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,


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.

McCartney – Eight Coloured Vinyls Arrive

Like a lot of collectors around the world, we have been waiting patiently for Universal Music to sort out the delays and confusion around the supply and delivery of the recent Paul McCartney vinyl re-issues on coloured vinyl.

We ordered ours last year, weeks before the advertised shipping date – but it is only in the new year that they have finally arrived, and in two separate shipments. Ram clearly was in very short supply and it is pretty obvious that a pressing of more copies had to be hurriedly arranged. That LP came in a separate package a few following the main batch.

Having said all that, these look absolutely fantastic. Here are some images of the collection – the front “hype” stickers and record labels: 

(As usual, click on the images to see larger versions)

Paul McCartney – ‘Music of the Spheres’

On Christmas Day, two keen music fans leaked their version of the as-yet unreleased original symphonic music composed for the the video game, Destiny.

There is of course a Beatle connection here in the form of Sir Paul McCartney who contributed to the soundtrack for the game, most notably the end-credits song ‘Hope for the Future‘.

The Destiny: Music of the Spheres suite is the work of Martin O’Donnell and Michael Salvatori, but it took the fan duo of Tlohtzin Espinosa and Owen Spence to bring it to the public. They spent more than a year pulling together all the elements they could get their hands on to compile what is essentailly a complete soundtrack album of Destiny:

You can hear it on Soundcloud, and on YouTube. Download links are out there on the World Wide Web too if you are interested.

There’s more background on how all this came to be in an article on the Ars Technica site, plus you should also see this Reddit post by the two fans who took the risk of putting it out there in the first place.  

Some Sgt. Pepper’s Holiday Listening

With the holidays upon us, and to celebrate the release of the 2017 remix of Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band (on 180 gram vinyl) in single LP form – plus the Sgt. Pepper vinyl picture disc, here are a couple of Pepper-related items for your listening pleasure.

They all come from the Australian Radio National program, The Music Show – hosted by Andrew Ford.

For the 50th anniversary of Sgt. Pepper earlier this year The Music Show spoke to singer Barb Junger (whom you’ll hear has a record of Beatle covers out) and writer Joyce Morgan about their memories of first hearing the album back when it was first released in the Summer of Love:

The Music Show also spoke to Beatle biographer extraordinaire, Mark Lewisohn:

The program’s final Pepper installment came from Joanne Petersen, Brian Epstein’s personal assistant. Petersen, who now lives in Australia, recalls the time she heard a test pressing of Sgt. Pepper’s; details some of the launch activities (including John Lennon’s psychedelic Rolls Royce); and George Harrison refusng to cuddle British DJ Kenny Everett:

Their Pepper special also came with a special bonus. It’s a link to a fantastic mini documentary on the background to the people (and horses!) mentioned in the poster John Lennon used to inspire his song, ‘Being for the Benefit of Mr Kite’. And, believe it or not, there’s another Australian connection:

All audio is ex ABC Radio National. Visit The Music Show website for more of their great programs.


McCartney Musical Memory for

“When a baby in an orphanage cries nobody comes to comfort them. As a result, they learn not to cry; internalising their pain, causing lifelong mental and physical damage. Deprived of love, deprived of life. Left to grow up without laughter, without music, without hope. Left there, children will never experience the love and protection only a family can offer. Together we can End the Silence.”

So begins the explanation of what the charity End the Silence is about. It is asking everyone to share a musical memory, and to donate, so that 8 million children confined to orphanages around the world might have their silence ended.

Lots of music personalities have got behind the push to raise money by sharing their own musical memories, including Paul McCartney:

Get cracking. Every pound donated to the End the Silence campaign before the 27th December will be doubled by the UK Government. Every child should grow up surrounded by love, family and music.

Paul McCartney – ‘Take 5’ on triple j

Seems like this blog has become more than lately…

Only natural I guess as Paul McCartney is in Australia at the moment, and that’s where we are too. There has been a lot more media as a result.

Just wanted to let you know that a lengthy radio interview has just been broadcast nationally on the country’s leading youth music station, triple j.

Presenter Zan Rowe each week sits down with a musician and talks about their craft. It’s called ‘Take 5’ and is based around five back-catalogue tracks chosen by the artist. This week they scored a big one – an extensive conversation with Paul McCartney.

The radio station has kindly uploaded the episode as a podcast – so you can have a listen to it here as well.

(Photo: MPL Communications/MJ Kim)

triple j has also published a few different angles on the content. Here are a couple of pages that will be of interest:

Paul McCartney On The Unheard Stories Behind His Songs

A Different Cut of ‘Take 5’ – Without Zan Rowe’s Intro Plus More Text and Song Links

And don’t miss his one and only Australian TV interview here.

Paul McCartney’s Only Australian TV Interview – And It’s A Good One

Australian television presenter and journalist Leigh Sales is highly respected. She’s the host of a nightly national current affairs TV program called 7.30 and well-known for her political interviews. Sales is often feared by those sitting across the desk from her because a) she does her homework, b) is not afraid to ask the difficult questions, and c) is fearless in calling decision-makers to task.

But Sales is equally at home speaking to writers and musicians. She clealry has a love of the arts, and what drives creative people to produce the work they do.

That’s why it was fascinating to watch her last night getting ready to meet and interview one Paul McCartney.

The 7.30 program had scored an exclusive: the only television interview that McCartney would conduct while on the Australian leg of his One On One tour.

You’d think that would be pressure enough, but the fact that Leigh Sales is also a huge long-time fan allowed us to see the usually composed interrogator in a very different light.

She has written a great article about the experience – you can read that here, and you can also view the piece that went to air on the same page. There’s also rehearsal footage of the band running through ‘Day Tripper’ before the Perth concert.

Turns out Paul McCartney was generous and charming, plus we get to go backstage and learn that the guitar he used in 1964 on The Ed Sullivan Show to play ‘Yesterday’ is still in active service in 2017. And that Sales gets to play one of his Magical Mystery Tour stage pianos!

As she says: “It was one of the greatest experiences of my life.”

(Photos: 7.30 and ABC News)