John Lennon – 8 LP Box Set

Here at Beatlesblogger we have a few items that we are always on the lookout for. When we first heard about the impending box set reissue of eight John Lennon LPs on 180 gram vinyl – we knew we’d have to eventually get a copy….

This is a deluxe box set of Lennon’s solo albums released between 1970 and 1984. The studio albums are remastered from their original analogue masters and have been newly cut to vinyl from 96k digital files with faithfully replicated original album art.

The albums featured in the box are John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band (1970); Imagine (1971); Some Time In New York City – a double album (1972); Mind Games (1973); Walls And Bridges (1974); Rock’n’Roll (1975); Double Fantasy (1980); and Milk And Honey (1984). The albums, which feature the 2010 remasters, will be available separately on August 21st.

It’s taken a little while with this one, but we finally got up the courage to visit Sandy’s Records, a great local independent record shop with an impressive range of CDs and LPs, to invest in a copy (it is a very expensive addition to the collection):

Lennon Box Set 2015

Rather than uploading a swathe of photographs of each LP here, this collector named Jordan has recorded quite a nice unboxing video (unfortunately though he doesn’t show all the actual discs and their authentically reproduced labels):

If you are after more of what is inside this official video promo clip takes comprehensive care of that:

As you can see, in keeping with the authentic UK album artwork for each LP: Imagine contains reproductions of its two postcards, poster and inner sleeve; Some Time In New York City includes reproductions of its original postcard and inner sleeves; Walls And Bridges includes its sleeve with two fold-over flaps, the original eight-page booklet and inner sleeve; Mind Games, Double Fantasy, and Milk And Honey also include faithful reproductions of their original inner sleeves. Nice.

However, the thing that has become really collectable about this box set is that it’s been temporarily withdrawn from sale while Universal Music sort out a BIG mistake with one of the albums in the set. In first pressings Lennon’s Rock’n’Roll LP has a production error. The song “Sweet Little Sixteen” appears twice, and “You Can’t Catch Me” is missing altogether….making it something of an instant collector’s item.

The good news for those who’ve paid out the big $$ for the box is that Universal Music has acknowledged the mistake and set up a website where you can request a replacement copy of that particular album. You’ll need to provide proof of purchase: Claim.LennonVinylBox.com

Some Local Beatle Pressings From a Visit to Holland

As mentioned in our previous post, a recent holiday trip took us to Europe (including a first ever visit to the Netherlands) and this presented the opportunity to trawl through a few of Amsterdam’s specialty vinyl record shops – and there are quite a few of them!

Collectors will know that pressings from Holland are fairly common because once upon a time EMI had quite a large presence there and pressed a huge amount of discs (both LPs and CDs). These were not only for local consumption, but also for distribution worldwide.

So, as a travel memento, we wanted at least a couple of Beatle or Beatle-related pressings as a physical reminder of our visit to the Netherlands.

The shops we made it to in Amsterdam included Record Friend, in the city’s Niewmarket area (at St Antoniesbreestraat 64); the enormous Concerto Records (at Utrechtsestraat 52-60); and finally City Records, also in Niewmarket (at Geldersekade 100A). There are many more places to find vinyl – but we had only a limited time.

The Record Friend store is situated below street level and it’s pretty big – and a bit overwhelming when you first walk in:

But it was easy to find the Beatles section and we soon found a nice clean Dutch copy of this double LP in its gatefold cover:

R&R front

We already have this LP (in Australian and US pressings), but this one is made in Holland with unusual grey and silver Parlophone labels, so it’s different. And for us it serves as a reminder of a fantastic visit to a fantastic city:R&R rearR&R label

Country of origin detail on the rear cover:

R&R detailNext we called in to Concerto – which is huge. The store (spread over five shops all joined together in one long line – see photo below) offers a wide selection of new and used vinyl, CDs and DVDs. Surprisingly they didn’t have a huge amount of Beatle vinyl.Concerto_Records

So, after a lengthy browse of their many shelves we moved on to City Records.

There, in a small but very neat and clean store (fairly new and with the owner still in the process of setting up), we found three nice collectable items. We’re always on the lookout for different versions of the 1970 Apple LP John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band. We have quite a few – but to now have an original Holland pressing in the collection is a delight:POB FrontPOB rear

This one had the (censored) paper lyric sheet inner:POB inner

POB labelPOB detailAnd a little surprise added bonus – the cheeky postcard insert from Lennon’s Imagine album which was meant as a rebuff to Paul McCartney’s Ram cover. Not sure how it ended up with this LP, but out it fell when we got home:POB extra

Next out of the crates at City Records was a Dutch pressing of George Harrison’s budget compilation LP The Best of George Harrison. We’ve been looking for a vinyl version of this for some time so it’s good to finally have one, pressed in Holland of course:

Best of frontBest of rearBest of LabelBest of detail

And here’s the final Beatle LP we found at City Records. This version of The Beatles Ballads is a really nice find. This release (which is a Beatles “Best Of” style LP also issued in the UK and Australia) is collectable because it has a front and rear cover unique to Holland and is titled De Mooiste Songs (which roughly translates as The Most Beautiful Songs):

Ballads front1Ballads rear1

Ballads detailThe British and Australian covers for this have a blue border on the front cover:Ballads front2

And a predominantly yellow rear cover:

Ballads rear2

Here’s the Dutch label:Ballads Label1

In Australia this came out originally on the orange and black Parlophone label:Ballads Label2

For more on the background to the special painting done for this cover have a look here.

The owner of City Records was very helpful. Realising these albums had to make the very l-o-n-g journey back to Australia, he offered to put the LPs into a sturdy cardboard mailer to help protect them more fully. A kind gesture very much appreciated.

Next time – what happened on our visit to France……

 

Lennon and Ono in Amsterdam – Cor Jaring Photos

Drove from Paris to the Amsterdam Hilton,

Talkin’ in our beds for a week.

The news people said “Say, what you doing’ in bed?”

I said “We’re only tryin’ to get us some peace!”

So wrote John Lennon in “The Ballad of John and Yoko”, released by the Beatles back in 1969. He was talking in the song about one of his famous “bed-in” peace events, staged with Yoko Ono during their honeymoon while on a visit to the city of Amsterdam.Ballad of J&Y Acetate

One of the people there to visually record what happened was Dutch photographer Cor Jaring and the Amsterdam City Archives currently has an exhibition of his photographs on display. They feature some of the shots he took of John and Yoko that day – but you’ll need to be quick if you want to see it. It closes on July 12.

Hi, and welcome back to Beatles Blogger. We’ve been on holiday for a month – so it’s been a bit quite around here for a while. We’ve actually been traveling in Europe and now that we’re back over the coming days will reveal more about what we found there to add to the ever-growing Beatle collection. We managed to pick up a few very nice things….

We didn’t however get to visit the Jaring exhibition as we only picked up this advertising flyer on the very last day we were there and ran out of time:Cor Jaring

If you happen to be anywhere near Amsterdam it looks like it’d be interesting though.

New John Lennon LP Box Set Pressed By Optimal Media

The new John Lennon 8 LP box set (due in stores early next month) will all be pressed at a state-of-the-art German factory in the town of Robel in Germany. Lennon_LPs_2015

Optimal Media are a large and experienced outfit which has impressive high-volume CD replication and vinyl pressing facilities as well as the ability to print and assemble the high quality LP covers, inner sleeves and custom boxes in which they are presented for back-catalogue (and new) collections of music.optimal_factory

Optimal is the same place that the Beatles Remastered Stereo box set was manufactured back in 2012. Their site (and the finished product) demonstrates that they do impressive work at a high quality.beatles-vinyl-lid-open2

They pressed the 40th anniversary vinyl box set edition of John Lennon’s “Imagine” LP – a limited edition two-disc set released for Record Store Day in 2011.Lennon_Imaginersd_lennonbox

Our copy of the Beatles in Mono vinyl box set also originated at the same Optimal factory. All the printing and pressing of the box set was done there and like the Stereo Box, this was a large and complex project to pull off. It has to be said 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.beatles-mono-box14

For a further discussion on the origin of recent Beatle vinyl releases see:  Where “Made in the EU” Vinyl Might Be Pressed

Why Yoko Ono (Still) Matters

On the eve of a major new retrospective exhibition of her art, Vogue magazine has published an interesting article about the importance of Yoko Ono as an artist in the 1960’s.

Beginning today at the Museum of Modern Art in New York is an exhibition entitled “Yoko Ono: One Woman Show, 1960-1971″.Yoko_Ono_MOMA2Yoko_Ono_MOMA1

Of course any discussion about Ono inevitably comes around to her relationship with John Lennon and the Beatles. As Vogue says about this exhibition: “….even though John Lennon is visible and mentioned, it is gently done. On these gallery walls, we see him less as a Beatle and more as a fellow artist.”

And: “If you grew up with the Beatles, it can be difficult to like Yoko Ono. People like to accuse her of turning Lennon into a humorless hippie, the two of them tweaked out on too much acid, calling for peace. They like to point out that he stopped making music to be a dad, while Ono pursued her career as an artist. Lennon loved her—their chemistry is unmistakable—but this alone didn’t get his fans to love her, too. We like our idols unattached, even if they’re unavailable.”

See also Vogue’s article In Praise of Yoko Ono’s Inimitable Style

You’ll notice that the Illy coffee company is a sponsor of the MOMA exhibition. As part of that Yoko Ono has produced seven, limited edition espresso coffee cups as part of the company’s Art Collection series by famous artists. You can learn more about these hereYoko Ono illy Art Cup

Beatles With Records – Part Twenty Seven

Well, it’s been quite a while since we had a Beatles With Records post. In between time quite a number of new photographs have been found and submitted by keen Beatles Blog readers – especially Billy Shears, Lammert, and Andrey.

It’s going to be a reasonably big one. So, where to begin? Probably roughly chronologically would be best, starting with Dick Rowe, the Decca A&R man credited (wrongly as it turns out) with rejecting the Beatles at their audition for Decca Records in January, 1962:Dick Rowe

Some of the albums on his wall include A Taste of Tijuana by The Mexicans:

Tijuana2

Lulu’s Something to Shout About:Lulu Something

The Fortunes:The-Fortunes-The-Fortunes-351396

And Marianne Faithful’s North Country Maid:Marianne-Faithfull-North-Country-Mai-451002

But here’s the band that Decca missed out on:

rec teen5

It is a very youthful looking group on the front cover of the pop magazine Teen Screen. Notice the big “scoop”: WHY THE BEATLES ARE BREAKING UP!…..

There’s a bunch of records on the wall behind them, but they’re holding up with pride a copy of their then-new LP Please Please Me:PleasePleaseMe_1

You can see a slightly larger and clearer image of that front cover photo in The Beatles with Records Part Two.

And here is the band out promoting that same album:Beatles-17460-1024x768The Beatles were soon to star in their first full-length movie A Hard Day’s Night, and from that film comes these screenshots of one of their co-stars, Wilfrid Bramble. Bramble played Paul McCartney’s grandfather, “a clean old man” who none-the-less is taking a rather keen interest in this very sexy record cover:

Screen shot 2015-03-07 at 17.46.34Screen shot 2015-03-07 at 17.46.25Screen shot 2015-03-07 at 17.47.07White SatinGeorge Shearing’s White Satin LP came out in 1960….

In previous posts we’ve had photographs of various members of the band actually playing records. Here’s another, this time George with an unidentified stack of 45’s:rec g2

The Beatles were big in France, and there were unique covers produced in that country for their LPs, EPs and singles. Here they are stuck in a lift and signing a copy of the French EP Eight Days a Week:

22-06-1965france_les_beatles_1965_epThe Eight Days a Week EP (from 1965) above also featured in The Beatles With Records Part Five.

Onto the Beatles solo now and another interesting photo. This one was taken at John and Yoko’s historic “Bed-In For Peace” in Amsterdam on 30 March, 1969. The weird thing in the photograph is that you can see the image that later (in May, 1969) will become the cover of Unfinished Music No.2: Life with the Lions:Life with the Lions 1Life-with-the-lions-front-cover1

Sticking with John Lennon and his album Rock ‘n’ Roll from 1975. It has a brilliant cover image taken way back in the Beatles Hamburg days by this man, photographer Jürgen Vollmer:

Jurgen VollmerRock n Roll LennonJumping ahead now to the year 1990, and a charity album called Nobody’s Child: Romanian Angel Appeal. This compilation contained two Beatle-related tracks. One is by the Traveling Wilburys (“Nobody’s Child”), and the other a duet by Paul Simon and George Harrison of the Simon composition “Homeward Bound”. It was recorded during a performance on Saturday Night Live in 1976. George and his wife Olivia got behind publicising the release and here are two different photographs of them holding copies of the vinyl edition: Nobody's child LP37Nobodys_Child_Romanian_Angel_Appeal_cover

Next a 1992 launch party for Ringo Starr’s Time Takes Time CD. Ringo does’t look all that pleased about the lady thrusting a Russian pressing of the Beatles LP Help! into his hands for him to sign….

1992 05 27 Time Takes Time' album party 1167349471992 05 27 Time Takes Time' album party 1168843241992 05 27 Time Takes Time' album party 1168814671992 05 27 Time Takes Time' album party 1167349731992 05 27 Time Takes Time' album party 116885246Russian HelpRussian Help2(Turns out that lady is the famous TV sex therapist Dr. Ruth Westheimer. Quite a few readers have contacted us and identified her – so thanks).

You can read all about the many variations for the Russia-only LP Dr Ruth has here.

And lastly here’s Paul McCartney holding a copy of the CD booklet for his 2006 classical music release, Ecce Cor Meum (Behold My Heart) [see also The Beatles With Records Part Seventeen]:

11080899_838241276248646_2732204973016383007_npaul-mccartney-ecce-cor-meum

If you are interested in seeing more of the Beatles With Records check out the past twenty six instalments.  More soon!

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.