Latest Addition to the Collection – The Beatles “Help!” US LP

After many a year I’ve finally got myself a copy of the US vinyl version of the Beatles “Help!”.

Last week I visited a newly-opened record store called Pacific Records. It’s located in the Sydney suburb of Mona Vale and sells new and used LPs, singles, CDs, music books, posters and t-shirts. The guy running it also has an Ebay store.

I’ve already got a few different versions of “Help!”, but have never had an LP copy of the US Capitol Records pressing – which varies in a number of ways to the LP released in Australia and elsewhere. The one I got last week is on the orange Capitol label:

The LP is of interest because the US edition has seven songs from the film interspersed with instrumentals, a different running order, and a very different cover to that issued in places like the UK, Europe and Australia:

Also, it has a really cool gatefold with lots of additional photos inside (whereas in other countries “Help!” comes in just a single LP sleeve):

In Australia (and in the UK) we’re used to this “Help!” LP cover image:

As I said there are some songs in common, but the running order is different and Bruce Spizer explains why in his liner notes for the booklet that comes with “The Beatles Capitol Albums, Vol. 2”:

“In England, Parlophone repeated its practice of issuing an album with songs from the film on one side and additional new recordings by the group on side two. (Three of those songs had previously appeared [in the US] on “Beatles VI”.) Capitol issued an album with the seven Beatles songs from the film augmented with “Exclusive Instrumental Music From the Picture’s Soundtrack.” Ken Thorne’s score for the film consisted of a mix of Thorne originals, classical music and orchestrated Beatles tunes, often with an Indian flavour. Capitol’s “Help!” LP was issued with a deluxe gatefold cover on August 13, 1965″.

The copy I got also has a nice original paper inner sleeve, with advertisements for other Capitol LPs, including a couple by the Beatles:

Next time a post on some “Help!” label variations from around the world.

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Beatles – Paperback Writer/Rain Re-issue

I’ve been sweating on the postman arriving this week as I bought a copy of the “Paperback Writer/Rain” Parlophone Record Store Day re-issue, and it arrived today. Mine came from the US. It was finally released there on June 8 after an on-again/off again series of dates came and went. This followed the initial UK release on Record Store Day proper earlier this year on April 17.

In the UK the re-issue was limited to just 1000 copies – and hence the prices being asked went through the roof. I believe (see below) that the US releases are imports of the exact same UK pressings – and so are a chance to catch up on that really rare initial UK release.

You can see five close-up images here – three of the most recent “Paperback Writer/Rain” US release, and two of a previous US Capitol issue.

Steve Marinucci, who has a Beatles news column online at the Examiner newspaper, published this story about the UK release, and this story about the then US re-issue plans. Reviewer, writer and Beatles fan Matt Hurwitz sent the Examiner the following description of the new vinyl single:

I’ve just received a copy of the new “Paperback Writer”/”Rain” 7″ vinyl single from Capitol, which will be issued to participating indie record stores as part of continued celebration of Record Store Day. The disc & sleeve are actually the same as was released in England. This is an import of that release (i.e. not pressed here in the States by Capitol). The record features a black-and-white Parlophone die-cut sleeve with dark blue label backdrops. The A-side label lists both songs; the B-side label features art that matches that on the back of the sleeve – letters spelling out “Parlophone.” For those who keep track, the disc is Parlophone R-6813/EMI 50999-6-41639-7-0. The disc itself features stereo mixes of the two songs. It’s important to note – this is the first vinyl release taken from the new masters, and they sound fantastic. The stereo spread sounds as if the mastering engineer pulled in the left and right a hair (i.e. so that the hard-left and hard-right panning of some channels isn’t quite as far left or right). And, of course, being mastered at Abbey Road, my needle didn’t jump out of the groove on “Paperback Writer”.

After reading all this I got a bit inquisitive and wanted to find out if the Beatles Parlophone re-issue was a one-off, or part of a bigger re-issue by the company around Record Store Day. Turns out “Paperback Writer” was just one of many re-issues by the label – all done with similar dark blue sleeves and labels. Here is the official Parlophone press release

Parlophone Plan Vinyl Series For Record Store Day – Twelve artists will be taking part (Posted 8th April, 2010)

Parlophone have announced plans to release a series of limited vinyl (1000 copies each) for Record Store Day (17th April).

Twelve artists will be taking part, including Hot Chip, Bat For Lashes, Pet Shop Boys, Lily Allen and The Beatles. Each release will come in a vintage-style paper Parlophone house bag which has been designed ‘specially, and uses elements of historic sleeves from the 1960s to the present day. From this year’s hottest new urban artist Tinie Tempah to the band that made the label what it is today, The Beatles. Each release will come in a vintage-style paper Parlophone house bag which has been designed especially for the releases and uses elements of historic sleeves from the 1960’s to the present day.

The releases are:

Babyshambles Side of the Road/UnBiloTitled

Bat For Lashes Howl! (Live at De La Warr Pavillion)/Wild Is The Wind (Live at Grove Music Studios)

The Beatles Paperback Writer/Rain

Chiddy Bang Opposite of Adults/Sooner or Later

Danger Mouse & Sparklehorse Just War (featuring Gruff Rhys)/Just War (instrumental)

Eliza Doolittle Pack Up/Rollerblades

Hot Chip I Feel Bonnie (featuring Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billie)/Bear Witness

Jónsi Go Do/Boy Lilikoi

Lily Allen Back To The Start/Kabul Shit

The Pet Shop Boys Love Life/A Powerful Friend

Tinie Tempah Pass Out/Pass Out (SBTRKT Remix)

(plus one other release)

Miles Leonard, President of Parlophone said: “Parlophone and our artists recognise the importance of our Indie stores and their contribution to not only our new and developing artists but to our catalogue as a whole. Being able to support this campaign with some great 7″ releases from The Beatles to Bat For Lashes is our way of thanking them for their continued support. After all ‘Music Matters’.”

Of course Capitol in the US also released The John Lennon Singles Bag as part of the celebrations for Record Store Day as well, and you can read more about that here.