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.
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 Wordsre-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 ofFame 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’sLet 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?
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 HarrisonAll 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 Harrisononline store site.
And there will be an Uber box set to rule them all – retailing for a cool US$999.98
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.
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 McCartneyandWings 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.
As part of the forthcoming The Beatles: The Singles Collection box set due on November 22, Apple Records has once again teamed up with the Pro-Ject turntable guys to produce a Beatle-themed turntable so that you can play your new 45rpm box set discs:In a Beatle USA webstore exclusive to celebrate the release of The Beatles: The Singles Collection, Pro-Ject Audio Systems will be releasing “The Singles Turntable”.
The record player deck features a collage of all the original Beatles single sleeves. The unit will be based on Pro-Ject’s award-winning Debut III model but will feature the following upgrades:
Electronic speed change (33/45)
8,6” Aluminium S-shaped tonearm with two SME headshells, each with its own pre-calibrated cartridge so you can easily change headshells to switch between a mono and stereo cartridge for playback
The two included cartridges are a new Pro-Ject designed Ortofon manufactured Pick It Mono cartridge for mono record playback, and an Ortofon 2M Red for stereo record playback
Long speculated upon, now officially announced. Apple Records will be releasing a new Beatles box set of 23 UK 7-inch vinyl singles titles, each with unique cover art from around the world faithfully reproduced – right down to the record labels used in the particular country.
The set includes all 22 singles issued in the UK between 1962 and 1970, plus a single that is unique to this set – a double A-side of the songs ‘Free As A Bird’ and ‘Real Love’. All the singles have been remastered from the original mono and stereo tapes at EMI’s Abbey Road studios and will be pressed on “180-gram vinyl”. Don’t they mean just heavyweight vinyl? A 180-gram vinyl 45 is gonna be kind of thick…..
The box will include a 40-page illustrated booklet with an essay by respected Beatle historian Kevin Howlett.
You can read the full press release from Apple/Universal Music, which includes a full track listing and details the country from which each cover comes from. Glad to see that Australia will be represented by the double A-side ‘Strawberry Fields Forever’/’Penny Lane’! The picture cover for this was used in a number of markets, but the labels are unique:
The Beatles: The Singles Collection will be released on Novemver 22nd.
Well, just about every other critic and music writer has been pipped at the post by the one-and-only Michael Fremer (of Analog Planet website fame) who has bolted out of the starting blocks with not only the first full review of the Beatles new Abbey Road 50th Anniversary re-mix and re-master, but also what must be the very first unboxing video showing in detail what the contents of the 3 LP and 3 CD/1 Bluray box sets look like. The album is not officially released until Friday (27 September) so jump online and soak up this preview of what is the real deal:
BBC Radio 2 will celebrate the 50th anniversary of The Beatles’Abbey Road album with RADIO 2 BEATLES, a four-day pop-up DAB radio station. It will feature programs fronted by Gary Barlow, John Bishop, Martin Freeman, Guy Garvey, Dave Grohl, Giles Martin, Cerys Matthews, Paul Merton and many more.
Broadcasting from Thursday 26 to Sunday 29 September from London’s iconic Abbey Road Studios, the station will honour John, Paul, George and Ringo as a group, and as individual artists, and as songwriters. All the live shows on Radio 2 Beatles will come direct from Abbey Road – with some also simulcast on Radio 2 and BBC Sounds – and broadcast alongside pre-recorded specials and classic Beatle content from the unique BBC archive.
All programs featured on Radio 2 Beatles will be available to listen to on BBC Sounds for 30 days after broadcast.
Lewis Carnie, Head of Radio 2 says: “The Beatles are woven into the fabric of UK culture. They inspired and continue to inspire artists of all generations and created some of the world’s most loved music. As their seminal album Abbey Road is 50 years old, I am delighted that Radio 2 is celebrating the Fab Four with a four-day pop-up DAB radio station.”
Programme highlights include We Write The Songs, where Gary Barlow interviews Paul McCartney about the music, where Paul discusses how The Beatles only began writing because other bands were stealing their act, and describing how he’s stayed at the top of the music business for six decades.
In the series My Beatles, Dave Grohl, Jack Savoretti and Tom Odell talk about the influence the Fab Four’s music had on them; across the daily series I Was There, the likes of Tony Blackburn and radio critic Gillian Reynolds talk about what it was really like being part of the swinging Sixties, whilst Martin Freeman presents the story of The White Album across two shows.
6 Music Breakfast and Desert Island Discs host Lauren Laverne presents Desert Island Beatles, featuring the many guests who’ve selected one of their group or solo records, as a must-have track, plus Liza Tarbuck meets pop-artist and Sgt. Pepper sleeve designer Sir Peter Blake, while Jimmy Tarbuck hosts an hour of novelty versions of hit Beatle songs.
Gary Barlow says: “It was an absolute honour that Paul McCartney, one of my true heroes and a legendary songwriting genius, agreed to talk in depth about his work for my Radio 2 series We Write The Songs. This particular episode really is a masterclass from the master! I am thrilled to launch my first series on the network as part of Radio 2 Beatles, which sounds like it is going to be four days of unmissable radio.”
Simulcast on Radio 2 and BBC Sounds, and broadcasting live from Abbey Road studios on Thursday morning, Radio 2 Beatles will be launched by Ken Bruce whose show will feature a special Beatle themed Tracks Of My Years and PopMaster quiz (9.30am-12pm). Later that day, Jo Whiley will present her Radio 2 evening show live from Abbey Road with live performances and very special guests (7pm-9pm). On the Friday, the day kicks off with The Zoe Ball Breakfast Show, with a special Friends Round Friday (6.30am-9.30am) including music from Rick Astley.
Later that day, Sara Cox is joined by the listeners for a BeatlesAll Request Friday (5pm-7pm), and that evening Friday Night Is Music Night presents The Beatles Orchestrated. Guy Garvey will be hosting, with the BBC Concert Orchestra and a guest list of artists, including Cerys Matthews, Katie Melua, Level 42’s Mark King, alongside Guy himself, all performing songs from across the Beatles catalogue (8pm-10pm). On the Saturday morning Dermot O’Leary presents his show live from Abbey Road (8am-10am), followed by an extra hour exclusive to the Pop-Up, where Dermot speaks to writer Richard Curtis about his recent film Yesterday (10am-11am).
Other shows exclusive to Radio 2 Beatles include Grace Dent presenting Hip to the Trip focussing on free love, fashion and The Fab Four, while Nicky Campbell discusses the crucial role played by the band’s producer Sir George Martin, with his son Giles. Actor Himesh Patel, the star of the movie Yesterday, tells the incredible story behind Abbey Road – the band’s last recorded album – in a new two-part special and songwriter Guy Chambers looks at the genius of their lyrics and melody.
Craig Charles uncovers some of the BBC’s incredible archive audio, and Paul Merton takes to the imaginary stage to introduce The Beatles Fantasy Concert, featuring the ultimate collection of live performances recorded by The Beatles as a band and as solo artists. Scott Mills takes us on an alphabetical trip through the Beatles back catalogue, Paul Gambaccini tells the musical story from the other side of the Atlantic, and Tris Penna presents a four-part series charting each of the Fab Four’s individual music careers and most memorable albums.
Radio 2 Beatles has also commissioned a special chart from the Official Charts Company – The Beatles Downloaded: Official UK Top 60, will be revealed across the Saturday and Sunday afternoons (5-7pm) with Janice Long and Radio 1 Breakfast Show host Greg James counting down the most downloaded and streamed Beatle songs in the UK. Plus Steve Wright presents a special Beatles Love Songs, Trevor Nelson playing classic soul Beatles’ covers in Rubber Soul, Radio 1’s Alice Levine explores the Fab Four’s various musical pairings, and Country Covers with Ben Earle, from country band The Shires, features Fab Four tracks covered by country artists.
From the BBC archive Radio 2 Beatles will be broadcasting When John Met Paul with Bob Harris, Radio 4’s Mastertapes with Paul McCartney, and Sgt. Pepper Recreated, recorded in 2007 and featuring performances from Oasis, Bryan Adams, and Kaiser Chiefs.
A recent post featured some Apple and Beatle-related 45 singles found on a recent crate digging trip to Melbourne. Here are the LPs found during that same trip.
In the early 1980s in Australia and New Zealand the Polydor label issued a series called Rock Legends. Included were a range of artists as diverse as Jimi Hendrix, The Easybeats, The Velvet Underground, Maggie Bell, The Allman Brothers, Thunderclap Newman and Roger Daltry – to name a few.
Polydor Records has long held the rights to the earliest of all Beatle studio recordings. Made while they were as yet unknowns in Germany in 1961, the band was enlisted to back Tony Sheridan, a singer they’d fallen in with while playing the clubs in Hamburg. At the Sheridan sessions they got to record a couple of cover songs themselves, and those tapes have been a goldmine for Polydor ever since. The label could therefore include in its Rock Legends series many years later a coveted Beatle title. It is of course a record that has seen many an iteration around the world, but this version of it is unique to the Australia/New Zealand market.
What we have here though is a little bit different again – it is a re-issue of a re-issue. Once the Polydor Rock Legends albums had run their course the budget Australian music publishers, the Rainbow Music Group, somehow acquired the rights and put out the Beatle recordings one more time on their own Rainbow label. It has the very same cover art (front and rear) as the Polydor release, just the labels are different:
Quite coincidentally we also stumbled across a nice Japanese pressing of the very same material – but this time on Polydor. It has the exact same track listing and running order as the Rainbow release above, but on the original Polydor label and in a thick cardboard gatefold cover, with an insert:Here’s the gatefold:And the insert, front and back:
Sadly the OBI is missing, but otherwise this record is in great shape.
For some time now we’ve been on the lookout for a couple of early Beatle albums on the Capitol label with cover artwork unique to the Canadian market. There are three main titles that qualify: Twist and Shout, Long Tall Sally, and this one – Beatlemania!
Of course this one isn’t a first pressing (it originally came out in 1963 on the Capitol ‘Rainbow’ label). The purple Capitol label dates this example to around 1978. It was pretty hard to resist though as it is in near mint condition. If you’re interested in Canadian pressings have a look at The Capitol 6000 website which is terrific.
Finally, a record that we’ve wanted to have in the collection for some time – and quite surprisingly discovered what is probably a more rare Australian pressing:
This is the film soundtrack to The Magic Christian, starring Peter Sellers and Ringo Starr. The movie was released in 1969 and featured songs by Apple recording artists Badfinger, one of which (‘Come and Get It’) was written and produced by one Paul McCartney.
(As usual click on the images to see larger versions)
A recent trip to Melbourne (capital city of the Australian state of Victoria) turned up some more Beatle-related treasure in the form of some nice vinyl singles. (Click here for the results of our previous visit).
Some of these titles we already had, but in pressings from different countries. The others definitely fill some gaps in the collection. As always, click on the images below to see larger versions.
The first two we found were at a flea market – and going very cheaply. Mary Hopkin’s ‘Goodbye’ was produced by Paul McCartney and released in 1969. This one is the UK release:
We already had two other versions of this. The US release – in a picture sleeve:
And the Australian pressing, with two different label variations. One with a Northern Songs publishing credit stamp, and one without:
The other find at the flea market was also a UK pressing – of the Radha Krishna Temple’s ‘Hare Krishna Mantra’, also from 1969:
The pressing we already had of this is probably more rare. It’s the Australian pressing, also nice to have:
After the flea market we headed over to one of our favourite second-hand record haunts, Licorice Pie Records. As usual they had a good selection of used Beatle and Apple artist 45’s. Like this one, an Australian pressing of Paul McCartney and Wings from 1974 with ‘Mrs Vandebilt’:
Despite years of collecting, this single was not in the collection – so it was a good find. As was this next one – Badfinger and ‘Baby Blue’ (again an Australian pressing):
Paul McCartney’s brother Mike McGear released an album in 1974 simply called McGear. On it he had a lot of help (and songs) from his older sibling and members of his brother’s band, Wings. The McGear album is set to be reissued on June 28 on 180 gram vinyl and on a CD + DVD set (with lots of rarities included). The original album saw this single issued with a non-album track on the flip side: Note the McCartney producing credit and the Paul and Linda writing credits on both songs.
The next year, Warner Brothers issued another single, only this time the non-album track (‘Dance the Do’) was the A-side, while the B-side was taken from the McGear LP:
So, all in all a successful trip. Next post we’ll detail the LPs we found.