Upon completing The Doll’s House fantasy LP, I began to think about what other fantasy album projects could I look at? Having a look through The Beatles records in Squire Towers, I came across a now deleted compilation called ‘A Collection of Beatles Oldies’. Looking at the track listing, I wondered if this could be improved upon? So with Ian McDonald’s classic book ‘A Revolution in the Head’ in hand, I thought I would have a go.
In late 1966, EMI were worried. The Beatles did not have any new product for them to sell during the Christmas period and the only new piece of merchandise anyone was set to hear was the annual fan club flexidisc. By this time the band had decided to retire from touring, so their fans in the UK also wouldn’t have any concerts from them to look forward to. Fans even protested outside the house of manager Brian Epstein when that news was released. There were rumours in the press that the band was on the verge of splitting up because the individual members had been working on a lot of projects without the involvement of the other three. This led EMI to decide to put together a compilation LP of old songs as a means of keeping the Beatles brand going.
The album EMI came up can be considered the first Beatles compilation LP. Out of the 16 songs on the album, 13 had been released as singles in the UK. Of the other three, Michelle and Yesterday had been released as singles in other territories and the final song, Bad Boy, had initially only been released before in the US market. EMI saw this as a way of appealing to UK record buyers as they would be getting a song they probably otherwise didn’t have. In another effort to tempt the record buying public, some of the songs were remixed in stereo. Up until the late 60 The Beatles singles released in the UK were available only in mono. The compilation did receive some good reviews, in part because it contained 16 songs instead of UK industry standard of the time of 14. It was also well received as an import in the US. It was not without its critics, as some of the songs had already been used on compilation EPs released in the preceding years, and there was a shortage of hard to find or unreleased songs. It was clear to everyone what this record was; a quick cash in.
However, what-if EMI had taken some time and released a compilation that was full of harder to find songs and more archive material? What could have been used? Well, all of the songs must have been recorded before December 1966, when the LP was released. The Beatles may not have been in favour of allowing unreleased songs out until the Anthology series of the 1990s, but this is a what-if scenario record so everything is fair game.
Love Me Do (Original Single Release – Mono) – The second out of three versions The Beatles recorded for EMI. This version has Ringo Starr on drums and it was this one that was released as the Beatles first single. The version found on the Please Please Me album was the third version recorded with session drummer Andy White playing drums. The difference between these two versions was that on the third version, Ringo can be heard playing the tambourine. There is no tambourine on the second version.
How Do You Do It? (Mono) – This was almost the band’s first A-Side. Producer George Martin felt it would be a hit single, but The Beatles were not keen on releasing it as they felt the song didn’t fit their sound. Later it was a number one hit single for Gerry & The Pacemakers (who were also produced by George Martin). The Beatles version would not see the light of day until the Anthology 1 album in 1995.
Thank You Girl (Mono) – Originally released as the B-Side to From Me To You.
One After 909 (Mono) – Recorded in early 1963 this is one of the earlier writing efforts of the Lennon and McCartney partnership. The song would not be released at the time but would be re-recorded six years later and included on the Let It Be album. The original version would later be released on the Anthology 1 album.
I’ll Get You (Mono) – Originally released as the B-Side to She Loves You.
This Boy (Mono) – Originally released as the B-Side to All My Loving.
And I Love Her (Stereo) – Originally released on the German version of the Something New album, this includes a few more bars of guitar playing in the closing riff. It is unknown why this version was created but the Beatles did not play this extended passage when recording the song, so whoever created this created a rarity. This was later re-released on the US version of the Rarities album in 1980.
Komm, Gib Mir Deine Hand (Mono) – A German language version of I Want to Hold Your Hand. It was not unusual for bands to record songs in languages other than English to appeal to foreign markets. This was The Beatles only attempt at doing this, but was not only released in Germany. The single was given a release in Australia when the band toured there in 1964, and appeared on the US version of the Something New album. The title is not an exact translation as in English it is ‘Come, Give me Your Hand’.
Sie Liebt Dich (Mono) – Originally released as the B-side of the Komm, Gib Mir Deine Hand single
Leave My Kitten Alone (Mono) – Recorded during the sessions for the Beatles for Sale album. Why this was not put on the record instead of Mr Moonlight is one of those questions we will no doubt never know the answer to. It is a considerably better recording. It was considered for a single release in the mid 80s when the Sessions album was being put together. The Sessions project was an attempt to release some previously unreleased Beatles material but was blocked by the band at the time. It was eventually released on the Anthology 1 album.
She’s A Woman (Mono) – Originally released as the B-Side to I Feel Fine.
Yes It Is (Mono) – Originally released as the B-Side to Ticket To Ride
That Means A Lot (Mono) – Recorded for possible inclusion on the Help album. The Beatles were not satisfied with their version so the song was given to P.J. Proby to record, for whom it would reach the top 30 in the UK singles chart. The Beatles version would later be released on the Anthology 2 album.
Bad Boy (Mono) – Written by Larry Williams, this was one of a number of his songs that the band recorded. It was only intended for the US market and was released on the Beatles VI album. As noted above, this was included on the official version of A Collection of Beatles Oldies as a way of appealing to Beatles completist.
I’m Down (Mono) – Originally released as the B-Side to the Help single.
- Love Me Do (Single Version)
- How Do You Do It?
- Thank You Girl
- One After 909
- I’ll Get You
- This Boy
- And I Love Her (German Stereo Mix US Rarities LP)
- Komm, Gib Mir Deine Hand
- Sie Liebt Dich
- Leave My Kitten Alone
- She’s A Woman
- Yes It Is
- That Means A Lot
- Bad Boy
- I’m Down
Amongst the songs that were up for the selection on the compilation was If You’ve Got Trouble, which was up for consideration as Ringo’s song on the Help album. However, the band were not happy with it and it is easy to see why. It is not a very good song and the band seemed to know it. In time it was included on Anthology 2. Also missing is Rain, which was the B-Side of Paperback Writer. Released in May of 1966, this omitted as it would have made the album sides a bit lopsided. As it is, both sides clock in just over 18 minutes. I would have also though that this would have been considered too new to be on a collection of oldies. However, Paperback Writer was included on the released version of this album. The LP uses the cover from the original release in 1966.
Spotify did not have the German Stereo single version so to make up the numbers, the stereo mix from A Hard Days Night was used in its place.