Apple Corps/Capitol Announces 50th Anniversary American Releases 13 CD Box Set—"Meat The Beatles"? (Updated 12/15/13)

On January 21st 2014 Apple Corp/Capitol will release a thirteen CD box set containing all of the American Beatle albums from Meet The Beatles (1964) to Hey Jude (1970). Just think: the entire history of the Beatles is like the time between 2007 and now. Think about that. It's guaranteed to blow your mind.

The discs contain both the mono and stereo versions, except for Beatles' Story and Hey Jude, which are in stereo only. And yes, the set will include the famous "Butcherblock cover" for Yesterday and Today

The box includes a sixty four page booklet containing promo items and photos. The artwork will be faithful to the originals, including the inner sleeves.

As we all know, the tracks differ between U.K. and U.S. records with the American records containing fewer tracks but singles and the U.K. editions containing more tracks but no singles.

These are the CD debuts of the A Hard Day's Night original soundtrack, The Beatles' Story documentary, Yesterday and Today, Hey Jude and the American version of Revolver. All except for the documentary will be available individually for a limited time. Now here's the thing that makes this set pretty crazy: my U.K. contacts tell me that after listening to the Capitol tapes, the producers decided they didn't like the sound, so rather than using the American "Dave Dexterized" versions we all grew up with here in the U.S., which included different EQ and plenty of reverb designed to excite the "kiddies", the tracks will be compiled, where possible, using the UK remasters from a few years ago— though it wasn't made clear how the set would handle tracks like "I Feel Fine" and "She's a Woman" that were presented in "electronically reprocessed for stereo" versions in America and in real stereo in the U.K.

The same was true of most of A Hard Day's Night, which was originally issued by United Artists. That recorded sounded like it was lifted from the film's optical track and then reprocessed. Magical Mystery Tour is not included in the set.

Third party (but authoritative) sources also tell me that the electronically reprocessed songs will be replaced with genuine stereo mixes and that stereo-to-mono fold-downs on the Beatles 2nd album will be replaced by genuine mono mixes. Another tells me that the booklet will include a detailed account of what sources were used for what, which is a good thing! We hope to have complete clarification of all of this directly from Apple Corps head Jeff Jones.

If it's true that the tracks will be the same as on the recent U.K. box set, we know two things: one, that this is an odd enterprise and two, the Ted Jensen mastered CD "long boxes" containing Capitol version remasters, now out of print, will become a serious collector's item because these not those will become the "official" American CD reissues even though those are the real deal.

Much of this is speculation until we get clarification, so stay tuned.

One thing is for sure: Apple Corps is planning more to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Beatles' arrival in America but if repackaging the same tunes in a different track order is the first part of the celebration what can be next? 8-Tracks?

Music Direct Buy It Now

soundman45's picture

When I heard about this, I was wondering how they were going to use their catalogue. for remastering. I am kind of hoping that they don't sanitize the sound too much. I actually like the original sound of a popped P now and then.

As for I Feel Fine and She's a Woman I hope they use the British master and add reverb to approximate the effect. Those tracks sound pretty horrible in comparison to the others on the records.

I'm also not quite sure but some, maybe all the masters sound like they used safety copies. It is my hope where mixes that are identical that they use the real or supposed real masters.

Michael Fremer's picture

As reported, then it will have been 'cleaned up' and mistakes and problems repaired. The UK 2009 set was produced from the actual master tapes. No safety copies involved. But if you liked the "original sound" of the Capitol American LPs, you probably won't be getting that here.

soundman45's picture

Michael: I never actually liked the sound of american LP's, but as a historical record it's what I grew up on. As far as the Beatles business goes and how their catalog has been handled since 1987? No comment.

Paul Boudreau's picture officially confused, Beatle wise. 

I wonder if the film of their first concert in the US will ever be officially released - it does exist.  So still does the building where it took place, known as the Uline Arena and then the Washington Coliseum (just off New York Avenue, not far from Gallaudet University), although it hasn't been used as a concert venue for some time.

jkingtut's picture

That was as close as I got to a Beatles show, the drive to my Grandmother's house went right in front of the Coliseum and we drove by while they were playing. I was only 11, but wistful nonetheless as I recall.....

davidmreyes77's picture

So much Beatles stuff happening. Aren't we still waiting for the mono UK releases to be re-released on vinyl soon? Whatever happened to those?

Michael Fremer's picture

Patience is a virtue! I suspect they wanted to get this set "out of the way" first.  But that's only a guess.

firedog55's picture

I like a few of the things Capitol did with the catalog. "The Beatles Second Album" and "Rubber Soul" are more coherent albums than the British counterparts. I know the aritistic intent of Rubber Soul was violated by Capitol, but making the entire album a "folk-rock" album by using other songs from 1965 made for a great sound.

If you were around then in the US, it cetainly didn't lessen the impact the record had on you; in fact it might have increased it.

The "Second Album" basically was programmed to show "the Beatles as rock 'n rollers" and used a lot of cover versions. Just a great, fun song sequence that shows them off for the great rock band they were. There are even one or two of the songs where I like the added reverb, but we won't get into that as I'll get flamed. 

I do, however think the intended release of the box set is sort of weird if they don't use the American masters. What's the point (other than money) of releasing the UK tracks programmed in the US running order? I can easily do that by myself with digital technology if I want to. So why buy the CDs?

Billf's picture

I wish Bob Whitaker were still alive to see hIs long suppressed butcher photo not only finally released by Capitol, but trumpeted as a major selling point for the new box set. He appeared to be somewhat bewildered by the controversy created by a photograph of four guys sitting in chairs with doll parts and meat on their laps. In retrospect, it all was a little silly.'s picture

Mikey, it does blow my mind, always have and always will. In the span from 62 to 69 how'd they do it? Of course Sir George Martin is included in the "they". If the folks at Apple Corps/Capitol would include a CD of the Yesderday and Today cover that peels off to reveal the Butcher cover now that would be cool. Gonna pass on this set and wait for the Mono LPs.

sunderwood's picture

I know that the original UK releases are supposed to be the gold standard for the best sound you can get from the Beatles on a recording. I seem to remember you covering this once before, but is it still possible for new pressings of these to be rereleased? Used versions can be found, but at a really high price.

timorous's picture

Here we go again... Another shameless money grab from the Beatles 'trust'. The only real advantage, if you want to call it that, is other Beatle-like albums such as The Beatles Story (which was a documentary double LP, not so much a Beatles album), plus A Hard Day's Night soundtrack will finally see the light of day. But that's not saying much.

The instrumental tracks for HDN are in true stereo, but the Beatle tracks on the stereo LP are in mono only. Maybe they'll substitute... If anyone really wants to replicate the playing order of the Capitol albums (if not the 'sound'), all you need do is rip all the 2009 re-mastered CD's onto your computer/music server, and create the appropriate playlists in your favorite media player. As far as I Feel Fine and She's a Woman goes, just take the stereo U.K. re-masters and add some similar reverb to them using some decent mastering software and reverb plug-ins. Easy-peasy.

Also, it's fairly easy to find adequate jpg renditions of the Y&T 'butcher cover'  on the internet.

I guess DSD versions of the original U.K. catalog is a bit too much to expect in our lifetime...HA!

storym's picture

I agree 100%. How much money do all the parties need? Give me high resolution 24/192 and I will finance their heirs retirements. Enough already!

2_channel_ears's picture throwing more $$$ after what?  A rehashed, nother version of Red Book?  In this day of ripping and media players, why not make your own playlist of the US order in th best available format you got?  I loved the Beatles, still revere them, but this is 50 years on and new music draws me in more than the now and then.

marcel_kyrie's picture

Do people really still buy CDs? I find that so strange, I guess in part because I haven't bought one for twenty years, myself. But with digital having almost no intrinsic value, and pretty much free for the taking, if I were a record company, I would come out with vinyl first, quality downloads second, and CDs not at all. CDs, and their attempt to force them on us, are what got the record industry into the mess it's in now.

J. Carter's picture

CDs are still a large portion of the music sales business. Last time I checked it was over 40%. So yes, people still buy CDs. Vinyl I believe is still less than 10% of music sales so your strategy to release vinyl first to cater to the 10% and not release something that appeals to 40% of the buying population doesn't seem to make much sense. People still love physical product, they like the books and the liner notes and you don't usually get that with digital products.

As far as the vinyl goes I think the label may be scared off by vinyl after the negative press and under whelming sales of the stereo box set.

dhyman's picture

i come here for analog!!!!

kenkirk's picture

If its not asking too much Mickey, maybe you can get them to cut us Revolver from the master tapes at 45 on a set of 200 gram vinyl disks. Its a bucket list thing...oh and all analog with some tubes in there some where.  smiley



StonedBeatles1's picture

That's all I can say..

Billf's picture

Perhaps the authorities can sweep in and institutionalize anyone who pays cold cash for the CD of the truncated US version of Revolver on the theory that they must pose a threat to themselves and others. Beatles Story buyers, too!

kozakjj's picture

I  am being digitized on an analog planet.

kozakjj's picture

I have not purchased any Beatles CD's or the new Vinyl. Waiting for the High Rez Versions. (24/192) or (DSD) Not falling for the hype. $$$$$$$

Martin's picture

I didn't bother getting any of the new Beatles vinyl. And I won't. 

If you have original Parlaphones and Apples, mono and stereo, why??  

The Beatles catalog on 45 rpm vinyl, mastered by Bernie Grundman or Hoffman or one of the other greats, pressed at a good plant - very different story. I would not hesitate. 

mb's picture

If you have the earlier Vol 1 & Vol 2 boxes, it really doesn't matter much what tapes (UK, US, or otherwise) they use for this new box because nearly all the Dexterized and duophonic/stereo folddown tracks were on the albums in those two boxes  -- and those boxes used the original Capitol cutting masters with all of the goofiness (some would say, charm) present.

For the most part, the "charm" on the remaining albums not included in the first two Capitol boxes was simply suboptimal mastering from 4th (or worse) generation dubs of the original UK masters.  Why would anyone want to recreate that?

Now there are a few unique mixes on those LPs not in the original two Capital boxes, but they will be apparently using the Capitol tapes for those tracks (although it's not clear whether they will simpy use the cutting masters for these tracks or they will go back to the original tapes sent over to the US by George Martin...I assuming Capitol got the 1st generation mixdowns of these unique mixes, but I suppose the US could have gotten dubs and the original masters remain in the UK).

I personally hope they use best sources available for all of the unique US mix tracks because 1) we've already gotten the Dexterized, etc versions from the cutting masters for the Vol 1 & Vol 2 albums and 2) I see no benefit in using anything less than the 1st generation masters for these tracks for other LPs.

DJ Huk's picture

Essential reading for those fond of the Capitol US issues is The Beatles Second Album (Rock of Ages) by Dave Marsh.  Marsh maintains that it's an accidental masterpiece, given how it was Dave Dexterized: he also recounts how that Dexterization occurred along with interesting biographical details about DD (who hated The Beatles). I'll have to say, I've always considered Beatles '65 to be a better album than Beatles for Sale ( I think the UK version is one of their lesser efforts, needing a firmer hand in the editing and running order) plus, the US version includes  I Feel Fine, which practically jumps out of the vinyl at you.  Finally, I'm wondering why Hollywood Bowl isn't included in this new set: has it ever seen the light of day as a CD?


Overboard's picture

"The Beatles at Hollywood Bowl" has not appeared on legitimate CD because Yoko, Paul, Olivia & Ringo won't permit it. By now, unofficial CD's of the L.P., perfectly de-clicked from vinyl have appeared,particularly in Eastern Europe. And furthermore, both the entire 1964 show and the 2nd 1965 show have both appeared on bootleg CD's, at or near full fidelity. And a recording truck monitor mix of the flawed 1st 1965 show is in circulation too. It is flawed because some or all of the vocalists were inaudible on the first few songs.

Lazer's picture

Wow.... Just think, the entire history of the Beatles occurred between 2007 and now.   That's mind blowing.   It also occurred to me that is the year Led Zeppelin reunited and performed one  concert called Celebration Day.  The newly released vinyl version just arrived at my doorstep.  What took so long?  

Wade's picture

The Capitol long boxes were excellent sounding repros of the original Capitol albums and they were in mono and stereo. They should have issued Volume 3. Why would I even think about rebuying the whole deal which will not be as authentic (to the original Capitol remasters)as the last remaster?