Saturday, 4 May 2013

Pocket-sized Pop Pic pulps


An oddity from the heyday of the 1960s pop-boom is a publication called Pop Pic Library - 68 page black and white comic books whose titles were all named after 7" chart-smashing hits by the key bands of the era. But apart from an uncredited colour photo of the group on the back cover, everything within totally deviated from the actual lyrics of the songs themselves. Even the names of the band members and the songwriters were omitted.

The very first Pop Pic Library title was 'The Last Time' by The Rolling Stones - a '45' that was released in February 1965, so this dates the series to have commenced around then. The 18 x 12 cms sized comics were published by Wells Gardner, Darton & Co and printed in Redhill, Surrey - and according to the blurb that appeared below the last panel on the final pages, two titles were published on the 15th of each month.  Pop Pic Library was distributed in the UK, and were also shipped out to "Australasia, South Africa, Rhodesia, Zambia and Malawi".

The interior art was not credited, but sometimes the covers were - No.4 was by Josep Maria Miralles, a Spanish artist who drew many romance titles for the UK market during this time.

I wonder whether the bands themselves ever caught sight of these little rogue comic books that re-imagined bizarre versions of their hit songs for the price of one shilling?

Examples of Pop Pic Library rarely surface these days, and there's not much information out there about just how many issues were published, though it appears that the series ran for three years up to 1968. I've compiled a checklist of known titles - and look forward to hearing from those who can fill in the gaps...

Pop Pic Library - a partial checklist

No.1 The Last Time - The Rolling Stones
No.2 A World of our Own - The Seekers
No.3 I’m Alive – The Hollies
No.4 Set Me Free - The Kinks
No.5 Heart Full of Soul - The Yardbirds
No.6 The One in the Middle - Manfred Mann
No.7 We’ve Got to Get out of this Place - The Animals
No.8 You’ve got your Troubles - The Fortunes
No.9 I’m Down - The Beatles

No.10 Like We Used To Be - Georgie Fame and The Blue Flames
No.11 Whatcha Gonna Do About It - The Small Faces
No.12 Hark - Unit 4 Plus 2
No.13 Yesterday Man - Chris Andrews
No.14 Get Off Of My Cloud - Rolling Stones
No.15 We Can Work it Out - The Beatles
No.16 Don’t Bring me Your Heartaches - Paul & Barry Ryan
No.17 A Must to Avoid - Herman's Hermits

No.18 Keep on Running - Spencer Davis Group
No.19 You Were On My Mind - Crispian St. Peters
No.20 As Tears Go By - The Rolling Stones

No.23 I Can't Let Go - The Hollies
No.25 I Put a Spell on You - Alan Price Set
No.26 Pretty Flamingo - Manfred Mann
No.27 Not Responsible - Tom Jones
No.28 Sorrow - The Merseys
No.30 Paperback Writer - The Beatles
No.32 Out of Time - Chris Farlowe
No.33 All or Nothing - The Small Faces

No.35 I'm a Boy - The Who
No.36 Bend It! - Dave Dee, Dozy, Beaky, Mick and Tich
No.38 I Can’t Control Myself - The Troggs

No.39 Gimme Some Lovin' - The Spencer Davis Group
No.41 In the Country - Cliff Richard
No.43 Got To Get You Into My Life - Cliff Bennett & the Rebel Rousers
No.45 On a Carousel - The Hollies
No.46 Penny Lane - The Beatles

No.50 Dedicated to the One I Love - The Mama's and the Papa's*
No.52 Silence is Golden - The Tremeloes
No.54 Okay! - Dave Dee, Dozy, Beaky, Mick and Titch
No.56 All You Need is Love - The Beatles
No.59 Hole in My Shoe - Traffic
No.60 Flowers in the Rain - The Move
No.62 I Can See for Miles - The Who
No.63 Hello, Goodbye - The Beatles

No.64 Let the Heartaches Begin - Long John Baldry
No 66 Daydream Believer - The Monkees*
No.69 As You Are - The Tremeloes+
No.72 Congratulations - Cliff Richard

* So far, No's 50 and 66 are the only titles known to me by non-UK artists to have hit the Pop Pic Library charts
+ This track by The Tremeloes was actually the flipside of their 1968 hit 'Suddenly You Love Me'


front cover of Pop Pic Library No.38, a great track from 1966

it's the Troggs on the back of  'I Can't Control Myself'

interior pages of Pop Lic Library No.38, and a Route 133 bus heading to or from Liverpool Street Station

Set Me Free by The Kinks was released in May 1965. This was No.4 of the series

Kinksize up the back cover

dig the Snack-Bar sign, though these pages are perhaps the best of a poor lot within this edition


15 comments:

  1. I was very interested to read your post, as I've been researching the Pop Pic Library myself recently. I've put a piece about it on my site, coincidentally called the Pop Music Library (http://popmusiclibrary.org/2013/06/). I've only been able to put together a list of about 15 titles in the series; it's odd how rarely they appear online. Great work identifying Josep Maria Miralles, by the way - it looks to me as if he also illustrated a couple of the covers in my post.

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    Replies
    1. Thanks for your comment! It is a coincidence indeed. Just like waiting for ages for a 133 bus, and then two come together.

      It would be great to see a complete run of all the Pop Pic Library covers someday. I wonder how many issues had titles from singles by The Who? Perhaps our combined efforts have triggered a global hunt for this so far elusive Pop Pic checklist!

      I dig your Pop Music Library blog by the way.

      Delete
    2. That's appreciated, Colin, thank you - glad you're enjoying the blog. You've got some fascinating stuff on yours too, so I'll be a regular visitor.

      Yes, I was chuffed to find your post on the same - clearly rather obscure - topic! Hopefully a few more issues will come to light now. If I find enough of the titles I'll put up a checklist on the relevant page of the Pop Music Library.

      I can see it's the kind of thing I could spend far too much money on collecting, though, if I'm not careful!

      Delete
    3. ‘Pop Pic Library’ – a partial checklist

      No.1 The Last Time - The Rolling Stones
      No.2 A World of our Own - The Seekers
      No.3 I’m Alive – The Hollies
      No.4 Set Me Free - The Kinks
      No.5 Heart Full of Soul - The Yardbirds
      No.6 The One in the Middle – Manfred Mann
      No.7 We’ve Got to Get out of this Place - The Animals
      No.8 You’ve got your Troubles - The Fortunes
      No.9 I’m Down - The Beatles
      No.12 Hark - Unit 4 Plus 2
      No.15 We Can Work it Out - The Beatles
      No.16 Don’t Bring me Your Heartaches - Paul & Barry Ryan
      No.20 As Tears Go By - The Rolling Stones
      No.30 Paperback Writer - The Beatles
      No.32 Out of Time - Chris Farlowe
      No.33 All or Nothing - The Small Faces
      No.38 I Can’t Control Myself - The Troggs
      No.52 Silence is Golden - The Tremeloes
      No.56 All You Need is Love - The Beatles

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  2. No.43 Got to get you into my life - Cliff Bennett
    No.46 Penny Lane - The Beatles
    No.63 Hello goodbye - The Beatles

    Seven Beatles titles (inc. No.43) up on eBay

    http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/300947622184?ssPageName=STRK:MESELX:IT&_trksid=p3984.m1555.l2649

    Harry Moonbeam

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    Replies
    1. Many thanks for these additions to the Pop Pic checklist!

      This info makes No.63 'Hello, Goodbye', which was released as a single in the UK in Nov '67, the highest number issue that I now know of!

      So this makes 22 known titles out of 63! More please...

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  3. Pop Pic Library’ – a partial checklist (Revised 31/8/13)

    No.1 The Last Time - The Rolling Stones
    No.2 A World of our Own - The Seekers
    No.3 I’m Alive – The Hollies
    No.4 Set Me Free - The Kinks
    No.5 Heart Full of Soul - The Yardbirds
    No.6 The One in the Middle – Manfred Mann
    No.7 We’ve Got to Get out of this Place - The Animals
    No.8 You’ve got your Troubles - The Fortunes
    No.9 I’m Down - The Beatles
    No.11 Whatcha Gonna Do About It - The Small Faces
    No.12 Hark - Unit 4 Plus 2
    No.15 We Can Work it Out - The Beatles
    No.16 Don’t Bring me Your Heartaches - Paul & Barry Ryan
    No.20 As Tears Go By - The Rolling Stones
    No.30 Paperback Writer - The Beatles
    No.32 Out of Time - Chris Farlowe
    No.33 All or Nothing - The Small Faces
    No.38 I Can’t Control Myself - The Troggs
    No.43 Got To Get You Into My Life - Cliff Bennett & the Rebel Rousers
    No.46 Penny Lane - The Beatles
    No.52 Silence is Golden - The Tremeloes
    No.56 All You Need is Love - The Beatles
    No.63 Hello, Goodbye - The Beatles

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I've also found an unreadably small JPEG online for an issue inspired by 'Dedicated to the One I Love'. The Mamas and Papas' version of the song was in the charts at the same time as The Tremeloes' 'Silence is Golden' (April 1967), so it may be numbered in the fifties.

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  4. Interesting - 'The Mamas & the Papas' are now the first US band that I know of to be featured in a 'Pop Pic Library' issue. So far all the editions I've seen are of UK groups! Thanks for this update.

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  5. I got a copy of no.17!its called A MUST TO AVOID by HERMANS HERMITS!also got 9 n 15 which you have listed!am reluctant to ebay but willing to sell to right person!they cool lil things!email me jonathanriordan6@gmail.com

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  6. Many thanks for this information Jonathan! I appreciate the offer of purchasing these titles from you. I'm not intending to actually collect the set, but the Pop Pics that I'd love to have are any issues that may surface with songs by The Who! They must be out there...
    In the meantime I'll continue updating the checklist...

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  7. No.1 The Last Time - The Rolling Stones
    No.2 A World of our Own - The Seekers
    No.3 I’m Alive – The Hollies
    No.4 Set Me Free - The Kinks
    No.5 Heart Full of Soul - The Yardbirds
    No.6 The One in the Middle – Manfred Mann
    No.7 We’ve Got to Get out of this Place - The Animals
    No.8 You’ve got your Troubles - The Fortunes
    No.9 I’m Down - The Beatles
    No.11 Whatcha Gonna Do About It - The Small Faces
    No.12 Hark - Unit 4 Plus 2
    No.15 We Can Work it Out - The Beatles
    No.16 Don’t Bring me Your Heartaches - Paul & Barry Ryan
    No.17 A Must to Avoid - Herman's Hermits
    No.20 As Tears Go By - The Rolling Stones
    No.30 Paperback Writer - The Beatles
    No.32 Out of Time - Chris Farlowe
    No.33 All or Nothing - The Small Faces
    No.38 I Can’t Control Myself - The Troggs
    No.43 Got To Get You Into My Life - Cliff Bennett & the Rebel Rousers
    No.46 Penny Lane - The Beatles
    No.52 Silence is Golden - The Tremeloes
    No.56 All You Need is Love - The Beatles
    No.63 Hello, Goodbye - The Beatles

    That makes 24 Pop Pic issues with their known numbers ...that leaves around 40 more to go!

    ReplyDelete
  8. New Pop Pic identified:
    No.13 Yesterday Man - Chris Andrews

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. ‘Pop Pic Library’ - a partial checklist

      No.1 The Last Time - The Rolling Stones
      No.2 A World of our Own - The Seekers
      No.3 I’m Alive – The Hollies
      No.4 Set Me Free - The Kinks
      No.5 Heart Full of Soul - The Yardbirds
      No.6 The One in the Middle – Manfred Mann
      No.7 We’ve Got to Get out of this Place - The Animals
      No.8 You’ve got your Troubles - The Fortunes
      No.9 I’m Down - The Beatles
      No.11 Whatcha Gonna Do About It - The Small Faces
      No.12 Hark - Unit 4 Plus 2
      No.13 Yesterday Man - Chris Andrews
      No.15 We Can Work it Out - The Beatles
      No.16 Don’t Bring me Your Heartaches - Paul & Barry Ryan
      No.17 A Must to Avoid - Herman's Hermits
      No.20 As Tears Go By - The Rolling Stones
      No.25 I Put a Spell on You – Alan Price Set
      No.30 Paperback Writer - The Beatles
      No.32 Out of Time - Chris Farlowe
      No.33 All or Nothing - The Small Faces
      No.38 I Can’t Control Myself - The Troggs
      No.43 Got To Get You Into My Life - Cliff Bennett & the Rebel Rousers
      No.46 Penny Lane - The Beatles
      No.52 Silence is Golden - The Tremeloes
      No.56 All You Need is Love - The Beatles
      No.63 Hello, Goodbye - The Beatles

      Which makes 26 out of 63...more please!

      Delete
    2. ‘Pop Pic Library’ - a partial checklist, updated January 2014

      No.1 The Last Time - The Rolling Stones
      No.2 A World of our Own - The Seekers
      No.3 I’m Alive – The Hollies
      No.4 Set Me Free - The Kinks
      No.5 Heart Full of Soul - The Yardbirds
      No.6 The One in the Middle - Manfred Mann
      No.7 We’ve Got to Get out of this Place - The Animals
      No.8 You’ve got your Troubles - The Fortunes
      No.9 I’m Down - The Beatles
      No.11 Whatcha Gonna Do About It - The Small Faces
      No.12 Hark - Unit 4 Plus 2
      No.13 Yesterday Man - Chris Andrews
      No.15 We Can Work it Out - The Beatles
      No.16 Don’t Bring me Your Heartaches - Paul & Barry Ryan
      No.17 A Must to Avoid - Herman's Hermits
      No.20 As Tears Go By - The Rolling Stones
      No.25 I Put a Spell on You - Alan Price Set
      No.30 Paperback Writer - The Beatles
      No.32 Out of Time - Chris Farlowe
      No.33 All or Nothing - The Small Faces
      No.38 I Can’t Control Myself - The Troggs
      No.43 Got To Get You Into My Life - Cliff Bennett & the Rebel Rousers
      No.46 Penny Lane - The Beatles
      No.52 Silence is Golden - The Tremeloes
      No.56 All You Need is Love - The Beatles
      No.60 Flowers in the Rain – The Move
      No.63 Hello, Goodbye - The Beatles

      which makes 27 out of 63...more please!

      Delete