Gary Pig Gold Meets The Beatles…only Somewhere Else
Being a most wide-eared eight years old in the suburban Toronto of 1963, I was at the perfect age – and in the perfect place – to, yes, Meet the Beatles. Because by the time “those four youngsters from Liverpool” hit The Ed Sullivan Show on 2/9/64, my friends and I had already spent the past several months familiarizing ourselves with John, Paul, George and Ringo’s initial A-sides via mighty 1050 CHUM-AM.
In other words then, the British Beat had no reason to invade Canada. It was invited.
Unlike with our neighbours on the southern side of that Pine Curtain you see, each of the Beatles’ earliest discs garnered automatic release on Capitol Records of Canada, beginning right at the beginning with “Love Me Do” in February of ‘63 (the version with Ringo on drums, by the way!), and the Canadian Beatle Discography boasts many other rare slices of vintage vinyl totally unique to the genre, and as a result extremely collectable.
For example, the Canadian Beatlemania! album not only sported an identical cover and track line-up, but was released the very same week With the Beatles was in the UK (making it the first Fab album released anywhere within North America), and its twelve-inch Capitol Canada follow-up, the Twist and Shout album – # 1 on the Canadian charts for ten weeks in early ’64 – was in fact the very first “big record” I ever had the pleasure to have owned.
And what a remarkable record it was, and is: Fourteen action-packed tracks featuring all four – “count ‘em”! – of the band’s first UK 45 top-sides, plus a generous helping of Cavern-baked covers from their homeland debut album Please Please Me. Being too young then to know, and still too young to care if nary a Beatle wrote each and every note or lyric herein, Carole King’s “Chains” stacked so easily around Len/Mac’s similarly George Harri-sung “Do You Want To Know A Secret,” Bacharach and David’s “Baby, It’s You” seamlessly followed John and Paul’s “P.S. I Love You” on T & S Side 2, and the magnificent Arthur Alexander’s “Anna (Go to Him),” which kicked off this entire collection, continues to this day to hold more than its own against any Beatle composition you or even I could mention.
Another Arthur Alexander Gem….
And while Lennon’s wholly larynx-bursting “Twist and Shout” completed the first Beatle album in Great Britain, the ever-inventive Canadian Capitol chose to close its namesake long-player with none other than – wait for it – “She Loves You.” Take that, Sir George Martin! (and tell Dave Dexter, Jr. the news.)
Meanwhile in the seven-inch division, “Please Please Me” actually hit the CFGP Top Forty in Grande Prairie, Alberta during April of ‘63, while two of Capitol Canada’s most unique couplings, “All My Loving”/”This Boy” and “Roll Over Beethoven”/”Please Mister Postman,” sold sufficient (smuggled) copies to reach even the American Hot One Hundred a year later. Also, the U.S. Tollie label “Twist and Shout”/”There’s a Place” 45, which soared to Billboard # 2 in April of 1964, was an identically-formed Canadian Capitol Top Ten much, much earlier.
Don’t believe a word I say? Well, may I just add then that every single one of the above-mentioned original deep-grooved, meticulously mastered Canadian (mono!) pressings put their U.S. counterparts – not to mention even the latest digital Apple incarnations, truth to tell – to total, unequivocal sonic shame. Really!
P.S.: and Speaking strictly O Canada, here’s something Good to read …while you’re watching this Christmas’ Big Beatle Bonanza , that is.
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Gary Pig Gold may have grown up in Port Credit, run away to Hamilton to join his first rock ‘n’ roll group, hung out with Joe Strummer on his first-ever night in the UK, returned to T.O. to publish Canada’s first-ever rock ‘n’ roll (fan)zine, run away again to Surf City to (almost) tour Australia with Jan & Dean, come home again to tour O Canada with that country’s first-ever (authorized!) Beach Boys tribute band …but STILL, he had to travel all the way back to the USSR to secure his first-ever recording contract www.GaryPigGold.com