McCartney’s ‘Pipes of Peace’ – Original Labels

Looking at the recently released Capitol Records coloured (and black) vinyl reissue of the Paul McCartney Pipes of Peace LP, we got thinking about the labels used for the original release back in 1983.

This is the label style used on both sides of the 2017 version:

As you can see, the custom designed labels are similar thematically (but not exactly the same) as those used for Side 2 of the 1983 vinyl release:

The chrome-plated chair image is larger and positioned differently, plus it has a different musical instrument on it.

But it’s the labels used for Side 1 in 1983 that fascinate.

For some reason Side 1 in each of the major markets around the world featured vintage depictions of either Parlophone or Odeon record labels (for those territories outside the US), or Columbia Records for the United States (becasue that was the label McCartney was signed to there at the time).

Here, for example, is the Side 1 label used in the UK – a vintage Parlophone in deep maroon:

And here’s the label used in the US, which was done in the style of an old-fashioned Columbia release:

In Australia it was a vintage Parlophone – done in a dark brown and gold:

For Europe, where the Odeon label was used to release EMI titles, they used a vintage version too. Here’s the one for Germany:

And Spain of course:And here’s the label used in France for Side 1. Unusually, it’s a vintage Parlophone – which is strange becasue you’d think it would more likely be on Odeon too:

It was definitely vintage Odeon for Japan: And in New Zealand it was a Parlophone: 

These next few are from smaller territories where we’re pretty sure that on both sides of the disc the  labels used were both the same. If you happen to have any further info on these please get in touch using the “Leave a Reply” section below. First up, India:

We can confirm that The Philippines definitely used a vintage black and yellow Parlophone for both sides of the disc:

Malaysia:

And to some South American countries now – Argentina:

Uruguay:

Bolivia:

And lastly, Columbia, which interestingly seems to be serviced by both Parlophone and Columbia/CBS records:

If you’d like to see these labels in more detail, click on the images to bring up larger versions.

And if anyone knows just why Paul McCartney wanted to use vintage labels for Side 1 only of Pipes of Peace, please let us know by commening below.

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Strange/Unusual Find of the Month – George Harrison’s ‘Poor Little Girl’ Promo

Paid a visit this week to a new and second-hand record/book store we’d not visited before. It’s called Title, and they specialise in music, books and film.

One item in their “1/2 Price” sale bins caught our eye: 

It is a 12″ promotional-only single from Brazil containing two versions of a rare George Harrison solo song from 1989 called ‘Poor Little Girl’. Oddly enough the flip side of the disc is Rod Stewart singing a Tom Waits-penned song, ‘Downtown Train’:

Harrison’s ‘Poor Little Girl’ was only ever released on a 1989 compilation called The Best of Dark Horse 1976-1989, and it looks like this promo disc was issued to promote that album. The 12″ promo contains two versions of the song – an edited version that runs 3:25, and the LP version with a running time of 4:32.

As you can see, there was not great attention to detail by whoever prepared both the cover and label as they misspell George’s surname both times in the songwriting credits.

Strange to have come across this 12″ tucked away in the inner Sydney suburb of Surry Hills – but that’s sometimes the way record collecting goes…..

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

New George Martin Biography – Maximum Volume

We have reviewed author Ken Womack’s work previously on beatlesblogger.com

He’s a recognised authority on The Beatles and their enduring cultural influence. His latest work is the first in what will become a two-volume biography devoted to Beatle producer, Sir George Martin.

First published last year in the United States, then quickly followed by a UK edition, the first installment is called Maximum Volume: The Life of Beatles Producer George Martin (The Early Years: 1926-1966).

Here’s the US jacket:

And here’s the somewhat more tame UK cover

This book is long-overdue. There have been surprisingly few in-depth studies of the life of one of the most influential figures in popular music, a career spanning more than 60 years.

In Womack’s book we learn that George Martin scored his first real job in the music industry pretty much by accident when he joined the recording giant EMI as an A&R man for Parlophone Records and that in the 1950s being in A&R (or Artist and Repetoire) didn’t mean you were a producer – it was more about talent scouting and the artistic and commercial development of the artists signed to your label.

Martin had a natural musical talent and great training, and he’d had some success with comedy and novelty records for Parlophone. But he needed more than that. By the early 1960s to keep his label afloat George Martin needed to hit it big with a pop group – and soon.

Though he had tons of creativity, drive, and a solid musical background, Martin’s main handicap was that he had little knowledge or experience of the world of Rock & Roll.

Then, into his life walks a young, four-piece outfit from Liverpool.

These guys knew a lot about Rock & Roll, but had no knowledge about studios and how to record their music. The pairing of the two was a marriage made in heaven. What George Martin was able to bring to the table fitted perfectly with what the Beatles needed – and together they went on to make magic.

It wasn’t always plain sailing though, and Martin often had to be tough and give as good as he got because the Beatles were hard task masters. They were ambitious, confident, and didn’t suffer fools lightly. But George Martin had the chutzpah and the musical knowledge and ability to carry it off:

Martin: “Let’s have one more go at the backing, then we’ll record your voices separately. This time, we’ll get it exactly right.”

McCartney: “Why—what was exactly wrong?”

Martin: “The tuning sounded wrong. And you, George, should be coming in on the second beat every time instead of every fourth beat.”

Harrison: “Oh, I see.”

In its essence, this brief exchange demonstrated what people in the Beatles’ inner circle understood implicitly: namely, that George was possibly the single most influential person in their world, really the only one who could impinge upon the nature of their music. Even Brian [Epstein], whom they held in extraordinarily high esteem, held little, if any, sway in terms of influencing the direction of their creative lives. At one point, when Brian dared to offer an opinion about their efforts in the studio, John coolly replied, “You look after your percentages, Brian. We’ll take care of the music.” (pg. 252)

In Maximum Volume Womack candidly – and comprehensively – tells the story of George Martin from his very humble childhood and early adulthood, through to the heights of success he and the Beatles enjoyed globally. It’s a great read, a real page-turner in fact as the detail behind that enormous success unfolds.

As one reviewer put it, the book contains enough fresh information and informed insight about the group’s early years to satisfy [even] the most devout Beatlemaniac.

Maximum Volume takes a similar approach to that of Mark Lewisohn’s well-researched and highly regarded multi-volume telling of the Beatles story: there are footnotes detailing where Womack is getting his information and where his quotes come from; there’s an extensive bibliography; and there’s a comprehensive index. All these things point to the thorough research undertaken by Ken Womack and the efforts he’s gone to to put the life and work of George Martin into a context that can be supported by facts.

The importance of this approach to writing about the Beatles, or any subject or person for that matter where so much has been written over many years, is imperative. Sifting through the mass of it to find those kernels of truth about your subject before forming it into an accurate and entertaining narrative is paramount – and Womack pulls it off. For a great reflection on this subject it’s worth a listen to the Something About the Beatles podcast episode called “The Beatles and the Historians“. See too the show’s interview with Ken Womack himself: “George Martin – Maximum Volume“.

Womack’s second and final volume on the life and work of Sir George Martin will be published in September this year. It’s to be called Sound Pictures: The Life of Beatles Producer George Martin (The Later Years: 1966-2016).

In the meantime, enjoy Volume One – Maximum Volume. It is highly recommended.

McCartney – Eight Coloured Vinyls Arrive

Like a lot of collectors around the world, we have been waiting patiently for Universal Music to sort out the delays and confusion around the supply and delivery of the recent Paul McCartney vinyl re-issues on coloured vinyl.

We ordered ours last year, weeks before the advertised shipping date – but it is only in the new year that they have finally arrived, and in two separate shipments. Ram clearly was in very short supply and it is pretty obvious that a pressing of more copies had to be hurriedly arranged. That LP came in a separate package a few following the main batch.

Having said all that, these look absolutely fantastic. Here are some images of the collection – the front “hype” stickers and record labels: 

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

Yellow Submarine – 50th Anniversary Celebration Ideas Taking Shape

This year, being the 50th anniversary of the Beatles’ Yellow Submarine LP and animated film, we’ll see some official Apple-backed activities to mark the occasion.

There’s to be a new graphic novel adaptation of the film story from comic-book artist, writer and editor Bill Morrison. This will be released on August 7 and is available for pre-order now from Amazon US and Amazon UK. See more on the background to the book hereAlso, The Beatles official site today also announced that, in the UK and Ireland at least, Yellow Submarine will be making a return to cinemas for one day only. It’s planned to show the film in multiple locations on July 8. Tickets go on sale from April 17. More details about this here – and you can keep up with the event on a new Yellow Submarine Film Facebook page.

Meanwhile, at the recent Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, the Pro-Ject turntable company leaked some teaser vision of their latest collaboration with Apple – a Yellow Submarine themed turntable:

The company has already issued two Sgt. Pepper turntables (in Drum and Limited Edition versions); a Beatles 1964-themed player; plus a George Harrison commemorative model. No further details about availability or pricing of the Yellow Submarine model are available yet.

John Lennon – 2018 US Postal Service Stamp

Looks like the US Postal Service is to honour John Lennon in 2018.

The newest stamp in its Music Icons series will honor singer and songwriter John Lennon (1940–1980), “….a rock ’n’ roll hero successful both as a founding member of the Beatles and as a solo artist.”

If the photograph for the stamp looks familiar, it was most recently used on the cover of Philip Norman’s book John Lennon – The Life, which came out in 2008. The image is by legendary rock photographer Bob Gruen who knew Lennon well and has taken many iconic images of him. The photograph comes from a photo shoot for the cover of his 1978 album Walls and Bridges:  

The Postal Service has previously honoured The Beatles as a group on a 1999 postage stamp as part of its Celebrate the Century series. That issue depicted the Yellow Submarine from the animated movie and soundtrack Yellow Submarine. The upcoming Lennon release will be the first to feature an actual likeness of one of the Beatles on a U.S. stamp.

In 2007 Britain’s Royal Mail issued ten different stamps celebrating the importance of The Beatles to Britain and the world. These depicted album covers (With The Beatles; Help!; Revolver; Sgt. Pepper; Let It Be; and Abbey Road, plus the single ‘Love Me Do’), along with images of Beatle memorabilia. For more detail on those releases click here.

Detailed information and the issue date for the Lennon US Postal Service stamp will be revealed later. The stamp design is preliminary and subject to change until issuance dates.

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 it’s 75th anniversary producing, releaseing 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 barcode:

(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.