“The Beatles” double-album announced

Saturday, September 28, 1968

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Towards the end of September 1968, Apple announced that The Beatles’ next album would be a 24-song, two-record set. At this time, the title of the album was not defined yet, and The Beatles were still in the recording studios to complete the opus. The album was then announced to be released on November 16, but its release would be pushed back to November 22.

A special double album from the Beatles, with 24 widely different tracks. That’s the plan of Apple Records, who are releasing the follow-up album to the group’s “Sergeant Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” on November 16, as a special double-album.

So far the package of the two albums is untitled. A decision about the marketing of the albums and the price is being held this week, as well as final decisions on the albums’ cover.

Apple’s Derek Taylor told the MM on Monday: “This is the first time time Beatles have put out a double album in Britain.

He described the material making up the two dozen tracks as “very varied, right down the middle of the road.

There is a wide variety of sounds, from simple ballades with bare guitar accompaniment to the huge orchestral sound of “Hey Jude”. “There is also hard rock and roll, hard and light numbers and some standards,” he said. “John and Paul have written most of the material and Paul seems to be writing a song a week at the moment.

There are also a couple of numbers by George and one by Ringo, although he also sings on a couple of others.

The Beatles are still working on the album in the studios.

From Melody Maker – September 28, 1968
From Melody Maker – September 28, 1968

The next Beatles album is to be a mammoth 24-track double package to be released on the Apple label on November 16. No title has been set, but George Harrison told the NME that among numbers will be some of his own compositions and another Paul McCartney solo, “Mother Nature’s Son.” Paul is featured on guitar, but with occasional brass backing. […]

There is a possibility the forthcoming and long-awaited Beatles LP – their first since “Sergent Pepper” – could be a “two-for-the-price-of-one” release. But this could not be confirmed by an Apple spokesman.

The new album leans towards a heavier sound than for some time, and according to George Harrison most of the numbers are far simpler and revert to the guitar, bass and drums line-up. […]

A decision on the Beatles album title, plus the cover design, was being taken as the NME went to press this week. […]

From New Musical Express – September 28, 1968
From New Musical Express – September 28, 1968

For the first time ever the Beatles will release two LP albums together! They hope to have the twin-set of two full-length LP records ready to go into the shops no later than the middle of November! A very spectacular container has been designed to carry the album which will be the group’s first LP release on their own Apple Records label. There will be simultaneous release in Britain, America and other major territories throughout the world.

At press-time the final programme of titles had not been worked out, but since many of the recordings are much longer than average it is likely that each of the two LP discs will have no more than 12 tracks – a total of 24 entirely new Beatle recordings. Ringo will sing solo on at least two numbers – one of which is his own first composition. Two or three numbers will be Harrison originals written and sung by George. The rest will be Lennon-McCartney collaborations.

Commenting on the two-record LP set Mal Evans The Beatles Monthly “We had 13 tracks completed by the first week of September. The early ones are stuff the fellows write in India. Now they’re finishing off songs they wrote in July and August. There’s such a great variety of different material that everyone should be happy. Each track is a musical spectacular in its own right. They’re all big production numbers. I’d say each took an average of 30 recording hours to put on tape although one or two were started and finished in a single 12-hour all-night session.

From the Beatles Monthly Book, N°63, October 1968

The Beatles’ new double album, due out on November 15 has still not officially been titled, but will contain 27 tracks and not 24 as previously announced. […]

From Melody Maker – October 26, 1968
From Melody Maker – October 26, 1968

Last updated on October 3, 2021

Going further

The Beatles Diary Volume 1: The Beatles Years

"With greatly expanded text, this is the most revealing and frank personal 30-year chronicle of the group ever written. Insider Barry Miles covers the Beatles story from childhood to the break-up of the group."

We owe a lot to Barry Miles for the creation of those pages, but you really have to buy this book to get all the details - a day to day chronology of what happened to the four Beatles during the Beatles years!

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