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.

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

A Hard Day’s Night Re-Issue Coming Soon

http://www.criterion.com/films/28547-a-hard-day-s-night

Criterion Films have announced a new re-issue of the Beatles A Hard Day’s Night film. It will have a new cover:Hard Days Night coverHard Days Nigh Rear cover

And will come in two versions – a DVD only, and a “dual-format” 3 disc box set edition which combines DVD and BluRay versions. What you’ll get is:

  • A new 4K digital film restoration, approved by director Richard Lester, with two audio options—a monaural soundtrack and a new 5.1 surround soundtrack made by Apple Records (which Giles Martin worked on) — presented in uncompressed monaural DTS-HD Master Audio on the Blu-ray (dual-format only)
  • Audio commentary featuring various members of the film’s cast and crew (dual-format only)
  • In Their Own Voices, a new piece combining interviews with the Beatles from 1964 with behind-the-scenes footage and photos
  • You Can’t Do That: The Making of “A Hard Day’s Night,” a 1994 documentary program by producer Walter Shenson
  • Things They Said Today, a 2002 documentary about the film featuring Lester, music producer George Martin, writer Alun Owen, cinematographer Gilbert Taylor, and others (dual-format only)
  • New piece about Lester’s early work, featuring a new audio interview with the director (dual-format only)
  • The Running Jumping and Standing Still Film (1959), Lester’s Oscar-nominated short featuring Peter Sellers and Spike Milligan (dual-format only)
  • Anatomy of a Style, a new piece on Lester’s approach to editing (dual-format only)
  • New interview with Mark Lewisohn, author of Tune In: The Beatles: All These Years—Volume One (dual-format only)
  • Deleted scene (dual-format only)
  • Trailers
  • PLUS: An essay by critic Howard Hampton
  • The film will be in a 1:75:1 aspect ratio, which is how it was originally shown in movie theatres in 1964
  • The re-issue is due for release on June 24

Yoko Ono and the World of Dance Music Remixes

When we posted about the forthcoming re-issues of Yoko Ono’s Apple Records back catalogue we were contacted by the people at Mind Train/Twisted Records asking if we were aware of Yoko Ono’s other considerable success over many years in the world of dance music and remixes.

No, we said – tell us more.

And so Rob at Twisted kindly sent through a signed (yes, autographed by Yoko herself), 2-disc promo set which gathers together a selection of the very best of her output in this genre from the last 10 years or so:ONO front coverONO rear cover

Under the monicker ONO she has had huge successes with DJ remixes of her work on the Billboard Club charts. Last year ONO had not one, but two consecutive Number 1 hits – making her one of the most successful dance artists of 2013 and prompting articles like this one in Time magazine.ONO CD1ONO CD2

Her product is prepared and released by the Yoko-associated Mind Train Records and the iconic New York-based house music label Twisted Records. For more on Twisted see their Facebook page.

Yoko Ono’s Imaginepeace site also has some info on these releases.

Gotta say, I quite like these. They’re creative, mesmerising, and make you want to move. It just goes to show that in the world of collecting Beatle and Beatle-related music there is always something new to learn….ONO inside cover

(for larger versions click on the images above)

Beatles ’64 – A Hard Day’s Night in America

We were recently able to do a big Beatles crate dig while visiting the city of Newcastle in New South Wales, Australia. It yielded a few treasures.

Ah, Newcastle. A former steel city now more focussed on tourism, education, health services and coal exports, it must also be second-hand central when it comes to the large number of shops it has selling vintage books, records and CDs. We got around to some (but not all) the outlets due to time constraints. But those we did get to were worth it.

Found this great book in a second-hand bookshop called Indigo Books on Hunter Street:Beatles '64 frontWith this year being the 50th anniversary of the Beatles invasion of the USA, who could resist a book with the title Beatles ’64 – A Hard Day’s Night in America….

Yes, it has a small rip in the dust jacket, but this book is a fantastic memento and really worth having.

First released in 1989 to mark the 25th anniversary, Beatles ’64 has extensive text by journalist A.J.S. Rayl. But perhaps its most striking feature is one hundred and fifty (then) never-before-seen photographs of the band taken by freelance photographer Curt Gunther who accompanied them on that first historic US tour: Beatles '64 rear

Gunther’s photographic career spanned over four decades. He met the Beatles in 1964 and a friendship was formed. Asked to pay his own way on the tour he offset his expenses with winnings from nightly poker sessions with the band! Find out more about Curt Gunther here, and see more of his Beatle images.

As the Amazon Books review says of his work: “….[as you flip through the book] every so often a picture jumps out by capturing the essence of both the premiere British pop invaders and the tenor of the time.” Here are couple of those images from Beatles ’64 – A Hard Day’s Night in America:Beatles '64 insideBeatles '64 band

I liked this one of their guitars backstage:Beatles '64 guitars

And this one of Paul driving (and smoking) in the US:Beatles '64 Paul

Finally – the look on the face of the young lady who pulled up alongside the Beatles in their limo says it all:Beatles '64 fan

It’s a book really worth having in the collection – especially in this the 50th anniversary year. Here’s an interesting review which also contains a couple more of the Curt Gunther images.

We’ll definitely be heading back to Newcastle again soon as there is certainly more Beatles treasure to discover there. In coming posts we’ll feature a couple of other nice things we found.

Yoko Ono Albums To Be Reissued

Flipping through a recent copy of Mojo magazine we noticed this small article:mojo

Being interested in anything Beatles and Apple Records related we decided to do a bit more research.

Yoko Ono’s Plastic Ono Band site has this small promo tile (complete with a grapefruit) – but no links when you click on it:reissue_yopob

Same for her Imagine Peace site. Again, there’s the same promo tile on the page but no other information or links, although there is a tiny bit more info as the tile at least lists two record company names:Reissue_Imaginepeace

Chimera Music is Ono’s (and son Sean Lennon’s) record label. A search revealed no further information on their site though. Not sure what Secretly Canadian has to do with the releases (it’s an American independent record label based in Bloomington, Indiana) because there’s no reference to Yoko Ono or Plastic Ono Band on their site either….

Of course these titles have been released previously. The details of that 1997 reissue project are in this MTV article:

“….beginning on May 20th, the label (Rykodisc) will present 11 different Yoko Ono and Plastic Ono Band albums, all of which are being remixed and remastered as needed by Ono herself…..The first wave of releases will be unleashed on May 20 with the four titles, Unfinished Music #1: Two Virgins, an album or tape manipulation and random noises reportedly made the night before Ono and John Lennon made love for the first time; its sequel, Unfinished Music #2: Life With the Lions, which deals with Ono’s subsequent miscarriage and also contains a “song” called “Radio Play,” 12 minutes of random radio dial-turning; the collaborative The Wedding Album, whose second song is a 22 minute drone consisting of the couple calling each other’s name and, finally, the first Plastic Ono Band album, Yoko Ono with the Plastic Ono Band.

The next set of four releases (June 10) contains what many considered to be the first post-punk record (ironic, since it pre-dated punk), the noisy, experimental Fly, credited to Yoko Ono and the Plastic Ono Band. Also released on that day are two other Plastic Ono Band Yoko titles, Approximately Infinite Universe and Feeling the Space. Also included will be Ono’s cathartic, personal album, Season of Glass. July 1st will bring the last set of three releases,It’s Alright (I See Rainbows)Star Peace and A Story, a previously unreleased album that was included in the box set. Ono is currently searching for some appropriate bonus tracks for the releases…”

Rykodisc were also involved with this 1992 6-CD set, Onobox:Ono BoxYoko Ono herself writes about the contents of this box set extensively here. Onobox is a kind of a “best of” compilation, with tracks from across her own (and John Lennon’s) output from 1968 to 1985.

It’ll be interesting to see what the 2014 project brings….

Hear the Beatles Tell All – British Charly Records Re-Issue

With the Beatles 50th anniversary of the arrival in the US now well under way, it was intriguing to come across a re-issued example of one of the earliest efforts to cash in on that US success.

Hear the Beatles Tell All was an interview disc which consisted of two lengthy conversations between the Beatles and Los Angeles radio disc jockeys. On Side One Dave Hull interviews John Lennon, while Side Two was titled “Jim Steck interviews John, Paul, George, Ringo”. No Beatles music was included on this interview album, rather a quite odd but jazzy percussion backing edited and scored by Lou Adler, and played by then top LA session drummer named Hal Blaine.

Originally released in September, 1964 on the Vee-Jay Records label, what we have here is a 1981 re-issue by the British record label Charly Records:IMG_9948IMG_9949IMG_9950

Charly Records have faithfully reproduced the cover. If you have the original Vee-Jay release the label will look like this:HearTheBeatlesTellAlllabel

But if it is a fake, you might have this:HearTheBeatlesTellAllfakelabel