The album was a collection of cover versions, including several from the early years of rock ‘n’ roll. The songs dated from the 1940s to the 1960s, plus ‘Midnight Special’, a traditional folk song dating from the early 20th century.
The Soviet Union’s only record label, Melodiya, was granted permission to press 400,000 copies of Choba B CCCP. However, the label initially manufactured just 50,000 copies of the album, which originally contained 11 songs, two fewer than had originally been specified by McCartney’s company MPL.
The first pressings had a yellow rear cover and red Melodiya labels. The album went straight to the top of the Moskovsky Komsomolets chart.
In 1998 a second version of the album was released in the USSR, and saw the addition of two songs, ‘Summertime’ and ‘I’m Gonna Be A Wheel Someday’. Approximately 350,000 copies of the second pressing were made, which had white Melodiya labels and MPL logos, as well as a white rear cover with sleeve notes by McCartney and NME journalist Roy Carr.
Choba B CCCP was initially released only in the Soviet Union, and exported and bootleg copies became commonplace in other countries. MPL also imported a number of copies which were sold through the official Paul McCartney fan club, the only official outlet in the west.
Following the USSR’s collapse in 1991 the 13-track version of Choba B CCCP was released worldwide, on cassette tape and compact disc.
The album reached number 63 in the UK and 109 in the USA – its sales were likely hindered by dedicated McCartney fans having already bought imported versions.
The compact disc edition of the international release added a 14th song, ‘I’m In Love Again’, another song which had previously been released on the CD single ‘This One’.
Also on this day...
- 2010: Royal Mint issues limited edition John Lennon £5 coin
- 1973: US single release: Mind Games by John Lennon
- 1968: Mixing: Hey Bulldog, All Together Now, All You Need Is Love, Only A Northern Song
- 1967: Filming: Magical Mystery Tour
- 1965: Recording, mixing: We Can Work It Out, Day Tripper
- 1964: Live: ABC Cinema, Plymouth
- 1963: Live: Sporthallen, Eskilstuna, Sweden
- 1963: Mixing: With The Beatles album
- 1962: Television: People And Places
- 1961: Live: Hambleton Hall, Liverpool
- 1960: Live: Kaiserkeller, Hamburg
Want more? Visit the Beatles history section.