Beatles White Album 50th Anniversary SDE – Anyone Else Worried?

We’ve just taken delivery of the new Beatles 50th Anniversary Super Deluxe Edition of The Beatles (a.k.a. The White Album), and we love the look of the packaging.

It is undeniably beautiful in its pure-white, large format book form, and the clear plastic slipcase – printed with the four band members on the front and the track listing on the back –  creates a very special first impression. But for how long?

While we appreciate the design, we couldn’t help but be reminded of two similar approaches to this style of packaging that have not stood the test of time.

Both examples signal that there will be definitely be a long-term deterioration to your pristine new 50th Anniversary White Album clear plastic slipcase.

As it turns out the two examples were both released twenty years ago in 1998, and the first is from the Beatles own Apple Records, so you might have thought that they’d have learned something about what happens to clear plastic outer slipcases over time.

It’s actually The White Album in its 30th anniversary edition version:

While a much smaller and more modest design, the 30th anniversary White Album also comes in a clear plastic outer slipcase, similar to the new 50th anniversary edition. The example shown here was purchased brand new in 1998 and we’ve tried hard to keep it in mint condition. But even so, that plastic outer sleeve is beginning to show the first signs of ageing and yellowing:

Likewise, there’s a wonderful deluxe, long-box style book and three CD set called The Look of Love – The Burt Bacharach Collection, that’s showing even worse signs of age on its once crystal clear plastic outer sleeve:

This too has been in our collection since new from 1998, but that plastic outer sleeve – on which is printed the album title and a list of some of the top songs it contains – is now almost completely yellowed, especially around the spine area where it is glued:

At the time of release this clear slipcase was a real design plus – but sadly it’s now looking quite ordinary and aged:

Interestingly the cardboard packaging part of the design inside both slipcases have stayed nice and white:

So, it begs the question: in twenty years time what will your 2018 Super Deluxe Edition of The Beatles White Album look like?

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Beatles 50th Anniversary White Album – First Look

Some reviewers are flouting the embargo on showing and reviewing The Beatles new 50th anniversary edition of The Beatles (a.k.a. The White Album).

While it is not officially released until November 9, Michael Fremer – who is an equipment reviewer for the legendary Stereophile magazine, but who also runs his own YouTube channel and a blog called AnalogPlanet – has given fans a tasty preview of what to expect.

Fremer shows us not only the 4 LP set, but also the Deluxe 6 CD plus Blu-ray box containing Giles Martin’s new remix, the Esher Demos, and much much more in this YouTube clip:

He’s also published this lengthy review. In a nutshell – he really likes the vinyl:

“….the reissue does not sound like the original U.K. pressing nor was it intended to. Yet it remains true to the original’s intent, in part because there was less Mr. Martin could do to change it.

The new mix does sound more “modern” because modern techniques and gear were used, and the final source was a modern digital storage system, but this reissue does not sound “digital” as the pejorative use of the term has come to be used.

You’ll definitely be able to hear further into the reissue mix because it has greater transparency. And you can crank it up farther because it’s less harsh and somewhat smoother but not to where it’s soft.”

Mr Fremer also says that the Esher Demos LP is exceptional:

“…..they are truly wondrous. John brought 15 songs, Paul 7 and George 5. You are in the Kinfauns Bungalow as they strum, bang and shake and you’ll love every minute of it.”

So, how was the CD box set by comparison?

“When I played the CD version….all of that magic disappeared. I was hearing a plastic-sounding recording. Was it different EQ? Was it the downrez from 96/24 to 16/44.1? I don’t know and I don’t care. Am I prejudiced against CDs? Damn straight I am! Based on what I hear and nothing else.”

And how does he sum it all up?

“My conclusion about this remix is that if you have an original British pressing that you love, you will still love that. If you have an open mind you will also love this re-mix. You might be surprised which one you choose when you want to revisit this album. Yes, The Beatles has been “Martinized” but you won’t be left thinking you’ve been taken to the cleaners!”

Imitation is the Sincerest Form of Flattery – The EMI Manchester Square Photos

Here’s a further instalment in our occasional series on Beatle (and Beatle-related) album covers or photographs that, over the years, have been borrowed as inspiration by others.

As observed on reddit recently, it’s a surprise that more bands haven’t used this iconic LP cover photograph as inspiration:pleasepleaseme

Given that Sgt Pepper, The White Album and Let It Be have all been imitated many times in one way or another by so many bands, why not the famous Please Please Me as well?

Maybe it’s because it would be limited only to EMI artists, and also that the actual building where the picture was taken now no longer exists…..

But still, there are a couple of examples out there. The Sex Pistols did it in 1977:sex-pistols-at-emi-1977

Then Blur in 1995:blur-at-emi

Even before The Beatles looked down from that balcony, the famous English bandleader Joe Loss (signed to the EMI subsidiary label HMV) did the same pose:joeloss-at-emi-1961

And in 1983 it was Dutch Beatle Fan Club President Har van Fulpern’s turn:

har_van_fulpen_dutch_beatles_fan_club_president_19When Universal Music re-issued the Beatles 1962-1965 (Red) and 1966-1970 (Blue) albums we posted some info on the Angus McBean photo shoot location here, including a video from a very keen fan who went to the trouble of tracking down the actual location of the shoot for the Red and Blue LPs – and of course for 1963’s Please Please Me release.

Both photographs of the old and new Beatles were taken at EMI’s former headquarters in Manchester Square, London – with the group looking down over the building’s stairwell. The building has since been demolished.red-frontblue-lpClick here for the other posts in “Imitation is the Sincerest Form of Flattery”.

We Buy White Albums – Exhibition

That New York art installation/exhibition that features multiple copies of The Beatles (a.k.a. The White Album) we wrote about last year has now transferred across the Atlantic to the UK – to the city of Liverpool no less.

“We Buy White Albums” is now on show (until September 14) at the FACT space in Fleet Street, Liverpool. It’s the world’s largest collection of first-edition copies of The Beatles’ White Album. Artist Rutherford Chang has collected over 1000 copies of the double album on vinyl. The exhibition presents the records and, as you can see below, allows visitors to examine up close the decades of wear-and-tear, marks, doodles and damage that have affected the album’s minimalist cover:

We Buy White Albums1 We Buy White Albums2 We Buy White Albums3We Buy White Albums5Dust and Grooves did a great interview with artist Rutherford Chang and provided lots of other great photos of his White Album collection too. And there’s a video from the New York exhibition.

Visit fact.co.uk/whitealbum to find out more.

 

 

How Many Copies of the White Album Do You Own?

A couple of months ago this interesting Dust and Grooves article about a performance artist named Rutherford Chang really grabbed my attention.

You see, Rutherford Chang is a Beatles collector who only collects one particular Beatles album.

It’s the double LP that comes comes in the plain white cover and is simply called The Beatles….or as it’s more colloquially known: The White Album.

Dust_and_Grooves_3542

You can take a look at a video featuring Chang’s very large collection here.

And then there’s the rather amazing beatlealbum.com website, dedicated solely to exploring every aspect of The Beatles.

All this got me wondering. How many copies of The White Album do you have in your collection?

They can be on vinyl, compact disc, 8-track tape, reel-to-reel, cassette…or maybe even as a digital download.

I added up the copies in my collection in various formats and it comes to a total of 16 copies in all. That’s 5 x CDs, and 11 x LPs…nothing on Chang’s extensive collection!

But I’d be very interested to hear from you.

How many do you have?

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