It was a nice feeling. Since the advent of COVID-19 the chances to get out and about and hunt for records in the wild have really been few and far between.
On the first Sunday of every month the town puts on a big market at the local Showgrounds. There are all sorts of stalls set up with people selling home made goods like candles, local produce, handcrafted items, food and second-hand goods – including a couple of stalls selling records! This allowed us to get back to what this blog is all about: adventures in collecting Beatles music.
One thing we’re always on the lookout for are Apple Records artists – and we found an interesting variation of the Mary Hopkin LP Post Card, produced by Paul McCartney and released in 1969. This one was different because it was manufactured by EMI in South East Asia for the Hong Kong and Malaysian markets:
There are a couple of things to note here about the differences between this and the US and Australian pressings of this release.
First is that it follows the original UK vinyl track listing. Notice that there is no ‘Those Were The Days’ – which was hit single for Hopkin in 1968 – included on this edition.
Second is the printing in blue at the bottom of the rear cover (which by the way has a very nice glossy finish on both sides):
This South East Asian edition also came with an original black paper inner sleeve:
To compare the differences, here’s the US release:
Notice that Side 2, Track 4 has ‘Those Were The Days’ in place of ‘Someone To Watch Over Me’ which is found on the UK and and South East Asian pressings. Here are the US labels:
Just by way of interest, we also have an Australian pressing of Post Card issued by the World Record Club. It has completely different artwork for the front and rear covers, and labels:
This Aussie World Record Club release also follows the US track listing, with ‘Those Were The Days’ as Track 4, Side 2.
(As usual, click on the images above to see larger versions).
There will be a box set that gathers together the albums McCartney, McCartney II, and McCartney III. It is to be released on August 5.
The McCartney I II III box set will be available in three different formats: a Limited Edition colour vinyl, a black vinyl edition, and on CD. Each will include three special photo prints with notes from Paul McCartney about each album. The newly created box set cover art and typography for the slipcase are by Ed Ruscha the US artist who created the design for all of the myriad McCartney III and McCartney III Imagined releases.
The slipcase style box comes in three variations:
Limited Edition Colour Vinyl (see above): Three-disc 180g audiophile vinyl set (McCartney – clear, McCartney II –white, and McCartney III – creamy white vinyl), three 8 x 10” photo prints with introductions from Paul.
Limited Edition Black Vinyl Edition (see below): Three-disc 180g audiophile vinyl set (McCartney, McCartney II and McCartney III), three 8 x 10” photo prints with introductions from Paul.
And there’ll be a CD. Again, described as a Limited Edition, three-disc set with the three photo prints with introductions from Paul. Looks like they’re in card sleeves and that McCartney II and McCartney III come with booklets.
Interestingly, the promo images and the YouTube unboxing video below show that McCartney II is on the original black and silver Parlophone labels. Previous reissues have been on the plain black label used for the McCartney Archive Series releases. Nice too to see McCartney back on the Apple label once again.
On the eve of Sir Paul McCartney’s 80th birthday on June 18 – it’s quite a milestone – we received an interesting press release from the City of Hamburg in Germany.
Given the city’s early association with the birth of The Beatles they’ve commissioned a song to give back in tribute to the great man.
Here’s the press release about the track:
To Whom It May Concern: The City of Hamburg celebrates Sir Paul McCartney’s 80th anniversary with the ‘thank you’-anthem ‘Song For Paul’ – press release June 15th, 2022
It is common knowledge: The remarkable international career of The Beatles first took off in Hamburg, when the legendary band first performed at Indra Club in August of 1960. The rest is, as they say, history.
Still today, all across Hamburg and the St. Pauli-district especially, The Beatles are a prominent phenomenon. They are part of the city’s DNA.
With Sir Paul McCartney’s 80th birthday coming up this Saturday, June 18th, the City of Hamburg decided it was time to finally give back a song to Paul, after he gifted so many unforgettable songs and memories to all of us.
Salamanda, a band from Flensburg, not far from Hamburg, were the right guys for the job: They wrote and recorded “Song For Paul”, a 5-minute love letter to Paul McCartney. The song was mixed at the renowned Abbey Road Studios.
With “Song For Paul”, the City of Hamburg is starting the #SongForPaul social media campaign. Fans from Hamburg and all over the world are asked to say their thanks to Paul on Saturday, June 18th and share the songs written just for him.
“Song For Paul” is released Friday, June 17th, accompanied by a music video shot on many locations with Beatles-history, such as the before mentioned Indra Club, the famous Reeperbahn and a grande finale at the “Beatles Platz” (Beatles Place), where over 300 fans joined the band for the flash mob video shoot.
The goal of the campaign is to reach McCartney personally, and let him know how thankful the citizens of Hamburg are for his life’s work. The campaign is initiated by the band Salamanda, the City of Hamburg, BID Reeperbahn+ and several cultural associations.
The people of Russia and the former Soviet Union have long had their access to Western art, culture and information suppressed and curated by the State. Just look at what’s going on in the country right now.
Consequently it’s always been hard to be a Beatle fan, especially when bans on Western popular music were actively policed and the consequences for flouting the laws could be devastating. Just take a look at this post from earlier this year. As we said then: there was a time when you had to be tough and take risks as an individual to be a fan in public. The KGB (a.k.a. the Soviet secret service and other authorities) came down very hard on anyone who dared to say they “….loved Lennon more than Lenin”.
Witness also the lengths that Beatle fans went to in order to listen to their favourite band’s music, right down to covertly cutting tracks onto old x-ray film. This became known as “music on bones” and you can check out our article on that here.
Subsequent to the fall of the Soviet Union things have become a little easier but it’s still been a relatively rocky road for Russian fans compared to those of us in the West.
Now comes a book that tries to sum up what it was like to be a Beatle fan across those years and into the solo Beatle years as well. It’s not about the Beatles themselves, but about how they were loved in the USSR. The English translation of the book’s title says it all really: How We Loved the Beatles: The History of Beatlemania in the USSR.
By the way, the author Dmitry Karasyuk is a totally blind man.
You should know that How We Loved the Beatles: The History of Beatlemania in the USSR is in Russian, and at 760 pages it is quite some undertaking. It contains many memoirs (funny and tragic) of both famous and very ordinary people. There are also many personal memories, and many, many photographs from fan archives. Almost every page has images or memorabilia related to the times. Here are just two random samples:
At the end of the book there is a short description in English. This is worth reading as its an excellent overview of the sort of information this book contains and what it is trying to achieve (click on image to see a larger version):
We mentioned how tough it was being a Beatle fan in the USSR. Here’s just one story from the book to help illustrate that – a story with a real twist in the tail:
In the early 1970s a young man buying Beatle records was detained at a flea market and taken to the local police station. There one of the police officers (police in the USSR were called militsiya) had an “educational conversation” with him (i.e. he gave him a slap on the wrist) saying that it was not good for a young builder of communism to listen to such enemy capitalist music. Later the young man happened to meet that same militsiya on the street. And the policeman asked: “If I give you a tape could you please record some Beatles music on it for me?”
Another very interesting section of How We Loved the Beatles: The History of Beatlemania in the USSR contains chapters about the Melodiya and Antrop companies which eventually released Beatle and solo records in the USSR – both officially, and not so officially.
The author spoke with former employees of Melodiya. They talk about how Beatle tracks finally came to appear on records in the 1970s, how Beatle and solo records were officially released in the 1980s, and where the sources for these releases came from.
The author also found Andrey Tropillo, the founder of Antrop Records, and in a long interview with him Tropillo tells how he created/launched the company, how and where he pressed vinyl, how they made alternative sleeves, and much more. And how, in the end, Antrop turned into Santa.
It’s not known whether the publisher will eventually translate the entire book into English. This, we’re told, is quite a challenge because there’s a lot of original Soviet youth slang which can’t be translated into other languages “in all its beauty”.
This love of all things Beatles endures. This young woman (whose name is Jane Enenko) is in the book. She hails from remote Siberia, and was invited on stage during a 2015 Paul McCartney tour:
We realise How We Loved the Beatles: The History of Beatlemania in the USSR is aimed at a very special market. The fact that it is written in Russian dictates that. But it is such a labour of love, and so comprehensive in it’s scope, we thought it very worthy of a mention here.
A very rare Beatle single is going on show at Jack White’s Third Man Records in Nashville:
The record label posted on Instagram: “You can’t do that!” is probably what the Capitol Records pressing plant manager yelled at the rogue employee who created this unheard of (and unauthorized) yellow-and-black split color version of the Beatles’ 1964 single “Can’t Buy Me Love.” Likely pressed surreptitiously after hours, Third Man recently purchased this insanely rare record at auction. Expect to see this single on display soon at Third Man Records.
Maybe this is where they got the colour scheme idea for their very rare, limited production run (only 333 copies made) of Paul McCartney’sMcCartney III LP?
And for their less rare McCartney III “Splatter” edition?
The judges wrote that The Lyrics was: “A work of art”; “a unique piece of publishing”; and a book that “belongs in a museum, not just our bookshelves.” They praised the two-volume set as a “fantastic visual diary”, singling out the original hand-written lyrics.
The book was supported by a free exhibition at the British Library and McCartney in Conversation at the Southbank Royal Festival Hall.
Publishers Allen Lane coordinated a global launch, simultaneously in 11 languages, attaining extensive broadsheet and radio coverage. Plus the book was released in multiple translations.
The mysterious curse of The Beatles‘ Let It Be sessions seems to have permeated across 50 years, all the way to 2022 with the inability to get to a release date that everyone was happy with…..
Disney and Apple have experienced huge issues in getting Peter Jackson’s wonderful three-part opus out to the public on physical media (i.e. Blu-ray and DVD). There have been a few false starts this year but it seems finally the release is definitely on again. Hence this email from the official US Beatle store in our inbox this morning:
The official Beatle page also trumpets that The Beatles Get Back is definitely on again. At least on Blu-ray. It’s hard to find on either site a reference or images of the DVD…….
As previously announced before it was withdrawn, the Blu-ray will come in a ‘Collector’s Pack’:
This contains a tri-fold inner holding the three discs, one for each of the three parts that have been available as a stream on Disney+:
And also included are four Get Back collector’s cards, one for each Beatle:
There’s no bonus material however. It could be argued though that we’re already getting lots of that ‘bonus’ material on these discs as the original Get Back film (as initially planned for streaming release last year) had many extra hours added to it by director, Peter Jackson before it made it to Disney+.
It’s reasonably well known in Beatle circles that when it came to compiling the 1994 album Live at the BBC (later re-issued in remastered form and accompanied by a second volume in 2013), Apple and EMI relied heavily on some previously unknown 1963 recordings made off the radio by a teenage fan named Margaret Ashworth.
Margaret was credited prominently in the liner notes of both. Here’s Volume 1:
And here are the credits for Volume 2:
Her name was there for all to see, and we knew she was the source of many songs and performances previously thought to be completely lost, or only available in very poor quality. But we didn’t really know the whole back story. She’s not even given a single mention in Kevin Howlett’s comprehensive book on the subject, The Beatles: the BBC Archives: 1962-1970.
Now, for the first time, Margaret Ashworth – a veteran journalist (now retired) who worked at the Daily Mail newspaper – has written extensively about just how she was able to come to the rescue of The Beatles and made a new release of their live radio performances possible.
Realising that her homemade tapes were gold, the engineers at EMI immediately made seven sets of CDs of the full Pop Go The Beatles programs. They presented Margaret with one set:
When the album Live at the BBC was originally released in 1994, Margaret Ashworth says she could easily tell which of the tracks came from her tapes. Here’s one of them, ‘Ooh! My Soul’. It is the track the producers and engineers used to test the quality of her recordings when she first took them to the Abbey Road studios:
It’s so good to now have this story told in full, and by the Beatle fan who made it happen.
Our Beatles With Records series is exactly that: photographs of the band actually holding those things they sold so many of: records and CDs. These can be Beatle discs, or discs by other artists.
The posts prompted quite a few readers to send in additional photographs, and also to do some amazing detective work on the sometimes mysterious records the Beatles are holding in photos. Sometimes the albums are easy to guess. Then there are others where you can only see a fragment of a cover, or the rear image of a sleeve, making it very difficult to identify – especially when the record is by an unrelated artist.
One recent photo to come to light is definitely in that latter camp. It comes from the recently released book by Paul McCartney’s brother, Mike McCartney (a.k.a. Mike McGear).
His book, published by Genesis Publications, is called Mike McCartney’s Early Liverpooland it contains some never-before-seen early photos of The Beatles, including this gorgeous one of John and Paul (and most probably George too, on the left). It is called Mathew Street, 1962 and hey are no doubt standing outside the famous Cavern Club:
This one had us intrigued. Paul is clearly looking at some 45’s, and John has under his arm what at first appears to be an LP of some kind. Further investigation though reveals it not to be a record but a bag containing a record from Liverpool’s NEMS record store. NEMS of course was owned by the family of their manager, Brian Epstein.
Wouldn’t it be great to know which LP John had purchased? What it is will probably never be known….
A couple of other items of interest have surfaced.
This one shows George Harrison in his kitchen at home at Kinfauns:
Quite interesting to see pinned up on the wall behind him a John Lennon/Yoko Ono album cover:
Here it is again, a different angle from the same photo shoot (click on image for a larger version):
It appears to be an album slick opened out containing the rear cover image as well:
George seemed quite fond of putting up album covers, or elements of album covers, on his walls. If you look at the top left of this photo – taken in what seems to be a hospital ward – you can see two prints of the Linda Eastman photograph of Apple artist Mary Hopkin. That image was used for the front cover of the Hopkin LP Postcard:
(Turns out that George was at London’s University College Hospital, where he got his tonsils removed in February, 1969)
Here’s an image of Paul McCartney with what could be an early rendering of the Klaus Voormann cover for the BeatlesRevolver LP. Either that or an attempt by a fan to replicate Voormann’s amazing artwork:
And finally, a still taken from the incredible Peter Jackson/Disney+ 3-part series Get Back on the making of the Let It Be album, this image of John Lennon taking a look at the latest Rolling Stones LP of the day:
See the other instalments of The Beatles With Records here.
We checked the date and it isn’t April 1st. So this must be true, right?
Looks like the Harrison Estate has entered into a licensing agreement with a company that legally sells cannabis called Dad Grass.
The George Harrison connection centres around an advertising campaign and product line featuring the All Things Must Pass album, including spliff-toking gnomes and of course the track, ‘Let It Roll’:
There is a range of products, including (for US$42.00) a Dad Grass x George Harrison All Things Must Grass Dad Stash which can hold five cigarettes and looks just like a double music cassette outer box:
As the copy on the website explains, this allows you to “…hide your grass in plain sight”:
It does a pretty good job, right down to the song titles on the back cover, and is produced by Dad Grass and George Harrison. Rolled in the USA:
Other products include the Special Blend George Harrison Dad Grass Five Pack (crafted from a special blend of Organic CBD and CBG hemp flower), Harrison signature rolling papers, rollings trays and ashtrays.
Dad Grass the company describes itself as “….reviving the mellow sensibility of the casual smoke. Our 100% Organic hemp flower and pre-rolled joints serve up a clean buzz without the fuss. Our special collections of merch and apparel pay tribute to the timeless staples of dad style. Past, present and future. Like your dad’s stash, we keep things easy and dependable, never fancy or complicated.”
“Classic toke meets classic bloke with our special edition George Harrison Dad Grass pre-rolled joints, smoking paraphernalia and merch.”
We’d be interested in your thoughts on this form of commercialisation of the Harrison legacy and the classic All Things Must Pass LP.