There are two versions of this album, one for the U.K. and another for the U.S. market. Both BeatleSongs and Tell Me Why have little to say about these albums, despite being written and released after they were released. Both books largely align with the U.K version (now the global standard) of album releases. This would discount the Rarities albums, even the U.K. version, in favor of the Past Masters compilations. In the newer box sets that were released last year, Mono Masters and Past Masters do differ, and not just for stereo and mono versions, but for actual content as well. Even with this new alignment and mono and stereo box sets, not everything is here, and the rarities albums are good examples of this.
Rather than go through and list the songs that are on each album (Rarities, U.K. and U.S. versions and Mono Masters and Past Masters) I will just pick apart a few songs and talk about the albums in general. “And I Love Her” from the U.S. version of Rarities differs from the version that appears on the Hard Day’s Night album (the Rarities version is an alternate stereo take with an extended ending). It is things such as this where sure, the song is the same, and you do get both mono and stereo versions where available, but it is where alternate versions of a song exists (such as having been released as a single and on album) that the box sets fall short.
I remember having purchased the U.S. version of Rarities in the early 80s when it was still readily available new, since it was originally released in 1980. I had a friend who picked up every compilation release of Beatles music, despite no new material offered. I wasn’t quite so liberal with my money and saved up for each purchase. I was more taken with the alternate version of “Love Me Do” and the German language “Sie Liebt Dich” though “Komm, Gib Mir Deine Hand” was still missing.
The more I listened to the album and compared things to what I had (which as a teenager, you have the time to do so) I discovered subtle differences between some of the songs. Then I found a copy of the U.K. version of the album in one of the used record shops that I frequented. It had both German language singles, so I immediately snatched that up, and am glad I did, because I’ve only seen it one other time. Much of the content on the U.K. version of the album appeared on the various U.S. Capitol albums, since the record company was in the practice of messing up the catalog, so it was really one song (“Komm, Gib Mer Deine Hand”) that I was interested in. I’ve been known to this day to purchase an album for one song by an artist I am a fan of. Soundtracks are notorious for this.
Despite the fact we have Anthology, as well as these glorious new box sets (The Beatles and The Beatles In Mono) not everything is available. There are still some rarities out there. Now they are a little easier to spot if you’re looking for them. Obtaining them, however, is going to be quite a challenge now considering how the industry and the marketplace have changed over the years. Even if you have both box sets, I recommend these two albums. Well, it’s one album with two versions. Maybe we need another box set titled Alternate Beatle Takes And Releases. Or just make Anthology a new box set with some extra (all inclusive this time) tracks.