Happy Christmas Everyone!

chr-rec-63-01The first Beatles Christmas record was distributed by the Official Beatles Fan Club on December 9, 1963.

Beginning in 1963, the Beatles started a holiday tradition of recording Christmas messages for their fans. The first Christmas recording from the Beatles featured several renditions of the traditional carol “Good King Wenceslas” and individual messages from the four, ending with a closing chorus of “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Ringo”. The recordings were edited and issued on flexi-discs through the Official Beatles Fan Club in England.

The records were not available for sale, but were distributed free to Fan Club members. Tony Barrow came up with the concept for the Christmas records and scripted the initial efforts.

The record was packaged in yellow paper gatefold cover. The open gatefold contains the Fun Club’s National Newsletter No. 2.chr-rec-63-04

Lynton Recordings pressed 25,000 copies of the one-sided seven inch discs, which have white labels with dark blue print. The disc plays at 33 1/3 – rpm. Total time: 5:00. Matrix number LYN 492-1U.
chr-rec-63-03

Thanks to thebeatles-collection.com for this Christmas information.

Being For the Benefit of Mr Kite! – A Mini Documentary

Here’s a little holiday listening enjoyment for you.lennon-with-kite-poster

Australia’s Radio National station (RN – part of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation) has just aired a great little documentary about the John Lennon song ‘Being for the Benefit of Mr Kite!‘. It is part of their PocketDocs series.

You can listen to it here, or download it to your desktop to listen to later.

mrkiteposter

John Lennon – ‘Jealous Guy’ 12-inch Single

My daughter was at a big market in Melbourne a couple of weeks back. There was a guy selling records and so she bought this for me:lennon-jealous-1

It’s the 12″ single release of John Lennon’s ‘Jealous Guy’, taken from his Imagine album. As far as I can tell the single was released in 1985. Discogs doesn’t have this particular release listed, but it does have entries for the UK and Europe which look to be the same.

This is the Australian release and as you can see it’s backed with ‘Going Down On Love’ (from Walls and Bridges), and ‘Oh Yoko!’ (also from Imagine).lennon-jealous-3lennon-jealous-4

(click on the labels for a larger version)

The cover is a bit worn and creased and there’s a slight tear on the back, but the vinyl inside is in absolute mint condition. lennon-jealous-2It’s nice when your kids buy you presents!

Eleven Early Yoko Ono Albums to be Reissued

Way back in March, 2014 we flagged that there was a thorough Yoko Ono solo reissue program in the pipeline and it was to include all of her early, long-out-of-print Apple and Zapple Record releases. Since that time it has gone decidedly quiet….

Now comes news that it is finally going to happen – and soon:

Chimera Music and the Secretly Canadian label, have just announced that eleven solo Yoko Ono titles will be coming out in three groups of releases over the next twelve months or so.

The first grouping of three reissues is due out on November 11 – on CD, on vinyl, and as digital downloads. First titles are:

Unfinished Music No. 1: Two Virgins (originally issued on Apple in 1968):ono-unfinished-1

Bonus track on the CD, and on vinyl (via a download card), will be ‘Remember Love’.

Unfinished Music No. 2: Life With the Lions (originally issued on Zapple in 1969):ono-unfinished-2

Bonus tracks on the CD, and on vinyl (via a download card), will be ‘Song for John’ and ‘Mulberry’.

Yoko Ono: Plastic Ono Band (originally issued on Apple in 1970):ono-plastic-ono-band

Bonus tracks on the CD, and on vinyl (via a download card), will be: ‘Open Your Box’, ‘Something More Abstract’, ‘The South Wind’, and the never-before-heard ‘Why (Extended Version)’.

The release project overs studio albums issued between 1968 and 1985 and will painstakingly reconstruct the original vinyl packaging, along with never-before-seen photos and ephemera (although from these two “bundle offer” pack shots on the Chimera site it looks like the record labels and CDs will depict grapefruits instead of Apple, and that the vinyl will be white and/or clear):ono-bundle-vinylono-bundle-cd

The audio is re-mastered from the original tapes by Greg Calbi and Sean Lennon. In addition to making the vinyl available for the first time in decades, each album will also be available digitally for the first time. The complete list of titles and release groupings is:

1st group:
Unfinished Music No. 1: Two Virgins
(1968)
Unfinished Music No. 2: Life With Lions
(1969)
Plastic Ono Band
(1970)

2nd group:
Fly (1971)
Approximately Infinite Universe
(1973)
Feeling the Space
(1973)
A Story
(recorded in 1974, released as part of Ono Box in 1992)

3rd group:
Season of Glass
(1981)
It’s Alright (I See Rainbows)
(1982)
Starpeace
(1985)
Unfinished Music No. 3: Wedding Album
(1969)

Three Beatle Books

We attended a huge charity bookstall is support of the very important work done by the Lifeline organisation. They hold these book sales regularly and there’s always a very good selection of music books, Compact Discs, and sometimes vinyl LP’s.

This time around we scored three nice Beatle books.

The first we spied in the stacks was The Beatles Album by Julia Delano:Beatles Album 1

Published by Bison Books in the UK, this dates from 1991 and is a large-ish hardback book with a dustcover. Inside it is a chronological re-telling of the Beatle story, mostly pictorial:Beatles Album 4 Beatles Album 3The rear cover:

Beatles Album 2The second book we found was Geoffrey Giuliano’s The Illustrated John Lennon, published by Sunburst/PRC in 1993: Lennon 1

It is a thin hardback with a dustcover.Lennon 3

The book is part of a series and an accompanying item to Giuliano’s similarly formatted The Illustrated George Harrison. (There’s also an Illustrated Paul McCartney in the set – which we don’t have).Lennon 2

The final book we found was David Sheff’s Last Interview: All We Are Saying – John Lennon & Yoko Ono. This version was published by Sidgwick & Jackson in 2000:Lennon Interview 1It is the UK release in hardback, and is a revised and updated edition of Sheff’s original publication from back in 1981 which was called The Playboy Interviews with John Lennon and Yoko Ono (which we also have in paperback, published by New English Library press in the United States).

As Google Books says: On the 21st anniversary of his death, a poignant John Lennon document back in print [detailing] Lennon’s last interview before his assassination on December 8, 1980. It was first published in Playboy in a 20,000 word format in November that year. It saw limited distribution in the US in its full form as a 200-page book, reflecting 20 hours of tapes made that September, but was never seen elsewhere, and is now a collector’s item. This new, revised edition is published with the rare participation of Yoko Ono.

Lennon Interview 2

 

Three Single Finds at the Glebe Record Fair

It has been distinctly quite on the purchase history front – not much out there recently that we’ve wanted to add to the collection. That changed last Saturday with a visit to one of Sydney’s biggest record fairs held in the suburb of Glebe, which is very close to the downtown area. The Glebe fair is always a pretty big deal and every year lots of people who love vinyl, books and CDs turn up to crate dig for a couple of hours to their hearts content:

glebeAnd that’s just some of the crowd. The room is actually about three times bigger than what you can see here. When you first walk in there’s an amazing – some would say daunting and overpowering – number of stalls to check out and make your choices.

We really tried to be disciplined and not go crazy and so walked away with just three vinyl 45’s that, until now, were not in the collection. They’re all Australian pressings, two from John Lennon, and one from George HarrisonIMG_1575IMG_1574IMG_1576

It’s good to have the original Apple Records custom labels for George Harrison’s “Dark Horse”, from 1974. (It’s wife Olivia’s eyes on the B side).

Each of these came in their original Apple paper sleeves too:IMG_1577

Here are some links to previous Glebe record fair visits and what we found: (i) 2012,         (ii) 2012, (iii) 2012, (iv) 2013, and (v) 2015.    

Two Beatle-Related Holiday Finds

Apart from the lovely selection of brand new gifts received for Christmas, we also checked out a couple of second-hand outlets while on holiday at Port Stephens on the New South Wales mid-north coast.

The first was a community-run recycling centre that turns people’s trash into income for the local community. In a couple of huge sheds they have a wide range of donated used goods for sale, including records, CDs and books. Just near the shelves full of LPs we found a box containing a large collection of old theatre and music performance programs and souvenir booklets – all in really good condition. Hunting through these we discovered this:

McCartney World Tour1

This is quite a thick tour magazine that was given away free at concert venues for the Paul McCartney New World Tour, which ran pretty much through the whole of 1993. It took in places like Canada, France, Germany, Denmark, Italy, Spain, the USA, UK, Japan, parts of South America, and Australia – hence this magazine/program being re-discovered in a shed in a little place called Soldiers Point! You can see one of the Sydney New World Tour set lists hereMcCartney World Tour2

The tour was in support of the Off The Ground album: McCartney World Tour 4

Inside the tour magazine there are some great articles and photos, including this shot below of the band at work in their rehearsal room – one which I’d not seen before. It also lists the range of instruments each person plays:

McCartney World Tour3

(click images to see larger versions)

There are also short bios for each band member, articles on key members of the backstage crew, plus the content goes much wider with sections dedicated to raising awareness about causes close to the McCartneys’ hearts, including saving a local hospital, the environment, and animal cruelty:McCartney World Tour6In between are some interesting articles on previous projects, like this one on the Unplugged (The Official Bootleg) album from 1991:
McCartney World Tour5All the content in the The New World Tour magazine is edited by Paul Du Noyer, who also featured in our Christmas list of books – and, coincidently, in another nice holiday find.

Every month the local church at Anna Bay just near Port Stephens holds a market where different traders can offer their goods for sale. One of them was a guy specialising in secondhand music books and CDs, where we found this book, also by Paul Du Noyer:

Lennon1

It’s a great reference book to have in the collection with the details and stories behind every song John Lennon released as a solo artist: Lennon5Lennon4Lennon3

First published in 1997, this revised and updated edition was released in 2010. Each song entry is accompanied by some interesting photos, and it is a really handy book to have when researching the work of John Lennon. I believe there’s an even more recent update called We All Shine On.