Well, our copy of the new John Lennon “Signature Box” has finally arrived safely in the post, thanks to Amazon, all the way from America.
You’ll no doubt see lots and lots of small photos of the exterior and YouTube “un-boxing” videos, so I thought I’d scan in some extreme close ups of what’s inside to give you an idea of the contents from that perspective.
As you know (and any Google Image search will reveal) the exterior of the “Signature Box” and it’s main parts look like this:
You can see above that it is really a box-within-a-box as the entire exterior (which has the word “Lennon” in sky blue lettering on top, and a Lennon signature embossed in white on the front) slides up and off to reveal an inner box. What you first see at the very top of that box are three items: the first is a 60-page, hard-cover book with simply the word “Yes” deeply embossed in blue on the front cover:
There is a deep blue ribbon underneath this book to help you lift it out of the box neatly (those of you with the Beatles Remastered Stereo boxes will have seen something similar used in that box to help you lift out the CDs). This book contains a lengthy essay called “John Lennon – The Life and Afterlife” by Anthony DeCurtis. It is illustrated lavishly with photographs, drawings and hand-written lyrics. Also with the book at the top of the box is a four-page cardboard fold-out sheet with this on the front:
On one side are three separate messages about John Lennon and his legacy from Yoko Ono, Julian Lennon and Sean Lennon, all signed August 9th, 2010. On the other side are four words: Give Peace A Chance. The final item you find at the top of the box is a business card-sized piece of cardboard with the word “Online” on one side and instructions and a PIN code for you to access the John Lennon Universe on the web on the other.
(If you don’t have a PIN code you can still have a snoop around the “Universe” – only with a lot of the functionality disabled).
Once you have lifted these three items out you can see the CD’s tucked away vertically inside underneath the book. They’re held in place by a piece of white soft foam with finger cut-outs so that you can get the CDs out a little more easily:
All the CDs are housed in redesigned cardboard gate-fold covers, utilizing the original artwork but in the now-familiar style of all the newly remastered Beatles CD covers. (Incidentally, the new Paul McCartney archive re-issues [starting with “Band on the Run” next month] will also have this new look). The re-issued and remastered CDs now all have booklets with sleeve notes (by Paul Du Noyer), lyrics and additional photographs. The only thing here that’s new music content-wise are two CDs housed together in a unique, plain white gate-fold cover. One of them contains six singles which are not on the albums:
The other contains 13 tracks which are previously unreleased studio outtakes or home recordings:
Then, at the bottom of the box is a slide-out drawer (its got a small blue ribbon tab so you can pull it out). It contains a white, hard covered folder with John Lennon’s signature embossed in white on the front. The drawer also has a long blue ribbon under the folder to assist you in lifting it out. Inside is a John Lennon 70th Birthday art print on high quality paper:
This tasteful art theme is continued on two sides of the inner box, with a further Lennon drawing appearing on the left-hand side:
And again on the right-hand side:
I hope this has given you a different perspective on the contents. Clearly a lot of thought has gone into the packaging to try to make it hang together artistically in both design and colours. The strongest motifs are clouds, blue sky, and plain white). Its a MUCH bigger box than you’d expect – in fact the nine CDs inside look quite small by the time you get to them. There is a lot of packaging around them. It is significantly larger than the John Lennon “Anthology” four-CD set and book that came out in 1998 (and which has some very similar design elements).
The Second Disc has written a comprehensive review of the “Signature Box”.
Next post will be a similar close-up, in-depth look at the new 4 CD “Gimme Some Truth” package.
See also the Paul McCartney Deluxe CD set, and the two disc vinyl.