Russian Fake Beatle Records and Sleeves Exposed

If you collect Beatle discs from around the world then the Russian Beatle site beatlesvinyl.com.ua is a goldmine of information for records from that country:

Alongside their already impressive catalogue and detail about every official Beatle and solo release in that country, they’ve just added a massive new section on fake pressings and sleeves:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As usual, the detail and depth of their research and knowledge is first-rate. We’ve used it extensively to research our collection of different pressings of Paul McCartney’s Choba B CCCP for example (see here, and here).

The site is in Russian and English, and alongside all the local releases (both official and fake) it contains a comprehensive and up-to-date general catalogue of every Beatle and solo release from the UK/EU, and the US, plus a whole section on Apple Records as well.

There’s also a big section on Beatle cover versions over the years by Russian artists.

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Why There Are Two Versions of McCartney’s “Choba B CCCP”

Anyone vaguely familiar with the vinyl editions of Paul McCartney’s 1988 release Снова в СССР on the Russian Melodiya label will know that there are two different versions.

One, the earlier more limited release, came with 11 tracks, and a different rear cover:choba-b-cccp-1-frontchoba-b-cccp-1-rear

The second, and far more common edition, has 13 tracks: choba-b-cccp-2-frontchoba-b-cccp-2-rear

The two additional tracks are “I’m Gonna Be A Wheel Someday” (track # 7, the last on side 1), and “Summertime” (track # 2 on side 2).

Why this is so has never been fully explained – until now.

Friend and Russian Beatle collector Andrey has been doing some detective work and discovered this article from the time in the newspaper Sovetskaya Kultura (The Soviet Culture). It is dated July 15, 1989:%d1%81%d0%ba-1989-07-15-%d1%8110

In answer to a reader’s question to the newspaper a representative of Melodiya Records explains the existence of the two variations. Andrey’s translation of the Russian text follows:

READER ASKS A QUESTION – A MYSTERY OF TWO RECORDS

I bought the record of Paul McCartney’s Снова в СССР. After a while I saw it again on a shop counter and could not resist of buying it again. For good reason! It turned out that there are 11 songs on the first record, released on September 14, 1988, and the second one which was released on January 1, 1989, carried 13 songs. What a mystery!
A. Bogdanov.
Severodvinsk,
Arhangelsk region

With the request to clarify this mysterious story, we asked the chief editor, Deputy Director of the All-Union Recording Studio of “«Melodiya» Firm”, All-Union Creative-Production Association, Ivan Dmitrievich Nesvit:

– First of all I want to say that your reader is lucky. Why? Just how you will soon understand for yourself. According to the contract, this licensed disk should have consisted of 13 songs, and a special contract clause stipulated that the artist’s desires would be accepted in the design of the sleeve. However, «Mezhdunarodnaya kniga» (our intermediator) provided us with a tape with eleven songs. The recording fit with the Soviet State Standard in terms of running time and so we began working with it. According to the requirements of the contract, a test record and sleeve were sent to Mr McCartney. He studied them and made a few remarks. Although Leningrad Plant had already started pressing and distributing copies, we could not ignore these remarks. Corrections were therefore made to the design, the initial sleeve notes were replaced, and besides this we were sent the recordings of two more songs to include. For this reason the extended record plays longer than any domestic discs [i.e. Melodiya in its working history had never released any LP playing longer than the 13-track McCartney СНОВА В СССР].  And so two records with the same title appeared. By the way, the first record because of its “shamefulness” appearance and limited edition, became a rarity desirable for record collectors, especially abroad since it was intended for sale only in our country. As far as we know, in the USA and Europe 200-250 dollars were paid for this record. So the reader of «Sovetskaya kultura» became the owner of discophile rarity.

So, a little bit more information on the mystery as to how two different records (with the same catalogue number) came into existence.

For a full explanation of all the variations between the two editions and more see the excellent Russian site beatlesvinyl.com.ua. It contains intricate detail of every Russian Beatle release.

For the 11 track, first edition version of Снова в СССР click here.

For the 13 track second edition versions click here.

 

A Visit to Some San Francisco Record Stores – Part 3

The final instalment of the recent visit to San Francisco. Last time we looked at the vinyl purchases. This time it’s the CDs and DVDs. Both Rasputin, Recycled Records and Amoeba Music have lots of vinyl. They also have lots of CDs and also (Rasputin Music in particular) many, many DVDs to choose from.

First to the CD’s and at Rasputin I found a US copy of Paul’s Choba B CCCP on CD:

Choba B 1Choba B 2

I already have a UK version of this on Parlophone, but a US copy on the Capitol label to join it (at a very low price) was too much to resist.Choba B 3

Also at Rasputin I found a copy, released by 20th Century Fox, of Paul McCartney’s 1984 ill-advised excursion into the world of movie-making Give My Regards to Broad Street:Regards 1Regards 2The movie had a less-than-enthusiastic reception when it first came out. To quote one user review from IMDB: “I wouldn’t go so far as to call this movie a ‘crap-fest’. I have definitely sat through much worse….I wouldn’t call it a guilty pleasure, either. Though it wasn’t a complete waste of time, it was awfully trite and clichéd. It plays like an extended music video….Although it didn’t completely suck, Sir Paul really should stick to writing songs and leave screen writing to professionals.”

Hmmm. I can only vaguely remember seeing the film once when it was first released. So when I saw this DVD (which came out in 2004 in this version) for just $3.99 I grabbed it. At that price it is well worth the cost of admission for another viewing. The disc itself is one of those two-sided DVD’s. One side has the full screen version, and the other a wide screen version – so the DVD itself looks pretty bland:

Regards 4

However, there’s an insert inside the case with a great photo of Paul and Ringo in costume:Regards 3

The other DVD I got at Rasputin was also $3.99, and also from Paul McCartney:Back in US 1Back in US 2

This is the 2002 concert film Back in the U.S. I’ve got the two CD set of this concert, but never actually seen the video. Again, that that low price well worth adding to the collection.Back in US 3

Before leaving Rasputin Music’s Powell Street store I also discovered a nice, sealed CD copy of Electric Arguments by The Fireman (a.k.a. Paul McCartney and Youth).Electric 1Electric 2

Now, regular readers of Beatles Blog will know I have a bit of a passion for collecting versions and variations of this particular CD – and this was a variation I’d not seen before. Originally this disc came out when Paul was not signed to any particular label, and so in the UK it was distributed on the One Little Indian label. In the US it came out on ATO Records. More recently though Paul has been signed to the Hear Music label, part of Concord Music Group, and they have re-issued a few titles from that time when he was “between labels” – including Electric Arguments. The giveaway is that white barcode sticker on the rear cover where you can see the disc has been given a different catalogue number and there are tiny logos for MPL (McCartney’s company) as well as Hear Music and Concord:Electric 3Next stop was Recycled Records on Haight Street, and a very nice US copy of the CD Working Classical:Working C 1Working C 2

This came out on the EMI Classics label in back in 1999. I have the vinyl (now worth quite a bit as it is rare, in mint condition, and long out of print). A CD copy for the princely sum of $8.00 was worth it:

Working C 3

The final CD purchase came from Amoeba Music, also on Haight Street. For some time now I’ve been on the lookout for a CD copy of the 2001 McCartney “best of” release Wingspan – Hits and History. It originally came in a cardboard slipcase which has a holographic front cover. Getting copies in good condition is difficult because the slipcase is sometimes missing, or it’s in poor condition. This one I found has the holographic cover and its in pretty good nick too:Wingspan 1Wingspan 2Wingspan 3Wingspan 4

So, that’s it – the results of a holiday visit to the US city of San Francisco. A great city with some great record stores to boot.

Another Variation of McCartney’s Choba b CCCP

Another variation of Paul McCartney’s Russian album Снова в СССР has come into the collection. I found another version on Ebay which I didn’t have. It was listed by an Australian seller (so postage was relatively safe, fast and cheap). It was also at a very reasonable price and so I couldn’t resist:

Choba b CCCP frontChoba b CCCP rearChoba b CCCP

Снова в СССР is Russian for “Back in the USSR” and last time I posted on this was way back in 2010 when I detailed some of the other variations in my collection. I had five different vinyl pressings then, plus the CD edition, but there are actually almost too many variations of this LP to count. This latest one I have comes from the Aprelevka pressing plant which was just on the outskirts of Moscow. It’s the 1989, thirteen track version.

You can see all the many variations of this disc at the amazing The Beatles Get Back in the USSR website. To get to the key Снова в СССР entries go to the site’s pages detailing the original 11 track release; the more common 13 track release (which we have here); and the very rare mis-pressed 12 track release. As well as the many label variations from the different Russian pressing plants you’ll be able to explore the many cover variations in the printing of this album as well.

Label Variations Part Three – Versions of McCartney’s Choba B CCCP

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 beatlesblogger@gmail.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