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.

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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 it’s 75th anniversary producing, releaseing and distributing music.

Principle among the plans was 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 are 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 a swag of titles that have already been issued here (some with a “Celebrating 75 Years of Capitol’s Music” logo on their front covers, some without). There are seventeen titles on that page – still far away from the seventy-five total.

However, Amazon in October listed a 2017 re-issue of James Taylor’s eponymous 1968 Apple Records release, James Taylor and this 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 barcode:

(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?

Meanwhile, still over at Amazon, a pre-order listing has appeared for Ringo Starr’s Ringo LP. This album is on the Capitol 75 list too, 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.We’ve contacted Crate and Barrel directly and asked for some more background on the Capitol 75th Anniversary releases – especially around Beatle and Beatle-related titles. We’ll update you when they get back to us – or feel free to share any info you have by using the “Comments” section.

UPDATE:  On 8 December we had an email back from Crate and Barrel customer service saying: “We have double checked our stock of the 75th Anniversary re-issue vinyls. Unfortunately, we either never carried some of those vinyls you mentioned [Beatle or Beatle-related], or we no longer have them in stock. At this time, it does not look like we are getting in any new shipments of the anniversary vinyls. Our website is updated often, so feel free to check in to see if anything will get added to our current collection of the 75th Anniversary Records collection. Currently, we only have 12 records that are listed under the anniversary collection. If you have any further questions, feel free to call our customer service at 800-237-5672.”

Badfinger – Finest Moments Rare LP

The British online second-hand collectables dealer eil.com has listed for sale one of the the most scarce 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 flexidiscs 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

“Great Record Labels” Book

Chanced upon a small local garage sale (or yard sale) this morning and found this book:great-labels-cover

Great Record Labels, written by Al Cimino and published by Chartwell Books in 1992, is quite an interesting overview of some of the most famous record companies, admittedly with a strong US bias. It has some really good images liberally scattered throughout, not only of the various record company labels themselves, but also many of the artists signed to the labels too.

Cimino has split his book into five broad categories covering music from the 1950’s through to the 1990’s. He starts with Sun Records in the Fifties, and ends with Def Jam in the Nineties, and works his way through most of the big labels in between – like Atlantic, Stax, Motown, Decca, A&M, CBS, Warner Brothers, Island, and Virgin – to name but a few.

There are two main segments of the book where The Beatles pop up. First is the chapter on the British EMI/Parlophone label:great-labels3great-labels4

In the section on EMI’s US subsidiary Capitol Records there is only fleeting reference to The Beatles, despite the huge amounts of money they made for the company:great-labels9

But to make up for that there’s no less than four pages dedicated to The Beatles’ own Apple Records:great-labels5great-labels6great-labels7great-labels8

Here’s the rear cover of Great Record Labels (the dust cover has seen better days…):great-labels-rearDespite being a little beat up, this is a nice little find and a good book to have in the collection.

Eleven Early Yoko Ono Albums to be Reissued

Way back in March, 2014 we flagged that there was a thorough Yoko Ono solo reissue program in the pipeline and it was to include all of her early, long-out-of-print Apple and Zapple Record releases. Since that time it has gone decidedly quiet….

Now comes news that it is finally going to happen – and soon:

Chimera Music and the Secretly Canadian label, have just announced that eleven solo Yoko Ono titles will be coming out in three groups of releases over the next twelve months or so.

The first grouping of three reissues is due out on November 11 – on CD, on vinyl, and as digital downloads. First titles are:

Unfinished Music No. 1: Two Virgins (originally issued on Apple in 1968):ono-unfinished-1

Bonus track on the CD, and on vinyl (via a download card), will be ‘Remember Love’.

Unfinished Music No. 2: Life With the Lions (originally issued on Zapple in 1969):ono-unfinished-2

Bonus tracks on the CD, and on vinyl (via a download card), will be ‘Song for John’ and ‘Mulberry’.

Yoko Ono: Plastic Ono Band (originally issued on Apple in 1970):ono-plastic-ono-band

Bonus tracks on the CD, and on vinyl (via a download card), will be: ‘Open Your Box’, ‘Something More Abstract’, ‘The South Wind’, and the never-before-heard ‘Why (Extended Version)’.

The release project overs studio albums issued between 1968 and 1985 and will painstakingly reconstruct the original vinyl packaging, along with never-before-seen photos and ephemera (although from these two “bundle offer” pack shots on the Chimera site it looks like the record labels and CDs will depict grapefruits instead of Apple, and that the vinyl will be white and/or clear):ono-bundle-vinylono-bundle-cd

The audio is re-mastered from the original tapes by Greg Calbi and Sean Lennon. In addition to making the vinyl available for the first time in decades, each album will also be available digitally for the first time. The complete list of titles and release groupings is:

1st group:
Unfinished Music No. 1: Two Virgins
(1968)
Unfinished Music No. 2: Life With Lions
(1969)
Plastic Ono Band
(1970)

2nd group:
Fly (1971)
Approximately Infinite Universe
(1973)
Feeling the Space
(1973)
A Story
(recorded in 1974, released as part of Ono Box in 1992)

3rd group:
Season of Glass
(1981)
It’s Alright (I See Rainbows)
(1982)
Starpeace
(1985)
Unfinished Music No. 3: Wedding Album
(1969)