Strange/Unusual Finds of the Month – Nowhere Man and Double Fantasy

Every couple of months the Lifeline organisation (which offers a free phone crisis and suicide prevention counselling service in Australia) holds a huge fundraising book fair. They always have, as a side note, lots of second-hand CDs, and usually a few records too. These are usually placed in one corner and any Beatle titles would be scattered in amongst hundreds of other artists.

However, the Lifeline book fair last month had it’s very own Beatles section!

Obviously someone had donated a large collection and the volunteers had hived off a dedicated section of the tables just for Beatle stuff. There were books, a small selection of LPs and CDs, plus a very large stack of 45 singles. By the time we got through the door though another collector was well into sifting through the 45’s and so we had to wait patiently by for him to finish. Sadly (for us) he took just about all of them, and we were left to pick over the remains.

Much to our delight though we discovered a very clean copy of a Beatle EP that had been missing from the collection – one that is now considered rare and fetches hefty prices on eBay. It’s the Australian pressing of the band’s Nowhere Man EP, released on November 3, 1966:This one has the flipback tabs on the rear cover, and the early black and yellow Parlophone label with the Northern Songs royalty stamps included:We’d been looking for a copy of this EP for ages, so to find a copy in good condition was a real bonus. It completes a full set of all the Beatles’ Australian EP releases.

While biding time waitng for the other collector to sift through the stack of 45’s we checked out the books and the small number of Beatle albums on offer. Amongst these was this LP: This is the rarer Half-Speed mastered pressing of the John Lennon/Yoko Ono disc Double Fantasy. It is on the Geffen/Nautilus Superdisc label and dates from 1982. This limited edition release should come with a poster and a lyric sheet insert. Both these are missing, but it does have the original Nautilus ‘blue disc’ poly inner “Super Sleeve”:So, another strange/unusual find on what turned out to be a pretty good day.

Advertisements

More McCartney Coloured Vinyl To Be Issued

Capitol Records is following up last year’s coloured vinyl Paul McCartney releases with four more titles. These will be available on May 18 (fingers crossed, given the delays experienced last time!) and they are the albums NEW; Thrillington; Wings Greatest; and Chaos and Creation in the Backyard

As you can see, NEW is to be on pink vinyl, Thrillington on what looks to be a marbled red/black, Wings Greatest is on blue, and Chaos will be on gold coloured vinyl.

As they were last time each title will also be issued on black vinyl, and as single CD’s in the digipak format. Every release is supervised by Paul himself, who oversees all aspects of each and every title. See the official McCartney site for more details.

Vale Bruce Hamlin – Australian Beatle Collector

Some very sad news has come through that the well-known and repsected Australian Beatle expert Bruce Hamlin has passed away.

Bruce ran the The Beatles Records Information Service, and he issued regular and comprehensive updates to his many email newsletter subscribers – right up until the last.

In 1981 Bruce wrote a compendium, the first of its kind for this country. It details the Beatles’ released catalogue in Australia. Called simply The Beatles Records in Australia, his book pulled together their complete discography to that date. It was self-published and limited to just 450 copies, but it stands as a unique record for collectors.

Bruce was also a supporter and regular at the many record fairs in the greater Sydney area, always there with a Beatle-themed stall and always willing to chat and share his considerable knowledge of the Beatles and their solo releases. 

Like me Bruce lived on the northside of the city and I would regularly bump into him at local garage or yard sales. Like me too he was always on the lookout for second-hand treasures, and to be honest my heart would sink if I saw that Bruce had arrived before me at a sale as I knew it would have been well picked over and that he would have found anything worth finding there! We’d still stop and have a chat and pass the time of day though. We’d talk about the latest Beatle news, and then be on our way.

The local representatives at EMI would often utilise Bruce’s expert knowledge and his extensive record collection, not only for sound but also vision. They’d come to him for advice and in 1983 he helped compile a unique Australian LP release called The Number Ones. It contained 23 Beatle songs (including three songs on a special bonus EP) that made it to the number one position on the Australian charts.

EMI Australia would also sometimes ask Bruce to appear in local promotional videos – like this one from May last year for the 50th Anniversary Edition release of Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. Looking back at the video again it’s clear that Bruce had not been well. However, in his regular newsletters he never overtly came out and said that he was in a life and death battle. On the contrary, he always appeared eternally optimistic. Take this email from as recently as January 15 this year where he lists all the significant Australian Beatle release anniversary dates for 2018, and is looking forward with enthusiasm to likely new releases and reissues:

Well here we are at the beginning of another Beatles year..

First up, our Australian 50th anniversary of releases in 1968:

8 Feb – GEPO 70044 Norwegian Wood (EP)

22 Feb  – PCSO 7533 The Beatles Greatest Hits Vol 1 – after 20 months, finally in stereo!!

14 Mar – MMT 1 Magical Mystery Tour (EP)

14 Mar – SMMT 1 Magical Mystery Tour (EP in stereo)

29 Mar – A 8293 Lady Madonna/The Inner Light

16 May – PMCO 7016 A Collection Of Beatles Oldies – held over for a year

16 May – PCSO 7016 A Collection Of Beatles Oldies – and in stereo

4 July – GEPO 80045 Penny Lane (EP)  (the last of the original ep’s)

20 Sept – A 8493 Hey Jude/Revolution

26 Sept – APPLE 8526 Those Were The Days/Turn Turn Turn – Mary Hopkin

10 Oct – APPLE 8537 Sour Milk Sea/The Eagle Laughs At You – Jackie Lomax

4 Dec – PMCO 7067-8 The Beatles (the double white album)

4 Dec – PCSO 7067-8 The Beatles (double White in stereo)

So that’s 13 reasons to party down in 2018. Especially for those of us who were around then.

For those not around here are some 40th Anniversaries to celebrate – 1978:

9 Jan – 2001 751 Sneaking Sally Through The Ally/Tango All Night – Ringo

23 Mar – A 11687 With A Little Luck/Backwards Traveller-Cuff Link – Wings

3 Apr – PAS 10012 London Town – Wings

29 May – 2310 599 Bad Boy – Ringo

19 Jun – A 11746 I’ve Had Enought/Deliver Your Children – Wings

21 Aug – A 11787 London Town/I’m Carrying – Wings

28 Aug A 12000 Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band/With A Little Help From My Friends/Within You, Without You

9 Oct – 2001 787 Lipstick Traces/Bad Boy – Ringo

29 Nov – BC 13 The Beatles Collection (13 lps in imported box)

29 Nov – PSLP 261 Rarities – included in the above box set.

4 Dec – P 256 Wings Greatest – Wings

Another 11 parties to be had.

So what can we expect in 2018 ?? I very much doubt we will get another Beatle to tour our country.

Ringo’s 2 most popular albums are due for the 180g treatment on 26 January, Ringo and Goodnight Vienna. So that will really kick the year off.

There should be another new album from Paul probably mid year. Supposedly with a TRUMP comment included on it.

Another Archive Series box set – maybe Red Rose Speedway – it’s overdue.

After the Christmas singles box set just released, expect the album for next Christmas, the American version for America and the UK version for the rest of the world, so you have to buy it twice. If we are lucky the CD release will wait until 2019 and again with the 2 different covers. Double dipping into our pockets yet again.

3 more of Yoko’s early albums, on white vinyl, black vinyl and CD, all nicely remastered by Sean.

John’s Imagine album is due for the ‘Archive’ style treatment, I wonder if they will do a good a job as Vigotone did with 5 CD’s worth of unreleased material!!

Expect Sean to have several more side projects popping up and Dhani probably will have at least one new release in 2018.

Now that Paul’s current world tour is almost over, perhaps a live album and DVD!

And it’s still only mid January.

Hurstville Record Fair on 14 February.

Cheers till next time,

Bruce

I think you can detect above an essence of optimism in that newsletter, a continuing energy and love of the band that he’d followed so closely since his early teens and for all his adult life.

I was very saddened to hear the news of Bruce’s passing and my condolences go out to his family for their loss. Bruce will be missed. His energy, enthusiasm and knowledge about the band he loved so dearly was extraordinary.

Ringo Starr – Vintage LP Finds

For some reason or other our Ringo Starr collection has grown exponentially over the last couple of weeks….

For a long time we’ve had an Australian pressing of his 1976 outing, Ringo’s Rotogravure

Below is the rear cover of the Australian pressing. US readers will note that the track listing for Side Two is five tracks instead of six. That’s because it is missing the short song, ‘Spooky Weirdness’: ‘Spooky Weirdness’ is however listed on the inner bag liner notes:

Like the rest of the world, this album came out housed in a gatefold sleeve. Here’s how it looks:

And here are the Australian labels. Note no ‘Spooky Weirdness’ listed on Side Two here either, and that the record company is different to the US release. The LP was issued Down Under on Polydor:

So anyway, we were picking around the bins at a favourite local second hand store when we randomly came across some variations of this LP.

First up was the aforementioned US pressing. It has the exact same front cover image, but there are few details on the rear cover that differ to the Australian: Note the Atlantic logo bottom left (above); a pink box at the bottom for the record company details/place of manufacture; and ‘Spooky Weirdness’ is listed on the tracklist for Side Two. The label is the famous green and red Atlantic Records too: Then, further into the bin, we noticed two more distinctly different pressings of this same title. First was a fairly rare budget edition that only ever came out in Australia. It was in really good condition and is on the now defunct Rainbow label. (You can find it listed on page 27 of this document):

The gatefold sleeve inside is printed in a much lighter blue to the original Australian and US releases:Because it’s a budget release there is no inner bag with the lyrics, but it is on a Rainbow Records label:Sitting just behind the Rainbow re-issue was an original New Zealand pressing of Rotogravure. Again, it has the exact same front cover image to the Australian and US pressings. Only the rear is a little different: And the labels (also on Polydor) mention “Made in New Zealand” – its in the small print at top left:

Lastly, a Canadian pressing of Ringo’s Bad Boy LP (from 1978) popped up in the bins as well.

As you can see, its a little beat up (writing on the cover; ‘cut out’ hole bottom left; foxing to the rear cover and inner bag from age, etc.), but worth grabbing at $5.00: 

So, not one – but four additions from the Ringo Starr back catalogue end up in our collection.

As usual, click on any of the images above to see larger versions.

More adventures in collecting Beatle records soon.

McCartney’s ‘Pipes of Peace’ – Original Labels

Looking at the recently released Capitol Records coloured (and black) vinyl reissue of the Paul McCartney Pipes of Peace LP, we got thinking about the labels used for the original release back in 1983.

This is the label style used on both sides of the 2017 version:

As you can see, the custom designed labels are similar thematically (but not exactly the same) as those used for Side 2 of the 1983 vinyl release:

The chrome-plated chair image is larger and positioned differently, plus it has a different musical instrument on it.

But it’s the labels used for Side 1 in 1983 that fascinate.

For some reason Side 1 in each of the major markets around the world featured vintage depictions of either Parlophone or Odeon record labels (for those territories outside the US), or Columbia Records for the United States (becasue that was the label McCartney was signed to there at the time).

Here, for example, is the Side 1 label used in the UK – a vintage Parlophone in deep maroon:

And here’s the label used in the US, which was done in the style of an old-fashioned Columbia release:

In Australia it was a vintage Parlophone – done in a dark brown and gold:

For Europe, where the Odeon label was used to release EMI titles, they used a vintage version too. Here’s the one for Germany:

And Spain of course:And here’s the label used in France for Side 1. Unusually, it’s a vintage Parlophone – which is strange becasue you’d think it would more likely be on Odeon too:

It was definitely vintage Odeon for Japan: And in New Zealand it was a Parlophone: 

These next few are from smaller territories where we’re pretty sure that on both sides of the disc the  labels used were both the same. If you happen to have any further info on these please get in touch using the “Leave a Reply” section below. First up, India:

We can confirm that The Philippines definitely used a vintage black and yellow Parlophone for both sides of the disc:

Malaysia:

And to some South American countries now – Argentina:

Uruguay:

Bolivia:

And lastly, Columbia, which interestingly seems to be serviced by both Parlophone and Columbia/CBS records:

If you’d like to see these labels in more detail, click on the images to bring up larger versions.

And if anyone knows just why Paul McCartney wanted to use vintage labels for Side 1 only of Pipes of Peace, please let us know by commening below.

Strange/Unusual Find of the Month – George Harrison’s ‘Poor Little Girl’ Promo

Paid a visit this week to a new and second-hand record/book store we’d not visited before. It’s called Title, and they specialise in music, books and film.

One item in their “1/2 Price” sale bins caught our eye: 

It is a 12″ promotional-only single from Brazil containing two versions of a rare George Harrison solo song from 1989 called ‘Poor Little Girl’. Oddly enough the flip side of the disc is Rod Stewart singing a Tom Waits-penned song, ‘Downtown Train’:

Harrison’s ‘Poor Little Girl’ was only ever released on a 1989 compilation called The Best of Dark Horse 1976-1989, and it looks like this promo disc was issued to promote that album. The 12″ promo contains two versions of the song – an edited version that runs 3:25, and the LP version with a running time of 4:32.

As you can see, there was not great attention to detail by whoever prepared both the cover and label as they misspell George’s surname both times in the songwriting credits.

Strange to have come across this 12″ tucked away in the inner Sydney suburb of Surry Hills – but that’s sometimes the way record collecting goes…..

As usual, click on the images above to see larger versions.

Yellow Submarine – 50th Anniversary Celebration Ideas Taking Shape

This year, being the 50th anniversary of the Beatles’ Yellow Submarine LP and animated film, we’ll see some official Apple-backed activities to mark the occasion.

There’s to be a new graphic novel adaptation of the film story from comic-book artist, writer and editor Bill Morrison. This will be released on August 7 and is available for pre-order now from Amazon US and Amazon UK. See more on the background to the book hereAlso, The Beatles official site today also announced that, in the UK and Ireland at least, Yellow Submarine will be making a return to cinemas for one day only. It’s planned to show the film in multiple locations on July 8. Tickets go on sale from April 17. More details about this here – and you can keep up with the event on a new Yellow Submarine Film Facebook page.

Meanwhile, at the recent Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, the Pro-Ject turntable company leaked some teaser vision of their latest collaboration with Apple – a Yellow Submarine themed turntable:

The company has already issued two Sgt. Pepper turntables (in Drum and Limited Edition versions); a Beatles 1964-themed player; plus a George Harrison commemorative model. No further details about availability or pricing of the Yellow Submarine model are available yet.