That’s not a Collection. THIS is a Collection.

The recent McCartney III release, and its follow-up McCartney III Imagined, will probably go down in history as having the most vinyl colour, cover artwork and physical format variations of any Beatle or Beatle-related release ever.

For the McCartney III LP, CD and cassette we produced this chart to help keep track:

(click on the image to see a larger version)

That’s no less than12 LPs in different colours (not counting the very rare Third Man Records test pressing – of which only 3 copies were made available in the world), 12 CD variants with colour, cover or track-listing differences, and 2 cassettes. It also doesn’t include all the different bundles that came in boxes containing either tee-shirts, dice, etc.

Then, as the variants of McCartney III Imagined started to pile up, we produced this chart:

(click on the image to see a larger version)

Here you can see there were 10 LPs in different colours and/or cover artwork, 6 CDs, and again two different cassette variations.

If you’ve ever wondered if anyone has actually succeeded in collecting absolutely every variation of those two releases, wonder no more.

One of our readers this week sent in this amazing image of all the variants he collected of these two releases and we think you’ll agree it is mighty impressive:

From what we can see for McCartney III he doesn’t have absolutely everything, but comes pretty darn close! Obviously missing is the very limited Third Man Records pressing on yellow and black vinyl and sporting a unique cover design. There were only 333 copies of this pressed. These were available only via the Third Man Records website, and only for a very limited time before all were snapped up.

As for the McCartney III Imagined LPs, CD,s and cassettes though…..we reckon he’s got the full set of everything. What an impressive collection!

McCartney III Imagined: The Variants So Far (Update)

Back in April we posted a list of the physical variants (to date) of the forthcoming McCartney III Imagined.

Since then there have been a few additions, so here’s an update about. It includes a standard cassette (available fairly widely), plus a more limited pink cassette and two ‘Limited Edition Mini Jacket’ CD versions. These appear to be only available via the US official Paul McCartney website.

Here’s the regular, or standard, ‘Smokey Tint’ cassette:

And here is the more limited pink shell cassette:

There have also been two low-cost ‘mini jacket’ CD alternates added too – much like the ones made available in the initial McCartney III release program. These are just simple cardboard sleeves. One is available with the standard McCartney III Imagined cover:

The other comes in the colourful ‘alternate’ McCartney III Imagined cover:

Release day for physical product is getting closer – it’s July 23 – and there’ll be a bonus track included on each of these – ‘Long Tailed Winter Bird (Idris Elba Remix)’.

Here’s a chart showing all the release variations of McCartney III Imagined so far (as usual, click on the images to see larger versions):

McCartney III – Orange Vinyl

There are now no fewer than 10 vinyl colour variations of the forthcoming Paul McCartney release McCartney III.

It’s just been announced that a further colour has been added to the rainbow – an orange vinyl limited to 3000 copies – available exclusively through Universal Music Stores online (e.g. the US uDiscover Music Store, the UK uDiscover Music Store, German uDiscover Music Store, etc.)

You can check out the other vinyl colours (many now sold out) here.

Add to that the four “McCartney III Color Collection” CD versions, in two sleeve designs with individual bonus tracks associated with each colour.

Oh, and there’s a cassette……

The release date for the album has slipped back from December 11 to December 18. It’s rumoured that the one week delay was caused – in part – by Capitol having to press so many different variations and colours!

By our reckoning there are now 21 different ways to buy this album in physical form.

To help you keep track here’s a chart of where we are at (so far):

(click on the image to see a larger version)

UPDATE!

Since we published this article there were many additional variations to this release. Here’s where it eventually got to:

(click on the image to see a larger version)

McCartney III – It’s Official and the Many Different Vinyl Versions Emerge

It is now official, and here is the news release.

Like Egypt Station before it, this latest Paul McCartney LP McCartney III will be offered in a multitude of variations. Absolute completist collectors will be driven to distraction!

First variation to be offered for pre-order today will probably become the most sought after, and the rarest.

It will be pressed at Jack White’s Third Man Records pressing plant in Detroit, Michigan. Known as the ‘333 Edition’, this is limited to 333 copies only, pressed on ‘yellow-with-black-dots’ vinyl:

This vinyl is created by recycling 33 vinyl copies of old McCartney and McCartney II LP’s. The special “regrind” pressing, the first version of McCartney’s third self-titled solo album available for purchase, is hand-numbered, comes in an exclusive screen-printed jacket, and contains a printed inner sleeve and poster.

Just how Jack White’s company became the first to offer this brand new Paul McCartney recording to the world – even before McCartney’s own website store had the same thing on offer, only in red vinyl – remains a mystery. Not surprisingly the 333 copies sold out within minutes:

Next up in the rarity stakes is another Third Man Records pressing, offered a little bit later in the day exclusively on the official US Paul McCartney Store website:

This is described on the site as a “Hand-numbered gatefold featuring photography by Mary McCartney, Sonny McCartney and Paul McCartney (it’s a family affair!). Limited-edition (3000 units worldwide) store exclusive made in collaboration with Third Man Records,180g red vinyl disc with printed inner disc sleeve and a 12” x 18” insert poster.” Again, this is showing as “SOLD OUT”.

Both these pressings are distinguished by a prominent yellow Third Man Records logo on the front cover.

There is also a non-Third Man red vinyl pressing. This is a limited edition available on the official UK Paul McCartney Store site:

This is presented in a gatefold cover and is limited to 3000 units worldwide as a “store exclusive” in 180g red vinyl. It comes with a printed inner disc sleeve and the 12” x 18” insert poster. Also listed as “SOLD OUT” at the moment. However, it is still available in Europe at the German UMe online store Bravado. The difference between this and the UK listing is that the German red vinyl is in a hand-numbered gatefold cover with poster.

Interestingly, the MusicVaults store in Canada (a UMe subsidiary) also had this version on sale briefly. It too was listed as “SOLD OUT”.

Then came news of a white vinyl edition, exclusive to independent record stores. Rumoured to be limited to 4000 copies in the USA, and 3000 copies in the UK. It comes in a hand-numbered cover and includes a poster. Try your local independent store for this one:

Newbury Comics in the United States has a pink vinyl exclusive:

After this came the bigger chain stores who bagan offering their coloured vinyl variants. Target in the US is to have an exclusive green vinyl:

They also have an exclusive Target-only cover for the CD version:

And, here in Australia, the big chain JB Hi Fi is to offer an exclusive blue limited edition:

Like Target US, the Aussie store will also have the CD outer cover available to pre-order in an exclusive colour variant (the same as the Target US one actually!):

The “exclusive” blue vinyl version is also being made available in the UK via the HMV chain of stores, at FNAC in France and at JPC in Germany. Looks like these aren’t 180 gram vinyl and don’t come with the poster.

And the anomaly of the group – again, like they did with Egypt Station – there’s a “Coke bottle” clear vinyl edition being made availble associated with the streaming music company Spotify. I don’t reallly get why vinyl records are being marketed by streaming music companies, but maybe that’s just me? Anyway, this too is “SOLD OUT” on the McCartney Store site. But, if you live in Australia it is still available here.

But of course, if you can’t get your hands on any coloured vinyl there’s always the humble, plain old 180 gram black vinyl, in a gatefold cover:

 

‘Egypt Station’ – Available on Cassette

The Paul McCartney Official US Store is now offering McCartney’s new Egypt Station album on cassette:

You can buy it (with a digital download included) for US$9.98! It’s the sixteen track version – no bonus tracks.

This is not the first time McCartney has dabbled with what some might view as a redundant format. Last time was for Record Store Day 2017, when a 3-song cassette of Flowers In The Dirt demos with Elvis Costello was offered as a limited edition:

The cassette of Egypt Station takes the number of different variations of the album for collectors to seek out to eight. That’s five different vinyl editions, two different CDs, and now the cassette. And there is still a super deluxe edition in the pipeline. No details on what that will contain have been released to date.

McCartney’s Egypt Station – Packaging Images Emerge

As the release date of September 7 draws near, more images of Paul McCartney’s eagerly awaited release Egypt Station are beginning to trickle out.

This is helping collectors to delineate just what is what in the still-confusing array of variations on offer.

First up the humble standard 16 track CD:This will be joined by a version with two bonus tracks that will only be available at Target stores in the US and HMV stores in the UK. The two tracks will be ‘Get Started’ and ‘Nothing For Free’. Note the “Exclusive” Target sticker at bottom left:The CD plus two bonus tracks will also be available at some independent record stores in Europe: As has often been the case in the past with Japanese McCartney releases those two bonus tracks will also be available on a higher-priced SHM-CD edition of the disc in that country. (The standard CD will be the 16 track edition with no bonus tracks).

Then there are the Standard Edition vinyl iterations. The Standard Edition vinyl comes in a single sleeve with two discs, not a gatefold cover. Firstly here it is in black vinyl:

However, Barnes and Noble in the US is also offering a Standard Edition in an exclusive red vinyl:Both versions come with a pink lyric sheet insert.

Then there are the Deluxe Edition vinyl versions, with two main variations. These will come in what is described as “180g Heavyweight Double Vinyl, Tri Gatefold Concertina Jacket with a 6 Panel Canvas Concertina Folder”. Firstly the black vinyl Deluxe:As you can see, the lyric sheet insert for this is a deep blue colour and is also tri-fold.

Meanwhile, only at the official McCartney store, you can order an exclusive coloured vinyl Deluxe Edition – and the colour of those discs has today been revealed for the first time: We’ve gotta say it looks pretty cool!   (click on images for larger versions)

Mystery of a “Mystery Tour” Original EP Solved

Originally I was annoyed with the eBay seller, and also annoyed with myself for not checking properly before bidding….

You see, I’d been the successful bidder on what I thought was an original, 1967 German pressing of The Beatles Magical Mystery Tour. That’s the way it was advertised by the seller. It was a double EP on the Odeon label and in very good condition for its age. Got it for a really good price, too:magical_ger_ep_h1_large magical_ger_ep_h4_large

Then the record arrives in the post. We open it up and pop open the gatefold cover. There, at the bottom right, it clearly says: “MADE & PRINTED IN GERMANY”. All good so far:mmt-germay

Then we get the records out. They’re in mint condition and on the red Odeon label:mmt-france-label

But hang on, the small print on the label says “MADE IN FRANCE”! mmt-france-closeup

What’s going on here? Has this eBay seller done a swifty and tried to pass off a “Frankenstein-ed” copy of Magical Mystery Tour? Have they conveniently mixed a cover from one country, and the two vinyls from another?

Thankfully, no.

A little bit of “after-the-fact” internet research reveals that all is well. This is indeed how this edition was originally released. In France, Odeon manufactured the vinyl locally, but they imported all the covers from Germany. This is easily proved by a visit to the Discogs database here, and here where members have similar copies to the one we have.

There is also an excellent explanation (and photos) on The Beatles Record Collection site, where it is revealed that there are even more variations in the way the French issued the Magical Mystery Tour EP set.

So, we indeed do have a correct and original French (not German) pressing of this disc after all. Phew!

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

A Very Unusual “All Things Must Pass”

We went crate digging last weekend at one of the best second-hand record stores in the Sydney area called Revolve Records and Relics in the suburb of Erskineville. If ever you’re in Sydney it is well worth a visit as they have a constant turnover of new stuff.

What we found there was an intriguing version of the 1970 George Harrison triple LP All Things Must Pass.

We’ve detailed in the past a couple of the different pressings that are out there – including what we thought was the unique, Australian triple-gatefold version.

Well, it appears that another market also had a triple-gatefold that is similar, but not identical.

The front cover looks familiar:

ATMP Cover

As you can see this one is a little beaten up and has a bit of ring-wear but overall it’s not in too bad a condition. (Those black spots at the top are small, dark paint droplets where it has accidentally been splashed by someone not being too careful….).

The rear cover is very different:ATMP rear

As you can see, it’s plain black with a white Apple in the centre and the words: “2 George Harrison LP’s plus 1 Apple jam session  3 LP’s for the price of 2  Apple STCH 639”

The gatefold opens out to reveal the first of the three coloured, top-loading sleeves into which the vinyl slips. The lyrics for the songs on Side 1 and 2 are printed here:

ATMP GF1

Open the out the second of the gatefolds and this is what the right hand side looks like – with lyrics for the songs on Sides 3 and 4 printed on the centre, grey coloured panel. The mauve (or lilac) coloured panel on the right has the song titles and details of who plays in the Apple Jam tracks on Sides 5 and 6, plus a large “Apple Jam” logo:

ATMP GF2

The labels are trying to be like the original, bright orange found on other versions of this release worldwide, but they are really more a dull, reddish brown. There’s the full Apple for Sides 1 and 3:ATMP L1

And a “cut” Apple for Sides 2 and 4:ATMP L2The Apple Jam record (Sides 5 and 6) has custom Apple Jam labels on both sides: ATMP L3

Unlike the Australian triple gatefold, the spine on this release has a dark black and white print:ATMP Spine

[Click on any image above to see larger versions]

Nowhere, either on the cover or on the labels, is a place of manufacture stated – making it something of a mystery. Also, if there was ever one of the large George Harrison posters which came with this release in other markets, it is long gone. None to be found.

This exact same version is listed on the Discogs site, but no country of origin is definitively stated there. They just say: “Unknown country of manufacture, likely Singapore or Malaysia. Released in a three-panel fold out gatefold cover very similar to the Australian original”.

However, the fantastic apple records.nl has this version detailed fully, and suggests it could either be from Singapore or Hong Kong, depending on subtle differences in the label colours. (This site is an absolute goldmine for anyone interested in the different Apple pressings from around the world).

UPDATE: One other item of evidence has just emerged!

While fishing around in the sleeves just now out fell what looks like an official EMI flyer advertising other releases available from the company for the year 1971. We hadn’t noticed this before. It’s small (about 7″x7″), and has four pages.

The front page of the flyer:

IMG_1714

The inside two pages:IMG_1718The rear cover:IMG_1716

A tiny reference at the bottom says this flyer is “Designed & Printed by Times Litho Publicity Pte. Ltd.” A little Internet detective work reveals this to be a former Singapore-based company, active between the years 1965-1971. So, I guess that’s definite proof that this is in fact a genuine Singapore pressing!

If anyone else has anything more definitive please do let us know. Would it have come with a poster, for example? Drop us a line using the Leave a Reply section below.

Version Variations You Didn’t Know About

Collecting Beatles recordings is sometimes a confusing business. You think you’ve got a particular CD or LP and then you find out (sometimes years later) that there’s a different version or variation available. That’s what happened to me while surfing the web the other day.

I’ve had for many years a vinyl copy of Paul McCartney’s “All The Best”, which is a two LP “best of” set featuring his greatest solo and Wings hits. It came out in 1987.  This vinyl edition has 20 tracks. The cover is a gate-fold looks like this:

Then, about 12 months ago I was browsing a second-hand book and CD sale in Sydney and found the CD of this same title. It was an Australian pressing (which is the same as the UK release) but I discovered it only has 17 tracks – as opposed to the 20 tracks on the double LP. It misses out on “Maybe I’m Amazed”, “Goodnight Tonight” and “With A Little Luck”. The CD was only $4.00 and so I figured I might as well get it. It’s different to the LP, and it has a slightly different cover:

OK.  So, as far as the collection goes I figure I’ve pretty much got this album. No need to bother with any other copies….

Until the other day when I accidentally notice on the web that the US compact disc version has a slightly different cover again…..and that it has a different song running order as well:

On the UK (and Australian) versions of the CD (released on EMI/Parlophone) you get “We All Stand Together”, “Mull of Kintyre”, “Pipes of Peace” and “Once Upon a Long Ago”.

On the US CD (out on Capitol Records) those songs are deleted and replaced with “Junior’s Farm”, “Uncle Albert/Admiral Halsey”, “Goodnight Tonight” and “With A Little Luck”.  All the other songs are the same.

That got me thinking. Are there any other examples of this sort of thing out there?

One that immediately came to mind is the 2002 and 2003 versions of the McCartney double live CD’s “Back in the US” and “Back in the World”.

They have very subtle cover changes both front and rear:

A cursory look down the song lists for each would suggest that they’re exactly the same CD just with a slightly different title, but in fact they are different too.

Back in the US” (released to the US market in 2002) gets the songs “Vanilla Sky”, “C’Moon” and “Freedom”.  However, those songs don’t appear at all on “Back in the World” (released in the UK in 2003). Instead it gets “Calico Skies”, “Michelle”, “Let ‘Em In” and “She’s Leaving Home”. Otherwise, all the other songs are the same – and in roughly the same running order.

Do you know of any further examples of this sort of thing? Let us know.