More Artwork for April Lennon Singles Release

I wrote earlier this month about a special limited edition John Lennon release for Record Store Day which is on April 17.

At the time not much was known but since then some more detailed artwork for the project has come to light. The three singles will be housed in a paper “bag” with three postcards and a poster.

The poster will look like this:

And there’s a custom 45 rpm single hub:

I got these images from a New Jersey record store site called “Vintage Vinyl” – so thanks to them. Their site is interesting because it reveals the huge number of other special releases for the day. They’ve got a page full of limited release or specially produced product just for Record Store Day, including items from Bruce Springsteen, Bon Ivor and Peter Gabriel, Neil Young, the Sex Pistols, and the Rolling Stones.

(Incidentally, Vintage Vinyl have that special Beatles Remastered gift box I wrote about in January. On their front page they have have a link to a deal where you can buy any 2 Beatles Remastered CD’s and get the box thrown in free).

Beatles USB

Well, my last post just a day or so ago was about some new Beatles-related releases planned or rumored…..but they seem pretty minor now in the light of this one – which is official, is actual Beatles, and really takes the cake!

Apple/EMI have today announced that every stereo remastered Beatles album will be available on a specially-designed USB stick. So much for waiting around for iTunes digital downloads. Apple seems to have taken things in a completely new direction…

No need to write too much more because the Beatles’ official site has pretty much all the info we know so far. It’s limited to 30,000 world-wide and is released on December 8.

Details here: http://www.thebeatles.com and here.

Beatles USBThe Beatles USB - Partly OpenThe Beatles USB - Open

Stereo/Mono Remastered – Revisited

In an earlier post I included an audio extract from a US National Public Radio podcast featuring Beatles historian and writer Kevin Howlett. He was talking about some of the fascinating differences between the  Stereo and Mono versions of the Beatles Remastered CDs.

Then the  other day I stumbled across this website where a guy called Jake Brown has gone to a lot of trouble to detail a lot more.  He’s spent time cutting together actual audio examples and palcing them side-by-side so we can all quickly hear what differences are. He’s also detailed in text form some other variations.  Have a read and a listen.  Thanks Jake!

Beatles Remastering Process & Mono v Stereo – Discussion

In my last post I was bemoaning the fact that the official Beatles radio special released to promote the new Remastered discs didn’t go into very much detail at all about the actual process of remastering, nor the differences between the Stereo and the Mono box versions.

Well, just after that I discovered the sort of detail I was looking for in a podcast from America.

It’s a weekly show called All Songs Considered. Produced by the National Public Radio network (NPR), the program looks at all aspects of newly released music – and they have over the last few weeks (perhaps understandably) run a couple of shows about the latest Beatles releases.

One of them features a lengthy (22 mins 32 secs) and very interesting interview with Beatles historian and writer Kevin Howlett.

Howlett is the man responsible for all the words in the new booklets that accompany the new remastered stereo discs, and he wrote the essay that appears in the booklet that can be found in the Mono box set.

So, he’s an insider who knows what he’s talking about!  The All Songs Considered podcast goes into quite a lot of detail and gives frequent audio examples of the remastering process AND the difference between the stereo and mono versions.

Here’s Kevin Howlett talking specifically about the differences between mono and stereo in Sgt Pepper – an album he says was made to be heard in MONO:

Beatles historian Kevin Howlett there talking to NPR’s Bob Boilen.

If you’d like to hear the whole NPR podcast click here.


Beatles Radio Special – The Beatles Remastered

A mate in the music business this week sent me a burn of an official Apple/EMI radio special produced for distribution to radio stations to promote the new Beatles Remastered box sets.

Its pretty interesting and is narrated by a cockney-accented Gary Crowley whom, from what I can gather from the web, usually works as a DJ and interviewer at the BBC Radio in London. The program runs 1 hour and 48 minutes in total, and is split into 6 segments. Crowley works his way though each official album release chronologically and the program uses interviews with John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison, Ringo Starr and George Martin to  paint a picture of how each record came about and in particular how the Beatles music changed and matured with each release.

Here’s how Gary Crowley opens the radio special, and the band talks about the early days, recording their first outing “Please Please Me”:

While there’s a lot of good stuff, the two main disappointments for me are that the program just looks at the albums, and doesn’t go into the singles that can be found on the “Past Masters” discs.  It also doesn’t go into any detail about the remastering process itself or how the whole 4 year project of painstakingly remastering each disc was run – which is a pity because I for one would have liked to have heard a bit about this aspect from those involved.

Anyway, its still a good addition to the collection and contains some really great interview extracts. One very interesting thing is that some of the music tracks are preceded by original studio banter by the band that I can only presume comes from the The Beatles Rock Band game, also released on 09.09.09.  I don’t have the game, but I’ve read that they use previously unreleased studio chat and out-takes extensively to make the experience of playing it more realistic. The makers had ready access to all the original master tapes and lifted off quite a lot of unique material. Some short grabs of that are used here I think.

Well, I guess if you are a mad keen collector you’d like to hear something else from the show.

This second extract brings us up to the “The White Album”, and the song “Helter Skelter”:

Beatles – Remastered Press Coverage

One thing the Remastered Beatles catalogue has generated, aside from great excitement amongst avid collectors, is media coverage of the releases. This included TV, radio and internet coverage but also massive press coverage as well in the form of countless newspaper articles and major features in music magazines.

A couple of my favourites:

“Rolling Stone” , “Uncut” and “Mojo” magazines each had special stories reporting on aspects of the new releases in detail.

The British magazine “Q Music” also had a nice photo gallery.

However, one magazine really took it to the next level and went all out. The British weekly music mag New Music Express (NME) created not one special edition to mark the 09.09.09 releases, but thirteen – each with a different collectable cover. Inside, the 12 September edition contains over 30 pages of text and photographs detailing each of the remastered albums. On the outside though there is a different shiny silver cover, each featuring a Beatles album. Below is a partial scan of number 12 of the 13, featuring “Let It Be”.  I also got the “Sgt Pepper” cover (number 8 of 13), but drew the line there as it would have just been over the top to spend so much money buying all thirteen versions! (The shiny silver didn’t scan all that well but you get the general idea…). To see all the covers go to the NME site.  For an interview with Paul click here.

Beatles             New Musical Express

UK/Sept 2009/collectors edition “Let It Be”, cover 12 of 13

Cover number 12 of 13 special NME covers celebrating 09.09.09

Cover number 12 of 13 special NME covers celebrating 09.09.09

Beatles 09.09.09 Sampler

Well, there’s been a lot of reportage of the remastered Beatles catalogue. And I have to say most of the praise is warranted. It sounds pretty good. More on that soon and in the next couple of days I’ll post an “unboxing” of both the Beatles In Mono box set, and the Beatles in Stereo. But first…

One of the advantages of having a contact in the record business is the occasional promotional disc coming my way. And when it comes to the Beatles, they really do it in a special way. For the release of the new Remastered series Apple produced a limited edition double CD that was sent to radio stations around the world. It’s kind of understated in that its fairly simple in its black and white packaging, but it fits with the look and feel of the big black box that contains the Stereo remastered set. The two CD’s contain a selection of 32 tracks (16 per disc) taken from across the 14 Stereo Remastered albums. Its a gatefold cardboard cover. CD 1 is printed with the old black and yellow Parlophone label. CD 2 has the Apple label. A nice touch.

The title of the CD is simple: “09.09.09 Sampler”. Copies are selling on Ebay right now for around the $100 mark, if not more. That’s the initial rush of interest price.  I reckon it’ll come back from that – but then the numbers available will slowly taper off and they’ll become increasingly harder to find. If you don’t get the chance to get one here are scans of the front cover, the inside of the gatefold, rear cover and the discs themselves.

The Beatles        09.09.09 Sampler

Label:  Apple      Cat. No:  5 0999 6 84414 25

EU/ 2009/2 CD/promo

Front Cover

Front Cover

Rear Cover

Rear Cover

Inside Gatefold

Inside Gatefold

Disc 1

Disc 1

Disc 2

Disc 2

Beatles Blog – Welcome

Welcome to Beatles Blog, a page dedicated to the avid Beatles music collector. Here you’ll find regular updates about new Beatles releases and collectable vinyl, compact discs and DVDs – either by the Beatles as a group, as solo artists, or Beatles-related projects.

As new items come into my collection I’ll update this blog with details, cover photos, catalogue information and stuff like that.

Please feel free to contribute images or other information on anything you see here – especially if it will assist other collectors in their knowledge of things Beatle. Just email me at beatlesblogger@gmail.com