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Monday, March 30, 2015

INTRODUCING...THE BEATLES

Meanwhile, back in England...

...as the single Please Please Me was climbing up the charts, the Beatles reported to Abbey Road studios on February 11th, 1963 to record their first album, which would include the hit song as its title track.  It was almost a month later, on March 5th, that they returned to the studio to record the single From Me to You.

In the US, Vee-Jay Records had the rights to release the contents of the album, but after the dismal showing of the single Please Please Me, it held off, preferring to see how the single From Me to You performed instead.  When the new single did somewhat better, selling roughly 22,000 copies as opposed to 7,300 for Please Please Me according to Bruce Spizer, the decision was made to issue the album.

Initially, the album was to have been released in exactly the same format as it had appeared in Britain, even retaining the title Please Please Me.  The only change made to the master was the curious decision to edit Paul's count-in at the top of the first track I Saw Her Standing There.  Evidently, someone at Vee-Jay thought that it had been left in by mistake and it was summarily removed.  But it was impossible to cut it out completely as the band enters immediately, so what we hear at the start of the album is "Four!" which sounds something more like "Faw!"

Yet, as you may know, American albums back in the early 60's usually contained only twelve tracks at the most while those in the UK sported fourteen, so a second decision was made - since the tracks Please Please Me and Ask Me Why had already been issued as a single, they were cut from the running order.  The resulting line-up for version one of the album was the following:

SIDE ONE

I Saw Her Standing There
Misery
Anna (Go to Him)
Chains
Boys
Love Me Do

SIDE TWO

P.S. I Love You
Baby It's You
Do You Want to Know a Secret
A Taste of Honey
There's a Place
Twist and Shout

Of course, eliminating the song Please Please Me from the line-up also necessitated a change in the title of the album.  Thus, it became Introducing...the Beatles.  With everything now in place, a release date of July 22nd, 1963 was set.

But Vee-Jay president Ewart Abner's gambling debts had devastated the company financially.  The Four Seasons, the label's biggest act, sued for a substantial amount of royalties which had been withheld from them.  As a cost-cutting measure, the company cancelled numerous planned releases, among them Introducing...the Beatles.  Since America wasn't exactly waiting with bated breath to meet the Fab Four, this delay would not hurt in the long run.   

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