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Wednesday, September 30, 2015

HEY JUDE

Though Allen Klein had given Capitol Records permission to once again issue compilation albums in late 1969, he apparently did not trust the American label to assemble one in keeping with his personal tastes and exact specifications.  And so, the Beatles' new manager hand-picked Allan Steckler, from Klein's own company ABKCO, to put together the next release.  According to the entry for this album on Wikipedia, when his work was completed Steckler even had the tapes mastered at Bell Sound Studios rather than at Capitol.

Made up entirely from American singles that had not appeared on Capitol albums, Steckler's lineup was as follows:

SIDE ONE

Can't Buy Me Love
I Should Have Known Better
Paperback Writer
Rain
Lady Madonna
Revolution

SIDE TWO

Hey Jude
Old Brown Shoe
Don't Let Me Down
The Ballad of John and Yoko

A mere ten tracks (probably because Hey Jude is twice the length of most tracks), resulting in what amounted to the running time of a standard eleven-track Capitol album.

As is always the case with compilation albums, fans can speculate endlessly over why certain tracks were omitted.  With only two tracks from 1964 and two from '66, Steckler's focus is clearly biased towards more recent material.  Thus, songs from the group's early days that had also never appeared on a Capitol album are still missing, such as Misery and There's a Place from the British LP Please Please Me, the A-side From Me to You and even the A-side A Hard Day's Night, though its American B-side I Should Have Known Better did make the cut.  One could also argue for the alternate single versions of Love Me Do and Help!, plus the latter song's great B-side I'm Down and the German rarity Sie Liebt Dich.

Steckler was no doubt afraid of Harrison's Indian-flavored B-side The Inner Light, but why oh why did he include the B-side Don't Let Me Down without its A-side Get Back?  Yes, the latter song would eventually appear on the LP Let It Be but Steckler had no way of knowing that, as Phil Spector had not yet begun his re-production work on the band's final album.

This compilation was originally given the title The Beatles Again.  First pressings still had that title on the label on both sides of the record and are surely of value to collectors.  It was released in the US on February 26th, 1970 and appeared in many other countries under the EMI umbrella, as well, though not in the UK.  It is the only album issued during the group's career that I do not possess in any format due to the complete redundancy of the material on it.

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