Wings Greatest – Strange Bulgarian Pressing

There’s nothing we love more than discovering a strange or different pressing of a very well-known album – and this one, Paul McCartney and Wings’ Wings Greatest, fits the bill perfectly.

It’s the official Bulgarian release on the Balkanton label, and we were alerted to it by old friend Andrey – who helps maintain the fantasticly comprehensive The Beatles Get Back in the USSR site.

This copy of Wings Greatest is not only distinguished by its unusual labels (see below), but also the fact that it comes with one less song than every version we can find released anywhere else in the world. You can see that Side 1 is missing the track ‘Live and Let Die’. In every other market Side 1 has six tracks. In Bulgaria they got just five:Just to refresh your memory, here’s the US Capitol version of this 1978 compilation LP:

If you were browsing in a second-hand bin (and this LP comes up for sale a lot), you could very easily flip straight past the Bulgarian version without noticing that it’s actually quite rare.

We wonder if there was some sort of a licencing issue in Bulgaria with the song ‘Live and Let Die’ because it is from the soundtrack of the James Bond film of the same name? It would be part-owned by United Artists. Maybe that was it?

Now you can see on the rear cover in the place ‘Live and Let Die’ should be the words “Manufactured under licence by Balkanton in Bulgaria”.

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

A Happy Christmas to All – And a Beatle Podcast Discovery

Thanks to all our followers and readers – it has been a hectic 12 months, but here we are at the end of another year, and another decade!

Wishing you and yours a very special holiday season, with lots of good things to eat, drink and of course good music to listen to (especially Beatle music)!

One small gift to leave you on this Christmas Eve – the discovery of a great podcast.

This one has been around quite a long time but has, until now, flown under our radar. There’s a lot to catch up on!

It is simply called I’ve Got A Beatles Podcast! and it’s great fun. Hosts Dave and Chris deliver content that will be right up your alley if you like our blog. Their aim is to be “an educational, informative, and irreverent look at all things Beatles“, and this podcast delivers. It’s terrific and well worth a listen.

If I’ve Got A Beatles Podcast! is new to you too, and you don’t know where to begin, then why not start this Christmas by checking out their Annual Holiday Gift Episode.

Beatles 2019 The Singles Collection Unboxing – Super Deluxe Edition

If you’re looking for the definitive unboxing video of the recent Beatles The Singles Collection box, then you’d be hard pressed to go past this one.

Paul Sinclair is the editor of Super Deluxe Edition, a terrific website dedicated to detailing and discussing all sorts of box sets and re-issues. As his website strapline says, it’s “the box set and reissue music site for fans who love holding the music in their hands”.

Note: this video is about the box set presentation, not about the sound quality of the vinyl.

McCartney – ‘Coming Up’ Sheet Music

Sometimes record-hunting can have very slim returns.

A recent trip to Melbourne, which is a great city and usually a very good place to go crate digging, turned up very little. All we came home with was this, found not in a record store but a second-hand bookshop:

It’s the sheet music for Paul McCartney’s song ‘Coming Up’, the single taken from the McCartney II LP, released back in 1980.

And that was it. Must admit, it was fairly easy to bring home on the plane!

Some Unusual Asian Beatle Items – Part Five

Well, it seems that all good things (eventually) come to those who wait.

You know what it’s like in this Beatle collecting business. You have titles and versions on your list you’re on the lookout for and they just never seem to appear during any of your travels, or in searches online….

That’s what happened here. Way back in 2010 we had a holiday in Vietnam and found a few interesting Beatle items along the way. Amongst them, in a Hanoi CD store, was a series called The Beatles Double Golden Collection. This is a series where two, separate Beatle albums have been issued in one double CD box, each with an outer cardboard slipcase. You can read more about what these look like here.

The sets on display in the store were Magical Mystery Tour/Yellow Submarine; Please Please Me/Sgt. Pepper; Revolver/WIth The Beatles; Help!/Rubber Soul; Abbey Road/Let It Be; and Hard Day’s Night/Beatles For Sale. I know, odd pairings.

These all seem to have been pressed around 2009, the same time as the then-new Beatles Remastered CD reissues because each disc in these sets also had mini-documentaries included.

One album from the canon has been obvoius by its absence. Missing from the shelves in Hanoi was the legendary The Beatles (or The White Album). It just wasn’t in the store when we were there. So, every now and then since 2010 we’d have a quiet look at eBay to see if anything like The Beatles Double Golden Collection popped up in searches. It never has….

Until last week.

After nine long years this has finally been added to the collection:

That’s the front cover of the outer cardboard slipcase. It’s not an exact match (it doesn’t say Beatles Double Golden Collection, for example), but this is clearly from the same company that produced the other CDs as just about every other detail is identical. Here’s the rear of the slipcase: Inside is a larger than usual plastic CD jewel case. Not sure why, but it is bigger:This jewel case holds two discs, one each side of one of those flip-over trays:And inside is a booklet that contains no real text (except for photo location details), just lots of images of The Beatles, most but not all of them time relevant to the the recording dates of the The White Album! The rear cover of the booklet is from the Let It Be sessions:So, not sure what the moral of this story is. Patience pays off? Finally, after nearly a decade, the basic set of Beatle albums in this sereis is complete. Also, after a lot of research on these, we’re pretty sure they are not official.

As usual click on the images if you’d like to see larger versions.

See also: Some Unusual Asian Beatle Items – Part One; Some Unusual Asian Beatle Items – Part Two; Some Unusual Asian Beatle Items – Part Three; and Some Unusual Asian Beatles Items – Part Four.

The Beatles: The Singles Collection

Long speculated upon, now officially announced. Apple Records will be releasing a new Beatles box set of 23 UK 7-inch vinyl singles titles, each with unique cover art from around the world faithfully reproduced – right down to the record labels used in the particular country.

The set includes all 22 singles issued in the UK between 1962 and 1970, plus a single that is unique to this set – a double A-side of the songs ‘Free As A Bird’ and ‘Real Love’. All the singles have been remastered from the original mono and stereo tapes at EMI’s Abbey Road studios and will be pressed on “180-gram vinyl”. Don’t they mean just heavyweight vinyl? A 180-gram vinyl 45 is gonna be kind of thick…..

The box will include a 40-page illustrated booklet with an essay by respected Beatle historian Kevin Howlett.

You can read the full press release from Apple/Universal Music, which includes a full track listing and details the country from which each cover comes from. Glad to see that Australia will be represented by the double A-side ‘Strawberry Fields Forever’/’Penny Lane’! The picture cover for this was used in a number of markets, but the labels are unique:

The Beatles: The Singles Collection will be released on Novemver 22nd.

 

Abbey Road 50th Anniversary – First Unboxing Video and Review

Well, just about every other critic and music writer has been pipped at the post by the one-and-only Michael Fremer (of Analog Planet website fame) who has bolted out of the starting blocks with not only the first full review of the Beatles new Abbey Road 50th Anniversary re-mix and re-master, but also what must be the very first unboxing video showing in detail what the contents of the 3 LP and 3 CD/1 Bluray box sets look like. The album is not officially released until Friday (27 September) so jump online and soak up this preview of what is the real deal:

The Beatles Revisit ‘Abbey Road’

If you follow The Beatles you’ll know that the full release plans for the Abbey Road 50th anniversary have just been made public.

In one big photo, here’s what we’ll be getting (click on images to see larger versions):To flesh that out a little, there’s a 3 CD, 1 Blu-ray (audio) plus hardback book super deluxe edition:

A 3 LP vinyl box set, 180 gram half speed mastered:

A unique 2 CD deluxe edition:

A single, black vinyl LP:

A picture disc LP:

And a single CD edition:

There’s more lovely visuals and info in the official “unboxing” promo:

And for a full description and background to each of the formats and some of the extras see Paul Sinclair’s very detailed article at superdeluxeedition.com. It has complete track listings as well.

Also, check out the offical Beatles site, and the official Beatles Vevo YouTube channel where Apple has uploaded three versions of George Harrison’s beautiful song, ‘Something’. Firstly the studio demo version:

Then the new stereo remix by Giles Martin and Sam Okell:

And finally, ‘Something (Take 39)’ – Instrumental Strings Only. Very special:

Digging For Some Beatle-Related Singles

A recent trip to Melbourne (capital city of the Australian state of Victoria) turned up some more Beatle-related treasure in the form of some nice vinyl singles. (Click here for the results of our previous visit).

Some of these titles we already had, but in pressings from different countries. The others definitely fill some gaps in the collection. As always, click on the images below to see larger versions.

The first two we found were at a flea market – and going very cheaply. Mary Hopkin’s ‘Goodbye’ was produced by Paul McCartney and released in 1969. This one is the UK release:

We already had two other versions of this. The US release – in a picture sleeve:

And the Australian pressing, with two different label variations. One with a Northern Songs publishing credit stamp, and one without:

The other find at the flea market was also a UK pressing – of the Radha Krishna Temple’s ‘Hare Krishna Mantra’, also from 1969:

The pressing we already had of this is probably more rare. It’s the Australian pressing, also nice to have:

After the flea market we headed over to one of our favourite second-hand record haunts, Licorice Pie Records. As usual they had a good selection of used Beatle and Apple artist 45’s. Like this one, an Australian pressing of Paul McCartney and Wings from 1974 with ‘Mrs Vandebilt’:

Despite years of collecting, this single was not in the collection – so it was a good find. As was this next one – Badfinger and ‘Baby Blue’ (again an Australian pressing):

Paul McCartney’s brother Mike McGear released an album in 1974 simply called McGear. On it he had a lot of help (and songs) from his older sibling and members of his brother’s band, Wings. The McGear album is set to be reissued on June 28 on 180 gram vinyl and on a CD + DVD set (with lots of rarities included). The original album saw this single issued with a non-album track on the flip side: Note the McCartney producing credit and the Paul and Linda writing credits on both songs.

The next year, Warner Brothers issued another single, only this time the non-album track (‘Dance the Do’) was the A-side, while the B-side was taken from the McGear LP:

So, all in all a successful trip. Next post we’ll detail the LPs we found.

More ABC Radio Beatle LP Podcasts

Back in 2014 the ABC (the Australian Broadcasting Corporation) began hosting an ongoing series celebrating the 50th anniversary release of each British Beatle LP.

As each album marks its anniversary ABC Radio presenter Rod Quinn speaks to US John Lennon biographer and Beatle expert Jude Southerland Kessler. Jude is the author of the extraordinary (and ambitious!) nine-volume John Lennon narrative biography. The latest instalment in Jude’s amazing series was released late last year – Volume 4: Should Have Known Better (to see the details scroll down after clicking).

Well, after a bit of a break, the pair are back. In October last year they took a look back at both sides of the original Yellow Submarine album:

Then came the big one, The Beatles (or The White Album) 50th Anniversary. It took Jude and host Rod Quinn some time to work through all four sides of the legendary album on air, but they’ve put the results together in one, long podcast:

They also talked through highlights of The Esher Demos bonus disc that came with 50th Anniversary release of The White Album last year:

Each of these podcasts are very insightful – and really are well worth a listen.

Previous broadcasts/podcasts have covered Please Please MeWith the BeatlesA Hard Day’s NightBeatles For Sale and of course, Help! – in two parts: Side One here, and Side Two here.

You can hear Rod and Jude talk about Rubber Soul; Revolver; and Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band by clicking here.