Why There Are Two Versions of McCartney’s “Choba B CCCP”

Anyone vaguely familiar with the vinyl editions of Paul McCartney’s 1988 release Снова в СССР on the Russian Melodiya label will know that there are two different versions.

One, the earlier more limited release, came with 11 tracks, and a different rear cover:choba-b-cccp-1-frontchoba-b-cccp-1-rear

The second, and far more common edition, has 13 tracks: choba-b-cccp-2-frontchoba-b-cccp-2-rear

The two additional tracks are “I’m Gonna Be A Wheel Someday” (track # 7, the last on side 1), and “Summertime” (track # 2 on side 2).

Why this is so has never been fully explained – until now.

Friend and Russian Beatle collector Andrey has been doing some detective work and discovered this article from the time in the newspaper Sovetskaya Kultura (The Soviet Culture). It is dated July 15, 1989:%d1%81%d0%ba-1989-07-15-%d1%8110

In answer to a reader’s question to the newspaper a representative of Melodiya Records explains the existence of the two variations. Andrey’s translation of the Russian text follows:

READER ASKS A QUESTION – A MYSTERY OF TWO RECORDS

I bought the record of Paul McCartney’s Снова в СССР. After a while I saw it again on a shop counter and could not resist of buying it again. For good reason! It turned out that there are 11 songs on the first record, released on September 14, 1988, and the second one which was released on January 1, 1989, carried 13 songs. What a mystery!
A. Bogdanov.
Severodvinsk,
Arhangelsk region

With the request to clarify this mysterious story, we asked the chief editor, Deputy Director of the All-Union Recording Studio of “«Melodiya» Firm”, All-Union Creative-Production Association, Ivan Dmitrievich Nesvit:

– First of all I want to say that your reader is lucky. Why? Just how you will soon understand for yourself. According to the contract, this licensed disk should have consisted of 13 songs, and a special contract clause stipulated that the artist’s desires would be accepted in the design of the sleeve. However, «Mezhdunarodnaya kniga» (our intermediator) provided us with a tape with eleven songs. The recording fit with the Soviet State Standard in terms of running time and so we began working with it. According to the requirements of the contract, a test record and sleeve were sent to Mr McCartney. He studied them and made a few remarks. Although Leningrad Plant had already started pressing and distributing copies, we could not ignore these remarks. Corrections were therefore made to the design, the initial sleeve notes were replaced, and besides this we were sent the recordings of two more songs to include. For this reason the extended record plays longer than any domestic discs [i.e. Melodiya in its working history had never released any LP playing longer than the 13-track McCartney СНОВА В СССР].  And so two records with the same title appeared. By the way, the first record because of its “shamefulness” appearance and limited edition, became a rarity desirable for record collectors, especially abroad since it was intended for sale only in our country. As far as we know, in the USA and Europe 200-250 dollars were paid for this record. So the reader of «Sovetskaya kultura» became the owner of discophile rarity.

So, a little bit more information on the mystery as to how two different records (with the same catalogue number) came into existence.

For a full explanation of all the variations between the two editions and more see the excellent Russian site beatlesvinyl.com.ua. It contains intricate detail of every Russian Beatle release.

For the 11 track, first edition version of Снова в СССР click here.

For the 13 track second edition versions click here.

 

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.

Wingspan – More Unusual Variations

Since we published information on the Limited Edition version of Paul McCartney’s Wingspan – Hits and History CD collection last week, our friend Andrey in Russia has provided information about three more unusual and collectable versions.

The first is this Ukrainian release. Here’s the rear cover:ukraine2a

(click on any of the images to see larger versions)

And here are the two Ukrainian discs:ukraine1bVersion 2

Andrey also provided information on not one, but two very collectable Japanese variants:Version 2Version 3As you can see from the shots of the spines below these carry the same Japanese catalogue number and barcode:  wingspan-japan-spines-2versions-1

And both come with an additional booklet (written in Japanese and English). However, in one version this booklet is incorporated inside the slipcase (its white spine can be seen below), while the other version has the added booklet outside the slipcase (orange spine in the image below):wingspan-japan-spines-2versions

(click on any of the images to see larger versions)

The other main differences between these two releases are detailed further here (and in all pictures Version 1 is above, and Version 2 is below):

1) JAPANESE Version 1:
– the “hands” image on the front of the slipcase is printed (i.e. not holographic)
– slipcase in made in Japan
– additional booklet is inside the slip case
– The obi strip on the left hand side is a regular sized obi (i.e. small)
2) JAPANESE Version 2:
– the “hands” image on the front is the holographic image
– slipcase is made in the EU/UK                                                                                          – the additional Japanese/English booklet is outside the slip case
– the obi is large – it wraps right around and covers the entire rear of the outer slipcase

Another thing to note is that in Japan Wingspan – Hits and History contains an additional track to the rest of the world. It’s the song ‘Eat At Home’ and this can be found as track 19 on CD 1. (EU and US versions only have 18 songs on this disc).

Wingspan – Deluxe Limited Edition Version

When we were in the United States a while back we managed to pick up a nice copy of the standard edition of McCartney’s Wingspan – Hits and History two-CD retrospective compilation from 2001.

It was originally issued in a jewel case with an outer cardboard slipcase with a holographic front cover. Getting copies of this in good condition is difficult because the slipcase is often missing or damaged.

Then I learned that there was also a Limited Edition version of Wingspan – Hits and History released as well. It has the same two discs and running order of songs, but is packaged in a hard-back book that fits inside a similar but slightly larger outer slipcase, also with the hologram “hands” image on the front.

Well, we’ve finally secured a copy of the book version on eBay for a very reasonable price:wingspan-outer  The book inside looks like this:wingspan-book1wingspan-book2

The CDs sit in two clear plastic holders inside the front and rear covers:wingspan-book-insidewingspan-inside-2

It’s the same 22-page booklet inside. However, it is produced specifically for this set as it’s in a larger format to the standard CD booklet:

wingspan-inside-4wingspan-inside-3The standard CD set in the UK has the barcode number 7243 5 32876 2 7, while this limited edition set was made in the USA and has the catalogue number 7243 5 32943 2 8. It caries the Capitol and MPL logos on the cover and on the CDs.

wingspan-cd-1wingspan-cd-2

This set also had this sticker on the outside (which the previous owner very kindly kept and placed inside the book):

wingspan-sticker

Just by way of comparison, here’s the size difference between the standard and limited edition versions:wingspan-sizewingspan-cover-2

 

Eight Days A Week – A Fan Review, plus News on the DVD and Blu-ray

Well, we saw Eight Days A Week: The Touring Years at a screening in Sydney, Australia last night – and it truly does live up to expectations.

The tale of the Beatles touring years is well-told in a (mostly) chronological order with some strong thematic elements sprinkled throughout. Great existing concert footage (remastered and with the sound remixed) sits comfortably alongside newly uncovered footage from fans taken at the time. There are also new interviews with Paul and Ringo (interspersed with archival interviews with John and George), and many observers, key players and fans including Richard Lester, Neil Aspinall, Sigourney Weaver, Elvis Costello, Larry Kane, and Whoopi Goldberg to name just a few. The addition of 30 minutes of pure, infectious performance from the Shea Stadium concert (as an added cinema-only bonus experience) was simply cream on the top.

Enough from me though. Here are some immediate post-movie thoughts from a big Australian Beatle collector and fan, Bruce Hamlin. Bruce runs The Beatles Records Information Service:

In a word: Fab, FAB, fab, etc.

So lets get it straight – this is not a movie of their concerts. Ron Howard has broken the Beatles career into 2 parts that are often quoted in magazines. The Touring Years (that go up to Candlestick Park or just after) and the rest, which is obviously The Studio Years.The end result of the touring stopping was Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. So that’s actually where this movie finishes (basically).

And what do we get for our money? Some nice and recent interviews with Paul and Ringo. Some very nice sound bites from George and John. There are lots of clips of live songs. Most, unfortunately, have small voice-overs that do tend to detract from them but the audio for the live stuff is great so it tends to make you forget the voice-overs.

Lots of clips from concerts that I havn’t seen before. And believe me, I do have lots in my own collection. Lots of relevant American (especially) newsreel footage of fans, press conferences, interviews with the boys and fans and some other talking heads. Instead of the usual musicians talking about how seeing the boys on Ed Sullivan made them pick up guitars and form bands, this time we get more of a female perspective [especially] how the American girls were affected by The Beatles. So that was an interesting difference to the usual.

It does go back to Hamburg and Liverpool, so it does start at the beginning and yes, we do get “Some Other Guy” from the Cavern. For Australians there was a few seconds of Adelaide footage, and maybe a blink’s worth of a Melbourne street scene! Hong Kong, Canada, Sweden, Germany, France, Spain, Italy but no really good concert footage from any of them.

The story linked together pretty well. I did really enjoy the movie. And I will be going to it again, especially as it’s only running for one week here.

Shea Stadium was tacked on at the end as a separate entity. Great to see it on the big screen. Some tech wizardry on some of the close ups, being brought up REAL close to the point of the picture distorting a bit. While we didn’t get the voiceovers that were in the released version, we also didn’t get the support acts and as with the original, they have played pretty loosely with the audio. BUT it still sounds great in the theatre with the great sound system.

All in all, like I said FAB! I really enjoyed it as a Beatles fan. I tried not to dissect it too much, just sat back and really enjoyed the movie.

As it’s only around for a few more days – get off your bums and go and see it NOW.
It will probably be on DVD by Christmas, but the big screen experience is the best way to catch it. My only real complaint was that it didn’t run for 30 hours !!!! That way we would really have got ALL the concert footage from everywhere. Thank you to StudioCanal and Event Theatres.

Bruce was correct about the DVD and Blu-ray being out in time for Christmas.

StudioCanal has just announced a November 21 release date for the UK, and November 18 in the USA. There will be 2-disc special edition, and single-disc standard editions in both DVD and Blu-ray formats:

edaw_blu-ray_standard

edaw_deluxe_blu-ray

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

edaw_dvd_standard

edaw_dvd_deluxe

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Special Edition Content and Features:

* Blu-ray/DVD 1 – Feature presentation
* Blu-ray/DVD 2 – Bonus Material (approx. 100 minutes of extras, highlighted below)
* 64 page booklet with an introduction from director Ron Howard, essay by music journalist and author Jon Savage and rare photos from The Beatles’ private archive
* Words & Music (24 mins) – John, Paul, George & Ringo reflect on songwriting and the influence of music from their parents’ generation, Lennon/McCartney writing for other artists, The Beatles as individual musicians, and the band as innovators. Also featuring Howard Goodall, Peter Asher, Simon Schama and Elvis Costello. The interviews with Paul and Ringo are previously unseen.
* Early Clues To A New Direction (18 mins) – A special feature touching on The Beatles as a collective, the importance of humour, the impact of women on their early lives and songwriting, and the band as a musical movement. Featuring John, Paul, George & Ringo, along with Paul Greengrass, Stephen Stark, Peter Asher, Malcolm Gladwell, Sigourney Weaver, Whoopi Goldberg, Richard Curtis, Elvis Costello and Simon Schama. Again the interviews with Paul and Ringo are unseen.
* Liverpool (11 mins) – The early days in Liverpool of the late 1950’s and early 1960’s are brought vividly to life by those who worked closely with them at that time including fan club secretary Freda Kelly, Allan Williams an early manager, and Leslie Woodhead multi-award winning documentary film director.
* The Beatles in Concert (12 mins) – Five great but rarely seen full length performances of The Beatles live in concert – Twist and Shout, She Loves You, Can’t Buy Me Love, You Can’t Do That and Help!

Additional Standard Bonus Features (on both Special and Standard editions):

* Three Beatles’ Fans
* Ronnie Spector and The Beatles
* Shooting A Hard Day’s Night
* The Beatles in Australia
* Recollections of Shea Stadium
* The Beatles in Japan
* An alternative opening for the film

Here’s the pack shot for the Deluxe Blu-ray version:edaw-deluxe-packshot

Sadly, there’s no Shea Stadium concert included. That would have been a nice bonus, but it looks like to could have possibly become part of a rights battle. That concert film footage is owned by a different company. Perhaps Shea will be released separately at some stage down the track. We can only hope.

Eight Days A Week: The Touring Years – Facebook Live Q&A Replay

Here’s a replay of Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr and film director, Ron Howard, at Abbey Road studios answering fan questions on yesterday’s Facebook Live session.

The moderator is Edith Bowman, host of Virgin Radio’s Breakfast Show in London, and creator of the podcast Soundtracking.

The big surprise is that two days out from its premiere, neither Paul nor Ringo have seen the film yet!

 

Rare McCartney Acetate Fetches US$23,639

‘It’s For You’, the previously unknown acetate demo Paul McCartney gave to the late Cilla Black to help shape her recording of the Lennon/McCartney penned song back in 1964, has sold at auction in England for £18,000 (that’s about US$23,639 or AUS$31,229).

‘It’s For You’, which was never recorded by the Beatles, was given to Black who had a hit with it in Great Britain. It made the UK Official Charts’ Top 10 at No. 7 and was one of seven Top 10 hits she had in the UK between 1964 and 1966.

The disc was discovered last month by relatives who’d found it tucked away as part of Black’s personal effects while sorting through her estate. Wisely they took it to the The Beatles Shop in Liverpool for evaluation by owner Stephen Bailey, who immediately recognised it as a long-lost treasure. Bailey confirmed a report by the BBC that Paul McCartney had made a copy of the song for his archive before it was sold at the auction.

The auction was conducted in Liverpool last Saturday. Here’s the online catalogue.