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Why release the U.S. Beatles LPs on CD?
... Well, why not?

by Steve Marinucci

Ever since the Beatles CDs were released in their original British configurations, some American fans have wondered why the CDs couldn't be released in the format of the original U.S. albums.

As U.S. fans know well, Capitol went their own way from the rest of the world when putting the albums together. Not only did up they release more albums with fewer tracks on each than the rest of the world, they adorned the tracks with unwelcome added echo.

The problem with releasing the U.S. versions of albums on CD was that the agreement between the Beatles and EMI would only allow for the British configuration, since the Beatles themselves had always hated what Capitol did to their albums. (Witness the the American "Yesterday and Today" album, which was pieced together by Capitol Records, shown here with the infamous "Butcher" cover, later recalled.)

And certainly many people (including yours truly) who originally thought releasing the U.S. albums on CD was absurd changed their minds after hearing a series of bootleg CDs that featured the U.S. albums on two-fer CDs. Not only did they sound great, they brought back waves of nostalgia since these albums were the way American fans had grown up with them.

There are equally strong arguments on both sides. On the "no" side, the U.S. albums don't sound the way the Beatles meant them to, both in running order and sound.

Butting against that argument is the fact that American fans have been listening to those albums for over 30 years. Indeed, the final vestiges of those albums, the cassette versions, were only taken out of print last year, and are still very much available in U.S. record stores.

This last point may not be the strongest reason, but I'm sure to many American fans the current CDs are completely "foreign." The American album configuration represented a significant part of Beatle history, in terms of the number of fans who grew up with them, and their place in Beatle history (again, look at "Yesterday and Today"). The fans who remember those albums should have the chance to enjoy them again in a digital format.

Do you agree or disagree? Use the feedback forms provided on the pro and no pages. We'll post selected responses.

Note: It's up to Apple (that is, the Beatles themselves), not Capitol or EMI, on what gets released and what doesn't. So ultimately, any decision on whether the American albums are released on CD belongs to Apple.
UPDATE: Response to this page has been strong. Comments were initially running 2-1 in favor of releasing the Capitol versions, then ran even for a while, but the pro responses moved back out ahead. Here are some of your comments IN FAVOR and AGAINST.