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The Beatles singles/albums rule
24 June 2017
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(For any discussions on this rule and related topics)

Can somebody please explain to me what exactly was the band’s rule with singles and albums? I previously thought that singles couldn’t go on albums in that day (SFF/PL not on Pepper) but that is contradicted by Love Me Do /PS I Love You and Yellow Submarine /Eleanor Rigby .

I’ve read somewhere that the rule was you couldn’t release a single from the album after the album was out, but if that’s the case why didn’t they include SFF and Penny Lane on Pepper? 

¡No pasarán!


24 June 2017
sir walter raleigh
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Someone else could probably explain it better, but the way I understand it is they had a goal of filling the next record with songs and releasing a chart-topping single to go along with it, all while maintaining the rigorous touring schedule. 

Love Me Do came out as a single before Please Please Me was released, so they hadn’t yet established this goal at this time because nobody could anticipate the band’s popularity.

So I think it isn’t really a rule, but a goal. Of course, they released all sorts of singles from LIB and Abbey Road that were album cuts, so I’m not quite sure. 

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24 June 2017
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That makes a lot of sense actually, and I see their logic, not wanting to resell things already available. If I were to be releasing my own music, I’d probably include the A sides of the singles on albums but not the B sides. 

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24 June 2017
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The rule was generally singles stood alone so fans who bought both the single and the album got value for money but it was never hard and fast, written in steel and screwed into the EMI Studio 2 wall for easy reminding and there were always exceptions.

Back in 1963 record companies used the singles to sell the album. Get a hit single, record an album full of other songs and announce it as loudly as possible the hit single was on the album as there was little else on it of any note, hence why ‘Love Me Do ‘ and ‘Please Please Me ‘ were on their first album and the cover plugs the hits. It was standard practice. The Beatles changed that in the songs weren’t crappy facsimiles of the hit. The EP’s were used to highlight LP’s and give fans who couldn’t afford the albums the best moments, albeit delayed.

The film titles went on the album for obvious reasons, ‘Can’t Buy Me Love ‘ and ‘Ticket To Ride ‘ were in the films so went on the albums. I presume a lack of original material was one reason for ‘Things We Said Today ‘ and ‘You Can’t Do That ‘ featuring on ‘A Hard Day’s Night ‘, the only alternative being ‘I Call Your Name ‘. There is every possibility the Beatles were going to record a Ringo track and another original (‘No Reply ‘, ‘You Know What To Do’ were both demoed, ‘It’s For You’ being for Cilla) on the day Ringo got hit by tonsillitis and they would have been omitted, pure speculation and I can’t remember the mixing history for the album.

Generally, when a new album came out a new [standalone] single was also released, with ‘Revolver ‘ there was nothing available. 

Yellow Submarine ” was released internationally as a single, but that wasn’t always the plan.  “The decision was Brian’s alone,” remarked Paul in 1966 in reference to their manager Brian Epstein.  “It wasn’t really scheduled for release, but Brian thought the best two tracks should be made into a single before anyone else could cover them.”

George Harrison agreed:  “We just thought that we may as well put it out instead of sitting back and seeing dozens of cover versions all getting hits.  We might as well cop a hit as well as anybody else…It’s a good commercial single.”  Ringo added:  “It was made originally just for the LP.  But then, Brian and our recording manager, and people like that, were talking to us and they thought that ‘Yellow Submarine ’ was commercial and they wanted to release it as a single.”

It was standard practice in Britain not to release singles from British albums but instead to release a single simultaneous to the album that contained non-album tracks, hence the comment from Ringo from 1966 that it “was the first time we have released anything off an LP as a single.”  While this wasn’t strictly true (see “Please Please Me ,” “A Hard Day’s Night” and “Help !” as a few examples), it did break the usual British tradition of the time. 


 ‘Come Together ‘/’Something ‘ was Klein getting cash for Apple and was the first and only time a Beatles single was selected from an album after the album had been released. 

Don’t Let Me Down ‘ and ‘You Know My Name (Look Up The Number)’ were the b-sides and neither are on ‘Let It Be ‘. 

I’m ignoring the U.S. singles (and every other country) except to add that I cannot remember the reason for ‘The Long And Winding Road ‘ single, probably Klein using it as another means of getting cash, although this time only in the US. 

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24 June 2017
Dark Overlord
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Here’s my take on it:

Back in the day, most bands didn’t put their singles on the album unless if it was a soundtrack album, in the UK, whereas in countries like the US, they put the singles on the albums. This can be good if you buy both the singles and the albums but bad if you prefer to buy just the albums.

The reason that they included Love Me Do and Please Please Me is because they didn’t have an album out at the time and since they were just starting out, it made sense to include them. By the way, the album and single version of Love Me Do are different, the album version uses acoustic guitar and has Andy on drums with Ringo on tambourine while the single version has electric guitars and Ringo on drums with no tambourine.

Eleanor Rigby /Yellow Submarine is an interesting one, I guess meanmistermustard is right but then again, they didn’t release a single on the same day Sgt. Pepper was released, so I don’t know.

By 1969, UK albums were starting to include singles on them, so having Come Together /Something as a single made sense for Allen and he did that for monetary reasons.

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