About beatlesblogger

Adventures in collecting Beatles music.....Beatles Blog is a page dedicated to the avid Beatles music collector, with regular updates about new Beatles releases and collectable vinyl, CDs and DVDs – either by the Beatles as a group, or as solo artists. It's also about those artists associated with the band. There'll be information about books and magazines too. As new items come into our collection we update the blog with details, cover photos, catalogue information and stuff like that. Please feel free to contribute information – especially if it'll assist other collectors in their knowledge of things Beatle.

McCartney III – It’s Official and the Many Different Vinyl Versions Emerge

It is now official, and here is the news release.

Like Egypt Station before it, this latest Paul McCartney LP McCartney III will be offered in a multitude of variations. Absolute completist collectors will be driven to distraction!

First variation to be offered for pre-order today will probably become the most sought after, and the rarest.

It will be pressed at Jack White’s Third Man Records pressing plant in Detroit, Michigan. Known as the ‘333 Edition’, this is limited to 333 copies only, pressed on ‘yellow-with-black-dots’ vinyl:

This vinyl is created by recycling 33 vinyl copies of old McCartney and McCartney II LP’s. The special “regrind” pressing, the first version of McCartney’s third self-titled solo album available for purchase, is hand-numbered, comes in an exclusive screen-printed jacket, and contains a printed inner sleeve and poster.

Just how Jack White’s company became the first to offer this brand new Paul McCartney recording to the world – even before McCartney’s own website store had the same thing on offer, only in red vinyl – remains a mystery. Not surprisingly the 333 copies sold out within minutes:

Next up in the rarity stakes is another Third Man Records pressing, offered a little bit later in the day exclusively on the official US Paul McCartney Store website:

This is described on the site as a “Hand-numbered gatefold featuring photography by Mary McCartney, Sonny McCartney and Paul McCartney (it’s a family affair!). Limited-edition (3000 units worldwide) store exclusive made in collaboration with Third Man Records,180g red vinyl disc with printed inner disc sleeve and a 12” x 18” insert poster.” Again, this is showing as “SOLD OUT”.

Both these pressings are distinguished by a prominent yellow Third Man Records logo on the front cover.

There is also a non-Third Man red vinyl pressing. This is a limited edition available on the official UK Paul McCartney Store site:

This is presented in a gatefold cover and is limited to 3000 units worldwide as a “store exclusive” in 180g red vinyl. It comes with a printed inner disc sleeve and the 12” x 18” insert poster. Also listed as “SOLD OUT” at the moment. However, it is still available in Europe at the German UMe online store Bravado. The difference between this and the UK listing is that the German red vinyl is in a hand-numbered gatefold cover with poster.

Interestingly, the MusicVaults store in Canada (a UMe subsidiary) also had this version on sale briefly. It too was listed as “SOLD OUT”.

Then came news of a white vinyl edition, exclusive to independent record stores. Rumoured to be limited to 4000 copies in the USA, and 3000 copies in the UK. It comes in a hand-numbered cover and includes a poster. Try your local independent store for this one:

Newbury Comics in the United States has a pink vinyl exclusive:

After this came the bigger chain stores who bagan offering their coloured vinyl variants. Target in the US is to have an exclusive green vinyl:

They also have an exclusive Target-only cover for the CD version:

And, here in Australia, the big chain JB Hi Fi is to offer an exclusive blue limited edition:

Like Target US, the Aussie store will also have the CD outer cover available to pre-order in an exclusive colour variant (the same as the Target US one actually!):

The “exclusive” blue vinyl version is also being made available in the UK via the HMV chain of stores, at FNAC in France and at JPC in Germany. Looks like these aren’t 180 gram vinyl and don’t come with the poster.

And the anomaly of the group – again, like they did with Egypt Station – there’s a “Coke bottle” clear vinyl edition being made availble associated with the streaming music company Spotify. I don’t reallly get why vinyl records are being marketed by streaming music companies, but maybe that’s just me? Anyway, this too is “SOLD OUT” on the McCartney Store site. But, if you live in Australia it is still available here.

But of course, if you can’t get your hands on any coloured vinyl there’s always the humble, plain old 180 gram black vinyl, in a gatefold cover:

McCartney III – And Here’s Another Clue for You All

Seems Capitol Records is mailing this little promotional item out to random fans:

This didn’t come to us but to one of our Instagram followers who lives in the United States. They say they’re just a regular fan and have no idea why they were sent this promotional item. Interesting!

Like us they’ve been reading the speculation that an announcement is due anytime, that there’ll be a teaser track released to go with the announcement, and that the likely release date for McCartney III is Friday, 11 December.

Added to this is the previously dormant ‘holder’ webpage for the as-yet un-announced McCartney III. It is slowly springing to life, playing once again on the pervasive dice motif.

If you go to dice.mccartneyiii.com you’ll land on a page that takes you through to a VR dice image you can manipulate and have fun with – if you have an iPhone or iPad. There’ll no doubt be more on this unique site shortly.

McCartney III – Rumours and Expectations Build


It’s looking more and more as though Paul McCartney’s rumored third “one-man-band” album, McCartney III is set for a release announcement very shortly.

It kind of makes sense. Like everyone, Paul has been in isolation and no doubt has been in his home studio a lot as a result.

His long-time lead guitarist Rusty Anderson, who’s been recording and performing with McCartney since 2001, appeared on the Tone-Talk! podcast at the end of September and pretty much confirmed the McCartney solo set saying: “Paul said that he — ’cause we’ve been hangin’ in Covid — he basically, kind of, finished a record. ‘Cause he had, sort of, nothin’ to do but go down to his studio and record, y’know? So, he sort of, did everything himself. I think there’s a song that we ended up on, that we cut earlier.”

And, as he’s done in the past, McCartney is using his considerable social media presence – and streaming services – to drop subtle (and not-so-subtle) hints.

For example, if you play any song from McCartney or McCartney II on Spotify at the moment a hand continually picks up a dice and rolls a three:

That “dice” motif is continued in a low-key way on his official Twitter, Instagram and Facebook accounts. Here’s Twitter:

Here’s Insta:

And of course Facebook, where he’s promoting that Spotify playlist (which is all tracks where Paul plays all the instruments), and it states: “It’s coming up, it’s coming up, it’s coming up like a flower…”, and the dice with the THREE is there again.

Then there’s the obvious symmetry to the release years for McCartney, McCartney II, and a potential McCartney III = 1970/1980/2020.

I think we can expect an announcement soon. And that it will be a December, 2020 release.

What do you think?

Drop us a line in the Comments section below.

New George Harrison For RSD Black Friday

This year Record Store Day just keeps on giving.

We’ve already had the main Record Store Day release program for 2020 spread out over three separate “drops”. This has stretched out the process considerably.

And now the folks at RSD are adding to that with the traditional Black Friday set of releases thrown into the mix as well.

Amonst the Black Friday offerings (which is November 27 this year) is one for Beatle collectors, a 45 rpm single of George Harrison’s ‘My Sweet Lord’/’Isn’t It A Pity’:

This is limited to 7,500 copies worldwide, and it will come in a re-created picture sleeve – the one used in the country of Angola back in 1970. Curious to know if it will come complete with the same mis-spelling on the B-side of the original, ‘Ins’t It A Pity’?

Not sure why we’re getting the Angola picture sleeve, but it looks cool. I guess this is in line with the Beatles’ The Singles Collection box set that came out about this time last year, with every Beatle single in a picture sleeve from a different place around the world?

Note that this single is listed as a ‘RSD First Release’. These titles are sold first at independent record stores, but may also be released to other retailers or webstores at some point in the future.

For the full RSD Black Friday release list click on the icon below.

Two Lennon Books, and an Apple CD

With COVID-19 restrictions now easing quite a bit in most parts of Australia (sadly still not for our friends in Melbourne, Victoria – we’re thinking of you guys!), some of the previously closed opportunity shops around Sydney are re-opening and getting back to normal.

One near us that’s been completely closed for at least six months has suddenly opened its doors once again, and so a forage there over the weekend turned up a couple of interesting items.

With what would have been John Lennon’s 80th birthday looming large this coming Friday, it was a coincidence that all three of the finds where Lennon-related.

They are two books, We All Shine On – The Stories Behind Every John Lennon Song, 1970-1980 and John Lennon – In My Life.

We All Shine On – The Stories Behind Every John Lennon Song, 1970-1980 is by journalist and author Paul Du Noyer.

This is an original Australian edition paperback in a large format, dated 1997. It’s a book that’s been published and re-published numerous times over the years. According to Du Noyer’s website, the latest version is from 2020. The book is also available in German, Spanish, Italian and Czech language editions.

The title says it all: it is the track-by-track story of John Lennon’s last ten years, revealed through the music he made.

In fact we already had a revised and updated UK edition of this same title (in a small paperback format from 2010), but this earlier edition has a slightly different layout. Here are some images of what’s inside:

The second book is quite a fascinating account from former Lennon friend and personal assistant, Pete Shotton (as told to Nicholas Schaffner):

Pete Shotton’s friendship with John Lennon spanned more than thirty years, from the time they met as children in Liverpool to their last meeting in John’s Dakota apartment building in New York. They grew up together in the leafy Liverpool suburb of Woolton and Pete stayed close right through his friend’s rise to fame, wealth and stardom – not as a hanger-on, but as a trusted buddy or mate whom Lennon valued. He was someone who knew Lennon well and didn’t treat him like a star.

Nicholas Schaffner is an author and acknowledged Beatle expert – probably best known for his book The Beatles Forever. In this book Shotton and Schaffner reveal an insider’s view of many of the key public events in Beatle history, but also the private life of John Lennon throughout his career.

As you can see, the text is accompanied by many photographs and documents to help tell the story. This book is well worth seeking out if you haven’t got it already. It was first published in 1983. Here’s the rear cover (and yes, it’s a reverse image of the front):

Also in amongst the CD’s at the opportunity shop was this Apple recording. The photos are ‘as-found’ as they tell a bit of a story in themselves:

This is John Tavener’s The Whale. Tavener was a young classical composer signed to The Beatles’ Apple label in 1969. And it was John Lennon who was influential in making that happen. From the CD booklet:

“Although it was Ringo Starr who became Tavener’s main contact at Apple and who was responsible for getting The Whale onto disc, it was in fact Lennon – contrary to stories elsewhere – who took the first initiative and provided the composer with an introduction to the company. [They] first met in 1969, at a dinner party in London’s Hereford Square, and they marked the occasion by swapping tapes of their latest works. Lennon brought along his avant-garde experiments with Yoko Ono, whilst Tavener played extracts from his opera Notre Dame Des Fleurs, and the BBC recording of The Whale. On the strength of the opera, Lennon invited Tavener to join Apple, although it was The Whale which eventually sufaced on the label.”

The Whale is based on the the story of Jonah and the Whale, and has been described as both a ‘dramatic cantata’ and a ‘Biblical fantasy’. It is performed by the London Sinfonietta and the London Sinfonietta Chorus, conducted by David Atherton. It was recorded in 1970. This CD edition though came out as part of the Apple Records re-issue program in 1991/1992.

It’s interesting to note that the original purchaser of this disc (her name and address is on a sticker on the back) paid $46.99 Australian for it at the time! That’s US$33.74 by today’s exchange rate, or £26 UK pounds. That’s a lot of money – even today. It would have been a huge amount in 1992. The record store JB Hi Fi (it’s a big Australian music chain store) has put a “JB Hi Fi Special Import Sticker” on the spine of the jewel case.

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

Paul McCartney’s ‘We All Stand Together’ 7″ Picture Disc

Well, here we all were, waiting for something like a Plastic Ono Band 50th anniversary deluxe re-issue, or maybe even a big All Things Must Pass 50th anniversary box set.

Heck, some fans were even speculating about an LP of brand new solo music from Paul McCartney that had supposedly been recorded in lockdown. They’d even given it a title already: McCartney III….

But which announcement did we get?

To mark what would have been the 100th anniversary of the cartoon character Rupert the Bear on November 6 we’ll be getting this:

Now, we’re not against novelty items like this. Not at all. Nor are we against Paul McCartney’s dedicated support of the art of animation over the years. It’s great. But ‘We All Stand Together’ by Paul McCartney and the Frog Chorus is a very long way away from the Plastic Ono Band album, or George Harrison’s triple LP opus All Things Pass. I guess it’s a case of expectation meeting reality…..

Having said all that, ‘We All Stand Together’ (a.k.a. ‘The Frog Song’) is really quite sweet and beautifully orchestrated and produced by George Martin. This limted edition 7″ single cut-out shaped picture disc will be a faithfull reproduction of the original shaped picture disc that came out in 1984. As then, it will accompany the re-release (in lovely 4K quality, and with a new audio mix) of the short animated film Rupert and the Frog Song that McCartney began work on in 1981 with animator Geoff Dunbar. In it Paul voices the character of Rupert.

‘We All Stand Together’ has been remastered at Abbey Road Studios by Alex Wharton along with the B-side instrumental ‘We All Stand Together (Humming Version)’, which was also included on the original release.

The single features The King’s Singers and the choir of St Paul’s Cathedral.

‘We All Stand Together’ is available for pre-order now, and the cleaned up film Rupert and the Frog Song will be re-released on YouTube on November 6.

If you’ve not heard the song, or seen the animation, here it is in fairly poor quality. Looking forward to seeing it in 4K:

 

Buy George Harrison’s ‘Rocky’ Fender Guitar

Fender Guitars has a custom shop that replicates some of their old and most famous models exactly.

One of their latest projects is George Harrison’s legendary hand-painted Fender Stratocaster called ‘Rocky’:

The original ‘Rocky’ was a pale blue 1961 Strat that, sometime in 1967, was creatively decorated by George using dayglo poster paints and nail polish.

You can find out more about ‘Rocky’ here.

Can’t see any prices mentioned on the Fender website, but I guess if you have to ask the price you can’t afford it!

This replica certainly looks amazing, and because it is strictly limited it is a guitar that will definitely be an investment as it will only go up in value. And it is a beautiful work of art to boot.

Back in January Fender displayed a couple of early versions of these replicas as a teaser. They are now for sale. Turns out there are just 100 available……

Beatle Music Collecting in the age of COVID

Does anyone remember when Paul McCartney’s Flaming Pie – the Archive Collection Edition – was officially released?

Oh yeah, it was back on Friday, July 31. Seems like such a long time ago now.

It was officially announced on June 12:Back then, just after that first announcement, we posted this article on some of the items the forthcoming deluxe box set would contain, some of the rarities that’ve previously been released only as B-sides, etc.

It was an exiting time, expectation was building and we dutifully pre-ordered from the Paul McCartney official store site.

Well, it’s now September 3 and we are still waiting for our box set and LP’s to be delivered here in Australia. I know these are weird times and we’re in the middle of a pandemic, but patience is running a little thin.

Things were looking really good early on. The day after the official release, August 1, we got this hopeful email:

It’s on its way! But the helpful tracking info soon revealed that it didn’t get very far.

When you think about Paul McCartney and his “store”, you tend to think it might be in Britain. But no, our box was coming from the USA. By August 11 the package had been “received by the partner carrier” and, from what we can tell, was taken to a loading facitlity in New York. We guess this was somewhere near one of the big airports, either John F. Kennedy or La Guardia. And there it sat. And sat.   

The package didn’t move from this spot for so long we wrote to Customer Service at the McCartney store. To their credit they responded immediately saying it had “….probably missed a scan somewhere”, and assured us that our Flaming Pie goodies were indeed making progress.

It took until August 22 for the tracking site to register that the package had finally “Departed Terminal Location”. Woo hoo! Progress.

On August 29 we got a note it had in fact arrived in Australia.

In Perth.

On the other side of the country.

Australia is a lot bigger than most people realise. We’re talking 3,280 kilometers or 2038 miles away by air.And as of today, five days later, that’s where it remains. So close, yet so far.

I know. First World Problems. It’s only music, and in the scheme of things a tiny inconvenience. Everyone is trying their hardest, trying to keep things as normal as possible. And the number of flights between the USA and Australia is now severely curtailed, while the number of people seeking home delivery for just about everything has risen exponentially. Times are tough.

But is anyone else in the same boat as us and still waiting for their Flaming Pie to be delivered? Let us know in the comments box below.

New John Lennon Compilations – Gimme Some Truth

Just officially announced: it’s Gimme Some Truth. Again………..but different.

10 years ago we got a four CD compilation box set called Gimme Some Truth.

Today comes the announcement that, as part of the celebrations for John Lennon’s 80th birthday, a new selection of his solo recordings have been completely re-mixed from scratch for a new collection called (you guessed it), Gimme Some Truth:  Huh? What’s this all about, and why?

This is yet another “Best Of” selection, this time around chosen by Yoko Ono and Sean Ono Lennon, and in physical format it will be issued in a plethora of ways:

1 CD (19 tracks); 2 LP (19 tracks); 2 CD’s (36 tracks); 4 LP Box Set (36 tracks); and a Deluxe Box Set with 2 CD’s + Blu-Ray (audio only with High Definition 24-96 Stereo,
5.1 Surround Sound and Dolby Atmos mixes) + 124 page book, poster, postcards and sticker (36 tracks).

Of the 36 tracks on offer here, 30 of them were already included on the 2010 Gimme Some Truth box.

However, the Lennon official site says that what differentiates this 2020 Gimme Some Truth is that all the tracks have now (quote) “…been completely remixed…using brand new transfers of the original multi-tracks, cleaned up to the highest possible sonic quality…radically upgrading their sonic quality, presenting them as a never-before-heard Ultimate Listening Experience.”

This new box set has been mixed and engineered by multi GRAMMY® Award-winning engineer Paul Hicks.

It was Hicks who did the mixes for Imagine – The Ultimate Collection in 2018 and, it has to be said, he did an exceptional job so it’ll be interesting to hear the improvements to these 36 tracks.

“After weeks of painstaking preparation, the final mixes and effects were completed using only vintage analogue equipment and effects at Henson Recording Studios in Los Angeles (formerly A&M Studios, where John had recorded some of the Rock ‘n’ Roll album), and then mastered in analogue at Abbey Road Studios in order to ensure the most beautiful and authentic sound quality possible.”

Have a listen and make up your own mind on this preview track on YouTube:

So, there will be the inevitable claims of another cash grab and that this is another go at selling us music we already have. Personally, I’m looking forward to these tracks being presented in the best possible audio. But that’s just me. What do you reckon? Let us know in the comment section below.

The question a lot of collectors are now asking is does this mean we won’t be getting the rumoured big re-issue campaign for Plastic Ono Band, John’s 1970 masterpiece which has its 50th anniversary later this year? It seems we won’t.

Beatle Podcast – Beatles City

We’ve only just become aware of a pretty decent and worthwhile Beatle podcast called Beatles City.

This one definitely sits more under the “History” genre subtitle than it does “Music” – so maybe that’s why it’s eluded us so far. But it’s great and well worth a listen!

Esquire magazine recently included Beatles City in their “93 Best Podcasts of 2020” list:

It’s the 50th anniversary of the band’s poisonous break-up, but this project from the Liverpool Echo digs back into the very early years of the Beatles. Everyone in Liverpool has a Beatles story in their family, whether it’s nana seeing them at the Cavern on her lunch hour or your dad’s mate’s uncle’s mate who swears blind he sold George Harrison a Ford Cortina in 1963. This project from the Liverpool Echo tries to record them all before they fall out of living memory – take Helen Anderson, for instance, a contemporary of John Lennon at Liverpool College of Art. She made clothes for Lennon from sketches he gave her, and sat in on his early rehearsals at the college with Paul and George.

Beatles City is co-hosted and curated by Ellen Kirwin and Laura Davis and is funded by the Liverpool Echo newspaper. The podcast is an effort to document, in audio form, the early history of that city’s most famous sons – and as much as possible through the eyes of the local people who were there at the time, watching this band form and take on the world.

Now in it’s fourth series, the podcast has some extraordinary eye-witness accounts from names we know like Pete Best and Freda Kelly, through to the more obscure (but none-the-less interesting) aquaintances and bit-players in the larger story.

Check out the trailer for Series 1: