The Early Beatles is the Beatles' sixth release on Capitol Records, and their eighth album for the American market. The album resembles more of an early compilation because all of the tracks had previously been featured on the early 1964 Vee-Jay release Introducing... The Beatles. The front cover photo for this album features the same back cover photo for the British LP Beatles for Sale.
Vee-Jay had gained American rights to the tracks before the group became popular in America (because Capitol, the US division of EMI which owns the Beatles' record label Parlophone, had refused to release the group's records), and their releases had initially failed to chart. But after the group became popular, Vee-Jay, still having the rights to the early material, were able to re-release them in America and this time the records sold in the millions. Capitol tried to stop Vee Jay from releasing the tracks, but were not successful. In October 1964, Vee-Jay's license to distribute the Beatles recordings they possessed expired, so Capitol finally got the American distribution rights for the album.
Though Vee-Jay had compiled four Beatles albums in the space of just fifteen months from these sessions (all of which charted), when released on Capitol, the album still sold, but its highest chart position was only number 43, making it the only original Capitol or United Artists released Beatles album not to reach numbers 1 or 2 in America (with the exception of the Capitol documentary album, The Beatles' Story, which peaked at number 7). Capitol did little to promote the album since the label merely viewed it as a replacement for the Vee-Jay LP, rather than a "new" Beatles album. The Early Beatles sold one million copies by late 1973 and was certified gold on 8 January 1974 and platinum on 10 January 1997 by the RIAA. It was released in both mono and stereo versions. As no stereo masters of "Love Me Do" and "P.S. I Love You" exist, Capitol used EMI's duophonic mixes of both songs. There was also some added echo and reverb to "Twist And Shout".