed spark in the radio media because of this album; "While My Guitar Gently Weeps", "Here Comes The Sun", "Across The Universe", "Magical Mystery Tour", "Back In The U.S.S.R." and "A Day In A Life" became rock radio standards since the 1973 release of these albums. Many stations used these albums as their main 'go-to' record for playing Beatles cuts.

These albums did very well on both the charts and sales. The Red Album  hit #1 in Austria, France, Japan, Norway and Spain when originally released in 1973. It hit #3 in both the U.K. and the U.S. and #2 in Germany. Meanwhile, The Blue Album hit #1 in the U.S., Austria, France and Spain and hit #2 in the U.K.. Germany, Japan and Norway in 1973. But what made the Blue Album even more impressive is that in 2010, the album returned to #1 in the U.S. in its remastered form and went to #4 on the U.K. charts.

 

Both compilations together were arguably seen as a standard for how 'Greatest Hits' or 'Best of' sets were designed. Since these records, many bands learned that album cuts, B-Sides and alternate versions made for better collections of their work - for example, Neil Young's Decade  in 1977. And by today's standards it is customary to include album cuts, B-Sides and alternative versions. Arguably, The Red & Blue Albums were the first of its kind.

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