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The U.S. Albums Box set

4.2 out of 5 stars 37 customer reviews

Price: CDN$ 179.97 & FREE Shipping. Details
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (Jan. 21 2014)
  • Number of Discs: 13
  • Format: Box set
  • Label: Universal Music
  • ASIN: B00H8XF9I0
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars 37 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #673 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)
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Product Description

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:

  6. BEATLES ’65
  13. HEY JUDE
These albums were originally issued between 1964 and 1970 by Capitol Records, Apple Records, and United Artists in the United States. These new releases seek to replicate the unique listening experience heard by Americans at the time by preserving the sequences, timings, and artwork found on the albums. Capitol’s engineers in the 1960s took great care to produce what they believed to be the best possible sound for the playback equipment in use at that time. Due to the limitations of the record players of the day, engineers often compressed the sound by raising the volume of the softer passages and lowering the volume for the louder parts of the songs. They also reduced the bass frequencies since too much bass could cause the record to skip. In some cases, reverb was added to the tracks to make them sound more “American.”

  • 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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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Rewritten on February 9, 2014:

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).
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As a major Beatles fan, I bought each and every cd release they put out since 1987 (including this US box set). I must say this time, I am starting to feel like I am taken for a ride. I was disappointed to see that only the track listing and sleeves had been preserved. They used the 2009 remastered UK tracks as the base for recreating the US albums. The distinct sound of the Capitol mixes have been lost in the process to "enhance the listening experience". Thank God I still have my "Capitol Albums" box sets which were made from the original US mixes. I would have preferred a volume three instead of this new box set, but unfortunately, Apple mastered the art of selling the same product over and over again to millions of (consenting) die hard fans.

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.
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I was one of those that initially made the decision NOT to purchase this box set. My objections were based on the fact that they are not true representations of the original Capitol releases. Do they look great? YES! Is the packaging true to the originals? YES! Do they sound great? YES! Are they authentic? NO! (Well, at least in some instances). I grew up in the sixties, so I know what I'm talking about in those regards. But if I'm honest with myself, for the Beatles to sound like what I grew up with, I would have to listen to them on a really cheap transistor radio! Or listen on a cheap record player! No, I don't want to do that. So, when I saw the price that Amazon Canada had the set going for, I put my objections aside, and made the purchase. I have no regrets. The quality is great, the sound is amazing, and I'm glad to have this set in my possession.
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Although many reviewers have lamented that Capitol/EMI should have long ago released Volume 3 in their Capitol Albums series (and they're right), I've been fortunate enough to have all of the Capitol versions on bootleg CDs for a number of years. So, I already have CD-quality versions of the records I grew up with in the US.

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.
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