The Second Disc

Expanded and Remastered Music News

Apple, Cored

with 7 comments

A quick, relatively inconsequential bit from gossipy gadfly Roger Friedman: he’s apparently getting word that EMI/Capitol is planning to start overhauling the much-in-need-of-overhauling catalogue of Apple Records.

As any Beatlemaniac can tell you, Apple Records was The Beatles’ own label, created in 1968 (part and parcel of the whole Apple Corps unit The Fab Four had spearheaded). Although the band broke up not long after its creation, Apple would be the home to several notable names through the first half of the 1970s. In addition to many of John, Paul George and Ringo’s early solo releases, the label put out material by Billy Preston, Mary Hopkin, Doris Troy and others. The most notable for collectors, though, might be Badfinger (the tragic power-pop legends and arguably one of the best non-Beatle acts to come from the label) and James Taylor (whose debut LP was released on the label in 1968 and has never seen a CD release  my mistake, it was put on CD at least once).

Now, what’s Friedman’s claim to the reissue news? Nothing, admittedly. And as nice as it would be to see these many rare records get their due on CD, it’s not going to be an easy process. For years, Apple Corps had been too engaged in legal wrangling with EMI (over royalties) and Apple Computer (over trademark disputes) to put out much product. Now that those suits have mostly been defused (giving us The Beatles’ remasters and The Beatles: Rock Band video game), it’s EMI’s turn to have problems with just about everything.

Also, Friedman’s insinuation that Capitol is going to distribute Apple reissues runs counter to the prevailing rumor that it’ll be Rhino, not EMI, overseeing future dealings with the non-Beatles portion of Apple’s catalogue. It was more or less confirmed on the Hoffman boards that remastering work had commenced on a handful of the other Apple LPs at Abbey Road (a discussion that was quickly squashed when the conversation began to insinuate that previous masterings – some of which were done by Steve Hoffman himself for DCC – were not based off the original master tapes).

Granted, everything we’re dealing with on both sides is simply rumor. But it would be a treat for fans old and new to discover or rediscover the Apple discography past those fab young men. Hopefully more concrete info will surface as the year continues.

Written by Mike Duquette

July 1, 2010 at 14:39

7 Responses

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  1. The James Taylor Apple album WAS released on CD.

    Phil Cohen

    July 1, 2010 at 14:42

    • You’re right, sorry. Amended. That ’91 pressing was it, though, right?

      Mike Duquette

      July 1, 2010 at 15:06

  2. I hope Rhino ends up putting these out. Though they may be a shadow of their former selves, they’re still nowhere near as lame as EMI.

    Robert Altman

    July 1, 2010 at 18:02

  3. Badfinger… What a sad, sad story. The city where I live (Milwaukee) played a significant role in their tragic history. For anyone who’s interested, here’s a really good article about that:

    http://www.milwaukeemagazine.com/currentissue/full_feature_story.asp?newmessageid=25096

    Shaun

    July 2, 2010 at 22:04

  4. Oh, and while I love to see that JT album reissued Roger Friedman’s credibility is so low that even FOX let him go.

    Shaun

    July 2, 2010 at 22:05

    • Yeah, I hate citing Friedman – his firing from Fox was embarrassing (implicitly advocating piracy is foolish enough; advocating it in the face of the company that cuts your checks is even worse) – but a select few of his music-oriented gossip is worth at least a brief rumination. His criticisms of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame (it was he who claimed that the voting board forced Grandmaster Flash and The Furious Five over the Dave Clark Five just to have some rap/affirmative action cred) are quite intriguing, if nothing else.

      Mike Duquette

      July 3, 2010 at 00:01

      • I wasn’t aware of that… Interesting. I’m not going to belittle any rap fans that might be here, and I won’t deny that Grandmaster Flash had influence on the shaping of popular music over the last 30 years, but to take them over the DC5 for the ROCK & ROLL Hall is ridiculous.

        Of course, there are plenty of other deserving artists still not in the Hall. Just a few off the top of my head: Neil Diamond, Chicago, Leon Russell, Peter Gabriel, & Stevie Ray Vaughan.

        Heck, we can argue the artistic merits of KISS, but they probably belong in there too… Certainly more than the rap acts, Madonna, or ABBA.

        Shaun

        July 3, 2010 at 11:51


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