McCartney ‘Archive Collection’ Coloured Vinyl – Confusion Reigns

Five days on from the official announcement on the Paul McCartney website that there are to be eight titles in the McCartney Archive Collection series re-issued as single discs on the Capitol label (on CD, black vinyl and limited coloured vinyl), confusion reigns about just how anyone can actually order the coloured vinyl.

Both McCartney’s own site, and the Universal Music store site included links to order these but by the weekend both had been quickly taken down. The Universal link is just dead (and again here), while the official McCartney links for each album have since been altered and only take you through to the US Amazon site where there is no mention of the coloured vinyl whatsoever. The links are clearly for the black vinyl editions only.

Many online stores over the weekend quickly put up thier own images and prices – both for individual coloured LPs and bundles – but these too have since been either completely taken down (for example SoundStage Direct in the US), or now carry an apology (for example the Bull Moose store) stating that they’ve been asked by the artist and the label NOT to sell these titles online.

To quote collectors on the Steve Hoffman Music Forums thread, many of whom have pre-orderd and paid their money before the links just disappeared:

“Seriously, what a mess. I was actually stoked about this. Now i can see it’s probably not going to be easy…..”.

and:

“Yes I’m worried about sites filling the orders. If the link was pulled from Paul’s site on the official announcement then I would worry about them being filled at any other site [too]. I have them pre ordered thru the link that was on his site and even thru that I’m worried I won’t get them. They seem very limited and none of the sites seem to be able to confirm they will honor the pre orders.”

It has to be said that this looks like a complete and utter stuff up my MPL and Capitol. They’ve gone into print and raised epectations, but they haven’t thought through what they were publicising, nor communicated how fans and collectors could get their hands on these eight coloured vinyl editions. Pretty bad form and does not auger well for the McCartney/Capitol/UMe relationship.

UPDATE: This just in from the Record Store Day site: Indie record stores are the ONLY physical retailers in the US to have the limited edition colored vinyl versions…..

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“Great Record Labels” Book

Chanced upon a small local garage sale (or yard sale) this morning and found this book:great-labels-cover

Great Record Labels, written by Al Cimino and published by Chartwell Books in 1992, is quite an interesting overview of some of the most famous record companies, admittedly with a strong US bias. It has some really good images liberally scattered throughout, not only of the various record company labels themselves, but also many of the artists signed to the labels too.

Cimino has split his book into five broad categories covering music from the 1950’s through to the 1990’s. He starts with Sun Records in the Fifties, and ends with Def Jam in the Nineties, and works his way through most of the big labels in between – like Atlantic, Stax, Motown, Decca, A&M, CBS, Warner Brothers, Island, and Virgin – to name but a few.

There are two main segments of the book where The Beatles pop up. First is the chapter on the British EMI/Parlophone label:great-labels3great-labels4

In the section on EMI’s US subsidiary Capitol Records there is only fleeting reference to The Beatles, despite the huge amounts of money they made for the company:great-labels9

But to make up for that there’s no less than four pages dedicated to The Beatles’ own Apple Records:great-labels5great-labels6great-labels7great-labels8

Here’s the rear cover of Great Record Labels (the dust cover has seen better days…):great-labels-rearDespite being a little beat up, this is a nice little find and a good book to have in the collection.

Paul McCartney Back with Capitol Records Again

Paul McCartney has just announced that he’s signed a worldwide recording agreement with his old label, Capitol Records.

The deal encompasses McCartney’s entire body of post-Beatles work, from his 1970 McCartney album, through his decade with Wings, to the dozens of solo and collaborative works and is a welcome home to the label where he began his career.

“This is genuinely exciting for me,” McCartney said. “Not only was Capitol my first U.S. record label, but the first record I ever bought was Gene Vincent’s ‘Be-Bop-A-Lula’ on the Capitol label.”

McCartney is currently working on a new studio album, while a comprehensive plan for the artist’s catalogue is being conceived by Capitol and Universal Music Enterprises (UMe) – in conjunction with the artist and his management team – and will be implemented beginning July 2017**. The catalogue moves to Capitol/UMe from the Concord Music Group, Paul’s previous label partner.

Capitol Music Group (CMG) Chairman and CEO, Steve Barnett said “Paul McCartney’s association with Capitol has long defined so much of our historic legacy, and all of us here are extremely proud and honored that he has chosen to come back home. Paul’s indelible contributions to our culture are second to none, and his constant evolution as an artist and performer continues to inspire and enrich the lives of countless millions of people. We are overjoyed that Paul will be creating new music for years to come, and that Capitol will be helping to present it to the world.”

Paul McCartney High in the cloud recording session

** Just what this means will be interesting for collectors and fans. We’re in the middle of a huge McCartney Archive re-issue program in conjunction with Concord Records. So, what happens to that is one question that comes immediately to mind. Hopefully we’re not looking at starting over with an entirely new back-catalogue release program…..

Beatles With Records – Part 29

Time for another Beatles With Records, this time courtesy of The Beatles Archive blog site.

On the afternoon of 29 August, 1965 the Beatles gave a press conference at the famous Capitol Records Tower building in Hollywood. Alan Livingston, then President of Capitol, presented the band with gold discs for sales of the US edition of their Help! soundtrack LP:usa_helpbeatles-hollywood-29-august-1965-05-700x459beatles-hollywood-29-august-1965-01 beatles-hollywood-29-august-1965-02 beatles-hollywood-29-august-1965-03 beatles-hollywood-29-august-1965-04 beatles-hollywood-29-august-1965-06 beatles-hollywood-29-august-1965-08 beatles-hollywood-29-august-1965-09 beatles-hollywood-29-august-1965-10 beatles-hollywood-29-august-1965-11 beatles-hollywood-29-august-1965-12 beatles-hollywood-29-august-1965-13 beatles-hollywood-29-august-1965-14 beatles-hollywood-29-august-1965-15 beatles-hollywood-29-august-1965-16 beatles-hollywood-29-august-1965-17 beatles-hollywood-29-august-1965-18 beatles-hollywood-29-august-1965-19Afterwards an armored truck drove the Beatles to perform at the Hollywood Bowl, where 18,000 people attended.

See the other instalments of The Beatles With Records here.

Beatles 1984 Capitol Records Promo Video

In this the Beatles 50 Years celebrations of first making it big on the US charts, it’s interesting to watch how in 1984 Capitol Records visually marked what was then the band’s 20th anniversary….

See also the British 20th Anniversary singles.

Some Fans Angry About The New U.S. Albums Set

While it’s always great to have some new Beatles product, some fans are only just starting to realise that the new The U.S. Albums set is making them purchase a lot of content they probably already own.

The plea for more information by Beatlesblog reader Alex in the comments section of this post is typical of the confusion buyers face over which versions are being used on The U.S. Albums:

Can anyone out there confirm if these cds are indeed the original mixes released by Capitol. Many folks insist that only the original lp covers have been included in this box set. Further, all the mixes are from other sources, hence don’t sound at all like the original unique Capitol releases. So many stories and I simply will not be able to verify this myself without committing to this purchase. It just should not be so difficult to get this information. All of the marketing sites that I’ve seen are very vague about this issue. Any help on this would be great!

Well, to answer Alex’s query the best description we can find so far detailing exactly what the tracks are (and how they were chosen) is on the very well-informed and researched Beatles Rarity site. Happy Nat writes:

“The new set will not be using the original Capitol master tapes. Apple has cited in a press release that this would not have created the best possible listening experience due to some fidelity limitations with the Capitol mixes. These include mixes made from second, third or even fourth generation tapes and many of the songs being in a duophonic mix instead of “true” stereo (duophonic, otherwise known as “fake” or “rechannelled” stereo is a means of simulating stereo from a mono source). For this reason and with a few exceptions that I will get to in a minute, the remasters that were issued in 2009 of the British mixes will be used and enhanced with a touch of additional echo to give them a more “Americanized” sound.”

And Beatles Rarity goes on to give specific information about the methodology used to select the source of these recordings:

  1. If Capitol’s original mix on a stereo album was a duophonic mix – the true stereo UK mix remastered in 2009 was used instead (e.g. “Ticket To Ride” but lots of others that were for the most part a & b sides of singles)
  2. If Capitol’s original mix on a mono album was a “Type B” mono (i.e. reduced to mono from stereo mix) – the original UK mono mix was used instead. This would cover tracks on the mono Meet The Beatles!The Beatles Second AlbumThe Early BeatlesHelp! and even “Drive My Car” from Yesterday And Today.
  3. In the few cases where there was no stereo mix to use and Capitol made duophonic mixes (e.g. “She Loves You,” “P.S. I Love You” and “Love Me Do”) – the original UK mono mix was used instead.
  4. There are a few edits and mixes sent to Capitol by producer George Martin that make the US versions of certain tracks unique. Apple has confirmed that these will be remastered and included with the set. However, there is no confirmation on what specific tracks these are. I’ve annotated 5 possibilities and what’s different about the original US Capitol US mix vs. the 2009 remasters below:
    • “I’ll Cry Instead” – extra verse on mono version of A Hard Day’s Night andSomething New
    • “I’m Looking Through You” – false starts on the stereo mix of Rubber Soul
    • “I’m Only Sleeping” – backwards guitar fading up and down in different spots than UK mixes on both stereo and mono versions of Yesterday And Today
    • “Dr. Robert” – slightly longer fade on mono version of Yesterday And Today
    • “Paperback Writer” – reversed right and left channels on Hey Jude

    Of course the first two in this list were already released on the earlier Capitol box sets.

  5. For everything not covered in 1-4 above – the 2009 remasters will be used.

So, unlike the 2004 Apple box set (The Capitol Albums Vol. 1) which included four of these albums in mono and stereo, and the 2006 Apple box set (The Capitol Albums Vol. 2) containing an additional four of these albums also in mono and stereo, The U.S. Albums set will not be using the original Capitol master tapes – most of the time. And it’s this information which is getting some avid Beatle fans and collectors upset. As an example here’s an extract from an email we recieved from Bruce Hamlin who runs the Beatles Records Information Service here in Australia:

I have not received my box yet but according to all internet reports what you are getting is the American Albums artwork reproduced in 5″ format, with special attention given to ‘Yesterday And Today” having a removable cover. However the most important part of any musical format is the music, and it appears what has happend here is you end up with someone in the record company’s opinion of the best version of each song title. NOT in every case the original American Capitol mix of the songs as issued on the American original vinyl albums. Because basically we in Australia (and New Zealand) originally got the English sets of albums, the American ones had a special facination to them. Different album names, different and shorter track listings, funny sounding mixes in both mono and stereo version. Fake stereo on a lot of tracks (they called it Duophonic) and in lots of cases our singles appeared on their albums. Great mystical stuff. BUT what we now get under the misleading title of ‘American Albums’ is just the artwork, and tracklistings. NOT the  music. I will be getting a copy in a few days, but I know although the music will be great, it will not be what I thought I was buying. All we will be getting is mono and stereo versions of the American Albums running order but with mostly the 2009 UK remixes.
When will EMI/Apple/Capitol/Universal ask/employ some Beatles Fans to assist them with compiling new releases? I’m sure half a dozen fans from around the world would actually give the purchasing Beatles fans what they want and in doing so, increase the profits of the record company. God bless the bootleggers who have given us all of this stuff anyway in it’s correct format and correct sound. And at just a smidgen below the record company’s quality. No wonder people don’t buy the record company products. They are crap. It’s not the internet, or downloads or anything else. It’s the Record Companies fault.
So for once I will give a negative recomendation – ONLY buy this package if your are a completist. It is not the real thing, not what it’s title suggests.

I think you can hear the anger there.

Now, of course this cuts both ways. If the set did indeed use the original Capitol master tapes at least eight of the albums would already be in keen collectors hands because they’d most likely already have The Capitol Albums Vol. 1 from 2004, and The Capitol Albums Vol. 2 from 2006. We’d be paying again, but in a different way, for already released material. No doubt there’d be some angst around the internet about this as well.

We’re very interested in your views too.

Would you have preferred the original, nostalgic U.S. Capitol mixes, or the fresher 2009 re-mixes? Did you buy the box set (or individual albums) thinking you were getting something different to what you have?

Beatles US Albums Box

A New Beatles Box Set in 2014 (and a new logo)

Plans for the 50th anniversary of the Beatles conquering the US and the world are starting to gather pace.

Looks like there’s now an official logo for the 2014 celebrations:beatles50_logo

The big news though is that Capitol Records and Apple Corps have just officially announced the release of The U.S. Albums, a new 13 CD Beatles collection spanning from 1964’s Meet The Beatles! to 1970’s Hey Jude.

The box set (as well as individual CDs “for a limited time”) will be released in the UK on January 20, on January 21 in North America, and on January 17 in Australia:USBoxset_Packshot

Great to see The Beatles’ Story included in there. And if you check the photo above (and promo video below) you can see that Yesterday and Today comes with what looks like a peel-off Butcher Cover!

Here’s the EMI Australia press release with the details:

LADIES AND GENTLEMEN, THE BEATLES!

Celebrate 50 Years of Globe-Sweeping “Beatlemania” The U.S. Box Set out January 17, 2014

On February 7, 1964, The Beatles arrived at New York’s John F. Kennedy Airport, greeted by scores of screaming, swooning fans who rushed the gate to catch a glimpse of John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr as they took their first steps on American soil. Two nights later, on Sunday, February 9, 74 million viewers in the U.S. and millions more in Canada tuned in to CBS to watch The Beatles make their American television debut on “The Ed Sullivan Show.” In this cultural watershed moment in American history and one of the world’s top-viewed television events of all time, The Beatles performed five songs on the live broadcast. “Beatlemania,” already in full, feverish bloom in The Beatles’ native U.K., was unleashed with blissful fervor across America and around the world. The British Invasion had begun.

To commemorate the 50th anniversary of these history-making events, The U.S. Albums, a new 13CD Beatles collection spanning 1964’s Meet The Beatles! to 1970’s Hey Jude, will be released January 17 by Apple Corps Ltd./Capitol. The Beatles’ U.S. albums differed from the band’s U.K. albums in a variety of ways, including different track lists, song mixes, album titles, and art.

The albums are presented in mono and stereo, with the exception of The Beatles’ Story and Hey Jude, which are in stereo only. Collected in a boxed set with faithfully replicated original LP artwork, including the albums’ inner sleeves, the 13 CDs are accompanied by a 64-page booklet with Beatles photos and promotional art from the time, as well as a new essay by American author and television executive Bill Flanagan. For a limited time, all of the albums (with the exception of The Beatles’ Story, an audio documentary album) will also be available for individual CD purchase. A Hard Day’s Night (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack), The Beatles’ Story, Yesterday And Today, Hey Jude, and the U.S. version of Revolver make their CD debuts with these releases.

By the end of 1963, before The Beatles’ American arrival, “Beatlemania” had already sprung forth across the Atlantic to take root in the U.S. In early December, The New York Times published a Sunday magazine feature and “CBS Evening News” aired an in-depth report about the unprecedented frenzy over the young band from Liverpool. Radio stations across the U.S. began to play The Beatles’ latest U.K. singles in almost non-stop rotation, trying to meet an insatiable listener demand. Capitol Records rushed out the American single for “I Want To Hold Your Hand” (with B-side “This Boy”) on December 26, three weeks ahead of schedule and one month after the single’s U.K. release. More than one million copies of the U.S. single were sold within 10 days.

On January 3, 1964 Capitol released “Please Please Me” (with B-side “From Me To You”), and The Beatles’ first Capitol album, Meet The Beatles!, followed on January 20. After achieving the No. 1 chart position for five consecutive weeks in the U.K., “I Want To Hold Your Hand” reached the top of the U.S. singles chart on February 1, holding the No. 1 position for seven consecutive weeks, and within two months, more than 3.5 million copies of Meet The Beatles! were sold in the U.S.

[Note: The paragraph above is not correct. The online press release correctly states: In early January 1964, Vee-Jay reissued “Please Please Me” (with B-side “From Me To You”), and Swan reissued “She Loves You.” The Beatles’ first Capitol album, Meet The Beatles!, followed on January 20. After achieving the No. 1 chart position for five consecutive weeks in the U.K., “I Want To Hold Your Hand” reached the top of the U.S. singles chart on February 1, holding the No. 1 position for seven consecutive weeks, and within two months, more than 3.5 million copies of Meet The Beatles! were sold in the U.S.]

The excitement of The Beatles’ February 7 arrival in New York, where they were met by an estimated 3,000 ecstatic fans at the airport, was documented by the world’s leading media outlets, beamed around the world in a blitz of news bulletins and photos. Every move The Beatles made, and seemingly every word they uttered, was captured – melting hearts of young fans everywhere who simply could not get enough of these charming, witty and stylish British boys and their electrifying new songs. America’s biggest star of the day, Elvis Presley, sent The Beatles a telegram wishing them well for their national television debut.

Ed Sullivan spoke of the unprecedented frenzy in his memorable first introduction of The Beatles, saying, “Now, yesterday and today our theater’s been jammed with newspapermen and hundreds of photographers from all over the nation, and these veterans agreed with me that this city never has witnessed the excitement stirred by these youngsters from Liverpool who call themselves The Beatles.”

After captivating North America with their Ed Sullivan debut, The Beatles traveled to Washington, DC, performing their first Stateside concert on February 11 at the Washington Coliseum to 8,000 fans in the round. The Beatles then returned to New York for two sold-out Carnegie Hall concerts on February 12. On February 16, they made their second appearance on “The Ed Sullivan Show” in a live broadcast from The Deauville Hotel in Miami Beach, Florida. Viewership for the episode was nearly as strong as for their debut one week prior, with an estimated 70 million people — 40% of the American population — tuned in to watch their performances of six songs. On February 22, The Beatles returned to England in triumph, welcomed home upon their 7am landing at London’s Heathrow Airport by an estimated 10,000 fans.

The Beatles were now firmly in place as the world’s favorite and most famous band. Their third “Ed Sullivan Show” appearance, a three-song performance taped prior to the band’s live debut on the program, was broadcast on February 23. Billboard’s Hot 100 Singles chart for April 5, 1964 was graced by 12 Beatles songs, including the chart’s Top 5 positions, a sweep of the chart’s summit that has not been achieved by any other artist since. The band’s meteoric rise to unparalleled fame continued as “Beatlemania” swept the globe, a singular and boundless cultural marvel. The Beatles now belonged to the People, as they have ever since, with their universally-loved music and unflagging respect for humankind, advocating peace and love for all people around the world. (ends.)

And here’s the YouTube clip:

For more visit the Beatles Official site, and the Beatles Official Shop.