Today I’m going to start a new feature called Seeing Double.
The gist of these Seeing Double posts is that I will highlight two versions of a particular album from one group, in this case The Beatles, and show copies of that album as they were released in two different countries.
More than likely the two versions of the albums I show won’t be very different, like the examples today, except for some minor cover and record label differences. Also these double versions will mainly consist vinyl pressings from around the world but from time to time I may add different CD versions of the same album from different countries as well.
So let’s get started with today’s first Seeing Double – The Beatles “Something New”.
For those of you out there who are in the know and are Beatles fans you may already be aware that the “Something New” album from 1964 is one of Capitol Records hodgepodge records which were made up of stray Beatles tracks from various UK releases.
(Note: Capitol Records released The Beatles recordings exclusively in the U.S. starting with the “Meet the Beatles” Lp in late 1963. Instead of using the UK versions of The Beatles’ albums, which were put together by the group and their music producer George Martin, Capitol Records created shorter Beatles albums with a variety of songs that didn’t necessarily match the UK albums.
Because of this the U.S. had many more Beatles albums released than the UK and with different song lineups and covers. Much to the chagrin of The Beatles themselves these U.S. albums not only looked different but sounded different too as Capitol also processed the sound for what they thought the U.S. audience would enjoy.
When talking about The Beatles Capitol albums just be aware that the Beatles albums that Capitol released from 1964 up until 1967 were very different from their UK counterparts.)
“Something New” is the third Beatles album that Capitol Records put together in 1964.
It consisted of songs from the group’s first film “A Hard Day’s Night” plus stray tracks from the UK “A Hard Day’s Night” LP plus a couple of songs from a British EP as well as a German version of their breakthrough US smash “I Want to Hold Your Hand” entitled “Komm, Gib Mir Deine Hand”.
Because United Artists, the film company that released “A Hard Day’s Night”, had the exclusive rights in the U.S. to release a soundtrack for The Beatles first film Capitol Records had to figure out a way in which they could also use some of those same tracks without calling it a soundtrack.
The “Something New” album as released in the U.S. used five songs from the film plus several spare Beatles tracks that Capitol had access to making the album a more complete Beatles experience. The United Artists “A Hard Day’s Night” soundtrack by comparison contained only seven Beatles songs plus instrumental music from the film.
(Note 2: The British “A Hard Day’s Night” album was a much better deal for fans as it contained seven songs from the film “A Hard Day’s Night” on side one and six extra Beatle songs on side two. Compared to the United Artists soundtrack which has only seven measly Beatle songs on it plus instrumentals.)
Thus while “Something New” wasn’t an official soundtrack album for “A Hard Day’s Night” it did serve its purpose as Capitol’s unofficial soundtrack in the process creating another monster selling album for both Capitol and The Beatles.
In actual fact while I do enjoy the “Something New” album it isn’t really one of Capitol Records better hodgepodge collections. I must admit the thing I like best about the album are some of the unique mixes on the mono version of the album (“I’ll Cry Instead”, “And I Love Her”, “When I Get Home”, “Any Time At All”) that were exclusive to this collection.
And so today I thought I’d share a couple of versions of “Something New” that I’ve happened to locate in the last couple of years – one copy which is an original mono pressing from Canada and the other which is a first pressing stereo copy from Germany.
I love having both mono and stereo pressings of Beatles albums as they each are fun to listen to and each one has a variety of mix differences which are interesting to contrast and compare.
As you can see from the photos above both the Canadian and German copies of “Something New” use basically the same front cover artwork and track listings as the U.S. Capitol pressing of the album. The German stereo copy though does add its own unique rear cover which is a fun change and one of the best parts about collecting foreign Beatles pressings.
As for sound I’d say that both of these copies pretty much stack up to their U.S. counterparts. While the original Capitol pressings may have a bit more punch and sound a bit more open both of these pressings sound pretty good and also sound like they use copies of the same tapes that Capitol used for their U.S. versions.
Actually of the two I’d say that because the Canadian mono copy hasn’t been played as much it was a better listen than the German stereo but really both are very decent sounding and make nice alternatives to the original U.S pressed copies.
I also love the unique inner sleeve to the German pressing with its photos of other albums including the German version of the “With the Beatles” album.
(Note 3: The German copy sounds like the master it used may be a generation lower than the U.S. Capitol version as it sounds bit more muffled than a U.S. pressing though is still sounds pretty decent.)
Anyway, there you have it. I thought it would be fun to see photos of each of these unique versions of the “Something New” album as you never really see many detailed photos of these kind of pressings online.
As usual take a gander at the photos above and until the next installment of Seeing Double be well and safe and I hope you’ve been surviving the month of February which is the worst month of winter in my humble opinion.
Take care and see you soon.