Beatles Target Ltd Release Singles – Part 2

Here’s some more on the limited edition Beatles 45 and tee-shirt packs only available at Target stores in the US.

Some folks have been posting more information and pictures at the Steve Hoffman Music Forums – worth checking out for Beatles information and updates from time-to-time.

Someone put up a photo of the way the boxed sets are displayed in the store – usually at the end of an aisle like this:

As my copies are sealed and will probably stay that way I was interested to see some label images of the records inside:

Just a quick reminder about what we are talking about here:

And here are the copyright and other details on the bottom of one of the boxes – which I forgot to include on my earlier post. This one is for “Hello Goodbye”:

(If you’d like to see this slightly larger just click on the image above).

The Beatles “1” – Remastered 2011

It was released today (Friday, September 2) in Australia:

This is the re-issue, in newly remastered form, of “The Beatles 1” compilation which first came out in the year 2000. As the sticker on the front cover says: “27 Classic Number 1 Singles – Remastered”. Here’s the rear cover:

These are the remasters done at the same time as the big release of all the albums back in 2009. It comes in a cardboard gatefold sleeve that’s in the same format as all the 2009 re-issues.

Below is the front cover of the booklet, which despite some speculation that it would be different, has exactly the same 30 pages and layout as the 2000 issue:

Each page is dedicated to a particular song and gives the recording place and date, chart information and full colour photographs of various record sleeves of that single from around the world.  Even the CD printing is the same as the 2000 issue:

(click on images to see a large version)

A bit disappointing really….

It comes out on September 13 in the US, on September 5 in the UK, and is also expected on iTunes as a digital download on September 6th.

See also:  The Beatles Number 1 Vinyl  and  The Beatles Number 1 – Taiwan Variation  and  Imitation is the Sincerest Form of Flattery

The Beatles official site has this promotional video for “1” now on the front page:

Beatles Red and Blue – This is Odd…

I’m really surprised to read on Amazon (US) that the Beatles “1962-1966 (Red)” and “1967-1970 (Blue)” combination box set is still not due for release in America until December 7th, and on Amazon (UK) that it won’t be available there until November 29th. The individual discs have been available separately in both places since October 19th and October 18th respectively.

This is really odd because here in Australia the separate discs and the box set have been available from day one of the worldwide release of the individual discs on October 18th. It’s much more usual for Australia to be well behind US and UK releases, but this time EMI Australia has clearly got its act together and is ahead of the pack for once.

Add to that the fact that I ordered on Ebay – and today have received in the post – my copy of the European (EU) version of the box set which holds both the “Red” and the “Blue” double discs in the one box.   Go figure…..

Some Unusual Asian Beatles Items – Part Two

This blog is sub-titled “Adventures in Collecting Beatles Music”, and this post continues an examination of some South East Asian Beatles releases purchased in Hanoi on a recent trip to Vietnam.

Further investigation of these hasn’t categorically ruled out their legitimacy but it seems more likely that they’re actually illegal fakes that someone (in China) has taken a lot of time and trouble to manufacture to make them appear very much like official releases…..

In Part One I wrote about the 5 DVD “Anthology” box-set I found in Hanoi.  This next post is about a series of six double CDs called “The Beatles Double Golden Collection”:

It’s a series where two Beatles albums have been released in one CD box, each with an outer cardboard slipcase. The ones I was able to purchase were:

Magical Mystery Tour and Yellow Submarine

Please Please Me and Sgt Pepper

Revolver and WIth the Beatles

Help and Rubber Soul

Abbey Road and Let It Be

Hard Days Night and Beatles For Sale

Each CD has the same documentaries as those found on the recent stereo “Beatles Remastered” discs. So, its clear that these CDs came out following the October 2009 release of those new “remastered” CDs.

If that’s the case then I can only assume that there must be at least two more titles in the “Beatles Double Golden Collection” series. There should be one that has the 2 CD “The Beatles” (White Album)”, and one for the 2 CD “Past Masters” release.  These would then fill out the catalogue. The shop in which I purchased the CD’s above mustn’t have these two titles in stock at the time – so I was able to get only these six.

These releases are interesting for a couple of reasons. As you can see above, they have a large logo at top left of the packaging for something called SHM-CD or “Super High Material CD”.  According to the internet this is “…an advance in the materials used in the production of Compact Discs that uses super quality, enhanced transparency polycarbonate material in the manufacture of CD’s”. The aim of this is to improve the sound. A Google search reveals what looks to be legitimate information about SHM-CD . It says it was invented by Universal Records and the Japanese electrics company JVC – both well-known and respected companies. This official-looking website has more information about the technology and some of the releases on SHM-CD. The rear of the slipcase also has some detailed information (in Chinese) about SHM-CD – see the top right-hand side of the image below (click on the image to make it larger):

Slipcase for Magical Mystery Tour and Yellow Submarine, with panel about SHM-CD

There’s also a panel showing what looks like very official logos for Apple Records, QuickTime, Enhanced CD, and Compact Disc:

I’d really love to hear from anyone out there who can read Chinese and can shed some light on what the small print says, or who knows if these are legal Chinese copies of Beatles discs.

As to the contents of each CD, they appear to be exactly the same as the recent Beatles Stereo Remastered series – and the quality of the recordings is first rate. The 2-CD jewel cases are not of a standard size but larger in every dimension. You can see this clearly below when they are placed side-by-side with a standard CD jewel case:

Standard CD jewel case (top) compared to Double Golden Collection jewel case (below)

The spines are also wider than standard:

Spine of a standard CD (right) compared to the Double Golden case (left)

Inside there are two CD’s on a swinging inner “door” with CD disc “A” on one side and CD disc “B” on the other:

The booklets in the “Double Golden Collection” contain lots of photographs of the Beatles. There is no text in the booklets at all. All the photos are exactly the same as those found in the booklets which come with the latest official Beatles “Remastered” series:

"Please Please Me" and "Sgt. Pepper" booklet

"Please Please Me" and "Sgt. Pepper" booklet

Here’s a closer shot of one of the CDs in the set:

"Please Please Me" and "Sgt. Pepper" CD 1

The rear cover of the jewel case details all the songs on the two albums. Notice the reference to the the special mini-documentaries. These were produced by Apple and accompany each album in the “Remastered” series as well:

Rear cover of the CD jewel case for "Please Please Me" and "Sgt. Pepper". Notice the last track for each title is the "making of" mini documentary for each album - just like in the official "Remasters" series

Again, the official logos (including Apple) and even a bar-code appear, making it tough when you are standing in a Hanoi record store trying to decide if these are indeed legitimate releases sanctioned by the Beatles and their record company Apple Records. If these are fakes whoever produced them has gone to extraordinary lengths to make them appear to be legitimate Beatle releases.

The other thing is – since returning home I’ve researched these titles fairly extensively on the web and can find nothing about them. I think that this post may be the very first to detail them.

See also Some Unusual Asian Beatles Items – Part One, and also Some Unusual Asian Beatles Items – Part Three

Beatles – Paperback Writer/Rain Re-issue

I’ve been sweating on the postman arriving this week as I bought a copy of the “Paperback Writer/Rain” Parlophone Record Store Day re-issue, and it arrived today. Mine came from the US. It was finally released there on June 8 after an on-again/off again series of dates came and went. This followed the initial UK release on Record Store Day proper earlier this year on April 17.

In the UK the re-issue was limited to just 1000 copies – and hence the prices being asked went through the roof. I believe (see below) that the US releases are imports of the exact same UK pressings – and so are a chance to catch up on that really rare initial UK release.

You can see five close-up images here – three of the most recent “Paperback Writer/Rain” US release, and two of a previous US Capitol issue.

Steve Marinucci, who has a Beatles news column online at the Examiner newspaper, published this story about the UK release, and this story about the then US re-issue plans. Reviewer, writer and Beatles fan Matt Hurwitz sent the Examiner the following description of the new vinyl single:

I’ve just received a copy of the new “Paperback Writer”/”Rain” 7″ vinyl single from Capitol, which will be issued to participating indie record stores as part of continued celebration of Record Store Day. The disc & sleeve are actually the same as was released in England. This is an import of that release (i.e. not pressed here in the States by Capitol). The record features a black-and-white Parlophone die-cut sleeve with dark blue label backdrops. The A-side label lists both songs; the B-side label features art that matches that on the back of the sleeve – letters spelling out “Parlophone.” For those who keep track, the disc is Parlophone R-6813/EMI 50999-6-41639-7-0. The disc itself features stereo mixes of the two songs. It’s important to note – this is the first vinyl release taken from the new masters, and they sound fantastic. The stereo spread sounds as if the mastering engineer pulled in the left and right a hair (i.e. so that the hard-left and hard-right panning of some channels isn’t quite as far left or right). And, of course, being mastered at Abbey Road, my needle didn’t jump out of the groove on “Paperback Writer”.

After reading all this I got a bit inquisitive and wanted to find out if the Beatles Parlophone re-issue was a one-off, or part of a bigger re-issue by the company around Record Store Day. Turns out “Paperback Writer” was just one of many re-issues by the label – all done with similar dark blue sleeves and labels. Here is the official Parlophone press release

Parlophone Plan Vinyl Series For Record Store Day – Twelve artists will be taking part (Posted 8th April, 2010)

Parlophone have announced plans to release a series of limited vinyl (1000 copies each) for Record Store Day (17th April).

Twelve artists will be taking part, including Hot Chip, Bat For Lashes, Pet Shop Boys, Lily Allen and The Beatles. Each release will come in a vintage-style paper Parlophone house bag which has been designed ‘specially, and uses elements of historic sleeves from the 1960s to the present day. From this year’s hottest new urban artist Tinie Tempah to the band that made the label what it is today, The Beatles. Each release will come in a vintage-style paper Parlophone house bag which has been designed especially for the releases and uses elements of historic sleeves from the 1960’s to the present day.

The releases are:

Babyshambles Side of the Road/UnBiloTitled

Bat For Lashes Howl! (Live at De La Warr Pavillion)/Wild Is The Wind (Live at Grove Music Studios)

The Beatles Paperback Writer/Rain

Chiddy Bang Opposite of Adults/Sooner or Later

Danger Mouse & Sparklehorse Just War (featuring Gruff Rhys)/Just War (instrumental)

Eliza Doolittle Pack Up/Rollerblades

Hot Chip I Feel Bonnie (featuring Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billie)/Bear Witness

Jónsi Go Do/Boy Lilikoi

Lily Allen Back To The Start/Kabul Shit

The Pet Shop Boys Love Life/A Powerful Friend

Tinie Tempah Pass Out/Pass Out (SBTRKT Remix)

(plus one other release)

Miles Leonard, President of Parlophone said: “Parlophone and our artists recognise the importance of our Indie stores and their contribution to not only our new and developing artists but to our catalogue as a whole. Being able to support this campaign with some great 7″ releases from The Beatles to Bat For Lashes is our way of thanking them for their continued support. After all ‘Music Matters’.”

Of course Capitol in the US also released The John Lennon Singles Bag as part of the celebrations for Record Store Day as well, and you can read more about that here.

More on the Beatles 2009 “Christmas Pack” – Another Variation Exists

Before Christmas I wrote about Apple/EMI putting together a small box set containing four of the most popular of the new stereo remasters.

I decided as it was a variation in an officially produced box that it’d be worth having in the collection. I found a place in the UK on Ebay that was selling them for a reasonable price (quite a bit cheaper than my local record shops) and so I got one. Who knows, maybe one day it might become a collectable because these were only produced in limited numbers as I understand it.

It arrived the other day – here’s the front view of the box:

Beatles "Christmas Pack" Box Front

And here is the rear:

Beatles "Christmas Pack" Box Rear

I can’t show you the CD’s inside because I’m going to keep this one sealed.

Well, the other day I was in the city and called in to one of the best independent record shops going around – Red Eye Records. They’re great and stock a wide variety of hard-to-get music from around the world. If they haven’t got it they’ll search for you and order it in too. Anyway, while there I saw that they had quite a few copies of what at first appeared to be this same box set up on the shelves behind the counter.

Just out of curiosity (I guess to confirm that I’d got a good deal!) I asked what the price was. The assistant said “Those? Oh, they’re just empty boxes. The record company gave them to us to give to people who bought a few Beatles stereo remasters as something to put them in as gifts. We’ve got a lot of them left over. You can have one if you want.” I thought, well one might be handy to have in case any other remasters come my way, or it could store any Beatles CDs really.

Also, something about the box looked a bit different, though I couldn’t figure out what straight away in the shop, and so I took up the offer. It wasn’t until I got home and compared it to the box above that I realised it was quite different. Here’s the front of the free box:

Beatles "Gift Box" Front

Notice just an Apple logo instead of the four small stereo remasters cover images on the other box. And the rear is different, too:

Beatles "Gift Box" Rear

All the cover images for the entire remasters series are shown.

So, a genuine little gift box that can be used for multiples of any of the new re-issue series. And another collectors item?

Beatles – Remastered Press Coverage

One thing the Remastered Beatles catalogue has generated, aside from great excitement amongst avid collectors, is media coverage of the releases. This included TV, radio and internet coverage but also massive press coverage as well in the form of countless newspaper articles and major features in music magazines.

A couple of my favourites:

“Rolling Stone” , “Uncut” and “Mojo” magazines each had special stories reporting on aspects of the new releases in detail.

The British magazine “Q Music” also had a nice photo gallery.

However, one magazine really took it to the next level and went all out. The British weekly music mag New Music Express (NME) created not one special edition to mark the 09.09.09 releases, but thirteen – each with a different collectable cover. Inside, the 12 September edition contains over 30 pages of text and photographs detailing each of the remastered albums. On the outside though there is a different shiny silver cover, each featuring a Beatles album. Below is a partial scan of number 12 of the 13, featuring “Let It Be”.  I also got the “Sgt Pepper” cover (number 8 of 13), but drew the line there as it would have just been over the top to spend so much money buying all thirteen versions! (The shiny silver didn’t scan all that well but you get the general idea…). To see all the covers go to the NME site.  For an interview with Paul click here.

Beatles             New Musical Express

UK/Sept 2009/collectors edition “Let It Be”, cover 12 of 13

Cover number 12 of 13 special NME covers celebrating 09.09.09

Cover number 12 of 13 special NME covers celebrating 09.09.09