- Album name: Rarities
- Group name: the Beatles
- Year: 1980
- Number of discs: one
- Label: Capitol Records
- Collection: Selman
- Distinguishing characteristics:
- Scratched into side one of LP: SHAL-1-12060 G2
- Scratched into side two of LP: SHAL-2-12060 G2 #7
- Buy it on Amazon: $138.99
Level of familiarity before listening
These are rare versions of canonical Beatles tracks. I may have heard some of them, but I’ve never listened to this record.
Other Beatles records that I’ve reviewed:
- Revolver (1966): 5/5
- Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band (1967): 5/5
- The White Album (1968): 4/5
- Abbey Road (1969): 5/5
- MORE get back session (1969?): 3/5
- Studio Sessions Volume One (1973): 4/5
- Rock ‘n’ Roll Music (1976): 5/5
- The Beatles at the Hollywood Bowl (1977): 5/5
- Love Songs (1977): 5/5
What I expected
I’m not going to be listening to each of the official record versions of these songs along with the “rare” versions, so I may not even recognize what the differences are, but I still expect to enjoy most of them.
What it was actually like
This was pretty good, and as I expected, I mostly was not able to hear the differences between these versions and the record versions of the same songs, with just a few exceptions:
- Penny Lane sounded pretty different. This “rare” version had much more instrumentation, especially horns and flute.
- Don’t Pass Me By had a lot more violin than the version I knew, and I liked this one better.
- Across the Universe sounded the most different to me, especially its bird sounds.
It’s also worth mentioning that, when this compilation was released in 1980, people only knew the Beatles’ music from what was released as a single or on an LP (or both), which varied by country. Though I grew up listening to the Beatles on cassette tapes that were based on their LPs, overwhelmingly the way I have listened to their music as an adult has been via the 2009 stereo remaster box set, which is non-canonical in a lot of ways, and so I may have been listening to some of these “rare” versions all along.
Just to give one example, according to the Rarities blurb about Sie Liebt Dich:
… until Rarities “She Loves You” sung in German had never been released by Capitol [Records] in the U.S. The song, once released here as a low-quality single on a small label, has been out of print for years and has never been released in the U.S. in stereo until now.
But it’s part of the box set, on Past Masters volume 1, track 9 (in stereo, too). So I guess my recommendation, for anyone interested, is that you might want to skip acquiring the Rarities LP and just get the box set if you want to hear (almost) every Beatles song in a version that is, if not original, at least official.
5/5: love it