Capitol 75 and the Elusive 2017 Reissue Series

Late last year Capitol Records announced an ambitious range of projects to take place across 2017 in celebration of it’s 75th anniversary producing, releaseing and distributing music.

Principle among the plans was the release on vinyl of 75 titles from their vast catalogue that best represented the wealth of talent signed to, or associated with Capitol over the last 75 years.

The label convened an advisory board to decide on the final list of albums, and of course amongst them are a number of titles of interest to Beatle and solo-Beatle record collectors and readers of beatlesblogger.com.

Despite the fact that the year is just about done, it seems that there have not been any/many of the five Beatle titles on the list released as yet – at least from what we can tell. Nor has the John Lennon Imagine album, George Harrison’s All Thing Must Pass, or Wings Band on the Run shown up anywhere identified as part of the celebrations.

According to the press release the US store Crate and Barrel is the main outlet and you can see a swag of titles that have already been issued here (some with a “Celebrating 75 Years of Capitol’s Music” logo on their front covers, some without). There are seventeen titles on that page – still far away from the seventy-five total.

However, Amazon in October listed a 2017 re-issue of James Taylor’s eponymous 1968 Apple Records release, James Taylor and this one of the titles on the Capitol 75 list too:The front cover image Amazon shows doesn’t have any “Celebrating 75 Years of Capitol’s Music” logo or sticker, but the rear clearly shows it to be an Apple/Capitol/Universal Music release. Look below the barcode:

(Double click the image for a larger version)

Just by the way, according to The Daily Beatle site there is a problem with the pressing of this record. Side Two should have a song called ‘Brighten Your Night With My Day’. It is listed on the label, but is not present when you play the LP! Maybe that’s why when we ordered a copy for our collection, Amazon is saying they cannot give an exact delivery date. Maybe all copies have been withdrawn and corrected pressings are being prepared?

Meanwhile, still over at Amazon, a pre-order listing has appeared for Ringo Starr’s Ringo LP. This album is on the Capitol 75 list too, and the image below seems to have a Capitol 75th Anniversary identifier on the front cover (though we are not sure if this is genuine or has been photoshopped in by someone else):Amazon says that Ringo will be released on January 19, 2018.

Curiously, Amazon is listing Goodnight Vienna for a January 19 release as well, but this title does not appear on the Capitol 75 list……not sure what is going on there.We’ve contacted Crate and Barrel directly and asked for some more background on the Capitol 75th Anniversary releases – especially around Beatle and Beatle-related titles. We’ll update you when they get back to us – or feel free to share any info you have by using the “Comments” section.

UPDATE:  On 8 December we had an email back from Crate and Barrel customer service saying: “We have double checked our stock of the 75th Anniversary re-issue vinyls. Unfortunately, we either never carried some of those vinyls you mentioned [Beatle or Beatle-related], or we no longer have them in stock. At this time, it does not look like we are getting in any new shipments of the anniversary vinyls. Our website is updated often, so feel free to check in to see if anything will get added to our current collection of the 75th Anniversary Records collection. Currently, we only have 12 records that are listed under the anniversary collection. If you have any further questions, feel free to call our customer service at 800-237-5672.”

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Strange Fruit – The Beatles’ Apple Records

A recent trip to Canberra, Australia’s capital city, afforded a visit to the second-hand store  Flip Side Exchange which specialises in CD’s, vinyl and DVDs.

Found this great DVD there:Strange Fruit frontStrange Fruit rear

It is a 2012 documentary on the Beatles’ record, film, publishing and electronics company Apple. Reviewer Carlos Gonzales wrote at the time of release: “….other than their music, the Beatles tried to do something good for their fellow man, in this case struggling musicians that needed a break, a chance. It was then that they created Apple Records, and the wonderful Strange Fruit -The Beatles’ Apple Records provides us with an honest view and great, historic information about the history of the label and its artists.

The film is quite long (162 minutes), and it is loaded with history and music…..Strange Fruit -The Beatles’ Apple Records [tells] how the label began working on projects, beginning with the production of the film “The Magical Mystery Tour.” They then signed singer-writer Jackie Lomax, Mary Hopkin, The Iveys, James Taylor and others. They also made the Beatles White album. By 1969, the Beatles — pushed by John Lennon — hired Allen Klein, who promised them that he would clean up their finances. That year they signed Billy Preston, The Iveys became Badfinger, and the Beatles began disintegrating as a group. From then on, the filmmakers examine year by year everything that happened to the label, ending in May 6, 1975, when Apple announced that it would cease operations. Along the way, we learn about other groups that were signed by Apple….for example, Ravi Shankar, Yoko Ono, John Tavener, Modern Jazz Quartet, and Brute Force. Of course, we hear some of their music along the way.

The movie has interviews with some of the players, such a Jackie Lomax (who said that Apple Records was ‘utopia’), Ron Griffiths (from the Iveys), Joey Molland (Badfinger), and others. There are also interviews with historians, like Stefan Granados, Chris Ingham, Mark Paytrees, and more. In the end, we are told that Apple was a “curious disappointment in the history of rock music. A revolutionary label that never reached its potential.” And the big lesson, perhaps, is that “artists can not take care of other artists.” You will be the judge. Strange Fruit — The Beatles’ Apple Records is a great document of our times. With no apparent help from or sanctioned by the Beatles, the documentary tells the history of this controversial — for lack of a better word — music label.”

It’s a must for all collectors of the Apple Records releases.Strange Fruit disc

For a sneak preview:

 

Apple Records – Re-releases Announced

I’ve been away traveling for a while without ready access to a computer and so have missed updating the blog with a significant announcement by Apple about some forthcoming non-Beatles re-releases. So, in case you missed it, here’s a catch-up post.

I’ve been buying records on the Apple label since I was a teenager. They were all Beatles releases of course as at the time that was the extent of my interest and my knowledge of the Beatles record label’s activities. It wasn’t until about fifteen years ago that I realised that alongside their Beatles releases the record label also issued a wealth of other artists, and so I began trying to catch up on these and started to collect the entire Apple catalogue in earnest. I’m still engaged in that quest. There are a lot of original records out there still to track down…..

As one fellow blogger put it “…part of what makes Apple so fun to collect is that the label’s artist roster in the late 60s and early 70s was so varied. Apple covered everything, from the Modern Jazz Quartet, to the folk of Mary Hopkin, to the avant-garde orchestration of John Tavener. The label also released a handful of film soundtracks, and launched the careers of some pretty high-profile artists such as James Taylor and Badfinger.”

Well, when I got back from my travels the other day I found this emailed press release (dated July 6) from Apple Corps Ltd in my inbox:

Badfinger, Billy Preston, Mary Hopkin, James Taylor, and more. Apple Records catalogue remastered and reissued on CD and digital download – Classics Set For Release on October 26th

Launched by The Beatles in 1968, as the new outlet for their own recordings as well as the music of an eclectic roster of artists – James Taylor, Badfinger, Billy Preston, Mary Hopkin, Doris Troy, and Jackie Lomax among them – who were all personally brought to the label by The Beatles (individually and/or collectively), Apple Records made popular music history from the very moment it opened its doors.

Four decades later, Apple Corps Ltd. and EMI Music raise the curtain on remastered CD and digital download releases of 15 key albums from the Apple Records catalog. All 15 titles will be released on October 26th. Most of the physical CDs will include bonus material. Together, the 15 albums represent the first ever Apple Records releases to be available via digital download.

In the revolutionary spirit of 1968, The Beatles’ explosive musical output (characterised by their double-LP White Album) was only exceeded by their fascination with what they saw and heard going on around them. Five years into The Beatles’ reign, Apple Records afforded them the unique opportunity to sign new (and established) artists who appealed to each of them. In turn, the introduction of an artist on The Beatles’ record label was an imprimatur taken very seriously by fans across the universe.

Apple Records’ utopian artist-orientated mission immediately set it apart, as the first operation of its kind in the major-label sphere. Diversity was celebrated, and artists were encouraged to record and release their music in a friendly creative environment. Apple developed a distinctive graphic aesthetic, from its legendary ‘apple-core’ logo to its advertising and merchandising, in the process setting a subtle new benchmark for the industry to follow.

From 1968 to 1973, Apple Records bedazzled the world with a rainbow spectrum of releases – and fans were unusually well-informed about individual involvements of The Beatles with nearly every project. 1968’s self-titled debut album by Boston-based singer-songwriter James Taylor, for example, features Paul McCartney and George Harrison on “Carolina In My Mind”. Paul was instrumental in bringing the Welsh chanteuse Mary Hopkin to Apple, and produced her debut single, “Those Were The Days”. Badfinger, also from Wales, was still known as The Iveys when they recorded “Come And Get It”, written and produced by Paul (for The Magic Christian movie soundtrack).

The Beatles had been fans of Billy Preston ever since seeing him in Little Richard’s band in Hamburg in 1962. George went on to produce and play on Preston’s Apple debut, That’s the Way God Planned It. Harrison was one of the producers and played (along with Ringo Starr) on Doris Troy’s self-titled Apple album. George also produced and played (with Paul and Ringo) on Jackie Lomax’s debut album, Is This What You Want? featuring the Harrison composition, “Sour Milk Sea”.

John was much taken with the music of The Modern Jazz Quartet, who released the only two jazz albums in the Apple catalogue. Ringo was intrigued by the music of contemporary British classical composer John Tavener, and his Apple album, The Whale has become one of the most sought-after Apple collectibles of all time.

Each of the 15 albums in this bumper batch of Apple Records releases has been digitally remastered at EMI’s Abbey Road Studios in London by the same dedicated team of engineers behind The Beatles’ recent remastered catalogue releases of 2009.

For details about the release, visit www.applerecords.com

Many Thanks

thebeatles.com

The releases (15 titles in all) are:

  • James Taylor (1968) by James Taylor
  • Magic Christian Music (1970) by Badfinger
  • No Dice (1970) by Badfinger
  • Straight Up (1972) by Badfinger
  • Ass (1974) by Badfinger
  • Post Card (1969) by Mary Hopkin
  • Earth Song, Ocean Song (1971) by Mary Hopkin
  • That’s The Way God Planned It (1969) by Billy Preston
  • Encouraging  Words (1970) by Billy Preston
  • Doris Troy (1970) by Doris Troy
  • Is This What You Want? (1968) by Jackie Lomax
  • Under The Jasmine Tree (1968), and Space (1969) by the Modern Jazz Quartet (a 2-on-1 CD)
  • The Whale (1970), and Celtic Requiem (1971) by John Tavener (a 2-on-1 CD)

It has to be said that this is not the first time these titles have been re-issued by Apple. There was another major campaign between 1991-1993 when they were all released for the first time on CD. That campaign also saw them released as vinyl LPs, complete with the original artwork and lots of bonus tracks, additional photographs, etc….So, for many collectors it will be a case of having to decide whether or not to get these 2010 releases a second time. What’s new is that they have all been freshly re-mastered by the engineering team at Abbey Road (who did the recent Beatles re-masters), and that they’re to be available as digital downloads for the first time making these re-issues the first Apple product ever available in that form. Can an announcement about the Beatles catalogue being digitally down-loadable be far behind?

To mark that 1991-1993 release campaign Apple Records released this special apple-shaped extended play CD.