New John Lennon Vinyl Box Set Coming

Whenever new Beatle or Beatle-related vinyl is mentioned we get interested.

Yes, like most collectors we have these albums already (in some cases many times over….) but the completist in us has to have the latest. And the latest announcement is that a new box set of eight John Lennon LPs is due for release on June 8. For all the details go to johnlennonmusic.com – but in a nutshell these will be faithful reproductions on 180-gram vinyl of John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band; Imagine; Some Time in New York City; Mind Games; Walls and Bridges; Rock ‘n’ Roll; Double Fantasy and Milk and Honey:Lennon_Box

All artwork, including inner bags, posters, postcards and original labels will be reproduced:plastic_labels 2plastic_labels 3mind_games_labels 2mind_games_labels 3double_fantasy_label 2double_fantasy_label 3

Looks like the LPs come in a white box with the same design cues as the John Lennon Signature Box from back in October, 2011:

John-Lennon-Signature-Box---S-536618

That set contains the same titles – only on CD – plus it has two bonus discs of non-album tracks, studio outtakes and home recordings:

Signature-box-insert

Of course there’s been a previous incarnation of a John Lennon , 8 LP vinyl box set.

Four Beatles-related Finds at Record Fair

We’ve just returned from the annual Glebe Record Fair – one of the biggest of the year – held in the Sydney suburb of Glebe:Glebe-April-2015

The two photos below were taken just after opening time at 9.00 am. This was before the venue really became absolutely packed with patrons hungrily seeking out vinyl, books and CDs. As you can see it’s already very crowded:Glebe 2015 1Glebe 2015 2

And the crowds just got bigger and bigger. In the melee that ensued we were lucky to discover four interesting little 45 singles. First up, a US white-label pressing of George Harrison’s ‘This Song’ from 1976 on his Dark Horse label, complete in its original outer sleeve. First pressings of this came with these white labels, while later issues have the traditional colour label:Harrison This Song1Harrison This Song2

At the same vendor’s stall we also discovered this unusual New Zealand pressing of Paul McCartney and Wings controversial ‘Give Ireland Back to the Irish’, dating from 1972. As was the case in most of the rest of the world this is on a custom Apple label:Give Ireland Back

A little later in another pile of 45s we spied this nice US pressing (and original picture sleeve) of Mary Hopkin singing ‘Goodbye':Goodbye1Goodbye2

By this time we were feeling pretty weary, and the crowds had built considerably. We were just about to leave and doing one final trawl through some singles at another table when out popped this rare little gem:Seaside Woman1Seaside Woman2Seaside Woman3

It’s a 1986 UK pressing with re-mixes of the Suzy and the Red Stripes song ‘Seaside Woman‘ (a.k.a Linda McCartney and husband Paul). This was originally released on the A&M label back in 1980 with this cover:Seaside Woman4

Four Recent Ebay Purchases

We got an email from PayPal the other day saying we’d earned a $10.00 credit that could be used on any Ebay purchase, and so we delved into the collection to uncover some items that were missing.

Turns out we’re drastically under-represented when it comes to early Ringo Starr Apple singles. For some reason or other these were a blind spot in the collection and so these three items have now been added:

Ringo Beaucoups of BluesRingo It Don't Come EasyRingo Back Off Boogaloo

These 7″ 45 rpm singles are all Australian Apple Records releases.

“Beaucoups of Blues” is taken from the 1970 album of the same name.

“It Don’t Come Easy” is a 1971 non-album single produced by George Harrison, and “Back Off Boogalooo” (also produced by Harrison) came out in March, 1972.

The same seller also had a Wings single we didn’t have and hadn’t previously been aware of:Wings Arrow Through Me 2

“Arrow Through Me” is b/w “Old Siam, Sir”, and both songs come from the 1979 album Back to the Egg.

Latest Beatle Vinyl on the Universal Music Label

Since the lucrative Beatle catalogue went over to Universal Music for distribution (as part of the sale and break-up of the EMI company in 2012) there’s been a steady stream of product from released – most of it (it has to be said) re-issues of stuff we already have.

The latest of these – four albums on vinyl – are a case in point: the Beatles 1962-1966; the Beatles 1967-1970; the Beatles Number 1; and the Beatles Love.

Each of these are re-issues containing no new material. The only thing that can be said to be slightly different is that the two sets, 1962-1966 (a.k.a. The Red Album), and 1967-1970 (a.k.a. The Blue Album) are reportedly the original analogue mixes. The discs are cut direct from the analogue tapes used for the 1973 LP sets—with a few exceptions (i.e. mono versions using EQ from the latest mono box set replace the few faux stereo tracks originally used). AAA it seems is definitely the new DDD…..

It has to be said though that the packaging on each of these four Universal re-issued double LPs is impeccable. The Red and Blue albums, for example, are faithfully reproduced in thick cardboard with very shiny covers and inners.

If you speak Spanish (and you don’t get seasick from the all the camera movement) this “unboxing” YouTube video from keen Beatle collector shakespearecub gives you a good indication of both the Red and Blue LP’s in all their glossy finery (if you are pressed for time, scroll in to about 4’10”):

Here are those 2014 stickers on the front of each:

Beatles Red stickerBeatles Blue sticker

And this is the main point of difference – Universal Music logos on the back, and mentions of Universal Music and Calderstone Productions in the small print….it’s not Parlophone, Capitol, or EMI anymore:

Beatles Red rearBeatles Blue rear

These albums are also manufactured in the Netherlands – according to small transparent stickers on the back of each LP:

Beatles Netherlands

And while we’re on the subject of the Red and Blue LPs and the EMI company, here’s a video from a very keen fan who went to the trouble of tracking down the actual location of the Angus McBean shoot for the Red, Blue – and of course for 1963’s Please Please Me LP. Both photographs of the old and new Beatles were taken at the former EMI headquarters in Manchester Square, London with the group looking down over the stairwell. The building has since been demolished:

The rear photo, taken in 1969, was initially intended for an LP to be called Get Back, but those plans changed and we got the Let It Be album instead. The photo was eventually used on both the 1962–1966 and 1967–1970 LP’s.

The 2014 Universal Music edition of the Beatles Number 1 LP set also comes in a thick cardboard, this time with a matt finish gatefold cover (just like the original 2000 edition) complete with the inners, large poster (depicting Beatle singles picture covers from around the world), and the four psychedelic photographs of the individual Beatles. It’s all very nice. Again the main point of difference now is in the logos used and the small print credits:Beatles 1 LP rear

The Love LP comes in a thick cardboard gatefold cover – just like the original from 2007. And it has the same thick, glossy booklet. Top marks go to Universal for the packaging. The 2007 release had a small brown sticker on the front:Beatles Love 1

While the 2014 edition has a larger red, white and yellow sticker:Beatles Love 2

On the rear of the gatefold the logo line-up has changed. The 2007 release has Apple, Parlophone and Cirque du Soleil logos:

Beatles Love 3

The 2014 has just Apple and Cirque either side of the barcode, and a small Universal Music Group logo on the far lower right. There’s also a change to the small print. No EMI Records reference, and interestingly the Universal edition has a copyright date of 2006, while the earlier EMI/Parlophone/Apple edition is 2007. Curious:

Beatles Love 4

shakespearecub has also done an “unboxing” video of both the Number 1 and the Love LPs:

John Lennon “Imagine” in Ultra Hi Res Audio

The next few posts will focus on gifts that were either under the Christmas tree, or given as birthday presents. Yes, Christmas is also birthday time around here, and so there are a few nice new items to add to the collection as a result!

The first is a copy of John Lennon’s Imagine album in High Fidelity Pure Audio:

Lennon Hi ResThis came out early in 2014. It is on a Blu-Ray disc containing just audio – no video content. High Fidelity Pure Audio is a Universal Music led initiative to reissue high resolution music physically on audio-only Blu-Ray discs. (See their Facebook page and this short video advertising the format). There are a number of titles out from the likes of Bob Marley, Marvin Gaye, Stevie Wonder, The Rolling Stones, The Who, Elton John, etc. (Click here for a full list).

This Lennon title uses the 2010 remaster in 24 bit/96 kHz audio with no compression. Lennon Hi Res Rear

Have not had the opportunity to do a serious A/B comparison with other versions of this album on CD yet. Reports on the web are mixed.

Lennon Hi Res DiscPackaging is OK. There’s a booklet unique in format to this release, but with content pretty much exactly the same as the 2010 CD release:Lennon Hi Res Book 1

Inside is an essay by Paul Du Noyer, plus photos from the original album, supplemented by some additional shots:Lennon Hi Res Book 2Lennon Hi Res Book 3

Also inside the Blu-Ray fold-out box you get this photo as the inside liner:Lennon Hi Res linerA download voucher is included in the pack which gives you access to a digital download of the album in MP3 format at a standard resolution so that you can access the music on the move on devices which don’t support HD audio:Lennon Hi Res coupon

Since this physical release on Blu-Ray, Universal Music and Apple have made a wider range of Lennon titles available for download only in High Res audio, although this looks to be region-specific and geo-blocks certain markets (like Australia).

Amazing Tower Records Footage from 1970

For those of us who remember the days of visiting good old “bricks and mortar” record stores to browse and buy the latest vinyl……this amazing footage of the legendary Tower Records on Sunset Strip in West Hollywood in 1970 will take you back (and possibly take your breath away if you’re a vinyl nut!)

In it we spotted literally hundreds of plastic sealed copies of George Harrison’s then new box set All Things Must Pass being put out on display……a fleeting glimpse of Lennon’s Plastic Ono Band in the arms of a female customer…..stacks of McCartney’s McCartney LP…..Badfinger’s  No Dice……a copy of the Beatles Yellow Submarine….and from footage taken outside, a big John Lennon billboard.

Scenes from this great archival film were used to illustrate this spoken word advertisement for Tower Records voiced by John Lennon himself (possibly from 1973) – then promoting his latest LP Mind Games:

Three Great Beatle Auction Items

Over the years we’ve purchased a lot of pre-loved Beatle CDs (and vinyl) at online auctions (e.g. Ebay), but never before at a real, live auction – until now.

The Mossgreen Auction house in Melbourne, Victoria recently held a major sale of collectables. Part of it was a significant offering of Beatle items – memorabilia, books, records and CDs. You can view the catalogue online (the Beatle items start on page 8 at Lot No. 715. They continue to Lot No. 836).

These all came from one collector who was downsizing….pretty impressive.

For a while now we’ve had a hankering to get the previously-released CD boxed sets of the Beatles singles, and the CD EP’s. These came out way back in 1992 – and in the Mossgreen auction there was one lot containing both box sets: IMG_1006

There was also another separate lot with all the CD singles in a special box, all on 3-inch CD’s. This was issued in 1989:IMG_0993

Figuring we’d take a chance we put a pre-auction bid on both lots. It was one of those auction sites where you could watch and also listen in live online as the auction actually proceeded. The auctioneer steadily worked his way to our first lot (for the 3-inch CD single set). We won it in quick time – with nobody else bidding at all. The set was ours.

It comes in a very dark blue-black cardboard and brass-hinged hinged box:

IMG_0996

Each of the 22 tiny CDs is housed in an individual folder:

IMG_0995IMG_1001IMG_1005IMG_1003These 3-inch CD’s were also issued individually over a period of time (late 1988-1989), ut it’s nice to have them collected in one box. There’s a small black folder in the box detailing each single.

Next up in the auction was the lot of two boxed sets. One was the Beatles EP’s, and one the CD singles again, this time on individual, regular sized CDs. Again, our pre-auction bid was the only one made, and again we won. It was all over so very fast:IMG_1010

Each of these boxes is in mint condition. They’re both dark grey-black in colour with gold lettering and they’re hinged at the top. These boxes are quite beautifully made with a cloth-covered, thick board. In the photo above you can see the brass rivets holding them together. On the EP box the outer top tilts forward and there is a secondary flap inside which lifts to reveal the 14 CD sleeves (including a double CD Magical Mystery Tour):IMG_1012IMG_1013IMG_1015The 22 CD singles box is very similar:IMG_1016IMG_1017IMG_1018IMG_1021So, expecting to win maybe just one auction lot if we were lucky – we ended up with two! Three great CD box sets in all, and in mint condition from a Beatle collector in Melbourne who was selling off some of their prized items…..