The Beatles' Second Album

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The Beatles' Second Album
Studio album by
Released10 April 1964
Recorded5 March 1963 – 1 March 1964
StudioEMI, London
ProducerGeorge Martin
The Beatles North American chronology
Twist and Shout
The Beatles' Second Album
The Beatles' Long Tall Sally
The Beatles United States chronology
Meet the Beatles!
The Beatles' Second Album
A Hard Day's Night

The Beatles' Second Album is the second Capitol Records album by the English rock band the Beatles, and their third album released in the United States including Introducing... The Beatles, which was issued three months earlier by Vee-Jay Records. Following its release in April 1964, The Beatles' Second Album replaced Meet the Beatles! at number 1 on the Billboard Top LPs chart in the US. The album was compiled mostly from leftover tracks from the UK album With the Beatles and Long Tall Sally EP, which are predominantly rock and roll and R&B covers, and rounded out with several Lennon-McCartney-penned non-album b-sides and the hit single "She Loves You". Among critics, it is considered the band's purest rock and roll album and praised for its soulful takes on both contemporary black music hits and original material.

In 2004 The Beatles' Second Album was issued for the first time on compact disc (catalogue number CDP 7243 8 66877 2 2), (CDP 7243 8 66878 2 1) as part of The Capitol Albums, Volume 1 boxed set and was issued in a miniature cardboard replica of the original album sleeve containing the US mono and stereo mixes. In 2014, the album was released on CD again, individually and included in the Beatles boxed set The U.S. Albums, which contained the album's running order but with UK mixes as remastered in 2009.

An album, using the same title and similar cover art but containing different songs from the US release, was issued on the EMI subsidiary label Odeon in 1964 for the Japanese market. The same cover art was used for the album The Beatles' Long Tall Sally issued by Capitol Records of Canada.

Background and song selection[edit]

With the massive popularity of Meet the Beatles! through the early part of 1964 and a desire for additional Beatles product, Capitol Records decided to compile a follow-up album as soon as possible. For this, a backlog of some 25 songs, issued by EMI in Britain and many other territories across the world from 1962 onwards, had yet to be issued by Capitol. The Beatles' Second Album was the first album of the group's work to be assembled by the company exclusively for the US market, Meet the Beatles! having been a reconfigured and shorter version of the band's second EMI LP, With the Beatles. Despite its title, however, Second Album was in fact the third Beatles LP in the United States, since Vee-Jay Records had released Introducing... The Beatles in January 1964.[2] Vee-Jay had been able to issue the latter LP – which comprised most of the Beatles' EMI debut, Please Please Me – due to Capitol's initial lack of interest in marketing the Beatles' music.[3]

Second Album was a collection of material from various UK releases and recording sessions dating back to March 1963. Included were the five remaining tracks, all cover versions, from With the Beatles: "Roll Over Beethoven", "You Really Got a Hold on Me", "Devil in Her Heart", "Money (That's What I Want)" and "Please Mr. Postman". Added to these were "Thank You Girl", the B-side to the single "From Me to You"; "She Loves You" and its B-side, "I'll Get You"; "You Can't Do That" (the B-side of "Can't Buy Me Love"), from the upcoming A Hard Day's Night UK soundtrack; and two new songs, "Long Tall Sally" and "I Call Your Name". The latter tracks would be released in June 1964 in the UK on the Long Tall Sally EP.


Capitol's engineers, headed by record executive Dave Dexter, Jr., added considerable echo and reverb to the songs in order to give the album the atmosphere of a live performance. The inclusion of "Thank You Girl" marked the only stereo version of the song released on any album in the US or UK for over 40 years, until another stereo version was released on the 2009 remastered edition of the Past Masters compilation. The same stereo mix of "Thank You Girl" on The Beatles' Second Album was included on The Beatles Beat, released in West Germany and the Netherlands, as well as the original 2004 CD issue of The Beatles Second Album as included in The Capitol Albums, Volume 1 box set. The Capitol album mix of "Thank You Girl" is also unique in that it contains three additional harmonica riffs by John Lennon – two during the bridge and one at the end. For its US album debut, Capitol took this stereo version and transferred it into a two-to-one stereo-to-mono mixdown for the mono LP release, thus creating an alternative mono mix of the song. The stereo version of "Money" also underwent the same two-to-one stereo-to-mono mixdown, thereby creating another alternative mono mix.

For the mono version of "I Call Your Name", the cowbell comes in at the very beginning of the song; the stereo version features the cowbell after the beginning of the vocal. George Harrison's opening 12-string guitar phrase is also different between the mono and stereo versions. On "Long Tall Sally", reverb was added to the stereo version. The "dry" mono mix of "Long Tall Sally" is noticeably different from the mono mix with slight echo that was issued in the UK, and is unique to the Second Album. The mono version of "You Can't Do That" is also different from the version on UK A Hard Day's Night LP.

Because "I'll Get You" and "She Loves You" were never mixed in stereo, Duophonic/fake stereo versions were made for this album.


Capitol Records issued The Beatles' Second Album on 10 April 1964[4] with the catalogue number Capitol ST 2080.[5] The tagline in the advertising for the release read: "It's Here! It's on Capitol!! and It's ALL Beatles!!!"[6] In Canada, this record could not be called The Beatles' Second Album, since Beatlemania! With the Beatles and Twist and Shout had preceded it. A slightly different track listing was released for the Canadian market with similar cover art, under the title The Beatles' Long Tall Sally.[7] In 1968, The Beatles' Second Album, The Early Beatles and Meet the Beatles! were issued in Canada, although the earlier Canadian LPs remained in print (eventually with stereo mixes) until the late 1980s, when the CD era precipitated their deletion.

In the US, the album debuted at number 16 on the Billboard Top LPs for the week ending April 25, 1964.[8] It peaked at number one the following week, replacing Meet the Beatles!, which had held the top spot for eleven weeks (for the last nine of which Vee-Jay's Introducing... had placed at number two).[8][9] The Beatles' Second Album remained atop the chart for five consecutive weeks[8] and stayed in the top 200 until May 1965.[9] It reached 1,668,435 copies sold by 31 December 1964, and 2,051,486 copies by the end of the decade.[8] It was certified Gold by the RIAA on 13 April 1964, and 2× Platinum on 10 January 1997.[10]

Critical legacy[edit]

Retrospective professional reviews
Review scores
And It Don't StopA+[11]
Encyclopedia of Popular Music[12]
The Rolling Stone Record Guide[13]

Second Album was one of the first four rock albums purchased by future music critic Robert Christgau.[14] Writing of the album in 1969, he said it disproves the fallacy among new rock scholars and listeners that the Beatles had not succeeded artistically until the more melodic period of Rubber Soul (1965) and Revolver (1966). Instead, he argued it was their ebullient performing style, as on the Second Album's covers of African-American rock and roll songs, which "were touched with soul (compare their Money to the Beach Boys' Barbara Ann) but avoided the sodden seriousness of other white imitators." He included the album in his basic rock "library" of 25 albums for Stereo Review that year,[15] and later in a more comprehensive library of essential 1950s and 1960s recordings for Christgau's Record Guide: Rock Albums of the Seventies (1981).[16] In 2020, Christgau voted for the album in his ballot for Rolling Stone magazine's third edition of the "500 Greatest Albums of All Time".[11]

According to Bruce Eder of AllMusic, The Beatles' Second Album "stands as probably the best pure rock & roll album ever issued of the group's music" because it "avoid[s] any trace of the pop ballads favored by Paul McCartney that usually slowed down the group's other early albums, and the result was the longest uninterrupted body of hard rock & roll and R&B in their entire output."[1] In his 2014 review of the Beatles' Capitol albums, for Guitar World, Jeff Slate commented that "the oomph of the over-compressed Dexter tracks" had since been removed, but the album was arguably their "first great rock and roll record".[17] Referring to the assortment of tracks assembled by Capitol, Darryl Sterdan of the Toronto Sun wrote: "The hodge-podgery begins [here] ... Surprisingly enough, it holds together OK, thanks to a strong string of rockers like Money, Roll Over Beethoven and Long Tall Sally."[18]

Track listing[edit]

All songs were written by Lennon–McCartney, except where noted. Composer, track length and lead vocal credits are taken from Beatles scholars Mark Lewisohn, John C. Winn and Ian MacDonald.[19]

Side one
No.TitleLead vocalsLength
1."Roll Over Beethoven" (Chuck Berry)Harrison2:42
2."Thank You Girl"Lennon with McCartney2:00
3."You Really Got a Hold on Me" (Smokey Robinson)Lennon and Harrison2:58
4."Devil in Her Heart" (Richard Drapkin)Harrison2:23
5."Money (That's What I Want)" (Janie Bradford, Berry Gordy, Jr.)Lennon2:46
6."You Can't Do That"Lennon2:33
Total length:15:22
Side two
No.TitleLead vocalsLength
1."Long Tall Sally" (Enotris Johnson, Richard Penniman, Robert Blackwell)McCartney2:01
2."I Call Your Name"Lennon2:10
3."Please Mr. Postman" (Brian Holland, Robert Bateman, William Garrett, Georgia Dobbins, Fred Gorman)Lennon2:32
4."I'll Get You"Lennon and McCartney2:02
5."She Loves You"Lennon and McCartney2:18
Total length:11:03


According to Ian MacDonald,[20] except where noted:

The Beatles

  • John Lennon – lead and backing vocals; rhythm and acoustic guitars (lead guitar solo on "You Can't Do That"); harmonica, handclaps
  • Paul McCartney – lead, harmony and backing vocals; bass guitar; handclaps, cowbell
  • George Harrison – lead, harmony and backing vocals; lead guitar; handclaps
  • Ringo Starr – drums; cowbell, maracas, conga, handclaps

Production and additional personnel


Chart (1964) Peak
US Billboard Top LPs[22][23] 1
US Cashbox Top LPs[24] 1
US Record World Top LPs[24] 1
German Albums (Offizielle Top 100)[25] 50


Region Certification Certified units/sales
Canada (Music Canada)[26] Platinum 100,000^
United States (RIAA)[10] 2× Platinum 2,051,486[8]

^ Shipments figures based on certification alone.


  1. ^ a b c Eder, Bruce. "The Beatles The Beatles' Second Album". AllMusic. Retrieved 24 January 2019.
  2. ^ Miles, Barry (2001). The Beatles Diary Volume 1: The Beatles Years. London: Omnibus Press. pp. 128, 140. ISBN 0-7119-8308-9.
  3. ^ Lewisohn, Mark (2010) [1992]. The Complete Beatles Chronicle: The Definitive Day-by-Day Guide to the Beatles' Entire Career. Chicago, IL: Chicago Review Press. p. 350. ISBN 978-1-56976-534-0.
  4. ^ Miles 2001, p. 140.
  5. ^ Castleman, Harry; Podrazik, Walter J. (1976). All Together Now: The First Complete Beatles Discography 1961–1975. New York, NY: Ballantine Books. p. 28. ISBN 0-345-25680-8.
  6. ^ Swanson, Dave (10 April 2014). "The Patched-Together History of 'The Beatles' Second Album'". Ultimate Classic Rock. Retrieved 24 January 2019.
  7. ^ "Beatles discography: Canada". 25 April 2008.
  8. ^ a b c d e "How Many Records did the Beatles actually sell?". Deconstructing Pop Culture by David Kronemyer. 29 April 2009. Archived from the original on 6 March 2016. Retrieved 11 July 2015.
  9. ^ a b Castleman & Podrazik 1976, pp. 357–58.
  10. ^ a b "American album certifications – The Beatles – The Beatles_ Second Album". Recording Industry Association of America. Retrieved 15 September 2013.
  11. ^ a b Christgau, Robert (16 June 2021). "Xgau Sez: June, 2021". And It Don't Stop. Substack. Retrieved 17 June 2021.
  12. ^ Larkin, Colin (2007). The Encyclopedia of Popular Music (4th ed.). Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0195313734.
  13. ^ Marsh, Dave; Swenson, John (Editors). The Rolling Stone Record Guide, 1st edition, Random House/Rolling Stone Press, 1979, p. 26.
  14. ^ Christgau, Robert (17 June 2020). "Xgau Sez: June, 2020". And It Don't Stop. Substack. Retrieved 20 June 2020.
  15. ^ Christgau, Robert (March 1969). "A Short and Happy History of Rock". Stereo Review. Retrieved 25 September 2018.
  16. ^ Christgau, Robert (1981). "A Basic Record Library: The Fifties and Sixties". Christgau's Record Guide: Rock Albums of the Seventies. Ticknor & Fields. ISBN 0899190251. Retrieved 22 December 2018 – via
  17. ^ Slate, Jeff (18 February 2014). "Album Review: The Beatles — 'The U.S. Albums'". Guitar World. Retrieved 24 January 2019.
  18. ^ Sterdan, Darryl (5 February 2014). "The Beatles, 'The U.S. Albums' review". Toronto Sun. Retrieved 24 January 2019.
  19. ^ Lewisohn 2000, p. 351; Winn 2008, pp. 39, 52, 61, 63, 65, 153, 160–161; MacDonald 2007, pp. 80, 83, 85, 87–89, 91–92, 107–108, 112, 114.
  20. ^ MacDonald 2007, pp. 80, 83, 85, 87–89, 91–92, 107–108, 112, 114.
  21. ^ Everett 2001, pp. 389n204, 391n232, 397n42, 399n78.
  22. ^ Whitburn 2010, p. 63.
  23. ^ "The Beatles Chart History (Billboard 200)". Billboard. 16 March 2021. Retrieved 16 March 2021.
  24. ^ a b Lewisohn 2000, p. 351.
  25. ^ "Offizielle Deutsche Charts" (Enter "Beatles" in the search bar). GfK Entertainment. Retrieved 16 May 2016.
  26. ^ "Canadian album certifications – The Beatles – Second Album". Music Canada. Retrieved 15 September 2013.


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