Everything Old Is New Again at Apple

At Apple Records they sure do know how to re-use and re-cycle.

Just discovered that the  cover image they are using for the “Come and Get It – The Best of Apple Records” CD (to be released on October 25th) featuring selections (plus some rarities) from the entire Apple Records artist catalogue, has been used before.

When Apple had its original vinyl series of reissues starting way back in 1991 they issued an EP (that’s a four song, vinyl single which plays at 45rpm for those of you not familiar with early vinyl releases!) with exactly the same artwork:

From way back in 1991.....

The EP contains:

1. Those Were The Days – Mary Hopkin                                                                       

 2. That’s The Way God Planned It – Billy Preston                                                        

 3. Sour Milk Sea – Jackie Lomax                                                                                     

4. Come And Get It – Badfinger

Compare that cover to the about to be released CD:

From 2010.....

There’s no reason to re-invent the wheel I guess…..

More on those original Apple Records vinyl re-issues from the early 1990’s shortly.

 

Two Apple Box Sets Coming

Steve Marinucci in his excellent Beatles Examiner column reports that both the Beatles “Red” and “Blue” plus the extensive Apple Records artists reissues will be available as box sets.

Called “The Beatles 1962 – 1970”, the box set containing the Red “1962-1966” and the Blue “1967-1970” will look like this:

Red and Blue Box Set front cover

Of course inside will be these two double disc sets:

The Red "1962-1966"

The Blue "1966-1970"

The initial information on these releases remains the same – they will be available as individual discs on October 18 (in the UK) and October 19 (in the US). The box set however is listed by Amazon UK for a November 29 release.

Meanwhile, the big Apple artists reissues also planned for October are to be gathered together in box set for those who would like to buy the complete set. The big news here is that the box will contain not only the “Come and Get It – Best Of” disc with its rarities, but also two additional discs featuring the additional and rare tracks that would have only been available as digital downloads – so, 17 CD’s in all. For collectors like me this makes this release a lot more interesting because I still like to have the physical disc in my hands, complete with the liners notes, photographs and artwork rather than the nebulous digitally downloaded audio….

The box set cover will look like this:

Steve Marinucci has a nice slide show of the box and all the discs it will contain.

The one problem I have with all this is that the Beatles and Apple have allowed such a large amount of collectable product to pile up all at the same time. Between now and November we’ll have George Harrrison’s “Collaborations”; John Lennon’s multiple “Gimme Some Truth” releases; Paul McCartney’s “Band on the Run” in multiple versions; The Beatles “Red” and “Blue”; and all the Apple re-issues. This makes it incredibly difficult if not impossible for most avid collectors to afford all at once.

Thanks to Beatles Examiner for this information.

Apple Records “Come and Get It” Cover Revealed

The CD cover art for the soon-to-be-released “Come and Get It: The Best Of Apple Records” has been published by Amazon:

The tracklist for “Come And Get It” is as follows:

1 Those Were The Days / Mary Hopkin

2 Carolina In My Mind / James Taylor

3 Maybe Tomorrow / The Iveys

4 Thingumybob / The Black Dyke Mills Band (Paul McCartney’s theme tune for a 1968 British TV comedy drama series)

5 King Of Fuh / Brute Force (originally banned back in 1969, Brute Force is a New York songwriter championed by John Lennon and George Harrison)

6 Sour Milk Sea / Jackie Lomax

7 Goodbye / Mary Hopkin

8 That’s The Way God Planned It / Billy Preston

9 New Day / Jackie Lomax (an original non-album Lomax 45 that was co-produced with Mal Evans)

10 Golden Slumbers-Carry That Weight / Trash (a heavy Scottish group that came to Apple via their producer, former Shadows drummer Tony Meehan)

11 Give Peace A Chance / Hot Chocolate Band (a reggae version by the band that became hugely popular in the Seventies)

12 Come And Get It / Badfinger

13 Ain’t That Cute / Doris Troy

14 My Sweet Lord / Billy Preston

15 Try Some Buy Some / Ronnie Spector (one-time Ronette and former wife of legendary producer Phil Spector)

16 Govinda / Radha Krishna Temple (a UK Top 30 hit for the Radha Krishna Temple in 1970 produced by George Harrison)

17 We’re On Our Way / Chris Hodge (a young British pop singer who caught the attention of Ringo Starr)

18 Saturday Nite Special / The Sundown Playboys (a Cajun French collective from Louisiana, USA)

19 God Save Us / Bill Elliot & The Elastic Oz Band (John and Yoko wrote this fundraiser for the defence in the famous Oz Obscenity Trial of 1971)

20 Sweet Music / Lon & Derrek van Eaton

21 Day After Day / Badfinger

Amazon is listing an October 5 release date.

Apple Records – Re-releases Announced

I’ve been away traveling for a while without ready access to a computer and so have missed updating the blog with a significant announcement by Apple about some forthcoming non-Beatles re-releases. So, in case you missed it, here’s a catch-up post.

I’ve been buying records on the Apple label since I was a teenager. They were all Beatles releases of course as at the time that was the extent of my interest and my knowledge of the Beatles record label’s activities. It wasn’t until about fifteen years ago that I realised that alongside their Beatles releases the record label also issued a wealth of other artists, and so I began trying to catch up on these and started to collect the entire Apple catalogue in earnest. I’m still engaged in that quest. There are a lot of original records out there still to track down…..

As one fellow blogger put it “…part of what makes Apple so fun to collect is that the label’s artist roster in the late 60s and early 70s was so varied. Apple covered everything, from the Modern Jazz Quartet, to the folk of Mary Hopkin, to the avant-garde orchestration of John Tavener. The label also released a handful of film soundtracks, and launched the careers of some pretty high-profile artists such as James Taylor and Badfinger.”

Well, when I got back from my travels the other day I found this emailed press release (dated July 6) from Apple Corps Ltd in my inbox:

Badfinger, Billy Preston, Mary Hopkin, James Taylor, and more. Apple Records catalogue remastered and reissued on CD and digital download – Classics Set For Release on October 26th

Launched by The Beatles in 1968, as the new outlet for their own recordings as well as the music of an eclectic roster of artists – James Taylor, Badfinger, Billy Preston, Mary Hopkin, Doris Troy, and Jackie Lomax among them – who were all personally brought to the label by The Beatles (individually and/or collectively), Apple Records made popular music history from the very moment it opened its doors.

Four decades later, Apple Corps Ltd. and EMI Music raise the curtain on remastered CD and digital download releases of 15 key albums from the Apple Records catalog. All 15 titles will be released on October 26th. Most of the physical CDs will include bonus material. Together, the 15 albums represent the first ever Apple Records releases to be available via digital download.

In the revolutionary spirit of 1968, The Beatles’ explosive musical output (characterised by their double-LP White Album) was only exceeded by their fascination with what they saw and heard going on around them. Five years into The Beatles’ reign, Apple Records afforded them the unique opportunity to sign new (and established) artists who appealed to each of them. In turn, the introduction of an artist on The Beatles’ record label was an imprimatur taken very seriously by fans across the universe.

Apple Records’ utopian artist-orientated mission immediately set it apart, as the first operation of its kind in the major-label sphere. Diversity was celebrated, and artists were encouraged to record and release their music in a friendly creative environment. Apple developed a distinctive graphic aesthetic, from its legendary ‘apple-core’ logo to its advertising and merchandising, in the process setting a subtle new benchmark for the industry to follow.

From 1968 to 1973, Apple Records bedazzled the world with a rainbow spectrum of releases – and fans were unusually well-informed about individual involvements of The Beatles with nearly every project. 1968’s self-titled debut album by Boston-based singer-songwriter James Taylor, for example, features Paul McCartney and George Harrison on “Carolina In My Mind”. Paul was instrumental in bringing the Welsh chanteuse Mary Hopkin to Apple, and produced her debut single, “Those Were The Days”. Badfinger, also from Wales, was still known as The Iveys when they recorded “Come And Get It”, written and produced by Paul (for The Magic Christian movie soundtrack).

The Beatles had been fans of Billy Preston ever since seeing him in Little Richard’s band in Hamburg in 1962. George went on to produce and play on Preston’s Apple debut, That’s the Way God Planned It. Harrison was one of the producers and played (along with Ringo Starr) on Doris Troy’s self-titled Apple album. George also produced and played (with Paul and Ringo) on Jackie Lomax’s debut album, Is This What You Want? featuring the Harrison composition, “Sour Milk Sea”.

John was much taken with the music of The Modern Jazz Quartet, who released the only two jazz albums in the Apple catalogue. Ringo was intrigued by the music of contemporary British classical composer John Tavener, and his Apple album, The Whale has become one of the most sought-after Apple collectibles of all time.

Each of the 15 albums in this bumper batch of Apple Records releases has been digitally remastered at EMI’s Abbey Road Studios in London by the same dedicated team of engineers behind The Beatles’ recent remastered catalogue releases of 2009.

For details about the release, visit www.applerecords.com

Many Thanks

thebeatles.com

The releases (15 titles in all) are:

  • James Taylor (1968) by James Taylor
  • Magic Christian Music (1970) by Badfinger
  • No Dice (1970) by Badfinger
  • Straight Up (1972) by Badfinger
  • Ass (1974) by Badfinger
  • Post Card (1969) by Mary Hopkin
  • Earth Song, Ocean Song (1971) by Mary Hopkin
  • That’s The Way God Planned It (1969) by Billy Preston
  • Encouraging  Words (1970) by Billy Preston
  • Doris Troy (1970) by Doris Troy
  • Is This What You Want? (1968) by Jackie Lomax
  • Under The Jasmine Tree (1968), and Space (1969) by the Modern Jazz Quartet (a 2-on-1 CD)
  • The Whale (1970), and Celtic Requiem (1971) by John Tavener (a 2-on-1 CD)

It has to be said that this is not the first time these titles have been re-issued by Apple. There was another major campaign between 1991-1993 when they were all released for the first time on CD. That campaign also saw them released as vinyl LPs, complete with the original artwork and lots of bonus tracks, additional photographs, etc….So, for many collectors it will be a case of having to decide whether or not to get these 2010 releases a second time. What’s new is that they have all been freshly re-mastered by the engineering team at Abbey Road (who did the recent Beatles re-masters), and that they’re to be available as digital downloads for the first time making these re-issues the first Apple product ever available in that form. Can an announcement about the Beatles catalogue being digitally down-loadable be far behind?

To mark that 1991-1993 release campaign Apple Records released this special apple-shaped extended play CD.

Beatles USB Apple – not the First Apple-shaped Product Released….

I’ve always had a fascination with the Beatles and their music. From the very first days of being old enough to buy my own records I’ve had at least some copies of their albums and singles in my collection – mostly vinyl, starting with Sgt Pepper, The White Album, Abbey Road, and Let It Be, plus the odd single here and there.

But the way I got into seriously collecting a wider range of related records, CDs and books was when I became intrigued by their Apple Records label and the eclectic stable of artists they signed up – both the well-known and the more obscure. Its a quest I’m still on. There are some titles and artists out there on Apple Records that I still don’t have…

In launching Apple Records in 1968 the Beatles produced what was then and is now an exceptionally rare promotional box-set of the very first Apple singles called “Our First Four”.  According to Richard DiLello in “The Longest Cocktail Party”, his 1972 memoir about being an Apple Records “house hippie”, this was a presentation box containing the first four 45 rpm vinyl singles from the label. It was “….a box made of plastic, 10 by 12 inches in matte black with a recessed lid carrying the Apple sticker that announced it as Our First Four, 3 Saville Row, W1.” It contained The Beatles “Hey Jude/Revolution” (R 5722), Mary Hopkin – “Those Were the Days” (APPLE 2), Jackie Lomax – “Sour Milk Sea” (APPLE 3), and The Black Dyke Mills Band – “Thingumybob” (APPLE 4).  Richard DiLello again: “There was a single coloured folder containing the biographies and photographs of the artists with the records in a polythene sleeve. The name of the person to whom the box was going was printed on the outside Apple sticker. This was primarily an inter-industry gift presentation package for the benefit of Capitol Records and selected disc jockeys and journalists.” Here’s a website that has a photo of one of these extremely rare boxes – although I’m not sure how authentic it is. DiLello says in his book that one of these boxes was presented to Stanley Gortikov, President of Capitol Records in 1968. Others were hand-delivered to the Queen Mother at St James’s Palace; Her Majesty the Queen at Buckingham Palace; Princess Margaret at Kensington Palace; and to British Prime Minister Harold Wilson at Number 10 Downing Street, London.

In 1991, when it came time for Apple to conduct a big re-issue program of all the Apple album releases, they decided to do something similar (but not exactly the same – and certainly not as rare) with a special Limited Edition CD.

The Apple EP

The Apple E.P. (1991) CD

As you can see it’s an official, apple-shaped CD release to mark the re-issuing of the Apple LP catalogue on both CD and vinyl – back in 1991.

When you open the “apple” it looks like this:

Apple EP

The Apple EP opened to reveal the 4-track CD

Inside is a 4-track compact disc with a song each from Mary Hopkin – “Those Were the Days”; Billy Preston – “That’s the Way God Planned It”; Jackie Lomax – “Sour Milk Sea”; and Badfinger – “Come and Get It”. Not exactly the same tracks as Our First Four, but still two tracks written by Beatles (“Sour Milk Sea” by George Harrison and “Come and Get It” by Paul McCartney):

Apple EP - rear cover

The Apple E.P. - rear cover with track details

As well tracks 1 and 4 were produced by Paul McCartney, and tracks 2 and 3 were produced by George Harrison.

OK, so there is no “Hey Jude”/”Revolution”,  but there is still a pretty large Beatle quotient here. And for me its a reminder that the current Beatles USB (containing all the remastered Beatles albums in high quality digital format) is not the first time that Apple has used an apple-shaped object to market product.

Apple EP CD

The artwork for the Apple EP compact disc (1991)

Its also not the first time that Apple has collected together four songs from artists in their stable and released an EP for promotional purposes. In 1969, not that long after Our First Four, they gave permission for the British ice cream company Walls to issue a vinyl EP:

Walls Ice Cream EP

The Walls Ice Cream EP from 1969

Click here for more information on this release.

As for the Apple re-issue program from 1991, I have quite a few of the vinyl LP re-issues from that time (complete with bonus tracks and original and additional artwork) and will post some pictures and info on these in the future.

Weird “Concert for Bangladesh” LP

Every so often you come across a CD or LP where you just can’t identify the country it was released in. Its kind of frustrating because collectors usually like to know this kind of detail…especially when you come across unusual or different packaging of a release you think you know well.

That’s the case here with this three-LP set from 1971 of George Harrison’s “Concert for Bangladesh”.

Every copy I’ve seen to date comes in a hard cardboard box, with a lid that lifts off and looks like this:

The usual "Concert for Bangladesh" box

The box contains the three vinyl discs, and the white-covered 64-page book of concert photos, text and credits for the album. The rear of this box is plain and has no writing on it.

However, I have a copy in the collection that’s a bit different. Its a box, but made of soft cardboard that doesn’t have a lid. The front cover looks familiar enough:

Front cover "Concert for Bangladesh"

So far so good. But this release has flaps on the back which you pull out to get access to the records and book inside:

The flaps in the closed position

You flip open these flaps and the “box” looks like this:

"Concert for Bangladesh" open

From what I can tell the US, UK and Australian versions all have the lidded box, and not this top-opening, slide-out style box. Also the US and UK versions have dark khaki brown inner sleeves in which the records sit (the Australian release doesn’t have any paper sleeves).

Inside this box  though the LPs are in light yellow colored thin paper sleeves:

The LPs are in yellow paper sleeves

The place you can usually tell the country of origin is in the small print on the labels of the records themselves. This one has no hints – with no mention of a country of origin. However, it does have a lot more copyright information on each disc, located just near the record number information (see top the left-hand side in the pics below as compared to the Australian release):

The label of the "strange" version - with copyright info top left

Compare this to the official Australian release:

The Australian release label - note no copyright info

The final main difference is that the words “Sole Distributors, Gramophone Record Company, Ltd” are written on the labels and prominently across the back of the box. The image below is from the rear of the box:

"Sole Distributors, Gramophone Record Company, Ltd" printed on the rear of the box

So, a weird one.

Being a huge worldwide Apple release, this concert disc set would have been issued in a large number of countries. I have my suspicions that this one here could be either the New Zealand or the Indian release.  But I don’t have anything to prove that.

If anyone has any information on this release please let me know by submitting a comment. Cheers for now.