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:  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.  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”.  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.  John had just released “John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band”, and Yoko had “Yoko Ono/Plastic Ono Band”.  Both titles 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:

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 “The Beatles with Records” series here:  Parts 1234678910111213141516 and 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  “Baby Its You“, a song the Shirelles recorded in 1961 and which the Beatles themselves covered on “Please Please Me“:

I’ve also found  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  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:

You can see the other parts in “The Beatles with Records” series here:  Parts 13467 , 89 , 10 , 111213141516 and 17.

Tittenhurst Park

Stumbled upon an interesting article on the BBC website about John Lennon’s former home Tittenhurst Park near Ascot, Berkshire in England. It reminded me how much it has formed a part of the imagery surrounding record covers in my collection, and probably in yours. These albums, along with videos and publicity shots taken at Tittenhurst, have gone into the collective consciousness. Fans will know of this mansion house because although Lennon and Yoko Ono only lived there for around two years it featured in many a photo session, song video and documentary about John Lennon and the Beatles. There were in fact a huge number of photographs taken there – probably the most famous being the front and rear cover images for the Beatles best-of album known variously as The Beatles Again/Hey Jude (released in 1970 in the USA), and as Hey Jude (released in 1979 in the UK): This image, also taken at the house, was used for the rear cover: The next most famous images from Tittenhurst Park (which by the way is on London Road at a place called Sunningdale – one blogger has dedicated an entire blog to the house) came about when Lennon recorded his Imagine album there in 1971. When the song ‘Imagine’ was released as a single it was accompanied by this now legendary video which begins with John and Yoko walking through the fog-filled extensive grounds of Tittenhurst, and ends in an all-white main room inside the house:

There’s also a fantastic scene from Gimme Some Truth, the documentary on the making of the Imagine album, where John talks to a young man who turns up at the house and invites him in for breakfast. And of course the cover photograph for Plastic Ono Band (1970) was also taken in the grounds of the manor – beside the man-made lake the Lennon’s had constructed on the property:

There’s a fairly comprehensive article about Tittenhurst Park in Wikipedia. John subsequently sold the property to Ringo Starr. Lennon biographer Philip Norman wrote:

“Ringo had…recently bought Tittenhurst Park, in the same obliging spirit that a Liverpool pal might take over some old banger of a car. John hated the thought that his rolling parklands and lake had gone forever, and drew comfort from Ringo’s promise that a bedroom would always be kept for him there.” (“John Lennon – The Life”. Harper Collins, 2008)

Sadly the events of 1980 meant that was no longer a requirement. The house and grounds were again sold in 1988 to present owner, Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, President of the United Arab Emitrates and ruler of Abu Dhabi. On Friday, August 22, 1969 the Beatles final photo session as a band was at Tittenhurst. The dream was over.

(See also “John Lennon’s Rolls Royce“, and the Kenwood site which goes into great detail about the house Lennon owned prior to purchasing Tittenhurst Park)

John Lennon – Gimme Some Truth Box

This is the next installment of close-up, detailed photos of the current John Lennon re-issue program. We’ve already had a look at the “Signature” box set containing freshly remastered editions of all the original studio albums, plus two CDs of singles, home recordings and outtakes.

Now its the turn of the other box set issued as part of the program called “Gimme Some Truth”. First thing to say is that it is much smaller that the “Signature” box set (although that’s not saying much as the “Signature” set is huge). Its really just a slipcase kind of affair, designed to hold four CDs in cardboard sleeves plus a book. The other thing to say is that there’s nothing new here audio-wise for the avid collector. These are compilations completely made up of previously released tracks – most of which have been re-issued in a variety of forms many, many times…

The front and rear photos on the box are of John and Yoko in New York, only they’ve been superimposed on a drawing of New York Harbour (as imagined by John Lennon). It was taken by Scottish photographer Iain Macmillan, best known for his photo for the cover of “Abbey Road”:

"Gimme Some Truth" - front cover

And the rear:

"Gimme Some Truth" - rear cover

Here’s a shot from the same photo session with Iain Macmillan:

Inside the box are four themed CDs that gather John Lennon’s songs into categories. The first is “Working Class Hero”:

This photo is taken by Bob Gruen, a long-time friend and frequent photographer of Lennon who has taken some of his most iconic shots, including the images for the “Walls and Bridges” album, and he did the photograph used on the recent biography of John by Philip Norman. There are 18 tracks on this CD and they include “Power to the People”, “Steel and Glass” and “Give Peace a Chance”.

The second CD is called “Woman”, and gathers together love songs and songs specifically about the women in Lennon’s life:

This image is by Lilo Raymond, and is a photograph from the same sessions as the one used for the front cover of the 1983 posthumous LP release called “Heart Play – Unfinished Dialogue” which contained conversations with John and Yoko recorded in 1980:

The “Woman” CD also contains 18 songs, such as “Mother”, “Hold On” and “Jealous Guy”.  The third CD is “Borrowed Time”:

Got to be one of the saddest photos of John, don’t you think? So much potential there and a baby boy he won’t get the chance to see grow up….. Songs include “Nobody Told Me”, Watching the Wheels”, and of course “Borrowed Time”. The image was taken by Nishi Saimaru, who’s 1990 book “The John Lennon Family Album” features intimate family photographs taken over a three year period with the Lennon’s in New York, Miami, Hong Kong, and Tokyo. She also took the cover photo for that other four CD box set released in 1990, simply called “Lennon“.

The fourth and final disc collects Lennon covering tracks from his youth – early rock’n’roll standards plus a couple of other more contemporary rockers.

This is one of a series of famous images taken by Jurgen Vollmer of a young John Lennon in a Hamburg doorway. Vollmer, Astrid Kirchherr and Klaus Voormann met the Beatles in Germany in the early 60’s. Later, John was to write: “… Vollmer was the first photographer to capture the beauty and the spirit of The Beatles…We tried very hard to find someone with his touch after we returned from Hamburg, Germany…nobody could…The photographs…speak for themselves.” One of his photos from the same session was used on the cover of the 1975 album “Rock ‘N’ Roll”:

The “Gimme Some Truth” box also contains a 24-page book featuring an article (“Truth In All It’s Forms – The Songs of John Lennon”) by Anthony DeCurtis. DeCurtis also wrote the essay for the “Signature” box. It is illustrated with additional photographs, Lennon drawings and hand-written lyrics.

The front and rear covers of the book feature a Lennon drawing with his face morphing into Yoko Ono’s, and vice versa:

The final inclusion in the box is a business card-sized piece of cardboard with the word “Online” on one side and instructions and a PIN code for you to access the John Lennon Universe on the web on the other.

I’m not sure, but I think this card and PIN get you access to less comprehensive content in the “Universe” to that of the “Signature” box one. If anyone confirm that let me know.

See also the John LennonSignature Box” revealed, and the Paul McCartney Deluxe “Band on the Run” CD and vinyl sets.

John Lennon – Signature Box

Well, our copy of the new John Lennon “Signature Box” has finally arrived safely in the post, thanks to Amazon, all the way from America.

You’ll no doubt see lots and lots of small photos of the exterior and YouTube “un-boxing” videos, so I thought I’d scan in some extreme close ups of what’s inside to give you an idea of the contents from that perspective.

As you know (and any Google Image search will reveal) the exterior of the “Signature Box” and it’s main parts look like this:

You can see above that it is really a box-within-a-box as the entire exterior (which has the word “Lennon” in sky blue lettering on top, and a Lennon signature embossed in white on the front) slides up and off to reveal an inner box. What you first see at the very top of that box are three items: the first is a 60-page, hard-cover book with simply the word “Yes” deeply embossed in blue on the front cover:

There is a deep blue ribbon underneath this book to help you lift it out of the box neatly (those of you with the Beatles Remastered Stereo boxes will have seen something similar used in that box to help you lift out the CDs). This book contains a lengthy essay called “John Lennon – The Life and Afterlife” by Anthony DeCurtis. It is illustrated lavishly with photographs, drawings and hand-written lyrics. Also with the book at the top of the box is a four-page cardboard fold-out sheet with this on the front:

On one side are three separate messages about John Lennon and his legacy from Yoko Ono, Julian Lennon and Sean Lennon, all signed August 9th, 2010. On the other side are four words: Give Peace A Chance. The final item you find at the top of the box is a business card-sized piece of cardboard with the word “Online” on one side and instructions and a PIN code for you to access the John Lennon Universe on the web on the other.

(If you don’t have a PIN code you can still have a snoop around the “Universe” – only with a lot of the functionality disabled).

Once you have lifted these three items out you can see the CD’s tucked away vertically inside underneath the book. They’re held in place by a piece of white soft foam with finger cut-outs so that you can get the CDs out a little more easily:

All the CDs are housed in redesigned cardboard gate-fold covers, utilizing the original artwork but in the now-familiar style of all the newly remastered Beatles CD covers. (Incidentally, the new Paul McCartney archive re-issues [starting with “Band on the Run” next month] will also have this new look). The re-issued and remastered CDs now all have booklets with sleeve notes (by Paul Du Noyer), lyrics and additional photographs.  The only thing here that’s new music content-wise are two CDs housed together in a unique, plain white gate-fold cover. One of them contains six singles which are not on the albums:

The other contains 13 tracks which are previously unreleased studio outtakes or home recordings:

Then, at the bottom of the box is a slide-out drawer (its got a small blue ribbon tab so you can pull it out). It contains a white, hard covered folder with John Lennon’s signature embossed in white on the front. The drawer also has a long blue ribbon under the folder to assist you in lifting it out. Inside is a John Lennon 70th Birthday art print on high quality paper:

This tasteful art theme is continued on two sides of the inner box, with a further Lennon drawing appearing on the left-hand side:

And again on the right-hand side:

I hope this has given you a different perspective on the contents. Clearly a lot of thought has gone into the packaging to try to make it hang together artistically in both design and colours. The strongest motifs are clouds, blue sky, and plain white). Its a MUCH bigger box than you’d expect – in fact the nine CDs inside look quite small by the time you get to them. There is a lot of packaging around them. It is significantly larger than the John Lennon  “Anthology” four-CD set and book that came out in 1998 (and which has some very similar design elements).

The Second Disc has written a comprehensive review of the “Signature Box”.

Next post will be a similar close-up, in-depth look at the new 4 CD “Gimme Some Truth” package.

See also the Paul McCartney Deluxe CD set, and the two disc vinyl.

Lennon Signature Box – Unboxing

The first of the YouTube videos showing the unboxing of the new John Lennon “Signature Box” (containing all eight re-issued and remastered studio albums, plus a double CD containing non-album singles and 13 previously unreleased studio outtakes and home recordings) have begun to appear. This is one of the best so far:

It is actually a much larger box than I had imagined. I think its a pity that the box does not contain the new “Stripped Down” version of “Double Fantasy” and that we have to go out and buy that again separately…..

Lennon “Gimme Some Truth”- Universe and Campaign Trailer

Just had an email from

It reads (in part):

John Lennon ‘Universe’ Revealed + Campaign Trailer

The John Lennon ‘Universe’ is an immersive and interactive online
experience around John Lennon’s life and musical career, featuring
multimedia content, audio from the remastered solo career albums, videos
and fascinating essays in an exciting, interactive format.

Fans will be able to access ‘Universe’ with the physical and digital
versions of the following products from the 70th Birthday campaign:

– Power To The People (CD+DVD Edition)
– Gimme Some Truth
– John Lennon Signature Box
– Power To The People iTunes LP
– Double Fantasy Stripped Down iTunes LP

Watch the brand new ‘Gimme Some Truth’ campaign trailer, which walks you
through all the releases, by clicking on the image of John above.

New Lennon Film + Behind the Scenes Podcast Series

As part of an ever-growing number of events, books and CD re-issues to mark what would have been John Lennon’s 70th birthday, comes a new documentary film. In a couple of days (on September 25th) “LennoNYC” will make it’s premiere as part of the New York Film Festival. It will also be broadcast on PBS TV in the United States (on November 22nd), and released commercially as a DVD (on November 23).

The film, which looks to be well-researched and gets access to a number of the main players in John Lennon’s life, traces his love affair with the city of New York and how, with the city’s help, he was able to reinvent himself both artistically and in his private life. It also delves into how he worked as a composer and recording artist.

In the lead up to the television premiere the makers of the film – Susan Lacy, Series Creator and Executive Producer of the American Masters series and a producer of “LennoNYC”, and Director/Writer Michael Epstein – are making ten, hour-long, exclusive podcasts freely available. These all contain extended and largely uncut versions of the interviews that were recorded for the film with those who knew and worked with Lennon intimately during his time living in the city.

The first is with Jack Douglas, co-producer (with Lennon and Yoko Ono) of the “Double Fantasy” LP, released just prior to Lennon’s death in 1980. Its timely because he’s just been involved in preparing the special “stripped down” edition of the album which will be released the week after next.

Here is Jack Douglas from the PBS podcast talking about his work on the new stripped down version:

In the hour-long podcast interview Douglas also reveals how “Double Fantasy” was made in top secret – and surprisingly – much of it in John Lennon’s bed:

There are many other great insights and stories from Douglas. He’s particularly poignant about John’s death and its impact on him and others who knew him closely. You can download the full podcasts here, or go to the iTunes store and subscribe there. New episodes will be posted weekly every Thursday until the Thursday after the TV broadcast on November 22.  The final podcast will be a question and answer session using the best questions submitted by users via email.

The “Imagine Peace” website has extensive coverage, information and articles about the film “LennoNYC” (scroll down the page), and there’s also been a trailer for the documentary uploaded to YouTube:

Two Apple Box Sets Coming

Steve Marinucci in his excellent Beatles Examiner column reports that both the Beatles “Red” and “Blue” plus the extensive Apple Records artists reissues will be available as box sets.

Called “The Beatles 1962 – 1970”, the box set containing the Red “1962-1966” and the Blue “1967-1970” will look like this:

Red and Blue Box Set front cover

Of course inside will be these two double disc sets:

The Red "1962-1966"

The Blue "1966-1970"

The initial information on these releases remains the same – they will be available as individual discs on October 18 (in the UK) and October 19 (in the US). The box set however is listed by Amazon UK for a November 29 release.

Meanwhile, the big Apple artists reissues also planned for October are to be gathered together in box set for those who would like to buy the complete set. The big news here is that the box will contain not only the “Come and Get It – Best Of” disc with its rarities, but also two additional discs featuring the additional and rare tracks that would have only been available as digital downloads – so, 17 CD’s in all. For collectors like me this makes this release a lot more interesting because I still like to have the physical disc in my hands, complete with the liners notes, photographs and artwork rather than the nebulous digitally downloaded audio….

The box set cover will look like this:

Steve Marinucci has a nice slide show of the box and all the discs it will contain.

The one problem I have with all this is that the Beatles and Apple have allowed such a large amount of collectable product to pile up all at the same time. Between now and November we’ll have George Harrrison’s “Collaborations”; John Lennon’s multiple “Gimme Some Truth” releases; Paul McCartney’s “Band on the Run” in multiple versions; The Beatles “Red” and “Blue”; and all the Apple re-issues. This makes it incredibly difficult if not impossible for most avid collectors to afford all at once.

Thanks to Beatles Examiner for this information.

105 Days with the Beatles

This isn’t new – it comes from back in December last year but I’ve only just discovered it and thought its worth passing on because it’s kind of interesting.

Its an interview on the Australian EMI site with Richard Lush – who worked at EMI during the 60’s as second engineer to Geoff Emerick recording the Beatles. As he says in a great quote from the article:”….I did 105 sessions; 105 days I walked across Abbey Road and went to work for the Beatles….”.  Not many people can make that claim.

“I was 18 years old and I had been there for 6 months. Before I started on “Revolver”, when we did “A Day in the Life”… Geoff and I, Geoff was 2 years older then me… Geoff would have been 20 and I was 18. I remember us in the control room joking to one another… isn’t amazing…they are actually trusting us… (We laughed)”

“People often ask me: “What’s the worst thing about working for the Beatles?” And I always said… The fact that they would always start late. Most bands in those days started in the morning (10am) but they would start around 2pm. So you would show up just before 2… There would be no fans, no screaming girls, so you knew they had not arrived yet. Then George Martin would show up about 4 o’clock, we would set up, still be waiting, and then the Beatles would roll in about 7 or 8pm and go to about 8 in the morning……I worked on “Pepper”, did a track on “Revolver”, about half   “The White Album”, some of “Magical Mystery Tour”.”

Anyway, check out the interview in full – its worth a read.

If you want to see Richard Lush in the studio here’s a short clip of him examining the piano and drum parts for the John Lennon track “God”, from his solo album Plastic Ono Band. This was part of the great “Classic Albums” video series: