The U.S. Albums Box set
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On February 7, 1964, The Beatles arrived at New York’s John F. Kennedy Airport, greeted by scores of screaming, swooning fans who rushed the gate to catch a glimpse of John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr as they took their first steps on American soil. Two nights later, on Sunday, February 9, 73 million viewers in the U.S. and millions more in Canada tuned in to CBS to watch The Beatles make their American television debut on The Ed Sullivan Show. In what remains one of the world’s top-viewed television events of all time, The Beatles performed five songs on the live broadcast and ‘Beatlemania,’ already in full, feverish bloom in The Beatles’ native U.K., was unleashed with blissful fervor across America and around the world. The British Invasion had begun.
The new 13 CD box set THE U.S. ALBUMS commemorates the 50th anniversary of these history-making events, spanning 1964’s MEET THE BEATLES! to 1970’s HEY JUDE. The Beatles’ U.S. albums differed from the band’s U.K. albums in a variety of ways, including different track lists, song mixes, album titles, and art.
The box set includes the following discs and titles:
- MEET THE BEATLES!
- THE BEATLES’ SECOND ALBUM
- A HARD DAY’S NIGHT [ORIGINAL MOTION PICTURE SOUNDTRACK]
- SOMETHING NEW
- THE BEATLES’ STORY
- BEATLES ’65
- THE EARLY BEATLES
- BEATLES VI
- HELP! [ORIGINAL MOTION PICTURE SOUNDTRACK]
- RUBBER SOUL
- YESTERDAY AND TODAY
- HEY JUDE
- The CDs are packaged in miniature vinyl sleeves that faithfully recreate the original U.S. LP releases down to the finest detail, including the inner sleeves.
- 11 original U.S. albums presented in both mono and stereo. Hey Jude and The Beatles’ Story are in stereo only.
- A Hard Day’s Night [Original Motion Picture Soundtrack], The Beatles’ Story, Yesterday And Today, Hey Jude and the U.S. version of Revolver are presented on CD for the first time. Yesterday And Today features the original album cover of The Beatles posing with raw meat and baby dolls. The package also comes with a collectible sticker of the subsequent Yesterday And Today cover art.
- Also included is a 64-page booklet which includes a new essay examining the U.S. albums and their historical significance, written by American author and television executive Bill Flanagan.
- The box set’s dimensions are: 6 inches wide x 6 1/8 inches tall x 3 ¼ inches thick.
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Top Customer Reviews
When I wrote my initial review, I pointed out that this set offered a good value to people who did not already own the previous box sets. At that time, it was priced about the same as the mono or stereo box set but it included BOTH the mono and stereo mixes (and having both mono and stereo mixes on the same CD is better than having to change CD's to compare them). Remember that this set, like the mono box set, does not give you every Beatles album or song and the only way (so far) to get those are to buy the missing stereo CD's separately. Since those CD's go on sale (usually at Christmas) for about $10 ($20 for double discs), you would still be saving about $100, compared to buying both the stereo and mono sets, as several people (myself included) have done.
At that time of writing, the day after the set came out, the reviews were mostly negative because of all the things this set is NOT - it is NOT what was advertised, it is NOT the true U.S. mixes. It is mostly the same 2009 UK remasters, although the mono tracks have now been compressed a bit and raised in volume to match the stereo tracks. The people who were complaining already had bought the stereo and/or mono box sets, plus the two prior Beatles on Capitol sets (which DID have the U.S. mixes, for the most part - you'd need to have the original LP's to compare), and were expecting to get the true U.S. mixes of all the U.S. albums to complete their collections. They were right to complain because the the advertising was indeed false (I myself had followed the on-line pre-release promotions and discussions for months).Read more ›
This being said, the quality of the box set is great and as another reviewer pointed out, it is a cheaper way to get the mono and stereo versions of the early remastered catalog.
I will probably never listen to this box set again and go back to listen to the 2009 UK box sets and play the Capitol Albums vol.1&2 whenever I have a bit of nostalgia. But it looks good on a shelf.
That said, it came as no surprise to me that Universal, in their first Beatles venture, did not opt to use the original Capitol tapes for their U.S. Albums collection. Aside from the fact that I read about what the set DOES include within 48 hours of its release announcement, I also have been well aware that The Beatles themselves never really cared for (to be kind) the U.S. versions from the very beginning. The remastering team for this set did the right thing across the board - they combined (1) the U.K. first generation remastered material (with occasional added effects) and (2) remastered, unique, U.S.-only mixes to create the cleanest sounding revision of the original U.S. albums possible. I, for one, welcome this approach. I still have multiple copies and versions of all of my original US and UK Beatles LPs, 45s, EPs, cassettes, 8-tracks, reel-to-reels and CDs, so I can always go back and listen to those whenever I'd like.
I suspect that the average consumer, if they opt not to purchase the 2009 remastered UK versions of these recordings for some reason, will thoroughly enjoy this collection. One could argue that the bigger the Beatles fan, the more likely that they will already and/or still have the original Capitol versions in some format anyway.
This set was promoted to be what it is... a revised version of the original U.S. albums.
Most recent customer reviews
I liked it, although I had all of these tracks with pretty much the same mastering already. However, I sent it back twice as the Beatles Second Album was faulty on both sets. Read morePublished 1 month ago by John Bohdanowicz
A must have for any North American die-hard Beatles fan such as myself. Very interesting comparing the Mono vs Stereo mixes. Read morePublished 5 months ago by Donald George Kelly
I have the Beatles stereo and mono boxes as well as the Japanese SHM re-masters. I bought the US box as I wanted the American versions as that is what I grew up with (along with... Read morePublished 7 months ago by abbeyroad_nw8
I was thrilled to get the set in the mail today, two weeks earlier than expected, and it all looks great! Read morePublished 9 months ago by Francesca Rogier
All, I repeat all, these U.S. versions of the Beatles work, should be confined to the dustbin of history. Read morePublished 20 months ago by Irishcan