Beatles Australian 50th Anniversary Celebrations Are Hotting Up

Here in Australia the celebrations for the 50th anniversary of the Beatles one-and-only tour Down Under are beginning to get exciting.

The Beatles arrived in Sydney on June 11, 1964 and EMI Australia has today posted a great Australian tour highlights video on its official YouTube site:

The site publicises Australia’s contribution to the 50th anniversary – a 2 CD set called Then & Now – Australia Salutes The Beatles. It’s a compilation of some of Australia’s finest artists covering classic Beatle songs:Then-Now-Australia-Salutes-The-Beatles

Details about the release can be found here.

It has to be said it is a bit underwhelming with the news that this was actually EMI Australia’s second choice as a way to mark the historic visit. Initially the company was working on a unique two-disc set which was to have included a DVD of the complete Melbourne concert (which was filmed live and broadcast nationally at the time), with extra songs and partial songs included. This was to be partnered with a CD containing the studio recordings of those particular songs from the concert. It could have been a nice double-disc package, complete with a booklet – a real collectors item, unique to Australia. By comparison the double CD’s of Aussie cover versions is a real let-down.

EMI Australia was apparently told by Apple head office that as they are working on a live project of their own the local project could not possibly proceed…..

There’ll be more news on other Australian celebrations to mark the anniversary across June – including a major television documentary produced by the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, and a “pop-up” digital radio station which will run for a week and play ’64 Beatles tour music as well as rare audio from the archives. This will also be streamed live around the world – so more on these broadcasts soon in future posts.

The Beatles 20th Anniversary Singles

We know. Seems odd in the Beatles 50th anniversary year to be writing about what was done in the UK for the 20th anniversaries of each of their single releases, but as we recently acquired a complete set of those anniversary singles here goes…

Back in 1982, to mark the 20th anniversary of the release of “Love Me Do” – the Beatles first UK single, EMI released the record in a special picture sleeve. (They also released it as a picture discs as well, but that’s another story).love-me-do1Love Me Do LabelThen over the following eight years, on the 20th anniversary release date of each the official UK singles, they continued to do the same for each and every disc. That means it took some collectors eight years to complete the set! All singles were released on black vinyl and, as already mentioned, in picture disc versions too. (A 12″ single of “Love Me Do” was also released to correct an error made by EMI in choosing the wrong version for the 7″ single. Sound familiar?). They are all either on the Parlophone label (a red label for “Love Me Do”, and then in black and silver for the remainder), or on the green Apple label.

Here’s a small selection of the covers and labels used:The-Beatles-Day-Tripper---20t-462203 Day Tripper LabelBeatles_Get_Back beatles-singles-collection-label-2

R5722-Sl-A-1982 R5722-B-1976The release program for this set of singles was as follows:

Love Me Do / P.S. I Love You (Parlophone/October 4, 1982)
Please Please Me / Ask Me Why (Parlophone/January 10, 1983)
From Me To You / Thank You Girl (Parlophone/April 11, 1983)
She Loves You / I’ll Get You (Parlophone/August 22, 1983)
I Want To Hold Your Hand / This Boy (Parlophone/November 28, 1983)
Can’t Buy Me Love / You Can’t Do That (Parlophone/March 19, 1984)
A Hard Day’s Night / Things We Said Today (Parlophone/July 9, 1984)
I Feel Fine / She’s A Woman (Parlophone/November 26, 1984)
Ticket To Ride / Yes It Is (Parlophone/April 9, 1985)
Help / I’m Down (Parlophone/July 23, 1985)
We Can Work It Out/ Day Tripper (Parlophone/December 2, 1985)
Paperback Writer / Rain (Parlophone/June 9, 1986)
Yellow Submarine/ Eleanor Rigby (Parlophone/August 5, 1986)
Strawberry Fields Forever / Penny Lane (Parlophone/February 16, 1987)
All You Need Is Love / Baby You’re A Rich Man (Parlophone/July 6, 1987)
Hello Goodbye / I Am The Walrus (Parlophone/November 23, 1987)
Lady Madonna / The Inner Light (Parlophone/March 14, 1988)
Hey Jude /Revolution (Apple/August 30, 1988)
Get Back / Don’t Let Me Down (Apple/April 10, 1989)
The Ballad Of John And Yoko / Old Brown Shoe (Apple/May 30, 1989)
Something / Come Together (Apple/October 30, 1989)
Let It Be / You Know My Name (Look Up The Number)(Apple/March 3, 1990)

Of course if you had the ready cash back in December 1982 you could have purchased all these singles at once in a blue and gold box set called The Beatles Singles Collection which contained each single with the same unique picture covers. The box was a limited issue and held twenty-six vinyl 7″ singles in all – each of the standard twenty two UK singles listed above, plus another four singles that had been released since 1976. These were: “Yesterday/ I Should Have Known Better”, “Back In The U.S.S.R./ Twist and Shout”, “Sgt.Peppers/With A Little Help From My Friends/ A DAy in the Life”, and “The Movie Medley”.The Beatles Singles Collection

This box was different to the 1976 black and gold UK singles box set (which had a different set of picture covers) and was only ever available via mail order. We have the 3rd edition of that particular box, which was issued containing 25 singles in 1978:

beatles-singles-collection-front

A Visit to Some San Francisco Record Stores – Part 3

The final instalment of the recent visit to San Francisco. Last time we looked at the vinyl purchases. This time it’s the CDs and DVDs. Both Rasputin, Recycled Records and Amoeba Music have lots of vinyl. They also have lots of CDs and also (Rasputin Music in particular) many, many DVDs to choose from.

First to the CD’s and at Rasputin I found a US copy of Paul’s Choba B CCCP on CD:

Choba B 1Choba B 2

I already have a UK version of this on Parlophone, but a US copy on the Capitol label to join it (at a very low price) was too much to resist.Choba B 3

Also at Rasputin I found a copy, released by 20th Century Fox, of Paul McCartney’s 1984 ill-advised excursion into the world of movie-making Give My Regards to Broad Street:Regards 1Regards 2The movie had a less-than-enthusiastic reception when it first came out. To quote one user review from IMDB: “I wouldn’t go so far as to call this movie a ‘crap-fest’. I have definitely sat through much worse….I wouldn’t call it a guilty pleasure, either. Though it wasn’t a complete waste of time, it was awfully trite and clichéd. It plays like an extended music video….Although it didn’t completely suck, Sir Paul really should stick to writing songs and leave screen writing to professionals.”

Hmmm. I can only vaguely remember seeing the film once when it was first released. So when I saw this DVD (which came out in 2004 in this version) for just $3.99 I grabbed it. At that price it is well worth the cost of admission for another viewing. The disc itself is one of those two-sided DVD’s. One side has the full screen version, and the other a wide screen version – so the DVD itself looks pretty bland:

Regards 4

However, there’s an insert inside the case with a great photo of Paul and Ringo in costume:Regards 3

The other DVD I got at Rasputin was also $3.99, and also from Paul McCartney:Back in US 1Back in US 2

This is the 2002 concert film Back in the U.S. I’ve got the two CD set of this concert, but never actually seen the video. Again, that that low price well worth adding to the collection.Back in US 3

Before leaving Rasputin Music’s Powell Street store I also discovered a nice, sealed CD copy of Electric Arguments by The Fireman (a.k.a. Paul McCartney and Youth).Electric 1Electric 2

Now, regular readers of Beatles Blog will know I have a bit of a passion for collecting versions and variations of this particular CD – and this was a variation I’d not seen before. Originally this disc came out when Paul was not signed to any particular label, and so in the UK it was distributed on the One Little Indian label. In the US it came out on ATO Records. More recently though Paul has been signed to the Hear Music label, part of Concord Music Group, and they have re-issued a few titles from that time when he was “between labels” – including Electric Arguments. The giveaway is that white barcode sticker on the rear cover where you can see the disc has been given a different catalogue number and there are tiny logos for MPL (McCartney’s company) as well as Hear Music and Concord:Electric 3Next stop was Recycled Records on Haight Street, and a very nice US copy of the CD Working Classical:Working C 1Working C 2

This came out on the EMI Classics label in back in 1999. I have the vinyl (now worth quite a bit as it is rare, in mint condition, and long out of print). A CD copy for the princely sum of $8.00 was worth it:

Working C 3

The final CD purchase came from Amoeba Music, also on Haight Street. For some time now I’ve been on the lookout for a CD copy of the 2001 McCartney “best of” release Wingspan – Hits and History. It originally came in a cardboard slipcase which has a holographic front cover. Getting copies in good condition is difficult because the slipcase is sometimes missing, or it’s in poor condition. This one I found has the holographic cover and its in pretty good nick too:Wingspan 1Wingspan 2Wingspan 3Wingspan 4

So, that’s it – the results of a holiday visit to the US city of San Francisco. A great city with some great record stores to boot.

The Beatles “20 Greatest Hits” – plus an Australian “23 Number Ones”

I scored a couple of copies of the Beatles’ 20 Greatest Hits LP the other day – but not the typical British or US versions. One is Korean, the other from Brazil.

20 Greatest Hits was released in 1982 to mark the 20th anniversary of the group’s first record release “Love Me Do” in the UK. It was the last Beatles album to be released with different variations for the US and UK markets (because some Beatle hits in the US were not released as singles in the UK and vice-versa, such as “Eight Days a Week” and “Yesterday”).

The Korean and Brazilian versions I got both have the US artwork and the same running order of songs. First up the Korean cover, front and rear:20 Greatest Korea Front20 Greatest Korea rear

The Korean copy has a plastic “Oasis Records” inner sleeve. Oasis manufactured Parlophone records in South Korea:20 Greatest Korea Inner Bag

And here is the label:20 Greatest Korea Label

I don’t know if you can make out the small print around the outside, but is says: “Approved by the K.E.C.P.P. Ministry of Culture and Information Registration 16”. (Click on the image to see a larger version)

Next up, the pressing from Brazil:

20 Greatest Brazil Frony20 Greatest Brazil Rear

The Brazilian copy comes with a nice printed cardboard inner sleeve: 20 Greatest Brazil Inner bag

And it’s on the EMI label, not Parlophone:20 Greatest Brazil Label

Meanwhile, in Australia a very similar album with practically the same cover art came out a year later (in 1983) – but with a completely different title and running order of songs to both the US and UK versions. Here it was called The Number Ones, and our version contains twenty-three hit songs, not twenty. The extra three songs came on a special three-track 45rpm single included only with the set. Here’s the Australian cover, front and rear:23 Number Ones Aust FrontThe Number Ones Aust Rear

And here’s the label of the LP:23 Number Ones Aust Label

And this is the unique extra 3-track single:Aust Single 1

It came in two different variations. One with a printed sleeve with a cut-out (above) to show the label, and one variation (below) without the cut out:Aust single 2These are the labels of the bonus Australian single, A and B sides:

Aust Single Label 1Aust Single label 2And some copies in Australia came with a bright neon-orange sticker on the front:

Aust Sticker

The Beatles Australian 20th Anniversary Singles Collection

It’s funny how Beatles records can end up wandering the earth. I just brought this thirty-four disc box set of Australian singles from a guy in France. It was made here in Australia – and now it has returned home after a long journey and a long time away…

It’s the 1982 release The Beatles Australian 20th Anniversary Singles Collection. They are all housed in a maroon coloured carboard box:

Beatles34 box1

As you can see, mine has been quite faded on the front and sides from exposure to the sun. It has the catalogue number AB34 stamped on the side:

Beatles34 box2

Here’s the rear of the box showing the deeper maroon colour which is closer to how it would have originally looked:

Beatles34 box3

The original box colour is more like this one:

Beatles34 BOX

Inside there are 34 singles, plus a six-page insert with the details of each single:

Beatles34 booklet1Beatles34 booklet3Beatles34 Booklet4Beatles34 booklet5

Despite the slightly beat-up outer box (it is faded, has a sticker mark on the front, and had some split seams on the lid – which I have repaired) the singles inside are in VG to EX condition. Each single comes in a unique (but quite flimsy) paper picture sleeve, and each one features different photographs (both front and rear) taken during the Beatles 1964 tour of Australia and New Zealand. I won’t show all thirty four (!) but here are just three favourites, front and back:

Beatles34 Please1Beatles34 Please2Beatles34 Komm1Beatles34 Komm2Beatles34 Ob-La1Beatles34 Ob-La2

To see the complete set of covers visit the wonderful beatlesaustralia.com and click on each catalogue number to view the cover plus the labels.

Each single in my box set is on the black and silver Parlophone label, except for two (Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da/While My Guitar Gently Weeps and The Ballad of John and Yoko/Old Brown Shoe), which are on the Apple label – green on one side and cut on the other:

Beatles 34 ParloBeatles34 Apple1Beatles34 Apple2

However, I notice on the beatlesaustralia.com site that all the singles they show, including the two I have on Apple (A8693 and A8793), are on the black and silver Parlophone label. An interesting variation….

Beatles34 BOX2

Magical Mystery Tour – New Zealand Variation

Being located in Australia means it is only a hop, skip and a jump across the Tasman Sea to our very close neighbor, New Zealand. And that means the occasional (and interesting) New Zealand Beatle items turn up here from time-to-time.

I recently scored a nice copy of the New Zealand Magical Mystery Tour LP, which came out in Australia and NZ on the World Record Club label. In both countries this release was unique to the rest of the world, but the New Zealand version has a number of differences again to the Australian. Here’s the front cover:

The-Beatles-Magical-Mystery-T-524861

The picture is very similar to the Australian edition, but there is a large World Record Club/EMI logo over the white piano. And the rear is different too. The Australian cover is printed in colour, while in New Zealand it was black and white:

mmt rear nz

The most startling difference is the label – this is the one I have:

260951892943

In New Zealand there are two variations of this label. Here’s the second:

mmt nz variation

I’m told there is an even more unusual New Zealand Apple label version. It still has the same outer cover, but with a different catalogue number – and green Apple labels on the vinyl….

To more closely compare the two World Record Club editions click here to see pictures of the Australian MMT release.

See also the HMV Box Set CD of Magical Mystery Tour.

Beatles 2012 Remastered Vinyl – Released (First Pictures)

Is Australia the very first country to see the new Beatles Remastered Stereo Vinyl Box Set delivered?

The new records aren’t due for release in the UK and the USA until next week (12 and 13 November respectively). However, today I got a call from my local record store in Sydney saying “Come on in – your order for the Beatles box set is ready for collection today“.  (That’s Thursday, 8 November)

Naturally I high-tailed it down there – and here are the first pictures of it being unpacked. It comes in a big protective outer box:

The large sticker declaring the contents is placed on both sides of the box:

The two shipping labels on the side. Both say “Deliver Thursday”:

 

When you open the box you see what looks like another box-within-a-box:

It is held in place by two thick white foam inserts that you usually see in packaging for large electrical goods like TV’s, etc.  At this point I should say this package is incredibly heavy. You actually have to lie it on its side to slide it out:

What initially looked like an inner box is actually a thick brown cardboard wrap around the main package (above). Once you take it off you see this:

It’s just like the Beatles Remastered Stereo CD box released in 2009. There’s a thin cardboard outer sleeve around the record box itself. As you can see above it has “The Beatles” and an Apple logo printed on the front. This is what’s printed on the rear:

The outer sleeve slides off to reveal the main, lidded box:

Opening the lid – there are two pieces of black foam and two large moisture absorbing packs:

The book and all the LPs are completely sealed in heat-shrink plastic:

“Let It Be” (below) has the green Apple on the rear:

The book is really heavy and looks amazing – even in its heat-shrink wrap:

It has black-edged pages:

One side of the outer sleeve has the record and book edges printed on it. I guess that’s so it’ll look good when sitting on a shelf with that edge facing out:

Well, that’s about it for now. Hope you enjoyed this. Haven’t had time to open up any of the records or the book. Just wanted to get this up quickly for all to have sneak peek at the new Beatles Remastered Stereo Vinyl Box Set. 

(Click on images to see larger versions)

Label Variations Part Eight – Lennon’s “Imagine” Single

Last post I wrote about a couple of unusual garage sale finds.  One was a vinyl copy of John Lennon’s 1971 single “Imagine” – but on the much less common Parlophone label in New Zealand.

When researching the post I had a good trawl around the internet to see if I could find a similar copy.  I couldn’t.

However I did find a huge number of other interesting label variations. I guess that’s not surprising given the fact that this song has become an iconic John Lennon  composition. Here are just some of them, starting with the rare New Zealand pressing I found:

Looking around the web I could not find anything about this release – so if you know more details please get in touch. The more common New Zealand pressing, though still quite collectable in my view, would be on the green Apple label:

Of course Lennon releases in Australia also came out on the Apple label, and I own probably the most common original Australian release of “Imagine”. It looks like this:

Searching through Google Images I actually stumbled across a picture of what would have been the original Apple acetate pressing of the song:

 These acetates were test pressings, done in-house at Apple so that the engineers and John Lennon could take them away and have a listen to the mix and to the quality of the pressing before saying “yes” to printing so many hundreds of thousands of copies…Those big first press runs would have been in the United Kingdom – which used a green Apple.  Here’s an early promo copy sent out to radio stations, followed by the legitimate single released to the public :


And in the United States – which used a plain white Apple label favoured by John Lennon at the time:

Of course other countries quickly followed, including places like Germany:

And the Netherlands:

Such was the fame of this song there were also pressings from unusual countries like Venezuela:

From Mexico:

And from Brazil:

Brazil also released the song on a plain white label – but a variation on the white Apple issued the USA:

In the US the song was so popular it kept getting re-issued on a variety of Capitol labels:

And this purple Capitol example:

Meanwhile back in the UK the single was being re-issued countless times as well. Here are two later examples on the Parlophone label:

Friend Andrey in Russia has sent another two examples. The first is a mono single from France:

And a slightly different image of the white label above from Brazil (different font on the year of issue):

There are no doubt many more examples given the worldwide love of this one song. If you have any other label variations you would like to share please email them through to beatlesblogger@gmail.com

Two Small But Unusual Garage Sale Finds

There are times at garage or yard sales when you are on the hunt for Beatles vinyl that the pickings can be pretty slim.

This was the case last weekend. After visiting quite a few, and with the prospect of going home empty-handed, I struck two very unusual and potentially rare items at the very last house I visited. Sitting in a box of old 45’s I found two New Zealand pressings. They’re both collectable – with this one probably being the most rare:

As you can see, it’s a copy of John Lennon’s “Imagine” – but on the NZ Parlophone label:

I must admit, despite seeing quite a few copies of this single in my time, I’ve never seen in on the black and yellow Parlophone label before.  Next post I’ll put up some of the great variety of label variations of “Imagine” from around the world.

Sitting with the John Lennon was another New Zealand single – a copy of the Beatles “Hey Jude” b/w “Revolution”. Unusually, it was in a UK cardboard outer sleeve:

These covers were produced for the UK Beatles box set “The Beatles Collection” containing all 25 British single releases. However, inside this one there was a New Zealand Parlophone pressing of the single – again on the yellow and black Parlophone label:

In “The Beatles Collection” box set this single looks like this:

So, the copy I found is quite strange. I’m not sure if New Zealand EMI ever produced a version of this box set where they sourced the British packaging but inserted locally pressed vinyl. In some countries that sometimes happened. If so, my single has become separated from the rest of the collection at some stage….

These are the other versions of  the “Hey Jude” single in my collection. The record was released in that period just when Apple Records had first been created and so some copies in Australia also came out on the Beatles’ old label, Parlophone:

It was also released here on a standard Apple:

And here’s an example of some weird typography being used in the song title on a later Australian Apple pressing:

Finally an example of the original UK Apple version:

So, when garage sale hunting seems fruitless sometimes its worth going to just one more house….

Label Variations Part Ten – Abbey Road (More….)

Since I posted Label Variations Part Six – Abbey Road  I’ve had a few people sending in some further great examples from their own collections.

So, its time to share these now.

First comes from Jerry Woods who wrote:  “Saw your blog featuring various record labels (I LOVE this stuff!!) and noticed that you didn’t have a MONO version of Abbey Road on display, so I thought I would share. Although, not a true mono mix (they never “officially” did one – and this LP sounds identical from start to finish to the Stereo version when the Stereo version is folded down to Mono) this is kind of an interesting oddity – but only a fold down to Mono from Stereo.”

Here are the labels – the record comes from Brazil:

Another nice one sent in was from a reader in New Zealand and it’s really quite unusual. It is Abbey Road on an orange Apple label – very similar (but not quite) to the orange labels used for George Harrison’s All Things Must Pass. VERY collectable:

Of course there were lots of green Apples from other countries. Nice examples here from France, Italy and a green vinyl pressing of the album from the UK:

There were these two from Canada that were missed first time around. They include a couple of purple Capitol labels with two variations (one with a fairly obvious spelling mistake):

There were also a couple of other US pressings. The orange Capitol, and also the collectable Mobile Fidelity Audiophile pressing:

Finally, a couple of pressings of Abbey Road on a black and silver Parlophone label. This first one is from the UK:

While this other one, sent in by Andrey in Russia, is much more unusual. It is a rare UAR (Egypt?) label for Abbey Road:

(except for a couple, click on labels to see larger versions)

Ah, collecting….the variations sometimes seem endless. Thanks to everyone who emailed more labels.

You can see Label Variations Parts OneTwoThreeFour, and Five and Six, plus the Beatles Love LP variations here and here.

There’s a post on the variations of the McCartney/Fireman Electric Arguments release; McCartney’s Twin Freaks LP and singles; as well as his recent Kisses On The Bottom CD’s and LP. There is also a post on some George Harrison All Things Must Pass label variations.