When the Beatles catalogue came out on Compact Disc for the first time back in 1987 it was a very big deal and the British record store chain HMV (which has close ties back to the Beatles record company EMI) released a series of limited edition 12” x 12″ box sets to mark the occasion. These boxes look just like those which contain 12″ LP’s so I guess there was a certain symbolism in releasing them in this way – the boxes containing CD’s indicating a move forward from the LP to the Compact Disc.
In all there were 12 individual box sets containing either individual or grouped CD’s, plus there was also a large (and expensive) HMV box housing every Beatle CD title then available.
The box numbered BEACD25 contained “Please Please Me”, “With The Beatles”, “Hard Days Night” and “For Sale” on CD, plus a 224-page book ‘The Book Of Beatle Lists’, plus a Beatles fact sheet.
BEACD25/2 contained “Help”, “Rubber Soul” and “Revolver”, plus a reprint of Beatles Monthly No. 12 and a Beatles fact sheet.
“Sgt Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band” (BEACD25/3) had the album with a slipcase, an 8-page ‘behind the scenes’ booklet, the 12″ cut-outs sheet and a badge.
The “White Album” (BEACD25/4) featured an individually numbered double CD album, a 12-page glossy booklet and a badge.
BEACD25/5 was “Yellow Submarine” and came with an insert, a cut-out ‘Yellow Submarine’ model, and a fact-sheet, while “Magical Mystery Tour” (BEACD25/6) had a 12-page booklet, a large fold out colour poster and badge.
“Abbey Road” (BEACD25/7) comprised the 17-track CD album, two different posters, a badge and an 8-page booklet.
The “Let It Be” HMV box has a 12-page booklet and badge, and has the catalogue number BEACD25/8.
The “Past Masters Vol.1” and “Vol. 2” came in separate boxes – each with a badge and a 12-page booklet with pictures and track-by-track details. These were numbered BEACD25/9 and BEACD25/10.
Finally, when they were released in 1993 the “Beatles 1962-1966” Red Album and the “Beatles 1967-1970″ Blue Album also came in separate boxes containing the double CD sets, a 12-page colour booklet featuring song reviews, a 16″ x 24” colour poster and a badge. These were numbered BEACD25/11 and BEACD25/12 respectively.
I got a bargain the other day – I was able to get the “Sgt Pepper” HMV box and the “Beatles 1962 – 1966” – both practically mint copies. I’ll give you a close up look at the “Sgt Pepper” box set here, and post on the “62-66” red box next time.
You can see the front of the box above – and it features a different photograph from the one used on the CD. When you take the lid off this is what you first see:
This is an 8-page booklet with lots of photographs taken at the photo shoot for the famous cover of “Sgt Pepper”. There’s also some text about each song. Here are couple of pages from the booklet:
Underneath that there’s the same “Sgt Pepper” cardboard cut-out sheet which came with the original copies of the LP version:
Then comes the CD itself, held in place by a special cardboard holder with a slot just right for the CD and it’s outer cardboard sleeve. There’s a small thumb-slot at the bottom to help you get the CD out:
Also in the box is a small metal pin or badge:
The CD that comes with this is the original release with the cardboard sleeve, booklet with additional info, and an insert that has details of all the faces used in the famous Peter Blake photograph of the band standing with all their heroes:
Inside the lid of the HMV box there’s a limited edition stamped number:
Next post we’ll take a look at the “Beatles 1962-1966” HMV Limited Edition box set.