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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The Results of a Day Spent Crate Digging for Beatle Treasure

We had the chance to visit the lovely city of Melbourne in Victoria, Australia last weekend. A friend directed us to a record store they knew nearby – Licorice Pie – in the suburb of Prahran, not far from the CBD. If you are ever in Melbourne, this place is well worth a visit as they have heaps of well catalogued stock and at very reasonable prices.

Of course we were on the trail of some Beatle treasure, trying to fill in some gaps in the collection, and Licorice Pie did not disappoint.

We’ve been looking for some time for a copy of John Lennon’s Mind Games on the Axis label. Axis was an EMI subsidiary, the Australian equivalent of the UK budget label Music for Pleasure.

Axis released Mind Games three times in all, and each release is slightly different and even has different catalogue numbers. We had two of the three, but not the third – until now: 

This one has the catalogue number AXIS.6441 (the others are AX701272 and AX1009, both of which have yellow Axis labels). This one has black and white labels:

The sleeve also contained an original advertising insert with lists of other Axis budget titles on both sides, all for just A$4.99!

Licorice had some other John Lennon records we couldn’t resist. For example, this 7″ single in a picture cover, released in November, 1981 on the Parlophone label. It’s got two ‘A’ sides:

And this Lennon/Ono 7″ picture sleeve, a single taken from the Milk and Honey LP, released in 1984:

This next find is going to sound pedantic. It’s an Australian pressing of The Beatles ‘The Ballad of John and Yoko’. We had it already, but not with the Northern Songs publishing credit printed on the left-hand side of the Apple label:

When we discovered ‘The Ballad of John and Yoko’ it was in a large box full of other Apple 7″ singles – quite a few of which we were after. Probably the most collectable was Paul and Linda McCartney’s ‘Eat At Home’ single from the Ram period (1971):

This one is interesting because not only is it kind of rare (you don’t see many copies of it around), but it has an uncut Apple label on the ‘B’ side (the song ‘Smile Away’, also from Ram):

There was a nice clean pressing of George Harrison’s ‘Give Me Love [Give Me Peace on Earth]’ in the box too: 

Then two non-Beatle artists signed to the Apple label. First up, Badfinger with ‘No Matter What’:

And finally, the late great Billy Preston from 1969 and ‘That’s The Way God Planned It’:All these records filled gaps – they were records we didn’t have, despite years of collecting. That’s testament to a great record store. Get along to Licorice Records in Melbourne if you can!

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

Hey Jude/Revolution – If It’s Re-issued Should This Be The Look?

Loved this Tweet yesterday by Canadian Beatle aficionado and author, Piers Hemmingsen:  

It made us think that if (and it seems to be very likely) there are plans to re-issue a physical ‘HeyJude’/’Revolution’ single as part of the forthcoming Beatles White Album 50th Anniversary, then it really should come in a white sleeve like the 1968 Canadian issue.

What do you think? Does this…..

….look better (and more appropriate) than this…..

Piers Hemmingsen is the author of The Beatles In Canada – The Origin of Beatlemania!

McCartney Confirms 50th Anniversary Edition of The White Album

While speaking with DIY Magazine (to publicise his new solo project Egypt Stationdue out in September), Paul McCartney confirmed that there will in fact be a 50th Anniversary Edition of the The Beatles (a.k.a. The White Album):

Have you finished preparing the 50th anniversary package of that one yet?

It’s all in place, I’ve just got a couple of essays [to approve]. It’s all lined up and it’s really good.

Are there any moments you’d forgotten about when you were trawling back through the archives?

Something sparks another memory, but it’s really nice because we were a great little band – I think we can agree on that. So for me to be a part of that and to be remembering it is great; all these little things remind me of it and I do learn things.

The album itself [‘The White Album’] is very cool and it sounds like you’re in the room; that’s the great thing about doing remasters. But we’ve also got some demos of the songs, so you get things stripped right back to just John’s voice and a guitar. You just think, how fucking good was John?! Amazing. We were just doing it; it was amazing. We were having a good time.

Exact details are scarce, but it looks like on November 22 this year we will definitely see something similar to the 50th Anniversary Edition box set Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band from last year – which was beautifully done.

A new mix remastered by Giles Martin and Sam Okell? Definitely some demos and studio outakes, from what Sir Paul said. The mono version of the album included? And maybe some bonus materials, including a new stereo mix of the ‘Hey Jude’/’Revolution’ single (like they did with ‘Strawberry Fields’/’Penny Lane’ for Pepper)?

George Harrison Estate Launches New Record Label

The estate of George Harrison has just announced a new record label which will be dedicated to re-issuing some of the Indian classical and World music that George so dearly loved.

The label, called HariSongs, is kicking off by making two titles available to stream or download: In Concert 1972, featuring virtuoso’s Ravi Shankar and Ali Akbar Khan recorded live at New York’s Philharmonic Hall; and Chants of India, another Ravi Shankar project dating back to 1997. So far there is no talk of any physical product being made available, but there is a brand-spanking and comprehensive new website to go along with the new label.

In Concert 1972 was originally released on the Beatles’ Apple Records label in 1973, and was mixed and edited by George Harrison (with Zakir Hussain and Phil McDonald).

Chants of India, produced by George Harrison, was originally released in 1997 on the Angel Records label (formerly a classical music division of EMI). It was recorded in Madras, India, and at Harrison’s Friar Park home at Henley-on-Thames in the UK.

Both titles are recently out-of-print, and have never before been available via streaming platforms. In Concert 1972 is also available in Hi-Res 96/24 and 192/24 formats.

You can read the full details of George’s dedication to and delight in Indian classical music, plus the new record label and releases in the press release issued by the George Harrison Estate here.

Label Variations Part Eleven – Happy Xmas (War is Over)

A Christmas theme for the next installment in our occasional Label Variations segment.

This time it’s John Lennon, Yoko Ono and the Plastic Ono Band, with the Harlem Community Choir  and the 1971/1972 song ‘Happy Xmas (War is Over)’. Early versions (and some re-issues) were on green vinyl to suit the season.

The US Bell Sound test pressing:

Other US variations:

Some of the UK releases:

And Australia/New Zealand:

Here are some European releases. First Spain ‘Feliz Navidad’:

The Netherlands:

Italy:

France:

Greece:

Sweden:

An EU-made CD single from 2003:

Back to vinyl, this one is from Yugoslavia:

And a couple of South American countries, including Venuzuela ‘Felices Pascuas (Se Acabo La Guerra)’:

Brazil:

Mexico ‘Feliz Navidad (La guerra termino)’:

Here’s one from Japan ‘ハッピークリスマス戦争は終わった’:

Later on, when John Lennon was signed briefly to Geffen Records, that label released ‘Happy Xmas (War is Over)’ too:

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

Please note that not all these are from our collection! Check out this link to a ‘Happy Xmas (War is Over)’ 40th Anniversary page. Catch some others in the Label Variations series here. And visit the Imagine Peace (War is Over!) site.

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to all our readers.

Capitol 75 and the Elusive 2017 Reissue Series

Late last year Capitol Records announced an ambitious range of projects to take place across 2017 in celebration of its 75th anniversary producing, releasing and distributing music.

Principle among its plans was to be the release on vinyl of 75 titles from their vast catalogue that best represented the wealth of talent signed to, or associated with Capitol over the last 75 years.

The label convened an advisory board to decide on the final list of albums, and of course amongst them were a number of titles of interest to Beatle and solo-Beatle record collectors and readers of beatlesblogger.com.

Despite the fact that the year is just about done, it seems that there have not been any/many of the five Beatle titles on the list released as yet – at least from what we can tell. Nor has the John Lennon Imagine album, George Harrison’s All Thing Must Pass, or Wings Band on the Run shown up anywhere identified as part of the celebrations.

According to the press release, the US store Crate and Barrel is the main outlet and you can see they initially did have a few titles listed via their online store – some with a “Celebrating 75 Years of Capitol’s Music” logo on their front covers, some without). When we looked there were seventeen titles on their page – still far away from the seventy-five total. Subsequent searches failed to turn up ANY vinyl records or albums – so it looks like Crate and Barrel might have got out of the music business…..

Meanwhile, Amazon in October listed a 2017 re-issue of James Taylor’s eponymous 1968 Apple Records release, James Taylor – and this is one of the titles on the Capitol 75 list too:The front cover image Amazon shows doesn’t have any “Celebrating 75 Years of Capitol’s Music” logo or sticker, but the rear clearly shows it to be an Apple/Capitol/Universal Music release. Look below the bar code:

(Double click the image for a larger version)

Just by the way, according to The Daily Beatle site there is a problem with the pressing of this record. Side Two should have a song called ‘Brighten Your Night With My Day’. It is listed on the label, but is not present when you play the LP! Maybe that’s why when we ordered a copy for our collection, Amazon is saying they cannot give an exact delivery date. Maybe all copies have been withdrawn and corrected pressings are being prepared?

Still over at Amazon, a pre-order listing has appeared for Ringo Starr’s Ringo LP. This album is also on the Capitol 75 list, and the image below seems to have a Capitol 75th Anniversary identifier on the front cover (though we are not sure if this is genuine or has been photoshopped in by someone else):Amazon says that Ringo will be released on January 19, 2018.

Curiously, Amazon is listing Goodnight Vienna for a January 19 release as well, but this title does not appear on the Capitol 75 list……not sure what is going on there.