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)

Beatles Box of Vision – Revisited

There’s no doubt there are some very generous souls in the Beatle collecting community and we’ve recently been the recipient of such generosity. In a tidy-up and down-sizing of his collection one beatlesblog reader found he had two copies of the 2009 release Beatles Box of Vision and, very kindly, decided to pass one of them along to us. And a welcome addition it is as we didn’t have this treasure in the collection.

The Beatles Box of Vision was the brainchild of former Capitol Records Executive Vice President/Chief Operating Officer and Beatle fanatic, Jonathan Polk.

Timed to coincide with the 2009 release of the Beatles stereo CD remasters, Box of Vision was a sumptuous way to store all that officially reissued CD catalogue – and more. Its storage section could contain every release from Please Please Me right up to the then-current Love, including Past Masters 1 & 2; the ‘best of’ albums 1962-1966 and 1967-1970; Live at the BBC; Anthology 1, 2 and 3; the Yellow Submarine Songtrack; the 1 compilation; and even Let It Be…Naked.

Box of Vision is large and impressively constructed. It comes shipped in a protective white cardboard outer (that is really worth keeping):

On the rear of this protective box is printed information about the contents:

When you open this white outer box the first thing you see inside is the large, well-protected, very good quality Box of Vision box. This initially looks like it might be designed to hold LPs instead of CDs because it is of LP-like proportions:

Taking it out reveals this still striking Robert Freeman image on the front cover of of what is a black linen covered storage box:

The box is deep and has the core collection LP spines printed along its edges :

As mentioned, the box is beautifully made. It is hinged on the left, opens like a large clam shell. It is designed to store, organise and display your Beatle CD collection. It contains two high quality books plus a set of plastic sleeves. The first thing you see when you open it up is a slim, soft cover book called The Beatles Catalography.

Then comes a series of 4 plastic storage sleeves – each of which can hold 8 CDs plus their booklets (4 on the front, 4 on the back of each sleeve). These have black and white images at each slot to show which CD goes where:

Then at the back of the box is an impressive cloth-bound hard back book containing all the full-sized artwork for every release. This is embossed on the front in shiny black lettering that simply says The Beatles:

Each box is numbered. This one is #1369:

Even the rear of the box has a nice detail:

Let’s look first at The Beatles Catalography book:

This is a guidebook to the unique history of Beatle releases. It details their UK and US catalogue in a side-by-side presentation so that you can immediately see the differences between the two countries, both in the artwork and the track listings:

Then comes the hefty, cloth-bound book The Beatles with high quality images of all the artwork associated with every official Beatle release in the UK to 2009.

Where that artwork extends to posters, special inserts or booklets these too are reproduced. For example, the story picture book stapled inside the Magical Mystery Tour LP is reproduced in full:

When you get to the 1 album an image of the poster is reproduced:

Likewise the booklet that came with the Let It Be…Naked LP:

The rear covers of each album are also faithfully reproduced:

Where did the name ‘Box of Vision’ come from?

At the time Jonathan Polk told The Houston Chronicle that title is from a song by Tom Russell. “The gist of the song is a father wishing he could give his child a box with all the things he would like her to experience in her life. I thought it was a good fit as I had envisioned this as a way to give a young fan the context to appreciate the history and chronology of the Beatles catalog, and what they were able to accomplish, in a much deeper way than as simply a bunch of hit songs.”

At the time you could order Box of Vision through the official Beatles site, or through a dedicated Box of Vision site – but that sadly is now long gone.

The Beatle/Apple connection – and the incredible quality of the images reproduced in both the books accompanying the storage box – very clearly hints at the close involvement the Beatles camp must have had with this project. They obviously supported the initiative fully, and it shows.

Here’s a YouTube ‘unboxing’ video from the time:

There was also a John Lennon Box of Vision released a year later in 2010, as well as a Bob Dylan Archive in 2011 – both done in a similar style to the The Beatles Box of Vision.

Thank you so much to reader Michael who very generously gifted us the Beatles Box of Vision.

Thanks also to Marc who read our article about The Beatles Box Of Vision and writes: “After it was released the Box Of Vision website had a PDF download containing corrections for three pages in Catalography book: one for the Let It Be/Let It Be…Naked page, and two of the Song/Album Reference pages.” Marc has made that PDF available. He hopes this is useful for others who may have missed it at the time. You can download those pages here:

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.

Very Rare US Beatle Single

A very rare Beatle single is going on show at Jack White’s Third Man Records in Nashville:

The record label posted on Instagram: “You can’t do that!” is probably what the Capitol Records pressing plant manager yelled at the rogue employee who created this unheard of (and unauthorized) yellow-and-black split color version of the Beatles’ 1964 single “Can’t Buy Me Love.” Likely pressed surreptitiously after hours, Third Man recently purchased this insanely rare record at auction. Expect to see this single on display soon at Third Man Records.

Maybe this is where they got the colour scheme idea for their very rare, limited production run (only 333 copies made) of Paul McCartney’s McCartney III LP?

And for their less rare McCartney III “Splatter” edition?

Want to visit Third Man Records?

‘Live at the BBC’ – How a Fan Helped Make Beatle History

It’s reasonably well known in Beatle circles that when it came to compiling the 1994 album Live at the BBC (later re-issued in remastered form and accompanied by a second volume in 2013), Apple and EMI relied heavily on some previously unknown 1963 recordings made off the radio by a teenage fan named Margaret Ashworth.

Margaret was credited prominently in the liner notes of both. Here’s Volume 1:

And here are the credits for Volume 2:

Her name was there for all to see, and we knew she was the source of many songs and performances previously thought to be completely lost, or only available in very poor quality. But we didn’t really know the whole back story. She’s not even given a single mention in Kevin Howlett’s comprehensive book on the subject, The Beatles: the BBC Archives: 1962-1970.

Now, for the first time, Margaret Ashworth – a veteran journalist (now retired) who worked at the Daily Mail newspaper – has written extensively about just how she was able to come to the rescue of The Beatles and made a new release of their live radio performances possible.

Check out her Mail on Sunday article ‘How a besotted Beatles superfan who made amateur bedroom recordings of the band’s 1960s hits ended up with a personalised thank you on their hit BBC album three decades later‘, and also her personal music blog post on the subject ‘How I made a Beatles album (with a little help from my friends)‘. It covers similar ground but, goes into much more detail. They’re both great reads.

Realising that her homemade tapes were gold, the engineers at EMI immediately made seven sets of CDs of the full Pop Go The Beatles programs. They presented Margaret with one set:

When the album Live at the BBC was originally released in 1994, Margaret Ashworth says she could easily tell which of the tracks came from her tapes. Here’s one of them, ‘Ooh! My Soul’. It is the track the producers and engineers used to test the quality of her recordings when she first took them to the Abbey Road studios:

It’s so good to now have this story told in full, and by the Beatle fan who made it happen.

Shankar Family ૐ Friends to get an Audiophile Release

The 1974 Dark Horse Records title Shankar Family ૐ Friends is to get an audiophile vinyl pressing in 2022.

The Mobile Fidelity Sound Labs site has it listed only as “Coming Soon” so far – but it will be on 180 gram vinyl under their Original Master Recording imprint. This will be the first time the record has been re-issued on vinyl since 1974.

An album by Indian master musician Ravi Shankar, Shankar Family ૐ Friends was recorded primarily in Los Angeles during the spring of 1973, but not released until late 1974. It features a host of top-flight Indian players.

The album was produced by George Harrison and also features western musicians like Tom Scott, Ringo Starr, Billy Preston, Klaus Voormann, Nicky Hopkins and Jim Keltner. It was last re-issued on CD in 2010 as part of the Collaborations box set. Check out our unboxing here.

What is a little confusing is that on the MoFi website the release is listed as being a 180 gram numbered single LP, while in the Music Direct store catalogue it says it will be a 180 gram, 45rpm 2LP pressing…..

Reader Unboxing Video of McCartney ‘The Lyrics’ Limited Edition

We’re guessing that many of you had Paul MCCartney’s The Lyrics book under the Christmas tree this year.

Not so many though would have been unwrapping the Limited Edition.

That’s the one actually signed by Sir Paul, and there have reportedly been just 175 copies made available worldwide. However, that most likely means 175 for the US market, and 175 for the UK.

Either way, it’s the one that comes in a unique and quite distinctive bright orange box with blue lettering. The design inside is different to the standard as well – as one lucky reader in New Zealand has just shared with us when he received his unique boxed set.

His name is Simon and somehow he managed to get a copy of the Limited Edition sent to him from a UK book store. It is number 105/175. Simon’s done this unboxing video for us of him opening his treasure:

See also Paul McCartney The Lyrics – How Many Translations?

Wild Life Gets 50th Anniversary Half Speed Master

50 years ago, on December 7, Wings released their debut album Wild Life – recorded over an eight-day period at Abbey Road Studios in London.

Now it joins McCartney and RAM in getting the Limited Edition, 50th Anniversary Half Speed Master treatment:

Paul and Linda McCartney, Denny Seiwell and Denny Laine arrived at the studios on 25 July, 1971 to begin recording with engineers Tony Clark and Alan Parsons.

“They rehearsed for a while, sang some old songs, wrote some new ones and in time headed for the big city studios. In three days they had laid down most of the tracks and by the end of a couple of weeks the album was finished. In this wrapper is the music they made. Can you dig it?”, wrote Clint Harrigan for the original album’s back cover liner notes.

On PaulMcCartney.com Paul wrote: “Wild Life was about spontaneity: the opening track ‘Mumbo’ was recorded in one take. I’d read that Bob Dylan had just made a quick album and I really liked the idea, because we tended to take longer and longer to make records. The early albums by The Beatles hadn’t taken long and it seemed to me that Dylan was getting to that. I was a great admirer of his – and still am to this day – so I thought, well, if it’s good enough for him, let’s do it.”

The 50th anniversary edition of Wild Life is cut at half speed at Abbey Road using a high resolution transfer of the original 1971 master tapes. The Half Speed 50th will be released on February 4. It is available for pre-order now.