The Record Store Day 2023 release list has just come out and come April 23 there’ll be at least three titles of interest to Beatle collectors.
Probably the most interesting and hard-to-get will be a re-imagining of John Lennon’sGimme Some Truth best-of compilation which is being re-issued as a boxset containing 9 x 10” white vinyl EPs. Each EP will feature four tracks. Only 500 copies of this will be produced, hence the ‘hard-to-get’ moniker….
Next is the highly speculated 50th anniversary release of Paul McCartney’sRed Rose Speedway in limited edition, Half Speed Master vinyl form:
According to the RSD list there will be 5,000 pressed so this should be much easier to secure. It follows similar Half Speed Master editions of McCartney, Wings Wild Life and RAM.
Then there’s a re-issue of the 1981 Ringo Starr title Stop and Smell the Roses. This is being re-issued on vinyl as a 2LP with six bonus tracks for the first time. It will come in a gatefold with printed inner sleeves, original record labels and specialty color vinyl described as lava lamp effect clear red/white for LP1 and lava lamp effect clear red/pink for LP2. There are 2,500 copies being pressed.
Stop and Smell the Roses will also be issued on RSD as a CD (500 copies).
But wait, there is a George connection too. Dark Horse, the record label he started up (now run by son Dhani Harrison) is releasing not one but two LPs.
The first is by Stairsteps, a band originally signed to the label back in 1975. For Record Store Day 2023 we’ll see their 1976 album 2nd Resurrection re-issued on black vinyl. Billy Preston played synthesizer and served as co-producer alongside Robert Margouleff.
Dark Horse will also have a 20th Anniversary edition of the Joe Strummer & The Mescaleros album Streetcore as a limited edition pressing on white vinyl for RSD:
It’s not often we get to bring you news relating to The Beatles directly from here (down under in Australia) – but there is some today.
It’s been announced that an original REDD.17 mixing console, used to record and mix music at the famous Abbey Road Studios studios in London, is now the centrepiece of a brand new new recording studio at the amazing Museum of New and Old Art (MONA) located just outside Hobart, Tasmania.
The vintage console, one of only four ever built, was one of those used to mix several Beatle albums. It is now part of Frying Pan Studios on the grounds of the museum, and has become the first working recording studio housed by a museum in Australia.
The console was purchased back in 2014 by Australian businessman David Roper. He started discussions with MONA’s artistic director of music (and Violent Femmes bassist) Brian Ritchie about the studio-in-a-museum idea. They took it to flamboyant MONA founder David Walsh who liked the concept and funded the creation of Frying Pan Studios, so named because it sits opposite Frying Pan Island right next to the museum and the beautiful Derwent River.
Frying Pan is a working studio and so it’s bookable facility. You can find more details here. Maybe you’d like to record your own album using the very same mixing desk that John, Paul, George and Ringo used!
You can also visit the studio as part of your ticketed entry into MONA and, if you time it right, actually see musicians at work. It does look like an incredible place to work and create:
Frying Pan Studios have built a great interactive website that gives you more on the history, the facilities, and the amazing location.
Is it just us who completely missed this, or did Dark Horse Records surreptitiously slip an additional title into Record Store Day Black Friday last Friday?
We’re pretty sure when we published this heads-up post back in September detailing which records might be of interest to Beatle completists, this listing definitely wasn’t there:
But when we looked on 25 November, there it was: a Joe Strummer LP Live at Music Millennium, 3600 copies, on the Dark Horse label:
This is a soundboard recording of Strummer’s solo acoustic in-store performance at a record store called Music Millennium in Portland, Oregon on November 2, 1999. It is getting its first ever release for RSD Black Friday and features the songs “Junco Partner,” “X-Ray Style” “Island Hopping,” “The Road to Rock N Roll,” and “Trash City.” The record continues the ongoing celebration this year of what would have been Joe Strummer’s 70th birthday.
While on the subject of Dark Horse, their other title for RSD, Dark Horse Records: The Best of 1974-1977, looks like a great collection:
Side A 1. Ravi Shankar – I Am Missing You 2. Ravi Shankar – Dispute & Violence 3. Splinter – Costafine Town 4. Splinter – Lonely Man 5. Attitudes – Ain’t Love Enough 6. Attitudes – Sweet Summer Music
Side B 1. Stairsteps – From Us To You 2. Stairsteps – Time 3. Keni Burke – Give All You Can Give 4. Henry McCullough – Lord Knows 5. Henry McCullough – Mind Your Own Business 6. Jiva – Take My Love
Last year saw the release of the lavish Let It Be box set. It celebrated the final Beatle LP, their swansong after a ten-year run as the biggest band in the world. The box set was accompanied by Peter Jackson’s extended 8-hour documentary Get Back, detailing the creation of the album. Despite the fact that Let It Be had been recorded more than a year earlier, its May 1970 release has forever seen it associated with the news that The Beatles were to continue no longer.
However, with an organisation as tight and complicated as The Beatles (along with their company Apple Records), things weren’t destined to cleanly end for them overnight.
It would take until the close of 1974 before all four members had signed the contracts that dissolved their immense, famous and complex partnership.
This, argues author Terry Wilson, makes the period from 1970 to 1974 a “second phase” for the band. Despite each member pursuing solo careers, technically they were still The Beatles and this continued on across that four-year span. As individuals they were tied together legally and financially. And they worked together collaboratively on many solo and other projects.
Wilson’s book is called Four Sides of the Circle. In it he details this often overlooked “second half” in the history of the band. It was an era of huge creativity and output. An era that gave us absolute standout releases like Lennon’sJohn Lennon/Plastic Ono Band and Imagine LPs, McCartney’sRAM and Band on the Run, Harrison’s All Things Must Pass, and Starr’sRingo, along with a myriad of other great and sometimes lesser-known songs and recordings.
These happened because band member collaborations continued in a variety of forms throughout this distinct “Phase II”. Their paths inevitably crossed both in and out of the studio despite the huge dissolution process looming over them.
Four Sides Of The Circle uses a very accessible song-by-song format, stepping through (in chronological order) all the formal recordings the individual Beatles made between1970-1974. It actually begins slightly earlier with John Lennon’s ‘Give Peace A Chance’ from June 1969, and concludes with Wings ‘Love In Song’, recorded in November, 1974. Every song – released and unreleased – has production details, recording location, who played what and (where applicable) the US and UK release dates. The song is then discussed by Wilson and critiqued with an appreciative eye. Each song is given a context with a clear emphasis on the music being made. This detailed and sequenced approach presents a true chronology of the period for the first time.
This is a book with something for even the most well-informed Beatle fan. Wilson is comprehensive and knowledgeable. There’s great detail here. In many ways he takes quite a scholarly approach – but the research never gets in the way of making Four Sides Of The Circle very readable. It finally completes the fascinating, long and winding story that was the Beatles. A story where – right to the last – they remained at the top of their game.
As Wilson writes on the final page of his book: “The legal conclusion of the Beatles technically occurred on 9 January 1975, when McCartney’s four-year-old case was settled, the completed paperwork having been sent back to London for the court to make its formal declaration. A cursory glance at the current edition of Billboard shows that on this day, Lennon was at 47 on the singles chart with ‘#9 Dream’; Harrison was at 16 with ‘Dark Horse’; Starr was at 7 with ‘Only You’ and McCartney was at 4 with ‘Junior’s Farm’. Appropriately, Lennon and McCartney were at number 1, courtesy of Elton John’s version of ‘Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds’ on which Lennon sang and played.”
“They ended at the very top.”
Four Sides of the Circle is a great read and a fantastic reference book. Not only does it contain extensive background and historic notes on each song, in the appendices there’s a complete song list, record release details (complete with US and UK chart positions), a bibliography, and what we always like to see in books like this: an Index. It is the sort of book you can dip in and out of endlessly. Here’s the blurb on the rear cover:
At over 420 pages Four Sides of the Circle is very reasonably priced. You can find it on Amazon Australia, Amazon US and on the Amazon UK site as well. The US and UK sites also have a “Look Inside” feature so you can check out sections of the book in more detail. It will give you an idea of the format and content. You won’t be disappointed.
To celebrate the 20th anniversary of the Concert for George event at London’s Royal Albert Hall on November 29 2002, the Harrison Estate, film distribution company Abramorama, and Craft Recordings have announced a global theatrical screening of the film of the same name.
The Concert for George is to be shown – for one night only – in select theatres around the world on November 29, 2022:
First released in 2003, the GRAMMY®-winning concert film captures the concert event which celebrated in spectacular style the life and music of George Harrison. It features performances by Eric Clapton, Paul McCartney, Tom Petty, Ravi Shankar, Ringo Starr, Billy Preston and many others.
You now have the opportunity to experience the concert on the big screen in immersive Dolby Atmos sound for the first time – newly remastered by GRAMMY-winning engineer Paul Hicks. The anniversary screenings will also feature a brand-new introduction by Olivia and Dhani Harrison.
Paul Hicks has also produced a new Dolby Atmos mix for the film’s accompanying Concert for George soundtrack album – available now on digital platforms. Listen here.
Certified 8 x Platinum by the RIAA, the acclaimed 27-track album is also still available in a variety of existing physical formats including a 180-gram 4-LP box set; 2-CD/2-DVD and 2-CD/2-Blu-Ray box set; and a 2-CD package. Order here.
This is a really special film of what was an amazing, star-studded tribute to George filled with top performances of his songs. It would be well worth seeing again on the big screen, and with great sound.
The 80 singles (containing 159 songs) are to be released December 2 and represent half a century of Paul’s musical life with releases dating from 1971 (‘Another Day’), right up to 2022 (‘Women and Wives’).
The box set features recreations of 65 singles – complete with their original B-sides (using restored artwork from 11 different countries) as well as 15 singles which have never before been released on 7”. These 15 singles are made up from tracks previously released on 12”, picture discs, CD singles & promos, digital downloads, music videos, two previously unheard demos, and a previously unheard 7” single edit (click here for the complete track listing).
As you can see in the video and images, the singles are housed in a custom wooden art crate designed and built in Derbyshire in the United Kingdom. It includes a 148-page book with a foreword by Paul McCartney, an essay by music journalist Rob Sheffield, plus extensive chart information, liner notes, and single artwork.
Each box will include a randomly selected exclusive test pressing of one of the singles, so in theory if you get a set only 37 other people in the world are likely to have the exact same box set.
The set will be available to download (or stream), and two songs have already been made available. Both have only previously been available as a rare US promo 7″ single: ‘Uncle Albert/Admiral Halsey’ (2022 Remaster – in Mono):
And ‘Too Many People’ (2022 Remaster – in Mono):
To summarise, the numbered, limited-edition box set collection of 80 x 7” singles contains:
Recreations of 65 singles/promos using restored original artwork from 11 different countries (including 2 from Australia!)
15 singles never-before-released on 7” including singles previously released on 12”, picture discs, CD singles/promos, digital downloads, and music videos
2 x previously unheard demos
1 x previously unheard 7” single edit
1 x EP
1 exclusive test pressing randomly selected from the manufacturing process
148-page book containing foreword from Paul, essay by Rob Sheffield, recording notes, release dates, and chart information on each of the singles – each single included is shown on the attached insert, which will be packed into each box
Remastered and cut at Abbey Road Studios, London
All housed in a two-piece, four-walled FSC-approved Redwood pine and Birch Ply wooden art crate manufactured in the United Kingdom.
* Tempting that is until you get to the checkout page! Being in Australia we pay a premium for our lousy exchange rate and for shipping. If Australians were foolish enough to shop at the UK Universal Music site we’d be looking at this box costing £614.99, plus shipping £99.99, making a grand total of £714.98. That is a staggering $1265.02 Australian Dollars on today’s exchange rate. The smarter move would be to go to the US Paul McCartney Store. There the box is US$611.98, plus $61.20 in import taxes. Shipping, apparently, is free. That makes a total of $1019.24 Australian Dollars. That’s a big difference…..but still a hell of a lot of money. 😦
The site is dedicated to exploring “the astonishing story of the apple, connecting its diverse history to humanity and culture. Based upon a specially commissioned global map of the apple which traces a network of stories from the ancient world to the present day, this online program and associated social media reveals just how significant and iconic this humble fruit has become.”.
So, they wanted to do a feature on the Granny Smith apple, specifically about it being photographed to become the celebrated, and much-loved, Apple label.
David had read our April, 2011 article which touched on how that apple image came to be, and he wanted to know more. We helped out a bit, but David is thorough and contacted many more people – especially those involved in the concept and creation of the Apple label in the very beginning.
We think his article came up very well and is a very interesting read.
We particularly liked the section on Billy Apple, and the statement: Apple Records was also transformative branding. Interpreted by the Beatles, the apple also came to be a symbol of independence and artistic freedom. It brought about a diverse artist-orientated approach to recording. We had never thought about it in those terms before.
You can see all the Apples & People stories about apples here.
Most collectors of Beatles (and solo) records, CDs, books, magazines and the like will have a broad cross-section of albums and items, ranging from the earliest Please Please Me LP in 1963, right up to the latest Paul McCartney coloured vinyl variation.
Sometimes though a collector will get fixated on one particular thing.
That’s what happened to one of our readers named Simon.
A few weeks ago Simon sent us a photograph of the cassette variations he owns of one particular album – Magical Mystery Tour. They are laid out on the floor and to reproduce them here it is going to take two photographs to show you:
And that is just the cassettes.
Simon has what he believes to be one of the world’s most extensive if not the largest collections of Magical Mystery Tour items (hereafter referred to simply as MMT).
He owns over 60 MMT EP records from different countries around the world, as well as around 150 different versions from the MMT LP. And that’s not to mention the piles of MMT VHS movie tapes, 4-Track and 8-Track recordings, PlayTapes, DVDs, and CDs….He also has Betamax video tapes of the movie, and Reel-to-Reel music rarities.
So, we had to ask him two things.
One is why did the Magical Mystery Tour become Simon’s main thing, the one he must have more and more copies of?
Two is could he send some images of a couple of the more interesting EP versions he has of MMT from around the world?
For the first question here is his answer:
The reason for me collecting Magical Mystery Tour items is because as children in 1967 my sister and I took part in the film as extras. We were in the “Tug of War” and “The Marathon” scenes, and also in “Your Mother Should Know” in the hanger at the RAF West Malling Airfield Base, in Kent, England.
However, my story actually took off in 1978. That year I had to have surgery on both knees. Because the ward where I should have been sent for recovery was being repainted I was instead operated on and put in a ward for children who were terminally ill with cancer. Needless to say these children died.
I said to myself if possible I will try to do something in my life to give aid to children with cancer.
I then met my wife in 1982 and she just happened to be a Beatles fan. Of course the subject of me being involved in the MMT film came up and my wife asked if we could see the film on video. So one day we went to a video store and bought a video tape.
This led to buying an LP, then an EP, and a cassette.….
During this time we were also both very much into Volkswagen Beetles and in 1996 I organized what was to become the largest, most well-known vintage VW show of its kind.
The proceeds were donated to a hospital ward in Hanover in Germany to aid children with cancer.
In the meantime my BeatlesMMT collection was growing.
In the early 2000s I left the VW hobby and decided to concentrate entirely on my MMT hobby instead – and to try to put my collection to good use.
I am always looking for items that I don’t have yet from MMT. I do not sell anything from my collection.
Any doubles are swapped for other MMT items that I don’t have yet in my collection.
So, I have been collecting MMT for the past 40 years and nothing else from The Beatles.
I have only ever looked at the entire film once in one go! But I’ve spent hundreds of hours going frame by frame through DVDs and outtakes looking for tiny details on the famous MMT bus as I bought an original Bedford VAL Plaxton Panorama (the exact same model as the MMT bus) from Liverpool. It’s being restored in the UK and hopefully will be used world wide in aid of different cancer charities.Today I also hold not for profit exhibitions of my collection to help charities, such as for children with cancer.
So, as you can see it is quite a story!
What about some of the gems, some of the rarities from just the MMT EP part of his vast collection?
As already mentioned Simon has over 60 copies of this release from different countries. Of course he’s got many of the Made in Great Britain variations (he owns around 15 different versions of these in Mono and in Stereo), but we asked him to show us some of the more unusual examples. You know this one, most often it comes in a gate fold cover with two 45rpm EPs (or extended play) vinyl discs and a booklet with the story and lyrics stapled inside:
To begin, Simon sent us images of four different examples from Argentina which has a number of different versions of the MMT EP. These below (in order) are from 1968, 1970, 1973, and one of unknown year of release. It’s the one on the red and brown EMI label (it is probably 1975). The song titles are translated from English to Spanish:
Greece has two different versions – one with a large jukebox center (which Simon doesn’t own yet), and the other with a smaller push-out centre:
From Uruguay, Simon owns two versions. There’s the regular release, and this rare blue test pressing below that he has never seen for sale again in 40 years:
One really cool looking label is this Odeon version from Brazil, released in 1968. It is the Mono version:
Italy has a number of different pressings on Parlophon in blue, black, and this Juke Box one on a beige label:
Germany has at least three different versions, as does Denmark. Here’s one of them – a Stereo most probably from 1967:
One of the more unusual and hard to find is this one from Israel. Simon says Israel has two variations. One came as a 2 EP set in a cover much like the rest of the world. The records inside are like the Stereo example below). For the other Israel released the two discs as separate singles in picture sleeves (which Simon doesn’t have yet):
Holland two different editions, France has four versions at least, and Finland has two variations, of which Simon only owns one, this one – a Stereo pressing – is from 1967:
Japan has many different versions on both black vinyl, and this one, from 1968, on red wax:
Spain has at least three versions. This is one of the later re-issues on a teal coloured Odeon label. Notice it is the Mono edition:
Yugoslavia has at least four versions. Africa has several versions (with round and triangular push-out centres) that Simon still doesn’t own yet. But he does have this example from the Philippines, issued in Mono in 1967:
In regards to the lyric sheets stapled inside the MMT EP gatefold cover, these too have their variations from country to country, and across the different re-issue years. Simon sent us an image that illustrates this as well:
In the photo above you can see some of the different colour variations of the lyric pages. There are of course several different shades of each of the colours too.
This is just a taste of Simon’s collection, but he writes that there are still numbers more that he still does not own yet. For example Chile, Greece with larger centre, Rhodesia with the triangle push-out centre, and the very first Japanese version. He’s not sure if Turkey and India ever pressed a set.
Should anyone have an EP or anything else rare from MMT that may help Simon complete his collection he would love to hear from you. They will all be put to good use in aid of others less fortunate in the world. Drop us a line using the Leave a Reply link below and we can put you in touch.
Also, if you or someone you know has a specific area of Beatle collecting – where someone has concentrated on just one particular release – please let us know! We’d love to hear from you and see some of your collection too.
Now that international travel is slowly becoming more feasible for many of us again, a visit to Liverpool – the city where it all began for The Beatles – might just be back on your travel “must do” list.
If so, it’d be nice to have a guide to point you in the right direction when you get there.
Liverpool, on the banks of the River Mersey always looms large in any discussion about the formation of the band and their influences. Many of the physical places they lived or frequented have become key parts of the Beatle story. It is of course the city where John, Paul, Ringo and George were born, grew up in, and knew well.
Now a new guide book The Beatles’ Liverpool – just released – takes you there by gathering more than fifty Liverpudlian localities. The fully illustrated guide then explains why those particular places played such a key role in the band’s development and success.
Of course there are the obligatory entries for the childhood homes (Menlove Avenue for John, Arnold Grove for George, Forthlin Road for Paul, and Admiral Grove for Ringo); there’s the background to Penny Lane and Strawberry Fields; The Cavern Club; and the well-known St Peter’s Church, Woolton where John first met Paul.
But there are many more obscure listings too. Like Hulme Hall in Port Sunlight; the Neston Institute in Wirral; and 4 Rodney Street, birthplace of Beatle manager Brian Epstein.
There’s also a handy two-page guide map pinpointing the location of all the places mentioned in the guide.
If you’re planning a Liverpool visit, this book would be an essential to take with you – and it won’t cost you any excess luggage fees. At just over 44 pages The Beatles’ Liverpool is compact and light enough to easily slip into a travel bag or backpack to have with you as you walk the streets of the historic city.
Even if you’re still a way off physically getting to Liverpool, you can dive into The Beatles’ Liverpool and pay a visit vicariously. It’s the perfect armchair alternative to actually being there.
Author Mike Haskins was himself born and raised in Merseyside – and he still lives there! He’s worked as a scriptwriter and researcher for TV, radio and the stage, and has published over fifty books.
UPDATE: Thank you to everyone who entered. And congratulations to the two readers who were first in with the correct answers!
They are Fred, from Ontario, Canada; and Diane from New York, USA. They will receive a copy of The Beatles’ Liverpool book, courtesy of Pitkin Publishing and Batsford Books.
The correct answers to our questions were:
In their early career band members purchased many of their instruments from which famous Liverpool music store? Hessy’s Music Centre
Ringo’s family hails from Liverpool’s Dingle area. His Mum worked at pub called The Empress there. In what way did Ringo put that building on the map? It’s on the front cover of his Sentimental Journey LP
The Beatles, Apple and Universal Music have jumped a little earlier than expected. Overnight they officially announced all the details of the forthcoming Revolver re-mix and remaster project, due in stores on October 28.
There’s also a 4CD + 1EP CD super deluxe slipcase box, also with a 100-page hard cover book:
There’s a 2CD edition with the new stereo mix of the album plus a unique ‘Session Highlights’ disc:
A 1CD edition with the new stereo re-mix:
And a 1LP edition featuring the new stereo re-mix:
And, just as they did with the Sgt Pepper, the White Album, Abbey Road and Let It Be re-issues, there’s to be a Revolver picture disc:
The rumoured Dolby Atmos Mixes will only be available as Downloads and on Streaming.
The original mono mix will be part of the super deluxe boxes and accompany never-before-released session recordings and demos, plus two singles from the era, ‘Paperback Writer’ and ‘Rain’ are on the four track EP that is in the vinyl and CD boxes (in 2022 re-mixed versions and in original mono too).
Each edition is available for pre-order now and all the the physical product hits stores on October 28.