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Miscellaneous questions about the Beatles
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11 January 2017
3.33pm
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limitlessundyinglove
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Here's a question that I was thinking about today:

Why did the Beatles have so much freedom in the studio?  Other bands, especially from that era, left a lot of great music off of their albums because the record company often disliked music that wasn't "commercial".  So why were The Beatles allowed to make and release such experimental music like Strawberry Fields Forever and Revolution 9 when other bands weren't?

Grooving some cookie spaghetti since 1968.

11 January 2017
4.47pm
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Starr Test
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The answer is simple, they got better as they went and when they experimented, it turned out nice. Unlike most bands, every new single they made was better than the last with very few exceptions and The Beatles showed that they could successfully experiment on their albums. Sure their were bad examples, such as Revolution 9, but they did so much good experimentation that it completely overshadows the bad ones. Without experimentation, songs like Strawberry Fields Forever, Penny Lane, Sgt. Pepper, Eleanor Rigby, etc. wouldn't exist and The Beatles would've been another AC/DC, just playing the same type of music with the same sound for every single song. Also, The Beatles weren't the only band who experimented in the studio, just listen to Good Vibrations or Bohemian Rhapsody if you doubt me.

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11 January 2017
4.55pm
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Ahhh Girl
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Is part of it that they were the 4 Kings of EMI? They made big $ for the company so they were given more leeway to experiment.

11 January 2017
5.01pm
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Ron Nasty
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There are several reasons, @limitlessundyinglove.

These I would consider the main ones:

1) While many artists of the period regularly used independent studios since they were often technically superior to record company owned studios, The Beatles recorded the vast majority of their catalogue at the EMI Studios on Abbey Road. The use of independent studios involved the studio time having to be paid for, usually (though not always) by the record company, whereas - because they stuck so closely to Abbey Road - the cost of much of their studio time was simply an in-house paper transaction, and did not involve EMI having to pay a third party;

2) The Beatles were EMI's cash cow who time and time again proved they knew what they were doing, and so it would have been churlish of EMI to interfere too much in, or place too many restrictions on, what they did in the studio;

3) This is probably the most important, and something I have cited in answer to other questions: Section 17 of their 1967 recording agreement. This part of the contract was intended to deal with the problem of Capitol messing around with how they wanted their material released. However, in the process, EMI effectively handed The Beatles artistic control:

[EMI Records shall] agree with the Managers or the Artists the material recorded under this Agreement which is approved for release and the couplings thereof and such couplings shall not be changed in the United Kingdom U.S.A. Canada and Mexico without the prior consent of the Manager or the Artists ... EMIR shall not issue or cause to be issued in the United Kingdom material recorded under this Agreement unless it has been so agreed.

Through gaining control over how their catalogue would be issued in the US, they gained complete control of how and what would be released everywhere.

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11 January 2017
5.05pm
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Starr Test
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Here's something I've been wondering for awhile. You see, I grew up in the US and to this day believe that the US albums and singles are the only way to go, so I was wondering why the US and UK albums and singles are different.

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11 January 2017
5.17pm
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Pablo Ramon
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Well it's a long story and someone more eloquent than I can probably do it more justice.... but basically, Money. The U.K. catalog is what the Beatles intended in terms of sound and structure. Singles were - with some exceptions - separate from LP's, LP's contained usually 14 songs. Capitol - up until 1967 - had free reign in the US to restructure and re-mix. With a guy called Dave Dexter at the helm, albums were sliced and diced and singles were tacked on - in addition to incidental music for the movie soundtracks - to create more product. In addition, Mr. Dexter took it upon himself to add reverb and phony "duophonic" stereo such that the US releases sounded very different from the U.K.

By the time Rubber Soul and Revolver came along, this process resulted in VERY different releases in the US, releases most - not all - fans consider inferior. 

This practice ended with Sgt. Pepper, perhaps because of a renegotiation of terms with EMI which gave the group more control over global releases. 

I grew up with the US catalog and now MUCH prefer the U.K. 

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11 January 2017
5.19pm
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HMBeatlesfan
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Great analysis Ron, except that number 3 is a bit off, as The Beatles did quite a bit of experimentation before said contract was written. Also, for your question Starr Test, the reason The Beatles catalogue was different from the US to the UK was because of different markets. You see, in the UK, albums were supposed to be 14 tracks long with the singles and B-sides not coming from the album unless if the album had an accompanying film, which in that case it had 2 singles. In the US, albums were supposed to be 12 tracks in length with the singles on there so album buyers didn't have to buy the single, although non album singles were occasionally present. For me, the UK albums are the way they were intended and is they way I want to listen to them although I think that the US albums are great in their own way (except for Revolver, Capitol just raped and pillaged the album and took out 3 of the songs because they pre released those songs on Yesterday And Today) and The Beatles themselves actually prefer the US MMT over the UK MMT to the point that they released it in their homeland in 1976 and I call that release Magical Mystery Tour 76', which is also considered canon over the 1967 double EP.

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Maybe you should try posting more.

11 January 2017
5.27pm
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Ron Nasty
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I may have already partially answered this in my reply to the previous question, @Starr Test.

Until their 1967 recording agreement neither EMI or The Beatles had any control over how Capitol released their material in the US; therefore, Capitol cut up the albums as The Beatles intended and wanted them, generally making them a couple of tracks shorter, and including singles on them. This left Capitol with as yet unreleased material that allowed them to release extra albums.

The Beatles insisted on a whole section going into their 1967 recording agreement that prevented any changes being made to the way their material was released in the US without their permission, which meant America finally started the albums as The Beatles recorded them.

Can you imagine the Capitol version of Pepper? It would have had at least three tracks removed from the album as we know it, with Strawberry Fields and Penny Lane replacing two of them. The Capitol version would have diluted the album we know and love, as so much of Capitol's pre-1967 catalogue did.

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11 January 2017
6.11pm
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Ron Nasty
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I agree they did their fair share of experimentation before the 1967 agreement, @HMBeatlesfan.

I'd say this though, the last album issued while their 1962 agreement was in effect was Rubber Soul, as the 1962 agreement ran out in June 1966. I'd suggest that though experimental, the results were not too weird, and even if EMI had worries about any part of it (not that they did), they would hardly have caused a disagreement with the band knowing there was a contract renegotiation just around the corner.

Then, with Revolver, definitely getting into more experimental and weirder (Tomorrow Never Knows), that was actually released while The Beatles were - and this might be a shocker - without a contract with EMI. Again, another reason for EMI not to object to what they wanted.

Revolver came under the 1967 agreement by means of appendix dated 25 January 1967 (obviously too late for Section 17 to be applied to it).

I would, therefore, suggest that the period in which they got more and more experimental, the contract renegotiation was constantly there, and EMI knew what The Beatles were asking for.

EMI would not have, during that period, done anything that might have harmed their chances of a new contract.

I'd, therefore, suggest that though not signed until January 1967, the terms of what The Beatles wanted from a new contract started to become very important to EMI from the end of 1965 onwards.

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11 January 2017
6.51pm
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limitlessundyinglove
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Your second reason was what I was thinking @Ron Nasty 

The Beatles were gonna sell no matter what, so they basically let them do whatever they want.

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Grooving some cookie spaghetti since 1968.

14 January 2017
2.03pm
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meanmistermustard
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NME have put together an article with "answers to the most-Googled Beatles questions on the net.". I won't copy and paste it all except for one which is below due to its simplistic brilliance.

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19 January 2017
10.37am
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Starr Test
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Did any of The Beatles engage in sexual activities with any of their fans, besides the obvious ones like Yoko Ono or Linda McCartney.

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19 January 2017
11.16am
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Expert Textpert
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Yes, John Lennon has admitted that on their tours they had orgies with fans.

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19 January 2017
1.06pm
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Starr Test
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I just realized today that The Beatles didn't voice themselves on the TV show, I wonder why they didn't voice themselves.

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19 January 2017
1.11pm
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Necko
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Starr Test said
I just realized today that The Beatles didn't voice themselves on the TV show, I wonder why they didn't voice themselves.  

They didn't like the show. Also, I think they were too busy to do something like that. 

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19 January 2017
1.13pm
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Starr Test
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That's funny that they wouldn't, I love the show.

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19 January 2017
1.22pm
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SgtPeppersBulldog
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@Starr Test

It's similar to the incident where The Beatles almost voiced the vultures in the 1967 version of The Jungle Book. I think they backed out at the last minute because of their schedule, yet Disney still gave the vulture characters mop tops and Liverpudlian accents.

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19 January 2017
2.11pm
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sir walter raleigh
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Way too busy for that. Plus in order to voice a full tv series, one needs to be more versed in the world of voice acting than the Beatles were. 

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3 February 2017
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meanmistermustard
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When did it become possible to download the Beatles on Amazon, is the exclusive deal with iTunes dead? Did it die when streaming began?

£1.99 does not sound right to download 'With The Beatles' considering Apple and what's up with the weird logo in the top right of the album cover?

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Am I very out of the loop?

Same with 'Please Please Me'.

 

I found another 'Please Please Me' which has no weird logo, is £9.99 to download and has the correct release date.

Bizarre.

 

If I notify Apple will I get a present from them?

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3 February 2017
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Ahhh Girl
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One of those incredible items that they stole the idea of from you.

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