Sgt. Pepper – Japanese 50th Anniversary Re-issue Extras

Got to admit, this is pretty cool and tempting:

In Japan, as they usually do, the forthcoming deluxe box set edition celebrating the 50th anniversary of The Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, will come with some neat additional extras – including a cut-out diorama of the classic cover image. Here’s what the diorama will look like when constructed:

As you can see on the advertising flyer above “assembly takes 2-3 hours (so you can enjoy the Sgt. Pepper album 3-5 times!)”. There’ll also be two mini gift cards, and this A2-sized poster included as a “first pressing bonus”:

Fianally, the CD’s inside will be in the high-fidelity SHM-CD format – something audiophiles believe gives higher quality sound than just the usual CD pressing. This is also exclusive to the Japan edition of Sgt. Pepper’s.

Rare Sgt Pepper Fetches Big Price at Auction

Remember this very rare and collectable copy of the Beatles Sgt Pepper which came up for auction?

Well, it sold earlier today for US$24,375, plus a buyers premium of $8,125, bringing the total to $32,500:Sgt Pepper CoverSgt Pepper rear coverSgt Pepper discThe reason it is so rare is that the cover features the faces of some forty Capitol Records executives rather than the original collage of celebrities. It’s believed only 40-50 copies were ever produced to be distributed at a Capitol Records conference, essentially one for each of the executives pictured. This particular copy belonged to Marvin Beisel, Capitol’s National Sales Director at the time, and one of the executives pictured on the cover.

You can visit the auction house website (Heritage Auctions in Texas) for more.

Weird “Sgt Pepper” Inner Bag

Stumbled across a nice old copy of Sgt Pepper, and a copy of With the Beatles yesterday at a garage sale. They are both Australian pressings. The Sgt Pepper is mono on nice heavy vinyl in the gatefold cover, with the cut-out insert, and it’s on the black and yellow Parlophone label:

Sgt Pepper label

That, according to Jaesen Jones’ fantastic reference book “An Overview of Australian Beatles Records“, would make this pressing from around 1969. The weird thing though is the inner bag. It’s one I’ve certainly never seen before and I wonder if it’s an official variation on the original, or just a random bag that a previous owner has adopted for the purpose. It looks like this:

Weird Sgt Pepper Inner

It looks aged and very much like it comes from the same vintage as the LP. The colours are very similar to the famous “psychedelic” original inner sleeve too. As you can see they are shades of pink, red and white – but in regimented stripes. Does anyone know anything about this one? Ever seen it included in a Sgt Pepper before?  This is what the usual bag looks like:

BeatlesPepper Inner Bag

At the same garage sale I also got a really nice copy of With the Beatles – with an original Australia-only cover:

With the Beatles AustWith the Beatles rear

These are difficult to find in reasonable condition as they suffered ring-wear badly. With an orange Parlophone label this means this particular copy comes from around 1969:

With the Beatles Label

It would have been amongst the first to use the orange Parlophone label, but amongst the last of the Beatles LPs to have the old-fashioned flipback cover construction:

With the Beatles flipback

And it would have been the last to have a black and white “STEREO” sticker on the top left-hand side as these were phased out in 1969:

With the BEatles Stereo

So, two nice additions to the collection. If anyone can help with information on the unusual Sgt Pepper inner sleeve above let us know by posting a comment below or you can email me.

Newsweek – Commemorative Beatles Edition

I know its been out a while in a lot of markets around the world, but I’ve only just stumbled across this magazine. It happened accidentally when I wandered into a newsagent in a place called Surry Hills in Sydney, Australia….

This Newsweek mag is a commemorative edition subtitled “Celebrating a half century since “Love Me Do” and the band that started a revolution”.  The section headings are “The Beginning”; “The Band”; “The Mania”and “The Legacy”. It contains a lot of good stuff and is well laid out with wide range of great photos and text. There are 96 pages spanning the group’s entire career, including contributions from Anthony DeCurtis, Andrew Loog Oldham, Peter Brown, an interview with Ringo Starr (by critic Alan Light), an article by Billy Joel, a look at the band’s families, and a complete discography.

In some additional Newsweek online content former Beatles manager and author of the book “The Love You Make” Peter Brown talks about the original Sgt Pepper cover and how they had to change it prior to hitting the “go” button on the printing presses.

Steve Marinucci rates this Newsweek special offering as one of the more worthwhile Beatles magazines. And there’s another video link here detailing a little bit more on how it all came about.

One section is called “Welcome to Beatles Land!” where illustrator Jim Stoten translates a wide range of songs visually. How many can you find below?

(click to see a larger image)

Beatlemania – when the whole world seemed to be focused on these four young men from Liverpool known as the Fab Four….

Sony, Paul, and the Sgt Pepper Cover

I love this sort of incidental trivia that you can accidentally stumble across on the web. Even 43 years after the fact you can still learn something new about a Beatles album cover that’s been seen millions and millions of times….

I bet like me you’ve stared at the “Sgt Pepper” cover wondering about who was who and what was what, asking yourself why the Beatles and artist Peter Blake had chosen and placed all the items they did for their legendary and ground-breaking cover.

Now another small piece of the mystery has been revealed – and it comes from an unlikely source.

See that little portable TV set that is just above the “S” in the word “Beatles” (spelled out in red flowers), and behind the little doll figurine dressed in green:

Well, check out this article in the Japan Times.

Turns out “it’s a Sony”. It’s not that this connection hasn’t been noticed before. A year ago Sony itself posted this message on its own blog site, which confirmed it was a in fact a Sony television set (a model TV9-306UB in fact, which would have been fairly state-of-the-art as far as TV’s go back in the day).

It’s just confirmation now that it was actually Paul McCartney’s very own TV set.

From the articles and posts I also learned that the small Japanese figurine at the feet of the wax Beatles from Madame Tussauds is a Japanese fukusuke fortune doll owned by John Lennon. Who would have thought?

Just another bit of Beatles trivia…

(Wikipedia has a list of the people and items in the picture).