It never ceases to amaze me how many variations there are out there of particular Beatles or Beatles-related items. I guess that’s part of what makes collecting interesting….
Some are big differences, and include completely revised or unique artwork or track running orders, others are small and subtle. This one, sent to me by Beatlesblog reader Ned in the United States, is a case in point. Ned writes: “One favorite Beatles-related item of mine is a still-sealed, 4 CD “Lennon” box from 1990 with a blank space on the back cover art where the song “Imagine” should be listed (the song is on the disc, however) that I bought from a woman going through a bad divorce. She only wanted US$15 for it. Even though I was very much interested I IMPLORED her to ask for more because I knew she could get it. However, she insisted because, to her, it represented her former husband. (Years earlier, I had regretfully sold my copy due to being laid off and needed to pay my bills. I was desperate to get a copy back in my possession after my work life returned to normal).”
Ned sent me a photo of this unusual John Lennon collectors item. Check out the space in the listing on Disc 2:
Its a strange little mistake or variation….who knows why “Imagine” was left off that particular print run? And Ned having a still-sealed copy makes it pretty collectable too. (By the way, it was Ned who sent the additional photos of the Japanese Beatles “Love” rarity from a previous post).
To compare, here’s my copy of the Lennon set:
“Imagine” is definitely still there. This 4 CD “Lennon” box set was released by Parlophone/EMI in 1990. It was compiled by Mark Lewisohn, one of the band’s insiders and a long-time writer and commentator on official Beatles releases and their history. Wikipedia has a song list for each CD. As you can see, most songs were previously released, but there are a couple of hard-to-find tracks, like the three live from Madison Square Garden with Elton John (“Whatever Gets You Through the Night”, “I Saw Her Standing There” and “Lucy In the Sky With Diamonds”) recorded 24 November, 1974. I believe these three songs had only ever been previously released on a vinyl single in 1975.
The box set comes with a nice (if plain) 70-page booklet:
Booklet - Front
The booklet has the words to each song, a song index, small images from the album each track comes from, plus some nice photos – both black and white, and some in colour:
Booklet - inside
Each of the jewel cases has an individual image of Lennon. Here’s the one used for Disc 1:
The printing on each CD follows a similar theme, but each jewel case spine, rear artwork and the actual CD disc is a slightly different colour. For example here are discs 1 and 2:
The 4 CD set came out in 1990 and followed the 1989 single CD release “The John Lennon Collection”. In Australia at least EMI released this 4-track EP CD in a gate-fold Digipak to promote both:
As you can see, they used the rear of the cover to promote both the single disc “John Lennon Collection”, and the 4 CD box set:
So, thanks to Ned for another unusual and collectable Beatles-related item.
There is a new set of John Lennon box sets and anniversary releases on the way. Called the Gimme Some Truth project, these remasters will mark what would have been Lennon’s 70th birthday and will be released in October, 2010.