Label Variations Part Eleven – Happy Xmas (War is Over)

A Christmas theme for the next installment in our occasional Label Variations segment.

This time it’s John Lennon, Yoko Ono and the Plastic Ono Band, with the Harlem Community Choir  and the 1971/1972 song ‘Happy Xmas (War is Over)’. Early versions (and some re-issues) were on green vinyl to suit the season.

The US Bell Sound test pressing:

Other US variations:

Some of the UK releases:

And Australia/New Zealand:

Here are some European releases. First Spain ‘Feliz Navidad’:

The Netherlands:

Italy:

France:

Greece:

Sweden:

An EU-made CD single from 2003:

Back to vinyl, this one is from Yugoslavia:

And a couple of South American countries, including Venuzuela ‘Felices Pascuas (Se Acabo La Guerra)’:

Brazil:

Mexico ‘Feliz Navidad (La guerra termino)’:

Here’s one from Japan ‘ハッピークリスマス戦争は終わった’:

Later on, when John Lennon was signed briefly to Geffen Records, that label released ‘Happy Xmas (War is Over)’ too:

(As usual, click on most images to see larger versions)

Please note that not all these are from our collection! Check out this link to a ‘Happy Xmas (War is Over)’ 40th Anniversary page. Catch some others in the Label Variations series here. And visit the Imagine Peace (War is Over!) site.

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to all our readers.

New John Lennon Vinyl Box Set Coming

Whenever new Beatle or Beatle-related vinyl is mentioned we get interested.

Yes, like most collectors we have these albums already (in some cases many times over….) but the completist in us has to have the latest. And the latest announcement is that a new box set of eight John Lennon LPs is due for release on June 8. For all the details go to johnlennonmusic.com – but in a nutshell these will be faithful reproductions on 180-gram vinyl of John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band; Imagine; Some Time in New York City; Mind Games; Walls and Bridges; Rock ‘n’ Roll; Double Fantasy and Milk and Honey:Lennon_Box

All artwork, including inner bags, posters, postcards and original labels will be reproduced:plastic_labels 2plastic_labels 3mind_games_labels 2mind_games_labels 3double_fantasy_label 2double_fantasy_label 3

Looks like the LPs come in a white box with the same design cues as the John Lennon Signature Box from back in October, 2011:

John-Lennon-Signature-Box---S-536618

That set contains the same titles – only on CD – plus it has two bonus discs of non-album tracks, studio outtakes and home recordings:

Signature-box-insert

Of course there’s been a previous incarnation of a John Lennon , 8 LP vinyl box set.

Yoko Ono and the World of Dance Music Remixes

When we posted about the forthcoming re-issues of Yoko Ono’s Apple Records back catalogue we were contacted by the people at Mind Train/Twisted Records asking if we were aware of Yoko Ono’s other considerable success over many years in the world of dance music and remixes.

No, we said – tell us more.

And so Rob at Twisted kindly sent through a signed (yes, autographed by Yoko herself), 2-disc promo set which gathers together a selection of the very best of her output in this genre from the last 10 years or so:ONO front coverONO rear cover

Under the monicker ONO she has had huge successes with DJ remixes of her work on the Billboard Club charts. Last year ONO had not one, but two consecutive Number 1 hits – making her one of the most successful dance artists of 2013 and prompting articles like this one in Time magazine.ONO CD1ONO CD2

Her product is prepared and released by the Yoko-associated Mind Train Records and the iconic New York-based house music label Twisted Records. For more on Twisted see their Facebook page.

Yoko Ono’s Imaginepeace site also has some info on these releases.

Gotta say, I quite like these. They’re creative, mesmerising, and make you want to move. It just goes to show that in the world of collecting Beatle and Beatle-related music there is always something new to learn….ONO inside cover

(for larger versions click on the images above)

Yoko Ono Albums To Be Reissued

Flipping through a recent copy of Mojo magazine we noticed this small article:mojo

Being interested in anything Beatles and Apple Records related we decided to do a bit more research.

Yoko Ono’s Plastic Ono Band site has this small promo tile (complete with a grapefruit) – but no links when you click on it:reissue_yopob

Same for her Imagine Peace site. Again, there’s the same promo tile on the page but no other information or links, although there is a tiny bit more info as the tile at least lists two record company names:Reissue_Imaginepeace

Chimera Music is Ono’s (and son Sean Lennon’s) record label. A search revealed no further information on their site though. Not sure what Secretly Canadian has to do with the releases (it’s an American independent record label based in Bloomington, Indiana) because there’s no reference to Yoko Ono or Plastic Ono Band on their site either….

Of course these titles have been released previously. The details of that 1997 reissue project are in this MTV article:

“….beginning on May 20th, the label (Rykodisc) will present 11 different Yoko Ono and Plastic Ono Band albums, all of which are being remixed and remastered as needed by Ono herself…..The first wave of releases will be unleashed on May 20 with the four titles, Unfinished Music #1: Two Virgins, an album or tape manipulation and random noises reportedly made the night before Ono and John Lennon made love for the first time; its sequel, Unfinished Music #2: Life With the Lions, which deals with Ono’s subsequent miscarriage and also contains a “song” called “Radio Play,” 12 minutes of random radio dial-turning; the collaborative The Wedding Album, whose second song is a 22 minute drone consisting of the couple calling each other’s name and, finally, the first Plastic Ono Band album, Yoko Ono with the Plastic Ono Band.

The next set of four releases (June 10) contains what many considered to be the first post-punk record (ironic, since it pre-dated punk), the noisy, experimental Fly, credited to Yoko Ono and the Plastic Ono Band. Also released on that day are two other Plastic Ono Band Yoko titles, Approximately Infinite Universe and Feeling the Space. Also included will be Ono’s cathartic, personal album, Season of Glass. July 1st will bring the last set of three releases,It’s Alright (I See Rainbows)Star Peace and A Story, a previously unreleased album that was included in the box set. Ono is currently searching for some appropriate bonus tracks for the releases…”

Rykodisc were also involved with this 1992 6-CD set, Onobox:Ono BoxYoko Ono herself writes about the contents of this box set extensively here. Onobox is a kind of a “best of” compilation, with tracks from across her own (and John Lennon’s) output from 1968 to 1985.

It’ll be interesting to see what the 2014 project brings….

A Visit to Some San Francisco Record Stores – Part 2

OK. In Part One I detailed the four main record stores I was able to visit while in San Fran.

Now some detail on what I found and brought home to join the collection. Firstly, the vinyl.

At Rasputin Music on Powell (near Union Square) I found a very clean copy of George Harrison’s Living in the Material World. It was a US pressing I didn’t have – a budget re-issue on the green Capitol label:LITMW1LITMW2LITMW3As you can see, it’s a nice clean copy and the vinyl is mint.

Also at Rasputin there were two Ringo Starr LP’s I liked the look of and they were both very reasonably priced. I have Australian pressings of both of these, but good US copies like these were a welcome addition to the collection. They are both on the Apple label and original throughout. This gatefold copy of Ringo (1973) was complete with its book of lyrics and wonderful line drawings by Klaus Voormann (who also played bass on the album):  Ringo 1Ringo 2Ringo 3

The Fab 4 Free 4 All Beatle podcast recently reviewed the Ringo album and raved about it (see episode 60, “Ringo” – Analysis and Review). Also at Rasputin was a copy of Ringo’s Blast From Your Past which came with the original inner sleeve of photos on one side and lyrics on the other:Blast 1Blast 2Blast 3

Later in the week I got over to the Haight-Ashbury district were there were three stores in close proximity (Recycled, Rasputin and Amoeba – all on Haight Street).

The first I visited was Recycled Records. They had some vintage Beatles LP’s, but to be honest they were fairly expensive….and so I concentrated on the Beatles as solo artists. I’ve always been keen on collecting variations of Paul McCartney’s “Russian” album called Choba B CCCP. Well, Recycled was a bit of a treasure trove as they have numerous copies in their bins and tucked away underneath on shelves. There were thirty to forty copies in all, and so I set about identifying some versions I didn’t have. There are so many variations of this particular record because it came out firstly as an 11-track album, followed later by a 13-track version. And they were pressed in about six different Russian pressing plants, each with its own label styles and variations (sometimes subtle) within those labels. I turned up four distinct copies I wanted, and they were all very reasonably priced (between US$6.00-$10.00 each). There was one 11-track version (from the Aprelevka pressing plant), two 13-track versions (Tbilisi plant and Riga plant), and one “hybrid” that had an 11-track cover but a 13-track LP inside (which I didn’t realise until I got home). Both the cover and LP are from the same factory (the Riga plant) so I’m not sure if this is legit or just a mistake….

CHOBA B CCCP 1

The rear cover of the 11-track version is identified by its yellow colour:

CHOBA B CCCP 2

However, this one has a 13-track LP inside – on a plain white Melodyia Records label, made at the Riga pressing plant where the cover was made too:CHOBA B CCCP 3

So. A mystery there. If anyone knows if any other copies like this exist let me know. These are the labels from the other copies of Choba B CCCP purchased at Recycled:

CHOBA B CCCP 5

CHOBA B CCCP 7CHOBA B CCCP 9Of course for the full detail on all Russian Beatle and Beatle-related vinyl releases you need to visit this one, fantastic central repository.

Further down Haight Street is another Rasputin Music store and so I ducked in for a look. No vintage Beatles here, but lots of copies of the latest remastered vinyl at good prices. I did find an interesting re-issue copy of the John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band’s Live Peace in Toronto LP however, complete with a reproduction of the 1970 calendar which was included with original copies. It is brand new, still sealed, looked like a good buy and so I got it:

Plastic Ono 1Plastic Ono 2I think this re-issue was released in 2012 through a company called Hi Horse Records (which is a subsidiary of City Hall Records). It’s on the original Apple label and has the same SW 3362 catalogue number. If anyone has any other info on this one it would be very welcome. Please drop us a line.

Then it was on to Amoeba Music’s Haight Street store – which is an enormous warehouse of a building with thousands of LP’s, CD’s and books…however, not a lot of vintage Beatles on display here either, but two very good vinyl buys none-the-less. The first was Paul McCartney’s first solo LP simply called McCartney. It is a US copy, a re-issue in very good condition and on the black Capitol label:McCartney 1McCartney 2

And last but not least a really nice copy – practically mint throughout – of George Harrison’s The Concert for Bangladesh. I already have an Australian and an unusual South African pressing of this, but have been on the lookout for a good UK copy, and of course a US example as well, which is what we have here. Amoeba had this priced at just US$14.99, which for a triple album set in such excellent condition was an absolute bargain. It came with a mint copy of the original 64-page book, and all the LPs were housed in their original brown paper inner sleeves:Bangladesh 1Bangladesh 2Bangladesh 3Bangladesh 4

So, that was a quick summary of the vinyl found in four San Francisco record stores during a short visit there last week. Next time a look at the CD’s and DVD’s I found and added to the collection.

Beatles with Records – Part Fourteen

Since the last instalment we’ve been swamped with some great content – enough for at least two or three more posts featuring the Beatles (or people close to them) photographed or filmed with records or CDs – either their own or those of other artists.

This first one comes from beatlesblogger.com reader Ariel, who sent in this great YouTube clip of John Lennon and Yoko Ono strolling past a crowd of reporters and photographers:

The footage was clearly taken in 1970 when John and Yoko were publicising this Plastic Ono Band album:

john-lennon2

The footage comes from a 1977 film by French film-maker Gérard Courant, whose website says of the film:  “The year punk music exploded, Courant gave his most avant-garde outburst by relating for the first time the shattering experiences that took place in the second half of the 20th century…with the rock culture that clamored that same idea of rupture…”. Lennon and Ono can also be seen publicising the same LP in Part Five and also in Part Two.

Staying with John Lennon for a moment here’s an image sent in by Andrey in Russia of the Lennon’s in New York – holding court with assembled media and hangers-on in their apartment in February, 1972 in Greenwich Village:

Lennons Greenwich Village

There’s obviously a record you can see sitting there at the foot of the bed:

Lennons New York 2

But what and who is it? I was having real trouble identifying this one. Well, thanks to Andrey’s Russian-speaking friends we’ve been able to find that LP. He asked one of the Beatles.ru forums for some help. Which artist could it be? Andrey says he got the answer in about ten minutes:

The Album Soup Front CD SZSOUP BACK CD SZ

The Power Pop website says that the group Soup was from Wisconsin in the USA and the members were Doug Yankus, Rob Griffith and David Faas . The band released a self-titled album in 1970, however what we can see here is the bands second LP, The Album Soup, from 1971. How it came to the attention of John Lennon, and what he thought of it we’ll probably never know.

Continuing on the Lennon theme – this time with Yoko and a gentleman named Kristofer Englehardt, author of the book “The Beatles Undercover“, holding a copy of her solo LP from 1971 called Fly:

Undercover1-1

Fly

In Part Six there’s a terrific photo of George Harrison in the back of a limo holding up a copy of his All Things Must Pass LP. Here’s another good one from around the same time:

RSSpecial2-1

harrison-all-things-must-pass-1970

Could it be that this photo below was taken on the same day and location? It looks very much like the same shirt George is wearing above. Perhaps he’s playing one of the sides from All Things Must Pass on his record player at home?

George with Record Player

One final shot of George taken in 1972 according to the caption, this time with his triple LP from 1971 The Concert for Bangladesh:

RSSpecial1-1BanglaDeshCover

When you are Paul McCartney, just getting into a building you are visiting can have it’s challenges. The photo below shows the type of crush which can eventuate when everyone wants a photograph or an album signed – including one fan bravely holding up a copy of the 1988 Russian release Снова в СССР:

Choba CCCP Paul

Choba b CCCP

Here he is again – this time with fans thrusting forward copies of (amongst other things) Help! and Tug of War (you can see the cover of Tug of War at the very bottom right-hand side of the photo):

Paul Signing - Help!beatles-helpTug of War

One other final shot of Paul holding a 45 single, this time with Ringo and John. It is what is reported as a test acetate recording (printed in limited quantities and used by the band and engineers for checking the quality and the mix) – it is supposedly of a song from Sgt Pepper:

Sessions3-1

There’s another photo from the studio on the same day below –  from a different angle with George also in attendance and more acetates lined up on the piano:

Deliev2-1

One final photo for this instalment – again of the Beatles as a group and possibly arriving in Rome. I say that because the gentleman in the light coloured jacket, moustache and glasses (who is a fellow named Alf Bicknell – the Beatles chauffeur between 1964-1966) is holding a copy of the Italian version of A Hard Day’s Night. You can tell it’s the Italian cover of the LP because the large type across the top saying “The BEATLES” is distinctively different to the standard UK release:

FMTY28_1-1_Alf_Bicknell

italy_a_hard_days_night_lp-580x578

Thanks to all those who have sent in content and further information. You can see the other parts in “The Beatles with Records” series here: Parts 123467 , 89101112131516 and 17.

There will be more “Beatles with Records” soon….

Label Variations Part Nine – Plastic Ono Band “Cold Turkey”

In Label Variations Part Eight an unusual New Zealand Parlophone label version of John Lennon’s “Imagine” was featured.

I’ve stumbled across another from NZ –  this time Lennon’s anguished drug withdrawal song “Cold Turkey“, performed by the Plastic Ono Band. It’s definitely original and as you can see pretty beat up, but interesting I guess – especially for one particular reason which will be revealed later:

Plastic Ono Band Cover 1

It is in it’s original New Zealand Parlophone bag – very faded, but the rear side is interesting with it’s groovy “Young Internationals” advertisement for Air New Zealand (only $397.50 one-way to Singapore or Hong Kong!):

Plastic Ono Band Cover 2

The main point of interest though is the black and yellow Parlophone label:

Plastic Ono Band Label 1

The printing on the A-side is kind of faded and difficult to read because the silver-coloured lettering does not stand out well on the black background. Like the UK edition, this 45 rpm single carries the catalogue number APPLES 1001, and as in other markets around the world the flip-side is the Yoko Ono song “Don’t Worry Kyoko (Mummy’s Only Looking for Her Hand in the Snow)”. However, this New Zealand pressing has a spelling mistake. It clearly says “Don’t Worry Kajoko”, and it has no sub-title printed on the label:

Plastic Ono Band Label 2

Some people quite like collecting label printing mistakes and so this makes it interesting as well. The spelling should be “Don’t Worry Kyoko….”:

cold-turkey-Don't Worry Kyoko

Here are some other label variations from around the world, starting with Australia:

cold-turkey-Aust

These images following aren’t from my collection but gleaned from the web. Here are two different variations from Brazil:

cold-turkey-Brazilcold-turkey-brazil2a

The original UK version looked like this:

cold-turkey-UK

And the US and Canadian versions:

cold-turkey-USAcold-turkey-canada

Here’s one variation from Germany, followed by one from the Netherlands:

cold-turkey-german

cold-turkey-netherlands

And since posting this I’ve been contacted by Claude Defer in France with two French variations. He says: “In France, we have 2 types of labels : the first one has «Cold Turkey» on the white part of the apple and the second one has «Cold Turkey» on the green part of the apple. The first one was probably a misprint and the second one fixed it.”:

Cold-turkey-france 1Cold-turkey-france 2

Also, Andrey in Russia sent another France variation which is very similar to the one above, just a greener Apple:

ColdTurkeyFranceMonoSide1

If you have any other label variations you would like to share please email me.

Label Variations Part Eight – Lennon’s “Imagine” Single

Last post I wrote about a couple of unusual garage sale finds.  One was a vinyl copy of John Lennon’s 1971 single “Imagine” – but on the much less common Parlophone label in New Zealand.

When researching the post I had a good trawl around the internet to see if I could find a similar copy.  I couldn’t.

However I did find a huge number of other interesting label variations. I guess that’s not surprising given the fact that this song has become an iconic John Lennon  composition. Here are just some of them, starting with the rare New Zealand pressing I found:

Looking around the web I could not find anything about this release – so if you know more details please get in touch. The more common New Zealand pressing, though still quite collectable in my view, would be on the green Apple label:

Of course Lennon releases in Australia also came out on the Apple label, and I own probably the most common original Australian release of “Imagine”. It looks like this:

Searching through Google Images I actually stumbled across a picture of what would have been the original Apple acetate pressing of the song:

 These acetates were test pressings, done in-house at Apple so that the engineers and John Lennon could take them away and have a listen to the mix and to the quality of the pressing before saying “yes” to printing so many hundreds of thousands of copies…Those big first press runs would have been in the United Kingdom – which used a green Apple.  Here’s an early promo copy sent out to radio stations, followed by the legitimate single released to the public :


And in the United States – which used a plain white Apple label favoured by John Lennon at the time:

Of course other countries quickly followed, including places like Germany:

And the Netherlands:

Such was the fame of this song there were also pressings from unusual countries like Venezuela:

From Mexico:

And from Brazil:

Brazil also released the song on a plain white label – but a variation on the white Apple issued the USA:

In the US the song was so popular it kept getting re-issued on a variety of Capitol labels:

And this purple Capitol example:

Meanwhile back in the UK the single was being re-issued countless times as well. Here are two later examples on the Parlophone label:

Friend Andrey in Russia has sent another two examples. The first is a mono single from France:

And a slightly different image of the white label above from Brazil (different font on the year of issue):

There are no doubt many more examples given the worldwide love of this one song. If you have any other label variations you would like to share please email them through to beatlesblogger@gmail.com

Happy Xmas (War Is Over) – 40th Anniversary

Now in its 40th year – the peace campaign and song by John Lennon, Yoko Ono, the Plastic Ono Band and the Harlem Community Choir.

The single “Happy Christmas (War Is Over)” was released in December, 1971 in the United States (but due to a publishing dispute not until November the following year in the UK and worldwide). Here are some single releases from around the world – not all in my collection! (On most images you can click to see a larger version):

To find out more and to download the original poster in your language and in a range of sizes just click here.  And keep praying for peace in the world.

Happy Xmas (War is Over)

The Beatles With Records – Part Five

The Beatles have sold millions and millions of them – but there are relatively few photographs where they’re seen actually holding LP’s, singles and CD’s.

We’ve uncovered a few though in this series (you can see all the original blog posts here:  Part One; Part Two; Part Three; and Part Four). People are still sending in photos from their own collections, and so here is Part Five. Most of the photos below come from French Beatles collector and author Claude Defer. The first is John Lennon holding up the French “Ticket to Ride” EP.  Claude tells me that this photograph is from the cover of a French record collectors magazine called “Jukebox”. The picture was taken in June, 1965 when the Beatles gave two shows in Paris at the Palais des Sports:

Immediately behind “Ticket to Ride” I think you can just see another French Beatles EP called “Eight Days A Week”. Here’s the cover of that one:

Here’s another Beatles EP (or Extended Play), this time it’s George and John with a copy of the UK version of “Twist and Shout”.  In the UK, “Twist and Shout” was released in 1963 by Parlophone with three other tracks, “Do You Want to Know a Secret”, “A Taste of Honey”, and “There’s a Place”, from the Please Please Me album. Both the EP and album reached No. 1 :

From what must have been around the same time as the photograph above (mid-1963) comes this next photo:

It’s the Beatles with the group called Gerry and the Pacemakers at what appears to be celebratory drinks. Perhaps it was taken in April/May, 1963 when Gerry and the Pacemakers had a number one hit in the UK with “How Do You Do It?”, which came out on the Columbia label and was produced by Beatles producer, George Martin. That song was knocked from its top chart spot in May by the Beatles with “From Me to You”. It came out on Parlophone and was of course also produced by George Martin. It’s a bit difficult to tell from the photograph, but maybe band leader Gerry Marsden is holding up a copy of “How Do You Do It?”, and John is holding a copy of the new number one, “From Me to You”:

Beatles manager Brian Epstein features in previous posts pictured with Beatles records. Claude Defer sent through these next two. The first is Brian looking through a pile of what look like acetates or “test” pressings:

Wow. If some of those are Beatles test pressings (and no doubt they are) then they’d be real collectors items now! The other shot of Brian has him with a copy of “Help!” from 1965:

In 1966 the Rolling Stones released their LP “Aftermath”. Clearly the Beatles were keen to get a hold of it as soon as they could:

The caption says: “The Beatles always took a close interest in the new releases by the other top groups. Neil Aspinall (their road manager) had made a special trip to get hold of “Aftermath”, the new album by the Rolling Stones, and “Bo Dudley”, the single by Peter Cook and Dudley Moore”.

Cook and Moore were a popular British comedy act and “Bo Dudley” was the B-side to their 1966 single “Aint She a Sweetie” on the Decca label:

A year later (1967) the Beatles released “Magical Mystery Tour”. In the UK it came out as a film for TV, and also as a double EP. Here’s John signing a copy for a fan:

Not strictly the Beatles with records, but the lovely Patti Boyd who became a Beatle wife. She had a a very successful career as a model and here she is in a photo shoot featuring some of the work of her future husband, George Harrison:

Three Beatles albums are seen in the shot: “Please Please Me”, “With the Beatles”, and in her hand, “A Hard Days Night”:

John and Yoko posed for some photographs to publicise their new records in 1970. We had a couple of these in The Beatles with Records Part 2. Here’s one more, this time a picture of John and Yoko with their Plastic Ono Band LP’s. According to Claude Defer the man between them is Pete Bennett, Apple Records US promotions manager.  John had just released “John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band”, and Yoko had “Yoko Ono/Plastic Ono Band”.  Both titles were released simultaneously. The front covers were almost identical, but the rear artwork of Yoko’s album showed her as a young girl, while John’s showed him as a young boy:

The Lennon’s have also been photographed with an earlier release, “The Wedding Album”. It was a lavish box set celebrating their union in 1969 and contained amongst other things an LP, a wedding photo album, a picture of a slice of the wedding cake and, as you can see here, a copy of the marriage certificate pasted inside the lid of the box containing all the other goodies:

Finally, a more recent photograph – this time another of Paul McCartney out publicising his alter-ego The Fireman and a recording from 2008 called “Electric Arguments”. You can see a full report on this release here. Paul is photographed holding (upside down) the CD version, while one fan behind him holds the vinyl version, and another (on the left) is reaching for a vinyl copy of “Sgt Pepper”:

Thanks to everyone who sent in photos.

You can see the other parts in “The Beatles with Records” series here:  Parts 1234678910111213141516 and 17.