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The American Beatles Albums: 1967 And Beyond

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The American Beatles Albums
Introduction | The 1963 Albums | The 1964 Albums
The 1965 Albums | The 1966 Albums | 1967 And Beyond
The Canadian Albums | Alphabetical Beatles Songs A-M | Alphabetical Beatles Songs N-Z

Sgt Pepper And Beyond

In 1962 the Beatles had signed a five-year recording contract, and on 27 January, 1967, a new nine-year recording contract was issued. One of its key clauses was to ensure that Beatles albums would be issued the same throughout the world, even in America. Thus, Sgt Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band was the first Beatles album to be released identically in America and the UK. There were, however, two further albums released in America which were unique to that country: Magical Mystery Tour and Hey Jude.

Magical Mystery Tour

Magical Mystery Tour posed EMI with a problem on how to market a soundtrack album from a film which only contained six songs. In the UK the Beatles, ever experimenting with different sounds and formats, released it as the world's first double-EP, containing only the six songs from the film. However, in America where the EP format had not taken root, a full album with 11 tracks was released instead. This not only contained the six songs from the film that the UK album did, as the album's A-side, but also a further five songs, all dating from 1967.

Magical Mystery Tour
Magical Mystery Tour
UK - December 1967USA - November 1967
Side A:
Side A:
'Magical Mystery Tour''Magical Mystery Tour'
'Your Mother Should Know''The Fool On The Hill'
Side B:
'I Am The Walrus''Blue Jay Way'
Side C:
'Your Mother Should Know'
'The Fool On The Hill''I Am The Walrus'
Side B:
Side D:
'Hello, Goodbye'
'Blue Jay Way''Strawberry Fields Forever'
'Penny Lane'
'Baby, You're A Rich Man'
'All You Need Is Love'

The five songs on the American album which had not appeared on the EP were 'Hello, Goodbye', 'Strawberry Fields Forever', 'Penny Lane', 'Baby, You're A Rich Man' and 'All You Need Is Love'. 'Hello Goodbye' had been the A-side on the same single as 'I Am The Walrus' in the UK, and did not actually feature in the Magical Mystery Tour film, although the 'Maori finale' was played over the film's final credits. In the UK it was released in November, and was the Christmas number one.

'Strawberry Fields Forever' and 'Penny Lane' were the February 1967 double A-side single released in the UK. 'All You Need Is Love' was released in 1967 and was the UK's contribution on the historic first Global Television Linkup on 25 June, 1967. It later became a number one single, with 'Baby, You're A Rich Man', also on Magical Mystery Tour, as its B-side. 'All You Need Is Love' later appeared on the Yellow Submarine album in January 1969.

In the mid-70s EMI noticed that the American Album was the more popular version, with British Beatles fans consistently importing the album from America. So, on 4 December, 1976, the American Album version was released in the UK, becoming the first, and only, American version of a Beatles album to supersede its UK counterpart. However, the original EP artwork was kept, which included the words to only the six songs featured in the Magical Mystery Tour film, and a smaller booklet.

Hey Jude

Hey Jude was the penultimate Beatles album released in America before the break-up of the Beatles in April 1970. Hey Jude essentially collected most of the singles and their B-sides that had not previously been released on an album in America into one volume.

Hey Jude

USA - February 1970

Side A:
  • 'Can't Buy Me Love'
  • 'I Should Have Known Better'
  • 'Paperback Writer'
  • 'Rain'
  • 'Lady Madonna'
  • 'Revolution'
Side B:
  • 'Hey Jude'
  • 'Old Brown Shoe'
  • 'Don't Let Me Down'
  • 'The Ballad Of John And Yoko'

'Can't Buy Me Love' and 'I Should Have Known Better' had both appeared on American Beatles' albums before, but only on the United Artists' A Hard Day's Night album in 1964. This was the first Capitol album they were released on.

'Paperback Writer' and its B-side 'Rain' had been released as a single in May 1966. 'Lady Madonna' had been released as a single in March 1968. Its B-side, 'The Inner Light', the first George Harrison composition to appear on an American single, did not appear on an American album while the Beatles were together.

'Hey Jude' and its B-side 'Revolution' had been released as a single in August 1968. 'Hey Jude' had not appeared on an album previously, but a version of 'Revolution' had, on the White Album in November 1968. The White Album version, the recording of which dated from May 1968, was slower, and one line in particular was:

When you talk about destruction, don't you know that you can count me out, in.

This indicated that John Lennon had not made his mind up. The version on the Hey Jude album, however, is:

When you talk about destruction, don't you know that you can count me out.

This, recorded in early July 1968, indicates that John had made his mind up not to take part in a revolution, a position John later clarified by saying: Count me out if it's for violence. Don't expect me on the barricades unless it's with flowers.

'The Ballad Of John And Yoko' and its B-side 'Old Brown Shoe' had been released as a single in the UK in May 1969, and June in America. In the UK, the two songs did not appear on an album until 1973s Blue Album, The Beatles 1967-1970, and 1988s Past Masters: Volume Two.

'Don't Let Me Down' was the B-side to the 'Get Back' single released in the UK in April and in America in May 1969. It was not featured on an album in the UK until the Blue Album, and also has appeared on 1988s Past Masters: Volume Two and 2003s Let It Be... Naked.

Songs Which Did Not Appear On American Albums

There were three Beatles songs that did not appear on any American Beatles album between 1962-70, when the Beatles were together. The first of these was 'Sie Liebt Diech', which was 'She Loves You' sung in German for the West German market. The Beatles had sung two of their songs in German, and although both 'Sie Liebt Diech' and 'Komm Gib Mir Deine Hand' were not released in the UK until 1988, 'Komm Gib Mir Deine Hand' had been featured on Something New, released in America in 1964.

As both Capitol Records and Vee Jay record companies had passed on the rights to release 'She Loves You' as a single to Swan, Swan also retained the rights to its German equivalent, even though it had not been intended for release in the English-speaking world. When 'Sie Liebt Diech' had been released as a single in America, it reached a respectable 97th in the chart in May 1964. The English language version 'She Loves You' had reached number one in September 1963 and was included on The Beatles' Second Album in America.

The other two songs not released on a US album were 'You Know My Name (Look Up The Number)' and 'The Inner Light', both of which were B-sides of Beatles singles, to 'Let It Be' and 'Lady Madonna' respectively.


In conclusion, the differences between the American and UK Beatles albums were profound. Although the 1967 contract effectively established the original UK versions as the recognised Beatles canon, the albums remain part of the Beatles experience for many American fans, and therefore had an important role in the history of the Beatles.

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