Three French Beatles LP’s

This post continues on from the one previous detailing some Beatles items found on a recent visit to Paris. As well as bookstores, I was also on the lookout for new or second-hand Beatles records and CDs. With only limited time (and limited knowledge of the geography of the city) I could only scout around nearby where I was staying and so I really only got to visit four record shops in all.

The best of them was definitely Crocodisc, which is at 40 rue des Ecoles, Paris which is smack bang in the middle of the Sorbonne university district and just down from the Pantheon. (Here‘s a link to their English translation site).

Crocodisc was a pretty good find:

As you can see it is crammed full, floor-to-ceiling, with LP’s, 45’s, CD’s and DVDs. Not only that, as well as the main store there is another whole shop-full of records right next door specialising in jazz and metal, etc. Pretty incredible.

They had a fairly large Beatles section – some new, mostly second-hand. I was looking out for actual French pressings to add to the collection and to serve as a happy reminder of my time in Paris – which is definitely one of the world’s great cities. I also couldn’t buy a massive amount – partly because I’d have to say that Beatles items in the store were commanding top prices, but also anything I purchased had to be carried safely back to far-away Australia as part of my luggage.

After much deliberation (and checking out the quality of the covers and discs inside) I settled on three choices. None of these is especially rare or unusual, but each is distinctly different and come from different phases of the Beatles career.

The first was a French pressing of the soundtrack album “Help!”, or as the cover says, “Les Beatles chanson du film Help!”:

I have multiple copies of “Help!” (see here, and here for more) but not a French pressing with this unique cover and released on the Odeon label.

Next is a French Apple pressing of the 1970 Beatle compilation release, “The Beatles Again” (or in some markets known as “Hey Jude”). The rear cover and labels for this one are unique to France with their prominent references to the disc manufacturer Pathe Marconi:


Finally, a French vinyl copy of “The Beatles at the Hollywood Bowl”, a budget Beatles record from 1977 and so far never (so far) officially released on CD:

This is on the Parlophone/Pathe Marconi/EMI label and has a great inner sleeve featuring some of the other Beatles titles available in France at the time:

So, that was my Paris Beatles records experience. Nothing earth-shatteringly special about the purchases, but some great reminders of a trip to Paris. The Crocodisc shop was definitely a fun visit, too. You could easily spend a couple of hours in there…

Click here for a comprehensive list of record stores – not only in Paris but right across France (it’s big).

Beatles USB Apple – not the First Apple-shaped Product Released….

I’ve always had a fascination with the Beatles and their music. From the very first days of being old enough to buy my own records I’ve had at least some copies of their albums and singles in my collection – mostly vinyl, starting with Sgt Pepper, The White Album, Abbey Road, and Let It Be, plus the odd single here and there.

But the way I got into seriously collecting a wider range of related records, CDs and books was when I became intrigued by their Apple Records label and the eclectic stable of artists they signed up – both the well-known and the more obscure. Its a quest I’m still on. There are some titles and artists out there on Apple Records that I still don’t have…

In launching Apple Records in 1968 the Beatles produced what was then and is now an exceptionally rare promotional box-set of the very first Apple singles called “Our First Four”.  According to Richard DiLello in “The Longest Cocktail Party”, his 1972 memoir about being an Apple Records “house hippie”, this was a presentation box containing the first four 45 rpm vinyl singles from the label. It was “….a box made of plastic, 10 by 12 inches in matte black with a recessed lid carrying the Apple sticker that announced it as Our First Four, 3 Saville Row, W1.” It contained The Beatles “Hey Jude/Revolution” (R 5722), Mary Hopkin – “Those Were the Days” (APPLE 2), Jackie Lomax – “Sour Milk Sea” (APPLE 3), and The Black Dyke Mills Band – “Thingumybob” (APPLE 4).  Richard DiLello again: “There was a single coloured folder containing the biographies and photographs of the artists with the records in a polythene sleeve. The name of the person to whom the box was going was printed on the outside Apple sticker. This was primarily an inter-industry gift presentation package for the benefit of Capitol Records and selected disc jockeys and journalists.” Here’s a website that has a photo of one of these extremely rare boxes – although I’m not sure how authentic it is. DiLello says in his book that one of these boxes was presented to Stanley Gortikov, President of Capitol Records in 1968. Others were hand-delivered to the Queen Mother at St James’s Palace; Her Majesty the Queen at Buckingham Palace; Princess Margaret at Kensington Palace; and to British Prime Minister Harold Wilson at Number 10 Downing Street, London.

In 1991, when it came time for Apple to conduct a big re-issue program of all the Apple album releases, they decided to do something similar (but not exactly the same – and certainly not as rare) with a special Limited Edition CD.

The Apple EP

The Apple E.P. (1991) CD

As you can see it’s an official, apple-shaped CD release to mark the re-issuing of the Apple LP catalogue on both CD and vinyl – back in 1991.

When you open the “apple” it looks like this:

Apple EP

The Apple EP opened to reveal the 4-track CD

Inside is a 4-track compact disc with a song each from Mary Hopkin – “Those Were the Days”; Billy Preston – “That’s the Way God Planned It”; Jackie Lomax – “Sour Milk Sea”; and Badfinger – “Come and Get It”. Not exactly the same tracks as Our First Four, but still two tracks written by Beatles (“Sour Milk Sea” by George Harrison and “Come and Get It” by Paul McCartney):

Apple EP - rear cover

The Apple E.P. - rear cover with track details

As well tracks 1 and 4 were produced by Paul McCartney, and tracks 2 and 3 were produced by George Harrison.

OK, so there is no “Hey Jude”/”Revolution”,  but there is still a pretty large Beatle quotient here. And for me its a reminder that the current Beatles USB (containing all the remastered Beatles albums in high quality digital format) is not the first time that Apple has used an apple-shaped object to market product.

Apple EP CD

The artwork for the Apple EP compact disc (1991)

Its also not the first time that Apple has collected together four songs from artists in their stable and released an EP for promotional purposes. In 1969, not that long after Our First Four, they gave permission for the British ice cream company Walls to issue a vinyl EP:

Walls Ice Cream EP

The Walls Ice Cream EP from 1969

Click here for more information on this release.

As for the Apple re-issue program from 1991, I have quite a few of the vinyl LP re-issues from that time (complete with bonus tracks and original and additional artwork) and will post some pictures and info on these in the future.