UPDATE 6/2: It now appears that Capitol Records will be releasing this box set in the U.S. on July 15! See below for updated Amazon links and more!
ORIGINAL POST (5/5/14): Attn: Beatle collectors – you know who you are! On June 25, Universal Music Japan is extending an invitation to Meet the Beatles as you would have fifty years ago in that country. The new Meet the Beatles box set presents mini-LP CD replicas of five albums released by the Fab Four in Japan in 1964 and 1965. As with the recent release of The U.S. Albums, it is indicated that this box set will be sourced from The Beatles’ approved 2009 remasters:
- Meet the Beatles! (1964, mono)
- The Beatles’ Second Album (1964, mono)
- A Hard Day’s Night (1964, stereo)
- Beatles No.5 (1965, stereo)
- Help! (1965, indicated as “original stereo mix”)
Each mini-LP replica “faithfully replicates the original Japanese album artwork, including OBI and inner sleeve.” These are available on legitimate CD for the first time anywhere in the world, and longtime Beatlefans will notice a number of variations from the U.S. and U.K. editions of these albums. Not included in this set is 1965’s Beatles for Sale, which would have functioned as Beatles No. 4 and mirrors the track listing as the original British album of that name. Also a number of Japanese compilations have naturally been excluded, like 1964’s The Fresh Sounds from Liverpool (which joined Beatle tracks with those by Peter and Gordon, The Hollies, Billy J. Kramer and the Dakotas, and others) and 95 Million People’s Popular Request (with the Fabs plus Matt Monro, The Dave Clark Five, Cliff Richard and more).
The Beatles’ Japanese releases arrived via the Toshiba-owned Odeon label. Titles were initially released on both black and red vinyl, with the highly desirable red vinyl indicating the first pressing of a title. Meet the Beatles was the first Fab album to hit Japan, with a release date of April 1964. The group’s first two U.K. long players, Please Please Me and With the Beatles, weren’t released in Japan until 1966 – after the country had already received Rubber Soul - when the group toured there. As is still the custom today, the LPs were issued with OBI strips wrapped around the covers.
Meet the Beatles! resembles the American album but has a different track listing with 14 tracks instead of 12, orange and red lettering on the front cover (instead of blue and brown) , and a unique back cover. Second Album (or Beatles No. 2! per its back cover) follows suit, with 14 songs vs. the U.S. version’s 11, and red lettering rather than brown on the cover, and different rear artwork. The Japanese A Hard Day’s Night replicates the original U.K. album’s track listing, but varies in its art. Beatles No. 5 shares “She’s a Woman” and “I Feel Fine” with its U.S. counterpart Beatles ’65, but little else. Help! , like A Hard Day’s Night, maintains the original U.K. album track listing. It also retains the familiar U.K. front cover artwork, adding a gatefold and a color back cover image. Even the OBI strips are being replicated, with the first three albums having shorter strips that didn't cover the entire length of the album cover.
Those first three albums will be presented in mono, with the final two in stereo. Help! is surprisingly listed as being in its "original stereo mix." The U.S. Albums, in contrast, utilized producer George Martin's 1987 stereo remix in assembling the U.S. version of the album.
Hit the jump for more on this Japan-exclusive box set, including the complete track listings and current pre-order links!
Though “subject to change,” the Meet the Beatles! box is currently slated to include a 100-page booklet with Japanese contents. Its CDs will be pressed in Japan, and the cardboard sleeves are also being manufactured in Japan in accordance with that country’s lavish packaging practices. Amazon links are now available for Capitol's U.S. pressing due on July 15. Thanks to our friends at Musictap for the heads-up! You can peruse the track listing and pre-order links below!
The Beatles, Meet the Beatles! (Universal Japan UICY-76429, 2014)
U.S. Edition: Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K.
CD 1: Meet the Beatles! (Odeon OR 7041, 1965)
- I Want to Hold Your Hand
- She Loves You
- From Me to You
- Twist and Shout
- Love Me Do
- Baby, It’s You
- Don’t Bother Me
- Please Please Me
- I Saw Her Standing There
- P.S. I Love You
- Little Child
- All My Loving
- Hold Me Tight
- Please Mr. Postman
CD 2: The Beatles’ Second Album (Beatles No. 2) (Odeon OR 7058, 1964)
- Can’t Buy Me Love
- Do You Want to Know a Secret
- Thank You Girl
- A Taste of Honey
- It Won’t Be Long
- I Wanna Be Your Man
- There’s a Place
- Roll Over Beethoven
- Devil in Her Heart
- Not a Second Time
- Till There Was You
CD 3: A Hard Day’s Night (Odeon OP 7123, 1964)
- A Hard Day’s Night
- I Should Have Known Better
- If I Fell
- I’m Happy Just to Dance with You
- And I Love Her
- Tell Me Why
- Can’t Buy Me Love
- Any Time at All
- I’ll Cry Instead
- Things We Said Today
- When I Get Home
- You Can’t Do That
- I’ll Be Back
CD 4: Beatles No. 5 (Odeon OR 7103, 1965)
- Long Tall Sally
- Sie Liebt Dich
- Anna (Go to Him)
- You Really Got a Hold on Me
- She’s a Woman
- Ask Me Why
- I Feel Fine
- Komm, Gib Mir Deine Hand
- Slow Down
- All I’ve Got to Do
- I Call Your Name
- This Boy
CD 5: Help! (Odeon OP 7387, 1965)
- The Night Before
- You’ve Got to Hide Your Love Away
- I Need You
- Another Girl
- You’re Going to Lose That Girl
- Ticket to Ride
- Act Naturally
- It’s Only Love
- You Like Me Too Much
- Tell Me What You See
- I’ve Just Seen a Face
- Dizzy Miss Lizzy
Sean Anglum says
OMG...I've been fortunate enough to snag a few of these releases in vinyl over the years. This collection LOOKS superb ( I won't even approach the 2009 remaster subject). When I first heard of its upcoming release, I blew it off...enough already! Now, my OCD Beatles' mind has me set to order it. (Sigh! ) Better now than in a few years when the prices skyrocket (i.e.-Capitol Albums Vol. 2). Thanks for the lowdown, Second Disc.
It's a nice enough box set but it will cost as much as the U.S. Albums box by the time you pay shipping and you really aren't getting that much for your Beatle bucks. These are sourced from the 2009 remasters as well.
P.S. now that Amazon U.S. is selling the an American version of the set it's not too bad price-wise.
What is the point? For die hard collectors only. I am happy with the 2009 box set.
Steve Bruun says
Agreed. I'm assuming that the Japan box is aimed primarily at first-generation Japanese fans for nostalgia purposes, rather than an attempt to get huge numbers of people to re-buy the material yet again.
Unless there are unique mixes like on the U.S. albums collection, you're basically buying the cover art. Some of the track listings are interesting, but in the age of the iPod I can recreate the running order in a playlist. Nice of them to use the 1965 mix of "Help!," but that's already available on the mono box.
A double CD, at most, would accommodate all the international mix variations that a foaming-at-the-mouth completist (such as myself) would need, but perhaps Apple will avoid that for being "too obvious" (which was Neil Aspinall's reason for not issuing a DVD companion volume to the "1" compilation).
Magnus Hägermyr says
That double-CD sounds like a great idea. What I want now is what was hinted back in 1999, when the remixed reissue of "Yello Submarine" was released, that the whole Beatles catalogue would get the same updated stereo-mix modernization. The music deserves it.
Completists who foam at the mouth need to be extra careful that they do not get any foam on the cover art.
Steve Bruun says
Replying to Magnus, comment #5:
I almost mentioned "Yellow Sub"-style remixes in my earlier comment. I don't think we'll see the entire catalogue remixed from the session tapes - the earliest session recordings are two-track (if they still exist at all), so there isn't very much that can be done with them apart from narrowing the stereo picture. Also, a full-catalogue remix would stir the wrath of those fans who complain about Apple as a competitive sport.
I do think a very good case could be made for selectively remixing some tracks for, say, a 3- or 4-CD retrospective, including the reunion tracks (all three, as long as we're dreaming) and key "Anthology" tracks like "Leave My Kitten Alone" that were oddly mixed the first time around. Of course, there would be massive disagreement over which tracks would be selected, so I nominate me. "Dear Prudence" definitely gets in, along with more "Revolver" tracks which were criminally overlooked when the 1962-1966 "red album" was compiled.
Replying to Kevin, comment #6:
"When you find that you’re the foamer
Be careful what you foam
When you find that you’re the lather
Don’t shave too high, you’ll regret it later"
- from "Autobiography" by Sloan (Murphy/Ferguson/Pentland/Scott)
Magnus Hägermyr says
When I close my eyes and listen to some of the early Beatles stereo-mixings I preceive in my minds eye split personalities; Johns,Pauls and Georges voices at the far left side of the scene while their instuments are at the far right. Maybe they are musical quarks and can be on two places simultaneously ha ha. Surely this can be improved with the science of today to get a more natural and modern soundpicture. George and Giles Martin + Paul and Ringo should have a go at this, And John Lennon,what I've heard, hated those old stereo-mixings when he first heard them in 1973.
Philip Cohen says
All of The Beatles' albums from "A Hard Days Night" onward can be remixed. All of the multitracks starting from the "I Want To Hold Your Hand" b/w "This Boy" sessions onward still exist in the vaults. Some 1963 2-track session tapes exist("From Me To You", "Thank You Girl", "One After 909"[1963 version] and roughly one-third of the songs from the group's debut album). However, for the "With The Beatles" album, all that now exists are the finished mono & stereo mixes. Almost all of the "With The Beatles" session tapes were re-used. By accident, a few alternate takes of "Don't Bother Me" & "Hold Me Tight" survived at the end of a tape reel that was being re-used to record Beatles spoken word messages intended for Australian radio stations.
Magnus Hägermyr says
That's interesting. Listening to the Cirque du Soleil/Love-CD, where George and Giles Martin imaginative and successfully played around with the Beatles recordings it's quite clear what can be done remixing-wice. I hope the Beatles family picks up the thread from 1999 cos I really think that "Yello Submarine".2 was an improvement.
A far better activity would be to collect very good to excellent condition copies of the original, or at least early, vinyl pressings