The Beatles in Mono Vinyl Is Here

Picked up our copy today!Beatles Mono Box1BEatles Mono Box2

As you can see, The Beatles in Mono comes in a protective outer cardboard shipping box, similar to the one the Stereo LPs set was delivered in back in 2012. The sticker shows our Mono box was packed on June 18.

Like the Stereo box it comes delivered essentially as a box-within-a-box, providing very good protection and padding while the set is in transit:Beatles Mono Box3 Beatles Mono Box4 Beatles Mono Box6

In Australia The Beatles in Mono was actually available in store from last Thursday (September 4). The reason for the delay in posting these photos is that we couldn’t physically get to the shop we’d ordered ours from (the fab Redeye Records in Sydney) until today….a frustrating four-day wait!

Once removed from its protective packaging there’s a printed cardboard slip-cover which wraps around the box. Here’s the front:Beatles Mono Box7

And here’s the rear of the slip-cover:Beatles Mono Box8

Slip it off and here’s what you see on the front of the actual box itself:Beatles Mono Box9

FYI on the rear of the box is a sliced Apple logo: Beatles Mono Box10

The Mono box is exactly the same size as the Stereo box from 2012. If they are sitting side-by-side on a shelf they are pigeon pairs – one black, one white: Beatles Mono Box30Beatles Mono Box 31

No need to go into hugely great detail about this set as there has already been a very early “unboxing” video released by Pete Nash of the Beatles Fan Club Magazine. That video is comprehensive and well worth a look, but here are a few photos of some of the detail contained in the packaging you might be interested in seeing – things that Pete Nash doesn’t show up close:Beatles Mono Box11 Beatles Mono Box12

First this out is the beautiful, specially produced hard-cover book (still sealed in its heat- shrink):Beatles Mono Box13

Of course first album out is Please Please Me:Beatles Mono Box14Beatles Mono Box16

(Click on images to see a larger versions)

Each album (except the triple LP Mono Masters) is in a re-sealable clear plastic sleeve. This is different to the Stereo box where each LP was in heat-shrink plastic which has to be cut open to get to the cover and the record inside.

Here’s some of the detail in the printing and sleeve construction – all exactly faithful to the way this would have looked in 1963:Beatles Mono Box15

All printing and pressing of the box set is done by Optimal Media, based in the town of Robel in Germany. It has to be said that the quality and attention to detail is absolutely first-rate. The cardboard used for the covers is thick, and the 180g vinyl feels chunky and solid in your hands.

Each LP comes with individual 2014 insert cards, complete with mastering notes specific to each title:Beatles Mono Box17 Beatles Mono Box18 Beatles Mono Box19

All the labels are authentic reproductions of what the originals would have looked like at the time of release:Beatles Mono Box20 Beatles Mono Box21

Magical Mystery Tour has the original booklet pasted inside the gatefold cover; Sgt Pepper is a gatefold with the cut-out sheet and a replica of the psychedelic pink inner sleeve; and the White Album is a top-loader, with The BEATLES embossed on the front, a limited edition number stamp, poster, four photos, and black inner sleeves – just like the 1968 originals:
Beatles Mono Box22 Beatles Mono Box23

Beatles Mono Box24 Beatles Mono Box25Last album out of the box is the Mono Masters triple LP, containing all the singles and B-sides not captured on any of the original albums:Beatles Mono Box26 Beatles Mono Box27A reader has requested we publish some shots of the record spines. Here they are – and yes, that is the way that Sgt Pepper is printed. It looks upside down, but that’s also faithful to they way the original LPs were presented: Beatles Mono Box32

Beatles Mono Box33There are only two bar-codes to be seen. One on the rear of the Mono Masters, and one on the outer slipcase for the box set:

Beatles Mono Box28 Beatles Mono Box29

(Click on images to see larger versions)

There’s a very interesting Billboard magazine article in which it is clear that these LPs are not “sanitised” versions of the mono releases like the mono CDs were all the clicks and pops and studio mistakes removed:

‘Five years after the Beatles mono recordings were released on CD, Capitol Records and Universal Music are fostering the notion that to hear the Beatles music the way John, Paul, George and Ringo did in the 1960s, a mono LP is mandatory listening….The mono CDs, which were cleaned up and re-EQ’d in a way that did not occur with the new set of LPs, “was an attempt to give the history its day in the sun,” said project supervisor Guy Hayden. “There was no hurry and, in true Beatles fashion, if you can do it better, you do it again,” says Sean Magee, an Abbey Road-trained engineer who oversaw the mastering of the albums.’

For a more in-depth review from a sound quality perspective have a look at this article from the audiophile magazine The Absolute Sound. Reviewer Neil Gader steps through a listen to of each album. As he says, “Spoiler alert: Wow!”.

There is also a great set of reviews of the sound at Analog Planet.

And who could have resisted this invitation to hear the Mono LPs launched at a function held in the actual place where these masterpieces were recorded – Abbey Road’s famed Studio 2:beatles-mono-sidebar

Apple Records, Universal Music and Mojo magazine hosted a once-in-a-lifetime gathering for a select few at Abbey Road in London last week. Not only did the lucky audience get to listen to tracks from the new records in-situ on a £300,000 sound system (that’s A$522,000!), but also to hear a panel of distinguished guests discuss how the group recorded and mixed their songs. Read more here.

The Apple Years 1968-75

As well as cover art and a picture of the contents of what’s inside the new George Harrison box set The Apple Years 1968-75, the release is now appearing for pre-order on both the UK Amazon and US Amazon sites – with September 22 and September 23 release dates respectively. Harrison Apple Years CoverHarrison The Apple Years Box Set

Confusingly the US Amazon site has the heading The Apple Years [9 CD Box Set], but below that in the “Product Details” section it says: Number of Discs: 7 …. which makes us think that to get to the number nine they’re counting the three CD’s which will be inside All Things Must Pass.

If you click on the box set contents photo above to enlarge it you’ll see that ATMP comes in a faithfully replicated box, just like the original LP. If that’s the case then we can expect two CDs with orange Apple labels to be in there, plus a third CD which on the custom “Apple Jam” label – and that these will all be housed inside individual coloured inner sleeves. There should also be a great little replica poster of George Harrison in there as well.

From what is shown above it’s clear that the Dark Horse CD has been similarly faithful to its original 1974 LP release. It will come in a gatefold cover with all the inserts, and will replicate the label styles from that LP on the CD. It all looks to have been very nicely done.

Lennon’s Shaved Fish Vinyl To Be Re-issued – More info

A little while back Wogblog’s Beatles site alerted us that the 1975 John Lennon “best-of” compilation Shaved Fish was being being readied for a re-issue on vinyl.

Always seemed like an odd one to select for a vinyl re-issue….

A little more digging reveals that the album is part of Universal Music’s “Back to Black” vinyl re-issue series which was created to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the LP record. Shaved Fish joins eighty-four other titles already released under the “Back to Black” imprint, including LP’s from the likes of Deep Purple, Bonnie Raitt, Steely Dan, Abba, Elton John, and Grace Jones – to name but a few. Each album also comes with a code for an MP3 download.

While the record won’t be available in the US until August 19 (according to Amazon US), turns out it’s already come out in the UK. Universal’s online listing for the record has a release date of July 14, and Amazon UK has it available to ship now. 0600753511121_medium0600753511121_malt1We found another Universal Music Back to Black website that seems to indicate that Shaved Fish is being issued on it’s original green Apple labels – and that Universal has been faithful to the original packaging, housing the album in an inner sleeve with lyrics on one side and a Japanese rising sun on the other:john-lennon-and-the-plastic-ono-band-shaved-fish-side1john-lennon-and-the-plastic-ono-band-shaved-fish-side2john-lennon-and-the-plastic-ono-band-shaved-fish-sleeve

If anyone already has a copy let us know if this is correct.

 

The Apple Years – New George Harrison Box Coming

On Tuesday (July 22) this week Dhani Harrison posted this photo on his band’s Facebook page:Apple Years Hint Original

The note attached said: “Back to work .. Happy Monday to all the twos out there. If you look closely you may spot something PH and I have been working on for the past few months.”

PH is Beatle remaster expert Paul Hicks – and that “something” in the photo is most likely the packaging for a new George Harrison box set to be called The Apple Years:Apple Years Hint Photo

It’s a box on the top left of the mixing console – sitting alongside a copy of The Dark Horse Years box set, a previous Harrison collection (on the right). There’s also some sort of test pressing leaning up against the cartoon George Harrison character in the photo. Dhani Harrison later confirmed that indeed he has been working on re-issues of the first seven Apple Records solo albums by his father – something he described as “a lot of work…”.

There’s now debate and speculation about exactly what this might mean. Will it include Electronic Sound (which technically wasn’t on Apple but on the Zapple label)?electronicsounduspressinga

Most well-informed talk out there amongst Beatle and Harrison fans is firming around these seven titles:

1. Wonderwall Music;  2. Electronic Sound;  3. All Things Must Pass;  4. The Concert for Bangladesh;  5. Living in the Material World;  6. Dark Horse;  and 7. Extra Texture (Read All About It).

The AllMusic site has listed the set and has a September 22 release date pencilled in, which puts it in direct competition with The Beatles In Mono vinyl box set announced by Apple last month……

No other details – but the site does mention a DVD is part of the set as well.

 

 

Beatles Australian 50th Anniversary Celebrations Are Hotting Up

Here in Australia the celebrations for the 50th anniversary of the Beatles one-and-only tour Down Under are beginning to get exciting.

The Beatles arrived in Sydney on June 11, 1964 and EMI Australia has today posted a great Australian tour highlights video on its official YouTube site:

The site publicises Australia’s contribution to the 50th anniversary – a 2 CD set called Then & Now – Australia Salutes The Beatles. It’s a compilation of some of Australia’s finest artists covering classic Beatle songs:Then-Now-Australia-Salutes-The-Beatles

Details about the release can be found here.

It has to be said it is a bit underwhelming with the news that this was actually EMI Australia’s second choice as a way to mark the historic visit. Initially the company was working on a unique two-disc set which was to have included a DVD of the complete Melbourne concert (which was filmed live and broadcast nationally at the time), with extra songs and partial songs included. This was to be partnered with a CD containing the studio recordings of those particular songs from the concert. It could have been a nice double-disc package, complete with a booklet – a real collectors item, unique to Australia. By comparison the double CD’s of Aussie cover versions is a real let-down.

EMI Australia was apparently told by Apple head office that as they are working on a live project of their own the local project could not possibly proceed…..

There’ll be more news on other Australian celebrations to mark the anniversary across June – including a major television documentary produced by the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, and a “pop-up” digital radio station which will run for a week and play ’64 Beatles tour music as well as rare audio from the archives. This will also be streamed live around the world – so more on these broadcasts soon in future posts.

The Beatles 20th Anniversary Singles

We know. Seems odd in the Beatles 50th anniversary year to be writing about what was done in the UK for the 20th anniversaries of each of their single releases, but as we recently acquired a complete set of those anniversary singles here goes…

Back in 1982, to mark the 20th anniversary of the release of “Love Me Do” – the Beatles first UK single, EMI released the record in a special picture sleeve. (They also released it as a picture discs as well, but that’s another story).love-me-do1Love Me Do LabelThen over the following eight years, on the 20th anniversary release date of each the official UK singles, they continued to do the same for each and every disc. That means it took some collectors eight years to complete the set! All singles were released on black vinyl and, as already mentioned, in picture disc versions too. (A 12″ single of “Love Me Do” was also released to correct an error made by EMI in choosing the wrong version for the 7″ single. Sound familiar?). They are all either on the Parlophone label (a red label for “Love Me Do”, and then in black and silver for the remainder), or on the green Apple label.

Here’s a small selection of the covers and labels used:The-Beatles-Day-Tripper---20t-462203 Day Tripper LabelBeatles_Get_Back beatles-singles-collection-label-2

R5722-Sl-A-1982 R5722-B-1976The release program for this set of singles was as follows:

Love Me Do / P.S. I Love You (Parlophone/October 4, 1982)
Please Please Me / Ask Me Why (Parlophone/January 10, 1983)
From Me To You / Thank You Girl (Parlophone/April 11, 1983)
She Loves You / I’ll Get You (Parlophone/August 22, 1983)
I Want To Hold Your Hand / This Boy (Parlophone/November 28, 1983)
Can’t Buy Me Love / You Can’t Do That (Parlophone/March 19, 1984)
A Hard Day’s Night / Things We Said Today (Parlophone/July 9, 1984)
I Feel Fine / She’s A Woman (Parlophone/November 26, 1984)
Ticket To Ride / Yes It Is (Parlophone/April 9, 1985)
Help / I’m Down (Parlophone/July 23, 1985)
We Can Work It Out/ Day Tripper (Parlophone/December 2, 1985)
Paperback Writer / Rain (Parlophone/June 9, 1986)
Yellow Submarine/ Eleanor Rigby (Parlophone/August 5, 1986)
Strawberry Fields Forever / Penny Lane (Parlophone/February 16, 1987)
All You Need Is Love / Baby You’re A Rich Man (Parlophone/July 6, 1987)
Hello Goodbye / I Am The Walrus (Parlophone/November 23, 1987)
Lady Madonna / The Inner Light (Parlophone/March 14, 1988)
Hey Jude /Revolution (Apple/August 30, 1988)
Get Back / Don’t Let Me Down (Apple/April 10, 1989)
The Ballad Of John And Yoko / Old Brown Shoe (Apple/May 30, 1989)
Something / Come Together (Apple/October 30, 1989)
Let It Be / You Know My Name (Look Up The Number)(Apple/March 3, 1990)

Of course if you had the ready cash back in December 1982 you could have purchased all these singles at once in a blue and gold box set called The Beatles Singles Collection which contained each single with the same unique picture covers. The box was a limited issue and held twenty-six vinyl 7″ singles in all – each of the standard twenty two UK singles listed above, plus another four singles that had been released since 1976. These were: “Yesterday/ I Should Have Known Better”, “Back In The U.S.S.R./ Twist and Shout”, “Sgt.Peppers/With A Little Help From My Friends/ A DAy in the Life”, and “The Movie Medley”.The Beatles Singles Collection

This box was different to the 1976 black and gold UK singles box set (which had a different set of picture covers) and was only ever available via mail order. We have the 3rd edition of that particular box, which was issued containing 25 singles in 1978:

beatles-singles-collection-front

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: