So, maybe I spoke too soon in my criticism of some of the Mini LP details on The Beatles in Mono box set.
I found a fan site in Norway
which has a lot of great info about each of the covers, with images and stories.I was surprised to see a image of the UK pressing of the back cover of revolver with the same cheap looking fold over glue flaps! Is how they really made them there?!
Revolver LP Back (UK Pressing)
I also learned that (in the UK version) the first pressing of the White Album was top loading!
This new version still leaves out the individual numbering that originally appeared on each copy and ran into the millions. That would have been a really nice touch. The original black inner sleeves are reproduced though. While the fold over technique looks cheap to me, maybe that’s how the originals were done in the UK. Without being able to see more of those English pressings, I don’t know.
An early numbered pressing of The Beatles
Looks like my criticisms may be mostly unfounded. I still am disappointed in the inconsistencies and light weight papers used, but I humbly offer all apologies where appropriate.Further exploration of the Norwegian wood fan site turned up many interesting stories about the sleeves and even includes rare unused artwork, like The Fool’s
unused inner sleeve for Sgt. Peppers, and numerous rejected sleeve concepts.
Unused inner sleeve artwork originally intended for Sgt. Pepper
Other surprises include an alternate of the back cover of Abbey Road with the song titles removed (UK pressing only).
I also didn’t know that the first UK pressings of Let it Be were in a box, with a booklet.
I’ve been listening to the Mono box a lot lately.
I was a rabid Beatles fan when I was 13-15 and burned out pretty quick on them for having listened to it all too much. At the height of this period Lennon was murdered, which really pushed me to give it all a rest.
This is first time I’ve given the catalog a good serious listen in many years. While I was always very impressed with them I am gaining an even deeper appreciation of just how impressive they were as a group, as composers and as a cultural phenomenon.
They revolutionized pop music no less than 4 times in their short career, all between 1964-1969. Who else has had that kind of influence?
Beginning with Rubber Soul
(their first mature album) through Sgt Peppers, The Beatles accomplished more three years than many do in a lifetime.
Before Rubber Soul virtually all their songs were about girls or young love. Rubber Soul broadens those topics a significant shade deeper and darker. It also marks the moment when their individual song writing voices started to become more distinct. Rubber Soul Inspired Brian Wilson, whose response was Pet Sounds, another of Rocks biggest achievements.
advances this further culminating in the first psychedelic masterpiece Tomorrow Never knows.
Revolver furthered Wilson’s competitive spirit as he worked on SMiLE! which would only emerge some 37 years later as a masterpiece of it’s own. Revolver was the first major psychedelic record and heralded the psychedelic movement.
(and it’s attendant singles: Strawberry Fields Forever/Penny Lane, All You Need Is Love/Baby You’re A Rich Man, Hello, Goodbye/I Am the Walrus) of course revolutionized what a pop music could be. Pepper is considered to be one of the first concept albums, (even though they had abandoned the concept part mostly). Of that record Time magazine wrote in 1967 that Sgt. Pepper constituted a “historic departure in the progress of music—any music.”
And Timothy Leary, declared that the band were prototypes of “evolutionary agents sent by God, endowed with mysterious powers to create a new human species.”Interestingly, While the Beatles were recording Sgt. Peppers, Pink Floyd was across the hall recording Piper at the Gates of Dawn, and it is said that they influenced one another somewhat.
Wikipedia notes that “Brian Wilson of The Beach Boys said that Strawberry Fields Forever was partially responsible for the shelving of his group’s legendary unfinished album, SMiLE. Wilson first heard the song on his car radio whilst driving, and was so affected that he had to stop and listen to it all the way through. He then remarked to his passenger that The Beatles had already reached the sound The Beach Boys had wanted to achieve.”
That trio of LPs is also widely considered to be among the greatest rock albums of all time. The White Album and Abbey Road each contributed significantly to their legacy, but lacked the kind of collaboration that really defined their early work.
The tragedy that really began their decline was the death of their manager Brian Epstein
, who accidentally overdosed.
In the wake of Epstein’s death they rushed Magical Mystery Tour
out. It looks like it too. The accompanying film was their first flop.
The UK double EP
Lennon himself later said that Epstein’s death was the beginning of the end of the group.
Though, not all was well even before that tragedy. Even though the group had total confidence in Epstein, they got a pretty raw deal in terms of royalties and publishing rights. The story about how their music publishing rights were usurped through Northern Songs ltd.
is amazing and sad.
Currently the rights to most of their catalog belongs to Sony/ATV music. On the occasion of Revolution being used for a Nike commercial in 1987, George Harrison complained: “every Beatles song ever recorded is going to be advertising women’s underwear and sausages.”
You can bet on that too.
From the fan site I ended up digging through many wikipedia entries on the group, some songs and details of their career and came across several interesting bits— such as:
At the time [of Epstein’s death] Robert Stigwood was attempting to gain control of Epstein’s publishing company NEMS Enterprises if only to control The Beatles and get a hand in their profits. None of The Beatles themselves favored such an outcome, as McCartney had previously told Epstein in 1967: “We said, ‘In fact, if you do, if you somehow manage to pull this off, we can promise you one thing. We will record God Save the Queen for every single record we make from now on and we’ll sing it out of tune. That’s a promise. So if this guy buys us, that’s what he’s buying.”
. was set up instead, and further complicated their finances and working relationships.
Apple attracted many sycophants among them a character called Magic Alex
who in 1967 attempted (successfully) to undermine John Lennon’s high esteem of the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi
by claiming the yogi had made a sexual advance toward Mia Farrow who was studying with them at the Maharishi’s ashram in Rishikesh the time.
They soon left. Lennon went on to write Sexy Sadie
about his tarnished view of the yogi. Lennon eventually acknowledged the incident had been a mistake.
While John and Cynthia were divorcing, Magic Alex began putting the moves on Cynthia! What a creep!
After the disaster of the aborted Get Back album (which became Let it Be) in early 1969 and the personal conflicts and tension, sycophants, and financial disasters all around them that they could produce something as elegant and powerful as Abbey Road is a testament to their talent.
The original cover for the aborted LP Get Back, which emulated
the cover photo of their first record Please please Me.
I learn something everyday. Gotta love the internets!