Number Nine Scheme

I’m always in favor of anything that gets the Beatles on the front cover of Entertainment Weekly, the Collectors’ Choice Music catalog and undoubtedly other publications. But today’s a mixed bag for me.

Since I’m not a gamer, the Beatles on Rock Band is an interesting sidelight. But what of the remastered box sets? As I’ve undoubtedly mentioned before, it’s tough to pull the trigger on buying the same songs for at least the fourth time (US LP, UK LP, CD). Some of those early US LP as I had to buy twice because they were stolen in 1972. And some songs show up on more than one album (Vee Jay’s Introducing the Beatles/Capitol’s The Early Beatles; UA’s A Hard Day’s Night/Capitol’s Something New) or on compilations (Rock ‘N’ Roll).

Yet, I had come to the conclusion that while I don’t NEED one (or both) of these box sets, I would WANT to have them, particularly the mono box. Checking out the description of the mono set, it does NOT include the Yellow Submarine, Abbey Road and Let It Be albums, “as they were originally recorded in stereo”, according to Amazon. But, if I understand correctly, the “double-CD set of mono singles, EPs and rare tracks… exactly mirrors the stereo ‘Past Masters’ collection, except it includes ‘Only a Northern Song; All Together Now; Hey Bulldog’, and ‘It’s All Too Much’ [the four ‘new’ songs from Yellow Submarine] and excludes ‘The Ballad of John and Yoko; Old Brown Shoe’, and ‘Let It Be’.”

Which means if I DID get the mono set, I’d need to keep (or replace) those three albums (YS for the instrumentals) plus Past Masters 2. The calculations are hurting my head.

Ultimately, the reason I MIGHT take the plunge – when it’s back in stock, as it’s sold out until October – is this lost recollection. I got the first four Beatles CDs for free in 1987. My friend Broome bought them for me shortly after they came out. At the time I was resisting getting caught up in this new-fangled technology called the compact disc player until I was sure it would stick. Hey, I NEVER bought an 8-track!

Having four discs with NOTHING on which to play them he knew would drive me crazy, and it did. Ultimately, I got a CD player, and bought a half dozen other CDs (one couldn’t have a CD player with just four CDs, could one?) including greatest hits of Elton John and Billy Joel plus Dire Straits’ Brothers In Arms.

So those early discs in particular I can ALMOST justify replacing. Wait a minute…honey, Christmas is coming and the ONLY thing I want is…

Being a Beatles fan is a curse as much as a blessing. Someone at work came up to me just last week to ask me on which US and UK albums Doctor Robert appears. It’s one of those things someone could easily Google, but it’s apparently more fun to Just Ask Roger. Oh, it was Yesterday…and Today, and Revolver, respectively. I remember it so well because I thought it strange when it came out that the US version of Revolver had only two songs sung by Lennon, She Said She Said and Tomorrow Never Knows; Harrison had THREE songs. Doctor Robert, I’m Only Sleeping and And Your Bird Can Sing were stripped from the US Revolver and put on the US-only release, Y&T.

Then I was on Amazon, drooling over the mono box when I came across someone confused by early Beatles chronology. Some helpful bloke replied, “Meet the Beatles was the first Capitol Album in the US. It took some cuts from the Please Please Me album and their single I Want To Hold Your Hand.” Unfortunately, that wasn’t entirely correct and as a librarian, I just had to reply:
“Meet the Beatles was comprised of 9 songs from With the Beatles, plus the single, US B-side I Saw Her Standing There (from Please Please Me) and the UK B-side, This Boy. With the Beatles and Meet the Beatles both have the classic black and white photo.
“There WAS an album on Vee-Jay Records called Introducing the Beatles, which came out BEFORE the Beatles were big in the US, and the Please Please Me album was the source of THOSE songs, as well as a Capitol album called The Early Beatles, which came out as their fourth or fifth Capitol album.”

It’s a curse, I tell you.


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