Past Masters

In the 1980’s, there was a rush to get albums in CD format on to the market from all artists. Of course, this applied to albums by The Beatles too. The “Past Masters” Series is a double album collection which came about through the release of The Beatles’ back catalogue.

Indeed, this was no ordinary album. This is because it contains the songs that were not available on the original 12 Beatles’ studio albums in the UK. During the 1960’s it was customary to release individual singles that were not available on the albums. After all, the buying public didn’t really need duplicates. For example, “Yes It Is” was a B-side, that up until now, was not on a UK album.

So, the “Past Masters” has some classic Beatles’ hits together with some B-sides and other rarities. Obviously, the inclusion of 2 German-language tracks shows that their roots mean a lot. There is also a song which they recorded specifically for the American market too – “Bad Boy”.

In short, The Beatles’ Box Set, released on the 7th March, 1988, was the only way to get hold of these albums. Then, they had the title, “Past Masters” Volume One and Volume Two. However, they became available on the 9th September 2009 with the simple title, “Past Masters”.

In Detail

Release Date: 7th March, 1988 (part of a box set)
Recorded: 4th September, 1962 – 4th January, 1970
Album Duration: 93:29
Studios: EMI Studios, Trident, Olympic and Apple studios in London, also Pathé Marconi Studio, Paris
Genre: Rock
Label: Parlophone, Capitol, Apple
Producer: George Martin
Compiler: Mark Lewisohn

Of course, The Beatles are John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr.

“Past Masters” Album

Volume One


Lead Vocal

01) McCartney with Lennon
02) Lennon with McCartney
03) Lennon with McCartney
04) Lennon with McCartney
05) Lennon with McCartney
06) Lennon with McCartney
07) Lennon, McCartney and Harrison
08) Lennon and McCartney
09) Lennon and McCartney
10) McCartney
11) Lennon
12) Lennon
13) Starr
14) Lennon
15) McCartney
16) Lennon
17) Lennon, McCartney and Harrison
18) McCartney

Volume Two


Lead Vocal

01) McCartney with Lennon
02) McCartney
03) McCartney
04) Lennon
05) McCartney
06) Harrison
07) McCartney
08) Lennon
09) McCartney
10) Lennon
11) Lennon
12) Harrison
13) Lennon
14) McCartney
15) McCartney with Lennon

Album Covers

Past Masters Volumes One and Two - The Beatles Cavern Club and Forum
The Beatles Past Masters Volume One
The Beatles Past Masters Volume Two

The “Past Masters” albums obviously reflect the black and white era of the 1960’s perfectly. They are simplistic in their design of course and they get the message over. But, they are a bit bland and perhaps could have had a picture or two of the Fab Four. Be that as it may, they are what they are. However, there are many images in the booklet that comes with the album.

On the 12th November 2012, they released a remastered-for-vinyl version of the “Past Masters” double LP set.

Mono Masters

Date of Release: 9 September 2009 (The Beatles in Mono box set)**
Label: Apple, EMI
Genre: Rock
Producer: George Martin
Remaster Engineers: Simon Gibson, Paul Hicks, Sean Magee, Guy Massey, Sam Okell, Steve Rooke, Allan Rouse

** Still only available as part of this box set.

The “Past Masters” also has a version called the “Mono Masters”. Obviously, as the title suggests, they are all mono recordings. Indeed, to qualify for this album, tracks had to be recorded and prepared for a true dedicated mono mix. Of course, those tracks which were only available in stereo are not on this album.

Also, this album excludes those tracks where the mono versions of their stereo counterparts were simply an equal mix down to form a mono track. In other words, only those recorded in a true mono sound are on this album.

Therefore, the following three tracks are not on the “Mono Masters”, “Old Brown Shoe”, “The Ballad of John and Yoko” and “Let It Be”. However, there are five additional songs on the “Mono Masters” album which are not on the “Past Masters” album.

Mono Masters Album - The Beatles Cavern Club and Forum
These mono tracks are, “Only a Northern Song”, “All Together Now”, “Hey Bulldog”, “It’s All Too Much” and “Across the Universe”. Although “Get Back” was a stereo release in America, it was only a mono release in the UK. Therefore its inclusion on the “Mono Masters” is justified.

All in all, the Mono Masters stands true to its intentions. So, those who need this album for their collections of mono recordings can obtain it in good faith.


All the tracks on the “Past Masters” come from the period between 4 September, 1962 and 4 January, 1970 while The Beatles were together as a band. So, they include songs from their Beatlemania days right through to the psychedelic era.

As previously stated, they are a collection of songs that were never on the original 12 Beatles albums in the UK. Therefore, these “Past Masters” albums would compliment those who only have the albums.

Chart Success

In the UK, Australia and various European countries, the “Past Masters” reached the top 40 in the album charts. However, their sales in the box sets don’t count. Also, neither do the Mono Masters. The American market for these recordings are slightly different of course. Although the “Past Masters” Volumes One & Two did reach the Billboard 200.

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About Bobby

I have been a Beatles fan since the early 1960s so I speak from my heart and soul. It was a pleasure to accept the role of Editor on The Beatles Forum when we left our old site. If you feel that something needs correcting with the information I provide, please contact me.

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