That’s not a Collection. THIS is a Collection.

The recent McCartney III release, and its follow-up McCartney III Imagined, will probably go down in history as having the most vinyl colour, cover artwork and physical format variations of any Beatle or Beatle-related release ever.

For the McCartney III LP, CD and cassette we produced this chart to help keep track:

(click on the image to see a larger version)

That’s no less than12 LPs in different colours (not counting the very rare Third Man Records test pressing – of which only 3 copies were made available in the world), 12 CD variants with colour, cover or track-listing differences, and 2 cassettes. It also doesn’t include all the different bundles that came in boxes containing either tee-shirts, dice, etc.

Then, as the variants of McCartney III Imagined started to pile up, we produced this chart:

(click on the image to see a larger version)

Here you can see there were 10 LPs in different colours and/or cover artwork, 6 CDs, and again two different cassette variations.

If you’ve ever wondered if anyone has actually succeeded in collecting absolutely every variation of those two releases, wonder no more.

One of our readers this week sent in this amazing image of all the variants he collected of these two releases and we think you’ll agree it is mighty impressive:

From what we can see for McCartney III he doesn’t have absolutely everything, but comes pretty darn close! Obviously missing is the very limited Third Man Records pressing on yellow and black vinyl and sporting a unique cover design. There were only 333 copies of this pressed. These were available only via the Third Man Records website, and only for a very limited time before all were snapped up.

As for the McCartney III Imagined LPs, CD,s and cassettes though…..we reckon he’s got the full set of everything. What an impressive collection!

McCartney III Imagined: The Variants So Far (Update)

Back in April we posted a list of the physical variants (to date) of the forthcoming McCartney III Imagined.

Since then there have been a few additions, so here’s an update about. It includes a standard cassette (available fairly widely), plus a more limited pink cassette and two ‘Limited Edition Mini Jacket’ CD versions. These appear to be only available via the US official Paul McCartney website.

Here’s the regular, or standard, ‘Smokey Tint’ cassette:

And here is the more limited pink shell cassette:

There have also been two low-cost ‘mini jacket’ CD alternates added too – much like the ones made available in the initial McCartney III release program. These are just simple cardboard sleeves. One is available with the standard McCartney III Imagined cover:

The other comes in the colourful ‘alternate’ McCartney III Imagined cover:

Release day for physical product is getting closer – it’s July 23 – and there’ll be a bonus track included on each of these – ‘Long Tailed Winter Bird (Idris Elba Remix)’.

Here’s a chart showing all the release variations of McCartney III Imagined so far (as usual, click on the images to see larger versions):

McCartney III Imagined – Out This Week

This week we get to hear what McCartney III Imagined sounds like in full – at least on digital services. The physical mediums for this one aren’t coming until July….

There’s already been a bit of shock from some welded-on McCartney followers about the three tracks previewed from the album so far. They are a re-interpretation of ‘The Kiss of Venus’ by Dominic Fike; ‘Find My Way’ – featuring Beck; and a remix of ‘Slidin” by Radiohead’s Ed O’Brien.

Stand by for quite a few more surprises.

It’s becoming fairly obvious we should all keep an open mind about what else might be in store because, based on what we’ve heard so far, some of it is going to be “out there” and out of the comfort zones of many fans. And that’s a good thing because it means these songs will be heard and appreciated by a far wider (and younger) audience than would have been the case if this remained just a McCartney-only release.

It’s clear that Paul McCartney and MPL sent out the raw elements of his songs to an eclectic and interesting bunch of musos and told them to do with them what they will.

If you want a contemporaneous example of a similar approach then look no further than Crowded House. They’ve got a new album coming in June and have released a single in the lead-up called ‘To The Island’. Check it out below in its original form:

Then have a listen to this:

Just like McCartney has done, Crowded House invited a third party (in this case Kevin Parker from Tame Impala) to do a remix. Here’s what Neil Finn said about it in an email to fans:

With all the world up-ended and nothing in its right place, we became curious to hear how our favourite contemporary musicians and record makers might re-imagine a Crowded House song. I emailed our version of ‘To The Island’ to Kevin Parker (Tame Impala) with an invitation to take it apart and reassemble in his own unique way. Happily, he really liked the song and it was an absolute delight to hear what he made from it, an exotic fantasy I would call it.

I think you’ll agree that the end result is very different – and in some ways quite confronting. But it means that Crowded House (a legacy band still making great new music) will also be heard by a much wider audience.

Strap in because McCartney III Imagined is going to be ‘To The Island’ writ large.

Personally, we’re excited to hear it.

Paul McCartney – McCartney III Imagined

After more dice being mailed out to certain fans and a short social media teaser campaign, it’s just been officially announced that there’s to be an album of McCartney III covers and remixes – called McCartney III Imagined.

The details are here and it looks to be a REALLY eclectic and inventive choice of artists:

It’s a 2LP set – and the coloured vinyl whirlwind begins all over again……

At the official McCartney store you can order a limited edition exclusive splatter vinyl, and exclusive cover art:

And of course plain old black:

As far as we know right now there’ll also be an exclusive limited edition gold vinyl version available through Indie stores:Plus a green Spotify exclusive version (available through the official McCartney store):Newbury Comics in the US has weighed in again, this time with red vinyl:

Barnes and Noble (in the US) has added blue to the rainbow:

While Target has announced a silver vinyl exclusive with “alternate artwork” enclosed:

Meanwhile, back over at the McCartney Store (only in the US) they now have a limited edition pink vinyl available, 2500 copies only:

And the official store in the US has also added a dark green vinyl variant. It comes in the same unique cover as the splatter and pink. This green is darker than the Spoitfy vinyl, and there are only 2000 copies available apparently:

McCartney iii Imagined 2There’ll be a single CD too:

And Target stores (US only) will have the CD “with alternate artwork enclosed”:The first YouTube video has also hit. It is Dominic Fike’s version of ‘The Kiss of Venus’. Interesting!

So, what is your take on it? Let us know in the comments below.

Some sites are saying the digital release is April 16. Looks like physical media won’t ship until July 23 though, which is a long way off.

Keep an eye on our site for more details (and vinyl colour variations) as they emerge!

Inspiration for McCartney’s ‘The Kiss of Venus’

Speaking of books, here’s the little one that Paul McCartney referenced as part of the inspiration for his song ‘The Kiss of Venus’, found on the recently-released McCartney III.

“I had a cool little book Jools Holland’s wife had given me, kind of an astrology book, all about the planets and the movements and the fantastic synchronicity of it all. A fascinating book, actually, when the planets go through all the little things, if you look at a graph, as it were, of them all, it like makes a lotus. It’s trippy. There was some great little phrases – “the kiss of Venus” was one of them. So I was loving that book and I was making up a song about that, but that was an instance of forcing myself to write. And I felt good after it. I thought, ‘Yeah that’s a pretty good little song.’ I haven’t had time to record it, but I will.”

It is indeed a lovely little paperback by John Martineau called A Little Book of Coincidence in the Solar System, which examines geometry and harmony in the universe and yes, there is a chapter entitled The Kiss of Venus.

Martineau is the publisher and editor of the award-winning Wooden Books pocket liberal arts series, which has been translated into 20 languages worldwide.

The “kiss” of Venus with the Earth occurs every 584 days and, over an eight year period (exactly!), that movement of the heavenly body as it moves around the Earth draws a beautiful geometric pattern.

Meanwhile, the song features Paul on vocals and guitar, and there’s a neat little harpsichord solo included as well:

A demo “phone” version of ‘The Kiss of Venus’ is one of the four bonus tracks on the Japanese CD edition of McCartney III. It’s can also be found as a single bonus track (Track 12) on one of the four “budget” CD versions of the album released in the UK and in the US:

I wonder if we’ll learn anything more about the origins of ‘The Kiss of Venus’ in McCartney’s forthcoming The Lyrics book?

Lennon ‘Gimme Some Truth’ – Target Coloured Vinyl

Looks like the Lennon camp is belatedly getting in on the coloured vinyl craze – but nothing as lavish/extensive/crazy as the McCartney team (see * links and **image below).

There’s going to be an exclusive US Target store Opaque Blue release for the recent Gimme Some Truth 2 LP set:This Gimme Some Truth double gatefold, previously only available on good old black vinyl, will hit Target stores in the United States on February 19, 2021.

* To view the many, many iterations of Paul McCartney’s just-released McCartney III, check out the following links: The Many Different Versions Emerge, There’ll Be A Cassette, More McCartney III Variations, Orange Vinyl, and Yellow….and More.

**And here’s the latest graphical representation of all the McCartney III variations presently out there [click on the image to enlarge]:

McCartney III – Orange Vinyl

There are now no fewer than 10 vinyl colour variations of the forthcoming Paul McCartney release McCartney III.

It’s just been announced that a further colour has been added to the rainbow – an orange vinyl limited to 3000 copies – available exclusively through Universal Music Stores online (e.g. the US uDiscover Music Store, the UK uDiscover Music Store, German uDiscover Music Store, etc.)

You can check out the other vinyl colours (many now sold out) here.

Add to that the four “McCartney III Color Collection” CD versions, in two sleeve designs with individual bonus tracks associated with each colour.

Oh, and there’s a cassette……

The release date for the album has slipped back from December 11 to December 18. It’s rumoured that the one week delay was caused – in part – by Capitol having to press so many different variations and colours!

By our reckoning there are now 21 different ways to buy this album in physical form.

To help you keep track here’s a chart of where we are at (so far):

(click on the image to see a larger version)

UPDATE!

Since we published this article there were many additional variations to this release. Here’s where it eventually got to:

(click on the image to see a larger version)

More (and we mean more!) McCartney III Variations

Oh boy. Just when you thought that 9 vinyl colour variations, plus 2 CD cover variations – and a cassette – were enough, the folks at MPL and Capitol have devised even more ways to get you to buy the forthcoming McCartney III album – due out December 11.

If you are a collector of rare audio then hidden in amongst what, at first glance, looks like a merchandising onslaught are four bonus “secret demo” tracks. But to get them you have to buy four more copies of the main McCartney III CD. And as you’ll see there are LOTS of permutations….

It’s all a bit confusing. We’ll try to unpack it for you starting with what is available on the official US McCartney Store site (because it’s different on the UK McCartney store site).

First thing to get clear in your head are the colours: white, red, blue and yellow.

For example, on the US store you can buy a box containing a McCartney III white cover, store-exclusive mini-jacket CD (that includes one secret bonus demo track unique to that white cover CD), plus one of the following: a white McCartney III dice set in a pouch; a white McCartney III t-shirt; a white McCartney III cap; or a white McCartney III face mask.

These box sets are obviously custom printed, but also seem to be specially made to hold the CD too. If you look closely there is a black cardboard slot inside that surrounds the CD. It’s got an opening on the right hand side to get your finger in to neatly lift out the cover: If you prefer red you can buy a box containing a McCartney III red cover, store-exclusive mini-jacket CD (that includes one secret bonus demo track unique to that red cover CD), plus one of the following: a red McCartney III cap; a red McCartney III dice set in a pouch; a red McCartney III face mask; or a red McCartney III t-shirt.

And so on for the blue and yellow boxed CDs and merch.

Note however that each colour has a different McCartney III logo. (The pouch and logo for the dice sets remain the same though. Click on the image below for a larger version):

So, that means for the extremely keen collector of merchandise and audio you’d have to buy 16 boxes to get absolutely every variation – but, you still only end up with the same 4 “secret bonus demo tracks”.

Staying on the US site, if audio is your main thing, for US$7.33 you can purchase separately each of the four secret demo edition store-exclusives as mini-jacket CDs. These are the same as those in the merch-related box sets above. We believe (but it’s not definitive at this point) that the CDs contain the standard CD track listing, plus one unique demo for each colour. Here’s the yellow example. As you can see it comes in a simple card sleeve cover only – no booklet, etc:Or, for US$14.33, you can purchase separately each of the four secret demo colour-coded editions in what is described as a “Deluxe Edition” softpak CD cover. These we presume are similar to the standard retail CD packaging and will come with a gatefold and booklet. The yellow example is shown below and this would also contain the standard CD tracklisting plus the unique “yellow” secret bonus demo track:

So, for the absolute US completist they’d also have to buy four more copies of this CD to have every possible permutation.

It’s interesting that no details have been given about the titles of the four demo tracks. I guess that’s why they are secret!

Meanwhile, over at the UK McCartney store, the offer is slightly different. There, if you purchace one of the four coloured merchandise boxes on offer, you get all the merchandise (plus your CD colour of choice) in one box.

For example, if you order the white box it will bundle together the white cover, store-exclusive mini-jacket CD (including the “white cover” secret bonus demo track), the white dice set, white t-shirt, white cap, and white McCartney III face mask:

Likewise the red, blue and yellow bundles.

Also, unlike the US store, at the UK store you can’t get the simple card sleeve coloured versions separately, you only have the “Deluxe Edition” softpak CD on offer. But you can get just the red tee if you want, or just the blue dice, or just the yellow face mask. No need to get the bundle if you don’t want to.

On fan blogs and forums fans are debating this new announcement, not only trying to nut out all the confusing variations but also asking the question why? There are now 10 CD variations. Why so many permutations? And why make us buy multiple copies of the CD to add these four tracks of bonus materials to our collections?

One astute observer probably has it correct: “The whole reason for this is to juice the first-week sales of the ALBUM. Selling a CD single won’t do that. Between the four CD versions here, the green one, the regular one and the black/white/red/green/cokebottle/[blue]/pink vinyl versions (not even counting the yellow one, because hardly anyone got it), some members here will likely have purchased 5-10 copies of this EACH! Hello, Billboard…”

It’s not so much about money (though no doubt that plays a factor) – it’s about trying to get a Number 1 album on the charts the first week the record goes on sale.

Check out McCartney’s Twitter feed too.

McCartney III – There’ll be a Cassette

Had to happen I guess. Paul McCartney can be fond of anachronistic formats.

It’s just been announced that there’ll be a cassette edition of his forthcoming McCartney III solo album. It’s due, along with the nine (and counting) coloured vinyl editions, plus two CD versions, on December 11:He did this for his last studio release, Egypt Station, and for a Record Store Day rarity ‘demos’ cassette at the time of the Flowers in the Dirt Archive Collection release.

 

McCartney III – It’s Official and the Many Different Vinyl Versions Emerge

It is now official, and here is the news release.

Like Egypt Station before it, this latest Paul McCartney LP McCartney III will be offered in a multitude of variations. Absolute completist collectors will be driven to distraction!

First variation to be offered for pre-order today will probably become the most sought after, and the rarest.

It will be pressed at Jack White’s Third Man Records pressing plant in Detroit, Michigan. Known as the ‘333 Edition’, this is limited to 333 copies only, pressed on ‘yellow-with-black-dots’ vinyl:

This vinyl is created by recycling 33 vinyl copies of old McCartney and McCartney II LP’s. The special “regrind” pressing, the first version of McCartney’s third self-titled solo album available for purchase, is hand-numbered, comes in an exclusive screen-printed jacket, and contains a printed inner sleeve and poster.

Just how Jack White’s company became the first to offer this brand new Paul McCartney recording to the world – even before McCartney’s own website store had the same thing on offer, only in red vinyl – remains a mystery. Not surprisingly the 333 copies sold out within minutes:

Next up in the rarity stakes is another Third Man Records pressing, offered a little bit later in the day exclusively on the official US Paul McCartney Store website:

This is described on the site as a “Hand-numbered gatefold featuring photography by Mary McCartney, Sonny McCartney and Paul McCartney (it’s a family affair!). Limited-edition (3000 units worldwide) store exclusive made in collaboration with Third Man Records,180g red vinyl disc with printed inner disc sleeve and a 12” x 18” insert poster.” Again, this is showing as “SOLD OUT”.

Both these pressings are distinguished by a prominent yellow Third Man Records logo on the front cover.

There is also a non-Third Man red vinyl pressing. This is a limited edition available on the official UK Paul McCartney Store site:

This is presented in a gatefold cover and is limited to 3000 units worldwide as a “store exclusive” in 180g red vinyl. It comes with a printed inner disc sleeve and the 12” x 18” insert poster. Also listed as “SOLD OUT” at the moment. However, it is still available in Europe at the German UMe online store Bravado. The difference between this and the UK listing is that the German red vinyl is in a hand-numbered gatefold cover with poster.

Interestingly, the MusicVaults store in Canada (a UMe subsidiary) also had this version on sale briefly. It too was listed as “SOLD OUT”.

Then came news of a white vinyl edition, exclusive to independent record stores. Rumoured to be limited to 4000 copies in the USA, and 3000 copies in the UK. It comes in a hand-numbered cover and includes a poster. Try your local independent store for this one:

Newbury Comics in the United States has a pink vinyl exclusive:

After this came the bigger chain stores who bagan offering their coloured vinyl variants. Target in the US is to have an exclusive green vinyl:

They also have an exclusive Target-only cover for the CD version:

And, here in Australia, the big chain JB Hi Fi is to offer an exclusive blue limited edition:

Like Target US, the Aussie store will also have the CD outer cover available to pre-order in an exclusive colour variant (the same as the Target US one actually!):

The “exclusive” blue vinyl version is also being made available in the UK via the HMV chain of stores, at FNAC in France and at JPC in Germany. Looks like these aren’t 180 gram vinyl and don’t come with the poster.

And the anomaly of the group – again, like they did with Egypt Station – there’s a “Coke bottle” clear vinyl edition being made availble associated with the streaming music company Spotify. I don’t reallly get why vinyl records are being marketed by streaming music companies, but maybe that’s just me? Anyway, this too is “SOLD OUT” on the McCartney Store site. But, if you live in Australia it is still available here.

But of course, if you can’t get your hands on any coloured vinyl there’s always the humble, plain old 180 gram black vinyl, in a gatefold cover: