Beatles Over Nippon – “The Beatles Box: From Liverpool” 8-Disc Set

Some years ago, say about 35 or so, I was given a beautiful box set of eight vinyl albums.

Of course, these weren’t just any eight albums, these were Beatles albums (I know, shocker right?!!).

This truly lovely Japanese box set is called “The Beatles Box: From Liverpool” and features selections from throughout the group’s entire career (barring of course “Free as a Bird” and “Real Love” from the mid ’90s) and also includes a lot of rare mixes as well.

Now, for one, I’m ALL ABOUT box sets. I love them. Whether they’re vinyl, CD what have you, I just love them.

And this set, in typical Japanese style, is well made with thin but nicely made unique covers for each disc plus a groovy booklet and sturdy box complete with red OBI slip on the outside (the Japanese love these paper OBI strips).

This particular box set sounds great too with super quiet vinyl with mostly stereo mixes with a few rare mixes thrown in as well; makes my heart pitter-patter just thinking about it.

Originally released in the UK in 1980 by World Records, a mail order division of The Beatles record label EMI, this set is a great way of getting a fair amount of The Beatles entire recorded output in one spot in outstanding quality – all in its analog glory.

Now, how my mother ended up buying me this Japanese version of the set as a gift I don’t quite remember. It might have been sitting at our local Musicland store at the mall or maybe she saw it in one of my mail order catalogs but nonetheless I was thrilled to get it and still cherish it to this day.

Some of my favorite oddball mixes included in this set are: “All My Loving” (with “hi-hat” intro), “I’m Only Sleeping” (stereo with a different guitar solo from the U.S. eight-track of Yesterday and Today), “I Feel Fine” (true stereo version that begins with whispering and coughing) and “I Am The Walrus” (composite version from the U.S. Rarities Lp).

I’m in the process of making a CD set of vinyl drops (CDRs) from this box set as I really enjoy hearing this collection and want to keep it in digital form. It just shines when you play it back through a nice CD player and truly sounds better than most of the officially released Beatles CDs.

Because the set contains so much music it’s a bit lower in volume at times but sounds great and blossoms when you play it a bid louder than normal.

Check out some photos above of this groovy Japanese version of one of the best Beatles collections ever released on vinyl. Too bad it never made it to the CD age but then again if it did then Apple (The Beatles company) probably would have substituted the rare mixes defeating the fun factor of this set.

It’s well worth trying to track down this collection all you Beatles vinyl lovers out there though the original UK set may be a bit cheaper to find these days than the Japanese import set. Luckily the contents are the same whether you find the UK or Japanese version.

Until next time, be well and Beatle on!!!


“Imagine” there’s no … CD? – John Lennon’s “Imagine” album on Compact Disc




Well, it’s been a bit of a break from Blogland lately for me but tonight I’m back and in the mood for some John Lennon music.

This fall, most likely on Oct. 9th or thereabouts which is John Lennon’s birthday, a new CD or box set as well as DVDs, a book and who know’s what else will celebrate one of Lennon’s best and best-selling solo albums – “Imagine” from 1971.

The “Imagine” album has always been in my Top 3 solo Lennon albums (along with “Walls and Bridges” and “Double Fantasy”) so today I thought I’d take a look at the various pressings I own of this classic album on compact disc.

Yes, I know the compact disc is getting shafted in all corners lately – not a sought after collectible, not trendy, not cool, etc. – but it’s still my preferred way of listening to music and since this blog is about physical media – feast your eyes!

The first pressing I ever bought of “Imagine” was the first US CD release from around 1988 I believe. I remember reading that the first UK copy was kind of hissy and sounded only okay so I waited to buy the US version which came out a few months after the first UK CD release in 1987.

Well, the first US CD had been treated with the then in vogue “no-noise” process which used computer software to remove hiss which also unfortunately removed some of the sound quality as well.

The worst uses of the “no-noise” process resulted in music sounding like there was a blanket over the speakers and the highs being squashed but really the first US “Imagine” CD is actually pretty decent sounding though certainly not the best version out there.

I still own that first “Imagine” CD (of course, plus I still have the longbox for it too!) and it’s really not a bad sounding disc as the “no-noise” treatment I feel wasn’t used too heavily on it.

A few years later I stumbled upon a first issue Japanese CD (see above) of “Imagine” also issued in 1987 which didn’t have the “no-noise” treatment like the first UK CD and I do like it a bit better than the US CD – more hiss but a bit more life as well though not drastically better mind you but it is an improvement.

In 2000, Yoko Ono, John Lennon’s widow, released a remixed version of the “Imagine” album which I own on a gold CD from the Mobile Fidelity Sound Lab label.

Though mastered a bit to loud for my tastes, the remixed version of this album is nice to have as it gives the album a less dense sound than Lennon’s original mix (Lennon’s original mixes for his solo work all tended to sound dense with little stereo separation) and is fun to hear.

I think had they gone easier on the compression this CD remix would be terrific but as it is it’s an interesting side listen but I have to listen to it at low volumes as it’s a bit aggressive – but interesting nonetheless.

I still prefer Lennon’s original mix when I listen to the album but I do like to pull the remix CD out every now and again just to get a different listening experience.

I think that the remix is becoming a rarity as Yoko Ono went back to Lennon’s original mix for the last reissue of the “Imagine” album which came out in 2010.

I own the 2010 mastering as part of the “Signature Box” which contains all of Lennon’s studio solo work as well as a groovy 2014 SACD Japanese release that also uses the 2010 mastering which is my preferred CD release of this album as it just sounds superb!

The US 2010 version of “Imagine” sounds great as well and all of Lennon’s albums as reissued in 2010 on CD are the way to go for me personally as I want to hear the original mixes and these CDs sound the best – better than any previous CD versions of his work for sure.

I also own a nifty mini-CD version of “Imagine” that came out in 2007 which also  features the remix of the album but comes in a wonderful replica package that features a mini poster, postcard and inner sleeve just like the original  vinyl release.

The 2014 Japanese SACD I mentioned previously also features the same mini-Lp treatment but uses Lennon’s original mix.

Rumor has it that the new “Imagine” release is coming this fall which will contain outtakes and alternate versions of songs from the “Imagine” sessions so I can’t wait to see a press release detailing the goodies fans have in store from this new and hopefully ultimate “Imagine” package.

Until then, take a gander at some of the older CD issues I own (above) and until next time …  peace and be well!!!






It Was 54 Years Ago Today – “A Hard Day’s Night” (What’s Old is New)

Well, well, another anniversary.

Yes, I know, there’s always another anniversary brewing but I think this one is pretty fun.

Fifty-four years ago today The Beatles’ first film entitled “A Hard Day’s Night” had it’s  premiere in theaters at the London Pavilion in front of thousands of screaming fans outside and none other then members of the royal family attending inside.

To say this film was influential is an understatement. Not only is it the best film made by
The Beatles, it’s also one of the best films made about music PERIOD!

Naysayers at the time were won over by the cheeky, down to earth and lovable “mop-tops” as The Beatles became known and to this day this film is still critically revered and a joy to watch.

And seeing as how this blog is about the joys of physical media, I thought it might be fun to take a look at three ancient (at least it seems that way now) ways of watching “A Hard Day’s Night” from the not so distant past – the first VHS Tape home video issue plus two CD-ROM’s (one Macintosh and one Windows).

The first time I was able to get a really good look at  “A Hard Day’s Night” was its original VHS Tape issue from 1984.

I remember ordering it from one of the local video rental stores and as I vividly recall it sure wasn’t cheap! It was somewhere around $80 or more and remarkably enough I  managed to scrap up enough to buy it and anxiously awaited its release.

Talking the tape out now to take photos I forgot that it was even labeled as first issue right on the silver label of the tape. It was also copied onto Maxell brand tape and looks very well made, much better than other tapes at time as I recall.

Of course the picture isn’t up to the latest issue on DVD or Blu-Ray but this release looks pretty good and sounds great still. It was a revelation to finally be able to pop this film in anytime I wanted to and see it uncut in all it’s glory!

(Note: In those days “A Hard Day’s Night” was rarely shown on television or cable so being able to own it was one of the only ways of getting to see it.)

Of course I have always loved the film but I had originally seen The Beatles second film “Help!” first and it took me a while to really fall head over heels for “A Hard Day’s Night” as “Help!” seemed much more akin to The Monkees TV show of which I was and am a big fan.

Nowadays I’d say I’m much more a fan of “A Hard Day’s Night”  because it really does capture The Beatles and Beatlemania so perfectly and it stands out as the best film work The Beatles ever did.

Cut to 1993 and the Voyager company’s CD-ROM issues of “A Hard Day’s Night” in both Macintosh and Windows format.

It’s been ages since I’ve popped these babies into a computer but as I remember you could watch the entire film as well as view the entire shooting script among other goodies.

Of course you had to have decent memory on your computer as I recall the film getting hung up quite often as I didn’t have a state of the art computer at the time but nevertheless I remember enjoying these CD-ROMs but they were no match for seeing the film as it exists today on Blu-Ray.

I just thought it might be fun to take a gander at photos of these artifacts from the past (above) and take a moment to celebrate one of my all-time favorite films (and groups!) and take a quick journey backward.

Makes me want to take out my “A Hard Day’s Night” Blu-Ray and give it a spin.

Until next time, enjoy the summer sun and be well!!!







We All Live in … Pepperland – Yellow Submarine picture disc plus two magazines




Welcome back my friends to the show that never ends, or at least never wants to end.

What better way is there to celebrate a warm summer day, two days after the 4th of July (a big celebration here in America of course) then to wake up to a new Beatles release!

And not just any release but a vinyl 45; a picture disc 45 no less!

Today a special limited edition picture disc 45 is being released of The Beatles classic 1966 single “Yellow Submarine/Eleanor Rigby” from their superb album“Revolver”.

This groovy 45 is being put out to promote the 50th Anniversary release of The Beatles film “Yellow Submarine” which is due to hit theaters in a few days for limited screenings with a buffed up 4K scanned picture with a nice 5.1 surround mix for the soundtrack as well.

I hesitated about buying this release as while it is a nifty looking piece is it really necessary? Of course the collector in me won out – shocker I know – so I thought I’d share some photos of the picture disc (above).

This disc looks very nice and believe it or not (yes, I actually played it!) sounds really nice as well. It features the 2015 stereo remixes of both songs by Giles Martin and was surprisingly quiet and nicely pressed.

I was expecting the disc to sound less impressive then it does but if you decide to take this disc for a spin you won’t be disappointed in the sound as it sounds great and I really enjoy the 2015 remixes here as they aren’t as loud as the remixes Martin did for the 50th Sgt. Pepper release from last year.

There are also two really great import magazines from the UK (the Brits have MUCH better music magazines then we do Stateside!) which both feature The Beatles that have just hit this side of the world.

The first one is a recent issue of Record Collector Magazine (one of my all-time favorite publications) that has a really nice feature on The Beatles “White” album which is due to celebrate its 50th anniversary later this year with a deluxe box set much like last years Sgt. Pepper box set.

The other magazine is a special issue of Mojo Magazine called the Red Issue 1962-1966 which features some terrific articles about the group  in that time frame along with some really terrific photos and artwork.

There is to be a Blue Issue 1967-1970 coming out soon and that issue will fit nicely in the folder that comes with the Red Issue (see above).

Both of these magazines came out last month or so in Britain but are just in stores around the States this past couple of weeks – at least near where I live anyway.

(Note: All three items above can be found at Barnes & Noble stores nationwide while the “Yellow Submarine” picture disc can also be found at record stores worldwide.)

So sit back and take a trip to Pepperland for a few minutes. Though in all honesty it feels bit like we live in Pepperland full time in the States at the moment- Blue Meanies EVERYWHERE!

And be on the lookout for theaters near you that may be showing “Yellow Submarine” beginning on July 8th!

Until next time be well and play some music!!!