Beatles Experts: How Many Studio Albums?

I always was under the impression the Beatles only had 13 studio albums, and I was sure I had them all. I also have an obscure album (with Tony Sheridan) before they were fab. But, Wikipedia counts 23 studio albums including more obscure titles once they were famous. And, many (if not all) of these did not rank in the charts! What’s up with that? This band was on fire; yet, it had obscure, uncharted albums? Why the paradox? So, you can see I am hoping a Beatles exper can come along and clarify the bigger picture for me.

That’s counting the US and the UK albums. Capitol, for some unknown-to-me reason, decided to release the Beatles’ work in different order, split up between different albums.

I think there was a tradition in England to release a couple of singles, then an album that didn’t contain the singles. Often, the singles didn’t appear on any album.

Americans were more prone to hear a song on the radio and say “Wow, I love this song! I’ll buy their new album and get the song and a dozen others!”

Hoping someone here knows more about this than I do…
ETA: I see Amazon has “The US Albums” as a box set

That’s it: UK music fans didn’t want to buy the same song in different formats (they had less money to spend). US fans didn’t care. Albums, singles, and EPs (four songs, which never caught on in the US) had different songs on them.

Further, UK albums generally had 14 songs at the time; US albums had 12.

So Capitol cut out two songs from each album and added singles to put out more albums (they also included German language versions of two songs). You also had things like Vee-Jay’s Beatles album and an album released in Canada only adding to the tally.

That Wikipedia article is awful, since it tries to combine UK, USA, and Canada releases. It’s very complicated but a lot of the early Beatles music was distributed by various small labels in the USA and they constantly rereleased the Beatles material they had access to during the heights of Beatlemania in the USA.

The UK catalog is considered the canon and it basically aligned with the USA releases from Sgt. Pepper onward, except for Magical Mystery Tour and the Hey Jude album.

From Sgt. Pepper onward? In other words, it aligned with exactly three albums: Sgt. Pepper’s, the White Album, and Abbey Road. :wink:

Do the Christmas releases count?

Yellow Submarine and Let it Be as well.

Ah yes. But not the Hey Jude album, which as American only.

They actually were aligned after the Yesterday . . . and Today fiasco, which means both Rubber Soul and Revolver were the same on both sides of the pond.

Hey Jude was a compilation of singles and B-sides. Beatles singles were usually not on Beatles albums in the UK.

Nope, Rubber Soul and Revolver were different albums in the UK and the USA.

…In the United States, Capitol Records removed four tracks from the British LP’s running order and set them aside for the Beatles’ next North American album, Yesterday and Today. The four songs – “Drive My Car”, “Nowhere Man”, “What Goes On” and “If I Needed Someone” – were replaced with two tracks that had appeared on the UK Help! album, but not its US counterpart: “I’ve Just Seen a Face” and “It’s Only Love”.[38] The total time was 28:55, nearly seven minutes shorter than the British version…

…Revolver was released on 5 August 1966 in the United Kingdom and on 8 August in the United States.[278][279] The eleven-song North American LP release was the band’s tenth album on Capitol Records and twelfth US album in total.[280] Due to the exclusion of the three Lennon tracks, there were only two songs on the Capitol release for which he was the principal writer, compared with three by Harrison and the rest by McCartney…

This essay doesn’t really answer the OP’s question, but I think it may be of interest to fans: 148 Beatles’ Albums Ranked

(Electronic Sound is #145? No way! It should be #139 at least! :D)

Interesting—thanks for the link. Though, inevitably, I don’t agree with all of his rankings, and I had at least one or two “Seriously, dude?” moments.

Does all of this mean that people on one side of the Atlantic weren’t necessarily hearing (or getting exposed to) the same songs as people on the other side?

And what about the rest of the world? What did they get?

Albums that get released aren’t always with the artists good wishes or permission even. There are always releases that are non canonical. Tony Sheridan tracks aren’t an LP. It’s something that polydor released to sell some wax.

The US and UK dissonance was about business and not art. The fabs protested it even, with the butcher stuff.

Yellow Submarine has a lot of non beatles music on it, as does the US Help. They don’t get credit as fully fledged “Beatle LPs.”

I just finished “All the Songs: The Story Behind Every Beatles Release”.

It gives some of the reasons a particular song is rejected or included.

The wiki page is problematic. It’s listing the tony sheridan tapes LP as the first Beatles LP, being released in Jan 1962. That’s probably the release date of the My Bonnie single. The LP was released during beatlemania though, for obvious reasons.

I like Alan Pollack’s approach: the twelve recording projects of the Beatles.

Right. For example, I grew up with Beatles '65, not Beatles for Sale, so I never heard the song “What You’re Doing” until a few years ago.

Another example: while *Revolver *was my favorite LP starting in kindergarten, I never heard “And Your Bird Can Sing,” “I’m Only Sleeping,” nor “Dr. Robert” until college – they’re just on the UK version.

In the US, it was on Beatles VI.

And those were all on Yesterday and Today in the US.

Those of us who grew up with the U.S. albums on Capitol got the opportunity to hear almost all of the Beatles’ songs, just not necessarily on the same albums. There are only a very few Beatles songs, including “I’m Down” and “The Inner Light,” that I never got to hear (and maybe never even knew existed) until they got around to releasing the Beatles on CD, including the two “Past Masters” discs that collected all the songs that were never on any of the British LPs.

Interesting. These must be the dates of completion as opposed to the dates they started working on them. I know many songs took many weeks or months (or years) to come to fruition.