With the Beatles

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With the Beatles
A black-and-white photograph of the Beatles' faces on a black background with the band members wearing black turtleneck sweaters
Studio album by
Released22 November 1963 (1963-11-22)
Recorded18 July – 23 October 1963
StudioEMI Studios, London
ProducerGeorge Martin
The Beatles chronology
Please Please Me
With the Beatles
A Hard Day's Night
Alternative covers
Australian cover
Australian cover
Alternative cover
Canadian cover
Canadian cover
The Beatles North American chronology
Beatlemania! With the Beatles
Introducing... The Beatles
The Beatles Canadian chronology
Beatlemania! With the Beatles
Twist and Shout
Professional ratings
Review scores
AllMusic5/5 stars[4]
The A.V. ClubA[5]
Blender4/5 stars[6]
Encyclopedia of Popular Music4/5 stars[7]
Pitchfork Media8.8/10[9]
Record Collector4/5 stars[11]
Rolling Stone5/5 stars[12]
The Rolling Stone Album Guide4.5/5 stars[13]

With the Beatles is the second studio album by the English rock band the Beatles. It was released on 22 November 1963, on Parlophone, and was recorded four months after the band's debut Please Please Me. The album features eight original compositions (seven by Lennon–McCartney and "Don't Bother Me", George Harrison's first recorded solo composition and his first released on a Beatles album) and six covers (mostly of Motown, rock and roll, and R&B hits). The cover photograph was taken by the fashion photographer Robert Freeman, and it has been mimicked by several music groups over the years.

The album became the first Beatles album released in North America when it was released in Canada on 25 November under the augmented title Beatlemania! With the Beatles, with additional text on the album cover, and issued only in mono at the time, catalogue number T 6051 (a stereo Canadian release would come in 1968, catalogue number ST 6051). With the Beatles was unevenly "split" over the group's first two Capitol albums in the United States; nine tracks were issued on Meet the Beatles! (the eight original compositions plus "Till There Was You"), and the remaining five, all "covers", were placed on The Beatles' Second Album.

The LP had advance orders of a half million and sold another half million by September 1965, making it the second album to sell a million copies in the United Kingdom, after the soundtrack to the 1958 film South Pacific.[14] With the Beatles remained at the top of the charts for 21 weeks, displacing Please Please Me, so that the Beatles occupied the top spot for 51 consecutive weeks. It even reached number 11 in the "singles charts" (because at the time UK charts counted all records sold, regardless of format). EMI Australia did not receive the cover art, and used different shots of the band in a similar style to the black-and-white photograph on other releases. The Beatles were unaware of this until fans showed them the cover during their only Australian tour, and informed the EMI publicity staff that they were not pleased with the substitution.[15]

On 26 February 1987, With the Beatles was officially released on compact disc (in mono only, catalogue number CDP 7 46436 2). Having been available only as an import in the US in the past, the album was also issued domestically in the US on LP and cassette on 21 July 1987. Along with the rest of the Beatles' canon, it was re-released on CD in newly re-mastered stereo and mono versions on 9 September 2009.

The album was ranked number 420 on Rolling Stone magazine's list of The 500 Greatest Albums of All Time in 2003,[16] and was included in Robert Dimery's 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die.[17]


Unlike Please Please Me, whose tracks not previously issued on singles (10 of the 14) were recorded in one day (11 February 1963),[18] With the Beatles was recorded over seven sessions across three months, from 18 July to 23 October. None of its 14 tracks were issued as singles in the UK. In between sessions, as Beatlemania took off across the UK, the group were busy with radio, TV, and live performances. The sessions featured:

  • 18 July: "You Really Got a Hold on Me", "Money (That's What I Want)", "Devil in Her Heart" and "Till There Was You"[19]
  • 30 July: "Please Mr. Postman", "It Won't Be Long", "Money", "Till There Was You", "Roll Over Beethoven", and "All My Loving"[19]
  • 11 September: "I Wanna Be Your Man", "Little Child", "All I've Got to Do", "Not a Second Time" and "Don't Bother Me"[20]
  • 12 September: "Hold Me Tight" "Don't Bother Me", "Little Child" and "I Wanna Be Your Man"[21]
  • 3 October: "I Wanna Be Your Man" and "Little Child"[22]
  • 17 October: "I Want to Hold Your Hand", "This Boy", and "You Really Got a Hold on Me". This was the Beatles' first session to use four-track recording. "I Want to Hold Your Hand" and "This Boy" were the A-side and B-side of the Beatles' next single, released on 29 November.[23]
  • 23 October: "I Wanna Be Your Man"[24]


Impressed with Robert Freeman's black and white pictures of John Coltrane, Brian Epstein invited the photographer to do the cover image.[25] The Beatles requested him to take inspiration from the pictures Astrid Kirchherr had previously taken of the Beatles in Hamburg between 1960 and 1962, featuring the band in half-shadow and not smiling.[26] To achieve this result, on 22 August 1963 Freeman photographed the band in a dark corridor of the Palace Court Hotel, Bournemouth, England. To fit the square format of the cover, he put Ringo Starr in the bottom right corner, "since he was the last to join the group. He was also the shortest".[27] The original idea was to paint the picture from edge to edge, with no bleeding or title, but the studio vetoed it, on the grounds that the Beatles were not yet famous enough to carry a nameless cover. (The first album to carry an edge-to-edge cover was the Rolling Stones' self-titled debut, released a few months later.) The studio also tried to pull the cover because the Beatles were not smiling, and it was only after George Martin intervened that they won the day. Freeman was paid £75 for his work (three times the normal fee).

Track listing[edit]

With the Beatles (side 1) – Parlophone yellow and black label.

All tracks written by Lennon–McCartney, except where noted.

Side one
No.TitleLead vocalsLength
1."It Won't Be Long"Lennon2:13
2."All I've Got to Do"Lennon2:02
3."All My Loving"McCartney2:07
4."Don't Bother Me" (George Harrison)Harrison2:28
5."Little Child"Lennon with McCartney1:46
6."Till There Was You" (Meredith Willson)McCartney2:14
7."Please Mr. Postman" (Georgia Dobbins, William Garrett, Freddie Gorman, Brian Holland, Robert Bateman (originally recorded by The Marvelettes))Lennon2:34
Side two
No.TitleLead vocalsLength
1."Roll Over Beethoven" (Chuck Berry)Harrison2:45
2."Hold Me Tight"McCartney2:32
3."You Really Got a Hold on Me" (Smokey Robinson)Lennon and Harrison3:01
4."I Wanna Be Your Man"Starr1:59
5."Devil in Her Heart" (Richard Drapkin)Harrison2:26
6."Not a Second Time"Lennon2:07
7."Money (That's What I Want)" (Janie Bradford, Berry Gordy (originally recorded by Barrett Strong))Lennon2:49


According to Mark Lewisohn:[28]

The Beatles

  • John Lennon – lead, harmony and backing vocals; rhythm and acoustic guitars; handclaps; harmonica on “Little Child”; nylon-string acoustic guitar on "Till There Was You"; tambourine on "Don't Bother Me"
  • Paul McCartney – lead, harmony and backing vocals; bass guitar and handclaps; piano on "Little Child", claves on "Don't Bother Me"
  • George Harrison – lead, harmony and backing vocals; lead and acoustic guitars; handclaps; nylon-string acoustic guitar on "Till There Was You"
  • Ringo Starr – drums, tambourine, maracas, handclaps; lead vocals on "I Wanna Be Your Man", Arabian loose-skin bongo on "Till There Was You" and "Don't Bother Me"


Charts and certifications[edit]

Release history[edit]

Region Date Label Format Catalogue
United Kingdom 22 November 1963 Parlophone Mono LP PMC 1206
Stereo LP PCS 3045
16 February 1987 CD CDP 7 46436 2
United States 26 February 1987 Parlophone CD CDP 7 46436 2
21 July 1987 Capitol Records Mono, LP CLJ-46436
Worldwide re-release 9 September 2009 Apple Records Remastered stereo CD 0946 3 82420 2 4
Remastered mono CD
13 November 2012 Remastered stereo LP 0094638242017


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  3. ^ Howlett, Kevin; Heatley, Mike (2009). With the Beatles (CD historical notes). p. 12.
  4. ^ With the Beatles at AllMusic
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  22. ^ Lewisohn 1988, p. 123.
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External links[edit]