Снова в СССР is Russian for “Back in the USSR”. It’s the title of a Paul McCartney solo effort, originally released on vinyl only in Russia in 1988, and then on CD internationally in 1991.
Original Issue Vinyl – Front Cover. Note placement of the small MPL logo top right next to gold star
It’s an album of rock and roll covers – favourites of McCartney. According to the Wikipedia entry, he intended Снова в СССР as a present for Soviet fans who were generally unable to obtain his legitimate recordings, often having to make do with copies; they would, for a change, have an album that people in other countries would be unable to obtain. Nice idea.
It’s an interesting album to collect in vinyl because there are a number of interesting variations – both on the covers, the labels, and in the number and sequencing of the songs. In a nutshell, the very first pressings are distinguished on the front cover by a small MPL logo, top right next the gold star, plus a distinctive yellow rear cover unique to the very first editions. And it has just 11 tracks…..
Original vinyl – rear cover. Note yellow colour, 11 tracks, and different text layout (including a red “Paul McCartney” in Russian, top left side)
All following vinyl releases have the MPL logo on the front at the bottom right-hand side, come with a plain white rear cover (with different text layout), and have 13 songs (adding the tracks “I’m Gonna Be A Wheel Someday” and “Summertime”).
Second pressing vinyl front cover. Note MPL logo now at bottom right.
Second pressing vinyl rear cover. Note text layout is different, and the big red “Paul McCartney” in Russian is replaced with a note in Russian signed by Paul
Some fans get right into the minutiae of the details of all possible releases. One has detailed every label and cover variation, release dates and even the Russian factories in which they were pressed! As you can see, there are a lot of them. I have five different versions of the LP releases, and the CD. Here are some images of the label variations, starting with the first pressing that came in the cover with the yellow rear:
The original issue Melodiya label. Its red and has no lines
Second pressings of the disc (all released on Melodiya – an affiliate of EMI) have different labels depending on the date they were pressed, and where.
A second pressing example. In red, with single horizontal line
Some of the labels in the second pressing series where white:
Second pressing label. In white, with one horizontal line
Some of the pressings were made at the Melodiya factory in Leningrad (now known as St. Petersburg) and have a silhouette of that famous old city on the label:
Second pressing label variation. In red, with Leningrad skyline (solid) and one thick line under
Here’s another Leningrad variation:
Second pressing variation. In red with Leningrad skyline (open) and two thin lines under
The international CD release didn’t come out until 1991 and has 14 tracks, adding a further song called “I’m In Love Again”:
The 1991 CD cover, misspelling the Russian title as “СНОВА Б СССР” (see the Wikipedia entry for details)
The front cover of the CD release has in place of the MPL logo the words “the Russian album” and what looks to be a small Apple shaped logo with some Russian text I can’t translate on the right-hand side. If anyone knows what this is about please let us know by emailing email@example.com or using the Leave a Comment link below. The MPL logo appears on the rear cover. The CD itself looks like this:
Choba B CCCP compact disc artwork
For some more info on Снова в СССР this site is worth a visit. But if you want the absolute last word on all the background to this release and its many label variations you need to go to the the Beatles Russian Vinyl website. There are a couple of pages there – for the first (11 track) version, and also the second (13 track) version.
Also, since this post originally appeared we’ve been able to add a couple more label variations to our own collection.
See also: Label Variations Part One: Sgt Pepper
See also: Label Variations Part Two: Let It Be