Digging For Some Beatle LPs

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:

Rainbow seems to have picked up a few other Polydor artists over the years because in 1976 they released Ringo Starr’s Rotogravure album too.

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)

Digging For Some Beatle-Related Singles

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.

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 Hollywood Vampires – McCartney Guest Appearance

The Hollywood Vampires album, which contains a guest appearance from Paul McCartney, has been officially released:Hollywood VampiresHere’s the press release:

In 1972, on the Sunset Strip at a club called the Rainbow Bar & Grill, the Hollywood Vampires were born in the upstairs bar. It was a gathering place for the rock stars living in or passing through L.A. “To join the club, one simply had to out drink all of the members,” says Alice Cooper, a founding member of the Vampires. “I would walk in on a typical night” Alice says, “and John Lennon, Harry Nilsson, Keith Moon—who would usually be in a costume like a maid or a chauffeur—Bernie Taupin, Jim Morrison and Mickey Dolenz would be there. The next week might be Bernie Taupin, Jimi Hendrix, Jim Morrison and Mickey Dolenz.”

Three years ago, Alice and good friend Johnny Depp got together and decided the spirit of the Hollywood Vampires should live again (minus the drinking). An environment for great artists to hang, laugh and play together. The Hollywood Vampires live again with the release of the Hollywood Vampires new album. Alice and Johnny were joined by Joe Perry, who is an old friend of both of them, and the recording began: a tribute to the original Hollywood Vampires.

For the next two years, Alice, Joe and Johnny, joined by producer Bob Ezrin and an amazing group of modern day vampires, including Perry Farrell, Dave Grohl, Sir Paul McCartney, Joe Walsh, Slash, Robbie Krieger, Zak Starkey, Brian Johnson and Kip Winger, recorded tracks by their dead friends and heroes. Also included are two original songs that tell the story of the Vampires, one of which, “Raise The Dead,” has an intro by Sir Christopher Lee, recorded just prior to his death.

The album package, an antique book, was created by noted men’s fashion designer (and rock fan) John Varvatos in his signature vintage style. Alice and Varvatos, both Detroit natives, have been partners in fashion for several years with Alice lending his classic rock style as a brand ambassador.

A sneak peek at the liner notes, penned by original Hollywood Vampire Bernie Taupin, “I’m not here to defend their vices. Over-indulgence of any sort does not ultimately constitute for a healthy mind and body. And while on the periphery of those involved, wives may have come and gone, career choices may have been deemed dubious, and heartbreak in some cases stalked a dark corridor, but in the lair of the Hollywood Vampires only joy and laughter reigned.”

“I’m not completely sure what constituted bad behavior back then, but in this lair it existed in a bubble, a hermetically sealed dome of fun. It may not have been the round table at the Algonquin, but these were witty, intelligent guys who often got raucous and loud, but rest assured there were no bystanders or animals hurt in the making of the Hollywood Vampires.”

All artist proceeds will be donated to MusiCares.  

And here’s the track listing:

1. The Last Vampire (Hollywood Vampires)
2. Raise The Dead (Hollywood Vampires)
3. My Generation (The Who)
4. Whole Lotta Love (Led Zeppelin)
5. I Got A Line (Spirit)
6. Five to One/Break On Through (The Doors)
7. One/Jump Into The Fire (Harry Nilsson)
8. Come And Get It (Badfinger)
9. Jeepster (T.Rex)
10. Cold Turkey (John Lennon)
11. Manic Depression (Jimi Hendrix)
12. Itchycoo Park (Small Faces)
13. School’s Out / Another Brick In The Wall pt.2 (Alice Cooper / Pink Floyd)
14. Dead Drunk Friends (Hollywood Vampires)

As you can see, the band tackle a version of John Lennon’s ‘Cold Turkey’. The main McCartney performance is Badfinger’sCome And Get It‘, which of course he wrote and produced for that Apple band – way back in 1969!

Amazing Tower Records Footage from 1970

For those of us who remember the days of visiting good old “bricks and mortar” record stores to browse and buy the latest vinyl……this amazing footage of the legendary Tower Records on Sunset Strip in West Hollywood in 1970 will take you back (and possibly take your breath away if you’re a vinyl nut!)

In it we spotted literally hundreds of plastic sealed copies of George Harrison’s then new box set All Things Must Pass being put out on display……a fleeting glimpse of Lennon’s Plastic Ono Band in the arms of a female customer…..stacks of McCartney’s McCartney LP…..Badfinger’s  No Dice……a copy of the Beatles Yellow Submarine….and from footage taken outside, a big John Lennon billboard.

Scenes from this great archival film were used to illustrate this spoken word advertisement for Tower Records voiced by John Lennon himself (possibly from 1973) – then promoting his latest LP Mind Games:

A is For Apple Book – More Info

Since we reported back in September on a new series of books detailing the history of the Beatles Apple company, there’s been a flurry of activity and a lot of further information coming through.

The authors of A is For Apple now have a cover for Volume 1, which is due for publication in April next year:A is For Apple Cover

And they’ve produced a YouTube video, too:

There are a couple of further very interesting draft sample pages now available here and here. (These come with a “big file” warning and may take some time to download).

For Apple fans these both contain great info and photos.

And there are now details about some special offers and bonus material which will come with Volume 1 of A is For Apple.

One Apple artist has given the publishers permission to release two rare recordings with the project. Jackie Lomax, just a couple of days before his tragic death in 2013, signed an agreement to include an exclusive 7“ vinyl of his previously unreleased track ‘Land Of People’, and the demo version of ‘Is This What You Want?’. Both songs will be included with Vol. 1 of A is For Apple.A is For Apple Bonus1A is For Apple Bonus2

Additionally, if you pre-order Volume 1 before December 3, you not only save €5 Euro on the purchase price but also receive a strictly limited edition bonus flexi disc of The Iveys‘ unreleased 1968 Christmas Record:A is For Apple Bonus3

In late 1968 The Iveys (later to become Badfinger) taped a Christmas message for their fans just like the Beatles had done since 1963. But contrary to the Beatles‘ annual Crimble messages this one has never been released. Only very recently the A is For Apple people got permission to include this Christmas flexi disc that never was.

For the whole story of the project so far see the A is For Apple website.

Some Beatles Car Boot Sale Booty

There was a big car boot sale just around the corner from us this last weekend, and we were able to find quite a few nice additions to the collection. One vendor just had boxes and boxes of CD’s, 7″ vinyl 45’s and 12″ LP’s on their stall – and so quite a bit of our Saturday morning was spent trawling….

It was time well spent though as it turned up a few gems.

First up was a Australian vinyl single taken from the John Lennon and Yoko Ono album Double Fantasy. ‘Watching the Wheels’ was the third single from this LP (the first two were ‘(Just Like) Starting Over’ and ‘Woman’). We didn’t have a copy of ‘Watching the Wheels” so this was a good find.Beatles books_0010

Next was another 7″ single we didn’t have – Badfinger’s ‘Come and Get It’ on the Apple label. It dates from 1969 and is a Paul McCartney composition written for the band, and it makes an appearance on the soundtrack for the film The Magic Christian, starring Peter Sellers and Ringo Starr. This is an Australian pressing. There’s a lot of writing on the label – but still…..Beatles books_0014

Further hunting through the boxes revealed another Apple single – this time from George Harrison. It’s an Australian copy of ‘My Sweet Lord’ b/w ‘Isn’t It A Pity’. In Australia this was a double A side as both titles have green Apple labels:Beatles books_0016Beatles books_0015

Our good luck continued in the multiple boxes at this car boot sale. Next out were two singles – a US copy of McCartney’s ‘Coming Up’, and ‘Say Say Say’ with Michael Jackson – both on the Columbia label, then a division of CBS. In the late 70’s/early 80’s McCartney was briefly (six years) on the Columbia label for his releases in America. He’d temporarily turned his back on Capitol Records, enticed by one of the most lucrative recording contracts around at the time, a deal which included as a sweetener the ownership of Frank Music, a CBS owned publishing company consisting (amongst other things) of Frank Loesser’s songs (think of the Broadway musical Guys and Dolls, etc.). Frank Music is now of course folded into McCartney’s highly successful MPL Music Publishing business.

The two singles we found came out on the Parlophone label in Australia, so it’s good to have these US versions:Beatles books_0012Beatles books_0011

The final 45 we discovered was Billy J. Kramer’s ‘From a Window’ – which sadly is kind of beat up, but worth having because it is a song from 1964 written specifically for Kramer (and his band the Dakotas) by John Lennon and Paul McCartneyBeatles books_0013

The last purchase of the day was a bit of a find. It’s Jools Holland’s 2001 CD Small World Big Band, which is an important one to have in the collection because it contains George Harrison singing and playing on his last ever recordingGeorge passed away just two months after this recording. He does a song called ‘Horse to the Water’, co-composed with his son Dhani.

Holland’s CD is sub-titled “….his Rhythm and Blues Orchestra and friends”, that’s because for each track he invites various stars to join him for a track each. These include the likes of Sting; Paul Weller; Dr John; Mark Knopfler; Van Morrison; Steve Winwood; and Eric Clapton, amongst many others.Beatles books_0017Beatles books_0020 To quote two of the poignant reviewers on Amazon:

“For me, the big reason to buy this CD was the George Harrison contribution, ‘Horse to the Water’. It is a GREAT song, and a brilliant Harrison song at that. George sounds weak, and I am not sure if Clapton has stepped in on some of the guitar parts, but what a brilliant and fun piece of music, worthy to be held in the highest esteem among its author’s ouvre. IT is reason enough to buy the CD.”

And this one:

“I purchased this CD for one reason. I had seen the DVD Concert for George and loved it. Among the best offerings on the DVD was the Sam Brown/Jools Holland rendition of ‘Horse to the Water’ by George. Except for the words, I would never have guessed that it was a Harrison song. It was too R&B. So I was curious to see how he handled it. Well, he does not have the powerhouse voice of Sam Brown, but I was in fact really surprised at how well he did, helped greatly by the superb backup band. I would not have recognised his voice. I am sure his throat cancer was behind that.”

There’s a small picture of George in the booklet:

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