Wednesday, April 03, 2013

She's a Rainbow

If you've been a Beatles fan long enough to remember the original Capitol Records US releases, then you recognize that familiar rainbow label. That was the Capitol label for the American releases of all the Beatles albums until Apple Records was formed; at that point, the familiar green apple label took its place on all new releases and, for a while, on original reissues as well (I have copies of the first several Beatles albums, from Meet the Beatles through Yesterday and Today, on Apple label records from the 1970s).

Recently, I ran across a very affordably priced set of the first few Beatles albums (Meet the Beatles through Sgt. Pepper's) in mono on the old rainbow Capitol label. I have a nostalgic affection for this label; this is what my original Beatles albums looked like in 1964. Furthermore, all of my early Beatles purchases were in mono. Mono albums cost $2.88 at Redford's in the West End Shopping Center; stereo albums cost $1 more. My budget was too heavily leveraged in comics and ice cream to waste that extra $1 (it was a waste because my record player in my room was a mono player, the old box-style record player with a tone arm whose weight was measured in pounds, not ounces), so I grew up hearing those American remasters in mono.

Once I got those albums in mono, though, a cursory glance online revealed that every Beatles album was available on the Capitol rainbow label. The company had briefly returned to that label in the 1980s, so Beatles reissues from that time period were offered with the retro swirl. Of course, that meant that I had to track down affordable copies of Magical Mystery Tour, Yellow Submarine, The Beatles (aka The White Album), Abbey Road, The Beatles Again (aka Hey Jude), and Let It Be on that familiar rainbow label to complete my set.

(By the way, a set of American Beatles albums contains more records than a set of UK Beatles albums--the configuration now used worldwide--because American albums tended to feature some songs from the UK albums, along with singles that were not on the UK albums. So that collection I picked up that started all of this included Meet the Beatles, The Beatles Second Album, Something New, The Early Beatles, Beatles 65, Beatles VI, Yesterday and Today, Rubber Soul, Revolver, and Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band. It also included a copy of the Vee Jay Records album Introducing the Beatles, which was reissued for a while in the 1960s with a very derivative rainbow label as well, just because they wanted to confuse young Beatles fans like me...)

So now I have a collection that not only sounds right to me,  but it looks right to me as well...

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