Where “Made in the EU” Vinyl Might Be Pressed

These days a lot of Paul McCartney’s and the Beatles vinyl LP’s and CD’s have the term “Manufactured in the EU” or “Printed in the EU” on the back cover – even some that are for sale in the US. Here are just a couple of recent vinyl examples from my collection:

(Rear of LP cover – click to enlarge)

And titles in the McCartney Archive series including:

(Rear of LP cover – click to enlarge)

There are CD examples as well (though some of these do say “Manufactured in the USA”).This means these albums are being pressed (and probably in quite large quantities) somewhere in a European Union country. Many might think that means Britain, Germany, Holland, or maybe even France where they have a rich tradition of pressing good quality vinyl and are geared up to do so.

But then again, maybe not….

I’ve had an email from Russian Beatles collector Andrey. Remember back to Record Store Day earlier this year when Paul McCartney, as part of the publicity in the lead-up to the “Ram” Archives Series reissues, released a limited-edition 45 vinyl single of the song “Another Day“?

This was a collectors item reproduction single (including a nice picture sleeve) especially made for Record Store Day. “Another Day” was a song which was recorded during the “Ram” sessions. However it didn’t come out on the original “Ram” album . It was only ever issued as a single and was a huge worldwide hit.  The RSD release from earlier this year looks like this:

Well, Andrey bought that 2012 RSD “Another Day” single from a Russian internet shop.  The interesting thing is that while the small print on the rear of the paper sleeve states (as it does around the world) that the paper sleeve was “Printed in the USA”, one of the two stickers on the back of Andrey’s copy says that the vinyl record itself was actually manufactured in the Czech Republic by a company called GZ Digital Media.

The rear cover of Andrey’s copy looks like this:

And here’s a close up of that sticker:

(click on images to see larger versions)

If you go to the GZ Digital Media website you’ll discover that they’re a well-established and very professional outfit clearly geared up to do high-quality vinyl and CD pressing runs in large numbers if need be. The company’s vinyl “Products” page lists everything from mastering through to the production of 7″, 10″ and 12″ vinyl; shaped and coloured vinyl; and they even do the printing of covers and production of box sets if required.

That got me thinking about some other releases I have with “Printed in the EU” on the back.  The Beatles vinyl editions of “1” and “Love” for instance:

(Rear of LP cover – click to enlarge)

Is GZ Digital Media in the Czech Republic the plant where these were manufactured too?  Could be.

One of the articles I read about the forthcoming box set of re-mastered Beatles vinyl stated that one of the big logistical challenges Apple faced in planning the project was to find processing plant (or plants) that could physically cope with the sheer volume of discs needing to be pressed. They all have to be high quality and stockpiled in very big numbers for distribution. Perhaps the GZ  Digital Media plant is playing a part?

If you have any more info please join in the conversation.

Lots of Beatles Vinyl News – Part 1

Well the news is well and truly out, and as usual Wogblog had it pretty much ahead of of anybody else (see his posts here, here, here, here, and here). The guy is amazing.

Apple and EMI are about to formally announce that the entire digitally remastered Beatles stereo back-catalogue (released on CD back in 2009) is finally to be released on vinyl. The albums will be available individually, or collected in a limited edition (50,000 copies) box set:

Accompanying the box will be a new 252 page hardbound book written by Beatles historian Kevin Howlett, with dedicated chapters for every album a wealth of photos – many not used in the 2009 CD booklets:

The box set will contain all twelve studio albums, plus “Magical Mystery Tour” and “Past Masters – Volumes 1 & 2”, all sourced from the original master tapes:

Pressed using 180-gram, audiophile quality vinyl, the individual albums will also faithfully recreate the original artwork and come with the same extras as the original albums – for example the poster and four individual photographs with the “White Album”, and the cutout sheet and psychedelic inner sleave in “Sgt. Pepper”. As you can see below the labels (Parlophone and Apple) will be faithful to the originals too:

All-in-all this looks like it will have been worth the very long wait as a lot of time and effort has gone into preparing the vinyl for re-issue. Music Direct has some further technical information on the painstaking process of getting the vinyl properly and authentically pressed to an exacting standard.

The individual LPs and the box set and book will be released on November 12 in the UK and Europe, and on November 13 in the USA.

UPDATE:  The official Beatles page has just added an official announcement and a special Beatles vinyl page.

SEE ALSO:  Lots of Beatles Vinyl News – Part 2

Ltd Ed Beatles Target Singles Box Sets

I’ve got a feeling that these are set to become quite valuable Beatles collectors items.

Target stores in the USA recently sold an exclusive and official limited edition of four Beatles 45 rpm singles. Each record was packaged along with a Beatles t-shirt in a box. The four vinyl singles are newly-pressed and digitally remastered using the same mastertapes as the 2009 re-issues. This makes these four singles (along with the Record Store Day “Paperback Writer” single released last year) the only vinyl available so far from the recent Abbey Road Studios remasters of the Beatles back-catalogue.

They are “Can’t Buy Me Love/You Can’t Do That“:

Help!/I’m Down“:

Hello Goodbye/I Am The Walrus“:

And “Let It Be/You Know My Name Look Up The Number“:

According to sources only 10,000 copies of each single were pressed by Capitol Records – very small numbers by Beatles standards. And only ever sold in Target stores in the United States:

All the vinyl singles have Capitol Records labels, except for “Let It Be” which is on the Apple Records label – just as it would have been back in 1970 when it first came out. The singles look like the original issues except that Sony/ATV is listed as the music publisher. The picture sleeves are in a thicker cardboard than the paper ones that were originally were issued. The contents of each box, deatiling the cover, the labels, and the enclosed t-shirt design are pictured on the rear of each package:

You can see from the packaging that these releases are linked closely to the recent re-issue  of the Beatles “1” CD, which has been released in digitally remastered form. Hence the familiar red and yellow theme and the prominent “1” logos on each box.

What do you think? Valuable collectors item of the future?

See also Steve Marinucci’s Beatles Examiner and the Beatles Target Ltd Release Singles Part 2.

The Beatles Collection – 25 Singles

I recently came into possession of a UK pressing of the Beatles box set called “The Beatles Collection”, their twenty-five British singles at the time, released by World Records and EMI in 1978. The singles are all encased in a black, textured cardboard box:

It was compiled and sold by World Records, EMI’s mail order division. It was never commercially released to stores – the only way you could get it was through ordering it via World Records.

The earlier titles are pressed on the EMI/Parlophone label while the later discs are on the Apple Records label.

Each single is in a picture sleeve – which are all green on one side but have a Beatles picture on the other. There aren’t different pictures for each and every single, but four main pictures are used multiple times, relating to the Beatles era in which the single comes from:

There are however different photographs used for the three additional discs in this set: one for “Back in the USSR/Twist and Shout”, one for “Yesterday/  Have Known Better”, and the “Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band/With a Little Help From My Friends/A Day in the Life” getting its own, unique picture sleeve:

Also included is a four-page booklet detailing the history of the group:

There’s also an additional, one sided sheet stating that the set now includes the addition of the “Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band” disc, indicating that previous boxes came without this particular record:

The “Beatles Singles Collection” (UK – 1978 – World Records/EMI, 25 Original 45 RPM Records box set) comprises all the Beatles singles 1962-1978:

1. Love Me Do / P.S. I Love You (Parlophone/October 5, 1962)
2. Please Please Me / Ask Me Why
3. From Me To You / Thank You Girl
4. She Loves You / I’ll Get You
5. I Want To Hold Your Hand / This Boy
6. Can’t Buy Me Love / You Can’t Do That
7. A Hard Day’s Night / Things We Said Today
8. I Feel Fine / She’s A Woman
9. Ticket To Ride / Yes It Is
10. Help / I’m Down
11. Day Tripper / We Can Work It Out
12. Paperback Writer / Rain
13. Eleanor Rigby / Yellow Submarine
14. Strawberry Fields Forever / Penny Lane
15. All You Need Is Love / Baby You’re A Rich Man
16. Hello Goodbye / I Am The Walrus
17. Lady Madonna / The Inner Light
18. Hey Jude /Revolution
19. Get Back / Don’t Let Me Down
20. The Ballad Of John And Yoko / Old Brown Shoe
21. Something / Come Together
22. Let It Be / You Know My Name (Look Up The Number)
23. Yesterday / I Should Have Known Better
24. Back In The USSR / Twist And Shout
25. Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band

Finally, you get a “World Records Guarantee” of quality:

George Harrison – When We Was Fab (Box Set)

Just got a copy of the 1988 limited edition, box set single “When We Was Fab” by George Harrison. Here’s the outer cover:

Inside the little box is the vinyl single in a picture sleeve:

As you can see, the picture used for the outer box is slightly different in a number of areas to the one used for the record picture sleeve inside. If the artwork for the both the box and the picture sleeve looks familiar its because part of it is taken from the drawings of the Beatles for the “Revolver” cover – done by long-time friend of the band, Klaus Voormann.

There’s also a fun cutout sheet of George in his Sgt Pepper uniform in the box (which is obviously paying homage to the Sgt Pepper cutout sheet); and also a fold-out colour poster:

The box set label for the “When We Was Fab” single is different to the one used for the standard vinyl single release – notice on the standard issue there are  multiple Dark Horse logos as opposed to the single Dark Horse logo on the box set version:

There was also a 12″ extended play vinyl single and a CD single release of this song as well. Graham Calkin’s Beatle pages has all the details on these.

And just to remind you of the song and the official video (directed by Godley and Creme):

George Harrison – All Things Must Pass 2010

As if the constant rush of Apple and Beatles-related product had not been enough so far over the last two months….

The George Harrison camp has decided,  as part of international Record Store Day, to release a very special 40th Anniversary limited edition, 3 LP vinyl set of  “All Things Must Pass”:

It’s available now – exclusively at Record Store Day-participating independent music retailers (and via mail order and digital download from the George Harrison site). It came out yesterday – Friday, November 26, 2010 – exactly forty  years on. “All Things Must Pass” was originally released on Friday, November 27, 1970.

This album is a limited edition, individually numbered, 180-gram vinyl set in its original 3 LP configuration. The faithfully replicated box set has all the original album art, the poster and the inner sleeve packaging. The LPs have been newly remastered at the Abbey Road studios from the original analogue master tapes.

I got my copy yesterday from Red Eye Records – one of my favourite Sydney independent stores. The heat-shrink wrap has a sticker attached on the front right-hand side that looks very like the one that appears on some original albums telling you what’s inside:

The specially replicated front sticker

And there’s also a special bar-code sticker on the rear lower right-hand side of the box that acknowledges Record Store Day:

The rear Record Store Day bar code sticker

Finally, each box is stamped with a number in gold print, also on the rear of the box. Mine is a pretty low number which I’m pleased about – No. 001708:

Each box is a Limited Edition

The official George Harrison site is offering a free digital download of “Wah Wah”, and there’s a bit of a discussion going at the George Harrison message board. See also Plug In Music.

And click here for more on “All Things Must Pass” variations.

Japanese Beatles EP Box Set

It must have been 27 years ago. It was a chance visit to a local record shop in Forestville, a northern suburb of Sydney, Australia.

Back then “record” stores were just that. They sold vinyl records. However, at the time many were in a state of transition. Compact Discs had just come out and the writing was very much on the wall for the humble vinyl record. At the time this record shop was in the process of getting rid of it’s vinyl, settling into the retailing of CD’s, and transitioning to become a video movie hire shop – on the way out of music all together.

I walked in for a look around and saw this small box set on one of the shelves:

Box set – The Beatles E.P.’s Collection

It was sitting alone. Catalogue number: Odeon Mono EAS-30013-26.

You had the definite feeling that it had been on that shelf quite some time….had not sold…and the owners were definitely keen to shift it. I took it down and noticed it didn’t have a price sticker on it. I also noticed that amongst the individual vinyl singles they still had displayed that they’d opened at least one other similar box set to break up the contents and sell the EP records it contained individually.

I walked up to the counter and asked “How much is this one?”, holding up the box set. “You can have it for A$25.00”, said the guy behind the counter. Now, back then it wasn’t dirt cheap, but it was cheap for the quality of this mint, red vinyl Japanese copy of the entire Beatles Extended Play vinyl discs. I bought it.

What you see here is that same box set from all those years ago.

Beatles E.P.’s Collection – box spine

This Japanese release is the same as the U.K. set, except that all fifteen records inside are pressed on red vinyl and the two-record Magical Mystery Tour is in mono instead of stereo. All discs in fact are mono – except The Inner Light, which is in stereo.

The Beatles E.P.’s Collection – lid opening

Each of the fifteen EP records inside come with plastic covers:

All the discs have plastic covers

Another interesting thing is that these discs play at 33 and 1/3 r.p.m, not the usual 45 r.p.m. There’s a paper sheet inside (in Japanese) with some information about the release:

Beatles E.P.’s – paper insert sheet

The famed 2-record EP Magical Mystery Tour comes complete with the gatefold and booklet just like the original, and as already mentioned, is in mono:

Mono Japanese Magical Mystery Tour

And all the discs come pressed in a delicious-looking transparent red vinyl, and all with the original cover artwork:

The lovely red vinyl “Nowhere Man” EP

 Note the “33and 1/3 r.p.m.” on the left-hand side of the label.

The red vinyl again – and each disc has plastic inner sleeves

Apparently this Japanese red vinyl edition also came out in a black vinyl edition.