Strange/Unusual Find of the Month

It’s not every day that you walk into your local second-hand record store and find an almost mint copy of The Beatles’ 1967 EP Magical Mystery Tour, but that’s what happened last week.

Dropped into Audiomania in the Sydney suburb of Manly Vale and as we were quietly browsing the LP section we looked up to a shelf just near the “New Arrivals” bin, and this is what we spied:

This is a UK pressing, and we’re pretty sure it is an original from 1967, making it just over 50 years old. For it’s age this example is in exceptionally good condition, both the laminated gatefold sleeve, and the two EP records it contains.

This is the mono UK pressing. You can tell that from the catalogue number MMT-1 which is printed on the upper right of rear cover (and of course the word MONO is also there!). Stereo pressings have an SMMT catalogue number:

The labels also carry the MMT catalogue number. As you can see below this pressing came with a solid centre. There are also examples with a push-out centre. The labels have the “Sold in the U.K. subject to resale price conditions…” text:

Don’t know if you can see it, but the Side 1 label (on either side of the spindle hole) has two raised letters, a K and a T. Not sure if this is significant, or helps identify the pressing date. We think it has something to do with a tax code for the record.

The inner 24-page booklet is also in excellent condition:

It also comes with the 4-page blue lyric sheet pages still intact in the centre. This also helps identify it as being an original pressing. The paper sleeves holding the records are white though, and have a wave-cut top. I think originally the discs may have come in black paper sleeves? If anyone knows please contact us, or leave a comment.

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

So, this was too good an item to pass over. We have Australian mono and stereo pressings of the Magical Mystery Tour double EP, plus a nice French pressing (with a story attached), but a UK pressing in almost pristine condition was our find of the month.

The really sad news is that the Audiomania store will soon be no more. The owner let us know that they will be closing their doors because the site in which they operate has been purchased and its buildings demolished. All the tenants have to get out. They hope to continue online, but it’s just not the same as being there to flip through record bins of used LPs and singles in person…..

Strange/Unusual Finds of the Month – Nowhere Man and Double Fantasy

Every couple of months the Lifeline organisation (which offers a free phone crisis and suicide prevention counselling service in Australia) holds a huge fundraising book fair. They always have, as a side note, lots of second-hand CDs, and usually a few records too. These are usually placed in one corner and any Beatle titles would be scattered in amongst hundreds of other artists.

However, the Lifeline book fair last month had its very own Beatles section!

Obviously someone had donated a large collection and the volunteers had hived off a dedicated section of the tables just for Beatle stuff. There were books, a small selection of LPs and CDs, plus a very large stack of 45 singles. By the time we got through the door though another collector was well into sifting through the 45’s and so we had to wait patiently by for him to finish. Sadly (for us) he took just about all of them, and we were left to pick over the remains.

Much to our delight though we discovered a very clean copy of a Beatle EP that had been missing from the collection – one that is now considered rare and fetches hefty prices on eBay. It’s the Australian pressing of the band’s Nowhere Man EP, released on November 3, 1966:This one has the flipback tabs on the rear cover, and the early black and yellow Parlophone label with the Northern Songs royalty stamps included:We’d been looking for a copy of this EP for ages, so to find a copy in good condition was a real bonus. It completes a full set of all the Beatles’ Australian EP releases.

While biding time waiting for the other collector to sift through the stack of 45’s we checked out the books and the small number of Beatle albums on offer. Amongst these was this LP: This is the rarer Half-Speed mastered pressing of the John Lennon/Yoko Ono disc Double Fantasy. It is on the Geffen/Nautilus Superdisc label and dates from 1982. This limited edition release should come with a poster and a lyric sheet insert. Both these are missing, but it does have the original Nautilus ‘blue disc’ poly inner “Super Sleeve”:So, another strange/unusual find on what turned out to be a pretty good day.

McCartney’s ‘Pipes of Peace’ – Original Labels

Looking at the recently released Capitol Records coloured (and black) vinyl reissue of the Paul McCartney Pipes of Peace LP, we got thinking about the labels used for the original release back in 1983.

This is the label style used on both sides of the 2017 version:

As you can see, the custom designed labels are similar thematically (but not exactly the same) as those used for Side 2 of the 1983 vinyl release:

The chrome-plated chair image is larger and positioned differently, plus it has a different musical instrument on it.

But it’s the labels used for Side 1 in 1983 that fascinate.

For some reason Side 1 in each of the major markets around the world featured vintage depictions of either Parlophone or Odeon record labels (for those territories outside the US), or Columbia Records for the United States (because that was the label McCartney was signed to there at the time).

Here, for example, is the Side 1 label used in the UK – a vintage Parlophone in deep maroon:

And here’s the label used in the US, which was done in the style of an old-fashioned Columbia release:

In Australia it was a vintage Parlophone – done in a dark brown and gold:

For Europe, where the Odeon label was used to release EMI titles, they used a vintage version too. Here’s the one for Germany:

And Spain of course:And here’s the label used in France for Side 1. Unusually, it’s a vintage Parlophone – which is strange because you’d think it would more likely be on Odeon too:

It was definitely vintage Odeon for Japan: And in New Zealand it was a Parlophone: 

These next few are from smaller territories where we’re pretty sure that on both sides of the disc the  labels used were both the same. If you happen to have any further info on these please get in touch using the “Leave a Reply” section below. First up, India:

We can confirm that The Philippines definitely used a vintage black and yellow Parlophone for both sides of the disc:

Malaysia:

And to some South American countries now – Argentina:

Uruguay:

Bolivia:

And lastly, Columbia, which interestingly seems to be serviced by both Parlophone and Columbia/CBS records:

If you’d like to see these labels in more detail, click on the images to bring up larger versions.

And if anyone knows just why Paul McCartney wanted to use vintage labels for Side 1 only of Pipes of Peace, please let us know by commenting below.

The Beatles DeAgostini Vinyl Collection Has Been Extended

Looks like the newsagent and mail order Beatles Vinyl Collection series from DeAgostini has recently been extended to five more countries: Germany, Austria, Luxembourg, Spain and Japan.

These re-issues (all beautifully pressed on 180gram vinyl at the French MPO plant) are still going strong in Italy (where they are now up to On Air – LIve at the BBC Vol.2, which is issue 18 in the 23-issue series), and in the United Kingdom (where they are up to issue 15 –Anthology 2).

A friend just sent us this photo – a news agency window in Spain:

John Lennon – ‘Jealous Guy’ 12-inch Single

My daughter was at a big market in Melbourne a couple of weeks back. There was a guy selling records and so she bought this for me:lennon-jealous-1

It’s the 12″ single release of John Lennon’s ‘Jealous Guy’, taken from his Imagine album. As far as I can tell the single was released in 1985. Discogs doesn’t have this particular release listed, but it does have entries for the UK and Europe which look to be the same.

This is the Australian release and as you can see it’s backed with ‘Going Down On Love’ (from Walls and Bridges), and ‘Oh Yoko!’ (also from Imagine).lennon-jealous-3lennon-jealous-4

(click on the labels for a larger version)

The cover is a bit worn and creased and there’s a slight tear on the back, but the vinyl inside is in absolute mint condition. lennon-jealous-2It’s nice when your kids buy you presents!

“Great Record Labels” Book

Chanced upon a small local garage sale (or yard sale) this morning and found this book:great-labels-cover

Great Record Labels, written by Al Cimino and published by Chartwell Books in 1992, is quite an interesting overview of some of the most famous record companies, admittedly with a strong US bias. It has some really good images liberally scattered throughout, not only of the various record company labels themselves, but also many of the artists signed to the labels too.

Cimino has split his book into five broad categories covering music from the 1950’s through to the 1990’s. He starts with Sun Records in the Fifties, and ends with Def Jam in the Nineties, and works his way through most of the big labels in between – like Atlantic, Stax, Motown, Decca, A&M, CBS, Warner Brothers, Island, and Virgin – to name but a few.

There are two main segments of the book where The Beatles pop up. First is the chapter on the British EMI/Parlophone label:great-labels3great-labels4

In the section on EMI’s US subsidiary Capitol Records there is only fleeting reference to The Beatles, despite the huge amounts of money they made for the company:great-labels9

But to make up for that there’s no less than four pages dedicated to The Beatles’ own Apple Records:great-labels5great-labels6great-labels7great-labels8

Here’s the rear cover of Great Record Labels (the dust cover has seen better days…):great-labels-rearDespite being a little beat up, this is a nice little find and a good book to have in the collection.

The Beatles Collection Singles – Parlophone New Zealand

A fairly unique and unusual box set came into the collection this week.

We’ve written before about a UK singles box set we have called The Beatles Collection. It was released by EMI back in 1978 and contains twenty-five Beatle singles. These were housed in a textured black flip-top box that looks like this:beatles-singles-collection-front

However, the copy of The Beatles Collection you can see below was officially released by EMI only in New Zealand:nz-collection-box2

This set, which dates from 1979, includes the same twenty-five top-selling Beatle singles as the UK version. They are also housed in a black and gold-embossed box. It’s not a flip-top box like in the UK, but a heavier, lidded one made of much thicker cardboard:

nz-collection-box3

As you can see, there are a few age spots and marks on the front, but overall this one is in very good condition with no tears or splits.nz-collection-box1 nz-collection-box4

All the green, white and black paper sleeves inside (including the “Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” picture sleeve), weren’t printed locally. They’ve been imported by EMI from the UK and so are identical to the earlier UK release, with “Made in Great Britain” stamped on the front:

nz-collection-box8nz-collection-box18

The big difference here is that all the vinyl inside the sleeves was pressed locally in New Zealand, making this set somewhat interesting, unusual and collectable:nz-collection-box6nz-collection-box7

As you can see from the label for “Love Me Do” above, some of the singles have the original UK catalogue numbers, but some (like “Hey Jude” below) have unique New Zealand numbers – with an “NZP” prefix:nz-collection-box17All except “Hey Jude” and “Sgt Pepper” are exclusive New Zealand pressings, made only for this box set. They weren’t sold separately. The “Hey Jude” and “Sgt Pepper” singles were apparently sold separately, but not in the picture sleeves you see here. All the labels are black and yellow Parlophone labels.

For a full set of scans and some more information about this New Zealand pressing go to the great 45cat site. It’s got more information and images.

The New Zealand Beatles Collection (1979) is a Parlophone box set with 25 x 45rpm records comprising all the Beatles’ singles 1962-1978:

1. Love Me Do / P.S. I Love You
2. Please Please Me / Ask Me Why
3. From Me To You / Thank You Girl
4. She Loves You / I’ll Get You
5. I Want To Hold Your Hand / This Boy
6. Can’t Buy Me Love / You Can’t Do That
7. A Hard Day’s Night / Things We Said Today
8. I Feel Fine / She’s A Woman
9. Ticket To Ride / Yes It Is
10. Help / I’m Down
11. We Can Work It Out / Day Tripper
12. Paperback Writer / Rain
13. Yellow Submarine / Eleanor Rigby
14. Strawberry Fields Forever / Penny Lane
15. All You Need Is Love / Baby You’re A Rich Man
16. Hello Goodbye / I Am The Walrus
17. Lady Madonna / The Inner Light
18. Hey Jude /Revolution
19. Get Back / Don’t Let Me Down
20. The Ballad Of John And Yoko / Old Brown Shoe
21. Something / Come Together
22. Let It Be / You Know My Name (Look Up The Number)
23. Yesterday / I Should Have Known Better
24. Back In The USSR / Twist And Shout
25. Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band / With a Little Help From My Friends / A Day In The Life

From “Love Me Do” to “A Hard Day’s Night” the UK picture sleeves used in this set have this image on the rear:

nz-collection-box5

The singles from “I Fell Fine” to “Yellow Submarine” have this as the rear-cover image:nz-collection-box10

The sleeves from “Strawberry Fields Forever” to “Lady Madonna” have this photograph:nx-collection-box13

And from “Hey Jude” to “Back in the USSR” this image is used:

nz-collection-box16

Like the UK release, “Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” (which is a three-track single) comes in a different picture sleeve to the rest of the set: nz-collection-box25 nz-collection-box26nz-collection-box27

The Beatles “With The Beatles” Australian EP

While we were in Long Jetty last week we discovered a nice copy of John Lennon’s Rip It Up – 15 Rock’n’Roll Greats. This was at The Sound Exchange Record Bar. Immediately next door is a small bric-a-brac/old wares store called Webster’s Vintage:Websters

Inside this bright green building is crammed a veritable potpourri of clothing, jewellery, books and all sorts of knick knacks. You name it, they’ve got it.

While looking around we spied, in a glass case behind the main counter a lone Beatle record that looked interesting. It was a 1965, Australia-only pressing of a four-song EP called With The Beatles:With The Beatles EP

We asked the owner if she could open the cabinet so that we could check it out. The records was in very good condition. With its dark front cover image (unique to Australia) it’s rare to find these without a lot of ring wear showing, and the vinyl itself was very good too:With The Beatles Label

Rear cover:With The Beatles Rear

So, another nice Aussie EP addition to the collection.

 

Beatles’ First Recording Contract Sells for US$93,750

The Beatles’ first recording contract, part of a just-concluded New York auction of items from the Uwe Blaschke Collection, has sold for an impressive US$93,750. It went to an unknown internet bidder, but fell short of the predicted US$150,000 target.

The 1961 contract, signed by all four members of the group at that time (John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Pete Best), was for a recording session with the Polydor company in Germany and produced the single ‘My Bonnie’. It was credited on the label to “Tony Sheridan & The Beat Brothers” because there was a stipulation in the contract allowing Polydor to use a different group name. They felt the name “Beatles” wouldn’t be readily accepted in the German market. Never-the-less, the group was making it’s very first professional recording for commercial release by an actual record label.

While ‘My Bonnie’ achieved only modest success in Germany, back home in Liverpool Beatle fans who knew about the recording began asking for it in record shops, including the store owned and managed by Brian Epstein. When he learned that the requests were for a local group, he paid a visit to the Cavern club to see what the fuss was about, and the rest is history….

Also in this auction was the 45 single ‘P.S. I Love You’ (the B-side to ‘Love Me Do’) – signed by all four Beatles and which we wrote about last month. This was the next most expensive item to go under the hammer yesterday. It fetched a substantial US$25,000 from a bidder in the room at the New York auction. This was well above the expected US$10,000: PS I Love You Signed

The third most expensive item on the day was a framed, signed Beatle fan card photo from 1962. On the back is printed “With Best Wishes from Paul, Pete, John, and George. The Beatles. April 5th 1962”. Around that text are a number of signatures: “für Christa von George Harrison”, “für Christa von Paul McCartney”, “Roy Young” (a British Rock singer and pianist), “für Christa von John Lennon”, “Best Wishes from Pete Best”, and “Best Wishes from Bernard Boyle” (the founder of the Beatles Fan Club). These fan cards were given out at a Cavern Club concert on April 5 honoring the Official Fan Club. This sold for US$12,500: Beatle Fancard Photo 2

 

McCartney’s “Take It Away [Single Edit] (2015 Remaster)” Free Download

Just as they did prior to the release of the Archive Collection editions of Venus and Mars and Wings At The Speed of Sound last year, Paul McCartney’s website has begun to issue some promotional free download tracks which won’t be on the forthcoming reissues of Tug of War and Pipes of Peace.

The first is an exclusive free download of Paul’s ‘Take It Away [Single Edit] (2015 Reissue)’. The track does not feature on the remastered Tug of War reissue and is only available as a download through PaulMcCartney.com (you’ll need to register on the site and give your email address to get access).

In Australia this single edit was originally released (in 1982) through EMI on the Parlophone label:Take It Away Parlophone

And this reminded us that the Tug of War album came out during McCartney’s brief but somewhat ill-fated career with CBS Records in the US. ‘Take It Away’ therefore came out on the Columbia label:  Take It Away Columbia

The B-side to the single, ‘I’ll Give You a Ring’, will be included as part of the re-issued Tug of War – which is due out in early October.

If you don’t want to sign up to the Mccartney site and just want to hear the track, it’s available as a Soundcloud file at rollingstone.com

Uncut magazine is also saying they have the Soundcloud file to listen to, but we can’t see it on their page anywhere…..maybe they’ll rectify that soon.