By Cristoph Maus
"Beatles Worldwide II: An Anthology of Original Singles & EP-Releases" follows the same format as "Beatles Worldwide I" (which concentrated on album releases) by giving you an exhaustive look at the multitude of Beatles 45 rpm's and EP's that were released around the world. Of course the '60s were a unique time in rock 'n roll - not only for the music itself, but the fact that record companies around the world had a carte blanche to release records by bands using whatever packaging and song order they liked! As we saw in "Beatles Worldwide I", Beatles albums around the world were released with some pretty interesting variations of not only pictures and graphics used and some bizarre couplings of songs (The Venezuela "Helter Skelter"/Honey Pie" single). This modus operandi also applied to the 45-rpm format. And a lot of times simply economics played a role in releases, as some countries would split up an entire album on EP's - that way, you could buy the whole album in "installments".
While some countries were content to use the same photo over and over again on the pictures sleeves (such as in Germany), other countries took more liberties in the graphic design of the sleeves. For instance, the Spanish YELLOW SUBMARINE EP cover has its own unique cartoon drawing of the yellow submarine. Also from Spain is the GIRL EP, which shows all four Beatles lighting up cigarettes in darkness on the cover - just try to get a cover like that in the topsy-turvy politically inept time of the modern world! Malaysia has two EP's, which show swastikas on the cover! (of course, not all know that the swastika was a religious symbol way before the nazis hijacked the symbol as their official moniker). Another interesting aspect is how some countries totally ignored the band's ever-changing appearance, such as using 1965 photos for the 1967 release of PENNY LANE (Italy).
While I'm pretty knowledgeable when it comes to U.S./U.K. Beatles records, I still found some tantalizing information in this book about some other countries. Just what a seasoned Beatles fan yearns for - new information! For instance - Beatles singles in India were still released on 10" 78 rpm shellac discs, playable on gramophones! Another interesting fact is that John Lennon himself had a hand in compiling a group of EP's for release in Mexico from 1970-72 that grouped each with songs that were either sung or composed by one member of the group. So, you had various Ringo-themed, John-themed, and George-themed discs. What about Paul you ask? Well, this was the time of the much-publicized John-Paul feud (just think "How Do You Sleep?"), so John was not the biggest Paul fan at the time!
For Beatles fans, the single item that makes this book a "must have" (besides its value as an excellent reference source) is the generous amount of color photos included (many of which you wont find anywhere else). "Beatles Worldwide II: An Anthology of Original Singles & EP-Releases" is a fitting sequel to "Beatles Worldwide: An Anthology of Original LP-Releases" that is worth the price alone for the color photos!
A sneak peek at a few covers from the book:
Click here for a sample of what can be seen in Beatles Worldwide: An Anthology of Original LP-Releases