The Story of the Apple Records Granny Smith

Late last year we were contacted by a researcher and writer named David Marshall.

David helps curate a UK website dedicated to the humble apple. That’s the fruit – not the computer company, or the famous Beatle record label!

The site Apples & People is, in part, funded by the Museum of Cider in Hereford which helps support an online exhibition program telling short illustrated stories about the apple from around the world.

The site is dedicated to exploring “the astonishing story of the apple, connecting its diverse history to humanity and culture. Based upon a specially commissioned global map of the apple which traces a network of stories from the ancient world to the present day, this online program and associated social media reveals just how significant and iconic this humble fruit has become.”.

So, they wanted to do a feature on the Granny Smith apple, specifically about it being photographed to become the celebrated, and much-loved, Apple label.

David had read our April, 2011 article which touched on how that apple image came to be, and he wanted to know more. We helped out a bit, but David is thorough and contacted many more people – especially those involved in the concept and creation of the Apple label in the very beginning.

You can read his findings here: https://applesandpeople.org.uk/stories/records/

We think his article came up very well and is a very interesting read.

We particularly liked the section on Billy Apple, and the statement: Apple Records was also transformative branding. Interpreted by the Beatles, the apple also came to be a symbol of independence and artistic freedom. It brought about a diverse artist-orientated approach to recording. We had never thought about it in those terms before.

You can see all the Apples & People stories about apples here.

A ‘Magical Mystery Tour’ Collector Extraordinaire

Most collectors of Beatles (and solo) records, CDs, books, magazines and the like will have a broad cross-section of albums and items, ranging from the earliest Please Please Me LP in 1963, right up to the latest Paul McCartney coloured vinyl variation.

Sometimes though a collector will get fixated on one particular thing.

That’s what happened to one of our readers named Simon.

A few weeks ago Simon sent us a photograph of the cassette variations he owns of one particular album – Magical Mystery Tour. They are laid out on the floor and to reproduce them here it is going to take two photographs to show you:

And that is just the cassettes.

Simon has what he believes to be one of the world’s most extensive if not the largest collections of Magical Mystery Tour items (hereafter referred to simply as MMT).

He owns over 60 MMT EP records from different countries around the world, as well as around 150 different versions from the MMT LP. And that’s not to mention the piles of MMT VHS movie tapes, 4-Track and 8-Track recordings, PlayTapes, DVDs, and CDs….He also has Betamax video tapes of the movie, and Reel-to-Reel music rarities.

So, we had to ask him two things.

One is why did the Magical Mystery Tour become Simon’s main thing, the one he must have more and more copies of?

Two is could he send some images of a couple of the more interesting EP versions he has of MMT from around the world?

For the first question here is his answer:

The reason for me collecting Magical Mystery Tour items is because as children in 1967 my sister and I took part in the film as extras. We were in the “Tug of War” and “The Marathon” scenes, and also in “Your Mother Should Know” in the hanger at the RAF West Malling Airfield Base, in Kent, England.

However, my story actually took off in 1978. That year I had to have surgery on both knees. Because the ward where I should have been sent for recovery was being repainted I was instead operated on and put in a ward for children who were terminally ill with cancer. Needless to say these children died.

I said to myself if possible I will try to do something in my life to give aid to children with cancer.

I then met my wife in 1982 and she just happened to be a Beatles fan. Of course the subject of me being involved in the MMT film came up and my wife asked if we could see the film on video. So one day we went to a video store and bought a video tape.

This led to buying an LP, then an EP, and a cassette.….

During this time we were also both very much into Volkswagen Beetles and in 1996 I organized what was to become the largest, most well-known vintage VW show of its kind.

The proceeds were donated to a hospital ward in Hanover in Germany to aid children with cancer.

In the meantime my Beatles MMT collection was growing.

In the early 2000s I left the VW hobby and decided to concentrate entirely on my MMT hobby instead – and to try to put my collection to good use.

I  am always looking for  items that I don’t have yet from MMT. I do not sell anything from my collection. 

Any doubles are swapped for other MMT items that I don’t have yet in my collection.

So, I have been collecting MMT for the past 40 years and nothing else from The Beatles.

I have only ever looked at the entire film once in one go! But I’ve spent hundreds of hours going frame by frame through DVDs and outtakes looking for tiny details on the famous MMT bus as I bought an original Bedford VAL Plaxton Panorama (the exact same model as the MMT bus) from Liverpool. It’s being restored in the UK and hopefully will be used world wide in aid of different cancer charities. Today I also hold not for profit exhibitions of my collection to help charities, such as for children with cancer.

So, as you can see it is quite a story!

What about some of the gems, some of the rarities from just the MMT EP part of his vast collection?

As already mentioned Simon has over 60 copies of this release from different countries. Of course he’s got many of the Made in Great Britain variations (he owns around 15 different versions of these in Mono and in Stereo), but we asked him to show us some of the more unusual examples. You know this one, most often it comes in a gate fold cover with two 45rpm EPs (or extended play) vinyl discs and a booklet with the story and lyrics stapled inside:

To begin, Simon sent us images of four different examples from Argentina which has a number of different versions of the MMT EP. These below (in order) are from 1968, 1970, 1973, and one of unknown year of release. It’s the one on the red and brown EMI label (it is probably 1975). The song titles are translated from English to Spanish:

Greece has two different versions – one with a large jukebox center (which Simon doesn’t own yet), and the other with a smaller push-out centre: 

From Uruguay, Simon owns two versions. There’s the regular release, and this rare blue test pressing below that he has never seen for sale again in 40 years:

One really cool looking label is this Odeon version from Brazil, released in 1968. It is the Mono version:

Italy has a number of different pressings on Parlophon in blue, black, and this Juke Box one on a beige label:

Germany has at least three different versions, as does Denmark. Here’s one of them – a Stereo most probably from 1967:

One of the more unusual and hard to find is this one from Israel. Simon says Israel has two variations. One came as a 2 EP set in a cover much like the rest of the world. The records inside are like the Stereo example below). For the other Israel released the two discs as separate singles in picture sleeves (which Simon doesn’t have yet):

Holland two different editions, France has four versions at least, and Finland has two variations, of which Simon only owns one, this one – a Stereo pressing – is from 1967:

Japan has many different versions on both black vinyl, and this one, from 1968, on red wax:

Spain has at least three versions. This is one of the later re-issues on a teal coloured Odeon label. Notice it is the Mono edition:

Yugoslavia has at least four versions. Africa has several versions (with round and triangular push-out centres) that Simon still doesn’t own yet. But he does have this example from the Philippines, issued in Mono in 1967:

In regards to the lyric sheets stapled inside the MMT EP gatefold cover, these too have their variations from country to country, and across the different re-issue years. Simon sent us an image that illustrates this as well:

In the photo above you can see some of the different colour variations of the lyric pages. There are of course several different shades of each of the colours too.

This is just a taste of Simon’s collection, but he writes that there are still numbers more that he still does not own yet. For example Chile, Greece with larger centre, Rhodesia with the triangle push-out centre, and the very first Japanese version. He’s not sure if Turkey and India ever pressed a set.

Should anyone have an EP or anything else rare from MMT that may help Simon complete his collection he would love to hear from you. They will all be put to good use in aid of others less fortunate in the world. Drop us a line using the Leave a Reply link below and we can put you in touch.

Also, if you or someone you know has a specific area of Beatle collecting – where someone has concentrated on just one particular release – please let us know! We’d love to hear from you and see some of your collection too.

It’s Confirmed: ‘Revolver’ is the next Box Set Re-Issue

A lot of people jumped on the Variety article published last week stating that The Beatles’ Revolver is to be the next album to get the full box set re-issue/remix treatment.

One key sentence in that article made us hang back: “An official announcement of the project is not expected to come until some time in September….”, meaning that while it was interesting (and probably true), the Variety article was still just speculation. There was no independent confirmation from someone within the Beatles/Apple Records circle.

But, over the weekend we got that confirmation – and from the horses mouth so to speak.

On Sunday none other than Giles Martin Tweeted:

We think you can take that as proof-positive a re-mixed, remastered Revolver will definitely be on the shelves sometime in October or early November.

Of course details of exactly what we’ll be getting are still scarce, so we await the official announcement with great interest.

A subsequent Giles Martin Tweet indicates that a 5.1 surround mix is definitely on the cards:

So, it’s happening!

MJQ ‘Space’ – South African Pressing

There’s a great little book/second-hand record store in the Sydney suburb of Manly called Desire Books and Records.

The store is a wonderful place to poke around in as its walls are literally stacked floor-to-ceiling with books while much of the floor space is taken up with wide selection of good quality used vinyl. There are two large “Recent Arrivals” bins, plus extensive Pop & Rock from the 50’s, 60’s, 70’s, 80’s and 90’s, a good selection of Jazz, and sections for Folk, Soundtracks, Hip Hop, Spoken Word/Comedy – you name it.

We visited there the other day and found this little treasure, an original South African pressing of the Modern Jazz Quartet’s album Space on the Apple label:

Here’s the rear cover:

Space, which was released in 1969, comes in a cool gatefold cover:

And of course comes on the famous green Apple label. Interestingly, the word STEREO plus the title and track information on many South African Apple pressings is printed in silver:

As usual, click on the images above to see larger versions, and if you’re interested in the many an varied Apple Records pressings from around the world why not visit the amazing Worldwide Apple Records Discograghy page. It’s an incredible repository of images and info on Apple, Dark Horse, and more.

Beatles Box of Vision – Revisited

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:

Mary Hopkin ‘Post Card’ – A Hong Kong/Malaysia Pressing

A recent trip to the New South Wales south coast town of Berry turned up an opportunity for a little crate digging.

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).

For an exhaustive look at the differences between the UK and US editions, check out BeatleDave’s Beatle Channel.

‘All Things Must Pass: 50th Anniversary Edition’ Wins Grammy

They’ve just been announced – the 64th annual Grammy Awards.

On the Beatle front there wasn’t too much on offer this year.

Paul McCartney was nominated for ‘Find My Way’ in the Best Rock Song category (he lost out to the Foo Fighters and ‘Waiting On A War’). He was also nominated for his album McCartney III in the Best Rock Album category (and once again, pipped at the post by the Foo Fighters with their LP Medicine at Midnight).

However, in the category for Best Boxed or Special Limited Edition Package the winners were Darren Evans, Dhani Harrison and Olivia Harrison for their art direction of last year’s George Harrison All Things Must Pass: 50th Anniversary Edition. This was for the now famous “Uber Box”:

All Things Must Pass won ahead of Soccer Mommy – Color Theory, Steven Wilson – The Future Bites (Limited Edition Box Set), Gang of Four – 77-81 and Mac Miller – Swimming in Circles.

Olivia Harrison has posted this shot of her holding the actual Grammy:

She also gave this post-Grammy ceremony interview about the win:

Well done, and congratulations to the Harrison Estate!

Billy Preston’s ‘Encouraging Words’ Gets an Apple Records Reissue

We weren’t even aware of this until alerted yesterday by Instagram poster @applerecordspictures…..

Billy Preston, currently wowing viewers for his keyboard prowess in The Beatles: Get Back documentary on Disney+, recently had his 1970 Apple Records LP Encouraging Words re-issued on vinyl by the label.

It was released in October as a way to celebrate Preston’s induction for Musical Excellence into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame and will only be available for a limited period.

First issued in the UK on September 11 1970, the album was co-produced by Billy and George Harrison. Encouraging Words contains covers of two of George’s songs – ‘All Things Must Pass’ and ‘My Sweet Lord’ where they appeared for the very first time, two months before George’s own recordings of those tracks appeared on his album All Things Must Pass. The LP also contains a cover of the Lennon/McCartney track ‘I’ve Got A Feeling’, from The Beatle’s Let It Be LP.

So, while it is timely of Apple to mark his Rock & Roll Hall of Fame induction, this reissue of Billy’s album is also a great tie-in with the release of Peter Jackson’s The Beatles: Get Back film too.

I wonder if we’ll be seeing any other Apple Records artists getting vinyl reissues?

‘All Things Must Pass 50th Anniversary’ – Details (Finally) Announced

Well, it’s been an interesting week.

On Tuesday someone at the official George Harrison site stuffed up and, two days before the official announcement, accidently made public a couple of pages worth of information about the long-awaited All Things Must Pass 50th Anniversary box sets. This included images, prices, and content details.

Of course fans around the world (including us) noticed and began sharing links and images.

The cat was very much out of the bag, but still Universal Music – with just two days to go until the official announcement – desperately tried to stop the spread of information.

In what is tantamount to using a sledge-hammer to crack a walnut, they had the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI) write to anyone who had published images of the new All Things Must Pass box sets to issue an “Infringement Notice” and an order to take down those images. (FYI, the IFPI is a trade association representing some 1300 major and independent record companies in the US and internationally who create, manufacture and distribute sound recordings).

Some sites (like ours) complied, others didn’t.

All that effort on behalf of Universal Music and the IFPI and here we are – just two days later – with the whole kit and caboodle about this fantastic release now officially in the public domain. The publicity free-for-all can now proceed. “Free” being the operative word because sites like ours, made by fans and for fans, don’t make any money out of this. We just love the Beatles as a band, and as solo artists. And we help get the word out to others about new releases THAT PEOPLE MIGHT WANT TO BUY from Universal Music. Of course they have their own digital assets, but it is sites like ours that contribute to “word-of-mouth”, make recommendations, and the general buzz around new releases that record companies – like Universal – rely upon. But when someone makes a mistake at Universal Music, the first people they jump on is us?

Anyway, rant over.

The good news is that we’ve finally got the full details of the George Harrison All Things Must Pass – 50th Anniversay Edition, due out on August 6.

Uber Deluxe, Super Deluxe, and a variety of extended and standard editions (plus other merch) are now up on the official George Harrison online store site.

And there will be an Uber box set to rule them all – retailing for a cool US$999.98

It comprises:

  • An artisan designed wooden box (approx. 12.4″ x 12.4″ x 17.5″)
  • Elaborate and expanded 96 page version of the scrapbook, curated by Olivia Harrison, with previously unseen imagery and memorabilia from the era: handwritten lyrics, diary entries, studio notes, tape box images, a comprehensive track-by-track and more.
  • A second 44-page book chronicling the making of All Things Must Pass through extensive archival interviews with notes.
  • Wooden bookmark made from a felled Oak tree (Quercus Robur) in George’s Friar Park.
  • 1/6 scale replica figurines of Harrison and the gnomes featured on the iconic album cover
  • Limited edition illustration by musician and artist Klaus Voorman.
  • A copy of Paramahansa Yogananda’s “Light from the Great Ones”
  • Rudraksha beads contained in individual custom-made boxes
  • The remixed and remastered album on 3 vinyl discs with a replica of the original album poster
  • 5 LPs of outtakes and rarities
  • 5 CDs and 1 Blu-ray
  • Set features 70 tracks, including 47 demo recordings, session outtakes and studio jams, of which 42 are previously unreleased.
  • Blu-ray disc includes hi-res stereo, 5.2 surround and dolby Atmos mixes of the main album

The wooden box is huge. The packshot image above doesn’t give an indication how big this thing is. Here’s an Instagram image of Dhani Harrison sitting on the Uber crate at Friar Park – in what looks like the exact same spot the famous All Things Must Pass cover shot was taken:

There’ll also be a Super Deluxe 8 LP box containing the re-mixed and remastered album across 3 LPs, the 5 LPs of outakes and rarities included in the Uber, a book (not as comprehensive as the Uber edition version), and the original poster.

Also for vinyl lovers there’s to be a 5 LP set (original album on 3 LPs, plus two discs with 17 tracks of demo recordings, session outtakes and studio jams outtakes):

And there’ll be the re-mixed album proper on its own: 3 LPs in a slim box – the way it was originally released back in 1970. There will be two versions of this edition. One on black vinyl:

The other 3 LP set is a Limited Edition on 180gram black and green splatter vinyl. This one we believe is only available from the George Harrison official site:

For those not into vinyl there’s to be a Super Deluxe CD/Blu-ray box set containing 5 CDs (the original album across 3 discs, plus 2 discs of the outtakes and rarities). This collects 70 tracks across those 5 CDs, including 47 (42 previously unreleased) demo recordings, session outtakes and studio jams all housed in a beautiful slipcase. A Blu-Ray audio disc has the main album in hi-res stereo, 5.1 surround and Dolby Atmos is also featured. The collection contains a 56-page scrapbook curated by Olivia Harrison, with previously unseen images and memorabilia from the era, handwritten lyrics, diary entries, studio notes, tape box images, a comprehensive track-by-track and more. It also includes a replica of the original album poster:

There’ll also be a 3 CD set, with the third CD containing the original jams, plus additional demo recordings, session outtakes and studio jams. This will be housed in a square box with a scaled- down version of the original poster and a 20-page booklet with photos, introduction, and notes from Dhani Harrison and Paul Hicks on remixing the album:

And there’s a standard 2 CD with just the original album across two discs, re-mixed and re-mastered:

So, something for everyone. The Harrison camp has also just released a new video for the big reveal announcement.

It’s one of the outakes featured on the new releases – the song ‘Run Of The Mill (Take 36)’, a previously unreleased track. It really gives a clear indication of how the songs on All Things Must Pass were shaped and went through several permutations in the studio before the final, well-known and loved versions became part of popular music history:

See Universal Music? It’s not so hard. All we’re doing is trying to reach those people who are interested, and perhaps some of them are people you can’t reach.

My Love – McCartney’s Wings

Back in 1973 when Paul McCartney and Wings released the vinyl single ‘My Love’, in most places around the world that’s how it was credited on the label: Paul McCartney and Wings.

For example, here’s the UK pressing:However, in a couple of territories they obviously didn’t get the memo detailing just how the band should be credited on the label.

We’ve just picked up a New Zealand pressing which is interesting for a couple of reasons. Number one is that it’s on the green Apple label. The other is the name of the band – McCartney’s Wings: Seems that this mistake may have been caused back in England when a few copies of ‘My Love’ also escaped into the public arena there with that very same band credit – McCartney’s Wings. Here’s a UK pressing that was probably quickly withdrawn and replaced with the proper band credit (seen on the UK pressing above):

And it looks like at least four other countries (Sweden, Israel, France and Venezuela) also stuffed up:In the rest of the world it is definitely Paul McCartney and Wings that performed ‘My Love’……..but we’re glad to have a unique New Zealand pressing now in the collection.

As usual, click on the labels to see larger versions. And if you know anything more on the back story to this one, please use the Comments section to let us know.