Sunday, March 27, 2011

The Beatles EP's Collection

On December 07 1981, EMI released a box set entitled "The Beatles EP's Collection" with the catalogue number BEP14. The set included a re-issued of all 12 Beatles UK vinyl EPs in mono plus the "Magical Mystery Tour" EP double vinyl EP in stereo. There was also a bonus EP included with four stereo tracks. These box sets were blue in colour similar to the LP collection.

The EPs included in the set are "Twist and Shout" (GEP 8882), "The Beatles' Hits" (GEP 8880), "The Beatles No. 1" (GEP 8883), "All My Loving" (GEP 8891), "Long Tall Sally" (GEP 8913), "Extracts from the film A Hard Day's Night" (GEP 8920), "Extracts from the album A Hard Day's Night" (GEP 8924), "Beatles For Sale" (GEP 8931), "Beatles For Sale No. 2" (GEP 8938), "The Beatles Million Sellers" (GEP 8946), "Yesterday' (GEP 8948), "Nowhere Man" (GEP 8952)", "Magical Mystery Tour" (SMMT-1) and "The Beatles"(SGE1).

The final EP "The Beatles" contains "The Inner Light" in stereo (first time it is released in stereo in the UK), "Baby, You're A Rich Man" (stereo), "She's A Woman" ( in stereo and with Paul's true count-in) and "This Boy" (although the cover states that this is stereo, this version is actually in duophonic or mock stereo with the highs coming out of one speaker and the lows coming out of the other speaker).

Original Beatles EP's from the 1960s had either Parlophone or Gramophone perimeter print whereby these re-issues contain EMI perimeter print with the exception of "Magical Mystery Tour" which differs from the 1967 release by NOT having the "Sold in UK.." print (among other things). The covers are also thinner on the re-issues. I'm just saying because, unfortunately, some dealers would take the EP's out of the re-issue box and sell them separately claiming they were original.

The box set was released on compact disc worldwide in 1992. The title on the box reads: "The Beatles Compact Disc EP Collection". The box is black rather than blue on this version. These box sets contained the above version on CD with "Magical Mystery Tour" available in both the mono and stereo configurations. The bonus EP was also included with "This Boy" finally in true stereo.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

From Liverpool/ The Beatles Box (Express)

In December 1980, the same month of the tragedy, a subsidiary of EMI entitled "World Records" had put out a mail order box set of the Beatles. This box set contained eight records/LPs and basically came in a box with the cover looking like a shipping crate with the words "From Liverpool" stamped on, a small photo of the Beatles circa 1964 and a "The Beatles Box" looking like a label stuck onto the box. There are two other smaller "The Beatles Box" label looking like they were stuck onto the side and top of the box as well as a fascimile small red sticker which reads: "Express".

This compilation was very different from the blue box set in the sense that all of the eight LP covers had original photographs and completely different sleeves. The photos on the front covers corresponds to the era of the Beatles music contained within. The back cover liner notes contain biographical information written by Hugh Marshall.

This particular box set was not released in North America. There have not been any official CD counterparts of the track listing either. I have two copies of the box in my personal collection. The first box has the "Reader's Digest" logo printed on the upper left hand side of the front cover. This set comes with an 8 page booklet featuring a "Love Songs" style Beatles photo on the first page. All of the records have the Parlophone black and silver 2-box EMI labels. The catalogue number for this European set is Parlophone/EMI World Records SM 701 to SM 708.

The second box I have is a Japanese import. On this set, there is no "Reader's Digest" on the front of the box and the back of the box has the "Odeon" logo on the back of the box at the bottom. This Japanese set comes with a 12-page booklet of liner notes and a 20-page lyric sheet booklet as well. The labels are Odeon black and silver and the catalogue numbers are EAS-77011 to EAS-77018.

The first LP contains 8 songs from "Please Please Me" and 5 songs from "With The Beatles" plus three singles tracks. "Love Me Do" is the Ringo on drums version, "From Me To You" has the stereo mix and "All My Loving" contains the high hat count version.

The second LP contains 8 songs from "A Hard Day's Night" plus the 4 songs from the "Long Tall Sally" EP as well as 4 singles tracks. "This Boy" is actually in mono, "And I Love Her" as the German version with the extra riffs at the end of the song; "She's A Woman" appears for the first time in stereo on a British LP and "I Feel Fine" has the whispering at the beginning.

The third LP has 8 songs from "Beatles For Sale" and 7 songs from "Help!" along with a singles track.

The fourth LP has 6 more songs from the "Help!" LP plus two singles tracks as well as 8 songs from "Rubber Soul". "Day Tripper" has the US stereo mix.

The fifth LP contains 10 tracks from "Revolver" as well as 4 singles tracks. "Penny Lane" is the version that is also used on the US "Rarities" with the trumpet ending.

The sixth LP contains 9 songs from "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band", 2 singles tracks as well as 4 songs from the "Magical Mystery Tour" EP. "All You Need Is Love" has the mono singles version and "I Am The Walrus" is the same configuration as on the US "Rarities" version with the longer intro and extra middle beats.

The seventh LP contains 10 songs from "The Beatles" double White Album, plus 4 singles tracks and 1 song from "Yellow Submarine".

The final eighth LP contains 7 songs from "Let It Be" as well as 1 singles track and 10 songs from "Abbey Road". "Get Back" and "Let It Be" are the LP versions.

A very nice box set and great collectible, it was a staple of record stores (usually put near the front cash) as this set was heavily imported to Canada and the United States at the time.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

The Beatles Ballads

The first Beatles LP of the eighties as well as the first Beatles single LP to contain 20 tracks, this compilation was first released in the UK on October 20 1980. The catalogue number for LP is Parlophone/EMI PCS 7214. The front cover of the LP contains a painting of the Fabs by John Patrick Byrne. The back cover features the track listing, drawings of various animals and a photograph of the Beatles taken during the "mad day out" photo sessions of July 1968. The photograph was taken by Stephen Goldblatt.

"The Beatles Ballads" was also issued in Canada by Capitol of Canada a few weeks later ( exact release date unknown ). The catalogue number for this release is Capitol of Canada SL-9612. The same cover as the UK version was used for this release with the exception of the lower right hand corner of the back cover which features the EMI logo and corporate information for the UK version and the Capitol/EMI logos and corporate information for the Canadian version.

The labels for the UK version are the black/silver two box "EMI" labels. The labels for the Canadian version include the re-issue rainbow label with the white perimeter print inside of the rainbow rim.

Capitol Records in the United States did not release this particular compilation as it was discovered at the time that 10 of the 20 songs on the LP were already released on the "Love Songs" compilation.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

North American Rarities

In late 1979, Capitol Records decided to release their own version of the "Rarities" LP different in art work and track listing from the first version issued with the "Beatles Collection" box set released by EMI. This only made sense as most of the tracks on the EMI version of "Rarities" had already been released on LPs from the North American back catalogue configurations making a lot of the tracks not very "rare".

"Rarities" was released on March 24 or 28 1980 and has the catalogue number SHAL-12060. The format for this set of music was originally released on vinyl and is not available on compact disc. The front cover features a small photograph of the Beatles taken on July 28 1968 against a grey background. The small photo is embossed. The original front cover was supposed to be the Bucher cover photo but this was instead put on the inside of the gatefold cover instead on the left. Original copies of "Rarities" have the butcher cover cropped while second issues have been cropped differently showing a set of false teeth on the floor. On the right of the inside cover is a photo of the Beatles during a 1966 press conference with ten small various photos of the Beatles laid over the red curtain behind them. The back cover has six small photos on it's bottom right side with liner notes on the left and the track listing. All are against a grey background. The small photos on the bottom right are embossed on the second issues.

The descriptions for the songs on the back cover had errors (DUH!) which are discussed below: "Love Me Do" is the mono take with Ringo on drums, this version being copied from the Canadian single (Capitol of Canada 72076).

The next two songs are "Misery" and "There's A Place". There is an error on the back of the cover which states that "There's A Place" was never issued in stereo in the US. This is not true as "There's A Place" was released on the stereo Vee Jay LP version of "Introducing The Beatles" (SR 1062). Second issues of the back cover of "Rarities" edited the line about the stereo version. On Canadian copies of "Rarities", "Misery" has an asterisk with the information that this song had already been released in Canada on Capitol of Canada ST-6063 (Long Tall Sally LP) and that "There's A Place" has two asterisks with the information that this had already been released in Canada on Capitol of Canada ST-6054 (Twist and Shout LP).

"Sie Liebt Dich" is in stereo on this LP. "And I Love Her" uses a German stereo version with the extended guitar riff at the end. I'm sure this track was extended rather than originally edited by the German engineers.

"Help!" uses the UK single mono mix with the different Lennon over-dubbed vocal. "I'm Only Sleeping" uses the UK stereo mix.

"I Am The Walrus" was created by Capitol in the following manner: they opened the song with the six riff intro (rather than four riffs) taken from the "Magical Mystery Tour" UK stereo EP. There are also extra bars of music after the "I'm Crying" section which were edited in from the original Capitol mono single.

"Penny Lane" was also a Capitol creation. This UK stereo mix was edited with the Capitol promo single (mono) taken from an actual 45 !! The version on the North American "Magical Mystery Tour" LP has "Penny Lane" in duophonic so this is a much better sounding mix.

"Helter Skelter" is the UK mono mix. First issue back covers of the "Rarities" attribute the "I've Got Blisters On My Fingers" statement to John Lennon !! It always astounds me that with all of the so-called "experts" compiling this LP, nobody caught the error. Second issue back covers edit the liner note description by editing out the word "Lennon".

"Don't Pass Me By" is simply the UK mono mix.

"The Inner Light" is presented in mono and not to be released in stereo until much later on the "Past Masters" series (which will be discussed in a later post).

"Across The Universe" is the early "No One's Gonna Change Our Word" version (see pertinent earlier post).

"You Know My Name (Look Up The Number)" is also presented in mono. It would be much later before hearing a stereo version ( see pertinent post).

Finally, the LP ends with a snippet of the "Sgt. Pepper Inner Groove" which was included on the run out groove of the mono and stereo UK LP versions of "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band" but not released with this configuration in North America.

A grey inner sleeve with black and white photos of the Beatles at various stages during their career was included in the package. The labels on this release were the rainbow re-issue with perimeter print within the label on the black background.

Interestingly, the North American version of "Rarities" was one of three Beatles official Capitol albums NOT to achieve sales of one million (The other two being: "The Beatles Story" from 1964 (discussed in an upcoming post) and "Reel Music" from 1982 (discussed in an upcoming post).)

Sunday, March 6, 2011

EMI Finally Catches Up

At the end of the 1970s decade, EMI finally caught up with North America in regards to the picture discs and coloured vinyl. A bunch of stuff was released beginning with the "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band" picture disc - catalogue number PHO 7027. The packaging for this release was different from the North American release due to it's plain black sleeve and the photo of the disc was of the original front cover of the commercial release on both sides whereas the North American version had the "Pepper" bass drum on the B-side. This particular disc was manufactured for EMI by Metronome Records of Germany.

Also released in the UK during the great year of 1979 were the following coloured vinyl releases: "The Beatles (White Album)" on white vinyl with the catalogue number PCS 7067-7068; "Abbey Road" on green vinyl with the catalogue number PCS 7088; "Let It Be" on white vinyl with the catalouge number PCS 7096 and "Magical Mystery Tour" on yellow vinyl with the catalogue number PCTC 255. All of the above coloured vinyl records were released with Apple labels with the exception of the "Magical Mytery Tour" LP which has the Parlophone/EMI silver/black label.

In June of 1979, EMI re-issued the "Hey Jude" compilation LP originally released only in North America in 1970 on Apple. This time EMI added it to it's catalogue with the number PCS 7184. All tracks and cover art are the same as the original release.

All of these discs were released over the course of the year 1979 with little or no advertising by EMI.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

UK Rarities

There are two versions of this LP with the same title. Both have different covers, track listings and one is a gatefold while the other is not. This post will deal with the first version from EMI in the UK and it's exclusive American (non commercial) counterpart.

The Beatles "Rarities" was first issued as part of an eloborate box set released on December 02 1978 entitled "The Beatles Collection" with the catalogue number BC-13. This was basically the British LPs re-issed on the respective Parlophone/Apple labels and the first issue of "Rarites" was included as a bonus LP in the box set with the catlogue number Parlophone PSLP 261. The LP contained tracks that were not issued on EMI UK configured LPs or single B-sides, unique EP tracks as well as the two German sung tracks.

The front cover of this and the later general version feature a blue background with gold coloured logo showing the band's name and the LP title. It is also interesting to note that the version of "Rarities" that came with the box set had some errors on the label: The following tunes were written as stereo mixes but the mono mixes are heard on the record: "I'll Get You", "You Know My Name (Look Up The Number)", "She's A Woman", "I'm Down" and "Long Tall Sally".

EMI issued a statement at the time explaining that the bonus "Rarities" would not be available as a separate entity. To get the bonus LP, you had to buy the box set. Obviously this was a stupid move by EMI.

Needless to say, demand for the LP was large and eventually the "Rarities" LP was available commercially almost a year later sometime in October 1979. This version of the LP had a few differences though. First the catalogue number was changed to PCM 1001. Also, the label had the stereo mix mistakes corrected by stating that 12 of the 17 tracks were mono. The same master was used for this version and the back cover added a "review" of the LP by Hugh Fielder of the music paper "Sounds".

In the United States, Capitol Records also released "The Beatles Collection" with their own version of the "Rarities" bonus disc. On this version, Capitol used the same front cover design with the blue background and an almost white logo of the band name and the title of the LP. The cover for this version was a paper cover rather than a cardboard cover which was used in most other countries where this box set was released. The imported LPs for the box set were imported and used the Parlophone/Apple labels as well. The US box set version was limited to 3,000 copies although numbers higher than that have been confirmed. It has also been said that the US "Rarities" bonus box set LP had an extra 2,000 pressed for promtional purposes. The bonus "Rarities" LP in this case for the US market was given the catalogue number Capitol SPRO-8969 and the track listing was the same as the UK track listing with the exception of the two German songs. On the US version, the two German sung songs were replaced with the original English versions. This particular LP was not released separately from the box set (officially). The box set in the US was also released in December of 1978. This LP has not been available on compact disc.