A ‘Magical Mystery Tour’ Collector Extraordinaire

Most collectors of Beatles (and solo) records, CDs, books, magazines and the like will have a broad cross-section of albums and items, ranging from the earliest Please Please Me LP in 1963, right up to the latest Paul McCartney coloured vinyl variation.

Sometimes though a collector will get fixated on one particular thing.

That’s what happened to one of our readers named Simon.

A few weeks ago Simon sent us a photograph of the cassette variations he owns of one particular album – Magical Mystery Tour. They are laid out on the floor and to reproduce them here it is going to take two photographs to show you:

And that is just the cassettes.

Simon has what he believes to be one of the world’s most extensive if not the largest collections of Magical Mystery Tour items (hereafter referred to simply as MMT).

He owns over 60 MMT EP records from different countries around the world, as well as around 150 different versions from the MMT LP. And that’s not to mention the piles of MMT VHS movie tapes, 4-Track and 8-Track recordings, PlayTapes, DVDs, and CDs….He also has Betamax video tapes of the movie, and Reel-to-Reel music rarities.

So, we had to ask him two things.

One is why did the Magical Mystery Tour become Simon’s main thing, the one he must have more and more copies of?

Two is could he send some images of a couple of the more interesting EP versions he has of MMT from around the world?

For the first question here is his answer:

The reason for me collecting Magical Mystery Tour items is because as children in 1967 my sister and I took part in the film as extras. We were in the “Tug of War” and “The Marathon” scenes, and also in “Your Mother Should Know” in the hanger at the RAF West Malling Airfield Base, in Kent, England.

However, my story actually took off in 1978. That year I had to have surgery on both knees. Because the ward where I should have been sent for recovery was being repainted I was instead operated on and put in a ward for children who were terminally ill with cancer. Needless to say these children died.

I said to myself if possible I will try to do something in my life to give aid to children with cancer.

I then met my wife in 1982 and she just happened to be a Beatles fan. Of course the subject of me being involved in the MMT film came up and my wife asked if we could see the film on video. So one day we went to a video store and bought a video tape.

This led to buying an LP, then an EP, and a cassette.….

During this time we were also both very much into Volkswagen Beetles and in 1996 I organized what was to become the largest, most well-known vintage VW show of its kind.

The proceeds were donated to a hospital ward in Hanover in Germany to aid children with cancer.

In the meantime my Beatles MMT collection was growing.

In the early 2000s I left the VW hobby and decided to concentrate entirely on my MMT hobby instead – and to try to put my collection to good use.

I  am always looking for  items that I don’t have yet from MMT. I do not sell anything from my collection. 

Any doubles are swapped for other MMT items that I don’t have yet in my collection.

So, I have been collecting MMT for the past 40 years and nothing else from The Beatles.

I have only ever looked at the entire film once in one go! But I’ve spent hundreds of hours going frame by frame through DVDs and outtakes looking for tiny details on the famous MMT bus as I bought an original Bedford VAL Plaxton Panorama (the exact same model as the MMT bus) from Liverpool. It’s being restored in the UK and hopefully will be used world wide in aid of different cancer charities. Today I also hold not for profit exhibitions of my collection to help charities, such as for children with cancer.

So, as you can see it is quite a story!

What about some of the gems, some of the rarities from just the MMT EP part of his vast collection?

As already mentioned Simon has over 60 copies of this release from different countries. Of course he’s got many of the Made in Great Britain variations (he owns around 15 different versions of these in Mono and in Stereo), but we asked him to show us some of the more unusual examples. You know this one, most often it comes in a gate fold cover with two 45rpm EPs (or extended play) vinyl discs and a booklet with the story and lyrics stapled inside:

To begin, Simon sent us images of four different examples from Argentina which has a number of different versions of the MMT EP. These below (in order) are from 1968, 1970, 1973, and one of unknown year of release. It’s the one on the red and brown EMI label (it is probably 1975). The song titles are translated from English to Spanish:

Greece has two different versions – one with a large jukebox center (which Simon doesn’t own yet), and the other with a smaller push-out centre: 

From Uruguay, Simon owns two versions. There’s the regular release, and this rare blue test pressing below that he has never seen for sale again in 40 years:

One really cool looking label is this Odeon version from Brazil, released in 1968. It is the Mono version:

Italy has a number of different pressings on Parlophon in blue, black, and this Juke Box one on a beige label:

Germany has at least three different versions, as does Denmark. Here’s one of them – a Stereo most probably from 1967:

One of the more unusual and hard to find is this one from Israel. Simon says Israel has two variations. One came as a 2 EP set in a cover much like the rest of the world. The records inside are like the Stereo example below). For the other Israel released the two discs as separate singles in picture sleeves (which Simon doesn’t have yet):

Holland two different editions, France has four versions at least, and Finland has two variations, of which Simon only owns one, this one – a Stereo pressing – is from 1967:

Japan has many different versions on both black vinyl, and this one, from 1968, on red wax:

Spain has at least three versions. This is one of the later re-issues on a teal coloured Odeon label. Notice it is the Mono edition:

Yugoslavia has at least four versions. Africa has several versions (with round and triangular push-out centres) that Simon still doesn’t own yet. But he does have this example from the Philippines, issued in Mono in 1967:

In regards to the lyric sheets stapled inside the MMT EP gatefold cover, these too have their variations from country to country, and across the different re-issue years. Simon sent us an image that illustrates this as well:

In the photo above you can see some of the different colour variations of the lyric pages. There are of course several different shades of each of the colours too.

This is just a taste of Simon’s collection, but he writes that there are still numbers more that he still does not own yet. For example Chile, Greece with larger centre, Rhodesia with the triangle push-out centre, and the very first Japanese version. He’s not sure if Turkey and India ever pressed a set.

Should anyone have an EP or anything else rare from MMT that may help Simon complete his collection he would love to hear from you. They will all be put to good use in aid of others less fortunate in the world. Drop us a line using the Leave a Reply link below and we can put you in touch.

Also, if you or someone you know has a specific area of Beatle collecting – where someone has concentrated on just one particular release – please let us know! We’d love to hear from you and see some of your collection too.

The Beatles ‘Revolver’ – Full Details Announced

The Beatles, Apple and Universal Music have jumped a little earlier than expected. Overnight they officially announced all the details of the forthcoming Revolver re-mix and remaster project, due in stores on October 28.

The full story, complete with a full track-list for each edition is on the The Beatles official site, but suffice it to say that there will be a 4LP + 1EP vinyl super deluxe slipcase box set with a 100-page hard cover book:

There’s also a 4CD + 1EP CD super deluxe slipcase box, also with a 100-page hard cover book:

There’s a 2CD edition with the new stereo mix of the album plus a unique ‘Session Highlights’ disc:

A 1CD edition with the new stereo re-mix:

And a 1LP edition featuring the new stereo re-mix:

And, just as they did with the Sgt Pepper, the White Album, Abbey Road and Let It Be re-issues, there’s to be a Revolver picture disc:

The rumoured Dolby Atmos Mixes will only be available as Downloads and on Streaming.

The original mono mix will be part of the super deluxe boxes and accompany never-before-released session recordings and demos, plus two singles from the era, ‘Paperback Writer’ and ‘Rain’ are on the four track EP that is in the vinyl and CD boxes (in 2022 re-mixed versions and in original mono too).

Each edition is available for pre-order now and all the the physical product hits stores on October 28.

The opening song on Revolver, ‘Taxman’, has been chosen as the teaser 2022 mix sample song and it is available now on streaming media and in Dolby Atmos where that is supported.

There’s also a second promo YouTube clip too:

It’s Confirmed: ‘Revolver’ is the next Box Set Re-Issue

A lot of people jumped on the Variety article published last week stating that The Beatles’ Revolver is to be the next album to get the full box set re-issue/remix treatment.

One key sentence in that article made us hang back: “An official announcement of the project is not expected to come until some time in September….”, meaning that while it was interesting (and probably true), the Variety article was still just speculation. There was no independent confirmation from someone within the Beatles/Apple Records circle.

But, over the weekend we got that confirmation – and from the horses mouth so to speak.

On Sunday none other than Giles Martin Tweeted:

We think you can take that as proof-positive a re-mixed, remastered Revolver will definitely be on the shelves sometime in October or early November.

Of course details of exactly what we’ll be getting are still scarce, so we await the official announcement with great interest.

A subsequent Giles Martin Tweet indicates that a 5.1 surround mix is definitely on the cards:

So, it’s happening!

MJQ ‘Space’ – South African Pressing

There’s a great little book/second-hand record store in the Sydney suburb of Manly called Desire Books and Records.

The store is a wonderful place to poke around in as its walls are literally stacked floor-to-ceiling with books while much of the floor space is taken up with wide selection of good quality used vinyl. There are two large “Recent Arrivals” bins, plus extensive Pop & Rock from the 50’s, 60’s, 70’s, 80’s and 90’s, a good selection of Jazz, and sections for Folk, Soundtracks, Hip Hop, Spoken Word/Comedy – you name it.

We visited there the other day and found this little treasure, an original South African pressing of the Modern Jazz Quartet’s album Space on the Apple label:

Here’s the rear cover:

Space, which was released in 1969, comes in a cool gatefold cover:

And of course comes on the famous green Apple label. Interestingly, the word STEREO plus the title and track information on many South African Apple pressings is printed in silver:

As usual, click on the images above to see larger versions, and if you’re interested in the many an varied Apple Records pressings from around the world why not visit the amazing Worldwide Apple Records Discograghy page. It’s an incredible repository of images and info on Apple, Dark Horse, and more.

Mary Hopkin ‘Post Card’ – A Hong Kong/Malaysia Pressing

A recent trip to the New South Wales south coast town of Berry turned up an opportunity for a little crate digging.

It was a nice feeling. Since the advent of COVID-19 the chances to get out and about and hunt for records in the wild have really been few and far between.

On the first Sunday of every month the town puts on a big market at the local Showgrounds. There are all sorts of stalls set up with people selling home made goods like candles, local produce, handcrafted items, food and second-hand goods – including a couple of stalls selling records! This allowed us to get back to what this blog is all about: adventures in collecting Beatles music.

One thing we’re always on the lookout for are Apple Records artists – and we found an interesting variation of the Mary Hopkin LP Post Card, produced by Paul McCartney and released in 1969. This one was different because it was manufactured by EMI in South East Asia for the Hong Kong and Malaysian markets:

There are a couple of things to note here about the differences between this and the US and Australian pressings of this release.

First is that it follows the original UK vinyl track listing. Notice that there is no ‘Those Were The Days’ – which was hit single for Hopkin in 1968 – included on this edition.

Second is the printing in blue at the bottom of the rear cover (which by the way has a very nice glossy finish on both sides):

This South East Asian edition also comes with an original black paper inner sleeve:

To compare the differences, here’s the US release:

Notice that the title of the LP is at the bottom of the front cover photo – whereas on the Hong Kong/Malaysia and UK pressings the title is at the top of the photo of Mary.

Also, as already mentioned, that Side 2, Track 4 has ‘Those Were The Days’ in place of ‘Someone To Watch Over Me’ which is found on the UK and and South East Asian pressings. Here are the US labels:

Just by way of interest, we also have an Australian pressing of Post Card issued by the World Record Club. It has completely different artwork for the front and rear covers, and labels:

This Aussie World Record Club release also follows the US track listing, with ‘Those Were The Days’ as Track 4, Side 2.

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

For an exhaustive look at the differences between the UK and US editions, check out BeatleDave’s Beatle Channel.

Billy Preston’s ‘Encouraging Words’ Gets an Apple Records Reissue

We weren’t even aware of this until alerted yesterday by Instagram poster @applerecordspictures…..

Billy Preston, currently wowing viewers for his keyboard prowess in The Beatles: Get Back documentary on Disney+, recently had his 1970 Apple Records LP Encouraging Words re-issued on vinyl by the label.

It was released in October as a way to celebrate Preston’s induction for Musical Excellence into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame and will only be available for a limited period.

First issued in the UK on September 11 1970, the album was co-produced by Billy and George Harrison. Encouraging Words contains covers of two of George’s songs – ‘All Things Must Pass’ and ‘My Sweet Lord’ where they appeared for the very first time, two months before George’s own recordings of those tracks appeared on his album All Things Must Pass. The LP also contains a cover of the Lennon/McCartney track ‘I’ve Got A Feeling’, from The Beatle’s Let It Be LP.

So, while it is timely of Apple to mark his Rock & Roll Hall of Fame induction, this reissue of Billy’s album is also a great tie-in with the release of Peter Jackson’s The Beatles: Get Back film too.

I wonder if we’ll be seeing any other Apple Records artists getting vinyl reissues?

The Beatles, Get Back and London: On the Trail of a Timeless Story

In the lead-up to the release next week of the Peter Jackson film The Beatles: Get Back, John Harris, editor of the new book of the same name, takes us on a fascinating journey to the three key locations in the making of the Let It Be album. It is delightful:

At Last – A Blue Box for The Beatles Singles Collection

For quite a few years now we’ve had in the collection a complete set of all the Beatles UK singles that go inside the 1982 box set, The Beatles Singles Collection.

Only thing is, we didn’t have the lovey blue box with gold embossed writing to hold them.

Until now.

We’ve been searching on eBay and other places for quite some time to find an empty box in excellent condition. Have even bid on a couple over the years, but have never been successful.

Then, a few weeks back, a very nice example came up for sale, and here it is:

This box has the catalogue number BSCP1:

That BSCP1 marking means that the box should contain all 22 singles The Beatles released between 1962-1970, plus 4 singles that were issued following the break-up (‘Yesterday’ from March, 1976; ‘Back In The USSR’ from June, 1976; ‘Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band/With a Little Help From My Friends’ from September, 1978; and ‘The Beatles Movie Medley’ from May, 1982). Each should also be housed in unique paper picture sleeves, plus (and this is what delineates this release from the earlier BSC1 Singles box), a picture disc of ‘Love Me Do’ should also be included.

So, that’s 27 discs in all.

It should also have a blue paper insert detailing the complete list of singles with recording dates, release dates and chart positions.

Each single has labels reproduced just as they would have been in the UK at the time of original release too. That means the first two singles, ‘Love Me Do’ and ‘Please Please Me’, are on the red Parlophone label:

From the singles ‘From Me To You’ through to ‘Lady Madonna’, the labels are the black and silver Parlophone/EMI:

Then, from ‘Hey Jude’ through to ‘Let It Be’, we get the green Apple label:

Here are the covers and labels for the four additional singles, ‘Yesterday’, ‘Back In The USSR’, ‘Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band/With a Little Help From My Friends’, and ‘The Beatles Movie Medley’:

The final single in this set is a ‘Love Me Do’ picture disc, housed in its original clear plastic sleeve:

Here’s the picture disc image on the flipside:

So, at last a blue box for The Beatles Singles Collection (BSCP1). See also our posts on the 1978 edition of 25 singles called The Beatles Collection; the Australian edition blue box containing all the LPs – also called The Beatles Collection. And the CD Singles Collection (two versions), and The Compact Disc EP Collection.

As usual, click on the images above to see larger versions.

Unusual New Zealand ‘All Things Must Pass’

We scored an unusual example of George Harrison’s 1970 solo triple LP All Things Must Pass the other day.

It’s an original, early pressing from New Zealand, and a couple of things set it apart.

Firstly the box. It has the familiar photograph of George and his gnomes in the garden of his home at Friar Park on the front, but the hinged box itself is not black, but a lovely deep blue colour which I hope you cane pick up in the images below:

As you can probably see, the front cover photo isn’t in great shape, having had something removed from the top left-hand corner, but otherwise the box itself is in reasonable condition. This box set is quite rare as only the first run of this album was shipped with the box made in New Zealand. After these ran out HMV NZ imported the Australian triple gatefold version of the sleeve.

Here’s the inside of the lid listing song titles and credits:

The three LPs inside come in the familiar inner lyric sleeves. However, these too are different in colour to other international versions:

And the orange Apple labels are also unique, done in that slightly washed-out colour tone common to New Zealand pressings:

These Apple labels don’t have the “cut” Apple on the flip side, while the third Apple Jam label is particularly nice:

Here are two close-ups of the New Zealand manufacturing credits:

And finally the box spine, with the gold lettering – this time on a deep blue background:(As usual, click on the images to see larger versions)

We also have an unusual Singaporean copy of All Things Must Pass that’s worth a look.

My Love – McCartney’s Wings

Back in 1973 when Paul McCartney and Wings released the vinyl single ‘My Love’, in most places around the world that’s how it was credited on the label: Paul McCartney and Wings.

For example, here’s the UK pressing:However, in a couple of territories they obviously didn’t get the memo detailing just how the band should be credited on the label.

We’ve just picked up a New Zealand pressing which is interesting for a couple of reasons. Number one is that it’s on the green Apple label. The other is the name of the band – McCartney’s Wings: Seems that this mistake may have been caused back in England when a few copies of ‘My Love’ also escaped into the public arena there with that very same band credit – McCartney’s Wings. Here’s a UK pressing that was probably quickly withdrawn and replaced with the proper band credit (seen on the UK pressing above):

And it looks like at least four other countries (Sweden, Israel, France and Venezuela) also stuffed up:In the rest of the world it is definitely Paul McCartney and Wings that performed ‘My Love’……..but we’re glad to have a unique New Zealand pressing now in the collection.

As usual, click on the labels to see larger versions. And if you know anything more on the back story to this one, please use the Comments section to let us know.