In reading Mark Lewisohn’s book it's very clear that Capitol Records, owned by EMI (Electrical Music Industries) was slow to pick up on the Beatles success, even declining to widely release their first singles and album. Though they did release “Please Please Me” as “Introducing the Beatles” on a subsidiary label called Vee-Jay. with little to no promotion, that album failed to chart until after the release of "Meet the Beatles" by Capital in January of 1964. Once the Beatles and Capital did catch on, the label began recasting the British releases for America. "With the Beatles," becomes "Meet the Beatles," "Please Please Me" became "The Early Beatles" and so on. Capital would fill out "The Beatles Second Album," "Beatles 65”, etc with B-sides and songs included on EP’s (Extended Players) that generally included four songs when released in Great Britain. Add to this the Beatles penchant for not including the latest single with the album giving Capital plenty to choose from*. The Beatles protested this treatment with the now infamous “Butcher Cover” for the Capital release of "Yesterday and Today" which combined music from Rubber Soul, Help and Revolver. Of course being just 10 at the time I had no idea what I was missing. In fact it seemed to me that every time I turned around there was new Beatle music. What more could I want?
Yesterday and Today would be the last album specifically created for American audiences. It’s release on June 15th 1966 coincided with the opening of a new indoor pool at my Aunt’s house. Now I cannot say that we got the album the day it came out. The 15th was actually a Wednesday, so I was probably in school. But on a hot June day in 1966 when I had the chance to go swimming - no one I knew had a pool, let alone an indoor pool - I stayed behind to listen to the Beatles. The album had songs that had been released as singles - “Yesterday”, “Act Naturally,” “Day Tripper”, “We Can Work it Out”, “Nowhere Man” and “What Goes On”. It also had some amazing new songs - John’s laconic "I’m Only Sleeping” with what sounded like backwards guitars in it. The rollicking and cryptic, "And Your Bird Can Sing. George’s plaintive, "I Want to Tell You” and the brilliant “Well well well your feeling fine.” harmonies of "Doctor Robert." Songs that I would discover years later should have been on the bastardized version of Revolver that came out just two months later in August of ’66. There was also tracks that should have been on ’65’s. Rubber Soul, Paul’s electric “Drive My Car”, and George’s 12 string folk rock “If I Needed Someone”, but Rubber Soul is another story for another time.
I did make it to the pool eventually, but the whole time I couldn’t wait to get back and listen to this amazing album again.
* The fact that Capital couldn’t go without releasing something between Revolver in 1966 and Sgt. Pepper in 1967 resulted in Sgt. Pepper without Penny Land and Strawberry Fields.