Released: 20 January 1964
John Lennon: vocals, electric guitar, acoustic guitar, harmonica, tambourine
Paul McCartney: vocals, bass guitar, piano, claves
George Harrison: vocals, electric guitar, acoustic guitar
Ringo Starr: vocals, drums, percussion
George Martin: piano, Hammond organ
‘I Want To Hold Your Hand’
‘I Saw Her Standing There’
‘It Won’t Be Long’
‘All I’ve Got To Do’
‘All My Loving’
‘Don’t Bother Me’
‘Till There Was You’
‘Hold Me Tight’
‘I Wanna Be Your Man’
‘Not A Second Time’
Meet The Beatles! was the second Beatles album to be released in the United States. It was originally scheduled for release in February 1964, but was brought forward to 20 January in response to overwhelming public demand.
There was just one song – ‘I Saw Her Standing There’ – which appeared on both Introducing The Beatles and Meet The Beatles!. The Capitol album also contained the hit song ‘I Want to Hold Your Hand’, its UK b-side ‘This Boy’, and nine songs previously released in the UK on With The Beatles.
We always had complete artistic control from the outset, and we took great care over running orders, having the right songs in the right places and good sleeves – it was all done with a bit of taste. But straightaway they started screwing that up in the States, holding back tracks from albums so that, for every two albums released in Britain, they could release three over there. But still, everything we did continued to be in pretty good taste until the contract expired, and then they started shoving out all these repackages with crummy sleeves and everything. It doesn’t bother me as long as they keep paying the royalties.
Rolling Stone, 19 April 1979
Meet The Beatles! had the misleading tagline “The First Album by England’s Phenomenal Pop Combo” on its cover, but Capitol were slow to recognise The Beatles’ potential, having rejected their singles throughout much of 1963, and only taking notice once Beatlemania was firmly established in the UK.
The album opened the floodgates, leaving American Beatles fans spoilt for choice throughout 1964. In addition to Vee-Jay’s Introducing The Beatles and Capitol’s Meet The Beatles!, before the year’s end they were able to buy The Beatles’ Second Album, A Hard Day’s Night, Something New, The Beatles’ Story, and Beatles ’65, in addition to the various singles, magazines, memorabilia, and other assorted items. It seems surprising that Capitol chose not to issue an album titled Beatles For Sale, but perhaps that much was already evident.
In the studio
Meet The Beatles! was recorded over seven days, between February and October 1963.
Sessions for The Beatles’ second album began on 18 July 1963. Nothing from that day made it onto Meet The Beatles!, but the next session – 30 July – yielded ‘Till There Was You’, ‘It Won’t Be Long’, and ‘All My Loving’.
11 September saw the recording of ‘All I’ve Got To Do’ and ‘Not A Second Time’. The Beatles also started work on ‘Little Child’ and George Harrison’s first song ‘Don’t Bother Me’, but both songs were remade the following day.
On 12 September they also completed ‘Hold Me Tight’, recording takes 20-29. The final version was an edit of takes 26 and 29.
3 October saw new lead vocals added to ‘I Wanna Be Your Man’ and ‘Little Child’. George Harrison was not present at the session, as he was travelling back from America.
The final recording session for With The Beatles was on 23 October 1963. A tambourine part was added to ‘I Wanna Be Your Man’, after which mono mixes of that song, ‘Little Child’, and ‘Hold Me Tight’ were made. All three songs were also included on the US album.