The Beatles Are Bigger in Britain than the US

Looking at a copy of the UK version of Kevin Howlett’s The Beatles: the BBC Archives: 1962-1970 at our favourite Sydney discount bookstore we noticed something odd.

We already have a copy of the US edition (published by Harper Design) in the collection, but this UK one (published by BBC Books) looked and felt different….

Turns out it’s BIGGER (US on the left, UK on the right):IMG_0451IMG_0447

And what is printed on the rear of the box which holds the book is different, too: IMG_0454

 

A Harrison Apple Single, and a White Album to Complete a Beatles Box Set

A few posts ago we wrote about some Beatle treasure discovered during a recent visit to the city of Newcastle in New South Wales. Here are some details about more finds from that same trip – which included a run up to the seaside town of Nelson Bay (45 minutes north of Newcastle) as well.

A second-hand book and record store called Rice’s Bookshop on Newcastle’s famous Hunter Street turned up this Australian George Harrison 45 which we previously didn’t have in the collection:Harrison What is Life 1-1Harrison What is Life-1Harrison Apple Scruffs-1

It’s a very clean copy of this 1971 single release, taken from the All Things Must Pass triple LP.

Quite some time back (many, many years ago in fact) we were given one of those black, wooden roll-top Beatles boxes, sometimes known as the “Bread Bin” box: Beatles Rolltop2Our box was perfect, but it was given to us without any of the CD’s…..

So, for some time now we’ve been gradually stocking it with Australian pressings of the 15 discs that should be in there. We had every one – except the White Album. It looked like a kid with a missing front tooth! That is until this trip to Newcastle.

In the seaside town of Nelson Bay (which is just a little bit further up the coast from Newcastle) we discovered the final piece in the jigsaw in a small second-hand book and CD store there. And for just A$13.00 it was a real bargain:Beatles White Aus frontBeatles White Aus rearBeatles White Aus Disc 1Beatles White Aus Disc 2

(click on the images to see larger versions)

The Beatles “Bread Bin” set was released in 1988 as a limited edition box containing fifteen CD abum releases. They are housed in a custom-made, fitted roll-top “bread bin” style wooden outer box with a 64-page colour booklet featuring rare photo’s and the stories behind every song. The booklet slots into a tray just under the CDs.

Our set is now complete!

Beatles Rolltop1

 

 

Three New Beatle Books

A couple of new Beatles book titles have come into the collection. Two were from a visit to the very well-known Berkelouw Book Barn in the Southern Highlands of New South Wales (in Australia). Berkelouw’s offer a huge selection and sell both new, second-hand and rare books. The two titles we found there recently are both “pre-loved”. First up was John, Paul, George, Ringo & Me – The Real Beatles Story by Tony Barrow:Tony Barrow front

This book is the paperback version and was released in 2006 by Andre Deutsch publishers. Barrow of course was a Beatle insider who served as their Press Officer throughout the height of their fame. As such he brings a unique view of the band, from the birth of Bealtemania through to the establishment of the Apple Records company. As with many others, Apple meant that Barrow and the Beatles parted ways. Google has one of those look inside pages if you would like to see more on this book.Tony Barrow rear

If the name Tony Barrow sounds familiar it’s probably because you know it from the back covers of many of the Beatles British releases. He wrote the sleeve notes (popular in the day) for the LP’s Please Please Me; With the Beatles; and A Hard Day’s Night, as well as for the EP’s The Beatles’ Hits; Twist and Shout; The Beatles (No.1); All My Loving; A Hard Day’s Night (Extracts from the Film); (Extracts from the Album) A Hard Day’s Night; and Beatles For Sale: The+Beatles+-+A+Hard+Day's+Night+No.+1+EP+-+1st+-+7%22+RECORD-500878500878b  Next book up was a biography of Paul McCartney which we hadn’t seen before:

McCartney frontLike the Barrow book this hard back also came out in 2006. It is published by Century Press (a division of Random House) and this is the Australian edition. Christopher Sandford is a prolific music writer and biographer, having also penned books on The Rolling Stones, Bowie, Clapton, Jagger, Sting, Springsteen and Kurt Cobain. I haven’t delved into the book yet, but some initial research using the web on this book doesn’t auger well. It is clearly not that well-liked by the fans….

FYI here’s another of those Google links so you can have a look inside Sandford’s McCartney if you wish to check it out more for yourself.

We also recently ordered online a copy of Jude Southerland Kessler’s latest instalment in her ongoing John Lennon project and it arrived safely in the post a couple of weeks back. She Loves You is Volume 3 in Jude’s ambitious nine-volume series on the life of John Lennon. It has only just been released and the timing is perfect because this book takes us right up to the Beatles US invasion – now being celebrated across this 50th anniversary year:She Loves You frontShe Loves You rear

Southerland researches exhaustively and writes biography in the style of a novel, telling Lennon’s life story like an unfolding drama. She tries to get beyond merely what happened when and into the complexity of his character, relationships and career. Like the previous two volumes, She Loves You is a very thick and weighty paperback. It is published by On The Rock Books. When you put the three volumes produced so far side-by-side they are impressive:She Loves You group

Each book has taken two to three years to complete. By the time we get to Volume 9 in the series we’ll need a very sturdy bookshelf to display them! Jude’s Facebook page is here.

Beatles With Records – Part Twenty Two

It has been a while since we’ve had a Beatles with records post. This is where we look for photographs of the Beatles actually holding those things they sold so many of – LP records, 45′s and CDs. And we try to do the detective work to identify the records they holding. Some are easier than others….

Our friend Lammert in France just sent through a set of John Lennon photos that were taken the same day as this photograph, which we published last time in The Beatles With Records Part 21lennon-epic-records

John seems to be holding either a big reel-to-reel tape box, or some sort of record box from the Epic Records company. You can clearly see the company logo on the front. In the 1960s EMI, the Beatles’ record company, had a distribution deal with Epic to release their titles in the UK – so maybe it was a box of sample records from them for him to listen to? Lammert has turned up a few more taken the same day which provide a few more clues:awardtumblr_m0uevr0B8s1qdvsg8o1_500

John has the same Epic box – and a Gold Record award award – in his lap in the photos above. Notice the photo of the band in the newspaper that is on the coffee table, just near his right boot! There is also a bag from Columbia Records on the lounge:tumblr_m54iagwPK51qdvsg8o1_500

We still can’t really see what’s in that Epic Records box, nor in the package from Columbia either. Here, Ringo lights up a cigarette while John takes a peak inside:tumblr_mg1742ccAA1qdvsg8o1_500

Lammert points out that these black and white photographs were taken the same day as this colour shot of John and Paul with LPs (which was included in our very first Beatles with Records post):

john-and-paul-with-lps

The photo above definitely confirms that the Epic box was in fact full of records. You can still see a couple still inside, and John and Paul are holding more. And this photograph below of George, counting his money and wearing a Beatles cap (from the Beatles with Records – Part Eighteen), was also taken that same day in the same room. Is that also the Epic Records box opened up in front of him?:

georgewithbenekingrecord

By the way, the framed gold record John has was for the US Capitol pressing of “I Want to Hold You Hand”. This is an original presentation white matte gold award. The single had sold over a million copies and was certified gold on February 3, 1964, just days before the band was to appear in New York at the start of their 1964 US tour. By March 28th Capitol Records reported sales in excess of 3.4 million copies. This and the following two singles are the extremely rare variety with the RIAA logo attached to the presentation plaque with glue. Only awards prepared before approximately September of 1964 use this format. Beginning in late 1964 the RIAA logo was etched into the presentation plaque. The plaque reads: Presented To The Beatles To Commemorate The Sale Of More Than One Million Copies Of The Capitol Records Pop Single Record “I Want To Hold Your Hand”. (Thanks to the whocollection site for the information):

IWantToHoldYourHand

Here they are in the same suits they are wearing in the hotel room in the photos above accepting the gold record from Allen Livingston, President of Capital Records at the Hotel Plaza:Allen Livingston, President of Capital Records presents the

Thanks to Lammert for sending through those additional photos.

You can see more in the Beatles With Records series here: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16,17,18,19, 20 and 21.

 

Wonderwall – DVD and BluRay with Harrison Soundtrack

Collectors of Apple Records will know of the George Harrison soundtrack to the 1968 film Wonderwall:Wonderwall LPWonderwall Label

The music for this LP was in part recorded in Bombay with Indian musicians and it was the first solo album released by any of the Beatles. Other players on the album include Ringo Starr, Eric Clapton and Peter Tork of the Monkees (uncredited).

Well, the movie has just been re-released on DVD and BluRay:Wonderwall BluRayIf you, like us, have never seen the film it might be the perfect time to rectify that. However, this film looks pretty 1960s trippy. It may or may not be something you’ll want to add to your collection. Try these three short official promo extracts from the current release to get a feel for it:

Hmmm……after viewing that one the George Harrison album cover makes more sense….

And this older one:

 

Strange Fruit – The Beatles’ Apple Records

A recent trip to Canberra, Australia’s capital city, afforded a visit to the second-hand store  Flip Side Exchange which specialises in CD’s, vinyl and DVDs.

Found this great DVD there:Strange Fruit frontStrange Fruit rear

It is a 2012 documentary on the Beatles’ record, film, publishing and electronics company Apple. Reviewer Carlos Gonzales wrote at the time of release: “….other than their music, the Beatles tried to do something good for their fellow man, in this case struggling musicians that needed a break, a chance. It was then that they created Apple Records, and the wonderful Strange Fruit -The Beatles’ Apple Records provides us with an honest view and great, historic information about the history of the label and its artists.

The film is quite long (162 minutes), and it is loaded with history and music…..Strange Fruit -The Beatles’ Apple Records [tells] how the label began working on projects, beginning with the production of the film “The Magical Mystery Tour.” They then signed singer-writer Jackie Lomax, Mary Hopkin, The Iveys, James Taylor and others. They also made the Beatles White album. By 1969, the Beatles — pushed by John Lennon — hired Allen Klein, who promised them that he would clean up their finances. That year they signed Billy Preston, The Iveys became Badfinger, and the Beatles began disintegrating as a group. From then on, the filmmakers examine year by year everything that happened to the label, ending in May 6, 1975, when Apple announced that it would cease operations. Along the way, we learn about other groups that were signed by Apple….for example, Ravi Shankar, Yoko Ono, John Tavener, Modern Jazz Quartet, and Brute Force. Of course, we hear some of their music along the way.

The movie has interviews with some of the players, such a Jackie Lomax (who said that Apple Records was ‘utopia’), Ron Griffiths (from the Iveys), Joey Molland (Badfinger), and others. There are also interviews with historians, like Stefan Granados, Chris Ingham, Mark Paytrees, and more. In the end, we are told that Apple was a “curious disappointment in the history of rock music. A revolutionary label that never reached its potential.” And the big lesson, perhaps, is that “artists can not take care of other artists.” You will be the judge. Strange Fruit — The Beatles’ Apple Records is a great document of our times. With no apparent help from or sanctioned by the Beatles, the documentary tells the history of this controversial — for lack of a better word — music label.”

It’s a must for all collectors of the Apple Records releases.Strange Fruit disc

For a sneak preview:

 

Dylan 30th Anniversary Concert Re-Issue

For those George Harrison completists among us comes a CD re-issue of the1992 concert held to mark the 30th anniversary of Bob Dylan’s recording career. This 2CD Deluxe Edition, with remastered audio, adds two previously unreleased recordings from the concert’s sound check to the original release. Our copy just arrived in the post:30th Anniv CD front30th Anniv CD Rear

George Harrison (then making his first US concert appearance in 18 years) is introduced on Track 7 of Disc 2 singing “Absolutely Sweet Marie”. As well we get him playing guitar and backing vocals on two other tracks. Sadly we don’t get “If Not For You”, though it was performed during the concert.30th Anniv disc 130th Anniv Disc 2

The 30th Anniversary Concert Celebration is also now out on DVD and Blu-ray for the very first time. See WogBlog’s post for all the details on those releases.

The back of the CD booklet has a tribute to all the musicians who have since passed:30th Anniv Booklet rear

The original 1992 CD cover looked like this, with a photo of George pretty much front and centre:30th Anniversary Orig