Another Piece in the ‘Revolver’ Cover Mystery?

Could this be another piece in the jigsaw puzzle that is the famous Revolver cover montage by Klaus Voormann?

In this explainer collage below there’s a question mark about the origins of the photograph Voormann used as inspiration for his drawing of John Lennon:

(Click on the image to see a larger version)

It is the drawing on the top right-hand side:

Could it have been this image?

The eyes, mouth and hair all look very similar.

We don’t think this has been identified in other Revolver photo research info before. See our previous posts on this here and here.

We’re still looking to confirm who might have taken the photo (more on this soon) but beatlesblogger.com reader naturalkatsup, who kindly sent it in, says it was taken at Reed Pigman’s “Pigman Ranch” in Missouri on September 19th, 1964. They say it seems to be taken by a photographer named Curt Gunther? We’re not sure if the image was published in a magazine that Klaus had access to, but naturalkatsup has found other photos from the same day on the web. Here’s the full photo:

And here are a couple of other shots from the same photo shoot:

What do you think? Could this be the source for Klaus Voormann’s Revolver drawing of John?

If you definitely know who the photographer is please get in touch.

UPDATE:

We can now confirm that this image was in fact taken by photographer Curt Gunther:

Thanks to the info supplied by naturalketsup, we checked our own Beatle library, and found this book:

It was published in 1989 and chronicles the Beatles’ 1964 tour of the U.S. and Canada in great detail. It includes 150 never-before-seen photographs at the time by freelance photographer, Curt Gunther.

Although Beatle manager Brian Epstein had ordered that no photographers accompany The Beatles on the tour, Derek Taylor, their Press Officer and friend, had persuaded Epstein to allow Gunther to tag along with the touring party. And he captured some amazing images. They were issued in 2000 in an expensive Genesis Publications book called Mania Days.

But prior to that came another more affordable book called Beatles ’64 – A Hard Day’s Night In America, with text by A.J.S Rayl and many of the same photographs by Curt Gunther. Here’s the rear cover:

The book has the details a day the band had off in their hectic schedule and their visit to Reed Pigman’s “Pigman Ranch” in Missouri on September 19th, 1964, including a very scary night flight from Arkansas in a small plane to get there. George Harrison feared they’d perish, just like Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens and the Big Bopper had in a small plane crash in 1959:

So, this confirms the origins of the image:

And the photographer:

The meetthebeatlesforreal.com site has some more images from the Pigman ranch stay.

The only question is, did Klaus Voormann use one of Gunther’s photos as his inspiration for John Lennon’s image on the cover of Revolver?

We reckon it’s likely.

RSD Black Friday – A Dark Horse Extra? (Plus Dark Horse Collecting – The Hard Way)

Is it just us who completely missed this, or did Dark Horse Records surreptitiously slip an additional title into Record Store Day Black Friday last Friday?

We’re pretty sure when we published this heads-up post back in September detailing which records might be of interest to Beatle completists, this listing definitely wasn’t there:

But when we looked on 25 November, there it was: a Joe Strummer LP Live at Music Millennium, 3600 copies, on the Dark Horse label:

This is a soundboard recording of Strummer’s solo acoustic in-store performance at a record store called Music Millennium in Portland, Oregon on November 2, 1999. It is getting its first ever release for RSD Black Friday and features the songs “Junco Partner,” “X-Ray Style” “Island Hopping,” “The Road to Rock N Roll,” and “Trash City.” The record continues the ongoing celebration this year of what would have been Joe Strummer’s 70th birthday.

While on the subject of Dark Horse, their other title for RSD, Dark Horse Records: The Best of 1974-1977, looks like a great collection:

Side A
1. Ravi Shankar – I Am Missing You
2. Ravi Shankar – Dispute & Violence
3. Splinter – Costafine Town
4. Splinter – Lonely Man
5. Attitudes – Ain’t Love Enough
6. Attitudes – Sweet Summer Music

Side B
1. Stairsteps – From Us To You
2. Stairsteps – Time
3. Keni Burke – Give All You Can Give
4. Henry McCullough – Lord Knows
5. Henry McCullough – Mind Your Own Business
6. Jiva – Take My Love

One of our long-time readers and avid Beatles and Beatle-related collector – see his selection of McCartney III variations for example! – has sent us this photo with the simple caption:

Dark Horse Records: Best of 1974-1977 THE HARD WAY”

Enough said!

The Story of the Apple Records Granny Smith

Late last year we were contacted by a researcher and writer named David Marshall.

David helps curate a UK website dedicated to the humble apple. That’s the fruit – not the computer company, or the famous Beatle record label!

The site Apples & People is, in part, funded by the Museum of Cider in Hereford which helps support an online exhibition program telling short illustrated stories about the apple from around the world.

The site is dedicated to exploring “the astonishing story of the apple, connecting its diverse history to humanity and culture. Based upon a specially commissioned global map of the apple which traces a network of stories from the ancient world to the present day, this online program and associated social media reveals just how significant and iconic this humble fruit has become.”.

So, they wanted to do a feature on the Granny Smith apple, specifically about it being photographed to become the celebrated, and much-loved, Apple label.

David had read our April, 2011 article which touched on how that apple image came to be, and he wanted to know more. We helped out a bit, but David is thorough and contacted many more people – especially those involved in the concept and creation of the Apple label in the very beginning.

You can read his findings here: https://applesandpeople.org.uk/stories/records/

We think his article came up very well and is a very interesting read.

We particularly liked the section on Billy Apple, and the statement: Apple Records was also transformative branding. Interpreted by the Beatles, the apple also came to be a symbol of independence and artistic freedom. It brought about a diverse artist-orientated approach to recording. We had never thought about it in those terms before.

You can see all the Apples & People stories about apples here.

More ‘Revolver’ Cover Photo Mysteries Solved

With the 2022 remaster and remix of The BeatlesRevolver album due to hit stores next month, there’s renewed interest in solving some of the remaining mysteries of just where cover designer Klaus Voormann sourced all those little images that make up the collage he created for this now-famous cover:

As you know last year we published an article about the latest thinking. There were still at least four images (circled in yellow) that remain mysterious as to their source (click on the image to see a larger version):

Now at least three of those four yellow circles have been solved (to an extent) by German fan and YouTuber, Yaacov (Jack) Edisherashvili.

Jack actually took a trip to visit Klaus Voormann in person and spoke with him about the Revolver cover. While there he asked him about where he’d sourced some of those photos.

You can see that video below. It’s interesting because in this first video Klaus talks about the cover and how it will be explained in the new book that’ll be included in the new 2022 release:

After Jack visited Klaus he wrote to us to say:

The image on the top left corner – the three faces – was never published. This was given privately to Klaus by the band.

The one on far right – the tiny image of Klaus himself – was shot by the late Astrid Kirchherr while Klaus was in his band Paddy, Klaus & Gibson.

The Ringo image – on top right corner – Klaus says was shot on a boat trip.

The John Lennon image with cigarette – I forgot to ask, but looks to me taken from press conference pictures?

So, that’s more information than we’ve had previously. Following his visit to Klaus, Jack has also uploaded this comprehensively researched YouTube with a detailed breakdown of the Revolver cover:

As you can see still a couple of mysteries remain.

If anyone knows the origins of the John Lennon photo with the cigarette – please let us know.

Also, two other outstanding questions are around the origins of the image of Ringo that Klaus used as inspiration for the drawing at the bottom left of the Revolver cover. Where was it published and who’s the photographer? And also the George image on the right – same questions: 

Record Store Day – Black Friday 2022

The complete list of Record Store Day Black Friday 2022 titles has been issued and there are a couple of Beatle-related items of interest for collectors.

Black Friday titles will go on sale Friday, November 25 and are only available through at brick and mortar independent record stores.

For Dark Horse Records fans there’s an interesting LP Dark Horse Records – The Best Of 1974-1977 (not to be confused with an album with a similar title by George Harrison from 1989 called The Best of Dark Horse 1976-1989).

This one is a newly-curated selection exclusive to RSD Black Friday of the artists discovered by, and in some cases produced by George Harrison, and includes two tracks each from Ravi Shankar, Stairsteps (formerly known as The Five Stairsteps), Splinter, Attitudes (featuring Jim Keltner, David Foster, Danny Kortchmar and Paul Stallworth), and Henry McCullough (Wings and Joe Cocker’s Grease Band). There’s also one track each from Keni Burke, and the band Jiva.

Ringo Starr fans are well-catered for this time around. There’s not one but five Black Friday releases.

The most interesting of these is the re-issue of a fairly obscure Ringo release called Old Wave. This originally came out in 1983, but only in limited places. Looking at the Discogs site it appears to have been released on vinyl only in Germany, Spain, Australia and New Zealand, Canada, Japan, South Africa, Mexico and Brazil. It did get a CD release in the US in 1994. But that’s about it. Critically known as “Ringo’s most overlooked album” and “Ringo’s solo masterpiece”, it was produced by Joe Walsh and Russ Ballard. It is set to be re-issued in 2022 on CD and on LP. The vinyl package includes an OBI strip, single album jacket, printed inner sleeve, original record labels and comes in a special brown and white smoke color vinyl. It also includes a bonus track available for the first time on vinyl “As Far As We Can Go (Early Version)”:

Here’s the CD image for Ringo’s Old Wave. It gets the bonus track as well and, as yiu can see in the list above there will only be 500 copies made available (in the US at least):

Another RSD Exclusive is Ringo Starr and His All-Starr Band with a double LP Live At The Greek Theatre 2019:

The other two RSD Black Friday releases on the list for Ringo are what is becoming the obligatory coloured vinyl editions of his 1977 LP, Ringo The 4th. This time they’ve announced two different colours. One in translucent orange (1000 copies) and the other in translucent blue (also 1000 copies). We are told the LP’s will be house in a gatefold cover with rare photos and lyrics.

But hey. Wait just a minute. Didn’t they also announce this exact same thing for RSD proper on April 23 this year!?

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:

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.

McCartney III – Coloured Vinyl Chart Update

For those of you still keeping score, we’ve updated our McCartney III chart detailing all the many variations over the past 18 months.

With the release last week of the McCartney I/ II/ III limited edition box set, which collects McCartney (on clear vinyl), McCartney II (on white vinyl), and McCartney III (on creamy white vinyl), there are now no fewer than 14 different vinyl colour releases of this LP available:

Just click on the image above to go full screen………

To get the creamy white version you have to purchase the McCartney I/ II/ III box. It’s is being described as a ‘Limited Edition’. We’re not sure of the exact numbers though. If anyone does know please comment in the ‘Leave a Reply’ box below.

McCartney I/ II/ III is also available in a standard black vinyl edition.

Ringo Starr Announces New EP

Los Angeles ­­­– July 29, 2022 – Today, UMe announces the release of EP3 featuring four brand new tracks from Ringo Starr, to be released on September 16. These four new tracks were all recorded at Starr’s Roccabella West studio just as he did for his Change The World and Zoom In eps, featuring longtime collaborators Steve Lukather, Linda Perry, Dave Koz, José Antonio Rodriguez, and Bruce Sugar. Ringo’s instantly recognizable vocals, feel-good lyrics, easy-breezy melodies, and frequent and new collaborators created songs that span the spectrum of pop, country, reggae and rock and roll. 

EP3 will be available September 16th digitally and on CD, and on 10” vinyl and as a limited edition translucent royal blue cassette on November 18.

“I am in my studio writing and recording every chance I get. It’s what I have always done and will continue to do, and releasing ep’s more frequently allows me to continue to be creative and give each song a little more love.” – RINGO

The four new tracks are:

  1. World Go Round
  2. Everyone and Everything
  3. Let’s Be Friends
  4. Free Your Soul (feat. Dave Koz and José Antonio Rodriguez)