My Beatles Record Collection Pt. 7 — ‘Magical Mystery Tour and Other Splendid Hits’

I have always loved the fish-eye lens pictures from The Beatles' brief trip to India in 1966 with a passion. And I think I may have just found my favourite!

I have always loved the fish-eye lens pictures from The Beatles’ brief trip to India in 1966 with a passion. And I think I may have just found my favourite!

And so it is the 1st of March… Happy Autumn (or Spring, if you’re in the Northern Hemisphere)! In Adelaide, the month of March (or really, mid February ’till the end of March) is Festival Season. We have lots of music and arts festivals at this time of year, and it is a really awesome place to be! Tonight, I’m going to see a stage production of The Who’s Tommy (as a part of the Adelaide Festival), and next weekend I will be spending three days at WOMADelaide (a world music festival, with the best food, iced tea and shops, too!)! And in unrelated news, we are playing a Beatles medley in my school concert band! Yay! But onto the post…

‘My Beatles Record Collection’ is back — late… Sorry about that. But alas, this month I will be focusing on a The Beatles’ studio album which never really was a proper studio album — Magical Mystery TourMagical Mystery Tour was released (ironically) on December 8th, 1967, as the soundtrack to the ill-fated “film” of the same name (which I have only watched once. I didn’t hate it, but it was a bit odd…) In countries on which The Beatles were released on Parlophone, it was released as a double EP, complete with a fancy booklet and fancy packaging. But in the land of good ol’ Captiol Records (America), it was released as a full length LP along with the Beatles’ singles from ’67, because EPs were apparently “useless” at that point in time. But anyway, due to its different release methods, it is often debated between Beatles fans as to whether it should be included in the core discography or not. Ever since the ’87 remixes, EMI has included along with the core selection as a studio album as the material was never available on an actual studio album. But I am in the latter camp. Magical Mystery Tour, to me, is a Captiol compilation of a similar ilk to pretty much any Beatles album released in America before Sgt. Pepper. But oh well. As an album, some of the tracks include ‘Flying’, ‘Blue Jay Way’ (my favourite song on the album!), ‘Strawberry Fields Forever’ and the famous ‘I Am The Walrus’ (goo goo g’joob). I’d say it is just as mad and psychedelic as Pepper, and I love mad psychedelia! 🙂

America was not the only place to have a Magical Mystery Tour LP, however. In 1970, the same album was released in Australia, under a slightly different title of Magical Mystery Tour and Other Splendid Hits. But it was not released on Apple, or Parlophone. It was released on a label named World Record Club (exclusively in Australia, according to the back!), which was a mail-order catalogue type thing. I obtained my copy in a cool record shop in Melbourne back in July, and apparently they are quite rare!

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This is the front cover. Note how it is so different to the US/official cover which we all know so well! The picture is a still from the ‘I Am The Walrus’ scene of the film. The font of the title is different, too. But then, the actual title itself is different too, so…

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This is the back cover (obviously!). I actually like the back cover, as it makes it clear to the listener which songs are from the film, and which ones are “other selections”. I find it interesting how some quirky pieces of text which are synonymous with the original EP/LP — like the “‘No, you’re not!’ said Little Nicola” bit underneath ‘I Am The Walrus’, and the production being credited to ‘Big George Martin’ — are included on the back of this version, too! Oh, and that little star in the top right-hand corner says ‘STEREO’, by the way. By the time that MMT was released in Australia as an LP, mono had long been not used for albums. The Beatles were in fact the first popular band to utilise stereo, as far back as Please Please Me. Funny to think how all The Beatles’ albums were packed in between 1963 – 1970. Amazing…

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This is the vinyl itself! The inner sleeve is quite interesting, as it is made of quite thick, translucent plastic — as opposed to the paper or flimsier, transparent plastic inner sleeves of the Parlophone/Apple releases. You can see the WRC record label here, too. According to Wikipedia, WRC was actually owned by EMI from 1965 onwards — which would explain why the inclusion of a Beatles album in one of those mail order catalogues (they usually weren’t included).

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A close-up of the label. The actual text isn’t that different to what one would discover on a regular Beatles release label, though of course the label itself is. Apparently WRC felt a need to point out that it should spin at 33 1/3 RPM…

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And a close-up of the vinyl! It’s in really, really good condition — near mint, actually! The vinyl is still very shiny — to the point where I had to have a few goes to try and not get my iPad reflected on the vinyl! And for a record made in 1970, the vinyl is quite heavyweight. (A lot heavier than the flimsy ‘orange label’ reissues of the same time, anyway…) It plays really well, so I am pleased!

And there we go…done for another month. I am especially looking forward to doing this month’s ‘MBRC’, as it is time for a very special double album. And I am lucky enough to have an equally special pressing of this album…

Oh, and yesterday (February 28th) would have been the 73rd birthday of my favourite Stone, Brian Jones! Lately, I have been doing a lot of reading on Brian (and The Stones). Amongst other things, Brian was a huge influence on The Stones in the early days, and he was an amazing multi-instrumentalist who made many good Stones songs great. I shall write a proper post about him at some point in the future, but for now, I shall post a few pictures of him below. Happy birthday, Brian!

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I’ll go back to my normal blogging schedule next week, I think. I have a great Beatley idea which has been in the works for a very good while, and it shall see the light of day next week! But until then, good day sunshine 🙂

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My Beatles Record Collection Pt. 6 – ‘Revolver’

This is the 'Rubber Soul' cover, unstretched and uncropped. Also just turns out to be one of my very favourite Fabs pictures... :-)

This is the ‘Rubber Soul’ cover, unstretched and uncropped. Also just turns out to be one of my very favourite Fabs pictures… 🙂

And ‘My Beatles Record Collection’ returns for another month… Part 6 already, eh? Doesn’t feel like it’s been going that long at all! But anyway, this month we have a particularly special album. In many circles, this deservedly-lauded masterpiece has taken over from Pepper as being regarded as The Beatles’ best album. It arguably began the trend of of “arty” album art. It made number 3 on Rolling Stone’s 500 Greatest Albums (though it topped the same magazine’s ‘Favourite Beatles Album’ readers’ poll). It turns out to be my favourite album of all time. Not to mention the fact that the creator of Mad Men paid $250,000 to feature the last track of this particular album on an episode of the TV show. Thus, I can only be referring to…Revolver!

Sessions for Revolver began in April 1966, after Brian Epstein’s plans for a third film were vetoed by The Beatles. (A third film would not be seen until the — depending on your view — masterpiece and/or complete disaster known as Magical Mystery Tour.) It was decided that the film would be replaced with the release of an LP, which would be one of only two new Beatles releases that year. During this time, The Beatles started using the studio almost like another instrument. EMI engineer Ken Townsend invented artificial double tracking whilst engineering the recording of the album. The album also marks the first time The Beatles went full-out psychedelic, with psychedelic elements evident on nearly every track. The album also included a backwards guitar solo on ‘I’m Only Sleeping’, the first “samples” on ‘Tomorrow Never Knows’, much baroque instrumentation on many Paul tracks on the album, revolutionary (and just dead awesome!) drum parts from Ringo on most songs and the first real crossover of Eastern and Western music on ‘Love You To’. It is also the only album in which the balance of power between John and Paul — from a tracklisting point of view — is completely equal, and marks the time when George really becomes a very talented songwriter. The album was almost ignored at the time of release — overshadowed by John’s ‘Jesus’ quote — was probably one of The Beatles’ least successful albums at time of release. But anyway, Sgt Pepper and Abbey Road are certainly the most iconic Beatles albums, but Revolver is probably the most revolutionary of them all. Though it is very much underrated by the general public, it is often regarded as the best Beatles album by many Beatles/music fans/experts. And very much deservedly so.

Revolver has been my favourite Beatles album since February last year (just before I bought the vinyl featured in this post), but this particularly came to light about seven months later. I remember listening to the album on this particular vinyl after school one night. I reckon it got to the solo in ‘I’m Only Sleeping’ before that particular listen affected me so profoundly that I would never think about The Beatles in the same way again. I read a study conducted mid last year that said that music can get the listener high, and I think that is what happened to me that night. Of course I had called The Fab Four my favourite band for over a year, but it was only then that, for the first time, I really knew what that meant. But anyway…

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This is the cover of my LP. If you look closely, you’ll see that it’s a bit tatty to say the least. (There are a few rips in the spine, and bits of the cover have fallen off around the other edge, leaving only the brown cardboard underneath.) But I don’t really care. I think that it gives the record a bit of a story, a bit of charm.

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This is the back cover of the album. (I really love the photo session from which the photo on the back originates! Bob Whitaker was so talented. And George’s jacket & John’s shirt are gorgeous.) As you can see, it — like the front — isn’t in particularly good condition, either. The vinyl has seemingly marked it over time. But oh well. The vinyl is an Australian pressing, as shown with the text along the bottom of the cover.

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But it’s not just any Australian pressing — it’s a first Australian pressing! One of my only two first Australian pressings, I might add. (Though I recently obtained a third-pressing black-and-gold Please Please Me that I’ll have to go back and do after I’ve finished the studio albums.) The backflaps have a glossy finish much like the front cover, which is contrast to the matte finish of the back. And on a different note, have a look in the right-hand corner — where the catalogue number is on all UK pressings. There, you will see two catalogue numbers; one for the mono pressings (PMCO 7009) and one for the stereo (PSCO 7009). The actual catalogue number is on the label of the actual record, so you’ll see in a couple of photos down whether it is in mono or stereo…

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Here’s the actual vinyl. There are quite a few light scratches on both sides, but the record plays near perfectly. Also note the black-and-gold label! The vinyl is probably one of the heaviest in my collection, due to it’s first-pressing-status. Maybe why it plays so beautifully… (But then, the album is — in my opinion — the most beautiful album ever released. I’m not sure it would matter that much to me whether it crackles or not.)

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Close up of the label. And the catalogue number is PMCO 7009, meaning that it is in mono! Yay! First-pressing, Australian and mono! (Though it doesn’t have “remix 11” of ‘Tomorrow Never Knows’, as they were only found on the British first pressings.) The original owner has seemingly scribbled their name on the yellow ‘PARLOPHONE’ title — P Bunn. P Bunn looked after their album quite well, I must say.

And there we go! ‘MBRC’ for another month! Next month, tangerinetrees will be focusing on the very first Beatles compilation album, with arguably one of the coolest covers ever designed…

Oh, and I went busking with my guitar on Wednesday, and made $8.70AUD. I also got stuck with a man who tried to sing the various Beatles songs I was playing, but couldn’t really sing. But oh well. $8.70 is a lot more than most artists earn on Spotify. It was a good experience.

Until next post, good day sunshine! 🙂

My Beatles Record Collection Pt. 4 – ‘Help!’

Sorry for not posting in two weeks. But I shall make up for such crimes with this very cute picture!

Sorry for not posting in two weeks. But I shall make up for such crimes with this very cute picture! Martha, my dear…

Sorry. Boy, I’ve been a naughty girl. I have not posted in two weeks. I have a large school assignment (or “Independent Research Project”) due this Thursday, and I was working on it for most of last weekend. (I also went to see a groovy film called God Help The Girl, and did a good dose of record shopping beforehand. Let’s just say one of the LPs I bought is white, double and is the subject of a relatively low number…!) I’ve still got a bit to do on the project, but I have found a bit of time to blog today, as well! Yay! So that’s my excuse, and why this month’s edition of ‘My Beatles Record Collection’ could seem early…

But anyway, this month we have Help!, the second Beatles studio album I ever listened to, and the first LP I ever bought (almost a year ago). (I actually bought a box set of Beatles records called The Beatles Box slightly beforehand, but I always count Help! as my first actual LP.) I think I listened to soon after watching the film Help!, which is not surprising ‘cos Help! is my favourite Beatles film. (The music — I love ’65 Beatles –, the technicolour, the ski scene, Ahme, that flat…) The album made number five in my ranking from earlier this year.

My copy of Help! is possibly the most valuable in my collection. It wouldn’t surprise me if it’s worth a bit. But anyway, here’s a picture.

help one

Wait — tangerinetrees99 has TWO copies of Help!?! Let me explain…

The copy on the left (the newer-looking stereo pressing) was the one I obtained first. But it is not the one that I think might be quite valuable. Why? It’s a 2012 pressing, which I purchased late last year (on the 8th of December, in fact — RIP John 😦 ). And it doesn’t play. Again, why? Well… About a year ago, we purchased an original 1960s stereogram, and that is when I began collecting records. But me being very naive and knowing absolutely zilch about vinyl at the time, I thought all Beatles LPs were going to be priced well-off into the 100s (AUD) and that I’d never be able to buy an original pressing. So I purchased a new pressing from a record shop (not the one I go to now — I was yet to find that one) on that horrible anniversary and I couldn’t wait to get home to play it. The needle in the record player was completely original, and having previously played a few records on the player and experiencing no issues, felt no need to replace it. So anyway, I get home and play the record. ‘Help!’ plays perfectly. But about halfway through ‘The Night Before’, the LP begins to skip like mad. Ditto with ‘I Need You’, ‘You’ve Got To Hide Your Love Away’, ‘Another Girl’, ‘You’re Going To Lose That Girl’, ‘Ticket To Ride’… We obviously ended up replacing the needle, but Side One of the record is forever ruined (stupid, naive me)… Not that it matters anymore, though!

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Here’s the actual cover of the record. You can see how much I payed for it — ha ha! Apart from some light discolouring, the cover is in really good condition. And the LP is in mono! Most times for me, mono triumphs stereo by miles, so hurrah! (I didn’t know about the difference between the mono/stereo mixes at the time, though…)

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Here’s the back of the LP — in even better condition than the front! If you look carefully, you will see that I have landed myself a UK pressing! And you have probably already noticed the backflaps, meaning that my copy is first edition. Good job, me. I’ve seen pretty much the same LP going for a lot more than $50AUD on eBay, so even better job, me… My Help! was owned by the same person who owned my With The Beatles, funnily enough — he/she (I assume the latter) must have sold his/her LPs to my record shop…

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Here is a close-up on the catalogue number/backflaps/John. Wow — my Help! was a very lucky fluke. Very…. First-edition. UK. Mono. (Even though the earlier stereo pressings are worth more.). Very lucky.

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Here’s the cover with the inner sleeve/actual record. I have the original EMITEX sleeve in mint condition! How cool is that! “Clark” must have been very careful with her records (as is also shown with my With The Beatles).

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And the vinyl itself! On black and gold label! Hurrah! Told you it was first edition! Nice break from the orange, isn’t it? This is Side Two. Side One is in mint condition, and plays absolutely perfectly. (Though everything we play on our record player crackles — due to the age of the stereogram.) This side has a scratch through ‘Yesterday’ and ‘Dizzy Miss Lizzy’, though I’m very lucky that it doesn’t affect the sound at all! Probably due to that wonderful record-cleaner stuff that we use…

And there we go! One of my most valuable records in a pillow you never gave me (bonus points if you know what song I’m referencing!)…

Haven’t got much else to write. I promise I’ll be back to normal blogging schedule next week (I’ll have handed in my assignment by then). Anyway, it’s only TWO MORE WEEKS to two whole months of Summer holidays and the end of the school year! Yay! I’ll blog as much as I can in the holidays, to make up for posts I have missed. Next week, though, will be a sad post. It will be the 29th of November. We miss you, George.

Have a wonderful day/night/afternoon/morning/weekend/week/[insert period of time], and good day sunshine until I post next! 🙂

 

My Beatles Record Collection Pt. 2 – ‘A Hard Day’s Night’

My 'A Hard Day's Night' LP. Also my LP of the album which has the cover that serves as the background for this blog.

My ‘A Hard Day’s Night’ LP. Also my LP of the album which has the cover that serves as the background for this blog.

Hey Bulldog (well, it has to go first sometimes)/Jude/all who care to read,

Only one more week of Term 3 left (then just one more term ’till the end of the year)! And yet more beautiful weather in good ol’ Adelaide! After being out and about, and then making considerable progress on my song (more on that later), I haven’t gotten around to posting on here until 5:00 on a Sunday night. Sorry.

But anyway, it’s ‘My Beatles Record Collection’ time again! And yes, I have noticed that a lot of my posts lately have been slightly self-centred, and I will try and un-self-centre them in the holidays. But anyway, it’s a month since I did With The Beatles (the earliest record in my collection), so now it’s time for the next record (as far as The Beatles’ chronology goes) – A Hard Day’s Night.

Unlike my With The Beatles, my A Hard Day’s Night is not some first-edition foreign-pressed mono LP. My A Hard Day’s Night is only an Australian stereo re-pressing (like two other of my records – my first-pressings and re-pressings roughly split about half-and-half). But here’s some background info:

In Australia, The Beatles were (obviously) released on Parlophone until Apple Corps. entered the picture. But (I’m not sure if this is the case elsewhere) re-pressings of Parlophone-released Beatles albums were still released on Parlophone after 1968. But they weren’t released on the black-and-yellow label (or even the special Australian black-and-silver label) – they were released on something known as the ‘orange label’.

Dun dun DUNNNN....

Dun dun DUNNNN….

The ‘orange label’ was used for re-pressings from 1969 to the early 1980s, and is featured on several records in my collection (including my Beatles Box – yes, mine is released on Parlophone, not Readers’ Digest. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, go Google it). As far as I know, it was used in Australia only. After studying this website (The Beatles’ Australian Records Labelography), the above appears to have been pressed in either 1969 or 1979.

‘Orange label’ records are okay, but I am on the definite look-out for first-edition versions (excepting the Box – that is first edition) of all the ‘orange labels’ I have. Why? The ‘orange labels’ are very flimsy, as Australian records from the ’70s became of a lesser quality than their ’60s counterparts. Apparently this is because many of the record factories went across the ditch to New Zealand, so all the LPs produced locally are thin and sensitive and don’t work too well. Fortunately, there are barely any scratches on this one, so it actually plays better than I thought (though it still crackles more than my thicker ones). But I’ll shut up now and upload some pictures so you can all see for yourselves (please excuse the quality – lighting isn’t too fab):

The back - complete with the original sleeve notes! But alas, no backflaps...

The back – complete with the original sleeve notes! But alas, no backflaps…

Yes, it's in stereo. You may notice that the number that tells you what number in the pressing it is is not there. This is true for all Australian Beatles records - they are seemingly set out differently to their British counterparts.

Yes, it’s in stereo. You may notice that the number that tells you what number in the pressing it is is not there. This is true for all Australian Beatles records – they are seemingly set out differently to their British counterparts.

Told ya' it was Aussie! Well, to be exact, it's New South Welsh... Considerably up north from here.

Told ya’ it was Aussie! Well, to be exact, it’s New South Welsh… Considerably up north from here.

The cover without the plastic slip over the top. You probably can't see it in this picture, but the cover is actually made from a different kind of cardboard to the original pressings.

The cover without the plastic slip over the top. You probably can’t see it in this picture, but the cover is actually made from a different kind of cardboard to the original pressings.

This was taken in an attempt to show you how flimsy the record is, but it doesn't really work unless I compare it with one of my first pressings (and I can't be bothered). But you get the picture. And you can go behind the scenes of 'AYNITB' if you look extra carefully at the laptop screen.

This was taken in an attempt to show you how flimsy the record is, but it doesn’t really work unless I compare it with one of my first pressings (and I can’t be bothered). But you get the picture. And you can go behind the scenes of ‘AYNITB’ if you look extra carefully at the laptop screen.

Side 2 of the record, top view.

Side 2 of the record, top view.

So there you go – my A Hard Day’s Night in a…cardboard box! 😉

I updated my iPad to iOS8 on Friday! And yes – those of you who know me IRL will know I completely avoided updating to iOS7, so I’m being slightly hypocritical by liking it so much, but stuff that! My favourite bit of iOS7/8 (it was a 7 feature, but I only got it with 8) is iTunes Radio. I’ve been listening to The Beatles channel all weekend! Did you know that The Beatles are the only artist to have their own proper channel, as compared to an ‘artist’ channel?

And I’ve made some more progress with a song I’ve been trying to write! As you may or may not know, I’m an aspiring alt. rock singer/songwriter/muso, under the alter-ego name of Sadie of Kirkcaldy (‘Sexy Sadie’ and ‘Cry Baby Cry’ mashup). Up until now, I’ve only done Beatles covers, and now I’ve made some progress with my own song! I can’t upload it on here now – a) it’s not finished; and b) it’s not on Soundcloud, which is the only way I can upload it here – but I’m fairly sure the song’ll be called ‘Whimsy’, and it uses a children’s xylophone (yes, you read right – but it actually sounds really good) and an acoustic capo-ed guitar (played in E with D-major chords), and I will eventually add melody/harmony vocals, a lead guitar and some kind of percussion. I wish I could upload the template for it that I made earlier today, but sadly I can’t; I promise ‘All You Need Is The Beatles’ will be the first place I’ll share it, though!

As I said above, only one more week until holidays! Then you’ll get posts every three – or even two, if I can be bothered – days! Yay – maybe then I’ll get some of my ideas down before I forget them! And this time next week I’ll have seen ‘Looking Through A Glass Onion’, which I am really looking forward to (thank you to my godparents for buying me a ticket for my birthday!) But until then, good day sunshine 🙂