The green series

Booklet included with boxed set

On the 6th of February 1976 the 9 year contract The Beatles had signed with EMI back in 1967 came to an end. However, EMI retained the right to reissue anything it wanted from the old catalogue, and they weren’t slow in seizing this opportunity. One month and two days later, on the 8th of March 1976, EMI re-released the 22 original Beatles’ UK singles in new picture sleeves. All 22 singles had the same design for the front sleeve but four different photographs on the rear.

The first edition of “The Singles Collection 1962 – 1970” came with all the 22 singles in a green box, and added a new single, “Yesterday / I Should Have Known Better (R 6013)”. These were the singles:

01. Love Me Do/PS I Love You

02. Please Please Me/Ask Me Why

03. From Me To You/Thank You Girl

04. She Loves You/I’ll Get You

05. I Want To Hold Your Hand/This Boy

06. Can’t Buy Me Love/You Can’t Do That

07. A Hard Day’s Night/Things We Said Today

08. I Feel Fine/She’s A Woman

09. Ticket To Ride/Yes It Is

10. Help/I’m Down

11. We Can Work It Out/Day Tripper

12. Paperback Writer/Rain

13. Yellow Submarine/Elenor Rigby

14. Strawberry Fields Forever/Penny Lane

15. All You Need Is Love/Baby, You’re A Rich Man

16. Hello, Goodbye/I Am The Walrus

17. Lady Madonna/The Inner Light

18. Hey Jude / Revolution

19. Get Back/Don’t Let Me Down

all in mono. And in stereo:

20. Ballad Of John & Yoko/Old Brown Shoe

21. Something/Come Together

22. Let It Be/You Know My Name (the B-side in mono)

and the newcomer:

23. Yesterday/I Should Have Known Better

This was the first time “Yesterday” became available as a single in the UK, and it charted. In fact, all the singles did. All 23 again made the Top 100 (at one point ALL simultaneously) with 6 of them reaching the top 50 and therefore being mentioned again in The Guinness Book of Hit Singles.
Here are the Beatles chart positions for Sunday April 4th 1976:

10 Yesterday

45 Hey Jude

46 Paperback Writer

53 Strawberry Fields Forever

55 Get Back

59 She Loves You

61 Help!

62 Love Me Do

63 Eleanor Rigby

64 Let It Be

66 A Hard Days Night

68 Can’t Buy Me Love

69 I Want To Hold Your Hand

71 All You Need Is Love

72 From Me To You

74 Hello Goodbye

75 Please Please Me

76 Lady Madonna

79 Day Tripper

81 I Feel Fine

83 Ticket To Ride

84 Something

88 The Ballad of John and Yoko

So, EMI quickly realised that the Beatles was a money cow they could still milk. Further releases followed swiftly, with albums like “Love Songs”, “Beatles Ballads”, “Reel Music” etc, but we are concentrating on the green singles series in this blog post.

A little later EMI released the collection in a newly designed box (2nd Edition)

This collection was only for sale through EMI’s mail order division, World Records Ltd. As this sold out, it was reissued with 24 singles, adding “Back In The U.S.S.R. / Twist And Shout (R 6016)”, promoting the new “Rock and Roll Music” album.

From the booklet

The 3rd Edition of The Singles Collection was issued in 1978. EMI again added a new single, “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band / With A Little Help From My Friends/A Day In The Life (R 6022)”, to cash in on the new RSO motion picture, “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” – starring the Bee Gees and Peter Frampton.

Updated booklet

The Sgt Pepper single had a totally different design than the other green series singles, but was nonetheless included.

Sore thumb

“The Singles Collection 1962 – 1970” was heavily advertised in the British press. In addition, a mailer was sent to World Records’ regular customers, containing an informational booklet and a promotional flexi-disc containing mono excerpts of songs from the collection. As with all flexi discs this is very much a promotional item and not produced for top sound quality.

In 1982, the single covers were completely redesigned with a more individual look to each single and were released in a new, blue Beatles singles box, which ended the brief but profitable era of the green series singles.

The green series sold in droves and are not rare at all. And since ebay arrived, it’s fairly easy to pick up the box and the paper material as well.

The promotional flexi-disc is just a little bit harder to come by, but not extremely rare.

Inspired by the UK green series, EMI in other countries released similar Beatles singles collections.

The Dutch series was like the UK green series, only in orange.

Here’s the Spanish one:

As you can see from the back cover, the Spanish just included the singles which were specific to their country:

Here’s an example from the Italian singles collection, entitled “The Greatest Story”:

Again, a look at the rear gives you the Italian discography:

The French released their singles in the “Oldies But Goldies” series, featuring 36 different ones, including this:

26 singles from the French singles collection were also pressed and released in Brazil.

3 Responses

  1. Popper says:

    Fascinating. I seem to remember reading that some copies of the green singles had different label details, depending when they were pressed. I presume they would have come from the different editions of the box.

    By the way, did you notice that Spanish single lists "Ballad of John and Yoko" before "Hey Jude". That's odd – I can't imagine they didn't originally release "Hey Jude" in 1968, but "Ballad of J&Y" came out almost a year later.

  2. beeb says:

    I have the second issue Uk World Records 24 single set. R 5777 Get Back/Don't Let me down is miss-pressed. The B side label is correct however it has the McCartney song "I've Had Enough" pressed on the B-side. Check your set!

    I have heard there are possibly other miss-pressings with this set. If you know of any others please post the information.

  3. Charles Lee says:

    I'm curious to know what the the story is behind a set of UK singles I got from EMI around 1976 or so?
    It's a set of 23 45 Parlophone singles in a salesman's cardboard box, each marked "NOT FOR SALE" as is the yellow cardboard sales presentation box that packaged them.
    Here's a link to the Facebook posted pix:
    (Not sure if it works here, but cut 'n paste the URL to see the public pix??)

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