With the Beatles
With the Beatles was the Beatles' second British album, recorded four months after the band's first album and released November 22, 1963.
The album features eight original compositions (including the first by George Harrison) and six covers, mostly of Motown and R&B hits. Most of the songs from the album were released in the United States as Meet the Beatles! on January 20, 1964.
The LP had advance orders of half a million, and sold another half by September 1965 - making it the second album to sell a million copies inside the UK (the first being the South Pacific soundtrack). It stayed at the top of the charts for 21 weeks, displacing Please Please Me, so that the Beatles occupied the top spot for 51 consecutive weeks. It even made number eleven in the "singles charts" (because at that time, those UK charts also counted high-selling LPs).
In 2003, the album was ranked number 420 on Rolling Stone magazine's list of the 500 greatest albums of all time.
The cover was shot by Robert Freeman on August 22, 1963. He was already famous for working on the first Pirelli Calendar and for photographing Khrushchev in the Kremlin. But it was his black-and-white photos of the jazz-legend John Coltrane that brought him to the Beatles' attention. Paul McCartney remembered: “He arranged us in a hotel corridor: it was very un-studio-like. The corridor was rather dark, and there was a window at the end, and by using this heavy source of natural light coming from the right, he got that very moody picture which most people think he must have worked at forever and ever. But it was only an hour. He sat down, took a couple of rolls, and that was it.” Freeman himself remembered: “They had to fit in the square format of the cover, so rather than have them all in a line, I put Ringo in the bottom right corner, since he was the last to join the group. He was also the shortest.” The original idea was to paint the picture from edge to edge, with no bleeding or title, but the studio vetoed it, on the grounds that the Beatles weren't yet famous enough to carry a nameless cover (The first album to carry an edge-to-edge cover was the Rolling Stones' self-titled debut, released a few months later.) The studio also tried to pull the cover because the Beatles weren't smiling, and it was only after George Martin waded in that they won the day. Freeman was eventually paid £75 for his troubles (three times the normal fee).