Version Variations You Didn’t Know About

Collecting Beatles recordings is sometimes a confusing business. You think you’ve got a particular CD or LP and then you find out (sometimes years later) that there’s a different version or variation available. That’s what happened to me while surfing the web the other day.

I’ve had for many years a vinyl copy of Paul McCartney’s “All The Best”, which is a two LP “best of” set featuring his greatest solo and Wings hits. It came out in 1987.  This vinyl edition has 20 tracks. The cover is a gate-fold looks like this:

Then, about 12 months ago I was browsing a second-hand book and CD sale in Sydney and found the CD of this same title. It was an Australian pressing (which is the same as the UK release) but I discovered it only has 17 tracks – as opposed to the 20 tracks on the double LP. It misses out on “Maybe I’m Amazed”, “Goodnight Tonight” and “With A Little Luck”. The CD was only $4.00 and so I figured I might as well get it. It’s different to the LP, and it has a slightly different cover:

OK.  So, as far as the collection goes I figure I’ve pretty much got this album. No need to bother with any other copies….

Until the other day when I accidentally notice on the web that the US compact disc version has a slightly different cover again…..and that it has a different song running order as well:

On the UK (and Australian) versions of the CD (released on EMI/Parlophone) you get “We All Stand Together”, “Mull of Kintyre”, “Pipes of Peace” and “Once Upon a Long Ago”.

On the US CD (out on Capitol Records) those songs are deleted and replaced with “Junior’s Farm”, “Uncle Albert/Admiral Halsey”, “Goodnight Tonight” and “With A Little Luck”.  All the other songs are the same.

That got me thinking. Are there any other examples of this sort of thing out there?

One that immediately came to mind is the 2002 and 2003 versions of the McCartney double live CD’s “Back in the US” and “Back in the World”.

They have very subtle cover changes both front and rear:

A cursory look down the song lists for each would suggest that they’re exactly the same CD just with a slightly different title, but in fact they are different too.

Back in the US” (released to the US market in 2002) gets the songs “Vanilla Sky”, “C’Moon” and “Freedom”.  However, those songs don’t appear at all on “Back in the World” (released in the UK in 2003). Instead it gets “Calico Skies”, “Michelle”, “Let ‘Em In” and “She’s Leaving Home”. Otherwise, all the other songs are the same – and in roughly the same running order.

Do you know of any further examples of this sort of thing? Let us know.

8 thoughts on “Version Variations You Didn’t Know About

  1. I remember there were two different versions of “press” (i think). i believe the version i had on my cassette tape is different. maybe i should check this out by the weekend. 😉


    • … and talking of it … once upon a long ago is also available in quite a few different mixes, or should i say edits:
      – single edit (chorus fade out)
      – lp (i do not really like this fade out with guitar solo)
      – two different 12” mixes, long and extended version, the latter one being my favourite version despite a really bad sounding edit to get it extended at about 4:40. the beginning is beautiful.
      the single version is the most rare, i believe. i am happy i someday found the cd single in a sale.
      this one is a _very_ kitschy one, extremely streamlined and boring song, i don’t really know why, but i just love it. i used to listen to it every morning before getting up for more than a year, i think, so it might be the song i listened to most often … ever … strange but true …


  2. To further complicate matters with “All the Best”, the US CD has the live (Wings) version of Coming Up, which was originally released as the 7″ B-side, whereas the UK/ROW versions have the studio cut. For a long time (and it may still be the case) it was the only place to get that live version on CD.


  3. Hi. In fact there is another difference between Back In The US and Back In The World, both of the recordings of Hey Jude are different, the track in BITUS was recorded in some show in USA and the one in BITW was recorded in Mexico City in November 3, 2002… I know because I was there 🙂


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