"The second album was slightly better than the first..."-George Harrison
With The Beatles was released November 22, 1963 just hours before the dreadful assassination of John F. Kennedy. The album consists of fourteen tracks ranging from original songs like "All My Loving" to other cover versions like Chuck Berry's "Roll Over Beethoven". Unlike their first album, Please Please Me which most of the songs were recorded in one day, With The Beatles started recording on July 18,1963 and ended around October 23,1963 due to varying schedules due to touring, television and radio performances and resulting in an album that's approximately 32 minutes and 24 seconds long.
"The first album was really a recital of their repertoire. We weren't thinking in terms of an album being an entity in itself back then. We would record singles, and the ones that weren't issued as singles would be put onto an album - which is how the second album, With The Beatles, was put together. It was just a collection of their songs, and one or two other people's songs as well" -George Martin, The Beatles Anthology
Like Please Please Me, With The Beatles it didn't receive a US release until 1987. Although With The Beatles wasn't released till 1987, the cover shot was used for the debut album for Capitol Records Meet The Beatles, which included nine tracks from the British released and included their first US Hit, "I Want To Hold Your Hand" and two others.
With The Beatles included the following Tracks:
- It Wont Be Long (Lennon-McCartney)
- All I've Got To Do (Lennon-McCartney)
- All My Loving (Lennon-McCartney)
- Don't Bother Me (Harrison)
- Little Child (Lennon-McCartney)
- Till There Was You (Wilson)
- Please Mister Postman (Bateman-Dobbins-Garret-Gorman-Holland)
- Roll Over Beethoven (Berry)
- Hold Me Tight (Lennon-McCartney)
- You've Really Got A Hold On Me (Robinson)
- I Wanna Be Your Man (Lennon-McCartney)
- Devil In Her Heart (Drapkin)
- Not A Second Time (Lennon-McCartney)
- Money (That's What I Want) (Bradford-Gordy, Jr.)
With The Beatles received great views getting 5/5 from Allmusic, 4/5 from Blender, Rolling Stone gave it 5/5 and Q rated it 5/5. It was produced by George Martin and had Norman Smith work on the album as principal engineer.
The album was inspired by American artist and music styles. The Beatles say that the songs chosen for the album were because they all favored the American music than British.
"We were all very interested in American music, much more so than in British. Ringo arrived in the band knowing more blues music. Coming from the Dingle, by the river, he'd known plenty of blokes in the Merchant Navy (that was a way for kids to get out of Liverpool, to places like New Orleans and New York) who would pick up a lot of blues records."-Paul McCartney, The Beatles Anthology
McCartney says that it was Ringo who introduced them to country western music and said that it's because of their difference taste in music made life 'interesting'.
The album also includes George's first song, "Don't Bother Me". It's said that he wrote the song when he was sick and wrote it just to see if he could write a song.
"I don't think it's a particularly good song; it mightn't be a song at all. But at least it showed me that all I needed to do was keep on writing and maybe eventually I would write something good. I still feel now: I wish I could write something good. It's relativity. It did, however, provide me with an occupation."-George Harrison, The Beatles Anthology
The album had a big impact in George's music career showing that not only John and Paul can write. And he'd later go on to write classics like "Something".
The iconic album cover was taken by Robert Freeman and is now one of the most copied designs and opened eyes for pop culture photography. Robert Freeman had just finished art school and lived below John in London.
"They all told him the sort of effect that they wanted and he achieved it very well. From then on, they were involved with all aspects of album artwork."- Neil Aspinall, The Beatles Anthology
Quotes on With The Beatles;
"The first (album) we did just as a 'group'; we went in and played and they put it on tape and we went. They remixed it, they did everything to it."
"The second album was slightly better than the first, inasmuch as we spent more time on it, and there were more original songs."
"The cover songs recorded for With The Beatles were chosen by whoever liked them."
"...Our tastes were pretty much in common, each of us having slightly different leanings as well, which made life interesting."
"In those days, the boys tended to rehearse for the recordings as we did it. I would meet up with them, go through the material, and say, 'OK, what's the next one we're doing?' and we'd go in and rehearse a song and record it. It was like a workshop."