Pro-Ject – The Singles Collection Turntable

As part of the forthcoming The Beatles: The Singles Collection box set due on November 22, Apple Records has once more 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 will be 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
  • Heavy acrylic platter

This turntable will only be available on the official Beatles web store, and on Pro-Ject’s website, and will only be available for order and purchase through to December 31 this year.

Check out our article for more on all the other Beatle-related turntables that Pro-Ject has produced.

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The Beatles: The Singles Collection

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. The box includes a 40-page illustrated booklet with an essay by 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.

 

Record Store Day Black Friday 2019 – McCartney Release Announced

Just when you thought that all the Egypt Station releases had been tapped to the full, there’s more.

The Record Store Day people have just announced that Paul McCartney will be issuing a further two tracks from his Egypt Station recording sessions as a limited edition vinyl single for RSD Black Friday, coming up on Friday, November 29. The songs are ‘Home Tonight’ and ‘In A Hurry’:Both ‘Home Tonight’ and ‘In A Hurry’ are previously unreleased and were produced by Greg Kurstin during the sessions for the LP – which has come out in numerous versions and iterations in the year since its release.

The limited edition vinyl picture disc will feature new artwork exclusively created for this RSD Black Friday release, based on the parlour game Exquisite Corpse, and includes a lyric insert.

See the full list of RSD Black Friday special releases here.

The Beatles Revisit ‘Abbey Road’

If you follow The Beatles you’ll know that the full release plans for the Abbey Road 50th anniversary have just been made public.

In one big photo, here’s what we’ll be getting (click on images to see larger versions):To flesh that out a little, there’s a 3 CD, 1 Blu-ray (audio) plus hardback book super deluxe edition:

A 3 LP vinyl box set, 180 gram half speed mastered:

A unique 2 CD deluxe edition:

A single, black vinyl LP:

A picture disc LP:

And a single CD edition:

There’s more lovely visuals and info in the official “unboxing” promo:

And for a full description and background to each of the formats and some of the extras see Paul Sinclair’s very detailed article at superdeluxeedition.com. It has complete track listings as well.

Also, check out the offical Beatles site, and the official Beatles Vevo YouTube channel where Apple has uploaded three versions of George Harrison’s beautiful song, ‘Something’. Firstly the studio demo version:

Then the new stereo remix by Giles Martin and Sam Okell:

And finally, ‘Something (Take 39)’ – Instrumental Strings Only. Very special:

Unusual/Unknown McCartney Guest Appearances

You might have noticed that we’ve been away for a bit. Holiday’s beckoned so this ‘ere Beatle page has been in recess. But we’re back now, and there’s been a lot going on.

First up, a brand new guest appearance by Paul McCartney to check out, plus we catch up on a couple of his other guest spots from the archives that we didn’t even know existed until recently.

The latest album by Australian singer/songwriter Thelma Plum has just dropped and, surprise surprise, there’s a McCartney connection in the form of a writing credit and the contribution of guitar to one of her tracks, “Made For You’.

Speaking to Stacked magazine, Plum related how it all came about:

“Well, I was in New York City recording a song called ‘Made for You’ which I wrote with Paul Kelly, which is already just incredible, he’s an idol to me. So anyway, I am in the studio with David [Kahne, producer of the song] who also works with Paul McCartney – they are close, [and] work together quite often. We had finished up for the day and I just got a text message from David saying, “You’ll never guess who played on the album?!” Paul had come in, heard the song and asked who it was, then asked if he could lay something down, and just wrote a guitar part – which is a really beautiful part, and made the song come together so well, and I am just so grateful for that. He invited me to come to [a] show when he came to Australia and I got to thank him in person for being a part of that. It’s pretty unbelievable to me even now.”

So, check out Thelma’s album, Better in Blak, and in particular the track ‘Made For You’.That of course opens up the topic of other little-known Paul contributions out there – not only guest appearances, but also stand-alone tracks that he’s written, or vocal performances he’s recorded for different projects over the years. With an artist of McCartney’s stature and longevity that list is by now extensive and way too long to go into here. Here however are four of them that we’ve only recently become aware of, and have added into the collection.

First up an amazing vocal duet with George Michael which dates way back to 2006. Michael originally recorded the song ‘Heal The Pain’ solo for his 1991 album Listen Without Prejudice Vol.1. The McCartney duet though wasn’t recorded until 2005, and didn’t see the light of day until year later with the release of the 2 CD George Michael greatest hits collection, Twenty Five:

This next one we only became aware of via the very informative Take It Away podcast that has set itself the mammoth task of examining, in detail, every Paul McCartney solo release. At the end of each episode the boys (Ryan Brady and Chris Mercer) list McCartney side projects and recordings associated with the timeframe they’re dealing with. For their show about the Driving Rain album (released in 2001) there’s mention of a vocal duet he recorded that year with a singer named Lindsay Pagano. McCartney guests on her version of his 1983 song, ‘So Bad’:

Charity albums hold rich pickings for the completist who has to have every version, or every strange or obscure one-off song. Paul McCartney donated one such track to a 1998 fundraiser CD for the The Red Hot AIDS Charitable Trust called Twentieth Century Blues: The Songs of Noel Coward. Artists as diverse as the Pet Shop Boys, Robbie Williams, Michael Nyman, Suede and Elton John each covered a favourite Noel Coward composition. McCartney’s contribution, recorded at his Hog Hill Mill studio in rural Sussex, was one of Coward’s biggest hits, ‘A Room With A View’: The other source for obscure or little-known songs is soundtrack albums, and over the years Paul McCartney has had quite a few songs used in films. Some are just direct lifts of previously released hits or album tracks, but there are some songs which are unique. One we only recently realised was in this latter category (thanks again to the Take It Away podcast – see above) comes from the 2001 movie, Vanilla Sky. This is not an outtake from the Driving Rain sessions that were under way in 2001, but a song – which also has the title ‘Vanilla Sky’ – written specifically for the Cameron Crowe film.

So, there you have it. Four obscure performances that, even after this long collecting Beatle and solo music, we didn’t have in the collection.

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)

McCartney’s Egypt Station – Explorer’s Edition Officially Announced

The rumour mill has been humming for weeks, but it’s now official.

There will be yet another version of the Paul McCartney album Egypt Station to collect. The Egypt Station – Explorer’s Edition is to be released on May 17.

After the super-deluxe, suitcase Egypt Station – Traveller’s Edition was announced many fans who just wanted the new music it contained and not all the trinkets (like jigsaw puzzles, playing cards and the like), were hopeful that stand-alone – and way cheaper – CD and LP sets would be made available. Now, that wish has been granted.

Sporting a cool new colour variation on the original cover art, Egypt Station – Explorer’s Edition is comprised of the original record plus a second album, Egypt Station II. The bonus disc collects all the bonus materials that were to be included in the super deluxe Traveller’s Edition.

The Explorer’s Edition will come in three forms: as a digital download, as a two CD set and as a triple 180 gram “Limited Edition” black vinyl LP. 

There has been speculation that there’d also be a coloured vinyl version, but the official announcement today makes no mention of it.
However, it has popped up as available for pre-order on the Canadian Musicvaultz online music store site – but it’s already listed as sold out – and at the German JPC online store where it is still listed as available:The track listing for the Egypt Station II bonus disc is:
Get Started *
Nothing For Free *
Frank Sinatra’s Party [previously unreleased]
Sixty Second Street [previously unreleased]
Who Cares [full length version]
Get Enough [previously available only as a digital download]
Come On To Me [recorded live at Abbey Road Studios]
Fuh You [recorded live at The Cavern]
Confidante [recorded live at the Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts]
Who Cares [recorded live at Grand Central Station]
* [previously only available on Egypt Station CDs purchased at Target (US), HMV (UK), and some independent record stores, and on the Japanese release of Egypt Station]