Dave Dexter, Capitol and the Beatles

Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by Bill, Mar 26, 2019.

  1. moofassa_ca

    moofassa_ca Senior Member

    Too bad. Would have been interesting to see what Capitol of Canada would have released after 'Long Tall Sally'
  2. PRW94

    PRW94 Forum Resident

    The Southeast
    What popular music artists in 1963-65 were allowed to have an artistic vision aside from maybe Frank Sinatra and Stan Kenton.
  3. Chip TRG

    Chip TRG Forum Resident

    I was just in Canada two weeks ago and scored original pressings of both LONG TALL SALLY and TWIST & SHOUT. People have no right to complain about the US comps when these things are even weirder! LONG TALL SALLY even repeats tracks from BEATLEMANIA (WTB). Say what you will, but even US Capitol didn't do that!

    Still, though. Give Capitol of Canada credit for jumping on the British Invasion long before Dexter did in the US.
    Bill likes this.
  4. EdogawaRampo

    EdogawaRampo Forum Resident

    "Slow Down"
    moofassa_ca likes this.
  5. dsdu

    dsdu Forum Resident

    Santa Cruz, CA
    'Kansas City, Eh-Eh-Eh-Eh!'
  6. Lemon Curry

    Lemon Curry (A) Face In The Crowd

    Mahwah, NJ
    As may have been mentioned, the Canadian comps (at least Long Tall Sally, which I have a copy of) didn't use the reverb-laden US mixes - these were dry. But clearly not the same tape generation as the UK Parlophones. Which makes them all the more weirder.
  7. let him run...

    let him run... Forum Resident

    Colchester, VT USA
    I'm pretty sure when Dexter got the tracks, someone in an even higher position, already tried to make the music sound as best it could for the playback capabilities of a very specific point in time.
    PRW94 likes this.
  8. Chip TRG

    Chip TRG Forum Resident

    Refresh my memory on the title track of LTS.....did the mono mix in the UK have a ton of reverb?
  9. Gems-A-Bems

    Gems-A-Bems Forum Resident

    The Duke City
    On the contrary, as stated before I’m trying to bring balance to the anti-Capitol argument, which, when it attempts to introduce “artistic intent” is spurious at best.

    The early Parlophones and Capitol LPs are both little more than compilation albums inasmuch as they were collections of what was available at the time.

    Whatever “artistic intent” contained therein is found in the songs. Those are the art, not the albums. The album as an “artistic statement” really only begins with Rubber Soul, and which, one could argue, the Capitol version is the strongest first example of (and ironically wasn’t actually the Beatles’ own “artistic vision”).
    ransmiller and Sidewinder43 like this.
  10. O Don Piano

    O Don Piano Forum Resident

    The Beatles had a hand in the photos and/or cover design of their Parlophone albums, starting with With The Beatles. More often than not, they recorded songs specifically for their latest project.
    I'm sure they weren't especially happy with photos that didn't represent who they were at the time of recording.
    Keep in mind that Lewisohn's book drives home the fact they were ALWAYS looking ahead and wanted their LPs- even Beatles For Sale- to reflect that. Even though "I Want To Hold Your Hand" was released just a year earlier than Beatles For Sale, it had nothing to do with songs like "No Reply" or "I'm A Loser". Just like "Act Naturally" (summer '65) had nothing to do with "I'm Only Sleeping" (summer '66).

    I'm not anti-Capitol! They really did their best and spent lotsa money getting them started here, and did a GREAT job!
    Those Capitol releases were the only LPs we had for a long time!
    The Parlophone LPs are aesthetically and sonically more pleasing. I don't see how anyone- other than for understandably nostalgic reasons -would see it differently.
  11. czeskleba

    czeskleba Senior Member

    John Lennon:
    "We would design a cover or have control of more of our own covers in England, but America always had more albums so they always needed another picture, another cover. We used to say, 'Why can't we put fourteen [tracks] out in America?' Because we would sequence the albums - how we thought they should sound - and we put a lot of work into the sequencing too. They wouldn't let us put fourteen out; they said there was some rule or something. And so we almost didn't care what happened to the albums in America until we started coming over more, and noticing [for instance that] on the eight tracks they'd have out-takes and mumbling on the beginning - which is interesting now, but it used to drive us crackers. We'd make an album and they'd keep two from two from every album."

    "Artistic intent" is simply what the artist wants. Clearly, the Parlophone albums represented what the Beatles wanted, and the Capitol albums did not. Hence, the Parlophone albums embody the artistic intent of the band for how their work should be presented, and the Capitol albums do not. This is a fact. Subjective opinion about whether or not the early albums make a valid "artistic statement" is irrelevant. If you don't care what the Beatles' artistic intent was, that's fine. But to argue that the Capitols do not deviate from their artistic intent is factually inaccurate.
  12. nikh33

    nikh33 Forum Resident

    Liverpool, England
    That's patently not correct. The Beatles certainly did see their LPs as 'artistic statements' from With The Beatles onwards- their first LP is a brash, cheesy-looking cover, totally unlike the moody publicity shots Epstein had been using since the fall of 1962. Once they had established themselves as hitmakers, they had the clout to get their second LP done their way. Parlophone paperwork in October 1963 is a flurry of memos pleading with Epstein to have a nice cheery photo of four happy Beatles on the cover but The Beatles had commissioned Bob Freeman to photograph them a la Astrid Kercherr/Jurgen Vollmer and insisted on using it. The Beatles also spent the last week of their summer season in Llandudno working out which further songs to record for the album and where to place them. Although they would be too busy to do the same for the following two years, their vision was adhered to by George Martin and Brian Epstein.

    If The Beatles weren't concerned about Capitol's decisions (they were) why would they speak publicly about their displeasure about every aspect of the Capitol albums (which they did- in front of Dave Dexter's boss Alan Livingston in August 1965) and ask sir Joe Lockwood in London to get Capitol to fall more in line with their intent (which they did, in October 1965). And above all, why, in early 1967, several nail-biting months after their contract with EMI had lapsed, did The Beatles specifically have a clause in their new EMI contract inserted that demanded all future foreign LPs and singles follow the Parlophone model unless specifically discussed with NEMS, if they 'didn't care' what Capitol was doing?

    Rubber Soul (Capitol) was the first instance of a Capitol album and a Parlophone album being closely similar in content AND appearance (they'd particularly disliked the tinting on Meet The Beatles but were lucky it was the only photo actually sent by EMI). That's not coincidence, that's due to The Beatles suggesting it be done more to their liking, given the restrictions of the time.

    And finally, between 1962 and 1966 The Beatles did not have a contract with Capitol at all. Their contract was with Parlophone/EMI. That's why Capitol, when offered The Beatles in 1963 turned them down and EMI placed early singles (and unsuccessfully at the time, the first LP) with affiliated labels via Transglobal. Don't forget, Capitol only started releasing Beatles records once the Ed Sullivan show was booked by NEMS and EMI's boss Sir Joe informed Alan Livingston that Capitol would be issuing the records in the US. Dave Dexter, smarting from having personally turned down The Beatles twice in 1963, stripped out the 'old-fashioned' US-written tracks from With The Beatles and 'compiled' (reassembled) his first Beatles LP from the original songs and the latest single, plus, it should be remembered, the song he found halfway palatable, Till There was You.

    The (to Dexter) unexpected success of The Beatles in February 1964 led him to 'compile' a follow up LP in March. Unable temporarily to use the Please Please Me album due to the Transglobal/VJ/Capitol/EMI legal mess, he grabbed the leftovers from With The Beatles, three brand new recordings and three singles tracks and compiled The Beatles Second album. Ironically, by chance, (there was only one Paul lead vocal; Dexter found his softer ballader voice easily the most acceptable- but he only belts out Long Tall Sally here) the album, relying mainly on material already rejected by Dexter in January, was a big success and is still considered a great rock and roll record, the very antithesis of Dexter's ideal. Thanks to his cleverly inserting his name as "American Producer" on the credits, many people have been fooled into thinking he had anything at all to do with The Beatles success in the US, which it assuredly didn't.

    That's the story of Dave Dexter and The Beatles. Embarrassed, forced to do a project he despised, unable to do the job his way, ridiculed by the ungrateful upstarts in public, sidestepped at the earliest opportunity, his resentment growing until he takes the despicable opportunity to take a snide swipe of revenge the very week one of the ungrateful four is murdered in the street. That's the kind of class this "genius" Dave Dexter had with regard to The Beatles.
    Last edited: May 16, 2019
  13. douglas mcclenaghan

    douglas mcclenaghan Forum Resident

    The buffoons at Capitol should have seen images like this from the UK and seen dollar signs light up.
    Shaker Steve likes this.
  14. Shaker Steve

    Shaker Steve Beatles & Elvis Fan

    "Modified" is rather a weasel word. Ruined is a far better description. He was eventually chased off the job, & quite right too. My description is one shared by many on here & elsewhere.
    nikh33 likes this.
  15. nikh33

    nikh33 Forum Resident

    Liverpool, England
    Nice to see a later generation of Liverpool music acts beginning to take notes ;)

  16. douglas mcclenaghan

    douglas mcclenaghan Forum Resident

    The defence of Dexter, that he modified Beatle music to suit American ears, seems odd. Was this standard practice with overseas artists? The comparison to the Stones is interesting. Their UK albums were butchered too, but as far as I know, no heavy-handed interference was made upon how they sounded. Those who created the Stones' US albums do not attract the same opprobrium as Dexter does. I remember reading a long time ago that some other British bands suffered similar indignities to the Beatles in terms of messing with their music. Were these examples as egregious as Dexter's efforts?
    Great thread by the way.
  17. moofassa_ca

    moofassa_ca Senior Member

    I wouldn't call 'TWIST AND SHOUT' weird. 'LONG TALL SALLY' with its four repeats from 'BEATLEMANIA' is a bit puzzling though. What was Paul White thinking?
    Larry Geller likes this.
  18. Bill

    Bill Senior Member Thread Starter

    Eastern Shore
    Fans lining up in Liverpool for the chance to buy the imported American version of the Help album with all those wonderful passages of incidental background music from the film. At last: a true soundtrack album, not littered with those leftover songs like I've Just Seen A Face, It's Only Love and that dreary Yesterday unworthy of inclusion in the film. And, as a bonus, the rechanneled, echoed Ticket to Ride with some balls, not the thin-sounding, lifeless stereo version on the British version. Bless Mr. Dexter and his artistic vision.
    Last edited: May 16, 2019
  19. schnitzerphilip

    schnitzerphilip "Custom Title" Unlocked Award

    NJ USA
    Very well stated. Dexter’s contributions were great for the US market, especially Rubber Soul which is an entirely different experience.
  20. ShockControl

    ShockControl Bon Vivant and Raconteur!

    Lotus Land
    Completely agree. :righton: I just hope that one day we will get Ken Thorne's entire Help! score released!
    Bill likes this.
  21. BEAThoven

    BEAThoven Forum Resident

    New Jersey
    Comparing the Beatles and Stones LPs is actually not a completely fair comparison.

    The Beatles actually had scheduled and allotted recording time set aside for LPs. The time was scheduled at EMI/Abbey Road with the intent of recording and compiling a new LP.

    Up until "Aftermath," the Stones just seemed to be stockpiling tracks. They recorded "on the go" wherever they happened to be at the time -- Regent Sound in the UK, Chess in Chicago, RCA in California... and then it was deemed they had enough sutiable tracks, they were compiled for the LPs. Unlike the Beatles, they had no set schedule at a particular studio delineated as "the new LP recording sessions."

    Regarding the US Stones' LPs -- they were actually consciously compiled by Andrew Loog Oldham for the US market.
  22. Bill

    Bill Senior Member Thread Starter

    Eastern Shore
    Hollies, at the hands of Imperial after Dexter had passed on them in favor of perennial hitmakers Freddie and the Dreamers. The humanity!
    douglas mcclenaghan likes this.
  23. moofassa_ca

    moofassa_ca Senior Member

    After this post I had time to think about it. I guess Paul White didn't have much material to work with after the release of 'Twist And Shout', seeing as 'LTS' came out only 3 months later. Funny how 'Thank You Girl' was left off 'LTS'.
  24. jtiner

    jtiner Forum Resident

    That's probably a fair description though. And most of the DD/Capitol complaints in this thread are fair. I'm sure the consensus at Capitol was "we know more about the record business, we'll fix these albums". If Dave Dexter wouldn't have been the guy, we'd be discussing how Thaddeus Horwinkle handled the material.
    Despite my avatar, I'm not a Capitol zealot. It just makes sense to me - the artwork they came up with for the albums looks like other contemporary U.S. albums. They used fake stereo and whatever mixes they had on hand to get out as much product as they could and invented material (The Beatles Story...). They turned Help! into a "soundtrack" with pictures from the film on a gatefold cover. It all fits, at that time.
    The thing I wonder about is exactly how much was directly due to Dave Dexter. I mean, did he tell the art department "see what you can do to make this look better" or did he say "use this art and put song titles in the lower third". Same with question with sound - did he ask engineers "see what you can do to sweeten this" or did he specifically say "use the chambers and add reverb to tracks 1, 5, and 6, and add more midrange".
  25. BEAThoven

    BEAThoven Forum Resident

    New Jersey
    Overall, I've been enjoying this thread -- a lot of great information is being shared, and I'm glad its remaining a "discussion" without flames being heaved around.

    I pretty much thought I had already said everything I wanted to say about this topic, but there are some points in this post that I just need to address.

    This not entirely true. In practically all accounts of Martin's relationship with the Beatles after "Love Me Do," he is reported as being quite diplomatic. Sure, he was the "boss," but the Beatles were indeed involved in which tracks ended up on each LP. Martin set his relationship with the Beatles pretty early on -- he chose a cover tune for their debut single, but the band, a bunch of unknown kids from the north, insisted that it be one of their originals. Martin, at this point, could have easily and rightly said, "Shut up. Know your place and follow the direction of those who know better than you if you want to remain on this label."

    Your statement -- "They did with the Beatles' material what they had always done with any artist. And although owned by EMI, they were allowed to run the company fairly autonomously for the most part; that would evolve other time" is true, but that still doesn't change the quality and cheapness of these US LPs. It just gives a reason as to why they happened -- and it is a valid one.

    My point here is that it actually didn't matter what the Beatles provided -- EMI could have easily stated, "Thanks for the tracks, but we're only including 12 on the LPs because we don't need the extra expense and investment."

    Wow, I think you know the original intent of my statement, and now you're just grasping at a "technicality" here. You're throwing in some red herrings.

    You are actually going to compare EMI using "fake" stereo versions of tracks for which they had no other choice to Capitol's liberal use of "duophonic" when there was no valid reason?

    The multi-tracks for Love Me Do and PS I Love You were destroyed before stereo mixes were made -- EMI had no choice at that point but create fake stereo.

    The second half of I Am The Walrus was fake stereo because there was no other way do a proper stereo mix given how the radio part was flow in during the mix.

    The 1976 issue of Magical Mystery Tour -- much after the period of this actual conversation -- was issued just as the Capitol version had existed for years. The Magical Mystery Tour LP was one of the highest-selling US imports at the time, so when EMI released it domestically, they kept it congruent to what they fans were already buying.

    That said, you are really going to compare these instances of EMI's use of "fake stereo" to something like the US "Help!" LP release? That was an instance where Capitol could have used stereo mixes, but they didin't. That was an instance when Capitol could have used mono mixes, but they didn't. This was an instance in which Capitol could have easily made it a full Beatles LP, but they didin't.... and then at the end of it, charged more for the LP because of the cover (?!).
    Last edited: May 16, 2019

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