Monday, 16 March 2015

The poster story

The Norwegian singles collection
Way back in the dark ages, before graphic design was made so easy by computers, some friends of mine and I hit upon the idea of making a giant poster depicting all the Norwegian Beatles single picture sleeves (more about the Norwegian 45's here).

The place where I was working at the time had acquired a wonderful piece of equipment - a colour copy machine. The machine was also capable of reducing the size of the copy. So I set about the task. I got me some plain white big cardboard sheets, gathered together all my Norwegian Beatles 45's, borrowed a couple that I didn't have and went ahead and produced it. When I had all the miniature single covers I needed, each one was hand glued to the cardboard poster.

I think I made in all five of these posters, one for each of us, me and my two friends, one was presented as an extra prize to a TV competition winner of a Beatles quiz at the time, and one for Paul McCartney. The reason why we thought of Paul, was that we had heard that his friend, Elvis Costello, was a collector of Beatles records. We thought that perhaps next time Costello was visiting Paul, McCartney could show off this poster. Also, Paul was due to give two concerts in Norway in the near future (this was in 1993), so we thought that we might get to present it to him on that occasion.

There were slight variations between each poster, and for Paul we decided to include the two picture sleeves from his solo career that were printed in Norway (the later ones either had standard factory sleeves or were imports). You can see this poster (or rather, a recreation of it) in the photo above.

We had the poster glazed and framed, and were all set when Paul's tour was heading for Scandinavia. At the time, we were on friendly terms with Paul's publicist, Geoff Baker, so we rang him. Baker was kind enough to be able to get us a couple of photo credits for the first concert, and he was also able to get me in to the pre-concert press conference. One thing he didn't accomplish, was to get us that one on one with Paul, so that we could present him with our poster gift. As Paul was giving two concerts, we also tried to deliver it to him the next day, but unfortunately the daily TV news show wanted to interview him at the time slot we had been given, and there was no time left for us. After travelling to the next venue in Stockholm, Sweden with the same result, we gave up.

But we still wanted to give Paul our poster, so we decided to dispatch it by mail to MPL in London.
A couple of months later, the poster came back to me, damaged in the mail. The glass had been shattered and some of the miniature covers were damaged. After a repair job and new glazing, I decided to keep the poster until I could travel to London and deliver it myself.
The poster included with the "1" vinyl album.
Photos of these singles were were supplied to Apple by
German Beatles collector Joachim Noske, who later
released an 800 page book of Beatles records from
around the world, called "The Beatles Covered".
1996 was my next visit to London, and I managed to persuade the flight crew to bring the poster on board.
Upon arriving in London, my good friend Peter and I went over to the Apple headquarters in Ovington square and rang the bell. By this time, the Anthology promotion was in full operation and Geoff Baker had been employed by Apple to deal with the press, under Derek Taylor. So, instead of delivering the poster to the staff at MPL, we thought we'd go to Apple where we might get to talk with Geoff and remind him of our non-deliverance of the poster back in Norway a few years earlier. However, this didn't happen. Some secretary opened the door and we unceremoniously presented her with the poster, said it was for Paul and asked her to give our best to Baker.

Then, four years later, Apple/EMI released the hugely successful "1" album by the Beatles (best selling CD of the decade 2000-2010). I purchased the vinyl edition and was awestruck by the giant poster that was included, depicting Beatles single sleeves from around the world.  They even kept a few of the Norwegian ones (circled around in yellow in this photo of the poster)!

Years later, in 2012 Paul McCartney released a Record Store Day edition of his single, "Another Day"/"Oh Woman Oh Why?". For the front cover, he elected to use the Norwegian edition of the single, as depicted on the poster we had delivered at the Apple office many years earlier.

Two of the Norwegian single front covers both depicted on our original poster and the "1" poster has since been licenced away by Apple for usage on various memorabilia/souvenir products. The "Something" front cover is a carrier bag, among other things, and the "Can't But Me Love" front cover has been used on items such as coffee mugs, coasters, t-shirts and a die cast model car. It'd be nice if someone who has visited the Apple offices or the MPL building could report about our poster decorating some wall...

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