Complete Set of Beatles Abbey Road Photos to be Auctioned

A complete set of signed outtake photographs, including the final cover shots for the Beatles Abbey Road album, is coming up for auction in November.Reproduction, © Bloomsbury AuctionsReproduction, © Bloomsbury Auctions

The press release from Dreweatts and Bloomsbury Auctions says:

The set of six photographs commissioned from Scottish photographer Iain Macmillan (1938-2006) as possible designs for the album’s front cover – together with the Abbey Road street sign used on the back cover – is of legendary rarity on the art market.

This is believed to be the first time that a complete suite of the signed and numbered photographs has ever been offered at public auction. [Hmmm. Maybe not. See WogBlog’s thoughts on this claim…..Ed.) The collection will be on view to the public in central London from Sunday 16th November, before going under the hammer on Friday 21st November where they are estimated to achieve £50,000 – 70,000.

On 8th August, 1969 Macmillan, a close friend of John Lennon and Yoko Ono, climbed a ladder in the middle of Abbey Road and in the next ten minutes took six photographs of the Fab Four walking back and forth across a zebra crossing. The fifth of his six shots, selected by Paul McCartney, would become the album cover for the Beatles’ last-recorded album and one of pop music’s most famous and recreated images.

In 1989 Iain Macmillan was quoted saying; “That photo’s been called an icon of the 60s. I suppose it is. I think the reason it became so popular is its simplicity. It’s a very simple, stylised shot. Also it’s a shot people can relate to. It’s a place where people can still walk.”

With his Hasselblad camera storing the six images, Macmillian set off to photograph a road sign to use as the back cover. To Macmillan’s annoyance, whilst he was photographing the sign on the corner with Alexandra Road, a girl in a blue dress walked through the shot, however it was this image that was later chosen as the back cover.

Sarah Wheeler, Head of Photography at Bloomsbury Auctions [pictured below] said; “To see the full collection of photographs together is a rare and fascinating opportunity for fans of the Beatles, Music and Photography. We are delighted to be offering them at auction and anticipate worldwide interest for this famous and timeless suite.”

Reproduction, © Bloomsbury Auctions

The Photographs & Photobooks sale will be held at Dreweatts & Bloomsbury Auctions saleroom in London’s Mayfair on Friday, November 21. The full catalogue will be available to view and download soon at www.bloomsburyauctions.com

If you are going to bid you’ll need to have very, very deep pockets. As WogBlog has also reported, an original single photograph from the same set sold at Bloomsbury Auctions in 2012 for £16,000!

Here are the remaining outtakes from that historic shoot:Reproduction, © Bloomsbury Auctions Reproduction, © Bloomsbury Auctions Reproduction, © Bloomsbury Auctions Reproduction, © Bloomsbury Auctions Reproduction, © Bloomsbury Auctions

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McCartney’s “Destiny” Credits and Closing Theme Song

Paul McCartney’s work on Destiny, the long-awaited new blockbuster in the video game world, made its public debut when the game hit store shelves for the first time earlier this week:McCartney Destiny-Hope credits

As you can see in the screen grab above, there are two main McCartney contributions. There’s his joint composing credit (with Martin O’Donnell) for the instrumental passages used throughout the game called “Music of the Spheres”, and there’s a new song recorded specifically for the game which is played across the extensive closing credits – much like those at the end of a movie. That song is called “Hope”. Produced by Giles Martin, and utilising members of McCartney’s current touring band, the song was recorded in Abbey Road and at Sir Paul’s own Hog Hill Mill studio in East Sussex, England:

It has been confirmed on McCartney’s official site that “Hope” is to be released as a single, but no date has been announced yet.

Abbey Road – Cover Inspiration?

Last month saw the 45th anniversary of the day the famous Abbey Road cover photo was taken. An interesting image has been sent to us by Beatles Blog reader Andrey (the dedicated Beatles collector and expert in Russia):xC1TYlrV_JcAndrey says it was taken at the turn of the 20th century – in the Russian city of Yeysk on Chernomorskaya Road (Black Sea Road)! Could Paul McCartney (who had the initial idea for the Abbey Road album cover) or photographer Iain Macmillan possibly have seen this archival photo and used it as their inspiration? Probably not – but it’s fun to dream…..

By the way, Andrey helps to keep this fantastic site up-to-date. It is an absolutely comprehensive guide to all the Beatles‘ Russian vinyl releases.

Russian collectors have also just launched a new special site which gathers together all the early Soviet press about the Beatleshttp://beatlespress.com.ua

As usual it’s a thoroughly researched site. So far only the years 1964-1971 are ready but Andrey recommends a look at this chapter on all the printed music which has been released in his country. It details everything he has found so far. The very first edition is from the Soviet Estonia. Andrey’s research on the song “Yesterday” is here (complete with videos).

 

Beatles With Records – Part Twenty Three

Over at The Beatle Forum there’s a bit of a discussion happening at the moment about a record that John Lennon was carrying into the EMI Abbey Road Studios. He’s being interviewed on the steps of the studios in 1966 for the UK weekly television series Reporting ’66, made by Independent Television News (ITN):

The video is quite interesting in itself as it has all four Beatles arriving at Abbey Road and being quizzed on the band’s future directions.

The question is: is that a record John has under his arm? And if so, what is it?

Here’s a still from the video, plus some close-ups:

Lennon with RecordLennon LP closeup1Lennon LP Ultraclose

Can anyone out there help identify the record?

If so please contact us at beatlesblogger @ gmail.com

You can see more in the Beatles With Records series here (just go to the links at the bottom of the page).

 

A Big Beatles Garage Sale Haul

In my previous post I was bemoaning the scenario where you make the effort to get out and about early on a Saturday morning on the hunt for Beatles vinyl – and return frustrated and empty-handed.

Not so this last weekend which produced a wealth of great Beatles treasure, including one LP I’d not seen before. My son has taken to joining me on these forays into others people’s garages and front lawns. He calls it “crate digging“. He’s on the lookout for jazz plus wide range of other artists he might be able to take samples from to load into his computer. He then uses short grabs from these to mix into new songs he’s creating himself.

Anyway, we go to this one house early Saturday morning and the lady says yes, she has some records, but as she hasn’t gone through them she doesn’t want to put them out right now. If we could come back after lunchtime she’d find them (somewhere up the back of a very packed garage) and we could have a private look through to see if there is anything we want. We like the sound of an exclusive “crate dig” and so return at the appointed time. By this time four very large plastic bins filled with records have been located and we begin to look through….

First out of the crate comes an Australian copy of Sgt Pepper. It is in the old-style gatefold cover with the fold-over tabs, plus it has the original paper inner and the “cut out” insert. Things are looking good. This one is on the old Parlophone black and silver “Stereo Banner” label. Jaesen Jones, the author of “An Overview of Australian Beatles Records“, says this label was used on some pressings of Pepper by EMI here between between the years 1967-1969:sgt Peppersgt Pepper Inner Sgt Pepper InsertSgt Pepper Aust BannerNice. Next find was an Australian copy of Let It Be. It’s not an original issue, but one of the many, many re-issues of this disc. This one is on the Apple label and is in pretty good condition – near mint. Here’s the rear cover and label:beatles-collection2-lib-rearLIB Label Aust

While flipping through the boxes we got talking to the lady and it turns out this collection of records (which was literally a couple of hundred discs across a wide variety of genres – but mostly rock and pop) came from a very well-known Sydney radio and TV personality. He was an old family friend and years ago when moving house asked the lady if she wanted his records…

Next I find, in quick succession, a Beatles White Album and an Abbey Road (both re-issues on Apple and probably about the same vintage as the LIB above). The White Album even has the poster and all four photos and is in very good condition: beatles-collection-beatles-all-insertsThe Beatles Aust LabelABBEY_ROAD_sleeveabbey-road-label

Further digging then reveals a red The Beatles/1962-1966, again an Australian copy, with the Apple label and a red background. It has both lyric sheet inserts and is in reasonable condition. Not mint, but OK:beatles_1962_1966-800x800Beatles Red Aust Apple LabelThe final Beatles treasure to come out of these crates is a bit of a rarity. It’s an album I’ve not seen before The Beatles – Birth of  Legend. A New Zealand release from 1983 on the budget Music World Records, it features twelve songs from the famous Decca audition tapes:IMG_0051IMG_0052IMG_0055As the liner notes on the rear cover say, the Decca audition refers to the now-famous audition by the Beatles for Decca Records before they reached international stardom. In what was considered one of the biggest mistakes in the music business ever, Decca decided to reject the band selecting instead a band called Brian Poole and the Tremeloes.

So, after a weekend before of nothing, this time around it is a different story.

Amazing Pixelated Beatles Album Covers

OK. These are a bit old now (2003), but this is the first time I’ve seen them. So here goes.

For those of us who feel we know the Beatles album catalogue like it is part of our DNA it is always interesting to have that challenged from time to time.

The visual nature of collecting has always intrigued me. How you can know so many of the variations of album covers and album art. Looking at and handling these all the time I guess means they become ingrained in your subconscious memory. That’s why I was intrigued to see these examples of the catalogue stripped right back to the basics by British artist Jonathan Lewis.

It’s Beatle album cover inspired pixel work. I recommend taking a few steps back (or squinting) to really see how amazing these painting are.

You can see all the collection in an online book called “The Pixles” (after “The Beatles (White Album”)….but these are five of my favourites:

Please Please Me

The Pixles Please Please Me l

ppm

For Sale

The Pixles Beatles for Sale l

for sale

Sgt Pepper

The Pixles Sgt Pepper l

sgtpepper

Magical Mystery Tour

The Pixles Magical Mystery Tour l

The-Magical-Mystery-Tour

And last, but not least, Abbey Road

The Pixles Abbey Road l

Abbey-Road-Cover-Beatles-cover-05

Label Variations Part Ten – Abbey Road (More….)

Since I posted Label Variations Part Six – Abbey Road  I’ve had a few people sending in some further great examples from their own collections.

So, its time to share these now.

First comes from Jerry Woods who wrote:  “Saw your blog featuring various record labels (I LOVE this stuff!!) and noticed that you didn’t have a MONO version of Abbey Road on display, so I thought I would share. Although, not a true mono mix (they never “officially” did one – and this LP sounds identical from start to finish to the Stereo version when the Stereo version is folded down to Mono) this is kind of an interesting oddity – but only a fold down to Mono from Stereo.”

Here are the labels – the record comes from Brazil:

Another nice one sent in was from a reader in New Zealand and it’s really quite unusual. It is Abbey Road on an orange Apple label – very similar (but not quite) to the orange labels used for George Harrison’s All Things Must Pass. VERY collectable:

Of course there were lots of green Apples from other countries. Nice examples here from France, Italy and a green vinyl pressing of the album from the UK:

There were these two from Canada that were missed first time around. They include a couple of purple Capitol labels with two variations (one with a fairly obvious spelling mistake):

There were also a couple of other US pressings. The orange Capitol, and also the collectable Mobile Fidelity Audiophile pressing:

Finally, a couple of pressings of Abbey Road on a black and silver Parlophone label. This first one is from the UK:

While this other one, sent in by Andrey in Russia, is much more unusual. It is a rare UAR (Egypt?) label for Abbey Road:

(except for a couple, click on labels to see larger versions)

Ah, collecting….the variations sometimes seem endless. Thanks to everyone who emailed more labels.

You can see Label Variations Parts OneTwoThreeFour, and Five and Six, plus the Beatles Love LP variations here and here.

There’s a post on the variations of the McCartney/Fireman Electric Arguments release; McCartney’s Twin Freaks LP and singles; as well as his recent Kisses On The Bottom CD’s and LP. There is also a post on some George Harrison All Things Must Pass label variations.