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Rarities [US]

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Beatles "Rarities" (US version) compilation LP album cover
The American Rarities compilation, released by Capitol in 1980, is a very different kettle of fish to its earlier British namesake. As many of the UK 'rarities' were fairly commonplace in the States, due to release differences during the sixties, the US version included previously unissued Capitol/Apple tracks, together with alternate versions of songs which weren't widely available there, including a few genuinely rare remixes, coupling different versions of the same song to produce a completely new version.

In fact, the two LPs shared only four pieces of mutual material: "Sie Liebt Dich" (ja,ja, ja), "The Inner Light", "Across the Universe" (WWF version), and "You Know My Name (Look Up the Number)". A lot of the other tracks weren't easy to get hold of in Blighty, mind you, so the album shifted a fair few import copies as a result. Of course, it's never been released on CD, although several of the odder rarities included would, I'm sure, be welcomed by the most avid of collectors.

The sleeve-art was rather more inspiring than the photoless blue and gold UK cover, featuring a circa '68 shot on the front, and the infamous "Yesterday"... And Today 'butcher shot' in the gatefold. The chronology was rather more precise than that of its counterpart: the accompanying notes, however, were not entirely accurate.

As two songs from Please Please Me had only been featured on Vee-Jay Records' Introducing... The Beatles in the land of the free — prior to the Capitol contract — they were duly included: along with the Ringo version of "Love Me Do" (officially unreleased 'back home' until Past Masters 1). It's followed by a German edition of "And I Love Her": in English, at least, but quite a different mix to the familiar one.

"Help!" was presented in glorious mono, and with different vocals; while "I'm Only Sleeping" offered the UK Revolver mix, having been rather shoddily fake stereoed for its earlier inclusion on YaT Stateside.

"I Am The Walrus" is the real curiosity of the collection: a hybrid of the inter-continental single versions, with a longer intro and mid-section. Expert texpert!

Side Two opens with another odd remix: "Penny Lane", cutting in the German stereo version with the US mono promo, which had an extra piccolo trumpet solo at the end.

But don't worry; it gets even weirder with a couple of White Album rehashes... "Helter Skelter" (in mono) fades at the first fadeout, without Ringo's finger blisters. You may wanna reason, but there ain't no answer! But — look out! — he gets his own back with a faster version of "Don't Pass Me By" (don't ask me why, you'll make me blue).

The "Sgt Pepper Inner Groove" provides a fitting finish, having been omitted from the first Capitol pressings of the album.

So now even American dogs could have their heads done in.

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