In something of a change of pace, the Super Deluxe Edition site has recently been looking back at a couple of classic box set releases from the past.
Their latest unboxing-style video features the very rare Paul McCartney (a.k.a. The Fireman) box which is based around the 2008 release, Electric Arguments.
This was McCartney’s third album with musician/producer Youth, and as Paul Sinclair from SDE says, “… [it] broke the mould inasmuch as unlike the previous two albums, it was openly promoted by the record label as being the work of the ex-Beatle. A limited box set edition was available only via McCartney’s website and arrived six months late, in July 2009.”
If you’d like some more detail on this one, check out our comprehensive article on all the releases associated with the Electric Arguments project, including the CD singles, promo CD’s, the single CD editions, vinyl, and spme more of the background to this very limited box set. For the real completists out there see also this post.
Paul Sinclair from Super Deluxe Edition has also revisited the wonderful 2009 Beatles in Mono box set too:
The mystery surrounding the last two days of audio and visual teasers has been revealed.
Paul McCartney is releasing another retrospective of his solo, Wings and Fireman work called Pure McCartney.
It will be available on June 10, and will be issued as a 2CD set (with 39 tracks), a 4CD set and book (with 67 tracks), a 4LP vinyl version (with 41 tracks), and digitally. All the songs have previously been released.
Pure McCartney is like Paul’s own personal favourites, strung together randomly in a playlist. Writing on his official websiteMcCartney said “Me and my team came up with the idea of putting together a collection of my recordings with nothing else in mind other than having something fun to listen to. Maybe it’s to be enjoyed on a long car journey, or an evening at home, or at a party with friends? So we got our heads together and came up with these diverse playlists from various periods of my long and winding career.”
The final instalment of the recent visit to San Francisco. Last time we looked at the vinyl purchases. This time it’s the CDs and DVDs. Both Rasputin, Recycled Records and Amoeba Music have lots of vinyl. They also have lots of CDs and also (Rasputin Music in particular) many, many DVDs to choose from.
First to the CD’s and at Rasputin I found a US copy of Paul’sChoba B CCCP on CD:
I already have a UK version of this on Parlophone, but a US copy on the Capitol label to join it (at a very low price) was too much to resist.
Also at Rasputin I found a copy, released by 20th Century Fox, of Paul McCartney’s 1984 ill-advised excursion into the world of movie-making Give My Regards to Broad Street:The movie had a less-than-enthusiastic reception when it first came out. To quote one user review from IMDB: “I wouldn’t go so far as to call this movie a ‘crap-fest’. I have definitely sat through much worse….I wouldn’t call it a guilty pleasure, either. Though it wasn’t a complete waste of time, it was awfully trite and clichéd. It plays like an extended music video….Although it didn’t completely suck, Sir Paul really should stick to writing songs and leave screen writing to professionals.”
Hmmm. I can only vaguely remember seeing the film once when it was first released. So when I saw this DVD (which came out in 2004 in this version) for just $3.99 I grabbed it. At that price it is well worth the cost of admission for another viewing. The disc itself is one of those two-sided DVD’s. One side has the full screen version, and the other a wide screen version – so the DVD itself looks pretty bland:
However, there’s an insert inside the case with a great photo of Paul and Ringo in costume:
The other DVD I got at Rasputin was also $3.99, and also from Paul McCartney:
This is the 2002 concert film Back in the U.S. I’ve got the two CD set of this concert, but never actually seen the video. Again, that that low price well worth adding to the collection.
Before leaving Rasputin Music’s Powell Street store I also discovered a nice, sealed CD copy of Electric Arguments by The Fireman (a.k.a. Paul McCartney and Youth).
Now, regular readers of Beatles Blog will know I have a bit of a passion for collecting versions and variations of this particular CD – and this was a variation I’d not seen before. Originally this disc came out when Paul was not signed to any particular label, and so in the UK it was distributed on the One Little Indian label. In the US it came out on ATO Records. More recently though Paul has been signed to the Hear Music label, part of Concord Music Group, and they have re-issued a few titles from that time when he was “between labels” – including Electric Arguments. The giveaway is that white barcode sticker on the rear cover where you can see the disc has been given a different catalogue number and there are tiny logos for MPL (McCartney’s company) as well as Hear Music and Concord:Next stop was Recycled Records on Haight Street, and a very nice US copy of the CD Working Classical:
This came out on the EMI Classics label in back in 1999. I have the vinyl (now worth quite a bit as it is rare, in mint condition, and long out of print). A CD copy for the princely sum of $8.00 was worth it:
The final CD purchase came from Amoeba Music, also on Haight Street. For some time now I’ve been on the lookout for a CD copy of the 2001 McCartney “best of” release Wingspan – Hits and History. It originally came in a cardboard slipcase which has a holographic front cover. Getting copies in good condition is difficult because the slipcase is sometimes missing, or it’s in poor condition. This one I found has the holographic cover and its in pretty good nick too:
So, that’s it – the results of a holiday visit to the US city of San Francisco. A great city with some great record stores to boot.
Just when you were recovering from the release of Wings Over America (in deluxe box set, triple vinyl, and standard CD), and Rockshow on DVD and Blu-Ray, comes news of yet another Paul McCartney release to track down.
This time he’s teamed up an Italian dance punk outfit which goes by the name of The Bloody Beetroots. Using some of the basic vocals from a song called “Nothing Too Much Just Out of Sight” (from the 2008 Fireman release Electric Arguments performed with Youth – a.k.a. Martin Glover) they’ve just issued a pretty crazy remix single called “Out Of Sight“.
Here’s the teaser clip from June 10th:
Then the single came out as a digital download on June 14.
Rolling Stone magazine says of the song: Out of Sight (which also features Youth) finds the old Beatle appealing to the stadium EDM crowd in a heavily thumping, airily melodic track on which he wails in his finest Little Richard mode. There’s an interesting background article on how the song came about here.
I’m not sure if there’s going to be a physical version on CD or vinyl. If anyone knows that can they please let us know? The only thing I can find is that the track will appear on The Bloody Beetroots’ album Hide, out on Ultra Music in September.
When I published a blog about all the different variations of Paul McCartney’s 2008 Fireman project “Electric Arguments” I thought I’d covered off just about everything….
Seems not because I’ve just received this variation which I’d never seen before – it comes in a clear plastic jewel case:
The standard single-disc CD in most major markets (e.g. the US, UK, and Japan) came out in a cardboard digipac cover. For example, here’s the Japanese cover (front and rear):
However, the seller I got the jewel case variation from was from Italy, and so I thought there might be a chance that is was unique to that country. Perhaps it is – but there’s nothing printed in this plastic jewel case version on either the booklet or the tray insert to say “Made in Italy”:
It all looks very generic inside and out and so this version of the packaging may also have turned up in other markets outside Italy. If you know anything about it then let us know too.
The CD itself is pressed in the UK and it is on the One Little Indian label:
Compare this to the original One Little Indian UK version from 2008:
If anyone knows anything more about it please use the comments box below.
Maybe it’s a lower cost version released more recently? I say this because the booklet is just 15 pages of photographs compared to the original release booklets which were very thick by CD booklet standards – they’ve got 46 pages. Here is the 15 page booklet from the jewel case version:
And here’s the cover of the 46 page booklet include in the original digipac editions from 2008:
The jewel case format therefore means that this cover of the booklet is unique. The black square with the album title, etc. and those coloured circles which look like stickers are actually printed onto the paper. On the original US and UK digipacs these were on a large clear plastic sticker attached to the outside of the shrink-wrap around the cardboard cover. You can see that here:
While I was trawling the web for photographs to help illustrate all the extensive variations McCartney produced for this project I came across what looks like one further intriguing packaging variation. It’s this one:
As you can see, it looks like a cardboard sleeve with a kind of folding envelope top where the CD is kept. If anyone also knows about the origins of this one let us know. Maybe it is a limited promo cover, or a prototype that never went into production?
The music: This is a 12-inch vinyl disc released in 1999 containing remixes from “Rushes”, The Fireman (aka Paul McCartney and Youth) LP and CD from 1998. Paul’s Fireman work is electronic, ambient and experimental.
The remixes were done by British musician Nitin Sawhney and this 12 incher contains three of Sawhney’s remixes of the track “Fluid” plus one other song called “Bison”. All the original versions can be found on the “Rushes” CD and LP.
Back then McCartney was keen to keep as many details of his involvement in The Fireman project as low-key as possible. More recently for The Fireman’s “Electric Arguments” CD and LP he’s been much more open about who The Fireman is (see this official site for example). But back in 1993 (for their first outing “Strawberries Ocean Ships Forest“), and in 1998 (for “Rushes“) he was very much incognito and uncredited.
In the UK both “Strawberries Oceans Ships Forest” and “Rushes” came out on the little-known Hydra label. (In the US “Strawberries Ocean Ships Forest” was licensed to Capitol Records to distribute). One small McCartney give-away in the fine print of both these albums and their spin off remixes and singles is that all the songs are copyright to Juggler Music – a veiled reference to the McCartney company MPL Communications and its logo?:
The Cover: This, like all The Fireman releases so far, is an interesting example of design. It’s a triple-fold cardboard “sleeve” which wraps around the disc and is held together by a custom-made red elastic band. Unusual. No designer is credited, but it seems that Norman Hathaway (who did the extensive artwork for the “Electric Arguments” project) was involved. The colours used throughout the design have common themes and elements taken from the “Rushes” CD and LP covers. The vinyl disc has custom labels:
I think Paul is having a bit of a laugh with that second label….;-)
The inner cover is very plain, being three panels (moving left to right):
Only 3000 copies were released worldwide….my copy (which I only just got via Ebay) is no. 2658.
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 1, 2, 3, 4, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16 and 17.
This latest addition to my collection was released a little while back now – but I’ve just been able to secure a very nice copy of the very rare and limited deluxe edition of the 2008 release “Electric Arguments” by The Fireman (a.k.a Paul McCartney and his producer, Youth). This is a truly over-the-top item, a bespoke, hand-made item with unique artwork and inserts.
Before we get to the details of this release, we’ll take a look at the standard editions first – and there are a quite a few. Just the scale of the different versions and artwork created for the “Electric Arguments” project is staggering.
The most common commercially-released and readily available version of “Electric Arguments” came out as a single CD. McCartney was between labels at the time and so in the UK it was released and distributed on the One Little Indian label. In the US it was released and distributed by ATO Records.
In both markets the CD is contained in a cardboard digipac gate-fold, the cover of which looked like this in both markets:
The black square and those circles that look like stickers on the front of the cover are actually printed onto the shrink-wrap plastic around the cardboard cover, not on the cover itself. The only difference between the two countries is the catalogue number and the printing on the CD – which carries the name and logo of the record company releasing it:
The UK CD released and distributed by One Little Indian – catalogue number: tplp1003cd
The US released – distributed by ATO Records – catalogue number: 88088-21640-2/ATO 0063
(If you’d like to see larger versions of any photographs here just click on the image).
The CD gate-fold contains a 46 page booklet, which slips into a pocket inside the cover:
This official, commercial CD release was supported by three promotional CDs. These were only sent to music reviewers and to radio stations. The first contained exactly the same 13 tracks as the commercially-released album, but with a completely different cover and artwork, and different printing on the CD, which states “For promotional use only”. Its catalogue number is MPL 922:
There were also two separate, single-song promo CD’s sent to radio stations to promote the album. The first (and more common one) was for the song “Sing the Changes”. It came out in a simple digipac gate-fold with unique artwork and printing on the CD itself. It has the catalogue number MPL 1006-CDPROMO:
The second and more difficult to find promo CD contains the song “Dance ’til We’re High”. Again, like the other two promos, it is presented as a unique picture disc mounted on a clear tray in a digipak cover with alternate artwork. The CD printing was different, and the catalogue number is 1011tp7cdp:
There was also a limited edition, double LP vinyl pressing of the album (catalogue number tplp1003/5016958 1040 1 6) which has been Direct Metal Mastered at the Abbey Road studios. The two LPs are in a gate-fold cover which has the same artwork as used on the outside as the commercially released CD. Its pressed on heavy 200g vinyl and the cover comes inside a thick clear-plastic outer with a yellow limited edition numbered sticker on the outside:
Inside the gate-fold cover of the 2 LP set is a 15 page book:
The LP packaging also contains a CD copy of the album which is held in a simple custom slipcase envelope. Here are the front and rear covers:
The records themselves are also held in thick paper inner sleeves with even more artwork on them and each side of the the vinyl has these custom designed labels:
Then, a few months after all these releases above (LP and CDs) came what could only be described as a very special and limited edition of the whole “Electric Arguments” project. This version has the catalogue number TPLP1003DE. It came sealed in this large, custom-made paper satchel:
Inside the bag is a heavy-duty steel box:
Before we go any further, I must acknowledge and talk about the person responsible for the entire design of The Fireman “Electric Arguments” packaging. Art direction for the project (including the standard CD, promo CDs and the Deluxe Edition) is by Norman Hathaway, a creative director based in Brooklyn, New York who has done a number of other projects for Paul McCartney, including CD covers and books. It’s not the first time Hathaway has done a Fireman album either – he also did the artwork for “Rushes”, Paul McCartney’s second collaboration with producer Youth. His work on “Electric Arguments” though, particularly this Deluxe Edition, is very special. I’m really not sure how they manufactured it – parts really do have the look and feel of being hand-made.
Once you open the metal box you see this sheet pasted inside the lid:
As you can see, its like a replica studio reel-to-reel tape box, listing the contents, and stating it was recorded at May Hill, McCartney’s own Hog Hill Mill studio in Sussex in the UK. Down the bottom it says in Paul’s handwriting: “This is not a pizza. Enjoy it: Paul McCartney x x “. The next thing you see is the first of two art prints, exclusive to the box set:
Underneath these is a deep red cloth-bound folder, with embossed writing on the outside saying “the fireman – electric arguments – paul mccartney – youth”:
This opens up to reveal not one, but four separate CDs:
This CD holder looks truly handmade – you can see it in the image above, and it has nice detail touches, like the words “electric arguments” imprinted on the cardboard inside the place where the CD sits. The CDs are: the full 13-track album (with different printing on the disc to the standard release); a 7-track bonus song CD; a high resolution stereo audio CD with all 13 songs from the standard edition, plus a further bonus track (a dub-step remix of the song “Highway”), and three videos (“Sing the Changes”, “Dance ’til We’re High” and “In the Studio”); and finally a multi-track audio files data DVD containing mixing “stems” for 5 different tracks from the album:
OK. Then comes a 46 page art book, which is the same as the booklet you get with the standard CD but in a larger format:
And then a copy of the 200g vinyl 2 LP set:
Really, for the collector and completist it is all fairly breathtaking!
Finally, to get an idea of the Deluxe packaging in it’s entirety here are two short videos of owners “un-boxing” their copies. The first is a bit rough in places, but it gives you a good idea of the way this entire project is put together:
Earlier posts about the Beatles actually being photographed holding either their own records or those of other artists have generated a lot of interest. People are sending in more photos from their own collections and so its time to do a Part Four.
This first one is not exactly the Beatlesthemselves holding records, but William sent in this great shot of ladies on the EMI Records factory floor packing stacks and stacks of copies of “Rubber Soul”. Its from 1965:
I reckon that is a beauty. Speaking of “Rubber Soul”, Claude Defer in France sent this great photo of Paul McCartney with a copy of that LP – you can see the rear cover of “Rubber Soul” in this shot:
Claude also sent in this more recent one of Paul, this time with his 1997 LP “Flaming Pie”:
Thanks Claude! (Claude Defer by the way is a prolific Beatles collector and expert and he has released a book in France, with his co-writer Hervé Boudaillez, about the Beatles French Discography, from 1971 following the split of the Fab’s until the last vinyl record manufactured in France. The text of the book is in French, and Volume One (which deals with the 45 rpm releases) has 200 pages, including more than 1,000 pictures (sleeves and discs, with details):
Back to the Beatles with Records – Part Four…and some more Paul McCartney, this time with Mary Hopkin in 1969 with a copy of the LP he produced for her, “Postcard”:
I also found this McCartney one. It’s Paul at the HMV store in London for the 2008 release of “Electric Arguments”, a collaboration with Youth released under the pseudonym The Fireman (more on the Super Deluxe edition of this album soon). Here he’s holding the double vinyl LP pressing:
This next one comes from Canadian Jerry Levitan, author of a great little book called “I Met the Walrus“, which details John and Yoko’s visit to the city of Toronto in 1969 and an extended personal brush with fame he had with the couple. He took this photograph of John Lennon signing and drawing a caricature of himself and Yoko for Jerry on the cover of the “Two Virgins” album:
And finally to another one of John, taken on the publicity campaign trail in 1971 for his single “Power to the People”:
To see more Beatles with Records see: Parts 1, 2, 3, 5 , 6, 7 , 8 and 9.
I was in Hobart, Tasmania this week and a friend mentioned at dinner that he’d just picked up a new biography of Paul McCartney.
“What new biography?” I said, as I’d not heard of it. “Oh, its just been released. Looks good”, said he.
Well, next day I had an hour or two to kill waiting for the plane home, and so decided to take wander along the main street of the town. I popped into the local Angus and Robertson bookstore – and to my great surprise there it was on the shelf in its paperback form:
Front cover "FAB: An Intimate Life of Paul Mccartney"
As you can see from the Australian and UK cover above (yes, I bought a copy), it’s called “FAB: An Intimate Life of Paul McCartney”, written by Howard Sounes. Harper Collins is the Australian publisher and their website says it was published here and in the UK only very recently – on 25 August, 2010.
Until this week, I’d never heard of it! It has certainly flown under the radar as there hasn’t been much written about it in the lead-up to its release. At least, it flew under my Beatles radar….
In the US it gets a different cover:
As one reviewer asked, does the world need another Paul McCartney biography? The answer is that while this one does trawl through the early days once more, it brings us up right up to date with what has been a prolific and interesting later career. In fact the work includes “Electric Arguments”, “Good Evening New York City”, the Beatles Remastered releases, and his illustrated children’s book “High in the Clouds” released last year.
And it is big – 634 pages. I only got it yesterday – so a review will be coming later.