Reference Library: The Beatles on Capitol Records
From: firstname.lastname@example.org (EgwEimi)
Subject: Capitol (US) albums
Date: 14 May 1995 16:34:20 -0400
The US Capitol Albums
Capitol Records in the USA joined itself with Electrical and Musical
Industries (EMI) in 1955, forming "The Greatest Recording Organi-
sation in the World." In 1963, Capitol featured such popular artists
as Nat "King" Cole and the Beach Boys. The surf and drag sound
was still very much "in." Music coming to the US from England
was "out." As nearly every Beatles fan knows, no British artist
had ever made it big in America. Capitol knew this, and they were
unwilling at first to take a chance on the Beatles. Consequently,
the group's first four singles and first album were not issued by
Capitol in the US. In fact, "Love Me Do" wasn't issued at all as
a single in the States until 1964.
But shortly before the release of With the Beatles and the group's
fifth single, Capitol bought in. They issued bumper stickers,
stand-ups, pinback buttons, and a lot of other promotional
gimmickry as part of their "The Beatles are Coming!" campaign.
Get it? "The British are coming!"--Paul Revere's cry. Capitol
executives even posed wearing Beatles wigs, at one point in
At the end of 1963, the first US copies of "I Want to Hold
Your Hand" reached radio stations, and what remains is
a matter of record. (I.e., "the rest is history.") However,
some fans today are discovering for the first time that the
US issued albums that were different than the British issues,
sometimes VERY different. In fact, this was true in quite
a few countries. France issued EP's (4 songs each) instead
of singles until 1967. Japan's first few albums were different
from those in England, and they issued a large number of
singles and EP's that were not released in England. A few
German releases were different. Several countries issued
different "Greatest Hits" collections (Denmark, Australia,
Germany) that were not issued in England or in the US.
But the US releases seem to have attracted a lot of attention
over the years. This is a chronicle of those releases.
CRACKING THE CODE
First: how to read the Capitol prefixes.
If you find an old Capitol album, you'll see the record number
divided into a prefix (from 1 to 4 letters) and a number. For
example, you might find a copy of Meet the Beatles numbered:
The number is the actual release number. Capitol started
numbering at 100, with some of their subsidiaries (like Tower)
starting at higher numbers (such as 5000 for Tower and 3350 for
Apple). By 1968, their regular issue albums had reached 2999.
From 3000 to 9999 were reserved for subsidiaries. So they
started over at 100. That's why the White Album is number 101!
In about 1972, the numbering reached 999 and they jumped ahead
to 10000. So albums like Rarities have higher numbers.
The prefix is composed of letters. If the record is in stereo,
then the first letter is "S." No letter corresponds to a mono
The next letter is the price code. The prices changed over the
years, of course. "T" was the standard main line record, so
you'll find a lot of "T's" among Beatles issues.
If there are other letters, it means there was some kind of
special packaging, such as a boxed set, gatefold cover,
booklet, etc.. The fourth letter denotes the packaging,
although apparently this was loosely applied. The next to last
letter (in a batch of 3 or 4) denotes the number of records.
"SMAL" represents a stereo issue with one record. "SWBO" is a
stereo issue with two records. "STCH" is a stereo issue with
three records. "TGO" would be a mono issue with seven records,
although the Beatles never released such a thing!
In addition, the trail-off area of every record made by Capitol
includes a symbol that signifies which manufacturing plant the
record was made in. These are those symbols and their corresponding
/ I \ Scranton, PA
/ A M \
\ | /
\ | /
---- ---- Los Angeles, CA
/ | \
/ | \
| | Jacksonville, IL
___ / | Winchester, VA
Meet the Beatles!
T-2047 or ST-2047
The album starts off with the Beatles latest single, "I Want
to Hold Your Hand," followed by its US b-side, "I Saw Her Standing
There," and its UK b-side, "This Boy." Since mono mixes of the UK
single had been sent to Capitol, there are two songs on this album
which appear in "rechanneled" stereo.
Several songs were removed from the With the Beatles album
(to appear later), but the rest of the selections for Meet the
Beatles! come from With the Beatles and appear in the same order
as they do on the UK album.
The album's front cover features the same picture of the Beatles
in half-shadow as does the UK album, but US copies are tinted blue.
The cover blurb falsely claims that this was the "first" album by the
group. Apparently, Capitol wanted American fans to ignore the
release on Vee Jay records.
The Beatles Second Album
T-2080 or ST-2080
Capitol obtained from Parlophone (in England) a copy of the
"She Loves You" single (that song, plus "I'll Get You") and stereo
mixes of the songs from the British "Long Tall Sally" EP. The b-side
of "Can't Buy Me Love," namely, "You Can't Do That," also appears
on this album. As before, the songs from singles appear in
Two of the Long Tall Sally EP songs, the 3 single sides, and the
remainder of the With the Beatles album were collected into this
l.p., which makes somewhat of a nice mix. In fact, this was the
first instance of songs being released first in America. The two EP
songs weren't issued in England until 2 months later, and their
UK release was mono only. In fact, the mixes for "Komm, Gib Mir
Deine Hand" were also in Capitol's possession, but they held them back
until the next album.
The Beatles were hot, and the album shot to #1, like its
T-2108 or ST-2108
The Beatles first film, A Hard Day's Night, was released
through United Artists, who apparently produced the film so that
they would have the right to issue the soundtrack album! Due to a
licensing tangle, however, Capitol was able to issue all of the
Hard Day's Night songs. Some of these they issued as singles only,
while others are featured on this album and Beatles '65. The
contract allegedly prevented Capitol from calling the album
"Hard Day's Night." This proved to be no problem for Capitol.
In fact, United Artists never received stereo mixes of the songs,
so Capitol was able to present in stereo selections that UA
issued only in mono and fake stereo.
All in all, eight songs from the Hard Day's Night album
combine with the two remaining Long Tall Sally EP songs and
"Komm Gib Mir Deine Hand" to form this album, the whole of which is
in true stereo. The songs are not in order, however; in fact, the
AHDN songs on side two of this album are in reverse order to the
Three songs, "Hard Day's Night," "I Should Have Known Better,"
and "Can't Buy Me Love," did not appear on a Capitol album for some
time. One song from the British album would appear on Beatles '65
later in the year.
Note: The German song had not been released in the UK at the
This album was kept out of the #1 spot by Hard Day's Night,
the UA release.
TBO-2222 or STBO-2222
Vee Jay records was successful in marketing an album of
interviews. This success prompted others to get into the act,
including Capitol. Beatles Story features a spread of photos as
well as interviews with the Beatles and others. This album was
promoted as telling the story of the Beatles--their rise to fame,
so to speak. The album sold well...VERY well for an interview
album. And it was a two record set, to boot! By this time, the
Beatles had been such a boon to Capitol that the company opened
another factory--its third--this one in Jacksonville, IL. That
factory is still open today, pressing CD's.
T-2228 or ST-2228
A new single, "I Feel Fine" and "She's a Woman," was being
issued in England, along with an album, Beatles For Sale. The
left over song from AHDN, "I'll Be Back" was combined with the
two songs from the single and 8 songs from For Sale to become
Beatles '65 in the USA. Even the order is essentially the same as
in England. As always, on the stereo album the two single tracks
were in rechanneled stereo. The rest of the album is in true stereo
on the stereo release. Another #1.
The Early Beatles
T-2309 or ST-2309
Capitol had won its war with Vee Jay records. Therefore, it
could now issue the Please Please Me album (which Vee Jay had
essentially issued as Introducing the Beatles). Capitol removed two
songs from the album, "Misery" and "There's a Place"--apparently to
issue later. "There's a Place" did wind up on a "Star Line" single,
but neither song showed up on a US album until 1980! Capitol
also issued "From Me to You" as a single on the Star Line label.
T-2358 or ST-2358
Maybe YOU can count to six, but someone at Capitol couldn't!
This is their SEVENTH Beatles album release. The usual explanation
is that Beatles Story wasn't counted.
The remaining songs from Beatles For Sale are on this album,
but there's some new material as well. The Beatles recorded two
songs for the American market, both of which appear here. These are
"Dizzy Miss Lizzy" and "Bad Boy." Also, the b-side of their newest
single, "Yes It Is," was included on Beatles VI (in rechanneled
stereo, of course). Capitol also got the jump on the Help! album by
issuing two songs slated for that album, "Tell Me What You See" and
"You Like Me Too Much."
True, "Dizzy Miss Lizzy" wound up on the Help! album in the UK,
too. But apparently it replaced "Wait" at the last moment. At the
time, "...Lizzy" was prepared just for Capitol. Another hot Beatles
release, of course! The photo layout from this album also wound up
in Australia on one of their "greatest hits" releases.
MAS-2386 or SMAS-2386
What a coup! Capitol selected the seven Beatles songs from the
UK Help! album which were in the film, padded the rest of the album
with George Martin instrumentals, added a bunch of pictures from the
movie, and hiked the price by a buck. What was the result? Another
big hit, of course. "Ticket to Ride" is in rechanneled stereo on
The bit of "James Bond Theme" which appears before the title
track became a popular introduction to the song. It appears on the US
releases of 1962-1966 as well.
The photos on the front cover were rearranged so that Paul
appears to be pointing to the Capitol logo. Coincidence? Anyway,
the pix had already been accidentally reversed, so whether here or
in the UK, the semaphore is gibberish. Or is it a secret message?
T-2442 or ST-2442
Two of the four left over Help! songs, "I've Just Seen a Face"
and "It's Only Love," found their way onto the US Rubber Soul album.
The other two songs were released as a single. By now, US albums
were beginning to resemble their British counterparts, at least to
some extent, although the United States did receive its own special
mixes of quite a few songs. On this album, "The Word" and "I'm
Looking Through You" (stereo mixes) are noticibly different than in
England. This album hit #1 in the US without any singles being
issued from it. Common now in the UK, maybe, but not here!
Two of the songs from the UK album, "Nowhere Man" and "What
Goes On," were issued as a single in the US.
T-2553 or ST-2553
Take a few left over Rubber Soul tracks ("Drive My Car,"
"Nowhere Man," "If I Needed Someone," and "What Goes On"). Add two
old Help! tracks that had been issued as a single ("Yesterday"
and "Act Naturally"). Pour in a single from late '65 ("We Can Work
It Out" and "Day Tripper"). Then supply a bonus of three songs
from the still-unreleased NEW British album ("I'm Only Sleeping,"
"Doctor Robert," and "And Your Bird Can Sing"). What do you get?
The appropriately-titled Yesterday...and Today, another popular
album in the good old USA.
The front cover to the "new" album was the same shot that was
used in England to promote the "Paperback Writer" single: an
unfinished photograph of the Beatles wearing butcher smocks and
holding cuts of meat and dolls. The picture was part of a group of
three that was meant to shatter the Beatles' image. Instead, this
picture became an instant collectors' item! Radio stations began
to remark about the album immediately, and Capitol issued a
withdrawal notice before the actual release date.
Some copies (less than 60,000) got out with the original cover
intact. Many more were reissued the same week with a new photo
(the Beatles around a steamer trunk) pasted over the original one.
Later copies feature only the "trunk" cover. The pause in Capitol's
plans didn't stop this album from hitting #1.
NOTE: "We Can Work It Out" and "Day Tripper" had been mixed
for stereo for an Australian album. So they ARE in true stereo on
NOTE 2: Most releases on vinyl feature the three Revolver songs
in rechanneled stereo. Capitol didn't want to wait the week it
would take to get the stereo mixes. But all tape copies, the
"record club" issues from the late 60's and 70's, and some later
copies of the album, do feature the Revolver songs in stereo--
although the mixes differ from the UK mix, as usual.
T-2576 or ST-2576
This album lacks the three songs that were issued on
Yesterday...and Today. Otherwise, it very much resembles the British
release. Perhaps Capitol's mistake of having rushed Y&T to release
only to have to withdraw it prompted them to think carefully. Or
maybe they just decided not to include "Paperback Writer" and "Rain"
on this album. For whatever reason, the US Revolver is almost the
same as the UK issue.
Of note, however, is the fact that by now (in the US) stereo
copies were selling at the same rate as mono copies. Germany had
already abandoned mono. Now, the United States was on their way
toward doing so.
Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band
MAS-2653 or SMAS-2653
Just like the British release? Almost. This album lacks
the "dog cut" and "inner groove" at the end. Otherwise, even its
gatefold cover and insert roughly resemble the UK issue. In the
Summer of '67, this album hit #1 without any singles being issued
to promote it. Issued with a red/pink/white dayglo inner sleeve.
Magical Mystery Tour
MAL-2835 or SMAL-2835
When Parlophone and the Beatles served notice that they
intended to release MMT as an EP, Capitol refused. They had
tried twice to sell Beatles EP's; both tries were dismal failures.
Rather than being burned again, they sent a representative to
England to collect songs for this album, including a fresh mix of
"Strawberry Fields Forever." The last three songs on the album,
however, were issued in rechanneled stereo on the album, following
Capitol's usual practice. They didn't request stereo copies of the
single songs (except SFF and Hello Goodbye), and they didn't get
"Hello Goodbye," "Strawberry Fields Forever," "Penny Lane,"
"Baby, You're a Rich Man," and "All You Need Is Love" round out
This was the last Beatles album in the US that was available
in both mono and stereo. The mono copies are more difficult
to find than the stereo records, by possibly a 5 to 1 margin.
The album sure looks nice in 12" size...it came to be copied in
the UK, being issued there in 1976 (with a prototype circulating
before then). Germany replaced its MMT EP with the album in
Ah, two whole albums of Beatles music! The story (according
to Beatles Book #66) is that Capitol had treated the whole album
to compression and limiting, but that George Harrison discovered
this and attempted to undo their treatment. On "Cry Baby Cry,"
you can detect a "bad spot" (at "by the children") where something
went wrong in the process.
The album featured a stark white cover with raised letters:
"The Beatles." There was print only on the spine (title and catalog
number) and on the back cover (one word: "stereo"). The UK
issue opened from the top; the US issue took a more standard
approach by opening from the side. Inside were goodies: a poster
with lyrics on one side and four color photos (slightly smaller than
the UK issue). There was also a tissue paper to keep the photos
from being damaged. The UK issue featured black sleeves which
were not included here.
This record was the first Beatles album release on their new
label, Apple, and the record labels indicated that the album was
manufactured by Capitol but issued by Apple. Finally, the
albums were numbered, with each factory numbering differently.
There were reportedly 12 copies of #1 (I know of two), and they
numbered over 3,200,000 of them. Collecting variations in numbering
style can be an interesting sideline.
Another variation, usually not noticed, deals with the "banding"
of the album. When Sgt. Pepper was released in England, the
tracks were not separated (banded), but they ran all together. The
US album WAS banded. When this album was released, apparently
there was considerable sweat over whether the album should be
banded: you'll find some copies banded and others unbanded. Even
copies pressed at the same factory differ in this way.
Another #1 without singles.
The Beatles wanted to issue another EP, but this time even
Parlophone was against it. Two old songs, four new songs, and
some George Martin instrumentals fill this album, which sold
well despite containing very little new material. The liner notes on
the back cover are different from those on the British album,
which was the last one to be issued in England in both mono and
stereo. In the majority of nations now, stereo records were
playable on mono machines, rendering mono "obsolete."
The Beatles deliberately did not list "Her Majesty" at the end
of side 2. But no one informed the industry moguls in the US.
As a result, the song was added to the eight track's listing and to
SOME of the albums. You'll find the song added to some covers
and some labels as well. It was eventually removed again from
the cover. Thus, the album again differed ever so slightly from the
SO-385 or SW-385
This album, a collection of oldies, was originally entitled
Beatles Again, and the first pressings display that title on the
labels. "Can't Buy Me Love," "I Should Have Known Better,"
"Paperback Writer" and "Rain," "Lady Madonna," "Hey Jude"
and "Revolution," "Ballad of John and Yoko" and "Old Brown
Shoe," and "Don't Let Me Down" made it onto this album,
although not in that order. All of the songs are in true stereo
here, with some of them being mixed for stereo especially for
this album. Oddly, there were four other songs that Capitol
COULD have included here but did not:
"Hard Day's Night"; "Misery"; "There's a Place"; and
"From Me to You." Apparently they were leery of including
HDN on any album at all! Two b-sides, "I'm Down" and
"The Inner Light" were apparently also not favored by Capitol
when compiling this l.p..
The Hey Jude! album was popular enough that it was
issued in England in 1979. At around the time of this
album's release, Capitol opened their FOURTH factory...
in Winchester, VA. Within a couple of years, they phased
out the use of their factory in Scranton, PA.
Let It Be
This album was released in conjunction with United Artists,
who owned the film rights. In quite a few countries, the album
was released as a boxed set, with a special booklet. In the
US, the album was issued with a gatefold cover...and a red label,
marking the end of the Beatles. Interestingly, all of the Beatles'
original US releases differ in some way from those in England.
This album went out of print in 1975 for three years.
Beatles Christmas Album
"BC" stands for "Beatles Christmas." This album was
available to fan club members for $2. It contains all of the
messages from their Christmas flexi-discs, including the 1963
message, which had not been released in the USA until this
1962-1966 and 1967-1970
SKBO-3403 and SKBO-3404
Four records of "greatest hits." One record company
was issuing unauthorized ("bootleg") issues of Beatles
compilation albums. These records, the Alpha Omega
series (Vol. 1-3), were selling quite well, including being
hawked on TV for a time. Capitol/Apple countered with
"official releases." The Beatles themselves participated
in selecting the tracks, the pictures, and the colors.
The track listing (insert) was compiled by Capitol and is
deceptive. "Hard Day's Night" was making its first appearance
on a Capitol album. Likewise for "From Me to You." These
are referred to as belonging to the Help! album, where (in
the US) instrumental versions of those songs appear!
It is noteworthy that Capitol had so far not obtained stereo
mixes for any of the songs released as singles. Even "Hard
Day's Night" appears in fake stereo on the album. The only
exception was "From Me to You," which for all I know Capitol
had a stereo Copy of since 1965. Also, "Hello Goodbye"
turned up in mono on the compilation, for reason unknown.
Beatles Special Limited Edition
This 9 album boxed set featured Apple copies of
various Beatles albums. It was inevitable that boxed sets
would be issued, but how these particular albums were
chosen is not known. Since several albums were omitted,
reason dictates that there was SOME strategy involved.
NOTE: There was a 17 record set, containing all the
albums except Let it Be, but that boxed set was given
as a promo item to Capitol sales representatives. It
was not commercially available.
Rock and Roll Music
Two records of previously released material, stereo-
reversed by George Martin. This album featured a new
stereo mix of "I Call Your Name" and the first US stereo
appearance of "I'm Down."
The album cover was a horrible silver thing, reminding
people of the 50's. John Lennon had offered to draw them
a cover, but EMI stupidly rejected the idea. Oh well.
Beatles at the Hollywood Bowl
The first album of new Beatles materials in 7 years.
Capitol had planned to issue live albums in the 60's.
They had recorded two Hollywood Bowl concerts for that
purpose. Despite talk, up through 1971, the album wasn't
released until '77. For many, it was worth the wait. The
only problem _I_ have with it is the mention of the
Bay City Rollers in the liner notes!
Another two record set built around a theme. The
only thing new here is a new mix of "Girl." The package,
with a lyric book, was somewhat attractive. Even this
album went gold in the US.
In 1980, this album was split into two "budget line"
Sgt. Pepper's ... (picture disc)
There was a picture disc craze on, and Capitol got into
it. The disco film called Sgt. Pepper's... was hot in the
USA, so this was chosen as the first "special" release.
In Canada, the album appeared on marbled vinyl. In other
countries, the picture discs were slightly different.
The Beatles (white vinyl)
Colored vinyl was also "in". For America, this meant
red, white, and blue. This was the white one.
1962-1966 (red vinyl)
Red vinyl release of the 1973 album.
1967-1970 (blue vinyl)
Blue vinyl release of the 1973 album.
Love Songs (gold vinyl)
This album was never released in the USA, but it
came out in Canada. Oddly, some copies were sealed
together with British (leftover?) copies of the "Get Back"
book that had originally been included with the Let it Be
album in England. I have personally seen two such
Abbey Road (picture disc)
The last of the Beatles "special issues" on Capitol.
Since the craze was dying down somewhat, this one
is a little harder to find than the Sgt. Pepper picture
Hard Day's Night
Capitol acquired the rights to ALL United Artists
releases. They promptly issued this album on their
purple label. Oddly, they decided NOT to include
stereo versions of any of the songs. The Beatles
songs are in rechanneled stereo.
Let It Be
Now, in 1979, this album was being issued
again. Between late '75 and this album's release,
pirate copies had been surfacing. This reissue
no longer features a gatefold cover but WAS issued
with a poster (of the front cover shot).
This album grew out of a project called "The Beatles
Collection," a boxed set of all of the British album
releases. There was an extra album called Rarities included
with the boxed set. Old b-sides mostly...non-album
tracks. The album was not supposed to be issued
commercially, but Parlophone changed their minds. Capitol
also decided to issue the album...as a budget line
release. They made some copies of this budget release and
were ready to issue it commercially.
Along came a bootleg album called "Collectors' Items,"
which featured a more attractive cover and better track
selection. Capitol modified its track selection immediately
and changed their cover ideas. The "butcher cover" shot
was included on the inside as an added attraction.
This album features the first stereo release of "Penny Lane"
and "Sie Liebt Dich" in the US. "Misery" and "There's a
Place" were also included here in stereo...for the first time
on Capitol (although the Vee Jay record did feature stereo
versions). "The Inner Light" was featured here in mono;
a stereo version would be made available in England only a
The ugly cover notwithstanding (and most people thought
so), this is actually a fine release from Capitol. They
released first their "Movie Medley," which charted well. Then
they sent to Parlophone for true stereo copies of all the songs.
Finally, "Hard Day's Night" and "Ticket to Ride" would appear
in the US in stereo! And nice-sounding stereo it was, too.
The long (British) version of "I Am the Walrus" is here too.
Finally, there is a new mix of "I Should Have Known Better"
which fixes the break in the harmonica intro that's found
on the previous stereo mix.
Gold vinyl promos were sent out, the album was promoted
on TV and in other ways (That's what those Beatles "chu-bops"
were for.), and it sold well.
Twenty Greatest Hits
Featuring stereo versions of such songs as "I Want to
Hold Your Hand" and "I Feel Fine," this greatest hits set sold
somewhat well in the US. In other countries, slightly different
versions of the album were issued, to reflect what songs had
charted best in those countries.
Again showing a trend of improvement, Capitol planned
to issue an album of truly new tracks and alternate versions.
It was to be a worldwide release. One track, "Leave My
Kitten Alone," which was to be a single, circulated on the
radio. But the legal problems between the Beatles and
Capitol/EMI prevented the release of the album...for at least
10 years! Soon, maybe. If you can't wait, there are always
the bootleg copies.
In 1987-8, the Parlophone albums were issued in the US,
to correspond to the CD issues. In addition, one new
album came out. This was the combination of the two
Past Masters CD's. For the first time, "Yes It Is" and
"This Boy" appeared in stereo in the US. Strangely, for
a short time, three sets of "greatest hits" compilations
were available in the USA. The album was a limited release;
the CDs are supposed to follow it into obscurity, now that
1962-1966 and 1967-1970 have been reissued.
Beatles Deluxe Box Set
A boxed set containing all 13 of the US pressings of
the British catalog plus Past Masters. The box was made
of black finished oak. The first 6000 copies were numbered
Live at the BBC
Ah, new material at last. Seven years was rough,
but by the time this album was released, the majority of
listeners weren't even buying Beatles records in 1977
when Hollywood Bowl came out!
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