Beatles White Album 50th Anniversary SDE – Anyone Else Worried?

We’ve just taken delivery of the new Beatles 50th Anniversary Super Deluxe Edition of The Beatles (a.k.a. The White Album), and we love the look of the packaging.

It is undeniably beautiful in its pure-white, large format book form, and the clear plastic slipcase – printed with the four band members on the front and the track listing on the back –  creates a very special first impression. But for how long?

While we appreciate the design, we couldn’t help but be reminded of two similar approaches to this style of packaging that have not stood the test of time.

Both examples signal that there will be definitely be a long-term deterioration to your pristine new 50th Anniversary White Album clear plastic slipcase.

As it turns out the two examples were both released twenty years ago in 1998, and the first is from the Beatles own Apple Records, so you might have thought that they’d have learned something about what happens to clear plastic outer slipcases over time.

It’s actually The White Album in its 30th anniversary edition version:

While a much smaller and more modest design, the 30th anniversary White Album also comes in a clear plastic outer slipcase, similar to the new 50th anniversary edition. The example shown here was purchased brand new in 1998 and we’ve tried hard to keep it in mint condition. But even so, that plastic outer sleeve is beginning to show the first signs of ageing and yellowing:

Likewise, there’s a wonderful deluxe, long-box style book and three CD set called The Look of Love – The Burt Bacharach Collection, that’s showing even worse signs of age on its once crystal clear plastic outer sleeve:

This too has been in our collection since new from 1998, but that plastic outer sleeve – on which is printed the album title and a list of some of the top songs it contains – is now almost completely yellowed, especially around the spine area where it is glued:

At the time of release this clear slipcase was a real design plus – but sadly it’s now looking quite ordinary and aged:

Interestingly the cardboard packaging part of the design inside both slipcases have stayed nice and white:

So, it begs the question: in twenty years time what will your 2018 Super Deluxe Edition of The Beatles White Album look like?

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Hey Jude/Revolution – If It’s Re-issued Should This Be The Look?

Loved this Tweet yesterday by Canadian Beatle aficionado and author, Piers Hemmingsen:  

It made us think that if (and it seems to be very likely) there are plans to re-issue a physical ‘HeyJude’/’Revolution’ single as part of the forthcoming Beatles White Album 50th Anniversary, then it really should come in a white sleeve like the 1968 Canadian issue.

What do you think? Does this…..

….look better (and more appropriate) than this…..

Piers Hemmingsen is the author of The Beatles In Canada – The Origin of Beatlemania!

Label Variations Part Eleven – Happy Xmas (War is Over)

A Christmas theme for the next installment in our occasional Label Variations segment.

This time it’s John Lennon, Yoko Ono and the Plastic Ono Band, with the Harlem Community Choir  and the 1971/1972 song ‘Happy Xmas (War is Over)’. Early versions (and some re-issues) were on green vinyl to suit the season.

The US Bell Sound test pressing:

Other US variations:

Some of the UK releases:

And Australia/New Zealand:

Here are some European releases. First Spain ‘Feliz Navidad’:

The Netherlands:

Italy:

France:

Greece:

Sweden:

An EU-made CD single from 2003:

Back to vinyl, this one is from Yugoslavia:

And a couple of South American countries, including Venuzuela ‘Felices Pascuas (Se Acabo La Guerra)’:

Brazil:

Mexico ‘Feliz Navidad (La guerra termino)’:

Here’s one from Japan ‘ハッピークリスマス戦争は終わった’:

Later on, when John Lennon was signed briefly to Geffen Records, that label released ‘Happy Xmas (War is Over)’ too:

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

Please note that not all these are from our collection! Check out this link to a ‘Happy Xmas (War is Over)’ 40th Anniversary page. Catch some others in the Label Variations series here. And visit the Imagine Peace (War is Over!) site.

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to all our readers.

Capitol 75 and the Elusive 2017 Reissue Series

Late last year Capitol Records announced an ambitious range of projects to take place across 2017 in celebration of its 75th anniversary producing, releasing and distributing music.

Principle among its plans was to be the release on vinyl of 75 titles from their vast catalogue that best represented the wealth of talent signed to, or associated with Capitol over the last 75 years.

The label convened an advisory board to decide on the final list of albums, and of course amongst them were a number of titles of interest to Beatle and solo-Beatle record collectors and readers of beatlesblogger.com.

Despite the fact that the year is just about done, it seems that there have not been any/many of the five Beatle titles on the list released as yet – at least from what we can tell. Nor has the John Lennon Imagine album, George Harrison’s All Thing Must Pass, or Wings Band on the Run shown up anywhere identified as part of the celebrations.

According to the press release, the US store Crate and Barrel is the main outlet and you can see they initially did have a few titles listed via their online store – some with a “Celebrating 75 Years of Capitol’s Music” logo on their front covers, some without). When we looked there were seventeen titles on their page – still far away from the seventy-five total. Subsequent searches failed to turn up ANY vinyl records or albums – so it looks like Crate and Barrel might have got out of the music business…..

Meanwhile, Amazon in October listed a 2017 re-issue of James Taylor’s eponymous 1968 Apple Records release, James Taylor – and this is one of the titles on the Capitol 75 list too:The front cover image Amazon shows doesn’t have any “Celebrating 75 Years of Capitol’s Music” logo or sticker, but the rear clearly shows it to be an Apple/Capitol/Universal Music release. Look below the bar code:

(Double click the image for a larger version)

Just by the way, according to The Daily Beatle site there is a problem with the pressing of this record. Side Two should have a song called ‘Brighten Your Night With My Day’. It is listed on the label, but is not present when you play the LP! Maybe that’s why when we ordered a copy for our collection, Amazon is saying they cannot give an exact delivery date. Maybe all copies have been withdrawn and corrected pressings are being prepared?

Still over at Amazon, a pre-order listing has appeared for Ringo Starr’s Ringo LP. This album is also on the Capitol 75 list, and the image below seems to have a Capitol 75th Anniversary identifier on the front cover (though we are not sure if this is genuine or has been photoshopped in by someone else):Amazon says that Ringo will be released on January 19, 2018.

Curiously, Amazon is listing Goodnight Vienna for a January 19 release as well, but this title does not appear on the Capitol 75 list……not sure what is going on there.

Badfinger – Finest Moments Rare LP

The British online second-hand collectables dealer eil.com has listed for sale one of the scarcest Apple Records vinyl releases.

It is a Badfinger LP called Finest Moments

This was a ‘best of’ disc compiled by EMI Australia in 1989. But it seems they didn’t get the correct permissions from head office, and so only ten copies were ever pressed. These were sent out for review purposes. The project was then hastily scrapped and the record withdrawn from their catalogue.

The disc, dedicated as ‘A Memorial to Pete Ham, Tom Evans and Mal Evans’, has sixteen tracks. The copy they have for sale (for a cool £1,995.00, or $3,271.00 Australian) reportedly comes from a former EMI senior executive and has the catalogue number SAPCOR 28.

eil.com says: “Because of ongoing legal problems that Apple were having at the time, the project was scrapped even before any sleeves were printed, just a 12″ insert on green paper [was included].” Presumably they got that part of the story from the EMI executive who owned the record. The Applelog Book says that the song ‘Without You’ is incorrectly titled as ‘I Can’t Live (If Living Is Without You)’.

Interestingly that same catalogue number (SAPCOR 28) was later utilised by Apple for a different Best Of Badfinger double LP (and single-disc CD) that it officially released in 1995: The great site The Worldwide Apple Records Discography has some more (small) images of the Finest Moments LP if you are interested.

The Beatles’ Christmas Records – Box Set

The Beatles’ Christmas Records were last officially released together in one package (a single LP issued to fan club members only) way back in 1970:

Prior to that, starting in 1963, the Official Beatles Fan Club in Britain and in the US sent members a one-sided flexi disc each December containing Christmas greetings and lots of larking about by the Fab Four. The flexi discs were each housed in unique covers:

Now, Apple Records and Universal Music are reissuing all seven discs as coloured vinyl 45’s:

The Christmas Records ‘limited edition’ box set will be accompanied by a booklet and will be released on December 15 this year.

The seven individually coloured vinyl discs are:

1963: “The Beatles’ Christmas Record” (one-sided, duration: 5’00)
Recorded: 17 October 1963 – Studio Two, EMI Studios, Abbey Road, London
1964: “Another Beatles Christmas Record” (one-sided, duration: 3’58)
Recorded: 26 October 1964 – Studio Two, EMI Studios, Abbey Road, London
1965: “The Beatles’ Third Christmas Record” (one-sided, duration: 6’20)
Recorded: 8 November 1965 – Studio Two, EMI Studios, Abbey Road, London
1966: “Pantomime – Everywhere It’s Christmas: The Beatles’ Fourth Christmas Record” (one-sided, duration: 6’36) Recorded: 25 November 1966 – Dick James Music, New Oxford Street, London
1967: “Christmas Time (Is Here Again): The Beatles’ Fifth Christmas Record” (one-sided, duration: 6’06) Recorded: 28 November 1967 – Studio Three, EMI Studios, Abbey Road, London
1968: “The Beatles’ Sixth Christmas Record” (two-sided, duration: 7’48) Recorded: 1968, various locations
1969: “The Beatles’ Seventh Christmas Record” (two-sided, duration: 7’39) Recorded: 1969, various locations

 

If you want to get a better idea of some of the Christmas Records frivolity check out this medley of all seven discs, mashed together by Tom Teeley.

The official Beatles press release is here.

Another Radha Krsna Temple

A couple of months back we wrote about finding a nice vinyl re-issue copy of Radha Krsna Temple. It’s another of the LPs from the early 1990s when Apple Records first began reissuing its back catalogue. That series, especially vinyl examples, is definitely in the “hard-to-find” category now and so securing an almost mint copy for the collection was a bonus.

When doing some further research on the George Harrison produced Radha Krsna Temple it was a surprise to discover that the album is still in print as a CD via a completely different source – the Australian Krishna Store. The “store” is based in the small Queensland town of Eumundi, which is up behind the Sunshine Coast. Of course, being mad completists, we had to have a copy so we ordered it online and the CD was posted to us direct from India.

As you can see below, this edition has a different cover and contains a couple of different bonus tracks to those included on the official 2010 Apple CD re-issue (included in the Fresh From Apple box set).

The CD from the Krishna Store looks like this:radha-cover

And here’s the rear cover:radha-rear

It is a cardboard gatefold, digi-pac-style cover that opens up like this:radha-inside

The additional bonus tracks on this disc are a different version of ‘Hare Krsna Mantra’, and ‘Purport by Srīla Prabhupāda‘. (The bonus track ‘Prayer to the Spiritual Masters’ was included on both the 1993 and 2010 Apple re-issues).radha-cd

This isn’t the first time that Radha Krsna Temple has been re-issued by a completely separate entity. Well before Apple first did re-released the album in 1993 (and again in 2010), the recording was re-packaged in 1973 on vinyl as Goddess of Fortune, on the Spiritual Sky label:goddess-of-fortune-2