Meet the Beatles! is the second Beatles' album released in the United States. It was the first US Beatles album to be issued by Capitol Records on 20 January 1964 in both mono and stereo formats. It topped the popular album chart on 15 February 1964 and remained at number one for an impressive eleven weeks before being replaced by The Beatles' Second Album, the first time that an artist replaced itself at the peak album position. The cover featured Robert Freeman's portrait used for the UK With the Beatles release, with a blue tint added to the original stark black-and-white photograph.
After constantly rejecting requests by both Brian Epstein and George Martin to release Beatles records in the United States, in November 1963 EMI label head Joseph Lockwood sent a deputy to Los Angeles ordering Capitol Records to commence releasing and promoting Beatles product in the United States.
Despite the "first album" claim on its cover, ten days prior to its release Vee-Jay Records of Chicago beat Capitol to the punch with the release of the Beatles' American debut album Introducing... The Beatles, which had been delayed for release for various reasons since the previous summer. Perhaps as a result of the Vee-Jay release, Liberty Music Shops advertised in the New York Times of 12 January 1964 that Meet the Beatles! was available for purchase, an ad not authorised by Capitol. In 2003, Meet the Beatles! was ranked number 59 on Rolling Stone magazine's list of the 500 greatest albums of all time. In 2004, the album was released on compact disc in both stereo and mono as part of The Capitol Albums, Volume 1 box set. In 2014, the album, along with the rest of the Beatles' US catalogue, was made available on iTunes for the first time.