The mighty Meet The Beatles
was technically the second — but generally considered the first 'real' — Beatles album for that holy grail of markets, the American one. With this release, the band's U.S. label, Capitol, immediately began their practice of slicing and dicing up Beatles releases, creating an entirely different discography from the 'standard' British one — a practice that would finally end with Sgt Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band
.Meet The Beatles
mostly consists of songs from phenomenal pop combo's second British release, With The Beatles
, and recycles that album's famously artful Robert Freeman photo of the boys for the front cover.
With the band and its management (and its fans) eagerly hoping for some decent amount of success in the States, Meet The Beatles
could not have gone down better. For the millions of Beatles fans in America, this album was the touchstone of it all, and continues to occupy a special place in the dusty, attic-bound LP collections still left over from those exuberant days of vinyl and the thrilling British Invasion.
The three songs not taken from With The Beatles
were "I Want To Hold Your Hand"
and its two B-sides: "This Boy"
from the November 1963 UK release, and "I Saw Her Standing There"
from Capitol's December 1963 release — the breakthrough single which coincided so neatly with their first US visit.
Thus the group's American fans were plunged directly into the depths of Beatlemania: all but one of the songs were Beatle originals (the exception was "Till There Was You"
), coming from that amazing period when John and Paul were writing million sellers effortlessly, one after the other, seemingly every week. Meet The Beatles
remains one of the toppermost albums in American history, particularly beloved as the nation's first encounter with their exciting new international lovers.
Wisely, The Beatles chose to follow the simpler British discography when releasing their catalogue on CD in 1987. It wasn't until 2004 that the group made the by-then-equally obvious decision to release the U.S. albums on compact disc — finally allowing American fans to bring their fond memories intact into the digital age, however mercenary the decisions made by Capitol all those years ago.