The Wait Is Over – Lennon/Plastic Ono Band Finally Announced

The dream wait is over, what can I say? The dream wait is over, yesterday….

It’s taken a while (there’s even been an official countdown clock ticking down just for the announcement) but Yoko Ono and Sean Ono Lennon have at last revealed the release date (16 April), and the contents of the 50th anniversary box set of John Lennon’s legendary Plastic Ono Band solo album.

And it looks really good. The wait appears to have been worth it:

Rather than detail it all here it’s best to click through to the official John Lennon website which has all the information – and more – about what this 6 CD, 2 Blu-Ray Audio Disc Plastic Ono Band Ultimate Collection deluxe box set will contain. They’ve created a fantastic site with masses of information, images and memorabilia.

There is of course also a 2LP Half Speed Master release, a two CD edition, and a single CD release as well. Accurate track listings for each for each of these are also included on the Lennon site.

Also, for a great summary article, you can’t go past the great Super Deluxe Edition site.

The Lennon camp has embarked on a social media blitz to publicise the release, and there will be no doubt be more to come.

Given the tempo of the times, we particularly liked this image which appeared on Twitter and on Insta:

The caption reads: “What’s the meming of this?” 馃檪

John Lennon The Ultimate Edition – Finally

Guess what landed on the front doorstep yesterday? Our Universal Music bundle of the John Lennon Ultimate Edition box set, Imagine 2 LP (on clear vinyl), Imagine/Gimme Some Truth Blu-ray, and the Imagine movie poster!

Ordered 24 August, officially released 5 October………delivered 30 October:聽

This order was placed directly with Universal’s uDiscover UK music store. Despite being the commercial arm of the actual publisher and distributor of these titles, it has to be said uDiscover don’t have a great track record for delivering items on time, nor keeping their customers up-to-date on what is going on. Usually it’s because they can’t get stock. Go figure. This time they ran out of the Imagine/Gimme Some Truth Blu-ray, and so had to hold back dispatch of the bundle until more copies came in.

One needs patience when dealing with uDiscover. Stuff usually does arrive, it’s just a matter of when.

Thankfully, everything (except the poster) arrived in very good shape – this is despite the four items being shoved into a plastic courier bag with no additional padding around them. Yes, they were each in individual cardboard mailers, but they’d been banging around together in that bag all the way from Europe to Australia, so it was with a sigh of relief that we opened each to find no dings, bent corners, rips or other damage.

There was however one casualty. They’d packed the rolled-up movie poster into a long triangular-shaped box that simply wasn’t up to the task. It had been bashed around and squashed along the way, putting deep creases into the good quality paper stock the poster is printed on. It’s a shame because it is an impressive piece, but sadly now far from mint condition.

We’re counting that as minor collateral damage, and just thankful the main content (i.e. box set, 2 LP and Blu-ray) is finally here and in pristine condition….

Label Variations Part Eleven – Happy Xmas (War is Over)

A Christmas theme for the next installment in our occasional Label Variations segment.

This time it’s John Lennon, Yoko Ono and the Plastic Ono Band, with the Harlem Community Choir聽 and the 1971/1972 song ‘Happy Xmas (War is Over)’. Early versions (and some re-issues) were on green vinyl to suit the season.

The US Bell Sound test pressing:

Other US variations:

Some of the UK releases:

And Australia/New Zealand:

Here are some European releases. First Spain ‘Feliz Navidad’:

The Netherlands:





An EU-made CD single from 2003:

Back to vinyl, this one is from Yugoslavia:

And a couple of South American countries, including Venuzuela ‘Felices Pascuas (Se Acabo La Guerra)’:


Mexico ‘Feliz Navidad (La guerra termino)’:

Here’s one from Japan ‘銉忋儍銉斻兗銈儶銈广優銈规垿浜夈伅绲傘倧銇c仧’:

Later on, when John Lennon was signed briefly to Geffen Records, that label released ‘Happy Xmas (War is Over)’ too:

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

Please note that not all these are from our collection! Check out this link to a ‘Happy Xmas (War is Over)’ 40th Anniversary page. Catch some others in the Label Variations series聽here. And visit the Imagine Peace (War is Over!) site.

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to all our readers.

New John Lennon Vinyl Box Set Coming

Whenever new Beatle or Beatle-related vinyl is mentioned we get interested.

Yes, like most collectors we have these albums already (in some cases many times over….) but the completist in us has to have the latest. And the latest announcement is that a new box set of eight John Lennon LPs is due for release on June 8. For all the details go to johnlennonmusic.com聽– but in a nutshell these will be faithful reproductions on 180-gram vinyl of John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band; Imagine; Some Time in New York City; Mind Games; Walls and Bridges; Rock ‘n’ Roll; Double Fantasy and Milk and Honey:Lennon_Box

All artwork, including inner bags, posters, postcards and original labels will be reproduced:plastic_labels 2plastic_labels 3mind_games_labels 2mind_games_labels 3double_fantasy_label 2double_fantasy_label 3

Looks like the LPs come in a white box with the same design cues as the John Lennon Signature Box聽from back in October, 2011:


That set contains聽the same titles – only on CD – plus it has two bonus discs of non-album tracks, studio outtakes and home recordings:


Of course there’s been a previous incarnation of a John Lennon聽, 8 LP vinyl box set.

Beatles with Records – Part Fourteen

Since the last instalment we’ve been swamped with some great content – enough for at least two or three more posts featuring the Beatles (or people close to them) photographed or filmed with records or CDs – either their own or those of other artists.

This first one comes from reader Ariel, who sent in this great YouTube clip of John Lennon and Yoko Ono strolling past a crowd of reporters and photographers:

The footage was clearly taken in 1970 when John and Yoko were publicising this Plastic Ono Band album:


The footage comes from a 1977 film by French film-maker G茅rard Courant, whose website says of the film: 聽“The year punk music exploded, Courant gave his most avant-garde outburst by relating for the first time the shattering experiences that took place in the second half of the 20th century…with the rock culture that clamored that same idea of rupture…”. Lennon and Ono can also be seen publicising the same LP in Part Five and also in Part Two.

Staying with John Lennon for a moment here’s an image sent in by Andrey in Russia of the Lennon’s in New York – holding court with assembled media and hangers-on in their apartment in February, 1972 in Greenwich Village:

Lennons Greenwich Village

There’s obviously a record you can see sitting there at the foot of the bed:

Lennons New York 2

But what and who is it? I was having real trouble identifying this one. Well, thanks to Andrey’s Russian-speaking friends we’ve been able to find that LP. He asked聽one of the forums for some help. Which artist could it be? Andrey says he got the answer聽in about ten minutes:

The Album Soup Front CD SZSOUP BACK CD SZ

The Power Pop website says that the group Soup was聽from Wisconsin in the USA聽and the members were Doug Yankus, Rob Griffith and David Faas . The band released a self-titled album in 1970, however what we can see here is聽the bands second LP,聽The Album Soup, from聽1971. How it came to the attention of John Lennon, and what he thought of it we’ll probably never know.

Continuing on the Lennon theme – this time with Yoko and a gentleman named Kristofer Englehardt, author of the book “The Beatles Undercover“, holding a copy of her solo LP from 1971 called Fly:



In Part Six聽there’s a terrific photo of George Harrison in the back of a limo holding up a copy of his All Things Must Pass聽LP. Here’s another good one from around the same time:



Could it be that this photo below was taken on the same day and location? It looks very much like the same shirt George is wearing above. Perhaps he’s playing one of the sides from All Things Must Pass on his record player at home?

George with Record Player

One final shot of George taken in 1972 according to the caption, this time with his triple LP from 1971聽The Concert for Bangladesh:


When you are Paul McCartney, just getting into a building you are visiting can have it’s challenges. The photo below shows the type of crush which can eventuate when everyone wants a photograph or an album signed – including one fan bravely holding up a copy of the 1988 Russian release 小薪芯胁邪 胁 小小小袪:

Choba CCCP Paul

Choba b CCCP

Here he is again – this time with fans thrusting forward copies of (amongst other things) Help! and Tug of War (you can see the cover of Tug of War at the very bottom right-hand side of the photo):

Paul Signing - Help!beatles-helpTug of War

One other final shot of Paul holding a 45 single, this time with Ringo and John.聽It is what is reported as a test acetate recording (printed in limited quantities and used by the band and engineers for checking the quality and the mix) – it is supposedly of a song from Sgt Pepper:


There’s another photo from the studio on the same day below – 聽from a different angle with George also in attendance and more acetates lined up on the piano:


One final photo for this instalment – again of the Beatles as a group and possibly arriving in Rome. I say that because the gentleman in the light coloured jacket, moustache and glasses (who is a fellow named Alf Bicknell – the Beatles chauffeur between 1964-1966) is holding a copy of the Italian version of A Hard Day’s Night. You can tell it’s the Italian cover of the LP because the large type across the top saying “The BEATLES” is distinctively different to the standard UK release:



Thanks to all those who have sent in content and further information. You can see the other parts in 鈥The聽Beatles聽with Records鈥 series here: Parts聽1,聽2,聽3,聽4,聽5聽,聽6,聽7聽,聽8,聽9,聽10,聽11,聽12,聽13,聽15,聽16聽and聽17.

There will be more “Beatles with Records” soon….

Label Variations Part Nine – Plastic Ono Band “Cold Turkey”

In Label Variations Part Eight聽an unusual New Zealand Parlophone label version of John Lennon’s “Imagine” was featured.

I’ve stumbled across another from NZ – 聽this time Lennon’s anguished drug withdrawal song “Cold Turkey“, performed by the Plastic Ono Band.聽It’s definitely original and as you can see pretty beat up, but interesting I guess – especially for one particular reason which will be revealed later:

Plastic Ono Band Cover 1

It is in it’s original New Zealand Parlophone bag – very faded, but the rear side is interesting with it’s groovy “Young Internationals” advertisement for Air New Zealand (only $397.50 one-way to Singapore or Hong Kong!):

Plastic Ono Band Cover 2

The main point of interest though is the black and yellow Parlophone label:

Plastic Ono Band Label 1

The printing on the A-side is kind of faded and difficult to read because the silver-coloured lettering does not stand out well on the black background. Like the UK edition, this 45 rpm single carries the catalogue number APPLES 1001, and as in other markets around the world the flip-side is the Yoko Ono song “Don’t Worry Kyoko (Mummy’s Only Looking for Her Hand in the Snow)”. However, this New Zealand pressing has a spelling mistake. It clearly says “Don’t Worry Kajoko”, and it has no sub-title printed on the label:

Plastic Ono Band Label 2

Some people quite like collecting label printing mistakes and so this makes it interesting as well. The spelling should be “Don’t Worry Kyoko….”:

cold-turkey-Don't Worry Kyoko

Here are some other label variations from around the world, starting with Australia:


These images following aren’t from my collection but gleaned from the web. Here are two different variations from Brazil:


The original UK version looked like this:


And the US and Canadian versions:


Here’s one variation from Germany, followed by one from the Netherlands:



And since posting this I’ve been contacted by Claude Defer in France with two French variations. He says: “In France, we have 2 types of labels聽: the first one has 芦Cold Turkey禄 on the white part of the apple and the second one has 芦Cold Turkey禄 on the green part of the apple. The first one was probably a misprint and the second one fixed it.”:

Cold-turkey-france 1Cold-turkey-france 2

Also, Andrey in Russia sent another France variation which is very similar to the one above, just a greener Apple:


If you have any other label variations you would like to share please聽email me.

John Lennon 鈥 a Jazz Reinterpretation

I鈥檓 usually not a big fan nor collector of Beatles cover versions. But I must admit that when I first saw this CD cover I was intrigued:

It鈥檚 a Lennon reinterpretation that is very worthy of further investigation. Jazz guitarist Bill Frisell is one of the world鈥檚 great musicians – as the small sticker on the front of this CD proclaims:

While he鈥檚 been around a long time I only became aware of Bill Frisell relatively recently when Elvis Costello teamed up with veteran composer and arranger Burt Bacharach in 1998 to produce an album of new songs called 鈥Painted From Memory鈥. Both Costello and Bacharach are favorites and this album is great. The interesting thing about their project is that they gave all their new songs to guitarist Bill Frisell very early in the process to create his own jazz versions of their new work. As a result he released his album “The Sweetest Punch” almost simultaneously with their “Painted From Memory” disc. Quite unusual in the music business. I got both “Painted From Memory” and “The Sweetest Punch” back then and have enjoyed them immensely since…..hence my interest in the work of one Bill Frisell.

Then, late in 2011 came this record 鈥 鈥淎ll We Are Saying鈥 鈥 Frisell plays Lennon. Naturally I was interested to hear how it sounded – and was lucky enough to be given it as a Christmas present from my son:

As you can see from the rear cover song-list, Frisell does a wide range of Lennon compositions from the Beatles days (both early and late), through to the Plastic Ono Band, Lennon’s early solo work, and right up to songs from the final John Lennon/Yoko Ono album “Double Fantasy”.

The cover art is also interesting. Inside the gatefold digipac it’s revealed that the project has the blessing of Yoko Ono and the Lennon Estate because they have officially licensed the cover art which is a John Lennon original drawing.

Here’s the detail from the image above:

So – it all looks and feels very original. These are all songs I know well, and the interpretations that Frisell and his band deliver are fresh takes on familiar material. As I say, Beatles cover versions are not my thing – but this album delivers on many levels, not the least being that it comes from an artist who respects and loves the originals.

Happy Xmas (War Is Over) – 40th Anniversary

Now in its 40th year – the peace campaign and song by John Lennon, Yoko Ono, the Plastic Ono Band and the Harlem Community Choir.

The single “Happy Christmas (War Is Over)” was released in December, 1971 in the United States (but due to a publishing dispute not until November the following year in the UK and worldwide). Here are some single releases from around the world – not all in my collection! (On most images you can click to see a larger version):

To find out more and to download the original poster in your language and in a range of sizes just click here.聽 And keep praying for peace in the world.

Happy Xmas (War is Over)

The Beatles With Records – Part Five

The Beatles have sold millions and millions of them – but there are relatively few photographs where they’re seen actually holding LP’s, singles and CD’s.

We’ve uncovered a few though in this series (you can see all the original blog posts here:聽 Part One; Part Two; Part Three; and Part Four). People are still sending in photos from their own collections, and so here is Part Five. Most of the photos below come from French Beatles collector and author Claude Defer. The first is John Lennon holding up the French “Ticket to Ride” EP.聽 Claude tells me that this photograph is from the cover of a French record collectors magazine called “Jukebox”. The picture was taken in June, 1965 when the Beatles gave two shows in Paris at the Palais des Sports:

Immediately behind “Ticket to Ride” I think you can just see another French Beatles EP called “Eight Days A Week”. Here’s the cover of that one:

Here’s another Beatles EP (or Extended Play), this time it’s George and John with a copy of the UK version of “Twist and Shout”.聽 In the UK, “Twist and Shout” was released in 1963 by Parlophone with three other tracks, “Do You Want to Know a Secret”, “A Taste of Honey”, and “There’s a Place”, from the Please Please Me album. Both the EP and album reached No. 1 :

From what must have been around the same time as the photograph above (mid-1963) comes this next photo:

It’s the Beatles with the group called Gerry and the Pacemakers at what appears to be celebratory drinks. Perhaps it was taken in April/May, 1963 when Gerry and the Pacemakers had a number one hit in the UK with “How Do You Do It?”, which came out on the Columbia label and was produced by Beatles producer, George Martin. That song was knocked from its top chart spot in May by the Beatles with “From Me to You”. It came out on Parlophone and was of course also produced by George Martin. It’s a bit difficult to tell from the photograph, but maybe band leader Gerry Marsden is holding up a copy of “How Do You Do It?”, and John is holding a copy of the new number one, “From Me to You”:

Beatles manager Brian Epstein features in previous posts pictured with Beatles records. Claude Defer sent through these next two. The first is Brian looking through a pile of what look like acetates or “test” pressings:

Wow. If some of those are Beatles test pressings (and no doubt they are) then they’d be real collectors items now! The other shot of Brian has him with a copy of “Help!” from 1965:

In 1966 the Rolling Stones released their LP “Aftermath”. Clearly the Beatles were keen to get a hold of it as soon as they could:

The caption says: “The Beatles always took a close interest in the new releases by the other top groups. Neil Aspinall (their road manager) had made a special trip to get hold of “Aftermath”, the new album by the Rolling Stones, and “Bo Dudley”, the single by Peter Cook and Dudley Moore”.

Cook and Moore were a popular British comedy act and “Bo Dudley” was the B-side to their 1966 single “Aint She a Sweetie” on the Decca label:

A year later (1967) the Beatles released “Magical Mystery Tour”. In the UK it came out as a film for TV, and also as a double EP. Here’s John signing a copy for a fan:

Not strictly the Beatles with records, but the lovely Patti Boyd who became a Beatle wife. She had a a very successful career as a model and here she is in a photo shoot featuring some of the work of her future husband, George Harrison:

Three Beatles albums are seen in the shot: “Please Please Me”, “With the Beatles”, and in her hand, “A Hard Days Night”:

John and Yoko posed for some photographs to publicise their new records in 1970. We had a couple of these in The Beatles with Records Part 2. Here’s one more, this time a picture of John and Yoko with their Plastic Ono Band LP’s. According to Claude Defer the man between them is Pete Bennett, Apple Records US promotions manager.聽 John had just released 鈥淛ohn Lennon/Plastic Ono Band鈥, and Yoko had 鈥淵oko Ono/Plastic Ono Band鈥.聽 Both titles were released simultaneously. The front covers were almost identical, but the rear artwork of Yoko鈥檚 album showed her as a young girl, while John鈥檚 showed him as a young boy:

The Lennon’s have also been photographed with an earlier release, “The Wedding Album”. It was a lavish box set celebrating their union in 1969 and contained amongst other things an LP, a wedding photo album, a picture of a slice of the wedding cake and, as you can see here, a copy of the marriage certificate pasted inside the lid of the box containing all the other goodies:

Finally, a more recent photograph – this time another of Paul McCartney out publicising his alter-ego The Fireman and a recording from 2008 called “Electric Arguments”. You can see a full report on this release here. Paul is photographed holding (upside down) the CD version, while one fan behind him holds the vinyl version, and another (on the left) is reaching for a vinyl copy of “Sgt Pepper”:

Thanks to everyone who sent in photos.

You can see the other parts in 鈥The聽Beatles聽with Records鈥 series here: 聽Parts聽1,聽2,聽3,聽4,聽6,聽7,聽8,聽9,聽10,聽11,聽12,聽13,聽14,聽15,聽16聽and聽17.

The Beatles With Records – Part Two

Since my earlier post about the Beatles being photographed actually holding the things they sold so many of – LP and single records – a few more photos have come to light. This first one is a very early publicity shot of the band with a copy of their very first album for Parlophone Records – from 1963 “Please Please Me“:

Trawling the web I came across a great photo of an obviously happy Ringo Starr with a pile of LPs and singles:

Here you can clearly see Ringo holding the Motown Record “Little Stevie Wonder – The 12 Year Old Genius” (from 1963):

He’s also got a copy of The Shirelles “Foolish Little Girl“, which again dates from 1963 leading to the conclusion that this photograph was taken in that year. The record is lying down, just near Ringo’s left hand:

And on top of that LP are a couple of 45 rpm singles. Its impossible to make out the title of the one we can see, but you can clearly make out the distinctive red and white label of Top Rank records. I wonder if it’s also The Shirelles? In Britain they were released on Top Rank – so it could very possibly be a copy of聽 “Baby Its You“, a song the Shirelles recorded in 1961 and which the Beatles themselves covered on “Please Please Me“:

I’ve also found聽 a photograph of Ringo with wife Maureen. They’re sitting at home in a flat they rented for some time in London’s Montague Square. Behind Ringo you can see on the shelf quite a large collection of LP’s, and if I’m nor mistaken Maureen is sitting on what, for the times, would have been quite a sophisticated “radiogram” or record player:

Here’s another of Ringo, once again with Maureen, clutching a copy of the Beatles “Yellow Submarine” LP:

I had a聽 a photo sent to me after the earlier blog post. It’s Paul with a copy of 1965’s “Rubber Soul“:

George Harrison features on the web photographed with records, some with easily identifiable discs and some not. This one is pretty easy to see. Its a lucky fan getting an autographed copy of “Help“:

Here’s George again, this time a shot taken in what looks to be the Apple offices. It’s him holding a copy of his second solo outing “Electronic Sound“, released on the Zapple label:

You can clearly see the rear artwork for the LP in the photo above. Below is a shot of the back cover of the LP:

And here’s another one of George again signing albums, but this time its very difficult to see just what they are:

In 1970 John and Yoko posed for some photographs to publicise their new records. John had “John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band”, and Yoko had “Yoko Ono/Plastic Ono Band”. Both titles, on Apple Records, were released simultaneously. The front covers were almost identical, but the rear artwork of Yoko’s album showed her as a young girl, while John’s showed him as a young boy:

In the photo is also “The Wedding Album” box set, which came out in 1969. The photo below is taken at the same session:

As I said, the front cover artwork of these two LP’s is difficult to tell apart. “John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band” has John leaning against Yoko:

While “Yoko Ono/Plastic Ono Band” has Yoko leaning against John:

Very subtle.

Finally, a photograph of Beatles’ manager Brian Epstein. He’s holding a copy of the controversial 1966 US Capitol Records release “Yesterday and Today“. This is the famous “Butcher Cover” LP. Maybe he’s contemplating the new photograph that Capitol was forced to paste over all the original issues of the album:

This is the more acceptable “trunk” cover shot that Capitol put on over the top of the original artwork:

And this is what it replaced:

The interesting thing about the Epstein photograph is that what he is holding appears to be an early mock-up of the replacement artwork. If you look closely there is no song list at the top and the font for the words “Yesterday and Today” is different to that used on the final version. Interesting.

Don’t forget, if you have any other photographs of the Beatles actually listening to or holding singles or LP’s you can send them to me at:聽

You can see the other parts in 鈥The聽Beatles聽with Records鈥 series here: 聽Parts聽1,聽3,聽4,聽5聽,聽6,聽7聽,聽8,聽9聽,聽10聽,聽11,聽12,聽13,聽14,聽15,聽16聽and 17.