Beatles Discography

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The Beatles. Four lads from Liverpool. Their impact on popular music cannot be overstated. They initially performed covers of R&B standards, but soon began to take music in directions which, at the time, were truly revolutionary. Here, I present a Beatles discography which lists their studio albums, as released in the UK and the USA, during the band’s lifetime.

Please Please Me (UK only)

Please Please Me was the Beatles’ debut LP released only in the UK on the EMI imprint Parlophone Records on March 22, 1963. The album consists of fourteen tracks in total.

Six of them are covers by writers such as Anna (Go To Him) by Arthur Alexander; Chains by Jerry Goffin and Carole King; and Baby It’s You by Burt Bacharach with Mack David (brother of his more well-known collaborator, Hal).

Eight tracks are self-penned efforts. Interestingly seven of them are credited to McCartney-Lennon. The eighth, Love Me Do, is credited to the more usual, and alphabetically correct, Lennon-McCartney.

As with all Beatles albums, the producer is George Martin, sometimes known as the fifth Beatle for his role in facilitating their departure from the established norm on all of their albums after they had ceased playing live in August 1966.

It was recorded in virtually one day, on 11 February 1963 at the EMI Recording Studio on a street called Abbey Road in St John’s Wood, North London. Please Please Me reached number one on the UK’s album chart in May 1963 breaking the stranglehold of soundtracks and albums by easy listening vocalists. It would go on to spend a total of sixty-two weeks inside the top ten of the UK’s album chart thus signalling the beginning of the era of pop music’s dominance of the album chart.

With The Beatles (UK only)

With The Beatles was the group’s second studio album. Similar to Please Please Me, it consists of fourteen tracks. Again, the album contains cover versions, notably Chuck Berry’s Roll Over Beethoven and You Really Got A Hold On Me by Smokey Robinson, with four more by various writers.

The rest of the album’s tracks are written by the band, with seven by Lennon-McCartney and a first from George Harrison, with Don’t Bother Me. One of the Lennon-McCartney tracks is I Wanna Be Your Man, which was famously recorded by the Beatles’ supposed rivals The Rolling Stones as their second single release and first top twenty UK hit.

With The Beatles was released on November 22, 1963, again on the Parlophone label and only in the UK. It quickly reached number one on the chart, knocking the group’s debut album off the top spot. In total, it spent 21 weeks at number one, meaning that the Beatles had spent 51 consecutive weeks at the top of the UK album chart with their first two albums.

Introducing… The Beatles (US only)

The Beatles’ first US release was called Introducing… The Beatles. Due to the initial reluctance of Capital, EMI’s American subsidiary, it was released by Vee-Jay Records. Vee-Jay quickly became a major R&B label after its foundation in 1953 by wife and husband team Vivian Carter and James C. Bracken, who loaned their initials to the label’s name.

Due to legal reasons, it was released in two different versions. Both had virtually the same track listing as the Beatles’ first UK album release. The first, released on January 10, 1964, omitted two tracks Ask Me Why and Please Please Me. On the second version, released a month later, Love Me Do and P.S. I Love You were omitted and Ask Me Why and Please Please Me were included in their place.

Meet the Beatles! (US only)

Meet the Beatles! was the first US release on the Capitol label, which, late to the party had been instructed by the head of parent company EMI to commence releasing the Beatles’ material in the USA.

The album is essentially the band’s second UK album, With the Beatles, less five tracks: Please Mister Postman, Roll Over Beethoven, You Really Got A Hold On Me, Devil In Her Heart and Money (That’s What I Want).

To compensate, three additional tracks are included, I Saw Her Standing There from Please Please Me plus two non-album tracks I Want To Hold Your Hand and This Boy.

Released just ten days after Vee-Jay’s Introducing… The Beatles, Meet the Beatles! soon rose to the top of the Billboard Top LPs chart in February 1964 where it remained for eleven weeks in the process preventing Introducing… The Beatles from itself making the number one position.

The Beatles’ Second Album (US only)

Due to the release of Vee-Jay’s Introducing… The Beatles, this was, of course, the group’s third US album release, not their second. But let’s not split hairs.

This offering consisted of eleven tracks. They include the five tracks from the second UK release, With The Beatles, which were omitted from the first Capitol US release, Meet the Beatles.

Then five more tracks: Thank You Girl, Long Tall Sally, I Call Your Name, I’ll Get You and She Loves You did not appear on any original UK studio album. Finally, You Can’t Do That was taken from the UK version of A Hard Day’s Night but did not feature on the US version.

The Beatles’ Second Album was released on April 10, 1964, and soon replaced Meet The Beatles! at the top of the Billboard Top LPs chart.

A Hard Day’s Night (UK and US versions)

A Hard Day’s Night was a musical comedy film made about the Beatles as they prepared for a TV performance.

The UK version of the album consisted of thirteen tracks. The first side consisted of seven tracks which were from the film’s soundtrack. The remaining six tracks (side two) are a selection of songs written for the film but not included in it.

The US version is essentially side one of the UK version, interspersed with four instrumental versions of tracks used in the film. I’ll Cry Instead is included on both versions – the only track on the US version not to feature in the film.

The UK version was released on Parlophone in July 1964 whilst the US version was a United Artists release. It received its release in June 1964. Both releases reached number one in their respective album charts.

Something New (US only)

Misnomer alert! Something New was made up of eight tracks from the British version of A Hard Day’s Night. Only three of the eight, Any Time At All, Things We Said Today and When I Get Home, had not also appeared on the US version of A Hard Day’s Night.

A further three tracks, Slow Down, Matchbox and the German language version of I Wanna Hold Your Hand, called Komm, Gib Mir Deine Hand which had not featured on any previous album in the UK or the US made up the full compliment.

Of course, the reason for this overlap, and its rushed release (on July 20, 1964), was the fact that Capitol had not released A Hard Day’s Night (US). There was a bandwagon to jump on and Capitol wasn’t going to miss its chance.

The UA released A Hard Day’s Night (US) managed to keep Something New off the top of the Billboard Top LPs chart. Instead, it spent nine weeks at number two on the chart.

Something New was also released on Parlophone, but only for sale on US Army bases in Europe. Copies of this pressing can reach quite a lot of money at auction.

Beatles for Sale (UK only)

Released by Parlophone on December 4, 1964, Beatles for Sale was the band’s fourth UK studio album. It reached number one on December 19 and spent a total of eleven weeks at the top of the chart.

Mostly recorded in three weeks from September 29, 1964, it marks a change in demeanour from four cheeky Scouse lads to grown-up, tired members of a global phenomenon. They had been on tour pretty much solidly from January 1 until a week before starting recording.

Much of the influence on the original compositions stems from country music and Bob Dylan, sampled in the two US legs of their touring.

Lennon and McCartney’s songwriting, although prolific could not keep up with demand and the album features six covers to go with eight of their own compositions. There is no contribution from George Harrison on this album.

Beatles ’65 (US only)

Also released in December 1964 was Beatles ’65. This US (and West Germany) only offering took eight tracks from the UK only Beatles for Sale. In addition to these, the album has I’ll Be Back from the UK version of A Hard Day’s Night.

The second side of the album has three Lennon-McCartney tracks bookended by two from Carl Perkins, Hey Don’t sung by Ringo and Everybody’s Trying to Be My Baby sung by George.

The remaining two tracks I Feel Fine and She’s A Woman were released in both the UK and the US as two sides of a 7″ single. They did not appear on any UK album.

Beatles ’65 was quick to reach number one on the Billboard Top LPs chart in January 1966 after which it spent nine weeks there.

Beatles VI (US only)

Six months later, Beatles VI was released, thus bringing the rest of Beatles for Sale to the US public. It also includes three tracks from the forthcoming UK version of Help!, You Like Me Too Much, Dizzy Miss Lizzy and Tell Me What You See. Two further tracks were also added in the shape of Bad Boy and Yes It Is.

Dizzy Miss Lizzy and Bad Boy were written by Larry Williams an R&B and Rock ‘n Roll singer from New Orleans of whom the Beatles, Lennon in particular were big fans. They were perhaps the only two tracks specifically recorded for their North American fans.Yes It Is became the B-side to Ticket To Ride.

The album took no time to reach number one on the Billboard Top LPs chart, reaching it on July 10, 1966. It spent six weeks there before the Rolling Stones’ album Out Of Our Heads replaced it.

Help! (UK and US versions)

The album associated with the Beatles’ second feature film saw a similar release strategy to the first. The UK album would include the tracks used in the film with a selection of additional tracks. The UK version was released on Parlophone on August 6, 1965, whilst Capitol released the US version a week later. Both versions reached number one on their respective album charts.

The US version was a true soundtrack, including the tracks used in the film interspersed with incidental music from the film. Those tracks from Help! (UK) that were not used on Help! (US) were included on three other US releases. As we have heard, three had been included on Beatles VI and the rest were included on the subsequent US releases of Rubber Soul (US) and Yesterday And Today.

Rubber Soul (UK and US versions)

Rubber Soul was released on December 3, 1965, in the UK and in the US on December 6, 1965. Again, there were differences between the two. The US version was missing four tracks (Drive My Car, Nowhere Man, If I Needed Someone and What Goes On) from the British version. These were to be released on the subsequent Capitol release Yesterday and Today.

Two tracks, I’ve Seen A Face and It’s Only Love, both culled from the US version of Help!, were added to give a twelve-song track listing compared to the UK version’s fourteen. The album’s title was an homage to the African-American acts which they so admired and had, some might say, copied.

As was usual for the Beatles, Rubber Soul reached number one on both the UK and US album charts. It spent eight weeks at the top in the UK and six on the top of the Billboard Top LPs chart.

Yesterday and Today (US only)

Yesterday and Today was the penultimate US-only release of Beatles music. Featuring tracks culled from three UK albums, Rubber Soul, Revolver and Help! plus two tracks We Can Work It Out and Day Tripper which had been released as a double A-side 7″ single in both UK and US markets.

It was released on June 15, 1966, and initial copies featured the infamous ‘butcher cover’. Some said that it was a comment on the Vietnam War whilst others said it was a form of demonstration at the Capitol policy of butchering their albums for US release. Either way the offending artwork was soon replaced with a group photo featuring a steamer trunk stood on end.

The album made number one on the Billboard Top LPs chart in July 1966 and spent five consecutive weeks.

Revolver (UK and US versions)

Revolver was the last album for which EMI/Capitol put out different releases according to whether it was a UK or US release. As with other such cases, the UK album should be considered the original.

So, the US version features all of the tracks on the British version, minus I’m Only Sleeping, And Your Bird Can Sing and Doctor Robert which had already appeared on Yesterday and Today in the US.

Regarded by many as the final metamorphosis of the Beatles from pop stars into fully-fledged rockers. For me, it contains a variety of musical styles. Rock is represented by Taxman; pop music by Here There And Everywhere and Good Day Sunshine. Psychedelia is evidenced by Tomorrow Never Knows and She Said She Said.

R&B is everywhere, demonstrated, for example with Ringo’s drumming on Taxman. Songs such as Eleanor Rigby showcase the Beatles’ incredible storytelling abilities plus kitsch nonsense in the form of Yellow Submarine.

Both versions charted at number one on the album charts in the UK (seven weeks) and the US (six weeks). In the US, this was despite Lennon’s ‘We’re more popular than Jesus’ quote and the furore which followed it.

Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band

Regarded by many as the Beatles’ magnum opus, Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band is perhaps the world’s first concept album. Because of this, there was no different version released in the US. The album had to be listened to in its entirety to be properly appreciated.

Gone were the days of the Beatles being considered a band that produced records which could be grouped in any random order to suit the perceived requirements of a particular market. This was the Beatles as a cultural entity in the way of Mozart, Dickens or Shakespeare.

It was recorded over a five-month period between November/December 1966 and April 1967. Initially, they recorded tracks evoking childhood and their teen years in Liverpool, but these were left off the album and released as a double A-side single – Strawberry Fields and Penny Lane.

So the idea of a concept album, based upon a performance by Sgt. Pepper’s band, began to solidify. Thus we are presented with the stunning aural fabric which weaves vaudeville with rock and pop; haunting stories, silly stories, psychedelia and art rock. The use of technologies such as tape manipulation and sound effects during recording and production add lustre to the finished product.

Released on both sides of the Atlantic on May 26, 1967, it reached number one in the UK just two weeks later and spent twenty-seven weeks in the top position. In the US, it made number one on the Billboard Top LPs chart on July 1 and spent fifteen weeks in that position.

Magical Mystery Tour (US only)

Magical Mystery Tour was released as an LP only in the US only. The soundtrack to the band’s 1967 TV film, which was also called Magical Mystery Tour, it was released in the UK as a double EP with just six tracks versus the eleven of the US LP release.

The LP contained all six tracks from the EP plus five more, including Strawberry Fields, Penny Lane and All You Need Is Love. This was Capitol’s last hurrah in terms of picking and choosing tracks to populate US releases.

It is perhaps with the gift of hindsight that we can probably say that this period marks the beginning of the end of the Beatles. The death of Brian Epstein meant that they had lost their guiding light and artistic tensions between the group were no longer managed with Epstein’s firm, paternal hand.

It was also the time of possibly three-quarters of the Beatles’ infatuation with the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. McCartney, ever the pragmatic Beatle wanted the project to be a point of focus in the aftermath of Epstein’s death.

The LP was released on November 27, 1967, and it was to spend eight weeks at the top of the Billboard Top LPs chart in the new year.

The Beatles (“The White Album”)

The band’s eponymous album, a.k.a. “The White Album”, was the first to be released on their new record label, Apple Records. In contrast to the stunning artwork of Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, The Beatles was presented in plain white, the band’s name its only adornment.

Presented as a double LP, The White Album is, like much of their work from Rubber Soul onwards, a whole range of different musical genres and ideas. From folk, through British Blues to (more) music hall to early heavy metal and on towards ska and avante-garde, The White Album ticks so many boxes.

Two-thirds of the album was written during the group’s stay on a transcendental meditation course in India in March and April 1968. Upon their return, the band returned to the studio at the end of May to begin recording the album. It was a fraught period which lasted until mid-October.

Chief among the tensions was Lennon’s insistence that his new muse Yoko Ono be present during the sessions. This went directly against their previous policy of excluding wives and girlfriends from the studio.

Released on November 22, 1968, The White Album spent a total of eight weeks at the top of the UK album chart and nine weeks in total at the top of the Billboard Top LPs chart in the US.

Yellow Submarine

Yellow Submarine was the Beatle’s tenth studio album and was the soundtrack to the film of the same name. It was released on January 13, 1969.

Side one contains six songs by the band, two of which, All You Need Is Love and the title track had previously been released. All You Need Is Love features on Magical Mystery Tour, whilst Yellow Submarine was on Revolver. Both were also issued as singles and both reached number one on both sides of the Atlantic.

The reverse side contains the film’s orchestral soundtrack, as recorded by George Martin. In effect then, we have half a Beatles album which performed accordily when released. It made number five only on the album charts both in the UK and the US.

Abbey Road

This was the penultimate release by the Beatles but the last album they recorded. It was recorded during the late Winter, Spring and Summer of 1969. It received its worldwide release on September 26 that year.

It spent a total of seventeen weeks at the top of the UK album chart and a total of eleven weeks at number one on the Billboard Top LPs chart.

Abbey Road is a great album, make no mistake. Yes, it has Maxwell’s Silver Hammer, but it’s also got Something and Here Comes The Sun, two Harrison songs that stand up there with anything that his more celebrated bandmates ever produced. On occasion, Abbey Road gets overlooked in favour of work such as Sgt. Pepper’s but that’s because of the bar that was set by that work.

The tension between Lennon and McCartney simmered throughout the recording process to the extent that Lennon wanted his songs on one side and McCartney’s on the other. The final track listing is a compromise – side one has a selection of tracks which could go together in any order, whilst the second side is more of a concept piece, as evidenced by the sixteen-minute Medley which follows on from Here Comes The Sun and Because.

Let It Be

Let It Be was the Beatles’ final studio album, albeit the penultimate one actually recorded. McCartney’s attempt to bring the group back to their roots as Rock ‘n Rollers, the album was conceived with the best intentions. However, the behaviour of and tensions between the parties meant that it was never going to happen.

It was released on the Apple label on May 8, 1970, following production work by Phil Spector who was invited to the party by Lennon and Harrison. Of course, McCartney’s response to that effort is famously contemptuous but the deed was done and history records Spector’s version as the version.

Let It Be spent three weeks at the top of the UK album chart and four on the Billboard Top LPs chart.

So there you have it. A Beatles discography listing all of their LPs released in the UK and the US markets during the band’s existence as a recording entity.

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2 thoughts on “Beatles Discography”

  1. I loved reading your article on the Beatles. They are my dad’s favorite band of all time and its obvious why. Hes got all the albums you mentioned and it was interesting to learn more about each one and the band itself. I would love to see images of each album, it would be so nostalgic to see. Great post and very informative! I may just be showing this to my dad!

    • Thank you Christina, my Mum was a great fan – she had an original copy of Please Please Me that I played over and over. I’m a little sad that it’s no longer in the family.

      I am working on sorting out some images! Watch this space.


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