Wings Greatest – Strange Bulgarian Pressing

There’s nothing we love more than discovering a strange or different pressing of a very well-known album – and this one, Paul McCartney and Wings’ Wings Greatest, fits the bill perfectly.

It’s the official Bulgarian release on the Balkanton label, and we were alerted to it by old friend Andrey – who helps maintain the fantasticly comprehensive The Beatles Get Back in the USSR site.

This copy of Wings Greatest is not only distinguished by its unusual labels (see below), but also the fact that it comes with one less song than every version we can find released anywhere else in the world. You can see that Side 1 is missing the track ‘Live and Let Die’. In every other market Side 1 has six tracks. In Bulgaria they got just five:Just to refresh your memory, here’s the US Capitol version of this 1978 compilation LP:

If you were browsing in a second-hand bin (and this LP comes up for sale a lot), you could very easily flip straight past the Bulgarian version without noticing that it’s actually quite rare.

We wonder if there was some sort of a licencing issue in Bulgaria with the song ‘Live and Let Die’ because it is from the soundtrack of the James Bond film of the same name? It would be part-owned by United Artists. Maybe that was it?

Now you can see on the rear cover in the place ‘Live and Let Die’ should be the words “Manufactured under licence by Balkanton in Bulgaria”.

(As usual, click on the images above to see larger versions)

4 thoughts on “Wings Greatest – Strange Bulgarian Pressing

  1. Interesting. I suspect the omission is more to do with politics than licencing. After all, the thrust of the James Bond films was the glamourisation of Western spies, who were busy defeating foreign baddies (including communists). Would not have been seen in a favourable light in Eastern Europe – so maybe that’s why it was left out.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Great point Terry. I think you’ve hit the nail on the head that this was a censorship thing, rather than a licencing. Did some more research since we posted and found this on Discogs:
      Note the two comments below the entry details for this Bulgarian pressing:
      “A very rare release – because of the association with the James Bond franchise “Live and Let Die” was omitted from the trackslist and the vinyl was only sold in the so-called Korekom stores in Bulgaria where only chosen people from the communist party had the right to shop with US dollars.”
      “The album released in Bulgaria is missing a track from A. This is the song Live And Let Die, which the communist regime at that time associated it with agent 007. Despite the license, the song is missing in the Bulgarian version of the album, which makes it collectible Rarity.”

      Liked by 1 person

      • Those comments are ridiculous. No state or society will want another hostile state’s propaganda against them – it’s normal, nothing to do with the communist “regime” or shopping with US dollars. James Bond would not have been welcomed in those countries, and so the film’s title song didn’t make the cut. Similarly, Paul’s Give Ireland Back to the Irish was never broadcast in Britain. With A Little Help From My Friends was banned by the BBC. Spain didn’t include Ballad of John and Yoko on 1967-70. In the USA, some Beatles tracks were not issued on the Capitol LPs either. One US disc jockey was threatened with a year in prison for playing Working Class Hero. Government censorship? Not at all. Just a particular country’s sense of right and wrong, given the circumstances of the day.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Rights to music during the Communist era were a bit different then they are today. Yes, there probably was some contract in the case of this album, since it was made under licence with EMI.

    But when artists in these countries made cover versions of western songs, many of which became much more popular than their western counterparts, the western artists didn’t see a dime in royalties in most cases. Usually (but not always) only the tune was kept and the lyrics were rewritten in that country’s language. The problems arose after the 89 revolutions, when albums were reissued or greatest hits packages were prepared. Then they had to pay for the royalties.


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