The Beatles Collection Singles – Parlophone New Zealand

A fairly unique and unusual box set came into the collection this week.

We’ve written before about a UK singles box set we have called The Beatles Collection. It was released by EMI back in 1978 and contains twenty-five Beatle singles. These were housed in a textured black flip-top box that looks like this:beatles-singles-collection-front

However, the copy of The Beatles Collection you can see below was officially released by EMI only in New Zealand:nz-collection-box2

This set, which dates from 1979, includes the same twenty-five top-selling Beatle singles as the UK version. They are also housed in a black and gold-embossed box. It’s not a flip-top box like in the UK, but a heavier, lidded one made of much thicker cardboard:


As you can see, there are a few age spots and marks on the front, but overall this one is in very good condition with no tears or nz-collection-box4

All the green, white and black paper sleeves inside (including the “Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” picture sleeve), weren’t printed locally. They’ve been imported by EMI from the UK and so are identical to the earlier UK release, with “Made in Great Britain” stamped on the front:


The big difference here is that all the vinyl inside the sleeves was pressed locally in New Zealand, making this set somewhat interesting, unusual and collectable:nz-collection-box6nz-collection-box7

As you can see from the label for “Love Me Do” above, some of the singles have the original UK catalogue numbers, but some (like “Hey Jude” below) have unique New Zealand numbers – with an “NZP” prefix:nz-collection-box17All except “Hey Jude” and “Sgt Pepper” are exclusive New Zealand pressings, made only for this box set. They weren’t sold separately. The “Hey Jude” and “Sgt Pepper” singles were apparently sold separately, but not in the picture sleeves you see here. All the labels are black and yellow Parlophone labels.

For a full set of scans and some more information about this New Zealand pressing go to the great 45cat site. It’s got more information and images.

The New Zealand Beatles Collection (1979) is a Parlophone box set with 25 x 45rpm records comprising all the Beatles’ singles 1962-1978:

1. Love Me Do / P.S. I Love You
2. Please Please Me / Ask Me Why
3. From Me To You / Thank You Girl
4. She Loves You / I’ll Get You
5. I Want To Hold Your Hand / This Boy
6. Can’t Buy Me Love / You Can’t Do That
7. A Hard Day’s Night / Things We Said Today
8. I Feel Fine / She’s A Woman
9. Ticket To Ride / Yes It Is
10. Help / I’m Down
11. We Can Work It Out / Day Tripper
12. Paperback Writer / Rain
13. Yellow Submarine / Eleanor Rigby
14. Strawberry Fields Forever / Penny Lane
15. All You Need Is Love / Baby You’re A Rich Man
16. Hello Goodbye / I Am The Walrus
17. Lady Madonna / The Inner Light
18. Hey Jude /Revolution
19. Get Back / Don’t Let Me Down
20. The Ballad Of John And Yoko / Old Brown Shoe
21. Something / Come Together
22. Let It Be / You Know My Name (Look Up The Number)
23. Yesterday / I Should Have Known Better
24. Back In The USSR / Twist And Shout
25. Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band / With a Little Help From My Friends / A Day In The Life

From “Love Me Do” to “A Hard Day’s Night” the UK picture sleeves used in this set have this image on the rear:


The singles from “I Fell Fine” to “Yellow Submarine” have this as the rear-cover image:nz-collection-box10

The sleeves from “Strawberry Fields Forever” to “Lady Madonna” have this photograph:nx-collection-box13

And from “Hey Jude” to “Back in the USSR” this image is used:


Like the UK release, “Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” (which is a three-track single) comes in a different picture sleeve to the rest of the set: nz-collection-box25 nz-collection-box26nz-collection-box27

The Beatles Collection – Australian Blue Box

Not one, but two large Beatles box sets from the collection to feature in this post….


Well, both are Australian editions of “The Beatles Collection” – a box containing all twelve official Beatles studio album releases, plus one disc of “Rarities”. But the two examples of this box-set here differ in quite a few ways and are worth noting.

“The Beatles Collection” first came out in Australia back in 1978. At the time this was the catalogue-spanning Beatles box set to buy. For a very short time in 1978 it was released with all the Australian-pressed albums contained in the more familiar (and sturdier) British-made box with a flip-top lid. However, only 2000 of these sets were released here. The following year (1979) an Australian-made box was created to hold all the albums – but it was different to both the UK and the European box in that it had a detachable, lift-off lid. It was also a lot more flimsy in construction:

These original Australian blue boxes were textured on the outside and had the title “The Beatles Collection” in gold lettering and the signatures of each band member reproduced along the bottom, but the rear of the box was plain:

The LP’s inside, if they were originally released on the Parlophone label, were on the orange Parlophone label – which was a version unique to Australia:

And, if the LP was originally released in Australia on the Apple label it came out in the box-set also on the Apple label. For example “Yellow Submarine”:

The box also came with the two unique covers produced in Australia for “With the Beatles” and “The Beatles For Sale”:

“Sgt Pepper” came in a single sleeve:

“The Beatles” double LP (aka “The White Album”) came with all the inserts included (i.e. the poster with lyrics and the four individual photographs):

“Let It Be” had the red Apple logo on the rear:

And there was a unique 13th LP called “Rarities”, which gathered together for the first time on one record songs and versions of songs previously unavailable on any album:

This too came out on the orange Parlophone label:

The other box I have is different. In copies of “The Beatles Collection” released from the mid-1980’s there were quite a few changes. Firstly, the textured look to the box was replaced with a flat cardboard finish, and all the LP titles were listed on the back of the box:

Also, all the LPs inside have the black and silver Parlophone label, including those titles previously released on Apple:

“With the Beatles” came in the UK cover, which featured the famous black-and-white Robert Freeman portrait of the band – not its distinctive Australian cover:

But, a little surprisingly, “The Beatles For Sale” was still in its unique yellow Australian cover:

“Sgt Pepper” is in a single cardboard sleeve, “The White Album” came with all the inserts, “Let It Be” has the red Apple logo on the back cover, and you still get the “Rarities” LP, only this time it’s on the black and silver Parlophone label:

Also, in my copy at least, there’s a single sheet insert (printed on both sides) detailing all the Beatles records and cassettes currently available through EMI Australia at the time:

I’m not sure that this sheet was originally included in the mid 1980’s box set as it has the catalogue number PLAY 1005 on it and this was an insert usually included with Australian copies of “The Beatles Ballads” LP from 1981. Anyway, it’s nice to have.

So, two “Beatles Collection” box sets with quite a few interesting and collectable variations.

(Many thanks to Jaesen Jones and his invaluable book “An Overview of Australian Beatles Records” for the release date information contained in this post).