Not one, but two large Beatles box sets from the collection to feature in this post….
Well, both are Australian editions of “The Beatles Collection” – a box containing all twelve official Beatles studio album releases, plus one disc of “Rarities”. But the two examples of this box-set here differ in quite a few ways and are worth noting.
“The Beatles Collection” first came out in Australia back in 1978. At the time this was the catalogue-spanning Beatles box set to buy. For a very short time in 1978 it was released with all the Australian-pressed albums contained in the more familiar (and sturdier) British-made box with a flip-top lid. However, only 2000 of these sets were released here. The following year (1979) an Australian-made box was created to hold all the albums – but it was different to both the UK and the European box in that it had a detachable, lift-off lid. It was also a lot more flimsy in construction:
These original Australian blue boxes were textured on the outside and had the title “The Beatles Collection” in gold lettering and the signatures of each band member reproduced along the bottom, but the rear of the box was plain:
The LP’s inside, if they were originally released on the Parlophone label, were on the orange Parlophone label – which was a version unique to Australia:
And, if the LP was originally released in Australia on the Apple label it came out in the box-set also on the Apple label. For example “Yellow Submarine”:
The box also came with the two unique covers produced in Australia for “With the Beatles” and “The Beatles For Sale”:
“Sgt Pepper” came in a single sleeve:
“The Beatles” double LP (aka “The White Album”) came with all the inserts included (i.e. the poster with lyrics and the four individual photographs):
“Let It Be” had the red Apple logo on the rear:
And there was a unique 13th LP called “Rarities”, which gathered together for the first time on one record songs and versions of songs previously unavailable on any album:
This too came out on the orange Parlophone label:
The other box I have is different. In copies of “The Beatles Collection” released from the mid-1980’s there were quite a few changes. Firstly, the textured look to the box was replaced with a flat cardboard finish, and all the LP titles were listed on the back of the box:
Also, all the LPs inside have the black and silver Parlophone label, including those titles previously released on Apple:
“With the Beatles” came in the UK cover, which featured the famous black-and-white Robert Freeman portrait of the band – not its distinctive Australian cover:
But, a little surprisingly, “The Beatles For Sale” was still in its unique yellow Australian cover:
“Sgt Pepper” is in a single cardboard sleeve, “The White Album” came with all the inserts, “Let It Be” has the red Apple logo on the back cover, and you still get the “Rarities” LP, only this time it’s on the black and silver Parlophone label:
Also, in my copy at least, there’s a single sheet insert (printed on both sides) detailing all the Beatles records and cassettes currently available through EMI Australia at the time:
I’m not sure that this sheet was originally included in the mid 1980’s box set as it has the catalogue number PLAY 1005 on it and this was an insert usually included with Australian copies of “The Beatles Ballads” LP from 1981. Anyway, it’s nice to have.
So, two “Beatles Collection” box sets with quite a few interesting and collectable variations.
(Many thanks to Jaesen Jones and his invaluable book “An Overview of Australian Beatles Records” for the release date information contained in this post).