Happy Crimble from The Beatles

Very surprised to see this full page advertisement in my local newspaper (The Sydney Morning Herald) this morning:

Beatles streamingThe Beatles Youtube channel has this, too:

And The New York Times reports:

Happy holidays from the Beatles: As of 12:01 a.m. on Dec. 24, the band’s music will finally be available on streaming services worldwide.

The group announced the news in a 35-second video featuring a medley of its biggest hits that kicks off to the sound of the 1963 single “She Loves You.” An accompanying news release simply said: “Happy Crimble, with love from us to you.”

However, the surviving members of the group, Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr, along with Universal Music Group, which controls the band’s recorded music, made no statements other than the fact that the Beatles’ catalog — 13 original albums and four compilations — will now be playable on nine subscription streaming music services: Spotify, Apple Music, Google Play, Amazon Prime Music, Tidal, Deezer, Microsoft Groove, Napster/Rhapsody and Slacker Radio.

Known as singular holdouts in the digital era, the Beatles, the best-selling group of all time, resisted offering its songs on iTunes for more than seven years before coming to an agreement with Apple in 2010. “It’s fantastic to see the songs we originally released on vinyl receive as much love in the digital world as they did the first time around,” Mr. McCartney said at the time. The band sold 450,000 albums and two million individual songs in its first week on the service, according to Apple.

Beatles 1 – 2015 Vinyl

Look what arrived in the post today:Beatles 1 2015 1

Yes, it’s the 2015 edition of The Beatles 1 on double vinyl, complete with the Giles Martin remixes and remastering.

This one is staying sealed for now so we can’t show you the detail of what’s inside (for that go to this post to see in detail the 2000 edition). The contents themselves for all editions are very much the same. What we can show are some of the key visual external visual differences between the 2015 edition, directly alongside those from 2014 and the one from 2000.

Firstly that front cover. Two things really. The words “The Beatles” are in yellow on the 2015, while for both the 2014 and 2009 versions those words are sort of a light pink. Also on the 2015 edition the big figure “1” is more solidly coloured in and is a much brighter shade of yellow. Compare the front cover image of the 2015 edition above with 2014 (which is also still sealed and came with a sticker attached to the plastic):Beatles 1 2014 1

And here’s the older 2009 (which has been opened and hence is not as glossy as the others in the photos). The printing of these two is very similar:Beatles 1 2000 1

On the rear all covers are very similar. There is just a simple track-listing running down the centre. The part where they differ is at the top right-hand side where logos, barcodes, and the small print about who has the rights to what appears. Firstly 2015 (note the references to Calderstone Productions, the Universal Music Group, and Apple:Beatles 1 2015 2

Here’s the 2014 edition (again, Calderstone, Universal and Apple):Beatles 1 2014 2

And lastly the 2009 (back when EMI held the reins):Beatles 1 2000 2

Finally the spines. Here they are stacked on top of each other. On top is the 2015 edition, then 2014, and on the bottom 2009: Beatles 1 spinesThere are quite a few variations. (Click on the image to see a larger version).

John Lennon “Rip It Up – 15 Rock’n’Roll Greats”

Earlier this week we reported finally receiving a replacement copy of John Lennon’s Rock’n’Roll LP.

Well, the very next day we happened to be on the New South Wales central coast and popped in to one of the best second-hand vinyl stores around – The Sound Exchange Record Bar – at a place called Long Jetty.

And what should we find there but an almost mint copy of the hard-to-find, Australia-only, ultra-budget version of the very same record:Rip It Up

In 1988 EMI licensed the rights to Lennon’s Rock’nRoll album to the Australian specialty budget label, J&B Records:J&B Logo

J&B had a large catalogue back in the day, and sold most of their records through supermarkets and department stores. Everything from Glen Campbell to Connie Francis compilations. From Roy Orbison to the Village People. They had lots of well-known Australian artists in the catalogue as well: John Farnham, Glenn Shorrock (ex Little River Band), Dragon and Billy Field. So it was a surprise to see an artist like John Lennon in there too.

J&B called their record Rip It Up – 15 Rock’n’Roll Greats. This is exactly the same songs and running order of the original 1975 Apple Records release. Just the cover was changed. Here’s the rear cover:Rip It Up Rear

And the J&B label:Rip It Up Label

As you can see, no expense was spared on the artwork! Even so, this is a really good copy for its age – still glossy front cover, no ring wear, and the record itself looks almost unplayed.

Teaser for The Beatles “1” DVD? – Part 2

The dearth of information in today’s mystery teaser announcement on the Beatles official page leads fans inevitably to snooping around the web trying to find something, anything, on what it might all be about.

Truth be told, there’s not much around. Word has it that there’ll be more official news on Tuesday….

But what is with that address given at the bottom of the image in the email sent out to subscribers of The Beatles.com? You can see it here:_theBeatles1

If you search in Google Maps for 1538 20th Street, Santa Monica, California 90404, and then go to Street View, you’ll see this very non-descript building:1538_20th_Street

Does that look like the US headquarters of a multi-million dollar Beatle empire? No, we didn’t think so either. Check out that hand-written wooden sign propped on the right-hand-side windowsill, with the 1538 street number.

The email image also credits a company called Topspin, and a service called The Topspin Platform. That’s an online, direct-to-fan sales and marketing tool used by a wide range of bands to promote their product, make online sales, sell tickets to gigs, etc. Check out the video on the page to find out more. They’ve done a lot of work with the Concord label in marketing Paul McCartney’s releases over many years, so it’s not that surprising that Universal and/or Apple and the Beatles have used the company to kick off this campaign. But Topspin isn’t at 1538 20th Street, Santa Monica either. Their address is 3120 W. Empire Ave., Burbank, California 91504 – in a much more salubrious part of that city.

So what is going on? The mystery deepens…..

Teaser for The Beatles “1” DVD?

The official Beatles website has emailed subscribers overnight teasing what could be the long-promised Beatles “1” DVD/BluRay – which has been rumoured to be in preparation for over a year now and will contain official versions of all the band’s promo videos and film-clips. _theBeatles1

There’s precious little other information apart from the Twitter hashtag #THEBEATLES1…..and a 16 second video on the Beatles official YouTube channel:

The Beatles website has been given over to a holding page with the countdown clip as well.

It’s all very cryptic, but must surely be leading up to the announcement of a video equivalent of the top-selling “1” CD and vinyl.

Beatle Books, Books and More Books….

Quite a few new Beatle or Beatle-related books have just been announced or recently released, and so we thought we’d mention a few worthies. Here’s a round-up:

The Beatles Lyrics by Hunter Davies was released as a hardback book last year. It’s now slated for a paperback release this October:Beatles Lyrics

The book features analysis of the Beatles song catalog and images of the Beatles’ hand-written song lyrics. If that is actually the new cover (above) we reckon it looks cool. For any record collector or Beatle fan it definitely says”Pick me up and look inside”. If you, do we can assure you that you won’t be disappointed. We got the hardback edition last Christmas and have been dipping in and out of it all year.

Here’s one we stumbled across on the web. We haven’t read it yet but there’s a great review on The Daily Beast about a new book called Allen Klein – The Man Who Bailed Out the Beatles, Made the Stones, and Transformed Rock & Roll. Yes, it’s a very long title, but also a fascinating re-think by author Fred Goodman of the impact and influence of one of the music industry’s bad boys of management – the late Allen Klein. Klein was brought in to run the Beatles’ Apple company and very soon became the lightening rod that split the band, with Paul McCartney on one side and John, George and Ringo siding with Klein on the other. This is very much a business book with lots of financial details, but Goodman makes the nuts and bolts really interesting, linking them to the seismic shift in music-industry economics that Klein instigated. This book is out now and there’s a “Look Inside” on Amazon if you are interested to read more:Alan_Klein

Klein and Harrison Klein Lennon and OnoHere’s another that we don’t own and haven’t read yet. We were just walking through a large bookshop the other day and accidentally spotted this one on the shelf:

See Hear Yoko

The inside cover says See Hear Yoko was conceived expressly for Yoko Ono as a gift between friends on the occasion of her eightieth birthday. It’s a visual portrait of her as an artist, activist, wife and mother, from her days with John Lennon through to the present. Legendary rock and roll photographer Bob Gruen was welcomed into the lives of John and Yoko during their years in New York City, when Gruen served as their personal photographer. He continues to document Yoko today. Approached by his friend Jody Denberg, who had logged twenty-five years of interviews with Yoko, Gruen collaborated with him to create an extraordinary birthday gift. Gruen selected more than three hundred classic color and black-and-white photographs—accompanied by text by Denberg—to illuminate the story of Yoko Ono. Again, Amazon has a “Look Inside“. There are some truly great images here.

The Zapple Diaries: The Rise and Fall of the Last Beatles Label. This one should be very interesting. Due for release on September 28 in the UK (but not until March 1, 2016 in the US) this book is written by Beatle insider Barry Miles and, as the publishing blurb says, it’s the first full-length illustrated examination of the Zapple label—an Apple Records off-shoot and Beatle experimental label:Zapple DiariesOn Zapple the Beatles hoped to release a range of spoken word and avant garde recordings – all part of their “…ambition to be leading members of the counterculture movement”. As it turned out Zapple was short-lived, surviving for just six months or so in 1969, and only had two official releases (Lennon and Ono’s Unfinished Music No.2: Life With the Lions, and George Harrison’s Electronic Sound). Author Barry Miles ran Zapple, so this should be an interesting insight – especially on the closing down of the label by one Allen Klein (see above). The Amazon UK and Amazon US sites both have a bit more info, and you can pre-order the book there too.

Finally, a new children’s picture book from Macmillan that introduces the next generation of fans to the story of John, Paul, George and Ringo. Focusing on the early years, Fab Four Friends: The Boys Who Became the Beatles shows how four boys from Liverpool became the bestselling band in history:Fab Four Friends

Written by award-winning children’s author Susanna Reich with fantastic illustrations by Adam Gustavson, this book traces the Beatles’ roots through each boy’s childhood and teen years. Evocative language and richly-detailed paintings tell the story of the band from its earliest days as a skiffle group to its explosion onto the world stage. Amazon has a “Look Inside” for more. This is out now. We think you (and your kids!) will love it.Fab Four Friends Rear

Beatles With Records – Part Twenty Eight

Quite a few more photos of the Beatles holding or working with records have come in so it is time for a further instalment of our series The Beatles With Records.

The Liverpool Echo news site is reporting that the stereo radiogram shown in this picture of Ringo Starr and wife Maureen is up for auction:ringo_starr_montagu_square_flat_hendrix_lennonMaureen is shown sitting on the custom-built record player and radio which was built for the couple when they lived at 34 Montagu Square, London in 1965. It was a quality piece for the time with a Garrard turntable, a British Leak valve amplifier, and an Armstrong tuner with twin speakers. Also in the photo are at least four Beatle gold records, plus a shelf stacked with LPs of various kinds.

According to the Echo, Ringo gave the radiogram to his Auntie Everley and Uncle Jim at 59 Madrin Street, Liverpool, which was Ringo`s Grandad`s house. It has been in his Aunt’s possession since 1966 and has just surfaced after almost 50 years:photo-35JPGThe radiogram is just one of the lots in the Liverpool Beatles memorabilia Auction to be held in the Paul McCartney Auditorium there on August 29. We first featured the photo of Ringo and Maureen at home back in The Beatles With Records – Part Two.

Speaking of Liverpool, here is a cool photograph taken outside Brian Epstein’s NEMS Music Store:NEMS

Lots of records in the front window – and the arrow points to one record cover that may give a hint as to the date. It is Dylan’s The Times They Are A-Changin’, which came out in January, 1964:NEMS DYLAN

Lots of other LPs and EPS there in the window. Anyone else recognise anything? (The image was kindly sent through by Billy Shears at the SgtPepperChannel on YouTube).

Back in The Beatles With Records Part Twenty Five we showed a photograph of George Harrison with the Radha Krsna Temple and an Apple single they’d released (and he produced) called ‘Govinda’.

Here they are together again – this time in 1970 – and one member is holding another single of their Apple singles, ‘Hare Krishna Mantra’:George-Harrison-and-Hare-Krishna-Devotees-in-1970George Harrison Radha KrsnaGeorge Harrison Hare Krishna Mantra

(Again, thanks to Billy Shears for sending through those images).

The topic of George Harrison brings us to model Patti Boyd, who later became his wife. Before they were married she featured in a number of photo shoots with Beatle records. Here’s another. This time Patti is holding a UK mono copy of With The Beatles, from 1963:

Patti BoydPatti Boyd2with_the_beatles

And we’ve just had the anniversary (on August 11) of John Lennon apologising to the American people for his “the Beatles are bigger than Jesus” comment. It led to some very odd and sad scenes of LPs and singles being publicly destroyed, these ones below live on air on radio….Beatles Albums Destroyedbeatles-us-albums-hard-days-630-80 (1)Beatles Something new

Jumping ahead in time, here’s Lennon at home with what looks like an acetate or test pressing in front of him (on the bed, lower right). Impossible to tell what it might be though: lennon with acetateAnd John Lennon again, this time in what looks like a U.S. radio station studio with DJ Scott Muni:

lennon with dj

This image looks very much like another photo from the same day, taken at the radio station WNEW-FM in New York. John was on the publicity trail for his album Rock’n’Roll. The two men are wearing the same clothing (Lennon a tee-shirt, and Muni a shirt and light coloured knitted sweater). You can see this photo in The Beatles With Records – Part Three:wnew-fmlennon_rockbAnd to finish a video of Paul McCartney, performing live at the famous Amoeba Music record store in Los Angeles on Wednesday, June 27, 2007. Here Paul is literally surrounded by vinyl and CD’s in the hundreds and thousands:Paul Amoeba 2Paul Amoeba

Just two obvious cover shots from the posters on the wall behind him…..You will no doubt spot a lot more:BowieHendrix

And here is the full video:

Check out all the posts in this series here.