There’s no doubt there are some very generous souls in the Beatle collecting community and we’ve recently been the recipient of such generosity. In a tidy-up and down-sizing of his collection one beatlesblog reader found he had two copies of the 2009 release Beatles Box of Vision and, very kindly, decided to pass one of them along to us. And a welcome addition it is as we didn’t have this treasure in the collection.
The Beatles Box of Vision was the brainchild of former Capitol Records Executive Vice President/Chief Operating Officer and Beatle fanatic, Jonathan Polk.
Timed to coincide with the 2009 release of the Beatles stereo CD remasters, Box of Vision was a sumptuous way to store all that officially reissued CD catalogue – and more. Its storage section could contain every release from Please Please Me right up to the then-current Love, including Past Masters 1 & 2; the ‘best of’ albums 1962-1966 and 1967-1970; Live at the BBC; Anthology 1, 2 and 3; the Yellow Submarine Songtrack; the 1 compilation; and even Let It Be…Naked.
Box of Vision is large and impressively constructed. It comes shipped in a protective white cardboard outer (that is really worth keeping):
On the rear of this protective box is printed information about the contents:
When you open this white outer box the first thing you see inside is the large, well-protected, very good quality Box of Vision box. This initially looks like it might be designed to hold LPs instead of CDs because it is of LP-like proportions:
Taking it out reveals this still striking Robert Freeman image on the front cover of of what is a black linen covered storage box:
The box is deep and has the core collection LP spines printed along its edges :
As mentioned, the box is beautifully made. It is hinged on the left, opens like a large clam shell. It is designed to store, organise and display your Beatle CD collection. It contains two high quality books plus a set of plastic sleeves. The first thing you see when you open it up is a slim, soft cover book called The Beatles Catalography.
Then comes a series of 4 plastic storage sleeves – each of which can hold 8 CDs plus their booklets (4 on the front, 4 on the back of each sleeve). These have black and white images at each slot to show which CD goes where:
Then at the back of the box is an impressive cloth-bound hard back book containing all the full-sized artwork for every release. This is embossed on the front in shiny black lettering that simply says The Beatles:
Each box is numbered. This one is #1369:
Even the rear of the box has a nice detail:
Let’s look first at The Beatles Catalography book:
This is a guidebook to the unique history of Beatle releases. It details their UK and US catalogue in a side-by-side presentation so that you can immediately see the differences between the two countries, both in the artwork and the track listings:
Then comes the hefty, cloth-bound book The Beatles with high quality images of all the artwork associated with every official Beatle release in the UK to 2009.
Where that artwork extends to posters, special inserts or booklets these too are reproduced. For example, the story picture book stapled inside the Magical Mystery Tour LP is reproduced in full:
When you get to the 1 album an image of the poster is reproduced:
Likewise the booklet that came with the Let It Be…Naked LP:
The rear covers of each album are also faithfully reproduced:
Where did the name ‘Box of Vision’ come from?
At the time Jonathan Polk told The Houston Chronicle that title is from a song by Tom Russell. “The gist of the song is a father wishing he could give his child a box with all the things he would like her to experience in her life. I thought it was a good fit as I had envisioned this as a way to give a young fan the context to appreciate the history and chronology of the Beatles catalog, and what they were able to accomplish, in a much deeper way than as simply a bunch of hit songs.”
At the time you could order Box of Vision through the official Beatles site, or through a dedicated Box of Vision site – but that sadly is now long gone.
The Beatle/Apple connection – and the incredible quality of the images reproduced in both the books accompanying the storage box – very clearly hints at the close involvement the Beatles camp must have had with this project. They obviously supported the initiative fully, and it shows.
Here’s a YouTube ‘unboxing’ video from the time:
There was also a John Lennon Box of Vision released a year later in 2010, as well as a Bob Dylan Archive in 2011 – both done in a similar style to the The Beatles Box of Vision.
Thank you so much to reader Michael who very generously gifted us the Beatles Box of Vision.
Thanks also to Marc who read our article about The Beatles Box Of Vision and writes: “After it was released the Box Of Vision website had a PDF download containing corrections for three pages in Catalography book: one for the Let It Be/Let It Be…Naked page, and two of the Song/Album Reference pages.” Marc has made that PDF available. He hopes this is useful for others who may have missed it at the time. You can download those pages here:
The Beatles Box of Vision always bothered me. It’s unwieldy, heavy when empty, and awkward to actually use. Plus it always irked me that my copy of the hardcover book has a glue defect on the pages showing the butcher cover. I basically use the box to store my Cirque du Soliel show programs. Plus the project died before more pages could be added.
What was this retailing for on the official website?
Great boxset! Congratulations.
But what I really want to say is about that made up in USA Magical Mystery Tour album.
The REAL and ONLY Magical Mystery Tour is the double EP.
I never bought one and I am still amazed that that that thing became part of the The Beatles discography.
Here in Europe it only appeared in the late 70s (I think….).
So when a boxset like this contains that “thing” I go bezerk…..