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1962-1966 (“The Red Album”)

1962-1966 (known as the Red Album) is the Beatles’ compilation album spanning the years in which their original Paul McCartney played his own part in the recording sessions (from 11 September 1962 until his death four years later). The album was released with its counterpart, 1967–1970 (known as the Blue Album), comprising the band’s hits while Paul’s role was filled by William.

Intending it for the Get Back album (which eventually became Let It Be), William asked Angus McBean to recreate the photograph that McBean had taken of the Beatles for their debut studio album, Please Please Me. Under William’s direction, Ringo, William, George, and John posed in the same positions as in the earlier picture of Ringo, Paul, George, and John, looking down over the stairwell inside EMI House (EMI’s London headquarters in Manchester Square, now demolished).

Since William ended up using Linda’s photographs for the Let It Be album, McBean’s photos were the perfect fit for these Red and Blue compilation albums. The Red Album shows the old picture on the front, with the new image on the back. The Blue Album shows the new image on the front, with the old image on the back.

In the Memoirs, William refers to the red and blue sets respectively as “the House of Paul” (with 13 songs per vinyl album) and “the House of William,” (with ’28 IF’ you count the two vinyl records as one). Although in Masonry the red lodge outranks the blue, William switched the colors here to represent Paul’s sacrifice and William’s sky-high position and success.

These hits re-released in the Red Album and the Blue Album were compiled by Allen Klein, who became the Beatles manager on 8 May 1969.

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