Beatles New Japan Box Set Available for Order in US and UK

It’s often frustrating being a collector of Beatles music and the different releases available around the world….sometimes we get caught out and lose money in the haste to secure certain items.

Take this recent example.

A month-and-half ago we learned about a unique, limited edition, Japan-only 5 CD box set to be released on June 25:

We all scrambled around trying to find ways to secure a copy of this from suppliers in Japan. We currently have ours on order from cdjapan.com for a princely 14,000 Yen [that’s $146.00 Australian], plus postage.

Now comes news (from Steve Marinucci’s Beatles Examiner News page) that “The Japan Box” can now be pre-ordered through Amazon.com. It comes out there on July 15 – for just $118.98 US….that’s $127 Australian! The set will also be available in the UK.

This box commemorates the Beatles’ 50th anniversary and features five Japanese Beatles albums in reproduction covers exactly as they would have been originally issued on LP from 1964 to 1965. This parallels “The U.S. Albums” box set which came out earlier this year in America, and like that set the Japanese albums will be compiled from the 2009 remasters, with the exception of “Help!,” which will have its original ’60s stereo mix.

The five albums included are “Meet The Beatles,” “The Beatles Second Album,” “A Hard Day’s Night,” “Help!” and “The Beatles No. 5.” A 100-page Japanese booklet will also included. Track lists of the albums are unique to Japan.

But you have to ask yourself how an album manufactured in that country, then imported to the US, can be on sale $20 cheaper there than buying it direct….Meet the Beatles Japan BoxJapan Box Banner

 

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 Harrison Apple Single, and a White Album to Complete a Beatles Box Set

A few posts ago we wrote about some Beatle treasure discovered during a recent visit to the city of Newcastle in New South Wales. Here are some details about more finds from that same trip – which included a run up to the seaside town of Nelson Bay (45 minutes north of Newcastle) as well.

A second-hand book and record store called Rice’s Bookshop on Newcastle’s famous Hunter Street turned up this Australian George Harrison 45 which we previously didn’t have in the collection:Harrison What is Life 1-1Harrison What is Life-1Harrison Apple Scruffs-1

It’s a very clean copy of this 1971 single release, taken from the All Things Must Pass triple LP.

Quite some time back (many, many years ago in fact) we were given one of those black, wooden roll-top Beatles boxes, sometimes known as the “Bread Bin” box: Beatles Rolltop2Our box was perfect, but it was given to us without any of the CD’s…..

So, for some time now we’ve been gradually stocking it with Australian pressings of the 15 discs that should be in there. We had every one – except the White Album. It looked like a kid with a missing front tooth! That is until this trip to Newcastle.

In the seaside town of Nelson Bay (which is just a little bit further up the coast from Newcastle) we discovered the final piece in the jigsaw in a small second-hand book and CD store there. And for just A$13.00 it was a real bargain:Beatles White Aus frontBeatles White Aus rearBeatles White Aus Disc 1Beatles White Aus Disc 2

(click on the images to see larger versions)

The Beatles “Bread Bin” set was released in 1988 as a limited edition box containing fifteen CD abum releases. They are housed in a custom-made, fitted roll-top “bread bin” style wooden outer box with a 64-page colour booklet featuring rare photo’s and the stories behind every song. The booklet slots into a tray just under the CDs.

Our set is now complete!

Beatles Rolltop1

 

 

Yoko Ono Albums To Be Reissued

Flipping through a recent copy of Mojo magazine we noticed this small article:mojo

Being interested in anything Beatles and Apple Records related we decided to do a bit more research.

Yoko Ono’s Plastic Ono Band site has this small promo tile (complete with a grapefruit) – but no links when you click on it:reissue_yopob

Same for her Imagine Peace site. Again, there’s the same promo tile on the page but no other information or links, although there is a tiny bit more info as the tile at least lists two record company names:Reissue_Imaginepeace

Chimera Music is Ono’s (and son Sean Lennon’s) record label. A search revealed no further information on their site though. Not sure what Secretly Canadian has to do with the releases (it’s an American independent record label based in Bloomington, Indiana) because there’s no reference to Yoko Ono or Plastic Ono Band on their site either….

Of course these titles have been released previously. The details of that 1997 reissue project are in this MTV article:

“….beginning on May 20th, the label (Rykodisc) will present 11 different Yoko Ono and Plastic Ono Band albums, all of which are being remixed and remastered as needed by Ono herself…..The first wave of releases will be unleashed on May 20 with the four titles, Unfinished Music #1: Two Virgins, an album or tape manipulation and random noises reportedly made the night before Ono and John Lennon made love for the first time; its sequel, Unfinished Music #2: Life With the Lions, which deals with Ono’s subsequent miscarriage and also contains a “song” called “Radio Play,” 12 minutes of random radio dial-turning; the collaborative The Wedding Album, whose second song is a 22 minute drone consisting of the couple calling each other’s name and, finally, the first Plastic Ono Band album, Yoko Ono with the Plastic Ono Band.

The next set of four releases (June 10) contains what many considered to be the first post-punk record (ironic, since it pre-dated punk), the noisy, experimental Fly, credited to Yoko Ono and the Plastic Ono Band. Also released on that day are two other Plastic Ono Band Yoko titles, Approximately Infinite Universe and Feeling the Space. Also included will be Ono’s cathartic, personal album, Season of Glass. July 1st will bring the last set of three releases,It’s Alright (I See Rainbows)Star Peace and A Story, a previously unreleased album that was included in the box set. Ono is currently searching for some appropriate bonus tracks for the releases…”

Rykodisc were also involved with this 1992 6-CD set, Onobox:Ono BoxYoko Ono herself writes about the contents of this box set extensively here. Onobox is a kind of a “best of” compilation, with tracks from across her own (and John Lennon’s) output from 1968 to 1985.

It’ll be interesting to see what the 2014 project brings….

Beatles Launch Official “U.S. Albums” Website

Beatles US Albums Advertisement

The 50th year has kicked off with a bang – the big release of the Beatles The U.S. Albums in a 13 album box set, and as individual titles on CD or digital download. Yesterday the Beatles official website unveiled a new interactive page dedicated to the release (just click on the image below to go there):Beatles Official US Albums Website

Meanwhile on YouTube, this guy was amonst the very first to get a copy of the box set and upload an “unboxing” video showing the contents in detail:

Beatles Across the World – Book and Prints

Stumbled across a cheap but only just-released book this week. Penned by a writer named John Stanley, it’s called The Beatles Across the World. Here are the front and rear covers:Beatles Across the World5Beatles Across the World4

The Beatles Across the World just 64 pages (it’s no Lewisohn Tune In, which runs to 946 pages!), and has clearly been released to capitalise on the 50th anniversary of the group’s appearances on the Ed Sullivan Show in the US – and the Beatle-mania which subsequently erupted across that country.

This publication is interesting though. It comes in a carboard folder which opens to reveal two pouches inside, one to hold the book on one side:Beatles Across the World

Plus on the other side another pouch which hold six 8×10 black and white Beatle prints:Beatles Across the World1

Here’s the front cover of the folder:Beatles Across the World3Go to the publishers website (Park Lane Books) to find out more, or click here for the Australian distributor, Herron Books.

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.

Record Store Day 2013

PrintA late addition to Record Store Day for 2013 will be a Ringo Starr Singles Box, three 45″ singles accurately reproduced in their original picture sleeves in an Apple Records lift-top box. It will come with a Record Store Day spindle adapter.

The singles will be Photograph b/w Down And Out; It Don’t Come Easy b/w Early 1970 and (It’s All Down to) Goodnight Vienna b/w Oo-Wee. There will be just 5000 copies released.

The 3×7″ lift-top lid box sounds very similar to the Beatles singles box from Black Friday 2011 (an alternate Record Store Day limited edition release)

Also this year on Record Store Day Paul McCartney will release a Maybe I’m Amazed 12-inch single with mono and stereo versions of the song in varying durations.  This is a pre-cursor to the next instalment in his McCartney Archives release series which will be Wings Over America, due later in the year (probably June by all accounts) featuring a multi-disc CD/DVD box set, “deluxe” and “standard” edition CD’s, plus vinyl.

This live version of Maybe I’m Amazed was originally serviced as a radio-only promotional 12-inch vinyl single back in 1976, also to herald the release of Wings Over America.

maybe

Greta’s Beatle Records

OK. We take a little bit of a sidetrack here. To a website I stumbled across by accident last week. As you do.

It’s still very much about “…adventures in collecting Beatles music…” though.

It’s a site called Greta’s Records, and it’s a fascinating concept realised by an American woman named Allison Anders. As she explains on her site: “Just before Christmas, I treated myself to a new and special experience — I bid in a live celebrity auction.  Julien’s Auctions in Beverly Hills, Ca. presented a 2 day live auction of the remaining estate of classic film actress Greta Garbo”.

And there was a mass of possessions on offer in the auction. (Click here to see the full Garbo collection catalogue).

Allison continues: “The question one needs to ask when you bid in an auction like this — what do I truly WANT, just something which belonged to her?  Everyone would love a dress she wore — but what would I really DO with it?…..Then I saw it.  WOW — Greta Garbo had records!  Of course!  Why wouldn’t she?  Everyone had vinyl records, stacks of them in the 50s, 60s onward.  What would possibly be in Greta Garbo’s private record collection?   All of it was thrilling and surprising.  There were several lots of records up for auction — including one of classical records and opera, one of spoken word, one of jazz, then one of international records, and one of rock and pop records…..[and] I was the winning bidder on the rock/pop records!   50 of them!”  (Click here to see the catalogue page featuring Lot 420 – the popular records).

Greta's Records 1

The first Beatles LP of Greta Garbo that she explores is Introducing the Beatles.

Greta's Records 2

As well as some detail about the release and it’s songs, Allison has researched Introducing the Beatles fairly thoroughly – even down to notes and links on this the most counterfeited of all popular LPs. She also includes a backgrounder on the Vee Jay label, the most successful black-owned record label before Motown. And there’s even a video on how to tell whether your copy of this record is legitimate or a phoney (….turns out Greta Garbo’s is a phoney):

Well, there’ll be more Beatle records coming up on Allison’s great blog. There are at lease two others (Sgt Pepper and Magical Mystery Tour which we can see in the photos) and I’m sure she will be worth reading when she gets to these.

For anyone with a collector’s heart this is a fascinating journey and a document of a famous person’s taste in popular music.

yellowsubmarine.com (Plus a Few Other Things)

I’ve been a bit slow in telling you about some of the supporting websites and background info around two of the latest Beatle-related releases – Paul McCartney’s “Ram” reissues, and “Yellow Submarine” which is now out on BluRay, DVD and CD.

So, here’s a bit of a catch-up:

(click on the image to go there)

On the Yellow Submarine site there is a wealth of interactive material like photos, games, movie dialogue, sounds and “making of” videos. Well worth a look.

There’s also a range of great things out on the web now about the reissue of Paul McCartney’s “Ram” album:

Paul’s people certainly have been busy in producing supporting web content for “Ram” with not one but two dedicated websites:

(click on the image to go there)

In the Deluxe Box set of “Ram” you also get the 1977 orchestral/instrumental version of “Ram” that Paul put out under the pseudonym of Percy “Thrills” Thrillington:

(click on the image to go there)

There’s also a very interesting and insightful interview with McCartney by Paul Draper from the band Mansun. It’s not only about “Ram” but a wide range of other things. One great example is Paul talking about his early influences as a songwriter:

What I take the influence back to was A Teenage Opera. That was a very early record in the late 60s, by Keith West… it was his only, like, big hit. That was episodic, there was a bit and it went ‘buh-buh-bum’, then it went there, and there, and there [Sir Paul makes some stacking gestures with his hands]. I think that was the first record I heard, and we heard, and we thought ‘that’s interesting’. You can have a song here, then you can cut like a film to another song, and you can even cut the tempo and go slow and so on. That was really the one that was the biggest influence, and then lots of people started doing it. We’d do it a bit, prog-rock did it, Townshend started doing it a bit, The Who opera and all that. I think it was just that one record that made you realise that it didn’t have to be the same tempo or the same key all the way through, you could cut like a film.

You can read Part One here, and Part Two here. There are links to musical examples given throughout.

Finally, one cute little “Ram” publicity item – a “Ewe-Tube Map” – based on the London Underground train network:

(click for a larger version)

Oh, and this kind person has added a “Ram” Deluxe Edition “unboxing” video to YouTube: