The forgotten Beatles album
A Collection of Beatles Oldies (but Goldies!) was a very real and important official UK album by The Beatles in 1966. It was also released in several other countries (especially in Europe) and it remained in print, as part of the Beatles catalog until the CD age, when it was replaced by the more thorough compilation “Past Masters Vol. 1”.
The Beatles had rush-recorded albums for the Christmas market in 1964 (“Beatles For Sale”) and 1965 (“Rubber Soul”), but they were busy doing other things in the autumn of 1966 and weren’t going to obey EMI’s demand this time around. So EMI had to think of something else. And what they came up with, was the first UK compilation album of the Beatles hits, together with what one today might have called a bonus track, “Bad Boy”, which had yet to be released in the UK.
The album also compiled six tracks that had previously only been out as singles in the UK, now finally they were available on an album. The album was released in both mono and stereo, and since all the singles had been in mono, new stereo mixes had to be made. The songs in question: “She Loves You”, “We Can Work It Out”, “Day Tripper”, “I Want To Hold Your Hand”.
The stereo mixes were made by producer George Martin and involved the Beatles new engineer, the young Geoff Emerick, who had taken over from Norman Smith as the Beatles’ engineer, starting with “Revolver”, as well as balance engineer Peter Bown.
Work commenced on October 31st, 1966. Martin had booked the control room of studio One in Abbey Road for three hours, and was hoping to mix three songs within that space of time, “Paperback Writer”, “She Loves You” and “I Want To Hold Your Hand”. When he found that “Paperback Writer” took two hours alone to mix, he called it a day.
They reconvened on November 7th, and Martin again underestimated the workload, hoping to remix three songs again, the two leftovers from the previous session, “She Loves You” and “I Want To Hold Your Hand”, and in addition: “From Me To You”. Only “I Want To Hold Your Hand” was finished by the end of the session. The next day, they tried again to remix “She Loves You”. Unfortunately, the original twin track tape had gone missing (and remains lost to this day), so all they had to work with was the one track single master. Emerick made two attempts, and the result was a song with “mock stereo”, created by making the left channel all bassy and the right channel all tinny.
On November 10th, they mistakenly created a stereo mix for “This Boy”, because they had it mixed up with “Bad Boy” and finally “Day Tripper” and “We Can Work It Out” was mixed by Peter Bown and another EMI engineer, Graham Kirkby. The stereo mix for “From Me To You” was never done, and the song appears on the stereo album as on the original two track tape, with instruments on the left and vocals on the right. The harmonica edit piece on the intro was overlooked, and can only be found on the mono single.
The bonus track “Bad Boy” was recorded by the Beatles on May 10, 1965, (the song’s composer Larry Williams’ birthday), along with Dizzy Miss Lizzie (another Larry Williams composition) and was first released on the American album Beatles VI in June 1965. So it took a year and a half before it was finally included on a UK album.
The 1966 stereo mix of “This Boy” was finally released on “Past Masters vol 1” after having been available only on a Canadian single since 1976.
The album was released on December 10, 1966 on EMI Parlophone as PMC 7016 (mono) and PCS 7016 (stereo).
1. “She Loves You”
2. “From Me to You”
3. “We Can Work It Out”
7. “I Feel Fine”
8. “Yellow Submarine”
1. “Can’t Buy Me Love”
2. “Bad Boy” (Larry Williams)
3. “Day Tripper”
4. “A Hard Day’s Night”
5. “Ticket to Ride”
6. “Paperback Writer”
7. “Eleanor Rigby”
8. “I Want to Hold Your Hand”
All songs by Paul McCartney and John Lennon, unless otherwise noted.
The album only reached number 7 in the UK album chart (and number 12 here in Norway), perhaps because most fans already owned most of the tracks on other releases. However, the album continued to sell reasonably well, and remained in print for many years. It was also the longest album (pre-1967) that the Beatles released, totaling almost 40 minutes of music. The mono pressing is somewhat of a rarity, and is missing in most people’s collections.
In December 1978 EMI gathered together the 12 first Beatles-LP’s (from Please Please Me to Let It Be,minus “A Collection Of Beatles Oldies”), put them in a box (blue cardboard box with golden lettering, EMI BC-13), added a poster and the extra LP “Rarities” and named the result The Beatles Collection. This was the first time “A Collection Of Beatles Oldies” was left by the wayside by EMI. But the “Rarities” compilation couldn’t quite replace it, and new fans who thought they had found a way to get a complete Beatles collection soon found themselves buying “A Collection Of Beatles Oldies” in order to get “She Loves You”, “From Me to You”, “We Can Work It Out”, “I Feel Fine”, “Day Tripper”, “Paperback Writer” and “I Want to Hold Your Hand”, all of which were missing on the blue box. In addition, they also had to get “Magical Mystery Tour”, “Hey Jude” and the “The Beatles At The Hollywood Bowl”-LP in order to get a real complete Beatles Collection. Of course, the latter is another lost Beatles album!
“A Collection of Beatles Oldies” was finally rendered obsolete when EMI released the “Past Masters” compilation on March 7th 1988, but European long time Beatles fans remembers the album fondly, and probably wouldn’t have protested if it had been reinstated as a CD within the Beatles Remasters.
The back cover photo, taken by their photographer Robert Whitaker on tour in Japan, was printed mirrored on the sleeve, something the EMI Toshiba division in Japan noticed, due to the Japanese signs on Paul’s shirt. So they changed the photo back for their editions.