Sunday, February 04, 2007

A Collection of Beatle Oldies

On December 8th, 1966, Parlophone released A Collection of Beatle Oldies (But Goldies). Released in the U.K. and not in the U.S., the album featured only one cut previously unreleased in England: "Bad Boy". Americans had already heard it on Beatles VI.

The only reason for this albums' existence seems to be the fact that Parlophone wanted a Beatles' LP for the Christmas market. I have no idea who chose the songs or the horrible cover artwork, but it seems as if the Beatles had nothing to do with it. The back cover is cool. It's a strange shot of the boys in a hotel room in Japan. Paul wearing a kimono, George with groovy shades and John's head is turned away from the camera. It's the only interesting thing about the record.

This album has always been somewhat of a mystery to me. It's a real exception to the fact that Parlophone and the Beatles had a habit of giving their U.K. audience their money's worth. Singles were usually not on the LPs, which meant that, unlike the U.S. versions, fans didn't end up buying the same songs twice. I don't know why they suddenly got greedy and decided to release this useless record. And to make matters worse, by sticking "Bad Boy" on it, the truly obsessive fans probably forked over their hard earned dough to buy it. I wonder if there was some contractual agreement that forced the Beatles to release it? This was the first time they hadn't released two U.K. albums in one year (not so with Capitol. They not only had the Revolver LP, but also released the U.S. only Yesterday...and Today).

And even though it's a "official" part of the Beatles EMI/Parlophone canon, it was never made into a CD and is even absent from the Beatles website discography.

It's also void of any George songs. Ringo is there with "Yellow Submarine", but considering A Collection of Beatle Oldies came on the heals of George's sudden emergence on Revolver, it's odd and kind of sad that he was ignored. And although the Beatles probably gave the album very little attention or notice (aside from watching the sales figures), George was probably very aware of his absence on it. Granted, most of the songs included were singles, and George was never on a 45 at this point (A or B side), but Oldies did have a few non-singles (e.g., "Yesterday" and "Michelle").

We know from interviews that George was not all that keen about the fact that his song "It's All Too Much" didn't make the cut of their next LP, Sgt. Pepper. After getting two songs on Rubber Soul and three on the follow-up Revolver, George was probably not too pleased with only getting only one on Pepper. And being ignored on this silly Christmas money-maker was just another sign that it was indeed the "John and Paul Show".


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