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.