50 Years Ago Today... WITH THE BEATLES

4,745 Miles from Dallas

On November 22, 1963, The Beatles released their second album, With The Beatles.  At the time, their debut album Please Please Me was the #1 album in the UK and had been on top of the charts for more than six months. Within a week, With The Beatles had unseated it, and was on its way to a four month reign at the top.  Between the two albums, The Beatles occupied the #1 spot for an incredible 51 consecutive weeks.

Across the Atlantic in the US, the Number One album was In the Wind by Peter, Paul & Mary at the time of the release of With The Beatles.  As With The Beatles rose to the top of the UK chart, The Singing Nun began her 10 week run atop the the US chart.  Beatlemania in the US was still three months away from November 1963 and With The Beatles (like its predecessor) was not released in America, which was preoccupied with a national tragedy that had coincidentally occurred on November 22, 1963.

With The Beatles was preceded by two non-album singles in the UK: "From Me To You" b/w "Thank You Girl" in April 1963 followed by "She Loves You" b/w "I'll Get You" in August 1963.  The former was the first of eleven straight UK #1s they would notch while the latter remains the group's biggest seller in the UK and soundtracked the full-blown emergence of Beatlemania in their homeland.  Here in the States, "From Me To You" Bubbled Under at #115 in August 1963 and "She Loves You" failed to chart upon it's initial release in September 1963.  Upon their re-release in 1964, "She Loves You" became the Beatles second #1 in America while "From Me To You" missed the Top 40 by one spot.

Up in Canada, With The Beatles had been released as Beatlemania! With The Beatles in November 1963 and two singles from the album were released later that crossed over to the US chart in 1964: "Roll Over Beethoven" b/w "Please Mister Postman" and "All My Loving" b/w "This Boy" which made it to #68 and #45, respectively.  They were the 9th and 10th charting Beatles songs in the US.

Twenty-four years after it was originally released just about everywhere else in the world, With The Beatles was finally released in the US individually rather than part of a set, first on compact disc and a couple of months later on vinyl and cassette.  

All of the songs from With The Beatles had been issued on two US only releases in 1964: Meet The Beatles featured 9 songs from the album and The Beatles' Second Album featured the remaining 5 songs; both albums topped the US Album chart and remain the definitive versions of the Beatles first two albums for millions of American fans.

In 2006, a series of fan complied and mastered CDs began circulating bearing a Purple Chick.  Each release featured the best sounding version available of each track as well as many alternate takes, recording sessions and mixdowns from The Beatles Anthology television series.  In short, they were the super ultimate deluxe edition that fans wanted and Apple refused to provide, though Purple Chick modestly called them Deluxe Editions.  In preparation for today's post, HERC has been listening to the Purple Chick's With The Beatles, a three disc set including a stereo disc, a mono disc and a sessions disc.  One of HERC's favorite features of the Purple Chick version of each album is how non-album singles are integrated, either before or after the original album.  With The Beatles Deluxe Edition kicks off with the singles "From Me To You" b/w "Thank You Girl" and "She Loves You" b/w "I'll Get You" before going into the album and then finishes with the single "I Want To Hold Your Hand" b/w "This Boy" and the outtake "One After 909". The detailed liner notes including recording session dates and audio sources are below.

Where were The Beatles on November 22, 1963 and what were they doing?  They performed a concert at Globe Cinema, High St, Stockton-on-Tees, Durham.  It was their fourth performance in a fifteen day marathon of concerts and television performances.  Two weeks later, on December 7th (ironically another historically significant date in US History), The Beatles performed a special afternoon show for 2500 members of their Northern Area Fan Club, parts of which the BBC showed later that same night.  Within two more months, they would land in America for the first time and the world would never be the same.

HERC likes With The Beatles a lot but he likes all of their albums a lot.  (He has 10 versions and variations of this album alone.)  If he had to choose one to listen to for the rest of his life, it wouldn't be this one but if he could choose six, then this one would definitely make the cut.  "It Won't Be Long" ("Yeah? YEAH!") and "All My Loving" are the standout tracks for HERC while "Little Child" ranks among his least listened to Beatles songs. 

1 comment:

  1. Wow - I did not realize this album came out the same day as Kennedy was assassinated. I remember this Beatles album well as my parent's had a copy of the 1964 US release(I totally defaced the record with crayons when I was a toddler three or four years later).

    Here's my full review: Martin's View - Meet The Beatles/