Capitol Records

Capitol Records is an American record label owned by Universal Music Group through its Capitol Music Group. It was founded as the first West Coast-based record label in the United States in 1942 by Johnny Mercer, Buddy DeSylva, and Glenn E. Wallichs, and was later acquired by British music conglomerate EMI as its North American subsidiary in 1955.1

EMI was later acquired by Universal Music Group in 2012 and was merged with the company a year later, making Capitol and the Capitol Music Group both a part of UMG. The label’s circular headquarter building located in Hollywood is a recognized landmark of California.

As was common practice in the ’50s and ’60s, Capitol modified some albums that were originally released in other countries on other labels. Albums released in the United States contained fewer tracks, typically no more than 11 or 12, compared to albums released in the United Kingdom due to differences in the method publishing royalties were calculated in the two countries.

This began with Capitol’s release of Meet the Beatles!, the first album by the band to be released by Capitol in the United States. It was based on the British album With the Beatles, which contained 14 tracks and a running time of around 35 minutes. Capitol removed five tracks (“Money”, “You’ve Really Got A Hold On Me”, “Devil In Her Heart”, “Please Mister Postman”, and “Roll Over Beethoven”) and added both sides of the band’s first American hit single (“I Want To Hold Your Hand” and “I Saw Her Standing There”) and the British single’s B-side, “This Boy”. “I Saw Her Standing There” was on the Beatles’ first British album Please Please Me. This resulted in Capitol releasing Meet the Beatles as a 12-track album with a duration of around 30 minutes, and made it comparable with other American pop albums. It also provided Capitol with unreleased tracks for use in later US Beatles albums such as The Beatles’ Second Album.

Capitol also issued “duophonic” stereo releases of some recordings where the original master was monophonic. Capitol engineers split the single master monaural track into two, boosted the bass on the right channel, boosted treble on the left channel and added a split-second delay between channels to produce a “stereo” release. This Duophonic process meant that the Beatles’ American fans heard a slightly different song from that heard by the rest of the world if they listened to the stereo version.2


  1. Critic’s Notebook: Hollywood landmark at a crossroads↩︎
  2. Abbeyrd’s Beatles Page. Steve Marinucci↩︎
Last updated byAnonymous on March 10, 2020
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