Paul McCartney Limited Edition Microphones – For Sale and Auction

US microphone manufacturer Shure has joined forces with Paul McCartney to produce a limited edition run of 300 numbered and custom-painted 50th Anniversary SM58 microphones.

The SM58 is a legendary workhorse. If you’ve seen a vocalist live on stage any time over the last 50 years, chances are they were singing into an SM58.

As part of the anniversary celebrations, Shure has produced a limited run of 300 mics that feature a photo portrait of Paul taken by his daughter, Mary McCartney. The image was used originally for the front cover and other associated releases associated with his 2012 project, Kisses on the Bottom.paul-mccartney-kisses-on-the-bottom-2012-front-cover-66534shure-mccartney-mic

The rare microphones are being made available for sale and auction – with all proceeds donated to the McCartney family charity, Meat Free Monday. Launched by Paul, Mary and Stella McCartney in 2009, Meat Free Monday is a not-for-profit campaign which aims to raise awareness of the detrimental environmental impact of eating meat, and to encourage people to help slow climate change, preserve precious natural resources and improve their health by having at least one meat free day each week.

Each of the SM58 microphones is numbered at its base as a limited edition:shure-mccartney-mic-closeupNumbers 300 to 011 went on sale on March 1. These are at a set Ebay “Buy It Now” price of US$350.00.

The last ten microphones, 010 to 001, feature McCartney’s signature as well as the image and these will be available by auction only, starting from March 13 and ending on March 23.

The Beatles Encyclopedia: Everything Fab Four – A Review

One of the most impressive compendiums of concise Beatle information comes in the form of a book called The Beatles Encyclopedia: Everything Fab Four, by Kenneth Womack.

Womack’s book has been out for a number of years now as a comprehensive, two-volume set. That set is very desirable, but prohibitively expensive for some.

Now comes a brand new, 2017 edition which is completely up to date – but in a condensed, single-volume version that is far more easy on the wallet. This latest edition is designed more for the general reader (and for the many students who now study the Beatles as part of their curriculum at secondary, post-secondary, and more advanced study levels). However, it’s a book that will more than satisfy the avid Beatlemaniac too:

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The Beatles Encyclopedia: Everything Fab Four is just that. It focusses entirely on the band and its output across the ten or so years in the 1960s when musically and creatively they were at their absolute peak. It features a host of biographical information about each band member, as well as their immediate family and the key personal relationships they had – for example there’s biographical material associated with the many creative and business partners among the Beatles’ circle. Womack goes into real detail on every every album and key songs. In order to provide an expansive portrait of the group’s life and times, attention is also devoted to the numerous locations associated with the band’s career, as well as to important concerts, venues and events pertinent to their amazing story.

This condensed version of The Beatles Encyclopedia: Everything Fab Four offers some other helpful additional features, including an alphabetic list of all the entries included in the book; a timeline chronology of the Beatles, detailing the milestones in their lives, performances, and recordings; a thorough discography of the band’s official UK and US singles and album releases from the early 1960s through the present; and a bibliography of recommended resources with both print and online resources. There is also included something I always appreciate greatly in books of this nature: a comprehensive general index. This makes locating specific information on a topic or subject so much easier.

Across its 650-odd pages Womack covers off some 360 topics, ranging from Abbey Road to Zapple Records – and these are all arranged alphabetically by entry.

Entries on songs and albums have a specific structure designed to give as much detail as possible. For example, each song entry will include: authorship and background; inspiration; recording dates and places; who played what – including specific reference to the instrument makes and models used. There are track listings for each album; details on the cover artwork; chart performance for both the United States and the UK; and comments and observations around the legacy and influence of each as a work of art.

This a key reference book to have at your side. It is a comprehensive work containing a wealth of information – all at your fingertips. I’d say it’s a must for students of the Beatles and for die-hard fans alike.

Now for a little on the author, Kenneth Womack. This is worth mentioning as he is so very well-credentialed not only as a Beatle scholar, but also as an author and literary critic:

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Kenneth Womack is Dean of the Wayne D. McMurray School of Humanities and Social Sciences at Monmouth University, where he also serves as Professor of English. He is the author or editor of numerous books, including Long and Winding Roads: The Evolving Artistry of the Beatles (2007), the Cambridge Companion to the Beatles (2009), and The Beatles Encyclopedia: Everything Fab Four (2014). He’s also the author of three award-winning novels, and serves as an academic editor and critic for a number of literary institutions.

If you are curious and/or would like to order this new, condensed 2017 edition of Everything Fab Four you can have a “look inside” at Amazon.

Or, you may like to go the whole hog and get the expanded, 2014 edition in two volumes, also available at Amazon.

George Harrison Vinyl Box Set Hits Stores

George Harrison’s big vinyl box set containing every solo studio album, plus the double LP Live in Japan and two picture disc 12″ singles, has at last been released.

Some fans have got their copies already and some “unboxing” videos are beginning to appear online, including this one from an excited Vinyl Collector James, who goes into some detail on the box itself as well as its contents:

Universal Music has also used the occasion of the box set release (and George Harrison’s 74th birthday) to upload a series of interesting articles on various aspects of his life and career.

Written by Richard Havers, these cover off George Harrison in 20 Solos:george-in-20-solos-header George Harrison: Humanitarian:george-and-ravi-at-concert-for-bangladesh-press-conference

George Harrison: The B Sides:george-b-isdes

The Sweet Success of “My Sweet Lord”:george-my-sweet-lord

and George Harrison’s Beatle Songs:george-the_beatles_-_last_photo_session

Also, don’t forget Universal’s series of articles on Harrison album-by-album.

Mystery of a “Mystery Tour” Original EP Solved

Originally I was annoyed with the eBay seller, and also annoyed with myself for not checking properly before bidding….

You see, I’d been the successful bidder on what I thought was an original, 1967 German pressing of The Beatles Magical Mystery Tour. That’s the way it was advertised by the seller. It was a double EP on the Odeon label and in very good condition for its age. Got it for a really good price, too:magical_ger_ep_h1_large magical_ger_ep_h4_large

Then the record arrives in the post. We open it up and pop open the gatefold cover. There, at the bottom right, it clearly says: “MADE & PRINTED IN GERMANY”. All good so far:mmt-germay

Then we get the records out. They’re in mint condition and on the red Odeon label:mmt-france-label

But hang on, the small print on the label says “MADE IN FRANCE”! mmt-france-closeup

What’s going on here? Has this eBay seller done a swifty and tried to pass off a “Frankenstien-ed” copy of Magical Mystery Tour? Have they conveniently mixed a cover from one country, and the two vinyls from another?

Thankfully, no.

A little bit of “after-the-fact” internet research reveals that all is well. This is indeed how this edition was originally released. In France, Odeon manufactured the vinyl locally, but they imported all the covers from Germany. This is easily proved by a visit to the Discogs database here, and here where members have similar copies to the one we have.

There is also an excellent explanation (and photos) on The Beatles Record Collection site, where it is revealed that there are even more variations in the way the French issued the Magical Mystery Tour EP set.

So, we indeed do have a correct and original French (not German) pressing of this disc after all. Phew!

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

A Different Australian Pressing of the Beatles “From Liverpool” Box

In a previous post we mentioned an Australian pressing on the orange Parlophone label of The Beatles Box (or The Beatles From Liverpool as it is sometimes also known) eight-record box set. This was made available via The World Record Club to its members in March, 1981.the-beatles-liverpoolbeatles-from-liverpool-label

We already had a later version that EMI distributed in November, 1982 through the Reader’s Digest organisation in Australia. That one comes with custom black, white and red Reader’s Digest labels. For more images also see here.beatles-readers-digest-label

The Reader’s Digest set is further distinguished by different packaging. Instead of a flip-top lid it came in a two box arrangement, where an inner box containing the records slides into an outer casing.

In Australia there is a third variation. It is the same 1981 World Record Club release but instead of orange Parlophone labels it is on black and silver Parlophone labels. It’s this version we have just added to the collection. It comes in a lift-top hinged box: liverpool-box-frontliverpool-box-labelloverpool-box-lid

On top of the records there’s a large fold-out poster:

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Like the other releases each disc comes in a custom colour printed sleeve: liverpool-box-1

On the flip side of each is a track-listing and a short article about the songs and what was happening in Beatles history at the time of the recordings by Hugh Marshall:liverpool-box-1a

There are eight discs in all:liverpool-box-2 liverpool-box-3 liverpool-box-4 liverpool-box-5 liverpool-box-6 liverpool-box-7 liverpool-box-8

(Click on an image to see a larger version)

This set has the catalogue number WRC/Parlophone R91103-10.

 

On Valentines Day – A Beatles “Love” Find

What more could you want on Valentines Day than to find a bit of Beatle Love treasure?

Rummaging through some old theatre programs at our local St Vincent de Paul Society thrift shop (the equivalent of Goodwill stores in the US), what should we come across than a thick, lavishly illustrated program from the Beatles/Cirque du Soleil production Love, which is still showing at the Mirage Hotel in Las Vegas.

This is a beautifully produced book, about the same size and shape as an LP record, and it’s filled with photographs, drawings, cast details and information about this long-running success story – which last year celebrated its tenth year in production. love-cover

Inside there are fantastic drawings, illustrations, and photographs from the stage show – like these:

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Impressively laid out, with some four page fold-out sections included, this particular theatre program seems to date from around February, 2008 as inside on the credits page in small print it says “Love.02.08”. The photograph of co-Music Director, Giles Martin is a decidedly youthful one:

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Right in the very centre of the book there are two pages of Beatle Love stickers. In the copy we found the previous owners have only removed two – the rest are perfectly intact:love-stickers

Here’s that full credit page in more detail:love-creditsAnd the rear cover:love-rearA nice Valentines Day find……(click on the images to see larger versions).

McCartney and Costello – ‘Twenty Fine Fingers’ Demo

Like collectors across the globe, we’ve bemoaned the fact that there will be a whole CD’s worth of demos only available as digital downloads if you buy Paul McCartney’s forthcoming Flowers In The Dirt Deluxe Edition box set.

However, there will still be some good things in a physical form on CD and vinyl. One example has just gone up on McCartney’s YouTube page. He’s posted a preview of a previously unreleased song called ‘Twenty Fine Fingers (Original Demo)’, featuring Elvis Costello, that will be included with the 4-disc box set. It’s also to be included on the 2-disc “Special” edition, and on the re-issued double LP.

Got to admit, it’s a great little song: