Tuesday, 20 September 2011

September 2011

This month, another mixed bag, with a look at Dannii Minogue, The Beatles, Queen on CD, and the latest in the Madonna UK Singles list. To view any article, click on the relevant tab top right.

"Dear Prudence, won't you come out to play"

Monday, 12 September 2011

Dannii Minogue

Whenever I tell people I like Dannii Minogue, but not Kylie, I am looked at like some sort of freak. “You like Dannii? Hasn’t she just ridden in on the coat tails of her sister?”

Well, no. Both of them may have appeared in Aussie soaps, and then gone into music, but the entry point they took differed hugely. Kylie signed up with SAW, and made records like “The Locomotion” and “I Should Be So Lucky” - awful songs, which she has never apologised for and even seems to be quite proud of. It’s always been difficult to judge Kylie because of this, she has always felt like a second rate Madonna whenever she attempts to change direction.

Dannii, on the other hand, started her career by recording pop songs that were heavily indebted to disco and dance music, and as such, her records always had an “oomph” factor, a groove to them that Kylie’s SAW songs didn’t. As early singles go, “Success” and “I Don’t Wanna Take This Pain” are simply far more funky and impressive than “Especially For You”, for example.

Go to the Wikipedia page for Dannii’s music career, and it’s all a bit confusing. Five studio albums, and seemingly as many compilations, but as far as her UK releases go, this doesn’t really tell the whole story.

Dannii had released her debut LP in Australia in 1990, simply titled “Dannii”, on the Mushroom label. The album would later appear in retitled, repackaged and revamped form in different countries - “Party Jam” in Japan in 1991, and “Love And Kisses” the same year on MCA in the UK. In 1992, an expanded version with bonus tracks titled “Love And Kisses And…” was released, which came in a newly coloured picture sleeve. Several singles were lifted from the album, all of which were sizeable UK chart hits.

In 1993, MCA released Dannii’s second LP, “Get Into You”, although when the title track was released as a later single, it strangely appeared on the Mushroom label. Dannii returned to the studio in 1995 to begin work on a third LP, but the sessions were abandoned. A CD’s worth of material from these sessions finally appeared in 2009 as the “1995 Sessions” album.

The relationship between Dannii and MCA had broken down, and so it was WEA she signed to next, and a “new” third album was released in 1997, “Girl”. This was an exhilarating blast of dance-pop, with MTV playing the clips from the singles on a regular basis, and doubters beginning to wonder if they had underestimated this Minogue sister after all. The three singles from the album were remixed by numerous acts, and a sizeable number of mixes were released officially across the various formats. “Heaven Can Wait” was also the subject of much remixing, but got no further than the promo stage. Dannii undertook a rare concert tour the following year.

By having her hand in the world of acting, TV and modelling, as well as music, it is perhaps no surprise that the time between musical projects was starting to increase. It was not until late 2001 that Dannii released a new single, although there had been an Australian only compilation album “The Singles” in 1998. An accompanying VHS collection, “The Videos”, was also issued at the same time, which is of interest to UK collectors as it plays on UK machines, and also includes a video for a song not released in the UK at the time, “Everlasting Night”.

“Who Do You Love Now” was credited to “Riva Featuring Dannii Minogue”, but given that Dannii’s image is on the cover, and she does all the vocals, it’s pretty much a Dannii single in all but name. It was eventually included on Dannii’s next LP, 2003’s “Neon Nights”. One of the later singles from the LP, “Don’t Wanna Lose This Feeling”, was remixed in an at-the-time in vogue mash up with Madonna’s “Into The Groove”, and appeared as a B-side.

Here’s where it gets confusing. In 2004, Dannii recorded the first of several “one off” singles, which saw her - in many cases - collaborating with dance acts. These releases would appear on a annual basis, and interestingly, all used the same logo on their covers, giving them something of a ‘connection’. This run of singles started after she was asked to provide lyrics for an instrumental track by Flower Power by the label All Around The World, who would end up issuing all subsequent singles.

This 2004 release was “You Won’t Forget About Me”, issued on a variety of formats. The original Dannii-less instrumental appeared as the B-side on selected formats. In 2005, she released “Perfection” with the Soul Seekerz. Again, Dannii added vocals to what started life as an instrumental, and this original version also appeared on the flip of some of the formats.

In 2006, Dannii released “So Under Pressure” - her first single since 2003 to be released as a non-collaboration. It was recorded for Dannii’s forthcoming greatest hits album, “The Hits And Beyond” - her first such release in the UK. It included 12 singles from the first four LP’s, plus (in one form or another) the one off singles from 2004 and 2005. In addition to this, the album featured no less than five new songs in addition of "Pressure" - quite impressive for a best of release, hence the “and Beyond” tag.

In 2007, it was time for a single with Jason Nevins, and “Touch Me Like That” surfaced as the next release. Another one-off single, this - like “You Won’t…” and “…Under Pressure” - also appeared on All Around The World. In Australia, Dannii would later release an album called “Club Disco” upon which this track appeared, which followed the same vibe as “The Hits”, by including a number of new tracks alongside remixes of old ones. However, the “Club Disco” release in the UK was restricted to being a digital download, and was plugged on the inner sleeve of the CD single. Despite this, Wikipedia lists “Club Disco” as being Dannii’s fifth studio album, something which I don’t quite agree with.

Just to add to the confusion, Rhino Records released “Unleashed” in the UK instead - another oddball album including new songs and remixes of old ones. “Touch Me Like That” was missing from the album. At least half of the album consisted of new songs - lyrics were printed for these in the booklet - meaning that, since “Neon Nights”, Dannii had released a good album’s worth of new songs in the UK, but they had been spread instead over a greatest hits and remix compilation. Add to that the fact that “Club Disco” also included new material 'down under', and you can see why Dannii’s post-2003 discography is so confusing.

2007 saw expanded reissues of “Girl” and “Neon Nights”. “Unleashed” included an insert promoting these re-pressings, and the front covers of the re-releases were shown. Both of the albums were shown in new covers, but in each instance, the reissue had a booklet with the original cover photo, with the “new” sleeve appearing on an insert tucked in front. “Girl” this time was credited to “Dannii Minogue”, not “Dannii”. Each reissue included a second CD of rare and previously unissued remixes, and in each instance, the original album was slightly altered as well with different mixes of at least one track per LP being used second time around along with additional tracks as well.

In 2009, expanded reissues of “Love And Kisses” and “Get Into You” were released, again as double disc sets with a second CD of remixes. The 1992 “Love And Kisses And…” release had included a different version of “I Don’t Wanna Take This Pain”, and it was this version that made the 2009 release. The four bonus tracks from the 1992 release were replaced by four different bonuses on the 2009 edition, with the original bonus tracks appearing instead on CD2. Similarly, the extended mix of “Show You The Way To Go” that closed the original “Get Into You” was moved to CD2 to make way for unrelased bonus track material.


I have listed below what I consider to be the most important Dannii single releases. According to my records, these releases contain every B-side and remix released in the UK, but it is possible other formats of some of the earlier singles may exist - if they do, they - AFAIK - feature nothing exclusive (there is a CD Single for “Love And Kisses”, for example). For the albums, I have found it looks clearer to simply detail the original pressings, compilations and reissues as separate entities.


Love And Kisses (Remix)/(Instrumental) (7”, MCA MCS 1529)
Love And Kisses (12” Mix)/(Instrumental)/(Acapella) (12”, MCA MCST 1529)

Success (LP Version)/(Instrumental) (7”, MCA MCS 1538)
Success (LP Version)/(12”)/(Funky Tony Dub) (CD, MCA MCSTD 1538)

Jump To The Beat (Remix)/(LP Edit) (7”, MCA MCS 1556)
Jump To The Beat (12” Version)/Hallucination/Success (Funky Tony Mix) (12”, MCA MCST 1556)

Baby Love (Smoove Radio Edit)/(Album Edit) (7” in photo booklet p/s, MCA MCSB 1579)
Baby Love (Silky 70’s Edit)/(Maurice’s House Edit) (Cassette, MCA MCSC 1580)
Baby Love (Silky 70’s Mix)/(Maurice’s House Mix)/(Maurice’s Mo Dub 4 Ya Mix) (12”, MCA MCST 1580)

I Don’t Wanna Take This Pain (LP Version)/(Saxtrumental) (7” in fold out calendar sleeve, MCA MCSR 1600)
I Don’t Wanna Take This Pain (7” Version)/(12” Version)/Jump To The Beat (12” Version)/Baby Love (E Smooves 12” Mix) (CD, MCA MCSTD 1600)

Show You The Way To Go (Album Version)/(Dub) (7”, MCA MCS 1671)
Show You The Way To Go (7” Version)/Success (E-Smoove Groovy 12”)/Show You The Way To Go (Extended Version)/Success (Maurice’s Dub) (CD, MCA MCSTD 1671)

Love’s On Every Corner (7” Mix)/(7” Instrumental) (Cassette, MCA MCSC 1723)
Love’s On Every Corner (7” Mix)/(12” Mix)/(12” Bass In Your Face Dub) (CD1, MCA MCSTD 1723)
Love’s On Every Corner/Love And Kisses/Jump To The Beat/Baby Love (CD2 in unique “swimsuit” p/s, MCA MCSXD 1723)

This Is It/It’s Time To Move On (Cassette, MCA MCSC 1790)
This Is It (7” Version)/(12” Extended Version)/(Alternative 12” Mix)/(Dannii Got Murked Mix)/(Miami Heat Mix)/(One World 12” Mix)/(Acapella Version) (CD, MCA MCSTD 1790)
This Is It (Dannii Got Murked Mix)/(12” Extended Version)/(Miami Heat Mix)/(Vapor Rub Dub)/(Acapella Version) (12”, MCA MCST 1790)

This Is The Way (7 Inch Edit)/(12 Inch Version)/(The Cool 7 Inch)/(Dub Version) (CD1, MCA MCSTD 1935)
This Is The Way (7 Inch Version)/No Secret/This Is The Way (5 Boys Mix)/(Funk Mix) (CD2 in different p/s, MCA MCSXD 1935)

Get Into You (Original 7” Radio Edit)/(Hustlers Convention Disco Mix Radio Edit)/(Hustlers Convention Disco Mix)/(Arizona Club Mix)/(Hustlers Convention Disco Dub) (CD, Mushroom D11751)
Get Into You (Hustlers Convention Disco Mix)/(Hustlers Convention Disco Dub)/(Arizona Club Mix)/(Eric Kupper Dub) (12” in unique p/s, Mushroom T11751)

All I Wanna Do (Radio Version)/(Tiny Tim & The Mekon Dream Dub) (Cassette, Eternal WEA 119 C)
All I Wanna Do (Radio Version)/(12” Extended Mix)/(Trouser Enthusiasts’ Toys Of Desperation Mix)/(Xenomania Dream House Mix)/(D-Bop’s Innocent Girl Mix)/(Video) (CD1, Eternal WEA 119 CD)
All I Wanna Do (Radio Version)/(Qattara’s Mix)/(Trouser Enthusiasts’ Ultra Sensitive Dub)/(Dizzy’s Mix)/(Sharp “System” Dub) (CD2 in different p/s with poster, Eternal WEA 119 CDX)

Everything I Wanted (Radio Edit)/(Xenomania Radio Edit)/(Original Album Version)/(Xenomania 12” Mix) (CD1, Eternal WEA 137 CD)
Everything I Wanted (Trouser Enthusiasts’ Golden Delicious Mix)/(Jupiter 6 - Soul Surround Mix)/(Xenomania 12” Instrumental)/(Trouser Enthusiasts’ Liquid Silk Dub) (CD2 in different p/s with poster, Eternal WEA 137 CDX)

Disremembrance (Flexifinger’s Radio Edit)/(Xenomania Edit)/(Trouser Enthusiasts’ Radio Edit) (Cassette, Eternal WEA 153 C)
Disremembrance (Flexifinger’s Radio Edit)/(Trouser Enthusiasts’ Brittlestar Requiem Mix)/(D-Bop’s “Lost In Space” Mix)/(Sharp Rocket Remix)/(Twyce As Nyce Dub Mix) (CD1 with poster, Eternal WEA 153 CDX)
Disremembrance (Flexifinger’s Radio Edit)/(Flexifinger’s Ext. “Orchestral” Mix)/(Xenomania 12” Mix)/(Xenomania’s “Breakbeat” Mix)/(Flexifinger’s 12” Pop Mix) (CD2 in different p/s, Eternal WEA 153 CD)

Who Do You Love Now? (Radio Version)/(Moonboy Remix)/(Video) (CD, Alien Records DFCD 002, also includes version of original mix without Dannii)
Who Do You Love Now? (Extended Vocal Mix)/(Tall Paul Remix) (12”, Alien Records DFX 002, also includes version of original mix without Dannii)

Put The Needle On It (Radio Version)/(Mute8 Vocal Mix Edit)/(Cicada Vocal Mix Edit)/(Video) (CD1, London LONCD 470)
Put The Needle On It (Radio Version)/(Nevins Club Creation Edit)/(Laid’s Zoo Brazil Remix)/(Tiga’s Cookies Dub Edit) (CD2 in blue p/s, London LOCDP 470)

I Begin To Wonder (Radio Version)/Who Do You Love Now? (Riva’s Bora Bora Remix) (Cassette, London LONCS 473)
I Begin To Wonder (Radio Version)/(Krystal K Vocal Mix - CD Edit)/Hide And Seek/I Begin To Wonder (Video) (CD1, London LONCD 473)
I Begin To Wonder (Radio Version)/Album Megamix/Nervous (CD2 in different p/s, London LOCDP 473)

Don’t Wanna Lose This Feeling/Don’t Wanna Lose This Groove/Goodbye Song/Don’t Wanna Lose This Feeling (Video) (CD, London LONCD 478)
Don’t Wanna Lose This Feeling (Stella Brown Vocal Mix)/Don’t Wanna Lose This Groove (Extended Vocal Mix)/I Begin To Wonder (DJ Bardot Remix) (12”, London LONX 478)

You Won’t Forget About Me (Radio Edit)/(LMC Remix)/(Afterlife Remix)/(Basscore Remix)/Flower Power/You Won’t Forget About Me (Kenny Hayes Remix)/(Video) (CD1, Oxyd Records CDGLOBE 379)
You Won’t Forget About Me (Radio Edit)/Flower Power (CD2 in different p/s, Oxyd Records CXGLOBE 379)
You Won’t Forget About Me (LMC Remix)/(Afterlife Remix)/Flower Power/You Won’t Forget About Me (Mike Di Scala Remix) (12”, Oxyd Records 12GLOBE 379)

Perfection (Radio Edit)/(Extended Mix)/(Dancing DJ’s Remix)/Turn Me Upside Down/Perfection (Seamus Haji & Paul Emmanuel Remix)/(Koishii & Hush Remix) (CD1, Oxyd Records CDGLOBE 483)
Perfection (Radio Edit)/I’ve Been Waiting For You (CD2 in unique p/s, Oxyd Records CXGLOBE 483)
Perfection (Extended Mix)/Turn Me Upside Down/Perfection (Moto Blanco Dub)/(Kenny Hayes Remix) (12” Picture Disc in clear sleeve, Oxyd Records 12GLOBE 483)

So Under Pressure (Radio Edit)/(Soul Seekerz Remix)/(LMC Extended Mix)/(Steve Pitron Crash Remix)/(Riffs & Rays Remix Edit)/(Thriller Jill Remix)/(Video) (CD1, All Around The World CDGLOBE 541)
So Under Pressure (Radio Edit)/Feel Like I Do (CD2 in unique p/s, All Around The World CXGLOBE 541)

Touch Me Like That (Radio Edit)/(Jason Nevins Extended Mix)/(Jack Rokka Remix)/(Soule Seekerz Club Mix)/(Stonebridge Club Mix)/(LMC Remix)/(Video) (CD, All Around The World CDGLOBE 795)
Touch Me Like That (Jason Nevins Extended Mix)/(Space Cowboy Remix)/(Soul Seekerz Dirty Dub)/(Jack Rokka Dub) (12” Picture Disc in clear sleeve, All Around The World 12GLOBE 795)


Love And Kisses (CD, MCA MCD 19340)
Love And Kisses And… (CD, MCA MCD 10496, includes different versions of “Baby Love“ and “I Don‘t Wanna Take This Pain“, plus bonus 12“ mixes)
Get Into You (CD, MCA MCD 10909)
Girl (CD, Eternal 3984 20548 2)
Neon Nights (CD, London 2564 60003 2)


The Hits And Beyond (CD, UMTV 984 0363)
Unleashed (CD, Rhino 5144 25205 2)


Girl (2xCD, Rhino 5144 25022 2. Different version of “Movin’ Up”, plus 15 extra tracks)
Neon Nights (2xCD, Rhino 5144 25021 2. Different version of “It Won’t Work Out”, plus 19 extra tracks)


Love And Kisses (2xCD, Palare PALARE 003 CD. Different version of “I Don’t Wanna Take This Pain” (taken from “Love And Kisses And…” reissue), plus 15 extra tracks)
Get Into You (2xCD, Palare PALARE 004 CD, with 16 extra tracks)
The 1995 Sessions (CD, Palara PALARE 005 CD)

Video wise, Dannii released “mini video albums” for the “Love And Kisses” and “Get Into You” albums, before the release of the full length Australian release “The Videos”. Some copies of “The Hits And Beyond” came with a free DVD, an expanded version of which was later made available separately as “The Video Collection” which includes pretty much every video up to and including “So Under Pressure”. “Touch Me Like That” is still currently only available on the original CD single.

Friday, 9 September 2011

Queen On CD

2011 makes the 40th anniversary of Queen’s “official” formation. 1971 was the year that the band recorded a number of songs that would eventually appear on their 1973 debut album, “Queen”, most in re-recorded form but one in “remixed” form only. To celebrate, the fifteen studio albums the band released before the Queen & Paul Rodgers “reunion” have been re-released on CD.

The reissues appeared on Island - signed to EMI for most of their lifetime, there has been a recent falling out, hence the change of label. As well as appearing as a set of pointless one-disc reissues, all have resurfaced as 2-CD sets, with a bonus CD EP of rarities and unreleased tracks.

It’s not the first time that the albums have been available on Compact Disc. All of them were issued in the early 90’s, but with no extras - if it was a ten track vinyl LP when first released, it was a ten track CD you got. And whilst it is the first time (“A Night At The Opera” excepted) that the albums are surfacing in the UK in expanded form, it is not the first time some of them have been released with bonus tracks.

Queen, at one point, were huge in the States, and in 1991, to celebrate the release of the “Innuendo” album, the band’s US label Hollywood Records reissued all of the band’s studio albums released between 1973 and 1989 with extra tracks. But some of the bonus tracks were - well, questionable. In this article, I shall detail Queen’s album releases, looking specifically at the CD editions that started to surface in the 80’s, and how the Hollywood reissues fit in.

Vinyl Days

The band’s debut album was finished in 1972, part of it having being recorded at Trident Studios. Trident were a fan of the band, and helped them try and secure a record deal. Nobody seemed interested, and in the end Trident made arrangements to release it themselves the following year, but managed to get the album released on the EMI label, with a “Trident Audio Production” credit on the label. EMI would be home to the band for the rest of their recording career. The album concluded with a short version of an at-the-time unfinished track called “Seven Seas Of Rhye”, which then made it - in full and completed form - onto the 1974 follow up, “Queen II”.

“Queen II” used the same logo on the cover as it’s predecessor, whilst the superb “Queen Crest” logo found on the back of the “Queen“ sleeve, later to be used on other Queen albums as the front cover, appeared again on the back of “Queen II”. The album came in a cover featuring an image of the band which was later “reinterpreted” in the “Bohemian Rhapsody” video, and was housed in a gatefold sleeve that was printed at right angles - so that the spine was at the bottom, and not on the left, of the cover. The cover image was on a black background, inside the band were photographed against a white image, and these colours were a central theme of the album - the album sides were not numbered but were called “Side White” and “Side Black” and the song titles included “White Queen” and “The March Of The Black Queen”.

1974’s “Sheer Heart Attack” omitted the Queen logos; the album title was later re-used for a song of the same name on the “News Of The World” album. 1975’s “A Night At The Opera” used the Crest logo as it’s main front cover image, and although it’s claim to fame is the inclusion of “Bo Rhap” on side 2, it’s a superb album even without that song, arguably the highpoint of the band’s career. 1976’s companion release, “A Day At the Races”, used a “new” crest logo, this time against a black cover, but struggled to top the genius of the record that preceeded it, and has always seemed - to me - to be a bit of a patchy affair. It was the last Queen album to famously proclaim that the record contained “No Synths”.

1977’s “News Of The World”, far from being threatened by punk, took the baton and ran with it, and featured some far punchier material than had been found on “A Day At The Races”. 1978’s “Jazz” saw the band go slightly off course again, although they could still produce a hit single or three when they tried. The album included the AA side single “Fat Bottomed Girls” and “Bicycle Race”, the latter famously featuring a video clip consisting of 65 naked women cycling around Wimbledon Greyhound stadium. Initial copies of the "Jazz” LP came with a free poster featuring a photo of the girls taken on set, but after complaints were received, later editions came instead with a flyer which gave details of how fans could send off for a copy of the poster. I understand that the most collectable versions of “Jazz” are later poster-less pressings, with the insert intact and unblemished.

The band’s first live LP, the incendiary “Live Killers” was released in 1979. It was reissued by Hollywood in 1991, but with no bonus tracks, and although it has been released on CD in the UK, it is not being released this time around. 1980’s “The Game” came in a shiny reflective sleeve, and was followed by the band’s ninth studio effort, the soundtrack to the “Flash Gordon” movie. “Flash’s Theme”, one of Queen’s campest and most brilliant moments, was issued in edited form as a single, where it was retitled simply “Flash”.

1982 saw the release of the heavily disco indebted “Hot Space”, referred to by many as the moment that Queen lost the plot. Mercury was the driving force behind it, having been influenced by the music he was hearing in the Gay Club scene, and the album baffled critics and fans. It was the polar opposite of the “no synthesizers” period, and Taylor admitted he hated it, although the pop/dance sound would actually become a central ingredient in the albums that followed. 1984’s “The Works”, despite sounding quite mainstream, was regarded as a return to form - even I admit, that as rubbish as it first sounded, “Radio Ga Ga” is actually quite an impressive pop 45. By the time Queen stole the show at Live Aid, they were one of the biggest bands in the UK - despite still failing to top the likes of “Sheer Heart Attack” in terms of quality.

The CD Era

1986’s “A Kind Of Magic” was the first Queen album to be released on CD with additional tracks, thereby taking advantage of the extended playing time the format offered. The extra tracks included alternate versions of “A Kind Of Magic” and “Friends Will Be Friends”, the former of which remains exclusive to this release. Another live album, the rather patchy “Live Magic” was issued at the end of 86, and although nobody knew it at the time, turned out to be a momento of what was Queen’s final tour.

1989’s “The Miracle” was a return to the guitar based sound of the 70’s, with a few slightly bonkers moments, and was something of a hidden gem. With Mercury now starting to show signs of his (ultimately) fatal illness, touring was a no no. The CD edition added three extra songs, including the “I Want It All” flip side “Hang On In There” and an extended mix of “The Invisible Man” which was later released as a single.

Later the same year saw the release on the Band Of Joy label of “Queen At The Beeb”, a thrilling 8 song set consisting of two BBC Radio sessions the band taped in 1973. Queen’s final album release before Freddie’s death was 1991’s “Innuendo”, the title track of which - a sort of 1990’s “Bo Rhap” - was released as a single trailing the album release, and which was unedited for single release, despite being six and a half minutes long. A video was filmed for the track “These Are The Days Of Our Lives”, which was issued as a single in the US in September 91, by which time Mercury’s condition was faltering, resulting in the video being shot in black and white to try and “cover up” his illness. The song - and video - famously ended with the line, “I Still Love You”, seen as an obvious ’goodbye’ from Freddie to the fans. Mercury passed away in November, and the track was released as a AA side in the UK with “Bohemian Rhapsody” as a Christmas Single, which - like it did in 1975 - hit the top spot.

1992 saw the release of the “Live At Wembley” double CD, which did a better job of commemorating the 1986 tour than “Live Magic” did, and 1995 saw the release of the fifteenth and final studio record, “Made In Heaven”, consisting of unfinished songs taped during the “Innuendo” sessions, fleshed out by the remaining trio. It took until late 93 for the rest of the band to do this, as they found it too upsetting to try and finish the songs beforehand. The trio would record a Freddie-less song, “No One But You” in 1997, which was included on a compilation called “Queen Rocks”, and was released as a single in January 1998. Two more live albums, both from the early 80’s were released after the millennium - “Queen At The Bowl” in 2004 (taped in 1982) and “Queen Rock Montreal” in 2007 (taped in 1981).

The Hollywood Reissues

For a band so quintessentially “British” as Queen, it seems strange to think that it was their US label that decided to try and produce “special” editions of the band’s studio output. Indeed, in the UK, bonus track-less editions of the albums continued to be the standard versions available in the shops even after the US editions had turned up Stateside.

But the bonus tracks were - in most instances - baffling. A series of specially conducted “new” mixes of a handful of songs were created, which in some instances sounded almost the same as the original (“Fat Bottomed Girls”), and in others were the sound of somebody seemingly attempting to destroy something that didn’t need remixing in the first place (“Bicycle Race”).

In some instances, the Hollywood reissues included genuine rarities. “Queen” included an outtake from the early years called “Mad The Swine”, although the track had appeared as a B-side in the UK before 1991 and also appears (in slightly remixed form) on the recent Island reissue. It also included a re-recorded version of “Keep Yourself Alive”, taped in 75, which is now also available on the expanded UK version of “A Night At The Opera”. The b-side of “Seven Seas Of Rhye”, “See What A Fool”, was on the “Queen II” reissue, and also appears on the recent Island reissue.

“Hot Space” included the non-album 45, “Under Pressure”, whilst “The Works” was the first of the Hollywood reissues to not include bonus remixes, but instead offered up the B-side of “Radio Ga Ga”, “I Go Crazy”, and a couple of previously issued 12” mixes. “The Miracle” included four extras compared to the UK vinyl pressing, three of which had also made the UK CD edition.

The overall feeling, though, for anybody who had these albums already, was that they were now being asked to shell out for some slightly dubious bonus material. Queen weren’t the only act doing this at the time (some 1991 remixes turned up on a couple of David Bowie reissues the same year), but the lack of genuine rarities on the Queen CD’s was an unavoidable issue. Suffice to say, when the UK Island reissues program kicked off this year, these bonus remixes were absent.


I have listed below the important 1991 reissues, which still contain either exclusive material, or included important extra tracks when compared to their UK CD edition as at the end of 2010. Now that all of the fifteen studio LP’s have been re-released, the definitive Queen albums will - in the first instance - be the double-CD editions on Island, whilst the six other “live” albums - if you can find them - have the same track listings that they always did. The list below of the UK albums is based on the most recent pressings of each.

For the latest batch of reissues, the choice of bonus tracks - at times - seems a bit poor. Indeed, as briefly touched on earlier, the reissue of “A Kind Of Magic” omits one of the original exclusive bonus tracks, whilst “The Works” and “The Miracle” seem to offer no unreleased material, as far as I can make out. Try before you buy, etc.


Queen (2011 reissue 2-CD edition, Island 276 387 9)
Queen II (2011 reissue 2-CD edition, Island 276 425 0)
Sheer Heart Attack (2011 reissue 2-CD edition, Island 276 441 1)
A Night At The Opera (2011 reissue 2-CD edition, Island 276 442 4)
A Day At The Races (2011 reissue 2-CD edition, Island 276 441 6)
News Of The World (2011 reissue 2-CD edition, Island 277 174 8)
Jazz (2011 reissue 2-CD edition, Island 277 176 8)
Live Killers (2003 2-CD reissue, Parlophone 592 4142. Now deleted, some of the tracks appeared on a nespaper freebie called “Rock You“ in 2009 [Parlophone UPQUEEN 001])
The Game (2011 reissue 2-CD edition, Island 277 175 2)
Flash Gordon (2011 reissue 2-CD edition, Island 277 177 0)
Hot Space (2011 reissue 2-CD edition, Island 277 175 8)
The Works (2011 reissue 2-CD edition, Island 277 176 6)
A Kind Of Magic (2011 reissue 2-CD edition, Island 277 797 4)
Live Magic (1986 CD original, EMI CDP 7 46413 2)
The Miracle (2011 reissue 2-CD edition, Island 277 998 7)
At The Beeb (1989 CD original, Band Of Joy BOJCD 001)
Innuendo (2011 reissue 2-CD edition, Island 278 000 9)
Live At Wembley 86 (1992 2-CD original, Parlophone CDPCSP 725)
Made In Heaven (2011 reissue 2-CD edition, Island 278 001 9)
Queen On Fire: Live At The Bowl (2004 2-CD original, EMI 863 2112)
Rock Montreal (2007 2-CD original, Parlophone 504 0472)


Queen (1974, Hollywood HR 61064 2, includes bonus 1991 remix of “Liar”)
Queen II (1974, Hollywood HR 61232 2, includes bonus 1991 remixes of “Ogre Battle” and “Seven Seas Of Rhye”)
Sheer Heart Attack (1974, Hollywood HR 61036 2, includes bonus 1991 remix of “Stone Cold Crazy”)
A Night At The Opera (1975, Hollywood HR 61065 2, includes bonus 1991 remixes of “I’m In Love With My Car” and “You’re My Best Friend”)
A Day At The Races (1976, Hollywood HR 61035 2, includes bonus 1991 remixes of “Tie Your Mother Down” and “Somebody To Love”)
Jazz (1978, Hollywood HR 61062 2, includes bonus 1991 remixes of “Fat Bottomed Girls” and “Bicycle Race”)
The Game (1980, Hollywood HR 61063 2, includes bonus 1991 remix of “Dragon Attack”)
Flash Gordon (1980, Hollywood HR 61203 2, includes bonus 1991 remix of “Flash’s Theme”)
Hot Space (1982, Hollywood HR 61038 2, includes bonus 1991 remix of “Body Language”)
The Works (1984, Hollywood HR 61233 2, includes “I Go Crazy” and extended mixes of “Radio Ga Ga” and “I Want To Break Free”)
The Miracle (1989, Hollywood HR 61234 2, includes extra tracks from original UK CD plus “Scandal (12” Mix)”)

The reissue of “News Of The World” included just one extra track, a remix of “We Will Rock You” that later turned up as a B-side of the “No One But You” single, and the reissue of “A Kind Of Magic” neglects to include the UK bonus tracks, so is a slightly pointless release. It does include the 12” mix of “One Vision”, for those of you who like to own such things on Compact Disc, rather than vinyl.

There are plenty of other Queen releases - numerous “Greatest Hits” sets, several box sets and a series of downloadable “official” bootlegs, whilst the current reissue campaign has being plugged via a series of “best of the album tracks” collections under the “Deep Cuts” title.

Tuesday, 6 September 2011

The Beatles

What more can you say about The Beatles? You either love them or hate them. Along with The Stones, The Kinks and The Who (“The Big Four”), they helped pave the way for every decent guitar band that followed - and quite a lot of rubbish ones as well. Yes, some of that early Merseybeat stuff is a bit patchy, but from “Revolver” onwards, they barely put a foot wrong.

Having become not just one of the best, but biggest, bands in the world upon their demise in 1970, it was probably no surprise that their parent label, EMI, set about repackaging the Beatles back catalogue in various forms in the years that followed. And whilst some of those releases seemed just a tad pointless (the “Love Songs” album wasn’t even released anywhere near Valentines Day), other releases were quite impressive. Especially the box sets.

Since the start of the 80’s, the LP’s, Singles and EP’s the band released during their lifetime have all been compiled into (at least) one box set per format, something which can’t be said of the others in the “Big Four”. In this article, I shall detail the box sets that I own, and shall also look at what else the band released both pre and post-split.

The Beatles Box Set (Parlophone CDS 7 91302 2)

Sometimes known as “The Bread Bin”, because it came housed in a box which had a sliding front, just like a bread bin, this was a CD box set issued in 1988. All of the Beatles’ albums had been issued on CD in 1987, and this set put them all into one handy pack. The Beatles recorded 12 studio albums, although the second half of “Yellow Submarine” consisted of George Martin helmed orchestral recordings, with no Beatles present, so has always struck me as being more of a soundtrack album than a Beatles one.

The first four CD’s in the box, “Please Please Me”, “With The Beatles”, “A Hard Day’s Night” and “Beatles For Sale”, were all in mono, the remainder of the studio albums were all in stereo. A Thirteenth Studio Album was also included, “Magical Mystery Tour”. This release had started life as an EP, but in North America, the band’s label decided to release it as an album by sticking stray A-sides and B-sides onto the release. When the CD reissue campaign was conducted, the decision was taken to issue this version on CD, having already made it’s debut in this form in the UK as a vinyl LP in 1976. As such, the likes of “I Am The Walrus” and “Hello Goodbye”, are now thought of as album tracks, despite having spent the first decade of their life as EP and A-side material.

“Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” had celebrated it’s 20th anniversary in 1987, and as the most famous Beatles record, was given a fancy release - it was housed in a slipcase, with a booklet tucked inside with lots of nice pictures and lyrics. This version was also included in the box set. 1968’s “The Beatles”, AKA “The White Album” on account of the original vinyl pressings coming in a white sleeve with the band name embossed in white, was not that white anymore once it was on CD, as the band name was printed in grey on the cover. The follow up, “Abbey Road”, was issued in 1969, whilst the final studio album was 1970’s “Let It Be”, although the bulk of it consisted of material taped pre-“Abbey Road” for the abandoned “Get Back” project. Whilst this fact is quite well known, and plenty of people talk about “Abbey Road” as being the final proper LP, what’s not so well known is that some parts of “Let It Be” were actually taped POST-”Abbey Road”, with most of the band returning to the studio in early 1970 to add the finishing touches. John had already left, and the band didn’t so much split up as just disintegrate.

The box set was padded out with two more CD’s, “Past Masters Volume 1” and “Volume 2”. Although these releases have come in for a bit of a slagging over the years, they were both actually very important releases, containing between them all of the non-album material the band had released between 62 and 70. The two releases had been issued earlier in 1988, one in a black sleeve, and one in white. I understand the reason for their slagging came from the fact that an earlier vinyl album box set had included a bonus LP called “Rarities”, which was then issued in it’s own right, and that the “Past Masters” releases just tended to cover the same ground. However, when the back catalogue was remastered in 2009, the two “PM” releases got issued again as a double-disc “Past Masters” CD - proving how important these CD’s actually are. Furthermore, a lot of material on “Past Masters” wasn’t actually on “Rarities” in the first place!

“Volume 1” of “PM“ includes the 7” mix of “Love Me Do”, which includes John, Paul and George, plus Ringo on drums - the version on the debut LP has a session drummer instead with Ringo reduced to shaking a tambourine. You then get both sides of the “From Me To You”, “She Loves You”, “I Want To Hold Your Hand” and “I Feel Fine” 7” singles. Also included are a couple of German language recordings, the entire “Long Tall Sally” EP, and a few other odds and sods including the non album B-sides “Yes It Is” and “I’m Down”. The first five songs on the CD are in mono.

“Volume 2” includes both sides of the “Day Tripper”, “Paperback Writer”, “Lady Madonna”, “Hey Jude”, “Get Back”, “Ballad Of John And Yoko” and “Let It Be” 7” singles, along with an alternate version of the “Let It Be” album track, “Across The Universe”, tossed away on the 1969 World Wildlife Charity fund LP, “No One’s Gonna Change Our World”. The b-side of “Hey Jude”, “Revolution”, appeared in re-recorded and re-titled form on “The White Album”.

I have listed below the individual albums that are in the “Bread Bin”. Each were available separately, and until the 2009 remasters campaign, these were the only CD editions available in the UK of the UK albums. Some of the band’s US albums (which had appeared in different sleeves, with different track listings, and with different titles!) had made it onto CD in the UK a few years before courtesy of a couple of box sets. The order is not quite sequential, as the box was designed to hold the CD’s in a “specific” way, so the order shown here is the order they are supposed to be displayed inside the box.

Please Please Me (1963, CD, Apple 7 46435 2)
With The Beatles (1963, CD, Parlophone CDP 7 46436 2)
A Hard Day’s Night (1964, CD, Apple 7 46437 2)
Beatles For Sale (1964, CD, Apple CDP 7 46438 2)
Help! (1965, CD, Apple CDP 7 46439 2)
Rubber Soul (1965, CD, Apple CDP 7 46440 2)
Revolver (1966, CD, Apple CDP 7 46441 2)
Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band (1967, CD, Apple CDP 7 46442 2)
The Beatles (1968, 2xCD, Apple CD-PCS 7067/8)
Yellow Submarine (1969, CD, Apple CD-PCS 7070)
Magical Mystery Tour (1967, CD, EMI CD PCTC 255)
Abbey Road (1969, CD, Apple CD-PCS 7088)
Let It Be (1970, CD, Apple, CD-PCS 7096)
Past Masters Vol 1 (1988, CD, Apple CD-BPM 1)
Past Masters Vol 2 (1988, CD, Apple CD-BPM 2)

CD Singles Collection (Parlophone CDBSC1)

Whilst the “Bread Bin” pretty much covers everything the band ever recorded pre-split (mono and stereo mixes aside), you may well wish to get hold of the band’s 45’s in their “original” 2-track format, to at least try and trace how the band developed.

The band released 22 singles before the split in the UK, all of which had been reissued on vinyl at various times before the mid 80’s. In 1982, to tie in with the 20th anniversary of the debut 45, “Love Me Do”, all of the singles were released as 7” picture discs. In 1988/89, each of the 22 singles were released in chunks on 3” CD Singles, housed - of course - in picture sleeves. Being a 60’s band, most of these singles had simply been issued in standard company sleeves when first pressed, with the exception of “Strawberry Fields Forever”, so the picture sleeves used were ’representative’ of the time of the original release dates for 21 of the releases - “SFF” of course used the original picture sleeve from 1967.

The picture sleeves had been used before - as well as the picture disc pressings from 1982, there had also been black vinyl 7” pressings housed in picture covers at the same time. Of the 22 releases, some appeared as “Double A Side” releases, although on CD, of course, track 2 was still track 2! The AA releases, for the record, were “Day Tripper”/”We Can Work It Out”, “Yellow Submarine”/”Eleanor Rigby”, “Strawberry Fields Forever”/”Penny Lane” and “Something”/”Come Together”. However, only the “Yellow Submarine” and “Something” CD’s credited the ‘other’ a-side on the front cover.

At the end of 89, the “CD Singles Collection” box set was released which compiled all 22 3” singles into a single box. Details of the individual contents are shown below.

Love Me Do/PS I Love You (Original release 1962, 3”, Parlophone CD3R 4949)
Please Please Me/Ask Me Why (Original release 1963, 3”, Parlophone CD3R 4983)
From Me To You/Thank You Girl (Original release 1963, 3”, Parlophone CD3R 5015)
She Loves You/I’ll Get You (Original release 1963, 3”, Parlophone CD3R 5055)
I Want To Hold Your Hand/This Boy (Original release 1963, 3”, Parlophone CD3R 5084)
Can’t Buy Me Love/You Can’t Do That (Original release 1964, 3”, Parlophone CD3R 5114)
A Hard Day’s Night/Things We Said Today (Original release 1964, 3”, Parlophone CD3R 5160)
I Feel Fine/She’s A Woman (Original release 1964, 3”, Parlophone CD3R 5200)
Ticket To Ride/Yes It Is (Original release 1965, 3”, Parlophone CD3R 5265)
Help!/I’m Down (Original release 1965, 3”, Parlophone CD3R 5305)
We Can Work It Out/Day Tripper (Original release 1965, 3”, Parlophone CD3R 5389)
Paperback Writer/Rain (Original release 1966, 3”, Parlophone CD3R 5452)
Yellow Submarine/Eleanor Rigby (Original release 1966, 3”, Parlophone CD3R 5493)
Strawberry Fields Forever/Penny Lane (Original release 1967, 3”, Parlophone CD3R 5570)
All You Need Is Love/Baby You’re A Rich Man (Original release 1967, 3”, Parlophone CD3R 5620)
Hello, Goodbye/I Am The Walrus (Original release 1967, 3”, Parlophone CD3R 5655)
Lady Madonna/The Inner Light (Original release 1968, 3”, Parlophone CD3R 5675)
Hey Jude/Revolution (Original release 1968, 3”, Parlophone CD3R 5722)
Get Back/Don’t Let Me Down (Original release 1969, 3”, Parlophone CD3R 5777)
The Ballad Of John And Yoko/Old Brown Shoe (Original release 1969, 3”, Parlophone CD3R 5786)
Something/Come Together (Original release 1969, 3”, Parlophone CD3R 5814)
Let It Be/You Know My Name (Look Up The Number) (Original release 1970, 3”, Parlophone CD3R 5833)

EP Collection (Parlophone BEP 14)

The EP has always been a funny format in the UK, with some bands ignoring the format, and others tinkering now and then. The Stones only released two EP’s in the UK in the 60’s, both consisting of brand new material, whilst The Kinks released five or six, a mix of “Greatest Hits” EP’s, and others consisting of at-the-time exclusive songs. The Beatles released 13 EP’s before 1970, although only two of these offered up “new” material when they were first issued - the aforementioned “Long Tall Sally” and “Magical Mystery Tour”.

The latter tied in with the film of the same name, and included six new songs. It had originally been intended to try and squeeze all the songs onto a single disc, pressed at 33rpm, but concerns over the impact this would have had on the sound quality, saw the decision instead to release it as a double 7” set, housed in an impressive gatefold sleeve. The track listing reveals that when the material was issued on the album of the same name, the songs were placed in a different order - so “Blue Jay Way” closes the EP, and not “I Am The Walrus”.

Although the EP’s were reissued after the band’s split as individual pressings, it was not until 1981 that they appeared in a boxset, the “EP Collection”. The box went down the “incentive purchase” route, by including a bonus EP, simply called “The Beatles”, which included alternate mixes of older Beatles tunes, some previously unissued (supposedly). The bonus EP came in a “Strawberry Fields Forever” sleeve, and has never been issued for sale individually by EMI.

Again, everything here (except the bonus EP) is on “Past Masters”, “Magical Mystery Tour”, and the original albums but it’s a fascinating package. The original picture sleeves are used for each EP, but the obvious difference is that none of these reissues are in flipback sleeves, whilst the labels on the actual vinyl are different to the original versions. “MMT” does, however, still come in it’s superb gatefold sleeve, complete with the original “photo book” insert.

I have listed below the EP’s that were included in the box set, including the bonus 7”. It is worth noting that all three of these boxsets mentioned have appeared in slightly different form on other formats, including Cassette.

The Beatles’ Hits: From Me To You/Thank You Girl/Please Please Me/Love Me Do (1963, 7”, Parlophone GE 8880)
Twist And Shout: Twist And Shout/A Taste Of Honey/Do You Want To Know A Secret/There’s A Place (1963, 7”, Parlophone GEP 8882)
The Beatles No.1: I Saw Her Standing There/Misery/Anna (Go To Him)/Chains (1963, 7”, Parlophone GEP 8883)
All My Loving: All My Loving/Ask Me Why/Money/PS I Love You (1963, 7”, Parlophone GEP 8891)
Long Tall Sally: Lomg Tall Sally/I Call Your Name/Slow Down/Matchbox (1964, 7”, Parlophone GEP 8913)
Extracts From The Film A Hard Day’s Night: I Should Have Known Better/If I Fell/Tell Me Why/And I Love Her (1964, 7”, Parlophone GEP 8920)
Extracts From The Album A Hard Day’s Night: Any Time At All/I’ll Cry Instead/Things We Said Today/When I Get Home (1964, 7”, Parlophone GEP 8924)
Beatles For Sale: No Reply/I’m A Loser/Rock And Roll Music/Eight Days A Week (1964, 7”, Parlophone GEP 8931)
Beatles For Sale No.2: I’ll Follow The Sun/Baby’s In Black/Words Of Love/I Don’t Want To Spoil The Party (1964, 7”, Parlophone GEP 8938)
The Beatles’ Million Sellers: She Loves You/I Want To Hold Your Hand/Can’t Buy Me Love/I Feel Fine (1964, 7”, Parlophone GEP 8946)
Yesterday: Yesterday/Act Naturally/You Like Me Too Much/It’s Only Love (1965, 7”, Parlophone GEP 8948)
Nowhere Man: Nowhere Man/Drive My Car/Michelle/You Won’t See Me (1965, 7”, Parlophone GEP 8952)
Magical Mystery Tour: Magical Mystery Tour/Your Mother Should Know/I Am The Walrus/The Fool On The Hill/Flying/Blue Jay Way (1967, 2x7”, Parlophone SMMT-1)
The Beatles: The Inner Light (Stereo)/Baby You’re A Rich Man (Stereo)/She’s A Woman (Stereo)/This Boy (Stereo) (1981, 7”, Parlophone SGE1)

Other Releases

Whilst the box sets pretty much do the job as far as material pre-split is concerned, there are other releases of note, including one issued whilst the band were still on ongoing concern.

The group’s first best of in the UK was 1966’s “A Collection Of Beatles Oldies”, an album compiling stand alone singles and highlights from the studio LP’s. It was issued as a record company money-spinner, released in the run up to Christmas, but it did include an at-the-time rarity in the form of “Bad Boy”, a cover unreleased in the UK, having previously turned up on one of the Beatles’ US albums. It has since found a home on the first “Past Masters” release.

In 1970, with the band now deceased, a fan club only LP “From Then To You” was released. It consisted of the material that had been included on the band’s fan club only flexi discs, which had been released on an annual basis from 1963 to 69, each in their own picture sleeves. The flexis usually consisted of spoken messages from the band, but with some musical moments on each. However, by pitching the compilation at the fan club, many of whom would already have had these releases, it felt like a missed opportunity. As such, both the original flexi discs and this album, are major collectors items.

In 1973, the band released what are probably their most famous compilation albums - “1962-1966” and “1967-1970”. Each album used a similar photo, of the band looking down at the camera from over a staircase, with the “1962” LP using a photo almost identical to that of the “Please Please Me” album cover, and the “1967” one using a similar shot - but from a photoshoot in 1969. The photo had been originally planned to be used as the cover of the cancelled “Get Back” album, which would have been printed in a similar style to “Please Please Me”. Each album came with a different coloured border, and so tend to be referred to as the “Red Album” and the “Blue Album”. Although the two albums were nothing more than expansive best-of’s, both included rarities, with alternate mixes being used of several songs. So famous are these sets, that they have been reissued several times - coloured vinyl pressings were produced in 1978 (on, yes, you guessed it, red and blue vinyl respectively), whilst there have been CD reissues in 1993 and 2010.

In 1976, EMI released arguably the most famous Beatles track, “Yesterday”, as a single. It had only ever appeared in the UK, apart from of course on LP, as the lead track on an EP of the same name, but was getting an A-side billing in the band’s home country for the first time. It appeared in a green picture sleeve designed to look - from a distance - like a Parlophone company bag. All of the band’s preceding 22 45’s were also reissued in similar style sleeves. Later the same year, EMI issued “Rock And Roll Music”, a slightly pointless collection of the band’s rockier recordings, presumably to remind people of the band’s Hamburg days. To coincide, “Back In The USSR” was issued as a 7”, with “Twist And Shout” from the band’s debut LP on the flip. It was followed by a live album, “At The Hollywood Bowl”, taped at the height of Beatlemania. However, reaction towards the album has always been hostile, which explains why it has never been released on CD. The sound quality of the shows that were taped for the album were generally poor, and indeed, earlier planned releases of this material were all scrapped for this reason.

In 1977, the aforementioned “Love Songs” double LP arrived, and was followed in 1978, to commemorate the - um - 11th anniversary of “Sgt Pepper”, by a single featuring the opening medley of “Pepper” and “With A Little Help From My Friends” - issued as a 7” in a “Pepper” styled picture sleeve. 1980 saw the release of “The Beatles Ballads”, whilst 1982 offered “Reel Music”, a compilation of tracks that appeared in the movies the band had starred in earlier on in their career, when they attempted - like Cliff and Elvis - to become movie stars. A mega mix style medley of songs was issued as a 7” overseas, entitled “The Beatles Movie Medley”, and although EMI hated it, they were forced into releasing it in the UK after import copies started to flood into the country. By the end of the year, another best of, “20 Greatest Hits”, had hit the shops.

After the “Past Masters” sets, things were a bit quiet until 1994, and the release of the “Live At The BBC” set, compiling the band’s BBC sessions and appearances. “Baby It’s You” was lifted from the album as a single to coincide, with three previously unavailable BBC recordings on the ‘B-side‘. In 1995, the first release of the much hyped “Anthology” trio of albums was conducted. A “new” Beatles song, “Free As A Bird”, was included on the album and released as a single - it was actually a post-split John Lennon solo demo from 1977, with the remaining “Threetles” adding their own voices and music to make it a Beatles record. The same thing was done with the next single, “Real Love”, used to plug 1996’s “Anthology 2”. No singles were taken from “Anthology 3”.

1999 saw the release of the “Yellow Submarine Songtrack”, effectively a revamped version of the original LP, with the George Martin tracks replaced by Beatles songs that had appeared in the film, but not on the original album, with everything then subsequently remixed for the set. The vinyl LP was pressed on yellow vinyl. Another greatest hits set, “1”, turned up in 2000.

“Let It Be…Naked”, turned up in 2003. The original “Let It Be”, released after the band had split, had therefore been released without the band really overseeing the final product, and as such, McCartney was horrified when he discovered producer Phil Spector had stuck string arrangements all over “The Long And Winding Road.” The “Naked” release (which came housed in a vaguely “negative” version of the original sleeve) thus removed many of the extras Spector had tagged onto the LP. The vinyl edition came with a free 7”, which featured not so much any new songs, but what I can only describe as a piece featuring “The Beatles Messing About In The Studio”.

2006 saw the release of “Love”, a sort of remix/mash up project, designed to tie in with the Cirque Du Soleil production of the same name. It consisted of 26 Beatles songs, but with bits and pieces merged in with others, so you get about 40 Beatles songs in one form or another. Whilst such a thing could be thought of as sacriliege, it’s actually quite an entertaining listen, and strangely, you do find yourself going back to it again and again. The deluxe edition featured an alternate mix of the album on DVD. The 2009 remaster series saw a pair of box sets of the albums issued again, with a “Stereo” box and a “Mono” box, the latter of which included an exclusive freebie CD, entitled “Mono Masters”.


Yesterday/I Should Have Known Better (1976, 7”, Parlophone R6013)
Back In The USSR/Twist And Shout (1976, 7”, Parlophone R6016)
Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band/With A Little Help From My Friends/A Day In The Life (1978, 7”, Parlophone R6022)
The Beatles’ Movie Medley/I’m Happy Just To Dance With You (1982, 7”, Parlophone R6055)
Baby It’s You (BBC)/I’ll Follow The Sun (BBC)/Devil In Her Heart (BBC)/Boys (BBC) (1995, 7”, Parlophone R6406, also on Picture Disc, Cassette and CD)
Free As A Bird/I Saw Her Standing There (Take 9)/This Boy (Takes 12 & 13)/Christmas Time (Is Here Again) (Edit) (1995, CD, Parlophone CDR6422)
Real Love/Baby’s In Black (Live)/Yellow Submarine (Remix)/Here There And Everywhere (Take 7/Remix) (1996, CD, Parlophone CDR6425)

So, that’s the basics over and done with. Over the years, Record Collector have excitedly done ridiculously in depth articles looking at matrix numbers, and first pressings, but this is all big money stuff, so we'll ignore that nonsense. Instead, if you don't already have it, treat yourself to a copy of "1" (recently reissued) and see just where Oasis got all those ideas from.

Thursday, 1 September 2011

Madonna: UK Singles 1996-1999

If the R&B slushiness of “Bedtime Stories” and the balladeering tones of “Something To Remember” had been part of an attempt to realign Madonna with the mainstream, then the final part took place during the remainder of 1996, continuing through to 1998. In 1996, Madonna starred in “Evita” - a film role she had longed to play all her life, and in doing so, achieved not only a lifetime’s ambition, but also got the mainstream public to fall in love with her again. And then, bam! 1998’s “Ray Of Light” was a revelatory pop record, the best Madonna record since “Like A Prayer”, and the sound of a woman hitting the highs with nearly every note. It may as well have come with a sign saying “all other pop stars retire now, the Queen is back”.

Although there have been a few wobbles since, “Ray Of Light” was pretty much the second coming, and was ultimately responsible for some of the genius records that followed. Kylie, Lady Gaga and co may have tried to topple her, but not one of them has made a “Ray Of Light”, so Madonna’s position as the high priestess of pop remains unchallenged. In terms of collectibles, the period from late 96 to mid 99 as regards Madonna on 45 is interesting - from the dull as ditchwater releases from “Evita”, to the fun “non chart eligible” bonus formats from “ROL”. Here, I shall run through the UK singles from the period, again noting the odd important overseas rarity from my own collection. Please note - jukebox 7” singles, being “non commercially released” items, are excluded.

You Must Love Me

The first single from “Evita”. Three were released in total, each appearing in reverse order to where they actually appeared in the film. “You Must Love Me” was more or less one of the final songs on the soundtrack, and appeared on just two formats - CD and Cassette. Another Madonna sung track from the soundtrack appeared as the B-side on both, with the CD adding a Madonna-less orchestral version of the A-side, which may not even be of interest to the completists.

As far as I can recall, the three Madonna singles lifted from the LP were the only three singles taken from the soundtrack at all - so no Antonio Banderas or Jimmy Nail singles in the charts at the time. Furthermore, whilst several of the songs on “Evita” consisted of Madonna duetting with a co-star, or in some cases, just singing a fraction of a song alongside two or three other vocalists, the three singles were all “Madonna Only”.

Given the “mainstream” nature of the “Evita” soundtrack, it comes as no surprise to note that there was no decision to release multiple remix 12” singles, or fancy picture disc 7” releases. Furthermore, B-sides were restricted to “Evita” related material only, so no bonus live tracks from Madonna gigs this time around.

You Must Love Me/Rainbow High (Cassette, Warner Bros W 0378 C)
You Must Love Me/Rainbow High +1 (CD, Warner Bros W 0378 CD)

Don't Cry For Me Argentina

The biggie. Totally showbiz, arguably a bit too middle of the road, but every man and his dog knows this one, so it was no surprise Warners knocked this out in time for the Christmas 96 chart battle. They actually released it a bit too early, so it started to drop down the charts some weeks before the Xmas chart was announced.

B-side wise, it’s even worse than “You Must Love Me”. A non Madonna song on the Cassette. Two of them on the CD. The single still charted well, simply because of what it was, but still, a poor show. But then came the third format - and arguably the campest Madonna release ever. A series of “hands in the air” banging remixes of the title track had been made, and a second CD containing them was issued thereafter. It came in a slighty tacky sleeve, with a big red star with the legend “The Dance Mixes” all over the cover, but it did the job - here was new Madonna material, and as such, the week after this CD was issued, the song went back up the charts. The remixes were, as you’d expect, slightly ludicrous - was this really the right song to be given the “Miami Mix” treatment? Brilliantly mad.

Despite the fact that it’s difficult to disassociate this song from the movie, and the famous scene it appears in, Madonna has on occasions slipped this into her live shows - but only usually when playing in Argentina.

Don’t Cry For Me Argentina +1 (Cassette, Warner Bros W 0384 C)
Don’t Cry For Me Argentina +2 (CD1, Warner Bros W 0384 CD)
Don’t Cry For Me Argentina (Miami Mix Edit)/(Miami Spanglish Mix Edit)/(Miami Mix)/(Album Version) (CD2, bordered p/s, Warner Bros W 0384 CD2)

Another Suitcase In Another Hall

On the face of it, a pointless single, but it was actually released to coincide with the Oscars ceremony. Madonna’s hope of winning an Oscar for her performance were dashed, but “You Must Love Me” was nominated in (and won) the best original song category, and Madonna turned up to sing the tune.

The single was issued on two different CD’s, with slightly altered track listings but in otherwise near identical covers. Although there was nothing on these singles that hadn’t already been released before, the decision to issue each CD as a four track EP was a nice retro touch - as opposed to just adding three mixes of the a-side as so called “B-sides”. All of the extra tracks were “Madonna only” songs from the soundtrack, with one of the remixes of “Argentina” making the first CD. Either CD just seems so much more interesting than the likes of the “You Must Love Me” or ‘non-remix’ “Argentina” CD’s.

A cassette single was also issued, a 2-track job with one of the remixes of “Argentina” on the flip, thus making a debut on this format for the relevant mix. However some, if not all, copies listed a different mix to that remix which actually played.

Another Suitcase In Another Hall/Don’t Cry For Me Argentina (Miami Mix Edit)/You Must Love Me/Hello and Goodbye (CD1, Warner Bros W 0388 CD)
Another Suitcase In Another Hall/You Must Love Me/Hello and Goodbye/Waltz For Eva And Che (CD2 with 3 free postcards, Warner Bros W 0388 CDX)
Another Suitcase In Another Hall/Don’t Cry For Me Argentina (Miami Mix Edit) (Cassette, Warner Bros W 0388 C)


And so, after the preview of those “Evita“ singles, the comeback was completed with this single. Actually one of the weaker songs on “Ray Of Light” IMO, this slice of chilled out electronica successfully moved Madonna away from the MOR leanings of the “Evita” material, and back into the world of pop. It went to number 1, Madonna did the rounds on TV plugging the single, and suddenly, she was back in vogue again. As part of her Kaballah leanings, newspapers told you how to copy her fancy hand painting designs, and the remix brigade lined up to give this (and subsequent) singles a good going over.

The Cassette edition was quite exciting - for a week at least. It included a new song, “Shanti Ashtangi”, but as this was actually on the forthcoming LP, it wasn’t so exciting once the album arrived. The CD single offered up four mixes plus the album version, whilst a “completists only” 12” surfaced including three of the four mixes from the CD only.

The concept of the “non-chart eligible” single hadn’t quite taken off just yet at this point, and so all versions of the single issued in the UK counted towards the chart placing and eventual total sales. Madonna would eventually issue a number of such releases in the UK, although by the mid-noughties, the concept had once again died off.

Frozen/Shanti Ashtangi (Cassette, Maverick W 0433 C)
Frozen (Extended Club Mix)/(Stereo MC’s Mix)/(Meltdown Mix - Long Version) (12”, Maverick W 0433 T)
Frozen (Album Version)/(Stereo MC’s Mix)/(Meltdown Mix - Long Version)/(Extended Club Mix)/(Widescreen Mix) (CD, Maverick W 0433 CD)

Ray Of Light

This was the one. An absolute stormer of a single, yes, it heavily borrowed from an old folk song, but this was Madonna at the peak of her powers. One of the highlights of the album, Warners really went to town on the B-side/remix material as well.

The cassette featured a new song, “Has To Be”, which is still unavailable on CD in the UK. The 12” and CD offered up four versions of the A-side, including the original LP mix. A week or two later, Warners put out a non chart eligible second CD, the first time they had done this for a Madonna single - but it was not to be the last. The second CD came in a different sleeve design - same photo, but printed twice “mirror image wise” on the cover - and featured four new remixes. Nice work.

The “non chart eligible” release, in order for it to be ‘identified’ as a bonus format, had to be released at a later date. Such singles still had barcodes on so the sales could be calculated at the tills, but the sales did not count towards the chart position. Being ineligible for the charts also meant that the running times of such singles could be longer than the “official” length of a single, but acts didn’t often go down this route, instead offering up just an EP’s worth of material on such formats.

Ray Of Light/Has To Be (Cassette, Maverick W 0444 C)
Ray Of Light (Ultra Violet Mix)/(Liquid Mix)/(Calderone Club Mix)/(Album Version) (12”, Maverick W 0444 T)
Ray Of Light (Album Version)/(Ultra Violet Mix)/(Liquid Mix)/(Calderone Club Mix) (CD1, Maverick W 0444 CD)
Ray Of Light (Sasha’s Twilo Mix)/(Sasha’s Strip Down Mix)/(Victor Calderone Drum Mix)/(Orbit’s Ultra Violet Mix) (CD2, diff p/s, Maverick W 0444 CD2)

Drowned World (Substitute For Love)

My word, two classics on the trot. An absolute masterpiece, the stunning opener to the album, “Drowned World” remains one of the most unconventional singles Madonna has ever put out. Yes, the basic “Verse Chorus Verse” structure is there, but it’s a song that builds and builds and as such, feels more like a long and flowing piece of art, rather than a conventional pop song. It also came with an equally inventive promo clip, shot in London whilst Madonna was plugging the album - and in some ways, was the start of Madonna’s Anglophile leanings that would culminate in the marriage to Guy Ritchie some years later.

Quite why the US arm of Warners declined giving it a Stateside release is beyond me. In the UK, the b-sides were a mix of remixes of both “Drowned World” and a “ROL” album track, “Sky Fits Heaven”. Two CD Singles were issued, using the same basic photo, but with CD2 housed in a “white bordered” picture sleeve. The cassette single, aimed at non-CD owners and completists, offered two of the three tracks from CD1.

Here’s where it gets confusing. Warners decided to issue a non chart eligible 12”, featuring the same songs as CD1 but in a different order. However, copies were pressed in Germany and then exported over to the UK. Although the single was allocated a UK catalogue number (W 0453 T), this was nowhere to be found on either the labels or the sleeve itself - instead a German catalogue number starting ‘9362’ was all that was to be found.

However, the exported copies had the UK catalogue number scratched into the run out groove of the vinyl itself, and in most instances, this was the only way to identify the catalogue number. However, some shops (primarily HMV, maybe others) had a tendency at the time to produce their own barcode price stickers, with the W 0453 T catalogue number printed on the label, so any “Drowned World” 12-inches with a HMV price sticker are almost certainly going to be a UK copy. What I don’t know is if any of these German pressed singles were produced without the catalogue number scratched into the vinyl, and thus only sold in Germany. Any takers?

Drowned World (Album Version)/Sky Fits Heaven (Sasha’s Remix Edit) (Cassette, Maverick W 0453 C)
Drowned World (Album Version)/(BT And Sasha’s Bucklodge Ashram Mix)/Sky Fits Heaven (Sasha’s Remix Edit) (CD1, Maverick W 0453 CD1)
Drowned World (Album Version)/Sky Fits Heaven (Sasha’s Remix)/(Victor Calderone Remix Edit) (CD2, white bordered p/s, Maverick W 0453 CD2)
Drowned World (BT And Sasha‘s Bucklodge Ashram Mix)/(Album Version)/Sky Fits Heaven (Sasha’s Remix Edit) (12“, Maverick W 0453 T)

The Power Of Good-bye/Little Star

What a strange release. “Little Star”, Madonna’s ode to her young child, was not issued as an A-side anywhere in the world, except in the UK, where it appeared as a AA side with “The Power Of Good-bye”. Madonna did not even release a video for it, and probably wasn’t even aware it was being issued as a single with another “ROL” track.

As a result, the Cassette edition of the single is a pointless exercise - album versions of two album tracks, and nothing else. Chart rules at the time prevented any bonus tracks from being included as well. The CD adds a remix of “Power”, but there was no space - due to chart rules yet again - to include any more than the one remix, despite the fact that numerous mixes had been produced.

The 12” however, is quite an interesting oddity, as it was NOT issued as a AA, but instead just offered up four versions of “Power” and nothing else. However, even this is something of an academic release as in Australia, the CD single issued there (Maverick 9362 44591 2) included all of the UK 12”, plus an extra “unavailable in the UK” Luke Slater mix of “Power” (the “Filtered” mix).

The Power Of Good-bye/Little Star (AA-side Cassette, Maverick W 459 C)
The Power Of Good-bye/Little Star/The Power Of Good-bye (Dallas’ Low End Mix) (AA-side CD, Maverick W 459 CD)
The Power Of Good-bye (Dallas’ Low End Mix)/(Luke Slater Super Luper)/(Fabien’s Good God Mix)/(Album Mix) (12”, Maverick W 459 T)

Nothing Really Matters

A cracking 45, housed in one of my favourite Madonna covers (it might just be because she is flashing her knickers on three of the four editions). A slightly jerky rhythm, with correspondingly jerky looking video, it's far better than “fifth single of the album” would have suggested.

The cassette single offered up the original LP version, and a radio mix by Club 69. CD1 added a bonus Kruder & Dorfmeister Mix, whilst CD2 - which used a zoomed in version of the cover, along with yellow flash across the top of the sleeve - used a series of Club 69 mixes, including the radio mix.

After failing to issue a non-chart eligible release for “Power”, Warners knocked out a 12” for this release, which included all of the remixes from the two CD singles. Unlike the mystery of the “Drowned World” 12”, this one was a proper UK release, with catalogue number present and correct in all the right places. A quick look at the track listing also reveals that by including four mixes, it’s thus longer than the standard formats, and therefore would have been ineligible for the chart had it been released as a third format instead of - say - the second CD.

Nothing Really Matters (Album Version)/(Club 69 Radio Mix) (Cassette, Maverick W 471 C)
Nothing Really Matters (Album Version)/(Club 69 Radio Mix)/(Kruder & Dorfmeister Mix) (CD1, Maverick W 471 CD1)
Nothing Really Matters (Club 69 Radio Mix)/(Club 69 Future Mix)/(Club 69 Future Dub) (CD2, diff p/s, Maverick W 471 CD2)
Nothing Really Matters (Club 69 Future Mix)/(Club 69 Future Dub)/(Kruder & Dorfmeister Mix)/(Club 69 Radio Mix) (12“, Maverick W 471 T)

Beautiful Stranger

More pop genius, as Madonna goes all 60’s Psychedelia/”Light My Fire” on this one off single, recorded for the “Austin Powers 2” soundtrack. Any concerns that, post “Ray Of Light”, Madonna would struggle to reach the levels of genius of that album were immediately dispelled with this blistering piece of work. However, it’s follow up - 2000’s “American Pie” - was deemed a disaster, meaning Madonna had to work that bit harder with the next LP to stay at the top of the pop tree.

After all the fun and games with the multi formatting and non chart eligible 12” releases from “ROL“, “Beautiful Stranger” was a bit of a dull release in terms of collectible formats. The cassette included the original mix and a Victor Calderone remix, with the 12” and CD including both tracks and an extended Calderone version. So, just like “Frozen”, no need to buy more than one format here.

Like many other “stand alone” a-sides, “Stranger” has since appeared on a Madonna compilation, although as with most Madonna singles, the remixes here remain exclusive to these original pressings, thanks to a complete absence of any sort of Madonna “rarities” boxset.

Beautiful Stranger (LP Version)/(Calderone Radio Mix) (Cassette, Maverick W 495 C)
Beautiful Stranger (LP Version)/(Calderone Club Mix)/(Calderone Radio Mix) (CD, Maverick W 495 CD)
Beautiful Stranger (LP Version)/(Calderone Club Mix)/(Calderone Radio Mix) (12“, Maverick W 495 T)