Thursday, April 12, 2012

The Beatles in Italy - The Beatles

The Beatles In Italy
The Beatles
Parlophone 1A 062-04632

This is a Dutch pressing of this classic bit of Beatles' ephemera.  According to the Beatles discography book, "All Together Now," this album was issued as a souvenir of the Beatles' June 1965 concerts in Italy and released in Italy to help promote the movie "Help!" later that year.  John Lennon mentioned the album in an interview thinking it was a live album and Beatles collectors sought the record out.  To accommodate collectors' demands (or to rip them off depending on your perspective) EMI reissued this obscure record in the 1970s.  It is of course not a live album, simply a compilation of previously released songs.  Supposedly the album reflected the set list of the Beatles Italian concerts, but the set list of the 1965 European tour documented by Mark Lewisohn as well as the bootlegs of the Rome concert reveal that only four of the twelve songs on the album were actually performed in Italy.  (They are "Long Tall Sally," "She's A Woman," "Ticket To Ride" and "I Feel Fine" in case you are wondering.)   Original copies of this album were in mono, but the reissue is listed as being in stereo (although several tracks still appear to be mono.)  It is an oddball collection containing some of the group's hit singles and their B-sides from 1963 to 1965.  At the time of the album's release, only "Ticket To Ride" had appeared on a Parlophone album so the record would have been useful for Europeans, in fact several cuts on here didn't appear on an English album until 1978.  However by 1965 the enterprising hucksters at Capitol had released all of these tracks on albums in the U.S. except for "From Me To You" so for Americans this is basically useless as a comp, although the songs are all good and it is fun to listen to, but then again what Beatles album isn't fun to listen to?  The version of "I Feel Fine" on here does start a second or so earlier than the version on "Beatles '65" so you can hear some clicking sound and someone mumbling before the feedback starts and the version of "Thank You Girl" is the mono mix which has a significantly different ending than the stereo version on "The Beatles' Second Album."  Other than that there is no real reason for Beatles fans to buy this record aside from the cool pictures on the cover.  Of course true Beatles fans will probably want it anyway despite the exorbitant price it often commands.  I was lucky enough to get it at a bargain price and I'm very happy to have it even if I rarely play it.  Recommended for Beatles fans who collect their Parlophone albums instead of their Capitol ones.

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