Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Tales from the vinyl jungle of Beatles collecting...
Just when I thot I'd seen everything...

Everyone's got to have some kind of a vice, even the best of us. Mine? VINYL. Especially BEATLES vinyl. I took this wayward turn long ago; there is no hope for me. When I'm depressed, or just in a bad "head space", it takes me a while to come out of it. This happened to me last week for 'whatever' reason. Also, for some reason, I began going through my Beatles' collection...and somehow I felt I had "returned to me" and curiously, I felt 'grounded' again. Strange but true. I'm in the process of collecting the different "variations" of Beatles singles. Not only were those singles issued in the '60's, their U.S. Label, Capitol, has re-issued Beatles singles throughout the years. Capitol has also changed its label designs a number of times throughout the years, so the challenge is trying to get every Beatles' U.S. single on every variation of the Capitol label.

For its 45rpm singles, Capitol used an orange label in the mid-70's, a purple label in the late '70's to mid 80's, a black-and-rainbow label in the late '80s, and then a different variation of the purple label right on up until 1988, which is about when singles (45's) were no longer mass-produced. So, you take 15 or 20 different Beatles singles, multiply that by several variations, and you're guaranteed to keep busy trying to complete your Beatles' collection. Capitol also released two "commemorative" re-releases of the "I Want To Hold Your Hand" single. For those reissues, Capitol used the yellow-and-orange "swirl" label which was used on its original '60's singles. In 1984, a "20th anniversary" single of "I Want To Hold Your Hand" was issued, and in 1994, a "30th anniversary" single was released. Both singles came complete with picture sleeves. I've got those two, hee hee. So, naturally, in 2004, I was anticipating a "40th anniversary" issue, but alas, that never happened. Who knows why?

Now, to complicate this further (is that possible?), Capitol also came out with its "Starline" series, which featured 'big hits by top artists' (the record company's slogan there). So in addition to '70's orange labels, '80's black-and-rainbow labels, etc. etc., Capitol issued almost all of the Beatles singles on its light-blue Starline Label in 1981. So, if you are a "completist" as far as Beatles singles are concerned, you'd have to have ALL of the Beatles' singles on ALL of the label variants that Capitol Records used between the 60's and '80's. Yes, you're talking about a lot of song duplication, because after all, to be a completist, you're going to have every Beatles' single in at least four or five different variations; it's like coin collecting, a quarter is a quarter, but a 1952 quarter ain't the same as a 1965 quarter, after all. For instance, I have "I Want To Hold Your Hand" on Capitol '60s "swirl" label, on the 70's "Orange" label, on the '81 "Blue Starline" label, and '88 "Purple label". I really do get extreme pleasure out of collecting these things. That and a thin wallet! Well, it's either that or heavy-duty psychotherapy (which I may need anyway).

Anyway, the Beatles' reissue singles I've described above aren't horribly expensive (yet!), and I've managed in a few instances to get four or five of them at a time in various Ebay shipments for fairly low prices. I'm just wacko over Ebay; I've found obscure stuff there that I've been looking 30 and 40 years for! (Side Note: Capitol also issued six GREEN SWIRL "Starline" singles in the 60's; those are really hard to find and are expensive. I have two of those.) I surf Ebay every week or two and look at ALL of the Beatles' stuff that's on the site (sometimes over 2,000 items at a time) (to search those takes several hours!), and there are, from time to time, very expensive Beatles' items, such as acetates and test pressings (records which are made so the artist can hear how his record is going to sound); those are VERY limited editions and are pricey. Other items I've seen include Beatles albums and singles that have been SIGNED by the Fab Four. Let's just say you'd have to mortgage your mansion to buy something like that.

So, through searching Ebay, as well as having read various price guides and other Beatles books, I thought I'd seen everything there was to be seen. THINK AGAIN! I saw something that absolutely SURPRISED me. Too rich for my blood, though. Although I've THOT about getting something like this...anyway, may I now present, the Beatles on a 78rpm record! Here it is:

This little gem was being advertised in "auction", with the starting price at a cool FOUR HUNDRED dollars. It was made in INDIA, of all places. I later read that India, being even further "behind the times" than North Idaho is, actually pressed "78's" through 1968-69. A collector friend of mine has Elvis Presley '78's (they sound GREAT!), but BEATLES ON 78??? Wow. However, I did buy a really weird Beatles disc, and I got it for $12.99 (closer to MY price range)...it was a little 7-inch record, with a small playing hole, played at 33rpm (a miniature album); on it were 5 songs from the ABBEY ROAD album, which is fairly unusual in itself. But what makes this little thing really strange is that it was made in RUSSIA. I can't read a word on the label (at least with Spanish, I can "guess" what the titles are), but when I played it today, out came "Here Comes The Sun", "Because", "Golden Slumbers", "Carry That Weight" and "The End". From RUSSIA. How about that! By the way, I have a Spanish Beatles' single titled "No Comprar Mi Amor", which is, as you all know, "Can't Buy Me Love".

I have a Beatles single made in India, I have several that were pressed in NEW ZEALAND, would you believe...I have one that was issued in the Phillippines, a few made in Australia, and Beatles 45's made in Germany, Belgium, Sweden and other foreign countries. The fascinating thing about these foreign singles is that some of them feature songs that were never on singles in either the U.S. or England. EMI (Electrical Music Industries, a worldwide British Corporation which also owned Capitol in the U.S.), let foreign countries issue Beatles songs on singles as they saw fit, which made for some interesting song combinations; for example, the German record label, "Odeon", issued "Komm Gib Mir Deine Hand", backed with "Sie Liebt Dich" on a 45 single. By the way, those two songs are German-Language versions of "I Want To Hold Your Hand" and "She Loves You". After re-recording those two songs in German, the Beatles never again recorded anything in a foreign tongue. I don't blame 'em. I have trouble enough with English.

As you can tell from all of the above, I'm mad, loony, crazy, nuts, wacko, three bread slices short of a loaf, you name it, and that's what I am. Actually, I didn't have much of anything else to post. Heat's gettin' me. The long days are kinda wrecking my sleep habits. I customarily turn in about 4am; it's LIGHT by then, for a while longer, anyway. I also haven't posted in 3 days. I may just let myself take it a bit easier during the summer. Oh, and if you've got Beatles vinyl you don't want, I give such things a good home.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't think you're crazy at all. In fact I'm looking to start a Beatles 78 collection!

10:33 AM  
Blogger Idaho Escapee said...

Thanks, anon...I didn't even see your comment until March '08m, way after you commented!

3:33 AM  

Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home