Beatles Worldwide: An Anthology of Original LP-Releases
Book Review and Interview with author Christoph Maus (1-31-05)
By Ronnie

I was so surprised by the contents of the BEATLES WORLDWIDE (An Anthology of Original LP-Releases) that I decided to not only review the book, but interview the author Christoph Maus.

And check the link following the interview and you can see a few of the more interesting album cover variations of Beatles album covers that can be found in the book.

So, it is in essence a three-part article. Hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed putting it together and reading this FAB book!


Thanks to books like Nicholas Schaffner's BEATLES FOREVER, I had long known that there were many different versions of Beatles albums printed in other countries. However, until reading Christoph Maus' BEATLES WORLDWIDE (An Anthology of Original LP-Releases) I had no idea that there was this many! BEATLES WORLDWIDE is an exhaustive study of the many, many Beatles album releases around the world. It covers albums released 1962-1972, with the sole exception being Russia - where Beatles albums weren't allowed until 1986! There is an introduction chapter for each country represented, which gives an explanation of that countries marketing plan regarding the release of Beatles albums. Each country also has an illustrated discography chapter, which displays the album covers in glorious colour! Sure, I had seen some of these titles in black and white before, but it is great to finally seeing them in color! The book also gives the value of each release (In Euros) for serious collectors. BEATLES WORLDWIDE is a unique time capsule of a period in rock 'n roll where the profit of marketing was more important than artistic integrity. Marketing (not only of song selection, but the cover artwork) was left up to the discretion of the local record companies of each country.

And of course there were fascinating tidbits of trivia that I found:

  • Chile was the only country that released the White Album as two single LPs.
  • Argentina promoted the band by translating their name to Los Grillos on their album cover. ("The Crickets"?)
  • In Latin American countries, the master for an LP was usually made not from a copy of the original master tape, but usually from a copy of an English or American LP. Also in these countries, the mono versions were 'created' from the actual stereo copies from these countries.
  • Some of the U.S. compilations, such as SOMETHING NEW, THE BEATLES SECOND ALBUM and BEATLES VI were pressing in the U.K. for export only.
  • Venezuela even marketed the Beatles as a SURFIN' band, calling their album SUFIN' CON LOS BEATLES EN ACCION!
Ultimately, the BEATLES WORLDWIDE is an indispensable resource not only for Beatles fans, but also for collectors who don't want to be limited by only U.S. or U.K. releases.

Right: Christoph Maus


E.C.: How did the idea of the book come about? Had your written any other books before or were you just a Beatles fan?

Christoph: This is my first book. Until now I have been active as a musician/composer and part-time music-journalist and occasional CD-cover-designer. The idea for this book came about when I first met the German Mega-Beatles-collector Gerhard Korte and had a first glimpse at his enormous record-collection. I thought to myself that his collection truly deserved to be turned into a book. Especially sine I knew that, despite thousands of Beatles-Book, an illustrated worldwide Beatles discography like the BEATLES WORLDWIDE book has never been achieved before. I was fortunate to meet (via Internet) a Japanese worldwide Beatles-collector as well who, by coincidence, happened to own the “missing 20 %” of LPs that Gerhard Korte did not own, so this book is fairly complete (95 % I would say).

E.C.: The Nicholas Schaffner book BEATLES FOREVER was the first time I had seen many of the album covers from different countries, but they were in black and white for his book. Was representing the covers in colour in your book a primary concern?

Christoph: Yes, representing the covers in colour was a primary concern. Also, I like to design and my intention was to make a book as pop and colourful to look at (and to read) as the Beatles-music is pop and “colourful” to hear.

E.C.: How long did it take to research this book?

Christoph: From start to finish, the book took me about one year to make. Being a Beatles-Fan myself obviously helped. I knew a lot about the records beforehand but still I had to make a lot of research and now I feel like I am a Dr. Beatle. My ambition was not only to present the album-covers, but also to tell the stories behind them and why they were released in such a way in all those countries. This book also fuelled the ambitions that I had as a journalist, not only as a Fan.

E.C.: That is an amusing story of your Auntie acquiring a “book-club” pressing of THE BEATLES BEAT by accident. Did she gift this record to you?

Christoph: Yes, my auntie gave the record to me …and I sold it to Gerhard Korte, as even he did not own a copy in this pristine condition. My auntie didn’t mind. I invited her to dinner.

E.C.: How many of the Beatles albums shown are in your own collection?

Christoph: Only very few. I may be a big Fan, but not necessarily a collector. I own the original UK-mono-editions and the original German stereo-editions of the LPs plus some foreign pressings with cover-variations that I like plus original German singles & EPs. That’s enough for me. And I believe that, not being a collector myself, actually helped writing this book as I tried to keep an objective and sometimes humorous point of view throughout and not lose myself in too many details.

E.C.: In the book you mentioned Gerhard Korte’s Beatles collection. Has Gerhard Korte accomplished his ambition to posses a copy of every Beatles record released in the world?

Christoph: No, he comes close (about 75 %, I guess) but he eventually realises that his collection will be complete (he tried to collect also every minor variation of labels and so on), and now he’s learning to live with it ! (It’s hard for him, though)

E.C.: There were a couple of photo-reversals shown in your book – for instance, the back cover of COLLECTION OF BEATLES OLDIES, which is reversed in Japan. Also, isn’t the photo of the Beatles used on THE WORLDS BEST-THE BEATLES reversed? When you see the promo from Strawberry Fields Forever (from which this photo was taken) the piano is on the other side of the tree in the video!

Christoph: As I wrote in my book, the back cover of ….OLDIES is corrected in Japan, it’s reversed anywhere else! No, the photo on THE WORLD´S BEST is correct.

E.C.: In your UTOPIA chapter (albums that never were) there is a mock cover for LIVE AT THE HOLLYWOOD BOWL. Where did this originate?

Christoph: I took the mock-cover of HOLLYWOOD BOWL from a recently-available Bootleg . The cover was made in a style as if….and I thought that it was just right for the UTOPIA-chapter.

E.C.: I was truly surprised by the number of album variations, not only the artwork, but the song listings and their manipulation. No contemporary artist these days would stand for that – why do you think the Beatles did? They must have been annoyed, just listen to that bootleg recording where John says something sarcastic about the BEATLES VI release.

Christoph: Like you, I was amazed at how many variations of Beatles-LPs, especially in the years to 1966, do exist. And to show this to other people and to raise their interest was the main reason why I made this book. Most fans only know of the US-Capitol-versions, but what happened to the Beatles-records in the rest of the world is something to discover… The Beatles simply had no choice and no say in it (nor had the Stones or the Who or the Kinks, for that matter).

In the early 1960s they were all “tiny” English bands, who, despite their success, could be, at first, lucky, that record-companies all over the world (especially in the USA) bothered to release their records at all! No one could predict how long this “pop/Beat”-boom would last. There was no master plan as how to establish an international rock-group like today.

Also, it was a game of power. American record-companies made sure that their artists like Bob Dylan or the Beach Boys were marketed throughout the world in about the same way, but English artists and record-companies had no such power (at least not until 1967 or so). It is said that the Beatles made the –withdrawn-Butcher Cover as a protest against US-Capitol “butchering” their original UK-albums.

[Note: This is an urban legend that the Beatles used the “Yesterday & Today – Butcher Cover” to protest the “butchering” of their original albums by Capitol. For the full story go to the following link:
Everything You've Always Wanted To Know About The Beatles Butcher Cover]

E.C.: I was also a little shocked by the practices of some countries - Japan released more Beatles records than anywhere else in the world often releasing records by various countries such as the U.K., U.S., Germany and Italy. In your research for the book, did you find any information that surprised you?

Christoph: As said above, during research of the book I was (nearly) just as amazed as you. And I think that every reader of this book (even seasoned Beatles-Fan) will be amazed too.

E.C.: The book also gave me some insight into a few foreign Beatles records that I had in my collection, such as the Mexican Beatles albums. On a trip to Mexico in the ‘70s, I bought several of these unique albums, not knowing that there were actually two covers of most of these. Until Capitol Records established itself in Mexico in mid-1965, the releases in that country were handled by Musart Records. When Capitol started re-releasing them, they used completely different covers in some cases. Now I know that the records that I posses are actually the Capitol versions of the original Musart albums. Were there any such surprises for you, perhaps in some albums that you owned?

Christoph: Yes, most of the German special book-club-editions are merely re-releases of the same LP with different covers, a 1964 German compilation BEATLES´BEAT. Also, there are some astonishing connections, like a 1965 Dutch collection which was released in Israel five years later with a different cover… or India exporting their pressings to Hungary… or the Beatles name translated to LOS GRILLOS on the first Argentinean records…and so on.

E.C.: Do you have any other Beatles-related books planned? Maybe a version of your book covering 45rpm records (and EP’s) of the world?

Christoph: Yes, I am currently working on BEATLES WORLDWIDE II about original singles and EPs 1962-1970. It will be even more colourful than this book and is planned for release in late Summer.