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.
For those of you still keeping score, we’ve updated our McCartney III chart detailing all the many variations over the past 18 months.
With the release last week of the McCartney I/ II/ III limited edition box set, which collects McCartney (on clear vinyl), McCartney II (on white vinyl), and McCartney III (on creamy white vinyl), there are now no fewer than 14 different vinyl colour releases of this LP available:
Just click on the image above to go full screen………
To get the creamy white version you have to purchase the McCartney I/ II/ III box. It’s is being described as a ‘Limited Edition’. We’re not sure of the exact numbers though. If anyone does know please comment in the ‘Leave a Reply’ box below.
McCartney I/ II/ III is also available in a standard black vinyl edition.
Dark Horse Records have just announced a new Joe Strummer box set, Joe Strummer 002: The Mescaleros Years. It will be released on September 16th as part of the celebrations honouring Joe’s 70th birthday year.
The press release says the set is “….the first-ever comprehensive collection highlighting Joe’s work with his post-Clash band, The Mescaleros. The collection includes remastered editions of all three of the band’s studio albums, plus 15 rare and unreleased tracks spanning the first demos Joe wrote for the Mescaleros, and outtakes of several tracks of Joe’s final recordings with the band.”
The box set was executive produced by Lucinda Tait (Strummer) and produced by David Zonshine and features exclusive new interviews with Joe’s friends, collaborators and Mescaleros band mates, plus never-before-seen handwritten notes, lyrics, and drawings by Joe taken from the Joe Strummer Archive. All the albums are remastered by three-time GRAMMY® Award-winning engineer Paul Hicks (The Beatles, John Lennon, The Rolling Stones, David Bowie) and are packaged with extensive new liner notes, unreleased images, and four reproduction lyric sheets and chord charts.
Joe Strummer 002: The Mescaleros Years will be available as a 4CD with 72-page book box set, and 7LP with 32-page book, special edition packaging and exclusive 12”x12” art print.
The first track from the collection, the previously unreleased version of ‘The Road To Rock ‘N’ Roll (Demo)’ is available to stream now. The video for the song was created using Strummer’s drawings and handwritten lyrics found in the Strummer archive:
“There’s so much great music that Joe left us in his archive,” says Joe’s widow and the executive producer, Lucinda Tait. “We started this work with 001, so to focus on Joe’s work with The Mescaleros was the natural second step on 002 because those songs he made with them just seemed to resonate so strongly and reinvigorated his connection with his audience at a level he hadn’t experienced since his days with The Clash.”
Los Angeles – July 29, 2022 – Today, UMe announces the release of EP3 featuring four brand new tracks from Ringo Starr, to be released on September 16. These four new tracks were all recorded at Starr’s Roccabella West studio just as he did for his Change The World and Zoom In eps, featuring longtime collaborators Steve Lukather, Linda Perry, Dave Koz, José Antonio Rodriguez, and Bruce Sugar. Ringo’s instantly recognizable vocals, feel-good lyrics, easy-breezy melodies, and frequent and new collaborators created songs that span the spectrum of pop, country, reggae and rock and roll.
EP3 will be available September 16th digitally and on CD, and on 10” vinyl and as a limited edition translucent royal blue cassette on November 18.
“I am in my studio writing and recording every chance I get. It’s what I have always done and will continue to do, and releasing ep’s more frequently allows me to continue to be creative and give each song a little more love.” – RINGO
The four new tracks are:
World Go Round
Everyone and Everything
Let’s Be Friends
Free Your Soul (feat. Dave Koz and José Antonio Rodriguez)
Looks like New Zealand film director Peter Jackson could have at least two other Beatle projects brewing.
He’s told the online magazine Deadline that he is cooking up another film – or films plural – with involvement from Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr.
Jackson revealed that one of the new projects is taking a different approach.
“I’m talking to The Beatles about another project, something very, very different than Get Back,” Jackson said. “We’re seeing what the possibilities are, but it’s another project with them. It’s not really a documentary … and that’s all I can really say. We are never in a position where we have to do anything, but we’ve got a few things percolating.”
Jackson said there is also a big narrative film on the cards, and like his Middle-Earth films, his ambitions will test existing technology. Which means part of his task is to develop the tools to make his vision a reality.
“One of them could be big scale, but it’s so technically complicated I’m trying to work how exactly I’ll do it,” he said. “It’s a live-action movie, but it needs technology that doesn’t quite exist at the moment, so we’re in the middle of developing the technology to allow it to happen. I’m trying to anticipate what I might be able to do, before it even exists. They’re not fantasy epics, but they’re pretty interesting.”
Jackson was tight-lipped about any further details, but fans have already started the guessing game and speculation is rife over the possibility of McCartney and Starr’s direct involvement.
Meanwhile, long-time Beatle collaborator Richard Lester (he directed them in the movies A Hard Day’s Night and Help!) will have a film he made of Paul McCartney’s 1989/1990 Get Back world tour re-issued on Blu-ray and DVD next month:
Apparently Lester came out of retirement to document that Get Back tour, and his film features highlights from concerts across the globe. The band is Paul, Linda McCartney, Hamish Stewart, Robbie McIntosh, Paul ‘Wix’ Wickens and Chris Whitten.
It’s not really clear just why this is being re-issued now. Perhaps it’s because of the success of the whole Peter Jackson Get Back documentary? Or maybe it is trying to ride on the coat tails of Paul’s current Got Back tour…..?
Reviews of the film when it was first released back in 1991 weren’t kind: “Under the best of circumstances, Get Back will never be a very good concert film. The movie fails to offer a clear and compelling rendition of Paul McCartney’s live shows as it features too much extraneous material. The performances of the songs themselves are fairly solid but they lack much life, and McCartney’s weak vocals don’t help. Add to that a high level of visual gimmickry imposed by the filmmakers and you have a flawed representation of the concert experience.”
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.
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 photos of George Harrison at home we published in Beatles With Records – Part 30 unleashed something of a flood of further images from readers depicting band members with LPs – especially George.
Additional images from what appears to be that same ‘at home’ photo session show him with even more records:
Specifically a well-stocked, three-tiered record rack seen on the right-hand side here (and thanks to our reader Lammert who sent these images through, plus many more across the whole Beatles With Records series):
Here, in the top left compartment you can just make out this 1966 album, Krishna Consciousness by A.C.Bhaktivedanta Swami, the Indian spiritual teacher and founder of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON), commonly known as the “Hare Krishna Movement”:
On the top right is Booker T and the M.G.’s Soul Limbo from 1968:
In the middle row, to the left is Woody Guthrie’s classic, Woody Guthrie Sings Folk Songs (with Leadbelly, Cisco Houston, Sonny Terry and Bess Hawes), first released in 1962:
Staying on the middle row – on the right-hand side is one of George’s all-time favourite bands, Smokey Robinson and the Miracles. This time with their Greatest Hits Volume 2 LP first issued in 1967:
And of course, in the bottom left compartment of his record holder George has his own Electronic Sound, released on the Zapple label in 1969:
We say Smokey Robinson is one of George’s favourites because when he got a big package of records delivered during the filming of the Let It Be documentary it contained more Smokey Robinson and the Miracles, as these images from the recent Peter Jackson Get Back film clearly show:
These are (in order of appearance) the aforementioned Smokey Robinson and the Miracles Greatest Hits Volume 2, and also the album Make It Happen (from 1967):
Plus there’s copy of Away We A Go Go, from 1966. (You can see the rear cover of this album in the last Get Back photo above):
For another image of George with a different Miracles LP check out Part 18.
Jumping back a few years, we’ve been sent this image by reader and regular contributor Andrey:
The caption reads: ‘EMI House, Manchester Square, London, October 5 1965. According to Beatles Book #28 the group went to the West End headquarters of their record company to collect four Russian-made acoustic guitars and to be photographed playing them for the benefit of the factory where they were made.’
A stack of jazz records just happened to also make it into the image – and we can see a mono pressing of the 1962 Oscar Peterson Trio release The Sound of the Trio clearly in shot:
In this photo the Beatles look a bit tired and jet-lagged. But they’re still carrying records!
Back to George, and a meeting with the secretaries of the Beatle Fan Club to sort through some of the fan mail. He has some more records on his lap, the top one of which is another of his all-time favourites, Chet Atkins:
And to end this installment, a photograph of John Lennon and Paul McCartney holding a picture sleeve EP cover:
Why? Because it’s a screen shot from The Music of Lennon & McCartney, a British TV special honoring the Lennon–McCartney songwriting partnership. Produced by Granada Television it first went to air on 16 December, 1965.
During the show The Beatles perform originals, and artists from around the world perform cover versions of their songs. The two are just about to introduce French singer Dick Rivers:
Wikepedia says that Hervé Forneri, known professionally as Dick Rivers, was a French singer and actor who began performing in the early 1960s. He was an important figure in introducing rock and roll music in France. He was an admirer of Elvis Presley, who influenced both his singing and looks.
It was a nice feeling. Since the advent of COVID-19 the chances to get out and about and hunt for records in the wild have really been few and far between.
On the first Sunday of every month the town puts on a big market at the local Showgrounds. There are all sorts of stalls set up with people selling home made goods like candles, local produce, handcrafted items, food and second-hand goods – including a couple of stalls selling records! This allowed us to get back to what this blog is all about: adventures in collecting Beatles music.
One thing we’re always on the lookout for are Apple Records artists – and we found an interesting variation of the Mary Hopkin LP Post Card, produced by Paul McCartney and released in 1969. This one was different because it was manufactured by EMI in South East Asia for the Hong Kong and Malaysian markets:
There are a couple of things to note here about the differences between this and the US and Australian pressings of this release.
First is that it follows the original UK vinyl track listing. Notice that there is no ‘Those Were The Days’ – which was hit single for Hopkin in 1968 – included on this edition.
Second is the printing in blue at the bottom of the rear cover (which by the way has a very nice glossy finish on both sides):
This South East Asian edition also comes with an original black paper inner sleeve:
To compare the differences, here’s the US release:
Notice that the title of the LP is at the bottom of the front cover photo – whereas on the Hong Kong/Malaysia and UK pressings the title is at the top of the photo of Mary.
Also, as already mentioned, that Side 2, Track 4 has ‘Those Were The Days’ in place of ‘Someone To Watch Over Me’ which is found on the UK and and South East Asian pressings. Here are the US labels:
Just by way of interest, we also have an Australian pressing of Post Card issued by the World Record Club. It has completely different artwork for the front and rear covers, and labels:
This Aussie World Record Club release also follows the US track listing, with ‘Those Were The Days’ as Track 4, Side 2.
(As usual, click on the images above to see larger versions).
There will be a box set that gathers together the albums McCartney, McCartney II, and McCartney III. It is to be released on August 5.
The McCartney I II III box set will be available in three different formats: a Limited Edition colour vinyl, a black vinyl edition, and on CD. Each will include three special photo prints with notes from Paul McCartney about each album. The newly created box set cover art and typography for the slipcase are by Ed Ruscha the US artist who created the design for all of the myriad McCartney III and McCartney III Imagined releases.
The slipcase style box comes in three variations:
Limited Edition Colour Vinyl (see above): Three-disc 180g audiophile vinyl set (McCartney – clear, McCartney II –white, and McCartney III – creamy white vinyl), three 8 x 10” photo prints with introductions from Paul.
Limited Edition Black Vinyl Edition (see below): Three-disc 180g audiophile vinyl set (McCartney, McCartney II and McCartney III), three 8 x 10” photo prints with introductions from Paul.
And there’ll be a CD. Again, described as a Limited Edition, three-disc set with the three photo prints with introductions from Paul. Looks like they’re in card sleeves and that McCartney II and McCartney III come with booklets.
Interestingly, the promo images and the YouTube unboxing video below show that McCartney II is on the original black and silver Parlophone labels. Previous reissues have been on the plain black label used for the McCartney Archive Series releases. Nice too to see McCartney back on the Apple label once again.
On the eve of Sir Paul McCartney’s 80th birthday on June 18 – it’s quite a milestone – we received an interesting press release from the City of Hamburg in Germany.
Given the city’s early association with the birth of The Beatles they’ve commissioned a song to give back in tribute to the great man.
Here’s the press release about the track:
To Whom It May Concern: The City of Hamburg celebrates Sir Paul McCartney’s 80th anniversary with the ‘thank you’-anthem ‘Song For Paul’ – press release June 15th, 2022
It is common knowledge: The remarkable international career of The Beatles first took off in Hamburg, when the legendary band first performed at Indra Club in August of 1960. The rest is, as they say, history.
Still today, all across Hamburg and the St. Pauli-district especially, The Beatles are a prominent phenomenon. They are part of the city’s DNA.
With Sir Paul McCartney’s 80th birthday coming up this Saturday, June 18th, the City of Hamburg decided it was time to finally give back a song to Paul, after he gifted so many unforgettable songs and memories to all of us.
Salamanda, a band from Flensburg, not far from Hamburg, were the right guys for the job: They wrote and recorded “Song For Paul”, a 5-minute love letter to Paul McCartney. The song was mixed at the renowned Abbey Road Studios.
With “Song For Paul”, the City of Hamburg is starting the #SongForPaul social media campaign. Fans from Hamburg and all over the world are asked to say their thanks to Paul on Saturday, June 18th and share the songs written just for him.
“Song For Paul” is released Friday, June 17th, accompanied by a music video shot on many locations with Beatles-history, such as the before mentioned Indra Club, the famous Reeperbahn and a grande finale at the “Beatles Platz” (Beatles Place), where over 300 fans joined the band for the flash mob video shoot.
The goal of the campaign is to reach McCartney personally, and let him know how thankful the citizens of Hamburg are for his life’s work. The campaign is initiated by the band Salamanda, the City of Hamburg, BID Reeperbahn+ and several cultural associations.
The people of Russia and the former Soviet Union have long had their access to Western art, culture and information suppressed and curated by the State. Just look at what’s going on in the country right now.
Consequently it’s always been hard to be a Beatle fan, especially when bans on Western popular music were actively policed and the consequences for flouting the laws could be devastating. Just take a look at this post from earlier this year. As we said then: there was a time when you had to be tough and take risks as an individual to be a fan in public. The KGB (a.k.a. the Soviet secret service and other authorities) came down very hard on anyone who dared to say they “….loved Lennon more than Lenin”.
Witness also the lengths that Beatle fans went to in order to listen to their favourite band’s music, right down to covertly cutting tracks onto old x-ray film. This became known as “music on bones” and you can check out our article on that here.
Subsequent to the fall of the Soviet Union things have become a little easier but it’s still been a relatively rocky road for Russian fans compared to those of us in the West.
Now comes a book that tries to sum up what it was like to be a Beatle fan across those years and into the solo Beatle years as well. It’s not about the Beatles themselves, but about how they were loved in the USSR. The English translation of the book’s title says it all really: How We Loved the Beatles: The History of Beatlemania in the USSR.
By the way, the author Dmitry Karasyuk is a totally blind man.
You should know that How We Loved the Beatles: The History of Beatlemania in the USSR is in Russian, and at 760 pages it is quite some undertaking. It contains many memoirs (funny and tragic) of both famous and very ordinary people. There are also many personal memories, and many, many photographs from fan archives. Almost every page has images or memorabilia related to the times. Here are just two random samples:
At the end of the book there is a short description in English. This is worth reading as its an excellent overview of the sort of information this book contains and what it is trying to achieve (click on image to see a larger version):
We mentioned how tough it was being a Beatle fan in the USSR. Here’s just one story from the book to help illustrate that – a story with a real twist in the tail:
In the early 1970s a young man buying Beatle records was detained at a flea market and taken to the local police station. There one of the police officers (police in the USSR were called militsiya) had an “educational conversation” with him (i.e. he gave him a slap on the wrist) saying that it was not good for a young builder of communism to listen to such enemy capitalist music. Later the young man happened to meet that same militsiya on the street. And the policeman asked: “If I give you a tape could you please record some Beatles music on it for me?”
Another very interesting section of How We Loved the Beatles: The History of Beatlemania in the USSR contains chapters about the Melodiya and Antrop companies which eventually released Beatle and solo records in the USSR – both officially, and not so officially.
The author spoke with former employees of Melodiya. They talk about how Beatle tracks finally came to appear on records in the 1970s, how Beatle and solo records were officially released in the 1980s, and where the sources for these releases came from.
The author also found Andrey Tropillo, the founder of Antrop Records, and in a long interview with him Tropillo tells how he created/launched the company, how and where he pressed vinyl, how they made alternative sleeves, and much more. And how, in the end, Antrop turned into Santa.
It’s not known whether the publisher will eventually translate the entire book into English. This, we’re told, is quite a challenge because there’s a lot of original Soviet youth slang which can’t be translated into other languages “in all its beauty”.
This love of all things Beatles endures. This young woman (whose name is Jane Enenko) is in the book. She hails from remote Siberia, and was invited on stage during a 2015 Paul McCartney tour:
We realise How We Loved the Beatles: The History of Beatlemania in the USSR is aimed at a very special market. The fact that it is written in Russian dictates that. But it is such a labour of love, and so comprehensive in it’s scope, we thought it very worthy of a mention here.