The Beatles' Story album artwork - USARecorded: 1963-1964
Producers: Gary Usher, Roger Christian

Released: 23 November 1964

Personnel

John Babcock, Al Wiman, Roger Christian: narration
John Lennon: vocals, electric guitar, acoustic guitar, piano, handclaps
Paul McCartney: vocals, bass guitar, cowbell, handclaps
George Harrison: vocals, electric guitar, acoustic guitar, claves, handclaps
Ringo Starr: vocals, drums, tambourine, congas, cowbell, handclaps
George Martin: piano
Norman Smith: hi-hat, bongos

Tracklisting

‘On Stage With The Beatles’
‘How Beatlemania Began’
‘Beatlemania In Action’
‘Man Behind The Beatles – Brian Epstein
‘John Lennon’
‘Who’s A Millionaire?’
‘Beatles Will Be Beatles’
‘Man Behind The Music – George Martin
‘George Harrison’
‘A Hard Day’s Night – Their First Movie’
‘Paul McCartney’
‘Sneaky Haircuts And More About Paul’
‘The Beatles Look At Life’
‘‘Victims’ Of Beatlemania’
‘Beatle Medley’
‘Ringo Starr’
‘Liverpool And All The World!’

The Beatles’ Story was a documentary album released by Capitol Records in November 1964. It contained a narrated history of The Beatles, interspersed with breathless news reports and music and interviews from the band.

It was the fourth US album released by Capitol, and was issued as a stopgap between Something New and Beatles ’65. The double album was the first to be released under The Beatles’ name, four years prior to the White Album.

The Beatles’ Story was written by John Babcock, with Al Wiman and Roger Christian from the radio station KFWB in Hollywood, California, and produced by LA-based songwriter and producer Gary Usher, and DJ and lyricist Roger Christian.

Although it boldly claimed that “IT’S LIKE SPENDING A VERY SPECIAL EVENING IN THE COMPANY OF THE BEATLES THEMSELVES!”, there were assorted inaccuracies throughout the album’s history of the band. These are forgivable given that few in 1964 suspected that fans would continue poring over Beatles lore well into the next century.

The album contained excerpts from fourteen Beatles recordings: ‘I Want To Hold Your Hand’, ‘Slow Down’, ‘This Boy’, ‘You Can’t Do That’, ‘Can’t Buy Me Love’, ‘If I Fell’, ‘And I Love Her’, ‘A Hard Day’s Night’, ‘Things We Said Today’, ‘I’m Happy Just To Dance With You’, ‘Little Child’, ‘Long Tall Sally’, ‘She Loves You’, and ‘Boys’.

‘Things We Said Today’, ‘I’m Happy Just To Dance With You’, ‘Little Child’, ‘Long Tall Sally’, and ‘She Loves You’ were part of a ‘Beatle Medley’ which made up much of side four of the double album. The Hollyridge Strings also performed instrumental versions of Beatles songs throughout the album.

The album contained a 48-second clip of ‘Twist And Shout’, recorded at the Hollywood Bowl on 23 August 1964. This made The Beatles’ Story the first official release to contain a live Beatles performance.

In addition to a brief history of the band, The Beatles’ Story also contained profiles of ‘John Lennon’, ‘George Harrison’, ‘Paul McCartney’, and ‘Ringo Starr’ (always mentioned in that order), plus their producer George Martin and manager Brian Epstein.

The Beatles Story was a double album, with sides one and four on one disc, and two and three on the other. This allowed listeners with automatic record changers to stack the discs and listen to the complete album without having to changing a side.

The release

The Beatles’ Story was released in the USA on 23 November 1964. The album was issued in mono as Capitol TBO-2222 and stereo as Capitol STBO-2222. The mono version, however, was a folddown of the stereo, rather than a dedicated mix.

It may have been released in response to Vee-Jay’s similar album Hear The Beatles Tell All, which had the subtitle Live in Person Interviews Recorded During Their Latest American Tour. One side of that album had an interview with the band by Dave Hull, and the other side was a John Lennon interview by Jim Steck. Hull and Steck were DJs from LA radio station KRLA 1110.

Hear The Beatles Tell All was first made available as a promotional disc during The Beatles’ US tour in August and September 1964. It was given a full release in November, shortly before The Beatles Story. 1964 was the worldwide peak of Beatlemania, and many companies rushed to cash in on the phenomenon. The label Radio Pulse Beat also released several unauthorised interview albums presented by Ed Rudy.

Given its official status, The Beatles’ Story was the most successful of the interview releases. It was certified gold by the Recording Industry Association of America on 31 December 1964, and spent three weeks at number seven on the Billboard Top LPs chart from 2 January 1965. The Beatles’ Story was also released in Canada on 23 November 1964, as Capitol TBO-2222.

Capitol promoted the release with trade advertisements describing it as “THE GREATEST PROFIT PACKAGE IN HISTORY”:

You’re going to get a rush like you’ve never known before on these!
Don’t be caught short this year! Order your FULL requirements now!

Backed with special window streamers and eye-catching counter-builders!
On-the-air promotion on more than 100 top 40 major stations.

The album was issued in Japan on 5 August 1966, by the Odeon label. It came in a box set with a 24-page booklet, which transcribed the discs in English and Japanese. The double album’s individual sleeves were based on the A Hard Day’s Night artwork.

In 2014, the stereo version of The Beatles’ Story was included in the CD box set The US Albums, along with The Beatles’ other Capitol-only releases. This was the first time the album was made available on compact disc.

Sleeve notes

Millions of words have been written about them…
Thousands on thousands of pictures have been printed…
…All in an effort to capture for fans the world over the fascinating
truth and substance about four wonderful guys
named John, George, Paul and Ringo.
Here, at last, IS the whole story and the real story about the Beatles,
authoritatively researched, produced, and recorded on two lively long-
play records by Capitol Records.

HERE’S WHAT YOU’LL FIND INSIDE:

THE BEATLES’ LIVES IN CLOSE-UP, PACKED WITH DETAILS, ANECDOTES, FACTS YOU NEVER KNEW
BEFORE ABOUT THEM * THE AUTHENTIC PERSONAL STORIES OF ALL FOUR GUYS *
THE WONDERFUL WIT AND HUMOR OF THE BEATLES THEMSELVES IN OFF-THE-CUFF INTERVIEWS.
EXCERPTS FROM THE BEATLES’ HIT RECORDS * BEST OF THE INTERVIEWS WITH THEIR FANS
DAZZLING NEW PHOTOS * THE MOST COMPREHENSIVE COVERAGE YET ON
JOHN, GEORGE, PAUL AND RINGO – FROM THE BEGINNING TO THEIR FABULOUS FAME TODAY!