the jason shergold music collector site
Saturday, 18 April 2015
Hello there and welcome to the "Jason Shergold Music Collector Site".
This blog features articles about various bands and singers, and how to go (more or less) about collecting their records. In the main, the articles will be aimed at people trying to get a collection together from scratch, looking at shortcuts to doing so where they exist, but some articles will be a bit more specialised, with features of video releases, Japanese pressings, etc. As it's built using a Blogger template, it can - at times - look a bit DIY, just think of it as the internet version of "Sniffin' Glue".
As a UK based music fan, most of these articles will revolve around UK discographies, but not necessarily just for UK bands. Although, for some artists featured, their discographies will continue to grow, the post-iTunes scenario is that you can more or less guess what formats albums and singles will be released on nowadays, so these blogs in the main will help to fill in the gaps when multiple physical formats were all the rage.
The blog will be updated at least once every month - if you find that the homepage does not show the Tamla logo above, it will be that the site is being updated, and may not be available for viewing for an hour or two. The updates are expected to occur initially at the start of each month, any later blogs to be published that month will appear at random as the weeks progress. You will be able to click on older editions using the menu buttons in the top right.
The April 2015 edition is now online, with a look at Neil Young.
The blog is also home to my "novel within a website", 'How I Learned To Hate Record Collecting', looking at the workings of the UK record industry. Click on any month from 2014 to view one of the twelve parts that form the whole article.
Please note: If you ever notice "newer" pages listed top right, this will be the new issue "in progress" - if you click on it, the whole page will not load. When the new issue is ready, it will be mentioned on this page. You can click on previous years tabs to get previous articles. Once you have selected that year, you can click on a different month to look at different acts.
The acts featured appear in the months listed below:
Adam And The Ants - October 2013
All Saints - February 2014
Lily Allen - August 2010
Ash - April 2014
Atomic Kitten - June 2013
Badly Drawn Boy - November 2014
The Beatles - September 2011 / March 2015
The Beautiful South - December 2014
Beyoncé - May 2013
Biffy Clyro - June 2014
Blondie - January 2011 / September 2013
Blur - August 2011 / July 2012 / October 2013
David Bowie - September 2010 / October 2010 / November 2010 / January 2011 / June 2012 / September 2014
Kate Bush - July 2013
Buzzcocks - December 2011
Belinda Carlisle - October 2013
The Charlatans - February 2014
The Clash - May 2011
Elvis Costello - January 2013 / September 2013
Sheryl Crow - June 2013
The Cure - December 2011
Deep Purple - March 2010
Depeche Mode - May 2012
The Doors - December 2013
Bob Dylan - November 2013
Echobelly - February 2015
Sophie Ellis-Bextor - August 2011
Embrace - November 2013
The Flaming Lips - November 2011
Foo Fighters - May 2014
Peter Gabriel - August 2013
Genesis - April 2011 / January 2014
Girls Aloud - August 2010 / November 2013
Goldfrapp - August 2013
Green Day - June 2014
Deborah Harry - January 2011
Jimi Hendrix - September 2010
Inspiral Carpets - April 2012
The Jam - May 2013
Elton John - August 2012 / September 2012 / October 2012 / November 2012
Joy Division - March 2011
Kenickie - October 2010
The Kinks - November 2010 / April 2011 / May 2013
John Lennon - May 2013
Pixie Lott - February 2011
Madness - November 2011
Madonna - April 2010 / July 2010 / August 2010 / September 2010 / March 2011 / June 2011 / July 2011 / August 2011 / September 2011 / October 2011 / November 2011 / March 2012 / November 2012 / January 2013 / November 2013 / March 2014
Mansun - August 2011
Dannii Minogue - September 2011
Morrissey - April 2014
Kate Nash - February 2011
New Order - October 2012
Nirvana - June 2011 / December 2012
Oasis - April 2013
Pet Shop Boys - May 2011 / June 2011
Pink Floyd - January 2011 / July 2011
P!nk - April 2012
Elvis Presley - March 2011 / October 2011 / November 2013 / December 2013 / January 2014
Prince - January 2015
Pulp - August 2011
Queen - December 2010 / September 2011
Cliff Richard & The Shadows - July 2011
Rolling Stones - July 2010 / October 2010 / March 2011
The Saturdays - April 2011
Siouxsie & The Banshees - March 2013 / July 2014
Slade - May 2012
Sleeper - December 2013
Smashing Pumpkins - June 2012
The Smiths - June 2010
Britney Spears - November 2010 / December 2010
Bruce Springsteen - February 2012
Status Quo - January 2012
Cat Stevens - February 2012
Rachel Stevens - July 2011
The Stranglers - February 2010 / December 2011 / May 2013 / September 2013 / December 2013 / July 2014 / October 2014
Suede - August 2011
Sugababes - August 2012
Super Furry Animals - September 2014
Supergrass - August 2014
TRex - December 2010
Theaudience - August 2011
Thin Lizzy - February 2013
Tin Machine - December 2010
U2 - March 2012 / December 2012
The Velvet Underground - October 2010
The Walker Brothers - June 2011
Scott Walker - September 2010 / February 2013
Paul Weller - December 2014
The Who - May 2010 / August 2012 / July 2013
Kim Wilde - October 2013
Neil Young - April 2015
To return to the homepage, you can click on the tab for the current year. Several blogs are in production, with articles on The Stranglers and The Thrills due over the next few months.
You can email me using the link above, and if you can add any information, you can add comments to the blog using the link at the bottom of the relevant page. Regards, Jason.
Frankie say NO to downloads!
If anybody deserves to be given international hero status, then it has to be Neil Young. For nearly 50 years, Young has been confounding/confusing/delighting critics and fans alike, be it when he plugs into the big amps for some fuzz-guitar rock with Crazy Horse, strapping on an acoustic guitar like an old hippy on “Harvest”, or indulging in genre hopping insanity on the likes of “Trans” or “Everybody’s Rockin’”.
Young has never quite broken through, properly, into the mainstream. Most of his albums were not promoted via hit singles in the UK, indeed sometimes, there were no singles at all - and he has, at times, been so productive (two new studio albums alone in 2014) that it is hard to keep up. Even when he headlined Glasto in 2009, he was overshadowed by their choice of headliner the following evening - a certain Mr Springsteen. But delve into the back catalogue, and there are gems all over the place, and you start to wonder why Young still feels like a cult singer, when he should be one of the most adored and admired artistes of all time. Suffice to say, I don’t think X Factor have ever done a “Neil Young” week. I doubt Cowell even knows who he is.
So here is my intro to Neil Young. Of course, being Neil Young, means that it’s longer than most articles I would do that I would consider to be in-depth! Each of the officially recognised solo albums are listed (those “radio broadcast“ albums all over Amazon have to be omitted, to avoid opening a big can of worms), with either the original LP catalogue number or the original (ish) CD one, dependent on date of release. I have used the Geffen lawsuit era (roughly) as the crossover point between the two, because that’s as good a time as any. A list of Young’s UK 45’s follows at the end of the article.
After stints in several bands, The Squires and The Mynah Birds, had yielded little success, Young formed Buffalo Springfield alongside - amongst others - Stephen Stills. They were essentially a multi front man band, with three of the five band members taking lead vocals on their first album. In-band fighting was apparent pretty much from the start, and after the self titled debut album had surfaced in 1966, Young temporarily quit the band the following summer, forcing him to miss the group’s appearance at the Monterey Pop Festival. He rejoined and helped to finish a second album, “Buffalo Springfield Again”, although such were the tensions within the group, that many of the tracks were essentially solo recordings by different band members. The group split up soon after, and a third album appeared posthumously in 1968 under the title of “Last Time Around”. Young’s 1977 best of, “Decade”, included all but one of the Buffalo Springfield songs on which he sang lead vocals, although he also wrote several more where the vocals were handled by other band members.
Young released his first solo LP “Neil Young” (LP, Reprise RSLP 6317) in late 1968. It failed to do much commercially, and Young began his famous grumblings about his issues with recorded sound with this record, claiming that the album sounded wrong, and authorised a remixed version for release, which appeared in 1969. The album was later reissued in the UK in 71, and this and all subsequent CD pressings use this later mix. It is an album that, especially if you listen to the later stuff first, can sound underwhelming and a bit gentle at times, but the sheer anthemic beauty of the orchestrated and joyously catchy “The Loner”, the most famous track from the record, showed that Young definitely had potential as a solo act.
Starting with his next LP, Young began to occasionally record albums with backup groups - a number of band members from an outfit called The Rockets were invited to appear on his next album, and were dubbed Crazy Horse. The first of several records to thus be credited to ‘Neil Young With Crazy Horse‘ (or similar), “Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere” (LP, Reprise RSLP 6349), was a remarkable leap forward, an astonishingly ambitious piece of work - extended guitar solos everywhere, many of the songs follow the basic “verse chorus verse” formula, but are interspersed with lengthy, rambling, guitar workouts. Something that could be over in three minutes is instead stretched out to nine or ten minutes in length. The epic nature of “Down By The River” and “Cowgirl In The Sand” remind me very much of the longer drawn out numbers that Dylan had been recording in the 60s (“Stuck Inside Of Mobile”), albeit with less poetry, and more rock and roll. Not every Young album that followed would keep to this path, but it did - in a way - predate his “Godfather Of Grunge” tag that he got given in the 1990s.
Young began to operate a sort of dual career from here on in - he joined Stills again to form Crosby Stills Nash And Young, who released an album called “Deja Vu” in 1970. A stand alone single written by Young, called “Ohio”, was issued by the group midway through promotion of the album, in response to the Ohio shootings that had taken place in May of that year, an event that had left Young shellshocked. “Helpless” from the album, along with “Ohio”, were later included on “Decade”. By the end of the year, Young’s third solo album “After The Gold Rush” (LP, Reprise K 44088) had been released, in which the raucous guitar rock of “EKTIN” was largely replaced by country rock stylings, or in the case of the astonishingly stunning title track, little more than Young and a piano. It was his second classic on the trot, and was further evidence of how he didn’t necessarily need to be part of a group to make good records. Just as well, because after a CSNY tour spawned a live album in 1971 called “Four Way Street”, the group imploded.
1972’s “Harvest” (LP, Reprise K 54005) briefly put Young firmly in the mainstream. The harmonica driven “Heart Of Gold” was issued as a single, and became a hit worldwide. Young struggled to come to terms with his sudden emergence as a pop star, and as he famously wrote in the sleeve notes for “Decade”, “...this song put me in the middle of the road. Travelling there soon became a bore, so I headed for the ditch”. Nevertheless, it is a great album - the monumental baroque whirl of “A Man Needs A Maid”, the time signature jumps throughout “Words”, the country-fied twang of “Old Man”, the simplistic acoustic strum (but lyrically mournful) “The Needle And The Damage Done”...at least the mainstream had made the right choice when they decided to use this album to turn Young into a star.
The success of “Harvest” pushed Young in a completely opposite direction. His next three albums would be almost relentlessly downbeat, and later came to be known as the “Ditch” or “Doom” trilogy. One of them still remains unavailable on CD, as does what was Young’s next venture, “Journey Through The Past” (2 x LP, Reprise K 64015). In essence, a soundtrack album for a film directed by old Shakey himself, featuring sizeable chunks of material recorded by Young, either as a solo artist, with CSNY, or with Buffalo Springfield, it’s “soundtrack” tag comes from the fact that a couple of recordings are by an orchestra with no Young involvement, and a Beach Boys track appears at the very end - but given that most of the other material is exclusive to this album, has meant it has always had an air of desirability around it. Only one song on the record was genuinely “new”, a Young solo piece called “Soldier”, and an alternate edit of this song later made it onto “Decade”.
Numerous reasons have been cited as to why 1973’s “Time Fades Away” (LP, Reprise K 54010) remains unavailable on CD. It was the first of several Young albums to feature new material captured exclusively from concert recordings, and Young later claimed that the tour from which it was culled was nothing short of a disaster. His view was that the problems surrounding the tour (band members heavily indebted to drink or drugs, Young struggling from a throat infection, the recent death of Crazy Horse member Danny Whitten, financial issues) resulted in a bad record - or at least a record that brought back bad memories. Critics loved it, but it seemed to have chronicled a period in Young’s career that was problematic, and he obviously didn’t want to be reminded of it. It has been reissued recently as part of a hyper expensive vinyl only boxset, “Official Release Series Discs 5-8”, which you figure has almost been done deliberately to try and keep the record ’out of sight’ (as an aside, Young’s first four solo albums can be purchased on CD en masse thanks to the “Official Release Series Discs 1-4“ boxset, which is also a hell of a lot cheaper).
From some years, the same fate befell 1974’s “On The Beach” (LP, Reprise K 54014). The country rock charm of “Walk On” and the finger picking groove of “For The Turnstiles” later made it onto “Decade”, but the rest of the album languished out of view. Young was apparently unhappy with the sound of the record, and thus didn’t want it put onto CD until improvements could be made. In 2003, it was one of four Young solo albums that were remastered using “HDCD” technology, and the green light for these albums was granted as part of the “Neil Young Digital Masterpiece Series” reissue campaign. For some, it remains Young’s greatest record - certainly the tearful acoustic lament of “Ambulance Blues”, the epic nine minute album closer, remains one of the most beautiful and brilliant things Young has ever recorded. Unlike the other albums in the series, this one really is a masterpiece. It’s release coincided with a CSNY reunion tour, during which each band member got the opportunity to perform material from the solo careers (Young took the opportunity to perform songs from “On The Beach“), but it took until 2014 for any of the shows to be documented officially, which occurred via a multi disc box set in the fall of that year. At the time, the only “new” product by the band was a compilation album, and again, they split up again soon after.
Recorded before “On The Beach”, it’s safe to assume that the reason that “Tonight’s The Night” (LP, Reprise K 54040) was delayed was due to the highly personal lyrical content that runs through the record - the title track makes a direct reference to the recent death of one of Young’s friends after a drug overdose, and Danny Whitten. The album had in fact been unofficially shelved, but when the playback of this album versus a newly recorded Young album called “Homegrown” at a party gained greater praise, Young ditched “Homegrown” and opted to release “Tonight’s The Night” instead, later claiming that “Homegrown“ was ‘a very down album‘. The title track was some ten minutes in length, but was split into two and used to bookend the record. Reunited in full with (an obviously reconfigured) Crazy Horse soon after, 1975’s “Zuma” (LP, Reprise K 54057) was home to another Young classic in the form of the sprawling growl of “Cortez The Killer”.
Young went into extra curricular mode again in late 76, when he formed the Stills-Young Band with Stephen Stills (after an attempt at a full blown CSNY reunion fell apart), and they released their first - and only - album entitled “Long May You Run”. The title track was later included on “Decade”. Young’s next solo record was another that remained unavailable on CD for many years, 1977’s “American Stars N Bars” (LP, Reprise K 54088) - once again, home to another stone cold Young rock classic, “Like A Hurricane” - a gloriously epic, intense, and tearful lament, where Young’s vulnerable vocals and sad sounding keyboard lines try to battle the monumental guitar solos that run throughout the song.
Originally planned for release before “American Stars”, “Decade” (3 x LP, Reprise K 64037) remains the best of all of the (relatively few) Young compilations. Never one to do much in the way of “non album material”, it’s mostly a run through of key album tracks from Buffalo Springfield onwards, with several tracks obscure enough that they would now call them ‘deep cuts’, but that are often better than Reprise’s choice of singles were (in the UK at least), such as the beautiful harmony driven “Tired Eyes” off “Tonight’s The Night”. There are several rarities (and the original running order would have had more), such as the early period live b-side recording of “Sugar Mountain”, an alternate mix of “Hurricane”, and several previously unreleased tracks. It has since been squeezed into a double CD format, with the album then tucked inside a differently designed slipcase. Indispensable.
As punk approached, Young - typically - fought his way straight through it in his own bloody minded manner. Firstly, by issuing a country/folk rock influenced effort in 1978 called “Comes A Time” (LP, Reprise K 54099), and then, a more raucous and aggressive effort called “Rust Never Sleeps” (LP, Reprise K 54105) the following year - as if he was taking the punks on at their own game. Like “Time Fades Away”, this record of new material was recorded live (with Crazy Horse) and shared it’s title with a concert film, which featured a completely different track listing. The film was issued by RCA on the long defunct VideoDisc format (in a different, and far more surreal sleeve), but has since been made available on DVD. The UK 45 taken from the album was “My My Hey Hey”, which was an acoustic version of the album’s closing number “Hey Hey My My” - which was also issued on the flip of the same single. An accompanying live album, “Live Rust” (2 x LP, Reprise K 64041) was issued in late 1979, which had a running time pushing the 75 minute mark, meaning that the current CD edition has several songs included in edited form to keep it down to a single disc.
The 80s were a different time for Young. If “Rust Never Sleeps” had cemented his reputation in rock, then everything that followed for the next seven or eight years, almost went some way to undoing all that hard work. You will struggle to find too many people who will talk excitedly, or even know, 1980’s “Hawks & Doves” (LP, Reprise K 54109), the third of the four left unavailable on CD until 2003. The last of the four was Young’s next album, “Re-Ac-Tor” (LP, Reprise K 54116), which despite being another collaboration with Crazy Horse, suggesting 100% raucous punky grunge, was actually the first Young album to feature synthesizers. It does still maintain the ramshackle, messy, rough-around-the-edges vibe of earlier Crazy Horse records, but there is a slight “new wave” element lurking in the background, a pointer of things to come. It marked his final release for Reprise, and he moved to Geffen Records, who presumably, were hoping for a return to the “Rust Never Sleeps” period.
They didn’t get it. 1982’s “Trans” (LP, Geffen GEF 25019) was overloaded with synths, and vocoderized vocals, heavily influenced by Kraftwerk and mostly as far removed from his work with Crazy Horse as you could get. It opened and closed with countrified guitar tunes that recalled his glory days, but pretty much everything else inbetween did not. He then offered the label another pure country album for release as the follow up, but so stunned were Geffen by “Trans”, that they refused to release it, and asked specifically for Young to record a “rock and roll” album. Young took them at their word, and began work on an album heavily influenced by 50s rockabilly, including covers of “Mystery Train“ and “Bright Lights Big City“, with a band called the Shocking Pinks. Midway through the sessions, Geffen heard what was going on, and were infuriated, hoping instead that Young was going to record a “Zuma 2”, rather than something so throwaway which sounded like it predated Young’s entire career - and aborted the sessions. As such, 1983’s “Everybody’s Rockin’” (LP, Geffen GEF 25590) was issued as an almost mini album, Geffen agreeing to release what had been completed in those sessions, which gave it a running time of under 25 minutes.
Horrified by what Young was doing, Geffen sued Young in December 83, claiming he was violating his contract by making deliberately “non commercial” music. Head honcho at the label, David Geffen, later apologised to Young for the action, admitting that he should have left Young to follow his career choices. Young was later quoted as saying that the records he was making were deliberately varied each time around because “...it was a way of further destroying what I’d already set up. Without doing that, I wouldn’t be able to do what I’m doing now”. After countersuing, and touring for the best part of a year, Young eventually got his way, and released a country album as his next effort, 1985’s “Old Ways” (LP, Geffen GEF 26377), although it was a highly altered version of the originally planned release that Geffen had refused in 1983, with which it shared it‘s title.
With Geffen and Young now having come to some sort of agreement, Young continued to release “not very rock” records like 1986’s “Landing On Water” (CD, Geffen GFLD 19130), the first album which would spawn a single complete with an extended remix in the UK, but another album that did little sales wise, nor won much critical acclaim. It rather awkwardly married occasional Crazy Horse style guitar licks with synths and 1980s production values. The same fate befell 1987’s “Life” (CD, Geffen GED 24154), which like “Landing On Water”, was promoted with a single release by Geffen (“Long Walk Home“), but did little in the hit parade.
Young returned to Reprise in 1988, and almost immediately, seemed to revamp his career. “This Note’s For You” (CD, Reprise 7599 25719 2) pushed him back into the mainstream in the States, a blues influenced album originally credited to “Neil Young And The Bluenotes”, but later reissued as a standard ‘solo’ album after legal action was threatened by Harold Melvin (and his Bluenotes). Another reunion with CSNY this time spawned a new album called “American Dream” later the same year. But it was 1989’s “Freedom” (CD, Reprise 7599 25899 2) that returned Young to the position he had held a decade previous. It was home to folk and rock tunes that fully recalled his 70s heyday, and it‘s signature song was the enormous “Rockin’ In The Free World”, included in both acoustic and electric form...the latter, a noisy, firebrand beast of a song, politically charged, and the first signs of Young staking his claim for that Godfather of Grunge title. It remains one of Young’s best known songs, and was proof that the 80s hadn’t killed him off, but had seemed to re-energise him.
1990’s “Ragged Glory” (CD, Reprise 7599 26315 2), recorded with The Horse, was even better. Snarling, messy, noisy, and aggressive, this was almost an “Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere 2”, such was the epic nature of many of the songs, and the barrage of guitars and feedback that emitted from them. It is home to much of Young’s best “latter period” material, such as the bile driven “Fuckin’ Up”, the epic growl of “Love To Burn” or the melodic grunge of “Love And Only Love”. The subsequent tour spawned an equally thrilling live album “Weld” (2 x CD, Reprise 7599 26671 2), which at one point, included a bonus one-track disc of spliced together feedback, captured from numerous songs at numerous gigs. The disc was also issued as an album in it’s own right as “Arc” (CD, Reprise 7599 26769 2).
Returning to his approach of ‘destroying what had come before’, Young’s next album took him back to the world of folk and country, 1992’s sublime “Harvest Moon” (CD, Reprise 9362 45057 2). The title track gave Young another worldwide hit, helped by MTV showing the video, a beautiful acoustic waltz of a ballad, with added slide guitar. In the UK, Reprise attempted to turn it into a mega hit by issuing it on multiple formats, with the second CD edition including three of the “previously unreleased” tracks from “Decade”, which at the time, had not yet been repressed on CD. The charming “From Hank To Hendrix” and the romantic lilt of “Unknown Legend” helped to create an album that, like “After The Gold Rush”, succeeded in following up an epic rock and roll record with something much simpler in sound, but which was just as affecting.
Possibly designed to try and cash in on Young’s brief flirtation again with the mainstream, Geffen issued the “Lucky Thirteen” (CD, Geffen GED 24452) compilation in 1993, featuring material from his time on the label along with some previously unreleased recordings from the end of that period with The Bluenotes. Of the 13 (surprise surprise) songs on here, no less than eight were either unreleased versions or alternate edits. So whilst it’s a hits album with absolutely no hits on, it’s kind of interesting in that it covers the most controversial period of Young’s career, and does so in a fascinating way. It could so easily have just been 13 album tracks in album mix form, so fair play to all concerned for taking a more unusual approach. Many of the “alternate” versions made reference to being taken from the “Reprise Records Neil Young Archives”, a sign that Young was already making plans for a career spanning boxset of unreleased material, and whilst there has indeed been an “Archives” box finally made available in recent years (the first of several planned volumes), none of the Geffen material from this album actually made it onto the first volume, as it was concerned with 60s/early 70s material only. The opening number on “Lucky“, an extended “Sample And Hold” originally from “Trans”, is now also available on the CD edition of the latter, in place of the original “short“ mix - “Trans” was another one that got a long delayed re-release on CD at the start of the noughties (it is also home to a new, longer, mix of “Like An Inca”).
Young’s new found success saw him being lined up to do MTV’s Unplugged series, but again, like Dylan, what should have been an unquestionable success by an artist who seemed perfectly suited to the concept, didn’t quite go according to plan. The first attempt left Young frustrated, unhappy with the performance of his group, and the version released on LP that summer, simply, as “Unplugged” (CD, Reprise 9362 45310 2) was actually from a second set. In typical Young mode, the set was quite eclectic and occasionally obscure, but Reprise used the release to try and keep Young firmly in the public eye, with several tracks being released as singles. The album also included a “new” song, a never before released outtake from the 70s called “Stringman”. It later got a second lease of life when it appeared as a b-side on Young’s 1994 standalone single “Philadelphia”, a masterfully sublime and dreamlike piece of heartbreaking piano music, taken from the soundtrack album of the film of the same name. Springsteen’s “Streets Of Philadelphia” became a much bigger hit, but Young’s contribution is eye-wateringly beautiful.
With Young now aligned to grunge, he seemed to feel a certain amount of affinity with the genre. 1994’s magnificent “Sleeps With Angels” (CD, Reprise 9362 45749 2) at times bristled with a snarling menace that sounded not unlike his (new) contemporaries, whilst the title track was a reference to the recently passed-away Kurt Cobain, who had quoted Young in his suicide note. At other times, the record had a more woozy, laid back vibe, an attempt Wikipedia says was to “recapture some of the atmospheric experiments Young...played around with in the “After The Goldrush” era”, whilst the epic “Change Your Mind“ - a 15 minute ramble bizarrely chosen as a single release - recalled the monumental guitar workouts on “Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere“. Reprise were once again determined to keep Young in the mainstream, releasing not one but THREE singles from the album. Each time, material from “Tonight’s The Night” was used as b-side material, almost as if the link between the two albums was being deliberately played upon (both dealt with, in a way, the death of one of Young’s musical allies, but Young was not happy when a year later, an interviewer brought this subject up, and he refused to discuss it). However, even though the fantastically growling sneer of “Piece Of Crap” made some impact chart wise, none of these singles came anywhere close to “Heart Of Gold” popularity, and Reprise would only release one more physical single by the man in the UK in the following years. As if to further play up to the Godfather of Grunge tag, 1995’s “Mirror Ball” (CD, Reprise 9362 45934 2) was recorded with Pearl Jam as his backing band, before the release of several newly improvised instrumentals were included on another soundtrack release, “Dead Man” (CD, Vapor 9362 46171 2).
Reunited with the Horse again, 1996’s sublime “Broken Arrow” (CD, Reprise 9362 46291 2) veered between gloriously epic drawn out rock jams during the first half, and simpler (sometimes more folk driven) shorter numbers in the second half, before concluding with a taped “on stage“ cover of “Baby What You Want Me To Do“, complete with the crowd talking all over it, obviously unaware of what Young was playing. It works rather well though, and brings the album to an understated close. In the US, the second song on the album, “Loose Change”, appeared in edited form on the CD, whilst vinyl copies added a bonus track in the form of “Interstate”, unavailable anywhere else in the UK. Young and the Horse went out on tour in support of the album, and a documentary film called “Year Of The Horse” was shot during the proceedings, and was later released on VHS and then DVD. An accompanying album of the same name, but in a different sleeve, was released in 1997 (2 x CD, Reprise 9362 46652 2), and is simply incredible - Young and the band crash and growl their way through bits of the back catalogue, but it works brilliantly IMO...the rather sweet “When You Dance I Can Really Love” is transformed into a grungey, heavy, meandering rock beast, as is everything else on the record. As Young jokingly laughs at the start, “it’s all the same song”. Maybe, but it’s a damn fine one.
Several years passed before the release of the acoustic tinged “Silver & Gold” in 2000 (CD, Reprise 9362 9362 47305 2), although the end of 1999 had seen the release of another CSNY album, “Looking Forward”. This was then followed by another live album, the curiously titled “Road Rock Vol 1” (CD, Reprise 9362 48036 2), given there has never been a Volume 2. It was credited to “Neil Young Friends And Relatives”, on the basis that various collaborators were on board, but the only really vocal contributor is Chrissie Hynde, who duets with Young on a cover of “All Along The Watchtower”. Unlike the double disc “Year Of The Horse”, this one has a running time of only just over an hour, and although there are some attempts at typical Horse-style ramblings (the opening “Cowgirl In The Sand” drags on for 18 minutes), it doesn’t quite pack the same punch, presumably because the Horse are absent here. One of the songs on here was totally new, never having made it onto a Young studio album before (“Fool For Your Love”) whilst a live DVD in a similar sleeve was issued at the same time, which featured everything from this album, bar “Watchtower”. Young toured Europe in 2001, including an appearance at what was supposed to be the ‘Irish Music’ festival in London, The Fleadh - not too sure exactly what “Cinnamon Girl” quite has in common with The Dubliners. Several new songs were tried out, which featured on his next album, the “soul” influenced “Are You Passionate?” (CD, Reprise 9362 48111 2) in 2002.
Beginning with 2003’s “Greendale” (CD + DVD, Reprise 9362 48533 2), Young began to issue, on a fairly regular basis, CD’s that came initially with a free DVD, sometimes featuring extra footage, but sometimes just featuring the relevant album in High Definition sound, as this was closer to how he wanted the music to sound than the accompanying CD did. “Greendale” has divided critics - a rock opera detailing the life of a family living within a fictional town, I quite enjoyed it’s epic nature last time I listened to it (several songs pass the 10 minute mark), but some critics tore it to shreds. The first pressing includes a solo performance of the album by Young on the DVD, later pressings replaced this with a performance by Young and Crazy Horse.
Were it not for the hi-def sound approach, then there would have been little need for 2004’s “Greatest Hits“ (CD + DVD, Reprise 9362 48924 2), which for the most part offers up selected material from the still-on-catalogue “Decade”, even including “Ohio” and “Helpless”, but which has an overall running time that sees it all sit on a single disc quite comfortably. But it does feature some of the big hitters from the later years, and the free DVD - as well as featuring the full album - also includes the promo clips for “Harvest Moon” and “Free World”.
2005’s “Prairie Wind” (CD + DVD, Reprise 9362 49494 2) was viewed at the time as possibly being Young’s swansong - the record dealt with the death of his father, and was recorded just before Young himself underwent surgery for a serious condition. Some of the lyrics dealt explicitly with mortality, almost as if Young was preparing himself for death, and at times, it can feel incredibly personal. But of course he survived, and returned with the anti-war diatribe that was 2006’s “Living With War” (CD, Reprise 9362 44335 2). A reformed CSNY toured the album, which caused problems at some shows, as parts of the band’s more conservative audience vocally expressed their annoyance at Young’s anti-war, and what seemed to them as anti-American, lyrics.
Towards the fall of 2006, Young began to finally start getting his “Archives” project underway. He started with the release of “Live At The Fillmore East” (CD + DVD, Reprise 9362 44488 2), a 40-ish minute document of (most of) the electric segment of the shows Young played there with Crazy Horse in March 1970. Of the six songs included, three of them were - at the time of recording - brand new songs, including “Winterlong”, as featured on “Decade”. The DVD included the audio from the CD, along with photos from the gig. It was the first of several albums to be released under the banner of the “Neil Young Archives Performance Series” (NYAPS for short), and was labelled ‘Volume 2’ - the volume number related to the recording date of the show within the planned series, meaning that a ‘Volume 1’ was still sitting in the vaults. The following year saw the release of ‘Volume 3’, another double disc release called “Live At Massey Hall 1971” (CD + DVD, Reprise 9362 43327 2), this one coming with a DVD containing exclusive footage.
Just as “Old Ways” was technically the second version of an album of the same name, so 2007’s “Chrome Dreams II” (CD + DVD, Reprise 9362 49906 4) was issued with a title confirming it was a follow up to an album that was never actually issued (circa 1977). It’s title gave a clue that it was, at times, a bit obsessed with cars (“Beautiful Bluebird”, “Spirit Road”) whilst the album itself picked through the various genres that Young had dabbled with throughout his career - be it the “Harvest”-esque acoustic strum of the opening track, the grungy snarl of “Dirty Old Man”, the epic drawn out rock of “No Hidden Path” or the (Bluenotes) horn driven romp that was “Ordinary People”. Part of this variety was almost by default, as several songs actually dated from the different parts of Young’s 80s Geffen period.
‘Volume 0’ of the NYAPS releases was released in late 2008 when “Sugar Mountain - Live At Canterbury House 1968” was released (CD + DVD, Reprise 9362 49839 8). So numbered as it predated all of the other planned albums in the series, this was the very show at which the previously released live b-side version of “Sugar Mountain“ was recorded. Everything else on the set, though, was previously unreleased. Young’s aforementioned 2009 Glasto slot was part of a tour plugging “Fork In The Road” (CD + DVD, Reprise 9362 49787 2), another record referencing the world of the automobile.
Young’s “Archives Vol.1” boxset was finally issued in 2009. Available as a CD boxset, technically on import only (8xCD, Reprise 175 292-2) but also as a DVD or Blu-Ray edition, it included rarities and album tracks from the days of The Squires up until the period circa “Journey Through The Past”. The CD edition was spread over 8 discs, two of which were “single disc” editions of the “Fillmore East” and “Massey Hall” releases (ie. no DVD this time around). ’Volume 1’ of the NYAPS was finally included, a 1969 Toronto gig called “Live At The Riverboat”. The remaining five discs mixed up material from Young’s solo career, Buffalo Springfield, CSNY and more, although the CD edition of the box was missing several numbers from the “Early Years” disc, as it occupied just a single CD on this edition of the set, but was covered in greater depth on the DVD/Blu-Ray sets. Each disc was housed in it‘s own individual sleeve, with the “Fillmore” and “Massey” releases using the same sleeves as per their original pressings. Also missing from the CD edition was a reissue of the “Journey Through The Past” film, although it was made available as a separate release on DVD and Blu-Ray through Young’s own Archives webpage. On the 6 “new” discs, virtually everything was rare or unreleased, including alternate tracks from existing studio albums - just as Young’s debut had been reissued in a new mix soon after it’s original release, so had “After The Goldrush” - and a mix of tracks from both versions of both albums make the box. Also included was the standalone 1972 45 with Graham Nash, “War Song”, never officially released in the UK before.
The release of the boxset was followed by ‘Volume 12’ in the NYAPS series, “Dreamin’ Man Live ‘92” (CD, Reprise 9362 49855 3). Taped, as the title suggests, during 1992, it features solo acoustic performances of the entire “Harvest Moon” album, from shows which took place both before and after the release of the LP. Whilst some “acoustic albums” are hopeless affairs, which take decent songs and rip all of the heart out of them, these songs are perfectly suited to the format, and it’s a near essential release.
It’s much loved by the critics, but I can’t help but think that 2010’s “Le Noise” (CD, Reprise 9362 49618 6) deserves to be approached with caution, a solo album on which Young uses only an electric guitar, rather than an acoustic. As such, it bounces around with lots of feedback and reverb, so can all feel like you are just listening to one long song, whilst all the time, really waiting for it to kick into gear. Still, kind of admirable, in a “Metal Machine Music” sort of way. It was followed by another NYAPS release, “A Treasure” (CD, Reprise 9362 49579 3), also available as a CD + Blu-Ray release, which is a bit of a bugger if you don’t own a Blu-Ray machine. It was taped on the 1984-85 tour that Young undertook whilst the lawsuit with Geffen was blowing up. Don’t believe those who tell you that “Nothing Is Perfect” is being released here, in any form, for the first time - because Young also performed it at Live Aid in 85, which was released on DVD in 2005.
In recent years, Young’s output seems almost to have been a sort of revisiting of his past - be it the folk rock approach (of traditional music standards) on 2012’s “Americana” (CD, Reprise 9362 49508 5), or the rambling guitar epic-ness on “Psychedelic Pill” (2 x CD, Reprise 9362 49485 9) released the same year (so rambling, that “Driftin’ Back” had to be chopped into two halves to fit onto the vinyl pressing).
2013 saw the release of another NYAPS set, “Live At The Cellar Door” (CD, Reprise 9362 49434 5). Of interest is that the set was labelled ’Volume 2.5’, necessary because it had been taped inbetween the Fillmore East and Massey Hall shows, but it did make you wonder if the original planned series was being revamped as it went along, as if this was an extra show that had been discovered, or a change of plan saw it given the green light. This release includes, as do other releases in the NYAPS set, Young doing one of those Buffalo Springfield songs that he wrote but did not sing on, “Flying On The Ground Is Wrong”.
He then returned with another album of covers, 2014’s “A Letter Home” (CD, Reprise 9362 49399 9). Available as a hyper expensive boxset from the USA, it was recorded in Jack White’s “Voice O Graph” recording booth, and the US edition actually appeared on White’s own Third Man Records imprint. By the end of the year, we also had “Storytone” (2 x CD, Reprise 9362 49324 0), the first pressing following the format of the earlier, original, “Greendale” by featuring an orchestral version on one disc and a solo version on the other.
UK Singles Discography
Oh Lonesome Me/Sugar Mountain (Live) (7”, Reprise RS 20861)
The Loner/Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere (7”, Reprise RS 23405)
Only Love Can Break Your Heart/Birds (7”, Reprise RS 20958, later reissued with alternate b-side and new cat number)
Cinnamon Girl/Down By The River (7”, Reprise RS 23462)
When You Dance I Can Really Love/After The Gold Rush (7”, Reprise RS 23488)
Heart Of Gold/Sugar Mountain (Live) (7”, Reprise K 14140)
Old Man/The Needle And The Damage Done (7”, Reprise K 14167)
Southern Man/Till The Morning Comes/After The Goldrush/Heart Of Gold (7”, Reprise K 14350)
Walk On/For The Turnstiles (7”, Reprise K 14360)
Lookin’ For A Love/Sugar Mountain (Live) (7”, Reprise K 14416)
Don’t Cry No Tears/Stupid Girl (7”, Reprise K 14431)
Like A Hurricane (Edit)/Hold Back The Tears (7”, Reprise K 14482)
Four Strong Winds/Motorcycle Mama (7”, Reprise K 14493)
My My Hey Hey/Hey Hey My My (7”, Reprise K 14498)
Hawks And Doves/Union Man (7”, Reprise K 14508)
Little Thing Called Love/We R In Control (7”, Geffen GEF A 2781)
Wonderin’/Payola Blues (7”, Geffen GEF A 3581)
Weight Of The World (Extended Version)/Pressure (12”, Geffen GEF 7 T)
Long Walk Home/Cryin’ Eyes (7”, Geffen GEF 24)
Rockin’ In the Free World (Edit)/(Live LP) (7”, Reprise W 2776, later reissued in 1994 on 7” and Cassette, with alternate catalogue number and p/s)
Rockin’ In the Free World/Cocaine Eyes/Rockin’ In The Free World (Live LP) (CD, Reprise W 2776 CD, later reissued in 1994 with “Cocaine Eyes“ replaced by “Rockin‘ In The Free World (Edit)”, alternate catalogue number and p/s)
Harvest Moon (Single Edit)/Winterlong (7”, Reprise W 0139)
Harvest Moon (Single Edit)/Old King/The Needle And The Damage Done/Goin’ Back (CD1, Reprise W 0139 CD)
Harvest Moon (Single Edit)/Deep Forbidden Lake/Campaigner/Winterlong (CD2, Reprise W 0139 CDX, unique p/s)
Long May You Run (Live - Edit)/Sugar Mountain (Live Version from “Rust Never Sleeps“) (7”, Reprise W 0207)
Long May You Run (Live - Edit)/Sugar Mountain (Live Version from “Rust Never Sleeps“)/Cortez The Killer (Live Version from “Rust Never Sleeps“)/Cinnamon Girl (Live Version from “Rust Never Sleeps“) (CD, Reprise W 0207 CD)
The Needle And The Damage Done (Live)/You And Me (7”, Reprise W 0191)
The Needle And The Damage Done (Live)/You And Me/From Hank To Hendrix (CD, Reprise W 0191 CD)
Philadelphia/Such A Woman/Stringman (Live) (CD, Reprise W 0242 CD)
Piece Of Crap/Tonight’s The Night (Cassette, Reprise W 0261 C)
Piece Of Crap/Tonight’s The Night (Part 1)/(Part 2) (CD, Reprise W 0261 CD)
My Heart/Tired Eyes/Roll Another Number (CD, Reprise W 0266 CD)
Change Your Mind (Edit)/Speakin’ Out (Cassette, Reprise W 0276 C)
Change Your Mind (Edit)/(Album Mix)/Speakin’ Out (CD, Reprise W 0276 CD)
Downtown (Edit)/Big Green Country (Cassette, Reprise W 0314 C)
Downtown (Edit)/(Album Version)/Big Green Country (CD, Reprise W 0314 CD)
Saturday, 21 March 2015
Just like The Stones, the albums The Beatles released in North America throughout most of the 60s bore little resemblance to their UK output. Albums were issued that came in different sleeves, with different track listings, and with totally different titles, to those being released back in their homeland. This was partly due to a desire by US labels to issue shorter albums than those released in the UK (US albums struggled to hit the half hour mark, whilst UK records had an average running time closer to 40 minutes in length), whilst US labels also used to like squeezing recent hit singles onto the band’s latest long player, in an attempt to help promote the album - a worldwide industry standard now, but viewed with an element of disbelief by affected groups at the time.
But for The Beatles, the whole situation was made worse by the fact that their US label, Capitol, initially saw no need to release the groups’ records Stateside at all, which meant that by the time they changed their mind, there was an element of “catching up” to do. By the time “Help” was released in the UK as the band’s fifth album, there had already been about NINE releases in the US. Capitol, effectively, had inherited The Beatles without their wishes, as part of the deal the group had signed with EMI. In the UK, their releases were put out on the affiliated Parlophone imprint, and for the US market, Capitol would basically have had to do nothing other than to arrange contemporary US pressings, as Capitol were essentially the US face of EMI. But it seems they viewed the group as being too “British”, with their mop top haircuts, and figured US fans simply wouldn’t get it. So, they refused to release anything by the band, even as the Parlophone releases started to dent the UK hit parade.
Other labels figured that such was the phenomenon of the group back in Blighty, that surely the group had a chance of success, and Capitol - for a while - were happy to license the material out to any old label who showed interest. As such, the first Beatles 45 in the US was 1963’s “Please Please Me”, issued on the relatively small Vee Jay label. It struggled to do much, and failed to get much in the way of airplay. Nevertheless, Vee Jay had signed an agreeement which more or less gave them access to pretty much everything the band had recorded thus far, and they would issue - and reissue - a number of singles and EP’s on their own label, and the associated Tollie imprint, up until the end of Spring 1964.
In the summer of 63, another label had a crack at trying to break The Beatles in America, when Swan issued “She Loves You” as a 45 - but again, radio, critics and the public remained unmoved. By the end of the year, EMI and the band’s manager Brian Epstein, had convinced Capitol to start releasing the group’s records themselves, and “I Want To Hold Your Hand” was selected to be released as the next Beatles US 45. The story about how this single turned the States onto Beatlemania has been mentioned on several occasions, and revolved around a US Beatles fan contacting a DJ to ask him to start playing Beatles records on the radio after seeing a US news item about the group. When the single was played, the US public latched onto it big time, and Capitol ended up rush releasing it at the very end of 63 to try and capitalize on the sudden popularity of the band.
This started a flurry of Beatles related activity in the USA, including the release of an album of early period material by Vee Jay in early 64 called “Introducing The Beatles” (Vee Jay VJLP 1062), which had originally been scheduled for a mid 63 release, but was pulled at the last minute. The relationship between Capitol and Vee Jay ended in tears soon after, following stories of non-existent royalty payments from Vee Jay, and Capitol eventually regained the rights to release this material - but not before Vee Jay had reprinted the album in multiple variant forms, including a bizarre double album release which paired the record with a greatest hits set from Frankie Valli And The Four Seasons. Capitol later issued their own variant version of the album as “The Early Beatles” in 1965.
It was a different story north of the border, where the Canadian arm of Capitol exhibited an air of independence away from their US cousins. Even before “I Want To Hold Your Hand” had surfaced in the USA, they had already issued an album called “Beatlemania!” (Capitol Canada T 6051), essentially a retitled version of the band’s recently released second UK album, “With The Beatles”. Mirroring what would happen in the US in the forthcoming years, Capitol in Canada also had to do a bit of catching up, starting with the issue of an album of mostly older material the year after as “Twist And Shout” (Capitol Canada T 6054), which was housed in a sleeve not too dissimilar to the UK EP of the same name.
With Capitol now well aware that they had some superstars on their roster, they issued the band’s second US album - but the first on the Capitol USA imprint - titled “Meet The Beatles”, it’s title seemingly being designed to airbrush “Introducing The Beatles” out of history. Like “Beatlemania”, it took it’s cues - musically and visually - from “With The Beatles”. Within months, older period material (again) was tossed out in the States on “The Beatles’ Second Album”, another attempt to pretend the Vee Jay one didn’t exist. The cover art was replicated on another Canadian only release more or less issued simultaneously, “Long Tall Sally” (Capitol Canada T 6063). This would be the last time that the US arm of the label would issue different records to their Canadian friends, and every Beatles album issued thereafter would appear in both the USA and Canada in identical form. What it did mean, strangely, was that the Beatles have to this day released (one) more album(s) in Canada, than in the United States.
The next US release, strangely, was not issued by Capitol, but by United Artists. The album, “A Hard Day’s Night”, was basically a soundtrack record for the film of the same name, and UA gained the rights to issue the album as they had been responsible for the distribution of the movie. Unlike the UK release, only songs that had a “genuine” connection to the film were included, and the record was thus padded out with orchestral, Beatles-less, instrumentals overseen by George Martin. It bore little resemblance to the UK album, also being housed in a completely different sleeve, but did - for a while - hold the distinction of being the only Beatles album to be issued with the same title in both the UK and the US - that is, if you can call it a proper Beatles album at all.
The first Capitol album to share it’s title, but not the cover art, with the UK was 1965’s “Help” - which, probably not coincidentally, was also the next soundtrack release. Once again, the album was filled with “easy listening” instrumentals. Much has been made of the US edition of the LP, with the title track coming with a 15 second “James Bond” style intro...but in truth, it’s another George Martin instrumental, that comes to a finish before the song starts. So, either an extended mix or an uncredited hidden track at the start of the record - take your pick. The first Capitol album to share the title AND front cover with the UK was “Rubber Soul”. However, the US label were still putting their own spin on the track listing front, and removed four songs from the record, replacing them with (only) two oldies that had appeared on the UK version of the “Help” album. Given that two of the songs removed were “Nowhere Man” and “If I Needed Someone”, it just shows you how little Capitol seemed to care about the integrity of the band’s output. It’s like taking “Stairway To Heaven” off of “Led Zeppelin 4”. The album logo was also printed in a different colour to the UK one.
Although the US release of “Rubber Soul” was the sign of the UK and US labels starting to sort of see eye to eye, there was still “unreleased” material in the USA, and so another ‘American-only’ album was given the green light in 1966. “Yesterday And Today” is probably the most famous of all the Beatles’ “US” albums, not so much for it’s musical content (mixing forward thinking psych-pop like “I’m Only Sleeping” with Merseybeat throwaway filler like “Act Naturally”), but for it’s original cover. The band had been consulted on it’s release, and decided to make a political statement. They were getting increasingly unhappy with Capitol’s “butchering” of their back catalogue, and so submitted a piece of front cover artwork of them in butcher’s coats, surrounded by disembodied dolls and slabs of meat - although McCartney later said that the photo was their comment on the Vietnam War, and that it was from an earlier photoshoot conducted independently from the album release. Capitol, either unaware of the satire, happy to acknowledge their faults, or simply believing of McCartney’s explanation, promptly printed up copies of the album with this cover in place. However, when record dealers saw advance pressings of the record, they complained and Capitol bigwigs pulled the plug. So many “Butcher” covers had been printed, that to destroy them all would have been chaos, and so a compromise was reached - a new cover, with the band posing alongside a massive suitcase (the “Trunk” cover), was simply glued over the top, and copies shipped out to stores.
Again, you have probably heard about the stories of “first state Butcher” covers and “paste overs”. Story goes that when Beatles fans heard about what was underneath their “trunk” cover, they tried to peel the cover off, which even if done successfully, left glue stains on the front. These “third state” releases are worth much less than the untouched “first state” original pressings, as few of the original releases ever made it out of the record company vaults. The original “trunk” covers, left intact, known as the “paste over” editions, are now amongst the rarest editions because so many people ended up ripping the trunk image off. Eventually, the album went out of print, and with the material - technically - available elsewhere, interest in repressing the record remained low, until it was reissued as part of a US Albums boxset in 2014. This, and indeed everything, in that box was also released individually, and so your cheapest option of owning this album is simply to buy this “new” CD edition (Apple B0019708-02). It comes, as all the reissues did, in a re-sealable clear bag, plus obi, and comes in the original Butcher sleeve - but with a free “trunk image” sticker which you can ’paste over’ the Butcher sleeve if you so wish!
The album included three songs from the band’s next UK album, the masterful “Revolver” - albeit in ’alternate US duophonic remix’ form. When “Revolver” was then issued in the US, the amount of “missing” material left in the vaults was pretty much empty, and so the US version of the LP simply came with three less songs. Every subsequent UK album, when issued in the US thereafter, used the same title, track listing, and cover as the UK edition, starting with 1967’s “easy to knock but ultimately, total genius” that was “Sgt Pepper”.
That didn’t stop Capitol from occasionally filling gaps in the market. But whereas the earlier US releases had been messy affairs, the ones that appeared thereafter were far more acceptable. It would take a hard hearted fan to attack 1967’s “Magical Mystery Tour” (Capitol SMAL 2835). Issued as a 6 track double vinyl EP in the UK, it was expanded into “LP form” by Capitol by sticking the EP material (in a different order) onto side 1, and then padding out side 2 with recent non-album A-sides and B-sides. When you consider that this material included “Penny Lane”, “Hello Goodbye”, “All You Need Is Love” and “Strawberry Fields Forever”, well, you can’t argue with that, can you?
According to the excellent John Paul George And Ringo site (www.jpgr.co.uk), “MMT” was available on import only in the UK at the time, but a Cassette only release did surface in the UK, under a slightly alternate title. This was done, I would guess, to allow fans of the new fangled cassette-tape format to enjoy the Fabs on this playing medium. Such was the adoration afforded to this LP, that when the band’s back catalogue was revamped in 1976, “MMT” was given a “proper” UK LP release by Parlophone, and has remained part of the band’s album discography ever since, being included in both the 1987 and 2009 CD reissue campaigns.
With the band on the verge of collapse, Apple decided to release one more US only release in 1970, just before the official final send off that was “Let It Be”. “Hey Jude” followed the path of the US “MMT”, by cobbling together A-sides and B-sides that had not thus far found it onto a US album release, although the opening songs, “Can’t Buy Me Love” and “I Should Have Known Better”, had appeared on the “A Hard Day’s Night” soundtrack. The choice of tracks was “selective”, rather than “exhaustive”, and as such, featured a cross section of material from across most of the band’s lifespan, but was heavily biased towards more recent “rarities”. Side one started in 1964, but jumped quite quickly towards 1968, whilst side 2 consisted entirely of material from 68 and 69 only. This has led some commentators to bemoan the existence of the record, who figured it was being promoted unwisely as a “new” Beatles record, but if you simply view it as a form of rarities album, then it works quite well. Indeed, with the exception of the slightly knockabout “Ballad Of John And Yoko”, the actual MUSIC on here is virtually flawless.
Whilst a lot of the other US albums were simply compilations of albums tracks from the wrong albums, “Hey Jude” consisted - on both sides of the Atlantic - mainly of material not available at the time on LP. As such, imported copies to the UK sold well, and Parlophone ended up eventually giving it a proper UK release in 1979 (Parlophone PCS 7184). However, with import copies having sold en masse, and with Parlophone forgetting to promote the release, this 1979 pressing sold poorly. It does, however, come in one of the best sleeves of ANY Fab Four release - a brilliant front cover shot from the band’s last ever photoshoot, and another great shot from the same shoot on the rear.
In the years following the band’s demise, the US albums fell out of favour. The usefulness of “Hey Jude” was dented a bit by the “Red” and “Blue” hits sets in 1973, which between them gathered up much of the album, whilst boxsets and rarities albums issued in the UK and US in the late 70s and early 80s helped to fill in most of the gaps. When the band’s back catalogue was dragged into the CD age in 1987, it was the UK albums that were selected for reissue on both sides of the pond, meaning that the likes of “Beatles 65” and “Beatles VI”, big sellers in the US back in the day, were now seen as shambolic relics of a bygone era. The USP of these albums, where not just a-sides but also foreign language tracks and b-sides had been unceremoniously shoved onto the records, was finally lost with the release of the two “Past Masters” albums in 1988, which between them included everything the band had released worldwide that had not made it onto any of the standard UK albums. There was now, technically, no real need for anybody to want to own a copy of “Yesterday And Today”, other than for it’s notoriety.
But, there remains a fascination with all things Fabs-related. And so, in 2004, Apple sanctioned the release of “The Capitol Albums” 4-CD boxset (Apple 07243 875348 2). This included repressings on CD of the first four albums the band had released on the label in the US - namely, “Meet The Beatles”, “Second Album“, “Something New” and “Beatles 65”. Each disc was housed in it’s original sleeve, and thanks to the scant running time of these one-time US only releases, it was therefore possible to include both the mono and stereo mixes of each album onto each individual disc. Aficionados got quite excited, because several of the tracks included had - on the original vinyl release - been “altered” for the US market, and these unique American-only mixes were retained for the versions in the boxset. The individual Wikipedia pages for these four albums give further details as to what tracks were revamped for America.
A second boxset appeared in 2006, which included the next four Capitol releases - the aforementioned “Early Beatles”, “Beatles VI” and the “chopped up” US versions of “Help” and “Rubber Soul”. Early pressings contained the incorrect mono versions of several of these albums (essentially, the stereo mixes reprocessed to “sound” mono, ie. “fold down mixes”, as opposed to using the properly-mixed-into-mono mixes that were originally prepared by Capitol in the mid 60s). The only way of telling which version you have, is to buy one and check the running time of discs 2 and 4. Alternatively, it may be easier to purchase the records released individually from the 2014 US boxset, as these use not only the correct mono mixes, but also include - where they exist - more “US only” versions. “Beatles VI” (Apple B0019705-02) and “The Early Beatles” (Apple B0019704-02) are obviously essential because of their non-UK nature, but beyond it’s inclusion of the “James Bond” intro, “Help“ is less interesting - mainly because the UK release included extra songs, but also because the current (and 1987) stereo CD release of the UK version is a specially commissioned Martin remix did in 1986. This means if you are going to buy any other copy of “Help” aside from your standard remixed UK CD version, it really should be the original UK mono LP, especially as it includes extra tracks not on the original US release (they were shoehorned onto other albums, admittedly). “Rubber Soul” is worth a punt though, as several tracks were issued in completely different mixes in the US on the stereo edition, when compared to the same songs found on the UK version (Apple B0019707-02).
The aforementioned 2014 “US Albums” boxset was designed to tidy the whole thing up. Some people have claimed, or heard quotes, that where an album had previously included a unique US mono and/or stereo mix, the version included was the UK mono/stereo mix instead. Last time I looked, the Wikipedia article for “Yesterday And Today” did, at one point, claim that the “early” mixes of the three “Revolver” tracks had been replaced by the standard UK versions - my hearing just isn’t that good enough to fully be able to tell the difference or not - but it was later altered to suggest that this was not the case, and that all of the 2014 reissues went down the same route as the two earlier boxsets by using the original US mixes. I understand that, where the differences were minor, the UK remasters prepared for the 2009 reissue campaign were used to boost the sound quality (and were then subjected to a 2014 re-remaster!) but that in essence, they are more or less the same as the versions released before, and the individual tracks that made the original US releases special DO remain in situ. Trouble is, the boxset is obviously going to cost quite a lot of money to shell out for in one go, and several of the discs are a bit pointless, so it may be easier to cherry pick the ones you want - there is a “documentary” style album, which many of you will undoubtedly have no interest in listening to, whilst nothing on the edited “Revolver” sounds any different to the regular UK edition(s), and it - of course - comes in the same sleeve. Futhermore, “Revolver” is missing “I’m Only Sleeping”, which was issued in the UK in different versions in both mono and stereo, meaning these particular mixes are not even available on a current Beatles US CD. My choice? The first 4-CD box set, individual releases of the three “proper” albums from the second, and the 2014 reissues of “YAT” and “Hey Jude”. Everything else, IMO, is really for the hardcore completists only.
The story of mono and stereo mixes in the UK is yet another story in the Beatles canon, and the aforementioned JPGR site will give more info as to what was altered for stereo in the early days, and for mono in the middle years. In many instances, where a track had appeared in a wildly alternate form in stereo on a UK album, it was ALSO included on the accompanying US album release (see “Please Please Me”, as available on “The Early Beatles”). As such, buying the suggested releases above (plus the original vinyl pressing of the “Red” album, with it’s stereo mixes of “Help” and “A Hard Days Night”), on top of the albums in the “Bread Bin”, will do the job (plus, a stereo original of “Rubber Soul“ - another one tarted up by Martin 1986) - but only so far. Come “Revolver”, and the US and UK were starting to align themselves, and once we got to 1967, the EMI releases in the UK were matching the Capitol ones...as long as we ignore George Harrison’s claim that the US “Sgt Pepper” sounded different - something to do with the mastering technique, rather than special remixes being used.
So, given that The Beatles continued to issue alternate mixes on the mono copies of their latter period albums, all of which appeared in the Bread Bin boxset in STEREO, and being there are no US album releases of these titles because they matched the UK ones, where do you go next?
Let’s just recap for a moment. All of the band’s initial UK albums were issued in both mono and stereo. But by the time they had issued their self titled masterpiece in 1968, mono was starting to be seen as old hat. So everything that followed - the Beatles/Martin “Yellow Submarine” soundtrack, “Abbey Road” and “Let It Be” - were thus issued in stereo only. When it came to putting the band onto CD in 87, the decision was taken to release the UK albums, as these matched the band’s original vision for the music, and records were issued in stereo or mono, depending on what was considered to be the “standard” format at the time of the original release. So, the pre-1965 albums (everything up to “Beatles For Sale”) appeared on CD in mono, and everything thereafter in stereo.
In 1988, the two “Past Masters” releases tied up the loose ends, with virtually everything included in stereo, apart from a handful of songs in mono, seemingly because that was all that was available. On Volume 1, the first five songs were in mono (tracks lifted from some of the band‘s earliest 45‘s), on Volume 2 it was just the final song “You Know My Name”. The 1993 CD reissue of the “Red” album buggered things up, by using 1987 remixes where they existed instead of the 1965 original mixes of material from “Help” and “Rubber Soul”.
The 2009 reissue campaign was designed to try and improve the “poor sounding” 1987 releases (I personally thought they sounded fine), and the first wave of reissues were stereo revamps of the band’s back catalogue. Having previously been issued in mono in 87, this meant these configurations of “PPM”, “With The Beatles”, “A Hard Days Night” and “For Sale” were now appearing in this mix for the first time since their 1973 vinyl reissues. The remainder were simply reissues of already available CD albums, with “Help” and “Rubber Soul” surfacing again in the remixed form.
A rejigged “Past Masters” was also issued, merging the two existing volumes into one and using a slightly altered front cover. As before, everything was in stereo most of the time, and the stuff that was in mono remained in mono - except for the inclusion of stereo mixes this time around of “From Me To You” and “Thank You Girl”. Quite where they had been back in 1988, who knows.
As well as being issued individually, these reissues were also included in a boxset. It was one of two issued at the same time, the other being “The Beatles In Mono”. This included reissues of all of the Beatles albums that had originally appeared in mono, meaning that this time around, the six album run from “Help” to “The White Album” were making it onto CD in this mix for the first time, at least in the UK variation. “Help” and “Rubber Soul” also included their original 1965 stereo mixes, a nice touch, but a bit of an odd thing to do in a “Mono” boxset. There we go.
The big selling point here is really the reissues of “Revolver” onwards, as most of these albums included mixes on the mono pressings that differed to their stereo counterparts, and was the first time these had been made available again since a set of mono vinyl repressings had been conducted in 1982. Furthermore, unlike those ‘early years material’ stereo revamps, these were mixes that had obviously not been swept up by the Capitol Albums boxsets, but having to buy a boxset to get them seemed a bit cheeky. An even more expensive vinyl only boxset was issued in 2014, but this time around, the albums were also sold individually - using their original labels and catalogue numbers, but each originally shrinkwrapped with a “Beatles In Mono” information sticker on the front, along with the barcode - allowing the original 60s artwork to be faithfully reproduced. The ones to go for from this period are “Revolver” (Apple PMC 7009), “Sgt Pepper” (Apple PMC 7027) and “The Beatles” (Apple PMC 7067/8). The latter is currently valued at about £40, with the others at the £25-£30 mark. Sometimes, going for one of the earlier mono pressings can be more rewarding financially, I got hold of my mono “Help” for about £7 (including postage!) very recently.
An alternative version of the “Past Masters” set was included in the boxset, before being reissued - on vinyl only - in 2014, entitled “Mono Masters” (Apple 6025 3773 451 1). Basically, this takes the same approach as “PM” (single edits, b-sides, foreign language tunes, etc) that weren’t on the regular studio albums, and includes them here in their mono mix form (meaning an overlap with a few things from “Past Masters“ at times). Certain tracks never mixed into mono are thus absent, but the big selling point here is the inclusion of four songs from “Yellow Submarine”. After the soundtrack album had come in for a bit of a kicking, the band considered issuing the “new” songs from the album on an EP, and dutifully prepared special mono mixes of these songs (and “Across The Universe”) for the release. The release was cancelled, and the mixes stuck back in the vaults. “Mono Masters” was the first time they had appeared, and whilst I genuinely can’t tell you just how different they are to the originals, they do sound fabulously clear. “MM” was issued as a triple LP in a tri-fold sleeve, but really has a running time equivalent to that of “The White Album” and is thus also valued at around the £40 mark at present.
I wouldn’t really claim to be a Beatles expert - this article is really me trying to list what I have read elsewhere on the internet in easy to read form for my own benefit - but hopefully this does go someway to explaining the reasoning behind the reissuing of material that, theoretically, people already owned, over the last decade. Now, where’s that CD reissue of “The Hollywood Bowl”?
Sunday, 15 February 2015
My wife is a bit older than me, and her claim to fame is that she used to live with various stars of the indie world from the 80s. She has flexi discs of bands where she used to know the bass player or something, and because I am younger, they are from before my time - I have never heard of any of them.
There is a possibility you may be thinking the same thing here - either you have stumbled onto this page and are thinking, “who?”, or perhaps you are genuinely here because you like Echobelly. But it’s been nearly 20 years - yes, really - since they were regular chart botherers and Top Of The Pops guests, and so for the current crop of indie kids, this is probably totally over your heads. But it’s not just me who is showing interest in this band at the moment. Their first two albums were both reissued in expanded form last year, suggesting that there is a fan base still around who are interested in such things.
Like Sleeper, Echobelly emerged as part of the “scene that wasn’t a scene”, where the music papers lumped all of the female fronted bands emerging in the UK in the early nineties into one big pot. But Echobelly were slightly different. In singer Sonya Aurora Madan, they had one of the few popstars who had an ethnic background, as she had been born in Delhi before moving to the UK as a child. Even without trying, it gave Echobelly something of a USP that other guitar bands simply didn’t have. Madan would reference her “immigrant” status on several occasions in her lyrics, as well as being photographed for a magazine article in a customized T-shirt which read “England - My Home Too”. She formed the band with a Swedish guitarist she had met in 1990 called Glenn Johansson, and between them, they would remain the nucleus of the band for their entire career.
The first line up of the group was a five piece which included ex-Curve guitarist, Debbie Smith. In 1993, they signed a one-single deal with indie label Pandemonium, and released an EP called “Bellyache”. The title track was later re-recorded for the band’s debut album (indeed, re-recorded songs of everything else on the EP later surfaced across various releases) and the interest surrounding the EP led to the band signing a deal with Rhythm King, an indie label of sorts but one who were bankrolled by Epic Records. The band‘s music was due to come out on the Fauve label, an imprint which seemed to have been set up exclusively to release the band‘s material.
The first single release on Rhythm King/Fauve was the “Insomniac” single, accompanied by a promo video in which Madan wore another customized t-shirt as an anti racist statement (a white shirt with a big union jack on the front, with the scribbled “my country too” legend across the middle). Musically, it slotted in with the better ranks of the upcoming Britpop crowd, nice bouncy guitar pop, but in Madan, they had a singer with a smooth-as-honey voice, which automatically gave them an advantage that, say, Marion didn’t have. Many critics noted that the vibe of the single recalled The Smiths and Morrissey - both he and the band were mutual admirers of each other.
The single got some late night MTV rotation, and only just failed to hit the top 40. It raised the band’s profile just enough to create interest in the group, and the follow up single, the gloriously catchy - and tongue in cheek - “I Can’t Imagine The World Without Me” became their first top 40 hit. Helped, possibly, by different formats coming in different sleeves, it again showed that the band were not just second rate Britpop - the intro is a simple drum beat, that suddenly speeds up and breaks into some high energy guitar pop, whilst the middle eight has an almost Sgt Pepper-esque brass driven interlude. In these days of Professor Green and Ed Sheeran, it actually sounds even more left field and better now than it did in 1994.
Debut album “Everyone’s Got One” (initials, “EGO” - very clever) may not have reinvented the indie wheel, but it’s a glorious blast of guitar pop, that more than stands up alongside it’s rivals, and did actually pre-date the likes of Sleeper’s “Smart” and Pulp‘s “Different Class“. It was much loved by the press, being listed in “albums of the year” polls in the NME, Melody Maker and the much missed Select. It created a wave of interest that went way beyond the UK, with the likes of Madonna and REM expressing their adoration for the band. The album went top 10, although another single designed to plug the album, “Close”, stalled outside the top 40 when issued at the tail end of the year.
By the following summer, Echobelly were ready to return with their second album, “On”. The joyously upbeat romp that was “Great Things” was issued as lead single from the album, and was promoted by a now (in)famous TOTP appearance, where Sonya dressed up as a saucy schoolgirl - which I seem to recall incurred the rath of the feminist brigade, whilst simultaneously delighting the indie boys (and perhaps, some of the indie girls). Nobody was holding a gun to her head, and the Melody Maker were obviously not that fussed, even using an image of Sonya in said get-up on a free poster some time later (I think she may have reused this outfit on tour, and the picture was actually from a period gig). In a blatant attempt to push the single into the upper reaches of the charts, it was issued on two different CD editions, each laden with bonus tracks, including two which referenced the forthcoming long-player (“On Turn Off” and “On Turn On”). It worked - the single dented the top 20, and to date, remains the band’s highest charting single.
A promo CD, entitled “4 Track Sampler From The Forthcoming LP”, was released in industry circles, which included the band’s next two singles - the equally euphoric guitar pop of “King Of The Kerb” and the almost psychedelically trippy “Dark Therapy”. For the latter, the band logo which had been in situ from “EGO” onwards was abandoned, and it became the first single from the LP which was not issued on two CD editions, the band obviously having run out of what it considered to be suitable B-sides. As for “On”, it garnered the same positive reviews that the debut record had, but that didn’t stop bass player Alex Keyser from leaving the group once the promo campaign was over.
After a UK tour in Feb 1996, and a trawl around the festival circuit that summer, the band went relatively quiet due to “various issues”. Rhythm King changed their label association to join up with Arista, but the band were unhappy with the decision, and so moved “sideways” onto Epic. With a new bass player in the form of James Harris, the group’s next album was 1997’s “Lustra”, previewed by two singles, “The World Is Flat” and “Here Comes The Big Rush”, the latter the subject of a radio edit mix that remained commercially unreleased, and also the subject of much remixing for the CD2 edition of the single.
All variant pressings of the singles, and the album, came in similar packaging - the band name and record title printed on a piece of card being held up to the camera, with various background images just visible behind the card depending on what release it was. The band’s profile, having been raised through their Britpop links, saw them getting TV slots on mainstream shows like “The Jack Docherty Show”, but maintaining the interest of all the media outlets was getting hard. “Here Comes The Big Rush” failed to make the top 40, despite being “new” material, as the new album was released a week or two later, and the band seemed to grind to a halt. After the release of “Lustra”, Smith left the group and the band were dropped by Epic after the album also failed to get into the top 40.
The band initially disappeared into the void that is the “where are they now” pile. But come 2001, and the group returned with a new EP, “Digit”, on their own Fry Up record label. Three of the four songs were later included on the band’s fourth LP, “People Are Expensive”, which spawned two further single releases, “Tell Me Why” and a remixed “Kali Yuga“. The latter release included re-recorded versions of two of the songs that had appeared on the band’s debut EP, which sort of brought the story full circle. The band lineup continued to shuffle about, James Harris leaving and being replaced by new bassist Ruth Owen before the release of a fifth LP, 2004’s now hard to find “Gravity Pulls”.
Since then, it has mostly gone even more quiet. The band seemed to just disintegrate, no “official” announcement was ever made about their demise (or not), and Sonya and Glenn formed a new band, Calm Of Zero, that seemed to struggle to get off the ground. In recent years, they have performed informally under the Echobelly banner, one would guess that’s quite a good way to sell more tickets, but the future seemed slightly uncertain as to which group was going to continue. But in mid January, news filtered through that the band were one of a number of groups appearing at the 90s-indie-centric “Gigantic” festival. Totally retro perhaps, but anything to rescue us from the horror of Bruno Mars has to be applauded.
Anybody starting afresh with Echobelly, or for the completists amongst you, will be well advised - for the first two albums - to go for the expanded reissues on Cherry Red. Each come with a bonus disc of B-sides and radio session material, but contrary to popular belief, the session material is NOT all previously unreleased. The expanded “EGO” (2xCD, Cherry Red 3RANGE 24) includes material that had in fact appeared on music paper freebies in the first half of the 90’s, with “Father Ruler King Computer” having previously appeared on “Select Tracks 2” (Cassette, no cat no) and “Give Her A Gun” on “Hold On” (CD, MM/BBC CD 97-99). Still, that does leave two tracks exclusive to this reissue, so indulge yourself.
The amount of bonus material generated by “On” means that the reissue of that one adds bonus tracks to disc 1, alongside the second disc of rarities (2xCD, Cherry Red 3RANGE 25). Disc 2 includes material from the band’s gig in New York on 9th September 1995, which includes everything from the CD2 edition of the “King Of The Kerb” single, plus more. As nice as this all is, it still doesn’t tick all the boxes, as more material from freebie music paper releases are not included - such as the Mark Lamarr session version of “Car Fiction” which was included on two different “Vox” magazine freebies, and the demo of “Pantyhose And Roses” included on the Melody Maker’s “Basement Tapes” in late 1996.
I have listed below the original album releases, for those of you who are interested - of course, three of these are still the only versions available. As for the 45’s, I have listed all formats that will be of interest to anybody owning/wishing to own the Cherry Red releases, if not, you will see it was usually the 12”/CD editions that originally included most of the rarities, with only a handful of 7” releases being excitable pressings at the time. There have also been a few best of sets, “I Can’t Imagine The World Without Me” and the obviously titled “The Best Of”.
Everyone’s Got One (LP, Fauve FAUV 3 LP, some copies with poster [FAUV 3 LPS])
Everyone’s Got One (Cassette, Fauve FAUV 3 C)
Everyone’s Got One (CD, Fauve FAUV 3 CD)
On (LP + 7”, Fauve FAUV 6 LX, 7“ includes selected b-sides from “Great Things“ single, later copies omit the freebie [FAUV 6 LP])
On (Cassette, Fauve FAUV 6 C)
On (CD, Fauve FAUV 6 CD)
Lustra (Cassette, Epic 488967 4)
Lustra (CD, Epic 488967 2)
People Are Expensive (CD, Fry Up FRYUPCD 003)
Gravity Pulls (CD, Fry Up/Takeout TRCD 1003-2)
Bellyache EP: Bellyache/Sleeping Hitler/Give Her A Gun/I Don’t Belong Here (12“, Pandemonium PANN 3)
Bellyache EP: Bellyache/Sleeping Hitler/Give Her A Gun/I Don’t Belong Here (CD, Pandemonium PANN CD 3)
Insomniac/Talent (7”, Fauve FAUV 1)
Insomniac/Centipede/Talent (12“, Fauve FAUV 1-T)
Insomniac/Centipede/Talent (CD, Fauve FAUV 1 CD)
I Can’t Imagine The World Without Me/Venus Wheel (7”, Fauve FAUV 2)
I Can’t Imagine The World Without Me/Sober/Venus Wheel (12”, Fauve FAUV 2-T, unique p/s)
I Can’t Imagine The World Without Me/Sober/Venus Wheel (CD, Fauve FAUV 2 CD, unique p/s)
Close...But/So La Di Da (7”, Fauve FAUV 4)
Close...But/So La Di Da (Cassette, Fauve FAUV 4 C)
Close...But/So La Di Da/I Can’t Imagine The World Without Me (Evening Session Version)/Cold Feet Warm Heart (Evening Session Version) (12“, Fauve FAUV 4-T, initial copies in sealed “mailer envelope“ pack with poster, badge and sticker)
Close...But/So La Di Da/I Can’t Imagine The World Without Me (Evening Session Version)/Cold Feet Warm Heart (Evening Session Version) (CD, Fauve FAUV 4 CD)
Great Things/Here Comes The Scene (Cassette, Fauve FAUV 5 C, red sleeve)
Great Things/Here Comes The Scene/God’s Guest List/On Turn Off (CD1, Fauve FAUV 5 CD)
Great Things/On Turn On/Bunty/One After 5am (CD2, Fauve FAUV 5 CDX, different p/s)
King Of The Kerb/Car Fiction (French Version)/On Turn On (Acoustic Version)/Natural Animal (Acoustic Version) (CD1, Fauve FAUV 7 CD)
King Of The Kerb (Live NYC Wetlands)/I Can’t Imagine The World Without Me (Live NYC Wetlands)/Insomniac (Live NYC Wetlands)/Great Things (Live NYC Wetlands) (CD2, Fauve FAUV 7 CDX, unique p/s)
Dark Therapy (Single Version)/We Know Better (Blue Vinyl 7”, Fauve FAUV 8, sleeve lists extra b-sides by accident)
Dark Therapy (Single Version)/We Know Better/Atom/Aloha Lolita (CD, Fauve FAUV 8 CD)
The World Is Flat/Holding The Wire/The World Is Flat (Remix) (CD1, Epic 664815 2)
The World Is Flat/Drive Myself Distracted/Falling Flame (CD2, Epic 664815 5, different p/s)
Here Comes The Big Rush/Tesh/Mouth Almighty (CD1, Epic 665245 2)
Here Comes The Big Rush (LP Version)/(Dave Angel Vocal Mix)/(Dave Angel Instrumental)/(Midfield General Vocal Remix)/(Midfield General Dub) (CD2, Epic 665245 5, different p/s)
Digit EP: Kali Yuga/Digit/Kathmandu/A Map Is Not The Territory (CD, Fry Up FRYUPCD 001)
Tell Me Why/I Am Awake/When I See Red (CD, Fry Up FRYUPCD 002)
Kali Yuga (Remix)/Sleeping Hitler (New Version)/I Don’t Belong Here (New Version) (CD, Fry Up FRYUPCD 004)
Sunday, 4 January 2015
There have long been stories of Prince attempting to shut down websites which use his image, or which use imagery connected to him. So for some time, I figured I would have to avoid doing a Prince blog. But given that sites like Discogs have photos of all his records, I thought “well, if they can get away with it, so can I”. Because I have decided I can no longer not talk about this man. Because Prince is a genius.
In May last year, I saw Prince play in Birmingham as part of his “Hit And Run Part 2” tour, a tour notable for tickets going on sale just days, or weeks, rather than months, in advance, with the tour itself being a mix of impossible to get into secret club gigs, and larger (but still sell out shows in) arenas, but all with one common feature - the Purple one reminding people just how incredible he is.
A magnificent concoction of (at least) James Brown, Stevie Wonder and Jimi Hendrix, Prince is monumentally talented. During that Birmingham show, he played - at various points - lead guitar, keyboards and bass. He opened the show with a 4-song whammy of “Let’s Go Crazy”, “Take Me With U”, “Raspberry Beret” and “U Got The Look” - impressive, you have to admit. He pulled out routinely magnificent guitar solos throughout, and after the closing “Purple Rain”, as the house lights went up and people started to file out, he came back on, and rattled through a 20 minute heavy funk encore including “I Would Die 4 U”, “What’s My Name” and “Housequake”. It looked like he was just going to carry on playing all night, and as the staff tried to clean the venue, the now half full arena witnessed a man at the top of his game. It was quite incredible to witness. It was astonishing to watch. It will remain in my memory forever.
When the Glasto organisers then announced they were going to reveal their Saturday night headliner once “contractual issues” had been sorted, it seemed like obvious code for “Prince is headlining”. After all, there had been rumours about him playing there for years, and with the man about to release a new LP, it all made sense. So imagine the shock and disbelief that greeted the announcement that it was Metallica who were playing instead. Once the final arena shows in the UK were completed, everybody was in total agreement - the Eavis’s had missed a trick by not booking Prince. Although it was later claimed Prince had been semi-booked, and then pulled out, because he had only wanted to play as a sort of “surprise” act, and the circulating rumours meant it wasn’t going to be so much of a surprise if he actually did play. Shame - he would have outshone the entire 3 day long bill.
So to celebrate the man’s highly successful return to the world stage, it is time I think to look at the releases in the UK by the master of P-Funk. There is a brief career overview, detailing most of the important Prince album releases since he emerged in the late 70s. Catalogue numbers are given of the standard pressings of these albums, in most cases, these are the same copies you are likely to still find on the net or in your local record emporium. Prince has rarely ever gone back and reissued old records, instead preferring to always look to the future. At the end is a list of Prince UK Singles, and just looking at some of those A-sides should remind you just how much of a towering presence he has had over so many of his contemporaries during the 80s and 90s. Oh and the image above, of course, is the Batman logo, meaning I have technically managed to do a blog without using a genuine Prince image. Just as cheeky and subversive as the man himself, I might say.
Prince’s debut LP, “For You” (CD, Warner Bros 7599 27348 2), went relatively unnoticed when it was issued in 1978. In the USA, it was promoted soon after it’s release by the release of Prince’s debut US 45, “Soft And Wet”, but in the UK, Warners opted to release no singles from it at all. Instead, the debut UK Prince 45 was 1979’s “I Wanna Be Your Lover”, issued to promote his second album, simply titled “Prince” (CD, Warner Bros 7599 27404 2), a record that was noticeable for the inclusion of “I Feel For You”, later popularised by Chaka Khan. “I Wanna Be Your Lover” was issued in a standard Warner Brothers bag, rather than a picture cover, and just failed to hit the top 40.
By the time Prince issued 1980’s “Dirty Mind” (CD, Warner Bros 7599 27408 2), the Purple one was starting to get a reputation as something of a pop perv, posing on the cover in some tight briefs, and recording songs like “Head”. Come 1981’s “Controversy” (CD, Warner Bros 7599 23601 2), and he was beginning to use his own “shortened” alphabet, by using single numbers or letters instead of full blown words (“Jack U Off”). Meanwhile, the near success of “I Wanna Be Your Lover” had been followed by a never ending run of flop singles, including the stand alone “Gotta Stop”, all of which are now worth a few quid due to their rarity status.
In 1982, Prince formed a new band, called Prince And The Revolution, the first of a number of outfits that would feature Prince as the front man - although many of the releases by these bands were still marketed as if they were Prince solo outings. He/they immediately hit pay dirt with “1999” (CD, Warner Bros 7599 23720 2), the beginning of a decade long run of hit singles, mega selling albums, and critical adoration. Originally issued as a double LP, some countries opted to release a bizarre “highlights” mini album, including the UK (LP, Warner Bros W 3809).
1984’s “Purple Rain” (CD, Warner Bros 7599 25110 2) saw Prince attempt a dual career as a pop star and movie star, and was the first of several studio records to double up as the soundtrack to his latest movie, although in most cases, the critical reactions to the LP’s have survived the intervening years better than the reaction to the films. 1985’s “Around The World In A Day” (CD, Warner Bros 7599 25286 2) was the first album to be co-released on his own Paisley Park imprint, with a song of the same title appearing on side 1 of the album. It was also released as a UK single, where selected copies of the 12” were mispressed, and featured one of the B-sides twice. It was followed by 1986’s “Parade” (CD, Warner Bros 7599 25395 2), the soundtrack album to the “Under The Cherry Moon” film, and the last album by The Revolution.
For many, 1987’s “Sign O The Times” (2xCD, Warner Bros 7599 25577 2) remains Prince’s standout moment - an 80 plus minute exploration of futuristic, socially conscious, R&B (the title track), left field soul-pop (the gender spinning “If I Was Your Girlfriend”, “I Could Never Take The Place Of Your Man“) and hi energy uber-funk (“Hot Thing”, “Housequake”). But 1988’s “Lovesexy” (CD, Warner Bros 7599 25720 2) wasn’t too far behind, with lead single “Alphabet Street” a genius piece of minimalist dance-pop. Whilst a lot of acts struggled to come to terms with 80s technology, and often ended up issuing wildly overproduced and bland offerings, Prince was simply able to use the technology perfectly to create music that was leaving his contemporaries in the shade - I’m sorry, but “Bad” had nothing on what Prince was doing at the same time.
The turn of the late 80s/early 90s saw Prince back in soundtrack land again, staring with 1989’s “Batman” (CD, Warner Bros 7599 25936 2), an album that has been somewhat lost in time, partly due to licensing issues preventing singles from the album to ever be reused on subsequent compilation albums. Shame, because the movie sampling lead 45 “Batdance” is astounding, all slap bass, funky guitar, and as innovative as a single as you will ever hear. 1990’s “Graffiti Bridge” (CD, Warner Bros 7599 25395 2) was also plugged as a Prince solo effort, but is actually the first soundtrack album to feature singers other than the man himself, but given he is all over the record in other ways (producer, arranger, composer, and indeed seemingly playing all instruments), it’s always been viewed as the follow up to “Batman”, and is an essential buy as the majority of the Prince songs are unavailable anywhere else. (Note: A later soundtrack to the “Girl 6” movie, in 1996, despite also being heavily indebted to Prince, was instead issued as a “Various Artists” set, as a number of ‘non-Prince sung’ songs got included, and the only genuine Prince songs were old hits. Even a single released with Prince on co-lead vocals was credited instead to “The New Power Generation“).
But 1991 did seem to herald a real comeback, as if these albums weren’t really “proper” Prince albums, and Prince returned with the sublime “Diamonds And Pearls” (CD, Warner Bross 7599 25379 2), which was also issued in some countries in a “3D” hologram sleeve. It veered between beautiful laid back vintage soul (“Money Don’t Matter 2 Night”, the title track) and deliciously filthy smut (the incendiary groove driven monster that is “Gett Off”). By now, Prince was fronting another “new” band, the aforementioned New Power Generation.
The fall from grace, if you want to call it that, that has sort of overshadowed Prince’s career in the last 20 years, can be traced back to 1992’s untitled album, which featured no name but simply a logo which was designed to be a cross between the male and female gender symbols, earlier versions of which had featured on older Prince records and memorabilia. The album is generally thus known as “Lovesymbol” (CD, Warner Bros 9362 45037 2), again issued in snazzy packaging Stateside (a big, thick, gold box, with the symbol emblazoned on the front). Despite featuring some monumental pieces of faultless P-Funk (the riotous “My Name Is Prince”, the catchy ultra sleaze of “Sexy MF”), Prince came to view the sales of the album as something of a failure, and laid the blame at Warner Brothers door for not promoting the album properly.
Prince and the label were not really seeing eye to eye now, and after some years of trying, Warners finally managed to release a greatest hits album the following year - against his wishes. In fact, they managed two - “The Hits 1” (CD, Warner Bros 9362 45431 2) and “The Hits 2”, (CD, Warner Bros 9362 45435 2), which both provided a non chronological overview of the man’s entire career, and both included new songs, album mixes and single edits. Amongst the “new” songs was a cover of (his own) “Nothing Compares 2 U”, originally written for another of Prince’s pet projects, the mid 80s outfit The Family, and included on their first (and last) LP in 1985. The performance on “The Hits” was from a recent live gig, whilst a triple disc release called “The Hits / The B Sides” (3xCD, Warner Bros 9362 45440 2) coupled together both albums with a third CD of selected B-sides - several songs were omitted, whilst to avoid repetition, where a particular flipside had been subjected to an extended remix, it was the “original” short version that got the nod. Anybody trying to find an entry point into the man’s career should really start with this one, as it is near flawless. In the UK, several singles were issued to plug the records, including a repressing of previous chart flop “Controversy”. The singles were issued as 2-CD sets including hits that had failed to get onto the main LPs, with “Controversy” coming backed with a remix of “Batman” track “The Future”, which had appeared as a single in it’s own right in Germany in 1990.
And so now the problems really kicked in in earnest. Warners were worried that Prince was simply recording too much, and cited “market saturation” as their excuse to try and get him to reign his creative juices in. He changed his named to the Lovesymbol, I understand, as a way to try and get around it - Warners had signed “Prince” in 1978, not “The Symbol”. His next Warners effort, 1994’s “Come” (CD, Warner Bros 9362 45700 2), an album consisting of songs with one word titles only, famously came in a sleeve of the man standing in front of some cemetery gates, and featured the legend “1958-1993”, signifying the death of Prince, and his rebirth as “The Artist Formerly Known As Prince”, or “TAFKAP” as most people tried to pronounce it. “The Artist” got adopted as a shorter alternate version, and at one point, fans even began referring to him as “Victor”, after a song title on the “Lovesymbol” LP called “The Sacrifice Of Victor”. The first release as “TAFKAP” had surfaced earlier that year, when Prince was able to make arrangements for the release of the stand alone “The Most Beautiful Girl In The World” single on his own NPG record label. It became the biggest hit he had had for some years, although there were stories of mass purchasing of the single being conducted by people close to the label to help push the single skywards up the charts, as a sort of two fingered salute to Warners. A remix EP, “The Beautiful Experience”, surfaced several months later.
In an attempt to try and riggle out of his Warners deal, Prince authorised the release of 1988’s unreleased LP “The Black Album” (CD, Warner Bros 9362 45793 2), pulled in favour of “Lovesexy” for being too dark, but now prepped for release so he would be one LP nearer to fulfilling his contract. It was marketed as a limited edition pressing, and sold quite poorly, and is one of the more obscure pieces of the back catalogue. In 1995, “The Most Beautiful Girl” was included on the first Warners release by TAFKAP, who had now taken to scribbling the legend “SLAVE” onto his face as another form of anti-Warners propaganda. That record was the critically acclaimed “The Gold Experience” (CD, Warners 9362 45999 2), and Prince toured the UK for the last time (save for occasional London dates) for what would be a nearly 20 year long gap. Several more singles were released from the LP, but all appeared on the Warners imprint, as opposed to being issued independently by NPG. However, in an attempt to get more material out ‘whilst they weren’t looking’, Prince adopted another persona called Tora Tora, and had a number of new songs recorded by The New Power Generation, who included Tora Tora as part of their line up. They released an album that year called “Exodus” (CD, NPG 0061032NPG), which featured Prince throughout, although most lead vocals (but not all) were handled by another member of the NPG. Prince appeared as “Tora Tora” on UK TV, wearing a chain mail mask, and usually conducting “interviews” where he didn’t speak, but let the rest of the band speak for him. Presumably another Warners related “thing”. Despite not handling lead vocals on it, the single “Get Wild” was played on several TV shows at the time, with “Tora Tora” on lead, if my memory serves me correctly. The singles discography below lists the NPG singles from this period, as I consider them an important part of Prince history.
Prince’s/Tora Tora’s get out of jail card was played on Warners with 1996’s “Chaos And Disorder” (CD, Warner Bros 9362 46317 2), another near forgotten record that felt a bit like a quickfire grab bag of leftovers, done to escape from the shackles of the majors. The album disappeared from view quite quickly, although Warners did try to promote it with the “Dinner With Delores” single, even though B-sides were not forthcoming and they had to pad the release out with tracks from the album. No sooner had that one surfaced than Prince, now free to resume releasing material on his own NPG imprint, appeared with - get this - a triple album, the 3 hour long “Emancipation” (3xCD, NPG CDEMD 1102). Kate Bush made a cameo, the first time she had ventured near a recording studio for two years, and although it had a sort of home made, slightly messy feel to it (the artwork looked quite enthusiastic, but did seem as though it had been done on Microsoft Paint, obviously the art budget was less than they had at Warners), the UK release was actually conducted via another major label - EMI. The album was promoted by a cover of “Betcha By Golly Wow!”, representing the first time Prince had decided to record a cover for a studio record, issued as a AA with another track from the LP, “Right Back Here In My Arms”. In a deliberate chart assault by EMI, follow up 45 “The Holy River” turned up as another 2-CD set, with remixes of “Somebody’s Somebody” on the flipside.
Despite his desire to get away from Warners so he could release more music, Prince now actually suddenly went a bit quiet. He announced details of a mail order album called “Crystal Ball”, but copies would only be produced once enough pre orders were received to ensure it would not be made at a loss. As such, it was not until 1998 that “Crystal Ball” (4xCD, NPG CRCL 80005-8) finally surfaced. In an attempt to say sorry for the delay, the original triple album was bolstered by a fourth CD of acoustic recordings called “The Truth”. Retail copies came in both standard jewel casing, and in a “circular” ball design, whilst the mail order copies included a second bonus album, a fifth CD called “Kamasutra”, previously issued as a mail order only Cassette through NPG in 1997. “Crystal Ball” included a remix of an older promo only single called “Love Sign”, a duet with Nona Gaye that had previously appeared on the Prince-helmed Various Artists set, “1-800-NEW-FUNK”. This title related to a phone line that Prince had set up for the mail order releases, as was designed as a showcase for other acts on the NPG label. The same year saw another NPG release, “New Power Soul” (CD, RCA 74321 60598 2), this time with Prince on lead vocals throughout, and his image - minus mask - proudly displayed on the LP cover.
As 1999 approached, Prince material started trickling out from various places. Warners reissued 1999 (again) as a single, whilst Prince re-recorded it for the US only mini album “1999 - The New Master”. Another album of offcuts appeared on Warners titled “The Vault: Old Friends For Sale” (CD, Warner Bros 9362 47522 2), a curious record that seemed to have been issued without Prince’s input, but which consisted of songs that he seem to have authorised for release - at least one song got wheeled out for a subsequent tour. Prince’s next “proper” album was through another major, “Rave Un2 The Joy Fantastic” (CD, Arista 07822 14624 2), including a Sheryl Crow cover amongst other things, and housed in a strange plastic digipack sleeve, giving it - like “Emancipation” - a sort of “home made” feel (in my opinion). Prince was still sort of a little bit underground - lead single “The Greatest Romance” hadn’t been a huge seller, and the album stalled way outside the top 100 in the UK - but come the start of 2000, something happened. The Symbol got dropped, Prince became Prince again, and there seemed to be a bit of a buzz about the man once more. Warners even issued another Best-of set in 2001.
The next studio album was a genuine NPG label release, “The Rainbow Children” (CD, NPG 70004-2), issued in the USA and several overseas countries, but only available in the UK on import. Prince quite happily played chunks of it the following year when I saw him at the Hammersmith Apollo, although by this point, he had released a new mail order only album, the now impossible to find “One Nite Alone”. A live album documenting this tour, the triple disc “One Nite Alone...Live” (3xCD, NPG 2193 CD 0213/15) appeared at the end of the year, technically another US only import.
“One Nite Alone” (CD, NPG no catalogue number) was the first release of new material through the NPG Music Club, although a companion remix album to the “Rave Un2...” release had surfaced in 2001, entitled “Rave In2 The Joy Fantastic“ (CD, NPG 85337 20002). Thereafter, Prince began issuing material for downloading through the website, including several new “albums” such as 2003’s “Xpectation”. A number of “digital only” records surfaced in the intervening years, with the only physical release being 2003’s experimental “NEWS” (CD, NPG 85337 70712-8), an instrumental offering with just four songs (“North”, “East”, “West” and “South”) each exactly 14 minutes in length. This release had also started as a mail order only release, but even the retail copies are now hard to find. Prince continued to issue digital only albums through the club until it was closed in 2006.
In 2004, Prince signed to Columbia and issued “Musicology” (CD, Columbia 517165 2). This helped to really re-raise his profile, and he released his first proper UK single for some five years in the form of “Cinnamon Girl”, which nearly dented the top 40. Meanwhile, the LP went top 5, suggesting that Prince, with the help of a major label again, was starting to get his career back into public view in quite a big way. In 2006, he released the equally impressive “3121” (CD, MCA 985207 2), with several singles issued to help push it on it’s way, including the glorious minimalist funk strut of “Black Sweat”, possibly the best thing he had recorded in the last 20 years.
The album went top 10, and Prince was back. In 2007, he announced a series of shows at the enormodrome that is London’s O2, with tickets priced at £31.21. Every time the shows sold out, he added several more dates, resulting in a near month long residency. Not bad for somebody who was viewed to be dead and buried a decade before. The shows were later documented in a book called “21 Nights” - the number of shows he eventually ended up playing there - which included a free live CD inside called “Indigo Nights” (CD, Simon & Schuster/NPG ISBN 1847373836). Prince, for some years now, had been notorious for his secret gigs and after show parties, and played a number of such shows at the nearby Indigo club during the O2 period. The album was compiled from some of these shows, with live recordings of old songs, covers and brand new material.
The O2 shows were part of a tour dubbed the “Earth Tour”, relating to the fact that Prince had a new LP ready for release. “Planet Earth” (CD, NPG PrinceUP1) was famously given away as a newspaper freebie later the same year, which allegedly infuriated his UK label so much they dropped him. It was home to another fantastic latter period classic, the Led Zepp-esque “Guitar”, and the album was later given a proper release back in the USA on the NPG label, with enhanced artwork and with a slightly altered front cover image.
Warners, meanwhile, were still in the background. In 2006, they released the - admittedly quite good - “Ultimate Prince” (2xCD, Warner Bros 8122 73381 2), notable for including a second CD of hard to find 12” mixes. A number of Warners era singles were also reissued in the UK in 2007, using the same artwork and track listing (usually) as the originals, but with new catalogue numbers, making the likes of the extended mix of “Hello” available again on a “new” release for the first time in twenty odd years.
Thereafter, Prince once again decided to do things his own way. With the NPG site closed in 2006, and then “Planet Earth” surfacing the year after in the form it did, maybe he was now looking at how to issue new material outside of the usual channels. 2009 thus saw another “US only” release in the form of “Lotusflow3r” (3xCD, NPG 7586-CD). Reports somewhere suggest Warners arranged for European copies to be made available, but the copy I got from Amazon was the original NPG release. It consisted of two new albums, “Lotusflow3r” and “MPL Sound”, along with a bonus album by Prince’s - at the time - latest protégé, Bria Valente (following on from the likes of Carmen Electra). One of the songs, “Chocolate Box”, shares it’s name with an old Prince bootleg dating from the early 1990s.
Another newspaper freebie, was 2010’s - well - “20 Ten” (CD, NPG Up20TEN 001). Unlike “Planet Earth”, this one hasn’t been dished around so freely, and remains unavailable in the US. You do wonder if this was done deliberately to make up for the failure to release “Lotusflow3r” in the UK, or maybe, Prince just likes the idea of releasing oddball albums, and watching people scramble around trying to track them down. It was issued, still as a freebie, in several other European territories.
All of which brings up to now. The last few years have seen the release of various download singles, but it is only now that Prince and his latest band, 3rd Eye Girl, have actually released new material. Late 2014 saw the release of both a “normal” Prince LP, “Art Official Age” (CD, Warner Bros 9362 49333 0) and one credited to Prince & 3rd Eye Girl, “Plectrum Electrum” (CD, Warner Bros 9362 49444 5). A quick look at those cat numbers will show you he now seems to have made up with Warners, and seems quite happy to acknowledge his past. Whenever he plays, he will happily remind you that he has “lots of hits” - and that is indeed true. The last few years may have seen him come in and out of public view, but perhaps now, with 5 star reviews for that recent tour, we can confirm without a doubt that Prince is back.
OK, this is quite intense, but here we go. The basic albums are above, as discussed. Now follows the UK 45s. I have listed any Prince single that, when first issued, included something rare - a 7” edit, a 12” mix, or a non album B-side. I have then listed, where appropriate, a later release that hoovered up said rarity. If this means another, less important format, thus becomes more interesting, then this is also shown. Where a single exists but is simply absent, it is because it contained absolutely nothing rare at the time of release, other formats contain something important, and is thus omitted for clarity. Picture discs and singles in special sleeves are only noted where generally considered important enough to warrant a mention.
I Wanna Be Your Lover (Edit)/Just As Long As We’re Together (7”, Warner Bros K 17537, a-side later included on “The Hits 2“)
I Wanna Be Your Lover/Just As Long As We’re Together (12”, Warner Bros K 17537 T)
Sexy Dancer (12“ Version)/Bambi (12”, Warner Bros K 17590 T)
Do It All Night (Edit)/Head (7”, Warner Bros K 17768)
Do It All Night (Edit)/Head (12”, Warner Bros K 17768 T)
Gotta Stop/Uptown (Edit) (7”, Warner Bros K 17819, b-side later included on “The Hits 1“, later copies play “I Wanna Be Your Lover“ (Edit)” instead)
Gotta Stop/I Wanna Be Your Lover/Head (12”, Warner Bros LV 47, different p/s)
Controversy (Edit)/When U Were Mine (7”, Warner Bros K 17866, a-side later included on 1993 reissue)
Controversy/When U Were Mine (12”, Warner Bros K 17866 T)
Let’s Work (Edit)/Ronnie Talk To Russia (7”, Warner Bros K 17922)
Let’s Work (Dance Remix)/Ronnie Talk To Russia (12”, Warner Bros K 17922 T, a-side later included on “Ultimate Prince“)
1999 (Edit)/How Come U Don’t Call Anymore (7”, Warner Bros W9896, a-side later included on “The Hits 1“)
1999/How Come U Don’t Call Anymore/DMSR (12”, Warner Bros W9896 T)
1999/Uptown/Controversy/Dirty Mind/Sexuality (Cassette, Warner Bros W9896 C)
Little Red Corvette (Edit)/Horny Toad (7”, Warner Bros W9436, b-side later included on “The Hits / The B-Sides“)
Little Red Corvette/Horny Toad/DMSR (12”, Warner Bros W9436 T)
Little Red Corvette (Edit)/Lady Cab Driver (Edit) (7”, Warner Bros W9688, late ‘83 reissue in new p/s)
SINGLES 1983 - 1986
When Doves Cry (Edit)/17 Days (7”, Warner Bros W9286, a-side later included on “The Hits 1“)
When Doves Cry/17 Days (12”, Warner Bros W9286 T)
When Doves Cry/17 Days/1999/DMSR (2x12”, Warner Bros W9286 T / SAM 199)
Twelve Inches On Tape: When Doves Cry/17 Days/1999/DMSR (Cassette, Warner Bros W9286 C)
Let’s Go Crazy (Edit)/Take Me With U (7”, Warner Bros W2000)
Let’s Go Crazy (Special Dance Mix)/Take Me With U/Erotic City (12”, Warner Bros W2000 T, a-side later included on “Ultimate Prince“, b-side later included on “Girls & Boys“ 12-inch)
Purple Rain (Edit)/God (7”, Warner Bros W9174)
Purple Rain (Edit)/God (Shaped Picture Disc, Warner Bros W9174 P)
Purple Rain (12” Version)/God - Love Theme From Purple Rain/God (12”, Warner Bros W9174 T)
I Would Die 4 U (Single Version)/Another Lonely Christmas (7”, Warner Bros W9121, both tracks later included on “The Hits / The B-Sides“)
I Would Die 4 U (Single Version)/Another Lonely Christmas/Free (12”, Warner Bros W9121 T)
I Would Die 4 U (US Remix)/Another Lonely Christmas (US Remix) (Remix 12”, Warner Bros W9121 TE, unique p/s)
1999 (Edit)/Little Red Corvette (Edit) (7”, Warner Bros W1999)
1999/Little Red Corvette (12”, Warner Bros W1999 T)
Paisley Park/She’s Always In My Hair/Paisley Park (Remix) (12”, Warner Bros W9052 T, shaped picture disc also exists which plays first 2 tracks only)
Raspberry Beret/Hello (7”, Warner Bros W8929, b-side later included on “The Hits / The B-Sides“)
Raspberry Beret (New Mix)/Hello (Extended Remix) (12”, Warner Bros W8929 T)
Pop Life/Girl (7”, Warner Bros W8858, b-side later included on “The Hits / The B-Sides“)
Pop Life (Extended Version)/Girl (Extended Version) (12”, Warner Bros W8858 T)
Kiss (Single Version)/Love Or Money (7”, Warner Bros W8751, a-side later included on “The Hits 2“)
Kiss (Single Version)/Love Or Money (Shaped Picture Disc, Warner Bros W8751P)
Kiss (Extended Version)/Love Or Money (12”, Warner Bros W8751 T)
Mountains/Alexa De Paris (7”, Warner Bros W8711)
Mountains (Extended Version)/Alexa De Paris (Extended Version) (White Vinyl 10”, Warner Bros W8711 TE)
Girls & Boys (Edit)/Under The Cherry Moon (7”, Warner Bros W8586, a-side later included on “Peach“ CD2)
Girls & Boys (Edit)/Under The Cherry Moon/She’s Always In My Hair/17 Days (2x7”, Warner Bros W8586 F, b-sides later included on “The Hits / The B-Sides“)
Girls & Boys (Edit)/Under The Cherry Moon (Shaped Picture Disc, Warner Bros W8586 P)
Girls & Boys/Erotic City (12”, Warner Bros W8586 T)
Girls & Boys/Erotic City (12” + poster, Warner Bros W8586 TW)
Anotherloverholenyohead (Edit)/I Wanna Be Your Lover (Edit) (7”, Warner Bros W8521)
Anotherloverholenyohead (Edit)/I Wanna Be Your Lover (Edit) (Posterbag 7”, Warner Bros W8521 W)
Anotherloverholenyohead (Edit)/I Wanna Be Your Lover (Edit)/Mountains/Alexa De Paris (2x7”, Warner Bros W8521 F)
Anotherloverholenyohead (Extended Version)/I Wanna Be Your Lover (12”, Warner Bros W8521 T)
SINGLES 1987 - 1988
Sign O The Times (Edit)/La La La He He Hee (7”, Warner Bros W8399, both tracks later included on “The Hits / The B-Sides“)
Sign O The Times/La La La He He Hee (Highly Explosive) (12”, Warner Bros W8399 T)
Sign O The Times/La La La He He Hee (Highly Explosive) (12” Picture Disc, Warner Bros W8399 TP)
If I Was Your Girlfriend (Edit)/Shockadelica (7”, Warner Bros W8334, both tracks later included on “The Hits / The B-Sides“)
If I Was Your Girlfriend (Edit)/Shockadelica (Posterbag 7”, Warner Bros W8334 W)
If I Was Your Girlfriend (Edit)/Shockadelica (Pink Vinyl 7”, Warner Bros W8334 E)
If I Was Your Girlfriend/Shockadelica (Extended Version) (12”, Warner Bros W8334 T)
If I Was Your Girlfriend/Shockadelica (Extended Version) (12” Picture Disc, Warner Bros W8334 TP)
U Got The Look/Housequake (Edit) (7”, Warner Bros W8289)
U Got The Look/Housequake (Edit) (Cassette, Warner Bros W8289 C)
U Got The Look (Long Look)/Housequake (7 Minutes Moquake)/U Got The Look (12”, Warner Bros W8289 T)
U Got The Look (Long Look)/Housequake (7 Minutes Moquake)/U Got The Look (12” Picture Disc, Warner Bros W8289 TP)
I Could Never Take The Place Of Your Man (Fade)/Hot Thing (Edit) (7”, Warner Bros W8288, a-side later included on “The Hits 1“)
I Could Never Take The Place Of Your Man/Hot Thing (Edit)/(Extended Remix) (12”, Warner Bros W8288 T)
I Could Never Take The Place Of Your Man/Hot Thing (Edit)/(Extended Remix) (12” Picture Disc, Warner Bros W8288 TP)
Alphabet St (Edit)/(Part 2) (7”, Warner Bros W7900)
Alphabet St (Album Version)/(This Is Not Music This Is A Trip) (Cassette, Warner Bros W7900 C)
Alphabet St (Album Version)/(This Is Not Music This Is A Trip) (12”, Warner Bros W7900 T)
Alphabet St (Album Version)/(This Is Not Music This Is A Trip) (CD, Warner Bros W7900 CD)
Glam Slam (Edit)/Escape (Edit) (7”, Warner Bros W7806)
Glam Slam (Remix)/Escape (Free Yo Mind From This Rat Race) (12”, Warner Bros W7806 T)
Glam Slam (Edit)/Escape (Edit)/Glam Slam (Remix) (CD, Warner Bros W7806 CD)
I Wish U Heaven/Scarlet Pussy (Edit) (7”, Warner Bros W7745, b-side later included on “The Hits / The B-Sides")
I Wish U Heaven/Scarlet Pussy (Edit) (Posterbag 7”, Warner Bros W7745 W)
I Wish U Heaven (Parts 1, 2 & 3)/Scarlet Pussy (12”, Warner Bros W7745 T)
I Wish U Heaven (Parts 1, 2 & 3)/Scarlet Pussy (12” + poster, Warner Bros W7745 TW)
I Wish U Heaven (Parts 1, 2 & 3)/Scarlet Pussy (CD, Warner Bros W7745 CD)
Note: “Alphabet St” and “Glam Slam” were issued on vinyl in clear sleeves, meaning that the artwork between each format effectively differs.
SINGLES 1989 - 1990
Batdance (Edit)/200 Balloons (7”, Warner Bros W2924)
Batdance (Edit)/200 Balloons (Cassette, Warner Bros W2924 C)
Batdance (The Batmix)/(Vicky Vale Mix)/200 Balloons (12”, Warner Bros W2924 TX, Picture Disc also exists which replaces first two tracks with LP version only of “Batdance“)
Batdance (The Batmix)/(Vicky Vale Mix)/200 Balloons (CD, Warner Bros W2924 CDTX)
Partyman (The Video Mix)/Feel U Up (Long Stroke) (12”, Warner Bros W2814 T)
Partyman (The Video Mix)/Feel U Up (Long Stroke) (12” Picture Disc, Warner Bros W2814 TP)
Partyman (The Purple Party Mix)/(Partyman Music Mix)/(The Video Mix Edit)/Feel U Up (Short Stroke) (Remix 12”, Warner Bros W2814 TX)
Partyman (The Video Mix)/Feel U Up (Long Stroke) (CD, Warner Bros W2814 CD)
Partyman (The Video Mix)/Feel U Up (Long Stroke) (Collectors Edition CD, Warner Bros W2814 CDX)
Partyman (The Purple Party Mix)/(Partyman Music Mix)/(The Video Mix Edit)/Feel U Up (Short Stroke) (Remix CD, Warner Bros W2814 CDT)
The Arms Of Orion (Edit)/I Love U In Me (7”, Warner Bros W2757)
The Arms Of Orion (Edit)/I Love U In Me (Cassette, Warner Bros W2757 C)
The Arms Of Orion/I Love U In Me/The Arms Of Orion (Edit) (12”, Warner Bros W2757 T)
The Arms Of Orion/I Love U In Me/The Arms Of Orion (Edit) (CD, Warner Bros W2757 CD)
The Arms Of Orion/I Love U In Me/The Arms Of Orion (Edit) (Collectors Edition CD, Warner Bros W2757 CDX)
Thieves In The Temple (LP Mix)/(Part 2) (7”, Warner Bros W9751)
Thieves In The Temple (LP Mix)/(Part 2) (Cassette, Warner Bros W9751 C)
Thieves In The Temple (Remix)/(House Mix)/(House Dub) (12”, Warner Bros W9751 T)
Thieves In The Temple (Remix)/(House Mix)/(House Dub) (12” Picture Disc, Warner Bros W9751 TP)
Thieves In The Temple (Remix)/(House Mix)/(House Dub) (CD, Warner Bros W9751 CD)
New Power Generation (LP Mix)/(Part 2) (7”, Warner Bros W9525)
New Power Generation (LP Mix)/(Part 2) (Cassette, Warner Bros W9525 C)
New Power Generation (LP Mix)/(Part 2)/Melody Cool (By Mavis Staples) (12“, Warner Bros W9525 T)
New Power Generation (LP Mix)/(Part 2)/Melody Cool (By Mavis Staples) (12“ Picture Disc, Warner Bros W9525 TP)
New Power Generation (LP Mix)/(Part 2)/Melody Cool (By Mavis Staples) (CD, Warner Bros W9525 CD)
SINGLES 1991 - 1993
Gett Off (Single Remix)/Horny Pony (7”, Warner Bros W0056)
Gett Off (Single Remix)/Horny Pony (Cassette, Warner Bros W0056 C)
Gett Off (Urge Mix)/(Thrust Mix) (12”, Warner Bros W0056 T)
Gett Off (Single Remix)/(Urge Single Edit)/(Purple Pump Mix) (CD, Warner Bros W0056 CD)
Cream/Horny Pony (7”, Warner Bros W0061)
Cream/Horny Pony (Cassette, Warner Bros W0061 C)
Cream/Horny Pony/Gangster Glam (12”, Warner Bros W0061 T, final track later included on 2007 reissue of “Gett Off“)
Cream/Horny Pony/Gangster Glam (CD, Warner Bros W0061 CD)
Diamonds And Pearls/Q In Doubt (7”, Warner Bros W0075)
Diamonds And Pearls/Q In Doubt (Cassette, Warner Bros W0075 C)
Diamonds And Pearls/Housebangers/Cream (NPG Mix)/Things Have Gotta Change (Tony M Rap) (12”, Warner Bros W0075 T)
Diamonds And Pearls/2 The Wire/Do Your Dance (KC’s Remix) (CD, Warner Bros W0075 CD)
Diamonds And Pearls/2 The Wire/Do Your Dance (KC’s Remix) (Hologram CD, Warner Bros W0075 CDX)
Money Don’t Matter 2 Night (Edit)/Call The Law (7”, Warner Bros W0091, a-side later included on “Peach“ CD1)
Money Don’t Matter 2 Night (Edit)/Call The Law (Cassette, Warner Bros W0091 C)
Money Don’t Matter 2 Night/Push/Call The Law (12“, Warner Bros W0091 T)
Money Don’t Matter 2 Night/Push/Call The Law (12“ Picture Disc, Warner Bros W0091 TP)
Money Don’t Matter 2 Night/Push/Call The Law (CD, Warner Bros W0091 CD)
Money Don’t Matter 2 Night/Push/Call The Law (Hologram CD, Warner Bros W0091 CDX)
Thunder/Violet The Organ Grinder/Gett Off (Thrust Dub) (12” Picture Disc, Warner Bros W0113 TP)
Sexy MF/Strollin’ (7”, Warner Bros W0123)
Sexy MF/Strollin’ (Shaped Picture Disc, Warner Bros W0123 P)
Sexy MF/Strollin’ (Cassette, Warner Bros W0123 C)
Sexy MF/Strollin’/Daddy Pop (12”, Warner Bros W0123 T)
Sexy MF/Strollin’/Daddy Pop (CD, Warner Bros W0123 CD)
My Name Is Prince (Edit)/2 Whom It May Concern (7”, Warner Bros W0132, a-side later included on “Peach“ CD2)
My Name Is Prince (Edit)/2 Whom It May Concern (Cassette, Warner Bros W0132 C)
My Name Is Prince/Sexy Mutha/2 Whom It May Concern (12”, Warner Bros W0132 T)
My Name Is Prince/Sexy Mutha/2 Whom It May Concern (12” Picture Disc, Warner Bros W0132 TP)
My Name Is Prince (Edit)/Sexy Mutha/2 Whom It May Concern/My Name Is Prince (CD, Warner Bros W0132 CD)
My Name Is Prince Remixes EP: Original Mix Edit/12” Club Mix/House Mix/Hardcore 12” Mix (12”, Warner Bros W0142 T)
My Name Is Prince Remixes EP: Original Mix Edit/12” Club Mix/Sexy MF (12” Remix) (CD, Warner Bros W0142 CD)
7 (Album Edit)/(Acoustic Version)/(After 6 Edit)/(After 6 Long Version) (CD, Warner Bros W0147 CD, 12“ Picture Disc exists which plays only selected versions)
The Morning Papers/Live 4 Love (7”, Warner Bros W0162)
The Morning Papers/Live 4 Love/Love 2 The 9’s (CD, Warner Bros W0162 CD)
SINGLES 1993 - 2006
Peach/My Name Is Prince (Edit) (7”, Warner Bros W0210)
Peach/My Name Is Prince (Edit) (Cassette, Warner Bros W0210 C)
Peach/Mountains/Partyman (Edit)/Money Don’t Matter 2 Night (Edit) (CD1, Warner Bros W0210 CD1)
Peach/I Wish U Heaven/Girls & Boys (Edit)/My Name Is Prince (Edit) (CD2, Warner Bros W0210 CD2)
Controversy (Edit)/The Future (Remix) (7” Picture Disc, Warner Bros W0215 P)
Controversy (Edit)/The Future (Remix) (Cassette, Warner Bros W0215 C)
Controversy (Edit)/The Future (Remix)/Glam Slam/DMSR (CD1, Warner Bros W0215 CD1)
Controversy (Edit)/Anotherloverholenyohead/Paisley Park/New Power Generation (Part 2) (CD2, Warner Bros W0215 CD2)
The Most Beautiful Girl In The World (Edit)/Beautiful (Edit)/(Extended Club Version)/(Beats) (12”, NPG 0060150NPG)
The Beautiful Experience EP: Beautiful/Staxowax/Mustang Mix/Flutestramental/Sexy Staxophone And Guitar/Mustang Instrumental/The Most Beautiful Girl In The World (12”, NPG 0060210NPG)
The Beautiful Experience EP: Beautiful/Staxowax/Mustang Mix/Flutestramental/Sexy Staxophone And Guitar/Mustang Instrumental/The Most Beautiful Girl In The World (CD, NPG 0060212NPG)
Letitgo (Edit)/Solo (7” Picture Disc, Warner Bros W0260 P)
Letitgo (Edit)/Solo (Cassette, Warner Bros W0260 C)
Letitgo (Caviar Radio Edit)/(Cavi’ Street Edit)/(Instrumental)/(On The Cool Out Tip Radio Edit)/(Sherm Stick Edit)/(Album Version) (12“, Warner Bros W0260 T)
Letitgo (Edit)/Solo/Alexa De Paris (Extended Version)/Pope (CD, Warner Bros W0260 CD)
Purple Medley (Edit)/(Full Length)/(Kirk J’s B Sides Remix) (CD, Warner Bros W0289 CD)
Get Wild (Single Version)/Beautiful Girl/Hallucination Rain (12“, NPG 0061040NPG)
Get Wild (Single Version)/Beautiful Girl/Hallucination Rain (CD1, NPG 0061045NPG)
Get Wild (Money Maker)/(Kirky J’s Get Wild)/(Club Mix)/(In The House)/(Single Version)/(Money Maker Funky Jazz Mix) (CD2, NPG 0061195NPG)
The Good Life (Platinum People Edit)/(Platinum People Mix)/(Dancing Divaz Mix)/(Bullets Go Bang Remix)/(Big City Remix)/(Album Version) (CD, NPG 0061515NPG)
I Hate U (7” Edit w/o Guitar)/(Album Edit)/(Quiet Night Mix by Eric Leeds)/(Extended Remix)/(Album Version) (CD, Warner Bros W0315 CD)
Count The Days (Edit)/New Power Soul (Edit) (Cassette, NPG 0061339NPG)
Count The Days (Edit)/(Album Version)/New Power Soul (Edit) (CD, NPG 0061335NPG)
Gold (Edit)/Rock N Roll Is Alive! (And It Lives In Minneapolis) (Cassette, Warner Bros W0325 C)
Gold (Edit)/Rock N Roll Is Alive! (And It Lives In Minneapolis)/I Hate U (Extended Remix) (CD, Warner Bros W0325 CD)
Gold (Edit)/Rock N Roll Is Alive! (And It Lives In Minneapolis)/I Hate U (Extended Remix) (Limited Edition CD in gold case, Warner Bros W0325 CDX)
Dinner With Delores/Had U/Right The Wrong (Single Edit) (CD, Warner Bros W0360 CD)
Betcha By Golly Wow!/Right Back Here In My Arms (Cassette, EMI TCEM 463)
Betcha By Golly Wow!/Right Back Here In My Arms (CD, EMI CDEM 463)
Betcha By Golly Wow!/Right Back Here In My Arms (CD + poster, EMI CDEMS 463)
The Holy River (Radio Edit)/Somebody’s Somebody (Edit)/(Livestudio Mix)/(Ultrafantasy Edit) (CD1, EMI CDEMS 467, with 4 prints)
The Holy River (Radio Edit)/The Most Beautiful Girl In The World (Mustang Mix)/Somebody’s Somebody (Edit)/On Sale Now! (CD2, EMI CDEM 467, green p/s)
Come On (Radio Edit)/(Remix)/(Late Nite Mix) (CD, RCA 74321 634722)
1999 (Edit)/How Come U Don’t Call Me Anymore (Cassette, Warner Bros W467 C)
1999/How Come U Don’t Call Me Anymore/DMSR (12“, Warner Bros W467 T)
1999 (Edit)/How Come U Don’t Call Me Anymore/DMSR (CD, Warner Bros W467 CD)
The Greatest Romance Ever Sold (Radio Edit)/(Album Version)/(Radio Edit feat. Eve)/(Adam & Eve Remix) (CD, Arista 74321 70664 2)
Cinnamon Girl/Dear Mr Man (Live)/United States Of Division/Dear Mr Man (Video) (CD, Columbia 675142 2)
Black Sweat/Beautiful Loved And Blessed (Alternate) (12” Picture Disc, MCA MCST 40457)
Black Sweat/Beautiful Loved And Blessed (Alternate)/Black Sweat (Video) (CD, MCA MCSTD 40457)
Fury/Te Amo Corazon - Fury (Live, 2006 Brit Awards) (12“ Picture Disc, MCA MCST 40462)
Fury/Te Amo Corazon - Fury (Live, 2006 Brit Awards)/(Video) (CD, MCA MCSTD 40462)
Note: other internet resources will list other singles and other formats other than those listed above as UK releases, but I believe such items were European pressings never intended for release in the UK, although they may have been available as imports.
These are the Warners “cash in” releases that surfaced en masse in 2007, coinciding with the O2 gigs. 12 such singles were repressed, using the original artwork but with new catalogue numbers either on a barcode sticker that was used, where possible, to cover over where the original catalogue number was, or simply scratched into the running grooves. All were usually standard repressings of the original UK release, with the exception of “Gett Off”, which was a repressing of the original US 6 track maxi single, and “Let‘s Go Crazy“, which was based on the US 2 track original 12. A number of these mixes had never been available on a UK Prince single before.
I Wanna Be Your Lover/Just As Long As We’re Together (12”, Warner Bros 8122 799687 1)
When Doves Cry/17 Days (12”, Warner Bros 8122 799686 4)
Sign O The Times/La La La He He Hee (Highly Explosive) (12”, Warner Bros 8122 799685 7)
Kiss (Extended Version)/Love Or Money (12”, Warner Bros 8122 799683 3)
Raspberry Beret (New Mix)/Hello (Extended Remix) (12”, Warner Bros 8122 799681 9)
Let’s Go Crazy (Special Dance Mix)/Erotic City (12”, Warner Bros 8122 799680 2)
1999/Little Red Corvette (12”, Warner Bros 8122 799679 6)
Purple Rain/God (Instrumental)/(Vocal) (12", Warner Bros 8122 799678 9)
I Would Die 4 U (Single Version)/Another Lonely Christmas/Free (12”, Warner Bros 8122 799677 2)
Gett Off (Extended Remix)/(Houstyle)/Violet The Organ Grinder/Gett Off (Flutestramental)/Gangster Glam/Clockin’ The Jizz (12”, Warner Bros 8122 799676 5)
Sexy MF/Strollin’/Daddy Pop (12”, Warner Bros 8122 799675 0)
Diamonds And Pearls/Housebangers/Cream (NPG Mix)/Things Have Gotta Change (Tony M Rap) (12”, Warner Bros 8122 799674 1)
And remember. His name is Prince. And yes, he is funky.