Starting as early as 1963, Capitol 6000 popular artists Helen Shapiro, Frank Ifield and Cliff Richard saw their LPs released in Canada in both mono and stereo formats:
|ST-6020||Helen Shapiro||Sings The Big Hits Of The 60s|
|RCA stereo pressing February 1963|
|ST-6025||Frank Ifield||Frank Ifield Sings|
|RCA stereo pressing February 1963|
|ST-6034||Cliff Richard And The Shadows||Summer Holiday|
|RCA stereo pressing April 1963|
These LPs were sold in limited quantities and were targeted at the "affluent" segment of the teen market as few teens could afford the extra cost of the stereo LP. Very few Canadian households had stereo record players in 1963 but that was about to change.
The Beatles, however, saw their first four Capitol LPs in Canada issued only in mono.
|T-6051||The Beatles||Beatlemania! With The Beatles|
|RCA mono pressing December 2, 1963|
|T-6054||The Beatles||Twist And Shout|
|RCA mono pressing February 3, 1964|
|T-6063||The Beatles||Long Tall Sally|
|RCA mono pressing April 27, 1964|
|T-2108||The Beatles||Something New|
|RCA mono pressing July 20, 1964|
For that matter, the other two "cash in " LPs issued in Canada during 1964 (eg Featuring My Bonnie Etc. MGM E 4215(C) and Ain't She Sweet ATCO.33-169) were only issued in mono format. Unlike the USA, the demand for stereo LPs in Canada was small. A teenager could easily hear the difference between the mono and stereo recordings but all too often the technology to play it properly was just not available ... who would pay the extra dollar for a stereo album if you did not have access to a stereo record player ?
As shown, the "Teen Scene" page of the Compo catalogue for the fall of 1964 lists both mono and stereo formats for UAL 3366 / UAS 6366, so clearly there was a marketing push for the stereo format by Compo in Canada. It is likely that stereo versions of this LP were not pressed by Compo until sometime after their brand new facility on Montreal Road in Cornwall was up and running, and this was probably sometime in early 1965 as referenced in The Beatles Canadian Discography Part 2.
So the question is ... who was first in Canada with a stereo Beatles LP ... was it Capitol (RCA) or was it United Artists (Compo) ? While Compo may have run some early test stereo pressings at Cornwall as early as late 1964, it is most certainly Capitol who, via RCA in Smiths Falls, were first to press a Canadian Beatles album in stereo. Demand for a stereo LP release was building in Canada during 1964 and true Beatles fans were able to obtain stereo copies of Beatles LPs from the USA and from Britain. Capitol of Canada would have seen this trend and would have been getting pressure form record retailers who would be on the front end of the questions from Beatles fans ... "when and where could they buy a stereo release of a Canadian Beatles album" ???
Once the decision had been made to move ahead with stereo pressings in Canada, the question would have been "how many to pressing" ? In the case of Capitol, the earlier stereo LP releases by Cliff Richard and others had been a fraction of the mono production run ... industry numbers from this time show that mono production normally outran stereo production by a factor of 10 to 1. So if there had been 100,000 copies pressed for Beatles '65 in early December 1964 then perhaps only 10,000 stereo copies would have been pressed. It is doubtful that Capitol/RCA would have pressed as many as 10,000 stereo copies of ST-2228. It is likely that the actual number would have been half of that (eg 5,000) and even that is a stretch as so few copies of that turn up in stereo relative to their mono T-2228 counterparts.
The Vancouver radio station CKLG produced weekly charts on small printed sheets of coloured paper and these were available for free at the various record stores in Vancouver (eg Kellys, A & B Sound, etc.). For the week of December 20th., 1964, Capitol of Canada ran an advert on the back of the CKLG chart and this featured both of the new Beatles LP releases; the new album entitled Beatles '65 and the double documentary album Beatles Story. This advert is show here and you can see that only the Beatles '65 album is show as being available in stereo. In fact, we can assume that this stereo LP was in fact the first stereo Beatles album to be pressed in Canada.
Mono and stereo metal stampers were shipped in early December 1964 from Scranton , Pennsylvania to RCA Victor's pressing plant at Smiths Falls , Ontario. The mono stampers wore out quickly and were soon replaced by "made in Canada" replacements supplied by RCA Victor sound engineer Graham Newton. The stereo stampers from Scranton would have had less use and lasted well into the early 1970s and were even used with some green target label copies.
What is most surprising is that even when Capitol of Canada arranged to repressing the early Beatles albums in 1967, they chose not to do stereo versions of the first 3 Canadian Capitol albums. This was primarily due to the parental pressure to harmonize the Beatles catalogue between Canada and the USA. A Capitol Record Club of Canada advert from February 1968 shows the entire Beatles LP late 1967 album catalogue pre-Pepper and you can see that both Meet The Beatles and Second Album USA albums have replaced the similarly covered Beatlemania! and Long Tall Sally LPs. Both of the first two USA format albums were given a mono and stereo release in Canada. Note that Beatles Story was still only a mono album set until the mid point of 1968.
The new Beatles '65 LP in December of 1964 was the very first stereo Beatles album to be released in Canada and paved the way for all subsequent stereo releases until the band broke up in early 1970. It is well worth seeking out a "first pressing" of this original Canadian "deep groove" stereo LP just to hear the difference.