Beatles fans will have new reason to celebrate -- or grouse -- in April when Capitol Records issues the second batch of the Fab Four’s albums as they first appeared in the U.S. “The Capitol Albums, Vol. 2,” a four-CD boxed set slated for an April 11 release, marks the first appearance on CD of the U.S. versions of “Rubber Soul,” the “Help!” original soundtrack, “The Early Beatles” and “Beatles VI.”
When Capitol released the group’s first four albums in their U.S. configurations in 2004, it reignited a decades-old debate between Beatles camps. One considers Capitol’s treatment to be profit-driven cultural strip-mining, while many American fans have clamored for the release of those versions because they’re what they grew up with.
Before “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band,” the Beatles’ U.S. and British releases differed dramatically in song lineups and sound quality. Capitol executives reconfigured the original British albums for Parlophone/EMI, which featured 12 to 14 songs each, with 11 or 12 songs apiece in the U.S. In addition, producer George Martin’s original mixes were radically revamped, with added reverb and other effects Capitol executives felt would make them better for the U.S.
The new set, details of which Capitol Records is expected to announce today, will include mono and stereo mixes of each album, for 92 total tracks, 82 of which will be appearing on CD for the first time, according to Beatles historian Bruce Spizer.