Label Variations – Part One – Sgt. Pepper

For some reason today I started to think about all the different label variations there must be of Beatles LP and single vinyl discs – released over time and from a wide range of countries around the world.

Different countries have different labels of course, but there have been many label artwork changes over the years – from the original issues to the more recent re-releases. For some collectors this is a never-ending fascination. How many different label variations can they possibly find of a particular album or single?

For me as a collector it’s not the primary reason I’ll purchase an item – but for certain titles I already have it can be a factor. For some reason if browsing a stack of second-hand Beatles LPs I’ll always go looking for different labels or covers for Sgt. Pepper, Abbey Road and Let It Be. Don’t know why – I guess they where formative in my initial collection and mean more to me as records than the other titles in the collection.

As a result, over many years,  I have accumulated a few variations which I’ll share with you over the coming few weeks. (To see larger images just click on each picture).

First up – Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band. My very first copy of this on vinyl was the Australian pressing. Originally all Australian pressings were on Parlophone. By the time I was old enough to buy it the Parlophone label was a bright orange colour and looked like this:

Australian pressing - Orange Parlophone

However, there where a couple of other Australian variations on the Parlophone label prior to it becoming orange like the one above. I think when Sgt. Pepper originally came out it was on a black and silver label like this:

Australian Parlophone - Black and Silver

After the black and silver there was a further Australian variation (seen below) which was very much like the original UK release. It’s a black and yellow Parlophone label. Note in the picture below that this is the Mono version (denoted by the catalogue number PMCO-7027. The stereo versions are all PCSO-7027):

Australian Parlophone - Black and Yellow variation

Across the Tasman Sea in New Zealand they had their own range of variations. An early NZ Parlophone was quite different to both the British and the Australian:

New Zealand Parlophone - Blue and White variation

As you can see, the New Zealand version was unique. New Zealand later went on to release the entire Beatles catalogue on the Apple label, and again there are differences here to the “usual” Apple look – quite distinctive in its way and I reckon collectable for that very reason:

New Zealand - Apple label

This Apple has some unusual features – most prominent among them the large STEREO lettering on the right hand side.

Back to Parlophone – on which most versions of Sgt. Pepper were/are released.  This is how the current UK version of the label looks today:

United Kingdom - the current Parlophone LP label

As you can see in the picture above, the Parlophone name and logo is in a large box, and the EMI label is also present twice on the label in smaller boxes. This is the label you will see if you go out tomorrow to buy a vinyl UK release of this classic Beatles record.

A couple of years ago EMI Australia re-issued Sgt. Pepper on the Parlophone label – and the label looked like this:

Australian Parlophone - Black and Silver c. 1987

The label above comes from 1987 when a special 20th Anniversary commemorative edition of Pepper was released. The pic above is of the more common black vinyl edition, but the record was also released on limited edition red vinyl (same label though!):

Australian Parlophone - Red vinyl edition 1987

OK. On to the US now – and I only have two label variations – which is not that impressive as there are many, many more. In the USA, Capitol as EMI/Parlophone’s US subsidiary, is the principal label you’ll find Sgt. Pepper released on. This version below is the traditional black and “rainbow” surround Capitol label:

US Capitol - black and rainbow label

Later there were other Capitol variations. This one is the orange Capitol, which I bought originally in the late 1970s or early 1980s:

US Capitol - orange label

Another unusual US variation is the Sgt. Pepper released as part of the MFSL (Mobile Fidelity Sound Lab) company’s high fidelity “Original Master Recording” series. This has a different label, but also quite a different cover image as well. The series was released in a big boxed set of all the Beatles records given the MFSL treatment –  which you occasionally see come up on Ebay for many thousands of dollars. I don’t have the box set – but I do have an individual copy of Pepper – picked up at a second-hand shop for a few bucks!:

Mobile Fidelity Sound Labs edition

Finally, two foreign releases worthy I think of a pic of the labels. The first is from Singapore – interesting because it is so similar to the UK “black and yellow” edition:

Singapore Parlophone - black and yellow

And a very different Sgt. Pepper label from Odeon, the subsidiary of EMI that released the Beatles’ records in countries like Germany and France. This one comes from Germany and is an early version fo the Odeon label there:

German Odeon label

I hope you’ve enjoyed a peek at some of the label variations for Sgt. Pepper from my collection. These really only touch the surface of some of the different labels out there. If you have any other information or pictures or scans of Sgt. Pepper labels please leave a comment, or email me at: beatlesblogger@gmail.com

See also:  Label Variations – Part Two – Let It Be

See also: Label Variations – Part Three – McCartney’s Choba B CCCP

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31 thoughts on “Label Variations – Part One – Sgt. Pepper

  1. Pingback: Label Variations – Part Two – Let It Be « Beatles Blog

  2. On February 16, 2010 Heath Sims wrote:

    hey mate,
    nice blog.
    Anyway you are forgettng an issue.

    In Australia.

    -1967 August, PMCO 7027 MONO (yellow parlophone) and PCSO 7027 STERIO (big silver parlophone) were released.

    -1969, PCSO 7027 yellow parlophone was released!! – came with uk sleeve, cut outs, coloured inner sleeve

    -1972, PCSO 7027 orange parlophone

    -1987, PCSO 7027 black silver parlophone

    -1987, PCSO 7027 red vinyl anniversary edition

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  3. Pingback: Label Variations Part 3 – Versions of McCartney’s Choba B CCCP « Beatles Blog

  4. Pingback: Promo Copy of Sgt. Pepper « Beatles Blog

  5. Hi – St Peppers in Singapore was amended to exclude the track Lucy in the Sky but I have an early pressing on the EMI Singapore /Malaysia label that includes the full (UK) track listing. Just wondering if you were aware of this. Could send you pix or track listings or any other details if that would interest you.

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    • Hi Ian – I’d be very interested to see some pics and track listings if you could send them – especially of the Singapore album without the Lucy in the Sky song, plus the early pressing you have with the song too.

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  6. Pingback: Beatles USB Apple not the First Apple Shaped Product Released…. « Beatles Blog

  7. Pingback: Label Variations Part 4 – Shaved Fish « Beatles Blog

  8. Hi there,

    I have the single-sleeve red vinyl 1987 Australian pressing of Sgt Peppers. Inside the sleeve there are also cut-out Sgt Pepper figures (!) which is novel. I worked in a record shop when this was released so bought it and have never played it. It is in mint condition. Now I want it to go to a good home. Do you know the best place I could put this up for sale and are u able to give me an estimation of its cost please and how rare or unrare it is? I was thinking ebay but now I am thinking maybe there is a dedicated Beatles site for true fans.

    Thank you in anticipation

    Dawn

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    • Hi Dawn,
      The red vinyl is a collectors item issued in 1987 to mark the 20th anniversary of Sgt Pepper. (It was also re-issued that year on black vinyl as well). The red vinyl usually comes in the gatefold sleeve, and as you say it has the cut-out Sgt Pepper figures as an insert. If you purchased this new from a record store in 1987 then it means that some single sleeve copies must have also been released. You’d probably get the best price for it on Ebay. The gatefold sleeve probably attracts higher prices. In mint condition I’d say you’d get $60-$70 for it, maybe more. There was a sticker on the front saying “Special Limited Edition in Coloured Vinyl”. That would add a little bit too. Explain the record store story above in the listing so buyers know its all original.

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  9. Hello,

    Thank you so very much for your very kind reply. I am very grateful. I didn’t receive any notification that you had replied so I am sorry it has taken me so long to get back to you.

    I have done a little research on this and discovered it was withdrawn from sale and then re-issued in the gatefold sleeve with only 9000 being pressed (not sure how many sold). I was working in a music store when it was released and I remember they also released Yellow Sub on yellow vinyl and The White Album on white vinyl. I remember an internal battle happening since I couldn’t afford all three, only one at the time. (It was fun working in music but it didn’t pay a whole lot!!). It appears I made the right choice.

    I have never played it and kept it in a big chest with my other records in plastic sleeve free from dust etc so it really is in pristine condition. Working in music for 21 years, I was very lucky and often had first pick at these little gems. Quite often, a lot of titles wouldn’t make it to the floor – for limited editions the record companies would quite often allocate your store the quantity depending on store size. You couldn’t just put your order in as is generally the case.

    I am going to be selling a lot of my vinyl and CDs at a record fair in May I have decided. I am literally drowning in it. But what a wonderful way to suffocate! 🙂

    Thank you once again for your reply. I really appreciate it.

    Kind Regards

    Dawn

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  10. hi there,the bluw/white pressing above is the first pressing here in NZ.We didn’t release a mono version.The next release was on the yellow/black label(quite hard to find now) then 3 different Apple labels (HMV, EMI, Orange) then 1976 Parlophone label, and finally the 1982 Parlophone label – all up 7 label variations.

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  11. Has anyone come across capitol labels with beveled edges on Beatles records(vs. Flat) A dealer here in the US said that if it’s beveled along the label edge it’s a fake Please help 50% of my albums are like this. Thank-you!

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    • Hi Mark,
      First I’ve heard of this one but someone out there will no doubt be able to assist with more information. Capitol had a number of different pressing plants around the country and so this may account for different ways the labels might be sealed onto the disc. If you could provide a bit more detail about what you mean by “beveled” edges that might be helpful. Cheers.

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  12. A dealer from E-bay just had a dealer friend come back from England where he evidently was educated on how to spot fake Capitol records. I had sold him a lot of 5 mono Lp’s Revolver,Sgt.Pepper,MMTour,Beatles 65 etc.He stated that all of them were fakes due to the center area where the label is attached (glued) to the vinyl being higher under the label causing the label to be raised above the rest of the record. He also made note that the labels were too glossy and perfect looking. I am aware of the different pressing plants in addition that Capitol did farm out production on some records to RCA due to demand. This raised label vs. a entirely flat label and vinyl occurs on both Mono and Stereo records. Thank-you very much for your help….Mark

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  13. Hi, I have a Sgt Pepper lonely hearts club band LP on the Orfeu label which is portuguese. It contains 2 lps, but I cant find any info out. Any ideas on it please? The cover actually says Sgt. Peppe’s lonely hearts, but the labels say sgt. pepper’s. thanks.

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  14. As to Sgt. Peppers record. Mine is red vinyl marked 1967 EMI Australia & as described above it also has a gatefold sleeve marked “special limited edition coloured vinyl” with a cut-out insert page…..& as advised above worth maybe only $60 or thereabouts?

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  15. Hello – firstly thanks for a great blog very interesting and informative.
    Wonder if you can help me with a little query I have a NZ version of Sergeant Peppers that I picked up today that has a different label again to the ones you have shown.
    Its on PCSM 7027 (YEX 687/8) on a black/silver Parlophone however neither the EMI logo or the Parlophone logo have any silver infill – it also has no stereo stamp and it has northern songs above the album title. Is this one you have come across before? Have emailed some pics.
    Cheers and keep blogging
    Mike

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  16. i HAVE A MINT SGT PEPPER EDITION WITHOUT WITH A LITTLE HELP……LUCY IN THE SKY…AND A DAY IN THE LIFE….BUT WITH THE FOOL ON THE HILL,BABY YOU’RE A RICH MAN,I’M THE WALRUS. FRONT COVER IS THE USUAL,BACK GATEFOLD COVER IS DIFFERENT WITHOUT LYRICS!!!!!HAS ANYONE COME ACROSS WITH THIS ITEM?

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  17. Excellent page. I got a copy of the traditional Capitol label (rainbow as in the image you posted ). However, the inner album sleeve has red and white swirls. Also, a cut out was included. Did this get made in 67 or was it later?? Many thanks.

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  18. Hay mate I’m iv got I believe to be a uk version on the beetles sgt pepper lonely hearts album -1987, PCSO 7027 black silver parlophone but in an original album cover any idea how much the market price is for it?

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  19. Hey, good evening! I’m from Buenos Aires, Argentina, and I’ve just bought a version of this album pressed in red vinyl, from the UK. Do you happen to have any information? Is it a 1987 20-anniversary-edition as well? Thank you very much!

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  20. In the US, all Capitol Beatles LPs through “Magical Mystery Tour” came out with the following labels:
    1. Black colorband
    2. Green labels with new Capitol Helvetica logo (late 60s-early 70s; relatively few were pressed)
    3. Apple labels, but retaining the Capitol catalog numers (early-mid 70s)
    4. Orange labels (mid 70s)
    5. Silver and purple labels, old Capitol Dome logo (late 70s-early 80s)
    6. Black colorband revival (1980s). These labels have a warning against unauthorized duplication in fine print.

    The later albums, except “Let It Be,” had labels 3-6. “LIB” originally came out on RED Apple labels distributed by ABKCO. Counterfeits are rampant with this label. I think the first Capitol pressings were label #5.

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