Beatles - A Hard Day's Night and Capitol Records

Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by ShockControl, Jan 3, 2018.

  1. ShockControl

    ShockControl Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    USA
    It is my understanding that United Artists got to release the Hard Day's Night soundtrack album because Capitol's legal department was out to lunch.

    Nevertheless, Capitol released all eight Beatles tracks - seven on singles and five on Something New.

    I have always wondered, in light of this, would anything have legally prevented Capitol from releasing all eight AHDN tunes on Something New? Would that have significantly cut into sales of the United Artists album, or conversely, was Capitol concerned that the content overlap would hurt sales of Something New?
     
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  2. JamieC

    JamieC Forum Resident

    Location:
    Detroit Mi USA
    The American soundtrack album was part of the contract. It was one of the reasons UA backed the film, to boost the UA record label. Capitol had the rights to all of the tracks but was legally prevented from releasing in toto the movie tracks. So it was singles and Something New. The other point is that UA never had anything but mono tapes on the Beatles, so the Beatles tracks are fake stereo.
     
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  3. Arnold Grove

    Arnold Grove Forum Resident

    Location:
    NYC
    This has always been stated as such. BUT I've never been able to figure something out:

    The contract between Brian Epstein and Walter Shenson was made in October 1963. This was months BEFORE the Beatles conquered America and before the late December 1963 release of "I Want To Hold Your Hand" by Capitol. So WHY would United Artists even assign any value to an American soundtrack LP? United Artists certainly would make money in the UK from releasing the film. BUT why would they think a soundtrack LP would even sell anything in the USA?

    I think that UA found some loophole in the contract AFTER the Beatles conquered America, and thus got to release the soundtrack in the USA. I hope Lewisohn discusses this point in his next book.
     
  4. JamieC

    JamieC Forum Resident

    Location:
    Detroit Mi USA
    The other way to look at it, is UA got a deal cheap BECAUSE the boys weren't over yet in the US. If the negotiations had been a couple of month later the outcome would have been much different.
     
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  5. ShockControl

    ShockControl Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    USA
    I have read elsewhere that it was part of the contract only because the album rights defaulted to UA, and Capitol's legal team missed this detail. Help! was a UA film too, but the album was released on Capitol.
     
  6. JamieC

    JamieC Forum Resident

    Location:
    Detroit Mi USA
    Exactly!
     
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  7. JamieC

    JamieC Forum Resident

    Location:
    Detroit Mi USA
    From the Beatlebible
    A Hard Day’s Night
    United Artists had discovered in autumn 1963 that EMI had failed to cover film soundtracks in the contract with The Beatles. Despite The Beatles not having become popular in America at the time, the company realised they could capitalise on their phenomenal fame in Britain, and negotiated the rights to make a feature film about the group. Producer Walter Shenson's brief from UA was simple: "We need a film for the express purpose of getting a soundtrack album," he was told. "Just make sure there are enough new songs for a soundtrack album and don't go over budget."
     
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  8. ShockControl

    ShockControl Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    USA
    Wow!

    So what happened with "Help?"
     
  9. The Wanderer

    The Wanderer Forum Resident

    Location:
    NYC
    United Artists was simply smarter
     
  10. Rfreeman

    Rfreeman Forum Resident

    Location:
    Lawrenceville, NJ
    John Kovach wrote an article for the Huffington Post in 2014 suggesting that UA entered the deal with the idea that they were getting the right to release the soundtrack everywhere as the Beatles EMI Conract did not expressly mention soundtrack albums, but that they knew EMI might contest that so, with the Beatles having hit big in the US, they negotiated a compromise deal that let EMI release the material in the UK and UA release a soundtrack in the US.

    I imagine George Martin also was a big fan of the idea of releasing a soundtrack album, as he certainly made way more from including his tracks on that than he did as an EMI staff producer.

    It is odd that a 3 picture deal did not give them similar rights regarding Help and Let It Be (as Yellow Sub was rejected as satisfying the 3rd picture requirement). I wonder if UA somehow got a cut from the sales of those albums as well. Of course Martin would have had no reason to support UA in those cases.
     
    Last edited: Jan 3, 2018
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  11. Arnold Grove

    Arnold Grove Forum Resident

    Location:
    NYC
    That makes more sense: That is, UA was hoping to release the soundtrack EVERYWHERE (which would include the UK).
     
  12. JamieC

    JamieC Forum Resident

    Location:
    Detroit Mi USA
    In America yes. UA released the Let It Be album. Red Apple label catalog number AR-something. Which is why it too was out of print by the time Capitol picked up UA.
     
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  13. Rfreeman

    Rfreeman Forum Resident

    Location:
    Lawrenceville, NJ
    I remember Let It Be being in cut out bins everywhere in the mid 70s.
     
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  14. FredV

    FredV Forum Resident

    Capitol woke up! :yikes:
     
  15. JamieC

    JamieC Forum Resident

    Location:
    Detroit Mi USA
    Thats because they were pirated and sold as cut outs after UA lost the rights. I think that Morris Levy was involved as well as the mob.
     
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  16. Rfreeman

    Rfreeman Forum Resident

    Location:
    Lawrenceville, NJ
    Thanks for explaining.
    I guess I must have a pirated copy.
     
  17. DrBeatle

    DrBeatle Forum Resident

    Location:
    Midwest via Boston
    This soundtrack was another case of Epstein being woefully green and undercutting the Beatles out of a LOT of $$. I've read that during the negotiations with UA, the UA guys were secretly hoping to get something like 25% of the cut when, before they could make an offer, Epstein blurted out that he'd offer them something like 80%, which they of course took.

    Brian was a nice guy and tried to (usually) do right by the Beatles, and yes he was making it up as he went along, BUT his incompetence and naivety not only cost the band a TON of $$ but also contributed to their ceasing touring (his ridiculous tour itineraries and record/tour/promote schedules) and both directly and indirectly, to the Apple fiasco.
     
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  18. majorlance

    majorlance Forum Resident

    Location:
    Collingswood, NJ
    True.

    But no Eppy, no Fabs.
     
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  19. DrBeatle

    DrBeatle Forum Resident

    Location:
    Midwest via Boston
    Oh without a doubt. In the grand scheme of things, he did a good job given the times and how the rock business was literally being created under their feet. But a lot of his inadequacies stem from just poor business sense (the UA and Seltaeb disasters being just a couple of examples). He knew what a draw the Beatles were...he could've asked for *90%* and gotten it, such was their earning potential. It's all well beyond moot at this point, obviously, but every time I read of his negotiations, I just cringe.
     
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  20. lukpac

    lukpac Forum Resident

    Location:
    Milwaukee, WI
    A minor point, but this probably had more to do with timing than rights or agreements. The UA LP was released on June 26th, while the stereo mixes of the Beatles' songs hadn't been made until June 22nd. Presumably UA didn't care about going back after the fact to remaster using the stereo mixes.
     
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  21. Rfreeman

    Rfreeman Forum Resident

    Location:
    Lawrenceville, NJ
    Or it could be due to the mono cuts being what were actually on the film soundtrack and were therefore all they had rights to. Fortunately they didn't go the extra mile and slow some of them down too.

    Note that, when DVDs of AHDN were released without Apple involvement, they were also stuck with using the mono cuts, with the added enhancement of fake 5.1. This would be consistent with the film owners only having rights to the mono tracks.
     
  22. lukpac

    lukpac Forum Resident

    Location:
    Milwaukee, WI
    Perhaps, although the timing would be quite a coincidence.

    The slowing down of tracks for the film was of course a technical issue surrounding the production of the film. The audio wasn't actually slowed down during filming, but those scenes were shot at 25fps due to the TV monitors, which resulted in slower audio (*and* visual) when played back at the film standard of 24fps.
     
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  23. O Don Piano

    O Don Piano Forum Resident

    UA- and probably Capitol- figured the “Beatles Craze” wasn’t going to last much longer, so they wanted to cash in as soon as possible, True Stereo be darned!
    I think this was the impetus for most decisions made by UA and Capitol. They were wrong of course....
     
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  24. Bern

    Bern Forum Resident

    Location:
    Michigan
    Weren't some of these tracks actually different? (Besides the speed). I remember (I think without digging them out) that several songs only had single tracked vocals in places. And I Love Her and If I Fell comes to mind. But I only had these songs on Capitol in stereo......so I may be mistaken.

    Bern
     
  25. lukpac

    lukpac Forum Resident

    Location:
    Milwaukee, WI
    The mono mixes issued by UA and Capitol were the same. And I Love Her and I'll Cry Instead were different from the mono mixes issued by Parlophone, as well as the stereo mixes issued by Capitol and Parlophone.
     
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