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Reference Library: Beatles Reel to Reel Tapes

From: (EgwEimi)
Subject: Beatles US reel tapes
Date: 11 Feb 1995 14:31:07 -0500

For those of you interested in tapes, here's a history and catalog of Beatles-related reel to reel tapes.

The sixties saw a proliferation of tape formats. By late 1973, only the eight track and the cassette were to survive. After 1982, the cassette (which Capitol introduced in 1968) emerged as the sole survivor. The reel tape, the original tape format, was one of the casualties. Beatles related reel tapes go for a minimum of $40 in near mint condition today, being harder to find than their l.p. counterparts.

When the Beatles signed on with Capitol in late 1963, the reel to reel tape was the only tape alternative to vinyl. Professional recordings were made on reel tapes (as some still are today). These were reproduced at one half or one fourth of the recorded speed for the public. Purchasers of reel tapes were generally seen as audiophiles, as indeed many of them were. And so, Capitol did not issue all of its "popular" records on reel tape. Also, classical recordings were longer, and thus were better suited to the reel format. The reel-tape-purchasing public generally did not buy tapes that had only 30 minutes of music on them. Capitol solved that problem by offering 5" tapes instead of the standard 7" size and by offering two pop albums on one tape.

In mid-1969, Capitol left the reel tape manufacturing business, contracting out to Ampex Tapes. When the catalog switched to Ampex, there were no qualms about issuing one album on one tape. Capitol (Ampex) stopped issuing new reel tapes in late 1971, but the format survived for possibly ten more years through record clubs as a "special order" item. It may still be possible to find new reel tapes (although not of Beatles recordings). "ips" stands for "inches per second."

Meet the Beatles     Capitol Z2-2047  3 3/4ips  
                     5" tape with black box, mono 
Meet the Beatles     Capitol Z4-2047  3 3/4ips
                     5" tape with black box, stereo
     I have a Capitol tape catalog from 1965.  This is the ONLY Capitol
     reel tape listed that was available in both mono and stereo.

Hard Day's Night United Artists MUA-3366 7 1/2ips 60's logo, mono Hard Day's Night United Artists MUA-6366 7 1/2ips 60's logo, stereo The above two tapes were manufactured by Music Tapes, Inc. It was also rare for UA to issue tapes in both mono and stereo.

Beatles '65/Early Beatles Capitol Y2T-2365 3 3/4ips; brown box Beatles VI/Something New Capitol Y2T-2382 3 3/4ips; brown box Rubber Soul/Second Album Capitol Y2T-2467 Yesterday and Today Capitol YT-2553 3 3/4ips; 5" tape; brown box As with ALL tape formats, all of the songs on this tape are in true stereo. At the time, the vinyl l.p. featured 3 songs in rechanneled stereo, since Capitol did not wait long enough for Parlophone (UK) to send them the stereo masters before preparing the stampers for the stereo l.p..

At this time (1966), the Meet the Beatles 5" stereo tape was reissued with a brown box and a sticker which reads "new biosonic process."

Hard Day's Night United Artists UAX-6366; 60's logo; stereo UA reissued its early tape at about this time

Revolver Capitol ZT-2576; 3 3/4 ips; brown box Family Way Soundtrack London LPL-70136 Mfd. by Ampex; black box. Sgt. Pepper's LHCB Capitol Y1T-2653; 3 3/4ips; brown box Magical Mystery Tour Capitol Y1T-2835; 3 3/4ips; brown box The Beatles Apple Y2WB-101; 3 3/4ips; brown box 2 records on one tape Meet the Beatles Capitol Y1T-2047; 3 3/4ips; 7" tape; brown box Yesterday and Today Capitol Y1T-2553; 3 3/4ips; 7" tape; brown box Revolver Capitol Y1T-2576; 3 3/4ips; 7" tape; brown box; reissue Yellow Submarine Apple Y1W-153; 3 3/4ips; brown box Abbey Road Apple/Ampex L-383; 7 1/2ips; blue box

At this point, Meet the Beatles (L-2047), Second Album (L-2080), Beatles '65 (L-2228), Beatles VI (L-2358), Early Beatles (L-2309), Rubber Soul (L-2442), Yesterday and Today (L-2553), Revolver (L-2576), Sgt. Pepper (L-2653), Magical Mystery Tour (L-2835) were all reissued onto Ampex 7 1/2ips tapes with blue boxes. It is interesting to note that "Something New" went out of print at this time.

In addition, the following tapes were issued:

Help! Capitol/Ampex L-2358 7 1/2ips; blue box This album had not been available on reel tape prior to 1969-70. The Beatles Apple/Ampex L-101/L-2101; 7 1/2ips; blue box The album had previously been available on one tape. For the Ampex issue, it was split up into two. Furthermore, this tape set contains edited versions of 6 songs. These edits were apparently made at the same time as the "Paul Is Dead" hoax and are found nowhere else. Shorter total times are found on the tape label itself. Yellow Submarine Capitol/Ampex L-153; 7 1/2ips; blue box For some reason, this tape was switched over from Apple to the Capitol label. Hey Jude! Apple/Ampex L-385; 7 1/2ips; blue box Live Peace In Toronto Apple L-3362; 7 1/2ips; blue box Let It Be Apple/Ampex L-3401; 7 1/2ips; blue box McCartney Apple/Ampex L-3363; 7 1/2ips; blue box Sentimental Journey Apple/Ampex L-3365; 7 1/2ips; blue box Hard Day's Night United Artists UST-6366; boxed UA logo At about this time, UA reissued its reel tape again. All Things Must Pass Apple/Ampex D-639; 3 3/4ips; blue box All three records on one tape. Beaucoups of Blues Apple/Ampex L-3368; 7 1/2ips; blue box Plastic Ono Band Apple/Ampex M-3372; 7 1/2ips; blue box This tape comes with a lyric insert. Ram Apple/Ampex L-3375; 7 1/2ips; blue box Imagine Apple/Ampex L-3379; 7 1/2ips; blue box This tape comes with a lyric insert. Concert For Bangla Desh Apple/Ampex ZRX-31230; 3 3/4ips; This tape is apparently numbered as a Columbia record.

Wonderwall Music and the Wedding Album may also exist on reel tape, but these have not been documented.

In addition, two non-Beatles Apple records are known to exist on reel tape. These include:

Magic Christian Music (L-3364) (Badfinger) No Dice (L-3367) (Badfinger) Yoko Ono Plastic Ono Band (M-3373)

Others are suspected.

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