Beatles 2012 Remastered Vinyl – Released (First Pictures)

Is Australia the very first country to see the new Beatles Remastered Stereo Vinyl Box Set delivered?

The new records aren’t due for release in the UK and the USA until next week (12 and 13 November respectively). However, today I got a call from my local record store in Sydney saying “Come on in – your order for the Beatles box set is ready for collection today“.  (That’s Thursday, 8 November)

Naturally I high-tailed it down there – and here are the first pictures of it being unpacked. It comes in a big protective outer box:

The large sticker declaring the contents is placed on both sides of the box:

The two shipping labels on the side. Both say “Deliver Thursday”:

 

When you open the box you see what looks like another box-within-a-box:

It is held in place by two thick white foam inserts that you usually see in packaging for large electrical goods like TV’s, etc.  At this point I should say this package is incredibly heavy. You actually have to lie it on its side to slide it out:

What initially looked like an inner box is actually a thick brown cardboard wrap around the main package (above). Once you take it off you see this:

It’s just like the Beatles Remastered Stereo CD box released in 2009. There’s a thin cardboard outer sleeve around the record box itself. As you can see above it has “The Beatles” and an Apple logo printed on the front. This is what’s printed on the rear:

The outer sleeve slides off to reveal the main, lidded box:

Opening the lid – there are two pieces of black foam and two large moisture absorbing packs:

The book and all the LPs are completely sealed in heat-shrink plastic:

“Let It Be” (below) has the green Apple on the rear:

The book is really heavy and looks amazing – even in its heat-shrink wrap:

It has black-edged pages:

One side of the outer sleeve has the record and book edges printed on it. I guess that’s so it’ll look good when sitting on a shelf with that edge facing out:

Well, that’s about it for now. Hope you enjoyed this. Haven’t had time to open up any of the records or the book. Just wanted to get this up quickly for all to have sneak peek at the new Beatles Remastered Stereo Vinyl Box Set. 

(Click on images to see larger versions)

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Lots of Beatles Vinyl News – Part 1

Well the news is well and truly out, and as usual Wogblog had it pretty much ahead of of anybody else (see his posts here, here, here, here, and here). The guy is amazing.

Apple and EMI are about to formally announce that the entire digitally remastered Beatles stereo back-catalogue (released on CD back in 2009) is finally to be released on vinyl. The albums will be available individually, or collected in a limited edition (50,000 copies) box set:

Accompanying the box will be a new 252 page hardbound book written by Beatles historian Kevin Howlett, with dedicated chapters for every album a wealth of photos – many not used in the 2009 CD booklets:

The box set will contain all twelve studio albums, plus “Magical Mystery Tour” and “Past Masters – Volumes 1 & 2”, all sourced from the original master tapes:

Pressed using 180-gram, audiophile quality vinyl, the individual albums will also faithfully recreate the original artwork and come with the same extras as the original albums – for example the poster and four individual photographs with the “White Album”, and the cutout sheet and psychedelic inner sleave in “Sgt. Pepper”. As you can see below the labels (Parlophone and Apple) will be faithful to the originals too:

All-in-all this looks like it will have been worth the very long wait as a lot of time and effort has gone into preparing the vinyl for re-issue. Music Direct has some further technical information on the painstaking process of getting the vinyl properly and authentically pressed to an exacting standard.

The individual LPs and the box set and book will be released on November 12 in the UK and Europe, and on November 13 in the USA.

UPDATE:  The official Beatles page has just added an official announcement and a special Beatles vinyl page.

SEE ALSO:  Lots of Beatles Vinyl News – Part 2

Beatles Target Ltd Release Singles – Part 2

Here’s some more on the limited edition Beatles 45 and tee-shirt packs only available at Target stores in the US.

Some folks have been posting more information and pictures at the Steve Hoffman Music Forums – worth checking out for Beatles information and updates from time-to-time.

Someone put up a photo of the way the boxed sets are displayed in the store – usually at the end of an aisle like this:

As my copies are sealed and will probably stay that way I was interested to see some label images of the records inside:

Just a quick reminder about what we are talking about here:

And here are the copyright and other details on the bottom of one of the boxes – which I forgot to include on my earlier post. This one is for “Hello Goodbye”:

(If you’d like to see this slightly larger just click on the image above).

The Beatles “1” – Remastered 2011

It was released today (Friday, September 2) in Australia:

This is the re-issue, in newly remastered form, of “The Beatles 1” compilation which first came out in the year 2000. As the sticker on the front cover says: “27 Classic Number 1 Singles – Remastered”. Here’s the rear cover:

These are the remasters done at the same time as the big release of all the albums back in 2009. It comes in a cardboard gatefold sleeve that’s in the same format as all the 2009 re-issues.

Below is the front cover of the booklet, which despite some speculation that it would be different, has exactly the same 30 pages and layout as the 2000 issue:

Each page is dedicated to a particular song and gives the recording place and date, chart information and full colour photographs of various record sleeves of that single from around the world.  Even the CD printing is the same as the 2000 issue:

(click on images to see a large version)

A bit disappointing really….

It comes out on September 13 in the US, on September 5 in the UK, and is also expected on iTunes as a digital download on September 6th.

See also:  The Beatles Number 1 Vinyl  and  The Beatles Number 1 – Taiwan Variation  and  Imitation is the Sincerest Form of Flattery

The Beatles official site has this promotional video for “1” now on the front page:

FAB: An Intimate Life of Paul McCartney

I was in Hobart, Tasmania this week and a friend mentioned at dinner that he’d just picked up a new biography of Paul McCartney.

“What new biography?” I said, as I’d not heard of it. “Oh, its just been released. Looks good”, said he.

Well, next day I had an hour or two to kill waiting for the plane home, and so decided to take wander along the main street of the town. I popped into the local Angus and Robertson bookstore – and to my great surprise there it was on the shelf in its paperback form:

Front cover "FAB: An Intimate Life of Paul Mccartney"

As you can see from the Australian and UK cover above (yes, I bought a copy), it’s called “FAB: An Intimate Life of Paul McCartney”, written by Howard Sounes. Harper Collins is the Australian publisher and their website says it was published here and in the UK only very recently – on 25 August, 2010.

Until this week, I’d never heard of it! It has certainly flown under the radar as there hasn’t been much written about it in the lead-up to its release. At least, it flew under my Beatles radar….

In the US it gets a different cover:

As one reviewer asked, does the world need another Paul McCartney biography? The answer is that while this one does trawl through the early days once more, it brings us up right up to date with what has been a prolific and interesting later career. In fact the work includes “Electric Arguments”, “Good Evening New York City”, the Beatles Remastered releases, and his illustrated children’s book “High in the Clouds” released last year.

And it is big – 634 pages. I only got it yesterday – so a review will be coming later.

If you’d like to get a taste Sounes, who worked as a journalist for the Daily Mail in England, has published lengthy extracts from the book that you can read here and here. His other books include “Down the Highway: The Life Of Bob Dylan”.

Beatlesnews has also published a short article about author Howard Sounes and this new McCartney book.  The Liverpool Echo has published an interview with the author. And there’s a very good review of the book by Simon Sweetman here.

Beatles “Red” and “Blue” to be Remastered and Re-Issued

Apple Corps Ltd. and EMI Music have announced that The Beatles original 1973 compilations, “1962-1966” (‘Red’) and “1967-1970” (‘Blue’) have been digitally remastered for worldwide CD release on October 18 (October 19 in the USA).

Both will be 2CD packages and each will include expanded booklets with original liner notes, newly written essays by Bill Flanagan, and rare photos. However, in typical EMI/Apple fashion they will not have contain any bonus material, nor any bonus DVD discs 😦

Its the same team at Abbey Road Studios responsible for remastering The Beatles original studio albums remasters in stereo and mono last year who have carefully maintained the authenticity and integrity of the original analogue recordings of the “Red” and “Blue” albums. The result will be the highest fidelity versions the catalogue has seen since its original 1973 release.

See the official Beatles news site (now with cover art) here, and the EMI Music press release here.


Some Unusual Asian Beatles Items – Part Two

This blog is sub-titled “Adventures in Collecting Beatles Music”, and this post continues an examination of some South East Asian Beatles releases purchased in Hanoi on a recent trip to Vietnam.

Further investigation of these hasn’t categorically ruled out their legitimacy but it seems more likely that they’re actually illegal fakes that someone (in China) has taken a lot of time and trouble to manufacture to make them appear very much like official releases…..

In Part One I wrote about the 5 DVD “Anthology” box-set I found in Hanoi.  This next post is about a series of six double CDs called “The Beatles Double Golden Collection”:

It’s a series where two Beatles albums have been released in one CD box, each with an outer cardboard slipcase. The ones I was able to purchase were:

Magical Mystery Tour and Yellow Submarine

Please Please Me and Sgt Pepper

Revolver and WIth the Beatles

Help and Rubber Soul

Abbey Road and Let It Be

Hard Days Night and Beatles For Sale

Each CD has the same documentaries as those found on the recent stereo “Beatles Remastered” discs. So, its clear that these CDs came out following the October 2009 release of those new “remastered” CDs.

If that’s the case then I can only assume that there must be at least two more titles in the “Beatles Double Golden Collection” series. There should be one that has the 2 CD “The Beatles” (White Album)”, and one for the 2 CD “Past Masters” release.  These would then fill out the catalogue. The shop in which I purchased the CD’s above mustn’t have these two titles in stock at the time – so I was able to get only these six.

These releases are interesting for a couple of reasons. As you can see above, they have a large logo at top left of the packaging for something called SHM-CD or “Super High Material CD”.  According to the internet this is “…an advance in the materials used in the production of Compact Discs that uses super quality, enhanced transparency polycarbonate material in the manufacture of CD’s”. The aim of this is to improve the sound. A Google search reveals what looks to be legitimate information about SHM-CD . It says it was invented by Universal Records and the Japanese electrics company JVC – both well-known and respected companies. This official-looking website has more information about the technology and some of the releases on SHM-CD. The rear of the slipcase also has some detailed information (in Chinese) about SHM-CD – see the top right-hand side of the image below (click on the image to make it larger):

Slipcase for Magical Mystery Tour and Yellow Submarine, with panel about SHM-CD

There’s also a panel showing what looks like very official logos for Apple Records, QuickTime, Enhanced CD, and Compact Disc:

I’d really love to hear from anyone out there who can read Chinese and can shed some light on what the small print says, or who knows if these are legal Chinese copies of Beatles discs.

As to the contents of each CD, they appear to be exactly the same as the recent Beatles Stereo Remastered series – and the quality of the recordings is first rate. The 2-CD jewel cases are not of a standard size but larger in every dimension. You can see this clearly below when they are placed side-by-side with a standard CD jewel case:

Standard CD jewel case (top) compared to Double Golden Collection jewel case (below)

The spines are also wider than standard:

Spine of a standard CD (right) compared to the Double Golden case (left)

Inside there are two CD’s on a swinging inner “door” with CD disc “A” on one side and CD disc “B” on the other:

The booklets in the “Double Golden Collection” contain lots of photographs of the Beatles. There is no text in the booklets at all. All the photos are exactly the same as those found in the booklets which come with the latest official Beatles “Remastered” series:

"Please Please Me" and "Sgt. Pepper" booklet

"Please Please Me" and "Sgt. Pepper" booklet

Here’s a closer shot of one of the CDs in the set:

"Please Please Me" and "Sgt. Pepper" CD 1

The rear cover of the jewel case details all the songs on the two albums. Notice the reference to the the special mini-documentaries. These were produced by Apple and accompany each album in the “Remastered” series as well:

Rear cover of the CD jewel case for "Please Please Me" and "Sgt. Pepper". Notice the last track for each title is the "making of" mini documentary for each album - just like in the official "Remasters" series

Again, the official logos (including Apple) and even a bar-code appear, making it tough when you are standing in a Hanoi record store trying to decide if these are indeed legitimate releases sanctioned by the Beatles and their record company Apple Records. If these are fakes whoever produced them has gone to extraordinary lengths to make them appear to be legitimate Beatle releases.

The other thing is – since returning home I’ve researched these titles fairly extensively on the web and can find nothing about them. I think that this post may be the very first to detail them.

See also Some Unusual Asian Beatles Items – Part One, and also Some Unusual Asian Beatles Items – Part Three