December 30, 2017

The Beatles Story Album

The Beatles' Story is the sixth album by the Beatles in the United States, issued on 23 November 1964 by Capitol Records in both mono and stereo formats (although the mono was merely a fold-down of the stereo mix). It is a documentary double album featuring interviews, press conferences, snippets of original or orchestral versions of Beatles songs with voice-overs. The easy listening excerpts were created, produced and arranged by Stu Phillips with the Hollyridge Strings originally recorded for the first Capitol Records' Beatles Song Book.[1]

This documentary album was issued in response to interviews of the Beatles collected on the Vee-Jay Records release, Hear the Beatles Tell All.[citation needed]


Originally, Capitol Records intended to release the group's 1964 performance at the Hollywood Bowl, but due to a lack of advanced live recording and sound enhancement technology and the excessive amount of loud screaming fans on tape the album was shelved. Another plan was to release a 2 LP 'Greatest Hits' album for the Christmas market. Four songs were to make their Capitol debut on this album: "A Hard Day's Night," "Misery," "There's a Place," and "From Me to You." The album was compiled, but never issued.


Release and reception

The Beatles' Story entered the Billboard Pop Albums on 12 December at number 97, and on 2 January 1965 it reached its peak position at number seven, where it remained for four weeks before beginning its slide down the charts.[2] It has been certified a gold record by the RIAA;[3] it was also released in Canada and is currently out of print. It was released by Toshiba EMI in Japan on the Apple label (in stereo) in a box set with a deluxe 24 page 12"x12" booklet that contains the entire text of the script in English and Japanese.

The album contains a brief stereo excerpt of "Twist and Shout" performed at their 1964 Hollywood Bowl concert. The album was only released on cassette tape in Canada (4XBB 2222) and Japan (ZR44-1019), and was never issued at all on a stereo 8-track cartridge tape. The Beatles' Story was being prepared for release on digital audio tape in 1996, but when the format failed commercially the plan was scrapped.[citation needed] In 2014, The Beatles Story was made available on CD for the first time in the Beatles boxed set, The U.S. Albums. Running time is: 49:22.

Side one
No.     Title     Length
1.     "On Stage with the Beatles"     1:03
2.     "How Beatlemania Began"     1:20
3.     "Beatlemania in Action"     1:25
4.     "Man Behind the Beatles – Brian Epstein"     2:47
5.     "John Lennon"     5:50
6.     "Who's a Millionaire?"     0:39
Side two
No.     Title     Length
1.     "Beatles Will Be Beatles"     7:28
2.     "Man Behind the Music – George Martin"     1:04
3.     "George Harrison"     4:46
Side three
No.     Title     Length
1.     "A Hard Day's Night – Their First Movie"     3:08
2.     "Paul McCartney"     2:45
3.     "Sneaky Haircuts and More About Paul"     3:29
Side four
No.     Title     Length
1.     "The Beatles Look at Life"     2:05
2.     "Victims of Beatlemania"     1:10
3.     "Beatle Medley"     3:58
4.     "Ringo Starr"     6:24
5.     "Liverpool and All the World!"     1:05


You can listen to it here:'%20Story%20-%20(Capitol%20Stereo%20U.S.%20LP)%20-%20%5bFull%20Album%5d.mp3

December 01, 2017

John Lennon – 2018 US Postal Service Stamp

Looks like the US Postal Service is to honour John Lennon in 2018.
The newest stamp in its Music Icons series will honor singer and songwriter John Lennon (1940–1980), “….a rock ’n’ roll hero successful both as a founding member of the Beatles and as a solo artist.”

If the photograph for the stamp looks familiar, it was most recently used on the cover of Philip Norman’s book John Lennon – The Life, which came out in 2008. The image is by legendary rock photographer Bob Gruen who knew Lennon well and has taken many iconic images of him. The photograph comes from a photo shoot for the cover of his 1978 album

Walls and Bridges

The Postal Service has previously honoured The Beatles as a group on a 1999 postage stamp as part of its Celebrate the Century series. That issue depicted the Yellow Submarine from the animated movie and soundtrack Yellow Submarine. The upcoming Lennon release will be the first to feature an actual likeness of one of the Beatles on a U.S. stamp.
In 2007 Britain’s Royal Mail issued ten different stamps celebrating the importance of The Beatles to Britain and the world. These depicted album covers (With The Beatles; Help!; Revolver; Sgt. Pepper; Let It Be; and Abbey Road, plus the single ‘Love Me Do’), along with images of Beatle memorabilia. For more detail on those releases click here.
Detailed information and the issue date for the Lennon US Postal Service stamp will be revealed later. The stamp design is preliminary and subject to change until issuance dates.


November 01, 2017

Beatles Christmas Records Box Set Coming Dec. 15

Resourceful Beatles fans have been beat-ing the drum for several days sharing info about upcoming year-end releases from the Fab Four. Videos, presumably from Apple Records, would appear on YouTube and elsewhere, only to vanish within hours. By Oct. 31, one project was identified as the long-awaited release of the annual Christmas messages that the Beatles sent to their fan club members on flexi-discs for many years. On Nov. 1… a title: The Beatles Christmas Records Box, which appeared on Amazon’s France-based website for EUR71.88 under the code name Tbc (The Beatles Christmas?).

And on Nov. 1, Amazon’s U.K. site listed a second release, a vinyl edition of Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band which, the detectives assured their fellow fans, was a picture disc of the album.

Where there’s smoke, there’s fire. Sure enough, several titles showed up on Amazon today (Nov. 2) for a Dec. 15 release. Shortly after 9 a.m. ET, the formal announcement arrive from Apple Corps Ltd., Capitol Records and Universal Music Enterprises.

The Beatles Christmas Records Box is a limited-edition collection of 7″ singles, pressed on colored vinyl, of the Fab Four’s annual holiday messages that were sent to their fan club members from 1963-1969.

From the announcement: “The Beatles’ annual holiday tradition of recording jolly Christmas messages for fan club members was an important part of the band’s relationship with their most ardent supporters, affectionately referred to by them as ‘Beatle People’. Spanning 1963 to 1969, The Beatles’ holiday recordings were originally pressed on flexi-discs and mailed to fan club members each December.

“Never released beyond the fan club until now, The Beatles’ seven holiday messages have been newly pressed on a rainbow of seven-inch colored vinyl singles for The Christmas Records box set. The limited-edition collection presents each vinyl single with its original flexi-disc sleeve artwork, accompanied by a 16-page booklet with recording notes and reproductions of the fan club’s National Newsletters, which were mailed to members with the holiday flexi-discs.”

The Beatles: The Christmas Records [limited edition box set: seven 7” colored vinyl singles]

1963: “The Beatles’ Christmas Record” (one-sided, 5:00 TRT)

Recorded: 17 October 1963 – Studio Two, EMI Studios, Abbey Road, London

1964: “Another Beatles Christmas Record” (one-sided, 3:58 TRT)

Recorded: 26 October 1964 – Studio Two, EMI Studios, Abbey Road, London

1965: “The Beatles’ Third Christmas Record” (one-sided, 6:20 TRT)

Recorded: 8 November 1965 – Studio Two, EMI Studios, Abbey Road, London

1966: “Pantomime – Everywhere It’s Christmas: The Beatles’ Fourth Christmas Record” (one-sided, 6:36 TRT)

Recorded: 25 November 1966 – Dick James Music, New Oxford Street, London

1967: “Christmas Time (Is Here Again): The Beatles’ Fifth Christmas Record” (one-sided, 6:06 TRT)

Recorded: 28 November 1967 – Studio Three, EMI Studios, Abbey Road, London

1968: “The Beatles’ Sixth Christmas Record” (two-sided, 7:48 TRT)

Recorded: 1968, various locations

1969: “The Beatles’ Seventh Christmas Record” (two-sided, 7:39 TRT)

Recorded: 1969, various locations

Pre-order The Beatles Christmas Records Box in the U.K. here and the U.S. here.

Also coming Dec. 15 is the Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band’s 2017 stereo mix as a 1-LP, 180g vinyl edition and as a limited, collectible picture disc vinyl LP. Produced by Giles Martin for this year’s 50th Anniversary Edition releases, the album’s new stereo mix was sourced directly from the original four-track session tapes and guided by the original, Beatles-preferred mono mix produced by Giles’ father, George Martin.

Pre-order the picture disc: for the U.K. here and the U.S. here. Pre-order the 180g vinyl: for the U.K. here and the U.S. here.

On the same date, the Deluxe Anniversary Edition of Sgt. Pepper’s will debut worldwide in high definition digital audio (96kHz/24bit). This edition features the album’s 2017 stereo mix, plus 18 additional tracks, including complete alternate takes for the groundbreaking album’s 13 songs, newly mixed in stereo. The expanded edition also features the 2017 stereo mix and an instrumental take of “Penny Lane” and the 2015 stereo mix and two complete alternate takes for “Strawberry Fields Forever.”

Shortly after the labels’ April 5 announcement of the Sgt. Pepper’s 50th Anniversary editions, fan pre-orders went wild. And for weeks following their May 26 release, all four versions sold phenomenally, with the Super Deluxe Edition (at a super deluxe $149.98 list price) holding the top spot at Amazon.


August 11, 2017

John Lennon's letter to first wife sells for $30,000 at auction

AN OPEN letter John Lennon wrote to his ex-wife Cynthia slamming her for making details of their marriage breakdown public has been unearthed after 41 years. John Lennon's letter to first wife sells for $30,000 at auction. By GILLIAN CRAWLEY, PUBLISHED: 13:08, Mon, Aug 7, 2017 | UPDATED: 13:24, Mon, Aug 7, 2017

In the original letter, which is titled 'an open letter to Cynthia Twist' and is dated November 15, 1976, the former Beatle said Cynthia had an 'impaired' memory of their marriage.

He claimed their relationship was over long before Yoko Ono arrived on the scene and accused her of double standards for wishing to get away from her past with the Beatle, yet was happy to speak about it to magazines.

Lennon sent the letter to a US weekly magazine for them to publish with the request that it is 'printed without any edits.

I think it only fair to me and your readers to present my side of the story'.

He wrote it in response to an article Cynthia had published in an English women's magazine earlier that year.

She claimed her ex-husband's mounting LSD use and the intrusion of Yoko Ono were to blame for the breakdown of the marriage.

At the time these letters were written, Lennon had reunited with his second wife Ono after an 18 month separation.

In Lennon's rebuttal, he claimed Cynthia came to visit him two years earlier in 1974 to try and persuade him to get back together with her but he declined because he was still in love with Ono.

He refuted her claim that he hired a private detective to spy on her and her future husband Roberto Bassanini who she was married to from 1970 to 1973.

The letter measures 8.5in by 11in and has been signed 'John' with Lennon adding a small sketch of his face.

It is being consigned by a private collector in the US who wishes to remain anonymous and the letter is tipped to sell for £20,000 ($25,000).

It reads in full: “As you and I well know, our marriage was over long before the advent of L.S.D. or Yoko Ono ... and that's reality!

“Your memory is impaired to say the least.

“Your version of our first L.S.D. trip is rather vague, and you seem to have forgotten subsequent trips altogether!

“You also seem to have forgotten that only two years ago, while I was separated from Yoko, you suddenly brought Julian to see me in Los Angeles after three years of silence.

“During this visit, you hardly allowed me to be alone with him for one moment.

“You even asked me to remarry you and/or give you another child, 'for Julian's sake'!

“I politely told you no, and that, anyway, I was still in love with Yoko, (which I thought was very 'down to earth').

“There were no detectives sent to Italy. Our mutual friend Alex Mardas went to Bassanini's Hotel to see how you were, as you said you were too ill to come home...

“Finally, I don't blame you for wanting to get away from your 'Beatle' past.

“But if you are serious about it, you should try to avoid talking to and posing for magazines and newspapers!

“We did have some good years, so dwell on them for a change, and, as Dylan says, it was 'A Simple Twist of Fate!'

“Love & good luck to the three of you, from the three of us.”

Lennon's pun on Cynthia’s surname at the close of the first letter 'A Simple Twist of Fate' possibly inspired Cynthia's decision to call her forthcoming memoirs A Twist of Lennon which were published in 1978.

A spokesman for US based RR Auctions, who are selling the letter, said: “As Lennon's official side of the story, a public he-said, she-said self-defence, these letters represent the unique final chapter in the life of the former Beatle.

“They are of the utmost rarity and importance.” Cynthia met Lennon in a calligraphy class at the Liverpool College of Art and they began dating in 1958.

They married in 1962 and were together for six years but divorced in November 1968.

In 1976, Cynthia married John Twist, an engineer from Lancashire, but divorced him in 1983.

She was married to night club owner Noel Charles from 2002 until his death in 2013. Two years later, in 2015, she died aged 65.

The auction ended on August 9.


May 19, 2017

Updated: 50th Anniversary Edition of Sgt Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band

According to The Sunday Times, a New edition of Sgt Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band is planned for release this year, with the single tracks "Penny Lane" and "Strawberry Fields Forever" added.

The newspaper says that "The 50th anniversary of the release of Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band this June will be marked with a worldwide re-release — and for fans it will mean at last hearing the album as the band had intended it to sound".

According to the newspaper's sources, the anniversary relaunch on June 1 will reinstate the two tracks, which George Martin agreed to release as a single several months before the album was in the shops. The Sunday Times quotes Paul McCartney:"We were then moving away from screaming girls’ gigs where no one could hear anything in the concert halls any more and were working on Sgt Pepper. John wrote this absolutely amazing song, Strawberry Fields Forever, for the new album and I was frankly a bit jealous, so I went home and wrote Penny Lane. It worked and we wanted them as the main tracks on Sgt Pepper."

The Sunday Times also writes that "Although details of the re-release are being kept secret, it is understood that all parties involved have co-operated fully, including McCartney, Ringo Starr and Yoko Ono and Olivia Harrison".

Source: Sunday Times

We must add that as far as we're concerned, we believe that a 50th Anniversary re-release of the "Sgt. Pepper" album should do more than just add the Penny Lane/Strawberry Fields Forever single to the album's lineup, and we do think that a far grander scheme is in the works.


Update 04-05-17 from Apple:

London – April 5, 2017 – It was 50 years ago this June 1st when The Beatles’ John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison, and Ringo Starr astonished and delighted the world, ushering in the Summer of Love with Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, a groundbreaking masterwork that became popular music’s most universally acclaimed album. To salute the occasion, The Beatles will release a suite of lavishly presented ‘Sgt. Pepper’ Anniversary Edition packages on May 26 (Apple Corps Ltd./Capitol/UMe). The album is newly mixed by Giles Martin and Sam Okell in stereo and 5.1 surround audio and expanded with early takes from the studio sessions, including no fewer than 34 previously unreleased recordings.

“It’s crazy to think that 50 years later we are looking back on this project with such fondness and a little bit of amazement at how four guys, a great producer and his engineers could make such a lasting piece of art,” says Paul McCartney in his newly-penned introduction for the ‘Sgt. Pepper’ Anniversary Edition.

“‘Sgt. Pepper’ seemed to capture the mood of that year, and it also allowed a lot of other people to kick off from there and to really go for it,” Ringo Starr recalls in the Anniversary Edition’s book.

For Record Store Day on April 22, Apple Corps Ltd./Capitol/UMe will release an exclusive, limited edition seven-inch vinyl single of The Beatles’ “Strawberry Fields Forever” and “Penny Lane,” among the first songs recorded during the ‘Sgt. Pepper’ sessions, which began in November 1966. Rather than being held for inclusion on the album, the two songs were released as a double A-sided single in February 1967. Amidst intense media speculation about the band’s next move, the single bridged what was then considered a long gap between the Revolver album, released in August 1966, and ‘Sgt. Pepper,’ which followed 10 months later.

This is the first time Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band has been remixed and presented with additional session recordings, and it is the first Beatles album to be remixed and expanded since the 2003 release of Let It Be… Naked. To create the new stereo and 5.1 surround audio mixes for ‘Sgt. Pepper,’ producer Giles Martin and mix engineer Sam Okell worked with an expert team of engineers and audio restoration specialists at Abbey Road Studios in London. All of the Anniversary Edition releases include Martin’s new stereo mix of the album, which was sourced directly from the original four-track session tapes and guided by the original, Beatles-preferred mono mix produced by his father, George Martin.

Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band Anniversary Edition releases include:

A CD featuring the new ‘Sgt. Pepper’ stereo mix, complete with the original U.K. album’s “Edit for LP End” run-out groove.

Deluxe: Expanded 2CD and digital package features the new stereo album mix on the first CD and adds a second CD of 18 tracks, including previously unreleased complete takes of the album’s 13 songs, newly mixed in stereo and sequenced in the same order as the album. The second CD also includes a new stereo mix and a previously unreleased instrumental take of “Penny Lane” and the 2015 stereo mix and two previously unreleased complete takes of “Strawberry Fields Forever.”

Deluxe Vinyl: Expanded 180-gram 2LP vinyl package features the new stereo album mix on the first LP and adds a second LP with previously unreleased complete takes of the album’s 13 songs, newly mixed in stereo and sequenced in the same order as the album.

Super Deluxe: The comprehensive six-disc boxed set features:

CD 1: New stereo album mix

CDs 2 & 3:

- 33 additional recordings from the studio sessions, most previously unreleased and mixed for the first time from the four-track session tapes, sequenced in chronological order of their recording dates

- A new stereo mix of “Penny Lane” and the 2015 stereo mix of “Strawberry Fields Forever”

CD 4:

- Direct transfers of the album’s original mono mix and the “Strawberry Fields Forever” and “Penny Lane” singles

- Capitol Records’ U.S. promotional mono single mix of “Penny Lane”

- Previously unreleased early mono mixes of “She’s Leaving Home,” “A Day In The Life,” and “Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds” (a mix thought to have been erased from a tape in 1967, but discovered during archive research for the anniversary edition)

Discs 5 & 6 (Blu-ray and DVD):

- New 5.1 surround audio mixes of the album and “Penny Lane” by Giles Martin and Sam Okell, plus their 2015 5.1 surround mix of “Strawberry Fields Forever”

- High resolution audio versions of the new stereo mixes of the album and “Penny Lane” and of the 2015 stereo mix of “Strawberry Fields Forever”

- Video features: 4K restored original promotional films for “Strawberry Fields Forever,” “Penny Lane,” and “A Day In The Life;” plus The Making of Sgt. Pepper, a restored, previously unreleased documentary film (broadcast in 1992), featuring insightful interviews with McCartney, Harrison, and Starr, and in-studio footage introduced by George Martin.

– “A splendid time is guaranteed for all” –

The album’s vibrant artwork, including its extravagant Pop Art cover which finds The Beatles surrounded by a crowd of heroes in a 3D collage, was created by Peter Blake and Jann Haworth in collaboration with the band. The original artwork is showcased across the suite of Anniversary Edition releases, including the album’s pull-out sheet of ‘Sgt. Pepper’ cutouts. Housed in a 12-inch by 12-inch box with lenticular artwork and two bonus posters, the six-disc Super Deluxe set is presented with a 144-page hardcover book. The book includes new introductions by Paul McCartney and Giles Martin, and chapters covering comprehensive song-by-song details and recording information, the design of the cover, the album’s musical innovations and its historical context by Beatles historian, author and radio producer Kevin Howlett; composer and musicologist Howard Goodall; music producer and writer Joe Boyd; and journalists Ed Vulliamy and Jeff Slate, illustrated with rare photographs, reproductions of handwritten lyrics, Abbey Road Studios documentation, and original ‘Sgt. Pepper’ print ads. The Deluxe 2CD digipak is slipcased with a 50-page booklet abridged from the box set’s book, and the 2LP Deluxe Vinyl is presented in a faithful reproduction of the album’s original gatefold jacket.

– “We hope you will enjoy the show” –

Just as many ideas are sparked by chance, ‘Sgt. Pepper’ first sprang from a conversation between Paul and Beatles roadie Mal Evans on an airplane, when Mal’s request to pass the salt and pepper was misheard by Paul as “Sgt. Pepper.” The concept of who such a figure could be took root in Paul’s mind, blooming with the imagination of The Beatles as an Edwardian era military band -- “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band.” The Beatles’ creative wellspring for ‘Sgt. Pepper’ also flowed from such myriad sources as The Beach Boys’ Pet Sounds album, a Victorian circus poster (“Being For The Benefit Of Mr. Kite!”), a TV commercial for breakfast cereal (“Good Morning Good Morning”), a picture drawn by John’s young son, Julian (“Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds”), a teen runaway reported in the news (“She’s Leaving Home’), and Hindu teachings (“Within You Without You”).

– “Lend me your ears and I'll sing you a song” –

Using the standard four-track tape recording equipment of the day, The Beatles collaborated with producer George Martin to achieve “the impossible,” as they dubbed it, to go as far out as they could with arrangements and new technology to realize their collective vision for Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. As George Martin described it, “We were into another kind of art form where you were putting something down on tape that could only be done on tape.” The Beatles clocked more than 400 hours in Abbey Road’s Studio 2 to record the album, wrapping sessions in April 1967.

– “I read the news today oh boy” –

Upon its release on June 1, 1967, Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band initially spent 148 weeks in the British chart, including a total of 27 weeks at number one. During its first U.S. chart run, the album held the number one spot for 15 of the 88 weeks it appeared in the Top 200. ‘Sgt. Pepper’ won four GRAMMY Awards®, including Album of the Year, and it remains one of the most influential and bestselling albums of all time. In 2003, the U.S. Library of Congress selected ‘Sgt. Pepper’ for the National Recording Registry, recognizing the album as “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant.” ‘Sgt. Pepper’ tops Rolling Stone magazine’s definitive list of the “500 Greatest Albums of All Time.”

Preorder Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band Anniversary Edition:

Watch a brief trailer video for Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band Anniversary Edition:

Track List, More Details Emerge on Beatles' 50th Anniversary "Sgt. Pepper"

04-07-17 We now have the full details on the 50th anniversary editions of the Beatles' Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band.

Considered one of the greatest, if not THE best, album of the rock era, Sgt. Pepper will receive a multi-format release on May 26, five days before the 50th anniversary of the album's release.

Single-CD - A new stereo mix including the U.K. version of the album's "Edit for LP End" run-out groove.
Double-CD - Stereo mix on disc 1 plus an 18 track second disc with alternate takes of all of the songs on the album, two alternate takes of Penny Lane including an instrumental version, and three alternate takes of Strawberry Fields Forever.
Double-Vinyl LP - Same as Double-CD without the Penny Lane and Strawberry Fields takes.
New Stereo Mix
Two-CDs/33 tracks of studio outtakes
One-CD of the album and bonus tracks in mono
Two-Blu-Ray or DVDs with 5.1 mix and high resolution versions of the album plus a previously unreleased documentary and promotional films.

The Super Deluxe version will include a 144-page hardcovered book with introductions by Paul McCartney and Giles Martin. The two-CD version will have a shortened 50-page booklet.

The track lists:

Single-CD (Stereo Mix)
Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band
With A Little Help From My Friends
Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds
Getting Better
Fixing A Hole
She's Leaving Home
Being For The Benefit Of Mr. Kite!
Within You Without You
When I'm Sixty-Four
Lovely Rita
Good Morning Good Morning
Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band (Reprise)
A Day In The Life

Two-CD Set

Disc 1 (Stereo Mix)
Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band
With A Little Help From My Friends
Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds
Getting Better
Fixing A Hole
She's Leaving Home
Being For The Benefit Of Mr. Kite!
Within You Without You
When I'm Sixty-Four
Lovely Rita
Good Morning Good Morning
Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band (Reprise)
A Day In The Life

Disc 2
Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band (Take 9)
With A Little Help From My Friends (Take 1 - False Start And Take 2 – Instrumental)
Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds (Take 1)
Getting Better (Take 1 - Instrumental And Speech At The End)
Fixing A Hole (Speech And Take 3)
She's Leaving Home (Take 1 – Instrumental)
Being For The Benefit Of Mr. Kite! (Take 4)
Within You Without You (Take 1 - Indian Instruments)
When I'm Sixty-Four (Take 2)
Lovely Rita (Speech And Take 9)
Good Morning Good Morning (Take 8)
Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band (Reprise) (Take 8)
A Day In The Life (Take 1 With Hummed Last Chord)
Strawberry Fields Forever (Take 7)
Strawberry Fields Forever (Take 26)
Strawberry Fields Forever (Stereo Mix - 2015)
Penny Lane (Take 6 - Instrumental)
Penny Lane (Stereo Mix - 2017)

2-Vinyl LP Set

LP 1 (Stereo Mix)
Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band
With A Little Help From My Friends
Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds
Getting Better
Fixing A Hole
She's Leaving Home
Being For The Benefit Of Mr. Kite!
Within You Without You
When I'm Sixty-Four
Lovely Rita
Good Morning Good Morning
Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band (Reprise)
A Day In The Life

LP 2
Side A
Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band (Take 9 And Speech)
With A Little Help From My Friends (Take 1 - False Start And Take 2 – Instrumental)
Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds (Take 1)
Getting Better (Take 1 - Instrumental And Speech At The End)
Fixing A Hole (Speech And Take 3)
She's Leaving Home (Take 1 – Instrumental)
Being For The Benefit Of Mr. Kite! (Take 4)
Side B
Within You Without You (Take 1 - Indian Instruments)
When I'm Sixty-Four (Take 2)
Lovely Rita (Speech And Take 9)
Good Morning Good Morning (Take 8)
Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band (Reprise) (Take 8)
A Day In The Life (Take 1 With Hummed Last Chord)

Super Deluxe (4CD/DVD/Blu-ray box set)

Disc 1 (Stereo Mix)
Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band
With A Little Help From My Friends
Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds
Getting Better
Fixing A Hole
She's Leaving Home
Being For The Benefit Of Mr. Kite!
Within You Without You
When I'm Sixty-Four
Lovely Rita
Good Morning Good Morning
Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band (Reprise)
A Day In The Life

Disc 2
Strawberry Fields Forever (Take 1)
Strawberry Fields Forever (Take 4)
Strawberry Fields Forever (Take 7)
Strawberry Fields Forever (Take 26)
Strawberry Fields Forever (Stereo Mix - 2015)
When I'm Sixty-Four (Take 2)
Penny Lane (Take 6 – Instrumental)
Penny Lane (Vocal Overdubs And Speech)
Penny Lane (Stereo Mix - 2017)
A Day In The Life (Take 1)
A Day In The Life (Take 2)
A Day In The Life (Orchestra Overdub)
A Day In The Life (Hummed Last Chord) (Takes 8, 9, 10 and 11)
A Day In The Life (The Last Chord)
Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band (Take 1 – Instrumental)
Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band (Take 9 And Speech)
Good Morning Good Morning (Take 1 - Instrumental, Breakdown)
Good Morning Good Morning (Take 8)

Disc 3
Fixing A Hole (Take 1)
Fixing A Hole (Speech And Take 3)
Being For The Benefit Of Mr. Kite! (Speech From Before Take 1; Take 4 And Speech At End)
Being For The Benefit Of Mr. Kite! (Take 7)
Lovely Rita (Speech And Take 9)
Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds (Take 1 And Speech At The End)
Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds (Speech, False Start And Take 5)
Getting Better (Take 1 - Instrumental And Speech At The End)
Getting Better (Take 12)
Within You Without You (Take 1 - Indian Instruments Only)
Within You Without You (George Coaching The Musicians)
She's Leaving Home (Take 1 – Instrumental)
She's Leaving Home (Take 6 – Instrumental)
With A Little Help From My Friends (Take 1 - False Start And Take 2 – Instrumental)
Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band (Reprise) (Speech And Take 8)

Disc 4 (Mono Mix)
Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band
With A Little Help From My Friends
Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds
Getting Better
Fixing A Hole
She's Leaving Home
Being For The Benefit Of Mr. Kite!
Within You Without You
When I'm Sixty-Four
Lovely Rita
Good Morning Good Morning
Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band (Reprise)
A Day In The Life
Strawberry Fields Forever (Original Mono Mix)
Penny Lane (Original Mono Mix)
A Day In The Life (Unreleased First Mono Mix)
Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds (Unreleased Mono Mix - No. 11)
She's Leaving Home (Unreleased First Mono Mix)
Penny Lane (Capitol Records U.S. Promo Single - Mono Mix)

Discs 5 & 6 (Blu-ray & DVD)
Audio Features (both discs)
New 5.1 Surround Audio mixes of Sgt. Pepper album and Penny Lane, plus 2015 5.1 Surround mix of Strawberry Fields Forever (Blu-ray: DTS HD Master Audio 5.1, Dolby True HD 5.1 / DVD: DTS Dolby Digital 5.1)
High Resolution Audio versions of 2017 Sgt. Pepper stereo mix and 2017 Penny Lane stereo mix, plus 2015 Strawberry Fields Forever hi res stereo mix (Blu-ray: LPCM Stereo 96KHz/24bit / DVD: LPCM Stereo)
Video Features (both discs)
The Making of Sgt. Pepper (restored 1992 documentary film, previously unreleased)
Promotional Films
A Day In The Life (4K restored)
Strawberry Fields Forever (4K restored)
Penny Lane (4K restored)


Review: Sgt Pepper Super DeLuxe

The Super DeLuxe edition

SGT PEPPER SUPER DELUXE SET - Some random musings, by Anna Crusis

DISC 1 - The new stereo remix of the full album.

(See further down)


01. Strawberry Fields Forever (Take 1)

This is the same version that has been heard on bootleg for several decades now. When included on Anthology the beautiful backing vocals were omitted but here they are present (and in stereo). Like all the tracks on the two sessions discs, this recording is presented completely "dry" and without any added reverb or echo. Sounds better than the boot version although the mellotron ramblings at the start are absent.

02. Strawberry Fields Forever (Take 4)

Another track that was booted many years ago, sounding very similar here but in higher quality.

03. Strawberry Fields Forever (Take 7)

A mono mix of this was used on Anthology but here it is in stereo. Great track.

04. Strawberry Fields Forever (Take 26)

The complete fast version with score. Oddly John didn't bother to sing the first verse on either of his vocal overdubs, and instead la-la's it and doesn't come in till the final line. Since there was an earlier mono mix that featured him singing the verse, the implication is that he'd decided to use the start of take 7 already and therefore didn't bother singing the opening verse on this version. We'll never know for sure.

05. Strawberry Fields Forever (Stereo Mix - 2015)

Just like the label says. Doesn't really fit in here and should have been on disc 1.

06. When I'm Sixty Four (Take 2)

Take announcement, then a few seconds of preliminaries and into the take that ended up on the album. Here there are no lavish overdubs though, just bass, drums, guitar, Paul's vocal and a piano overdub. Paul does some extra jazz scat vocals that were mixed out later. The piano is more prominent too. Nice.

07. Penny Lane (Take 6 - Instrumental)

A very basic instrumental version. The foundation seems to be Paul on piano, which is really nice to hear so clearly. On the other channel are a myriad of sounds from organ to cymbals and tambourine, some of which work and some of which don't! All of these sounds can be heard on the Anthology version but here they are much clearer.

08. Penny Lane (Vocal Overdubs And Speech)

A very interesting track: Paul and George adding experimental background vocals to the song. You just hear their isolated voices and the backing track faintly through their headphones. Firstly they add what was obviously a carefully worked out Beach Boys-style part and handclaps to the section where the trumpet solo would end up. It sounds very similar to the cor anglais overdub heard on Anthology. This is obviously a rough take though, so they can be heard talking afterwards as the song goes on and Paul suggests various ideas as they proceed. Then there is some mention of backwards trumpet, and then some actual backwards trumpet (not sure if this is kosher or has been added by GM). A really interesting track this one.

09. Penny Lane (Stereo Mix 2017)

They've apparently found some new elements for this song and so have done a new stereo mix to supersede the one on 1. Should have been on disc 1 though.

10. A Day In The Life (Take 1)

Wow, we've struck gold here. The spoken intro was heard on Anthology and the first part of the take in the "Making Of Pepper" tv special, but this is the first time we've heard the full take. John's vocal is ethereal and beautiful, and Paul turns in some budding avante garde piano. No drums, just John's vocal and guitar, someone (probably George) on maraccas, Mal counting and Paul's piano. This is my favourite track on the set.

11. A Day In The Life (Take 2)

Continues on in the same vein. This take was included on Anthology, but in mono. Here it is stereo and is not intercut with other versions except at the end where there is a cut to the "OOOMMMMM" they recorded later, but the take itself is not abbreviated so no real harm done.

12. A Day In The Life (Orchestra Overdub)

An isolation of the second orchestral build up. It starts a bit beforehand and there is so much studio noise, even the sound of people talking. Sinister and disturbing.

13. A Day In The Life (Hummed Last Chord, Takes 8, 9, 10 and 11)

"This is take 8, the choir for the end" says Geoff Emerick. "Choir?" responds a bemused John. There's then some talking, a girl says "you lead in" and then follows a pretty lame attempt at the "Ommmm". Much laughing. The girl vocalist seems to be Cynthia Lennon. "Stop freakin' out, missus" says John. There is another unidentified (male) voice too. A few more attempts and then the final one which has been multitracked to make it more effective but, honestly, still sounds pretty silly.

14. A Day In The Life (The Last Chord)

"You got yer loud pedal down Mal?" asks Paul. "Which one's that?" responds Mal. Paul puts him right and then follows several attempts at the final chord, with George Martin giving some pointers. Ringo and John can also be heard.

15. Sgt Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band (Take 1 - Instrumental)

A garage band version of the rhythm track, with punky out-of-tune guitars. No bass, just drums so it's hard to know who is on the guitars but one is so rough and ready it has to be John.

16. Sgt Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band (Take 9 And Speech)

Identical to the version floating around on acetate for years but in stereo and with extra vocals and chat at the end. Paul sings "I feel it, I feel it! Gotta be free now..." and opines "I think it'll probably be another day singing it." George suggests Paul insert some vocals where he runs out of breath, so maybe the vocal track contains punch-ins.

17. Good Morning Good Morning (Take 1 - Instrumental, Breakdown)

"This is called Good Morning Good Morning I believe, I'm not sure about that" intones Geoff Emerick. John seems to recite the wedding vow. Paul counts in, which is a bit odd since he doesn't seem to be actually doing anything. John sings and plays guitar while Ringo drums, but the Dingle boy blows it about halfway through due to the complexity of the arrangement.

18. Good Morning Good Morning (Take 8)

The version that wound up on the lp but in a basic form. Unlike the Anthology version John's voice is completely dry here. Paul is on bass now.


01. Fixing A Hole (Take 1)

The take which ended up on the album. This seems to be entirely live with harpsichord, bass, drums and Paul's vocal. It keeps going towards the end so there are some new vocal bits not heard before. Some very faint guitar.

02. Fixing A Hole (Speech And Take 3)

Another live take with some chat at the start. John: "Paul, did you make it with [drums?] on? I thought I was going to do the whole thing you see." Paul: "try and make it the whole way through." John is presumably on bass since it is very poorly played. There's some nice improvised vocals towards the end once more.

03. Being For The Benefit Of Mr Kite (Speech From Before Take 1, Take 4 And Speech At End)

George Martin in American accent: "Okay man, let's go the light's on." A full live take which ends with John counting out the beat in the final bar. GM tells John just to mouth it or it'll come out on the bass track. John - dubious - replies, "Well, we'll have the Massed Alberts on by then won't we?" He then jokes, "This time you'll get it in the middle of the song."

04. Being For The Benefit Of Mr Kite (Take 7)

Another live take as they try and get the performance tighter.

05. Lovely Rita (Speech And Take 9)

The take that ended up on the album, but with less overdubs and some extra vocals from Paul at the start. I say "vocals" but it's actually him reciting something in Latin. John is on acoustic guitar: "I did a freakout one then - one of them where you don't know what you're doing." He complains about his guitar cutting in and out of the mix on the previous take. The lack of overdubs allows one to hear Paul's improvisations at the end more clearly... strange.

06. Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds (Take 1 And Speech At The End)

Starts with a groovy little organ riff that reminded me of Johnny And The Hurricanes at the Star Club. George says something about his part and George Martin tells him it will only be in the headphones and not be recorded to tape. George: "Oh well." John in scouse accent: "It's direct injection." George Martin is on piano, John on acoustic guitar, Ringo on drums and Paul on organ. Then follows a live take with a (very) rough guide vocal.

07. Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds (Speech, False Start And Take 5)

Paul: "Right, now: concentrate, swing it!" He then gives John some vocal coaching and there follows another live take more or less the same as the previous one.

08. Getting Better (Take 1 - Instrumental And Speech At The End)

A really heavy early take. No vocals, just drums, electric piano (Paul), fuzz guitar doubling as a bass and another lighter guitar. Almost unrecognisable (but good!)

09. Getting Better (Take 12)

The take from the album but without any vocals. Instead there is a very loud tamboura drone.

10. Within You Without You (Take 1 - Indian Instruments Only)

Just like the label says. Not very interesting for me.

11. Within You Without You (George Coaching The Musicians)

This is much more interesting. George uses a kind of Indian solfege to coach one of the musicians. I hadn't actually realised George had learnt to do this and he is quite good at it. Very different from the way he coached his fellow Beatles with "Da-da-da, la-la"!

12. She's Leaving Home (Take 1 - Instrumental)

George Martin conducting the score. Nice enough, and there is an extra little cello phrase at the end of the "She's leaving home after living alone for so many years" parts.

13. She's Leaving Home (Take 6 - Instrumental)

George Martin: "Is the tempo all right Paul?" Paul grunts.

14. With A Little Help From My Friends (Take 1 - False Start And Take 2)

No vocals, but lots of other stuff: drums, guitar, organ, cowbell, maracca, tambourine and really great piano from Paul. Paul had developed a terrific style of his own by this point.

15. Sgt Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band (Reprise) (Speech And Take 8)

A different take from Anthology, but similar in content. Paul thinks his guide vocal may be confusing Ringo and is tripping out on the shapes on the walls of Studio 1. They sound like they are having fun.


(The first 15 tracks are the original mono mixes and not discussed here)

16. A Day In The Life (Unreleased First Mono Mix)

The same as the acetate version that has been kicking around since the year dot, but now with a slate at the start.

17. Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds (Unreleased Mono Mix - No. 11)

Similar to the released mono mix but even more phasey.

18. She's Leaving Home (Unreleased First Mono Mix)

Some horrible flanging on the poor harp at the start. Otherwise similar to the released mono mix but with the extra cello phrases retained at the ends of the choruses (edited out for the lp).

19. Penny Lane (Capitol Records U.S. Promo Single - Mono Mix)

Crikey, this sounds like it was trod around the floor of the studio before being transferred. Surely there is a better copy somewhere.


The much-vaunted 2017 remix. I won't go into every track (hey, I've gotta leave some stuff for other people to cover!) but generally the stereo placement is much better. There's no lead vocals coming awkwardly out of the speaker on the other side of the room. Now vocal harmonies are often spread out in stereo, which is nice. Instruments are often placed more subtly in the picture rather than being panned hard left or right.

Okay, so in terms of actual mixing that's a tick. Now the crosses. My big beef is with the dynamic range. I mean, there isn't any. None. Everything is just constantly loud and it became fatiguing for me after about 15 minutes. I don't want to sound negative but I wish they'd concentrated on making the stereo image better and not tried to make everything sound loud. She's Leaving Home is not meant to be a loud song. There also seems to be quite a lot of reverb sometimes. So as usual it's swings and roundabouts - plenty of good stuff, but some regrettable apects too.

As for the 5.1 mix I don't have a surround system so I can't comment on the effect. But the centre channel generally has the vocals in mono, with the vocals in wide stereo on the front left-right channels. The rear channels are kind of similar to the front channels and don't seem to have too much discrete material. But, like I said, I can't listen to it the way it was meant to be so take my opinion with a grain of salt.

My verdict: buy it! It's not as exciting as Anthology back in the day but still a fascinating listen.


The Beatles' Sgt. Pepper at 50 : The New Surround Sound Mix

There is much to discuss regarding this new ultra deluxe boxed set celebrating The Beatles' landmark 1967 album, Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Heart's Club Band.

For the skeptics, please note that the Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band Super Deluxe Edition is not a tossed-off simple repackage cash-in. The intent behind this project was to do something different celebrating the album's 50th Anniversary, shedding new light on a beloved recording and giving the fans something special. While most people have heard and owned the Stereo version of Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Heart's Club Band over the years, the reality is that The Beatles themselves were not involved with the making of that version of the album; they put all their energy into the Mono mix which, in 1967, was the dominant audio format, Stereo still being something of a niche commercial market at that point, less than 10 years old...

All the commercial radio stations at that point were still broadcasting in Mono. Most people had Mono transistor radios and maybe some sort of automatic record player with a built-in speaker and amp, if you were lucky. Boomboxes weren't even a thing then. There were no Walkmen. There were no iPods. There were no iPhones.

Mono was the thing...

Accordingly, Producer Giles Martin has thus set out to create a new perspective Stereo mix that honors the intent of The Beatles' original Mono creation, emulating the feel and overall vibe they'd worked so hard on, yet delivering a higher fidelity soundstage which a modern two speaker mix can enable.

These new Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band Super Deluxe Edition mixes are downright revelatory.

For the first time these mixes have been made from the original multi-track recording elements, virtually eliminating the sonic degradation which occurred when "bumping" tracks down in the analog realm. Remember, Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Heart's Club Band was effectively recorded on a four-track tape machine, so producer George Martin had to innovate to capture all those sounds which The Beatles wanted to convey in this album. He and his team invented a new sync method to link multiple tape machines together while recording -- expanding their number of available tracks at a given time -- yet inevitably still had to create "sub mixes" or "reduction mixes" along the way to free up space on a tape (i.e.. mixing four tracks on one machine down to one on another tape deck, freeing space for more recording elements).

By going back to the original pre-mixed multi-track source material tapes -- which thankfully still exist in the EMI archives -- and bringing them into a modern digital audio workstation type recording program (probably ProTools, the industry standard), Giles Martin has been able to present us with a new mix that literally removes layers of murk which had blanked the original music, be it Mono or Stereo versions. I have to admit, I was initially surprised at how bright the new recording sounded, but as I've given it repeat listens I realize that phenomenon was more about my ear getting acclimated to the increased detailing and lack of distortion, hiss and other sonic anomalies present in all prior versions than any problem with the recording.

For an added bonus, while Giles Martin was working on this Stereo re-invention, he took things a step further and created a quite lovely and complementary 5.1 surround sound mix. These recordings are included on the Blu-ray Disc within the Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band Super Deluxe Edition in high resolution 96 kHz, 24-bit DTS-HD Master Audio and Dolby TrueHd. You also get a high resolution PCM Stereo version (which we'll discuss in Part Two of this series). For those who have yet to get a Blu-ray player, the set includes a DVD containing the same material only in standard resolution DTS and Dolby 5.1 formats as well as PCM Stereo.

Both discs contain not only the full album as well as the single sides of "Strawberry Fields Forever" and "Penny Lane" (songs which were recorded at the same time as Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Heart's Club Band and not included on the original album due to the convention back in the day in England of not duplicating single releases on the LP) You also get restored great looking and sounding promotional videos for both of those songs plus "A Day In The Life," all of which also have new 5.1 surround and stereo mixes.

And those are just two of the discs in the set! You'll also get four CDs chockfull of outtakes, alternate mixes, the original Mono mix and the new Stereo mix. You also get a 100-plus page hardcover album-sized book with loads of information and incredible period photos. This set is a Beatle-fan's dream, folks. I'll go into more detail on the other CDs and bonus goodies in Part Three of this review.

But, for now, lets dive into the new 5.1 Surround Sound remix...

Giles Martin has achieved a sweet and happy balance here, creating an immersive listening experience while maintaining a somewhat traditional Stereo sound stage that honors the richness of the Mono mix. So fear not Dear Readers-who-are-haters-of-overly-immersive-surround-sound-mixes: the new 5.1 Surround Sound mix of Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Heart's Club Band feels like a playful old friend who will sometimes sneak up to surprise you when least expected, delivering a tasteful multi-channel listening experience without being heavy-handed. This new 5.1 mix of Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Heart's Club Band complements and respects the music and does not draw your attention away from the underlying recording -- an important distinction.

For example, at the Chorus ends during "Strawberry Fields Forever" you'll hear that sort of Sitar-Harp sound skip gingerly around the room leading into the next Verse. Likewise, on "A Day In the Life" the mix is gently immersive, blooming only as necessary, especially on the massive final chord; as much as I might like to hear a madly-wild tripped-out aggressive surround sound mix on this song, Giles Martin's decision to keep things grounded is wise because the song is already madly-wild and tripped-out enough!

Vocals are now much clearer, enabling you to make out every syllable. You can more easily detect individual Beatle voices even amidst densely layered harmonies. On "Fixing a Hole" those lush voicings are much more up front, almost like the way George Martin mixed The Beatles' backup vocals for the Abbey Road album (think "Because" and "Sun King") two years later. It is really beautiful to hear these richly detailed parts.

The strings on "She's Leaving Home" are remarkable, offering up detail -- such as low cellos on the chorus -- which I'd never fully noticed before. Remember that in addition to the recordings being bounced down multiple generations (losing fidelity along the way) there was always some level of compression applied to the vinyl records to accommodate the limitations of the average record player back in the day -- if a record was cut too hot, the discs would make the "needle" skip (if you will) because some lower cost players simply could not track that sort of wide range musical information. That said, with this newly very Hi Fi presentation, this song feels almost like this could be a modern recording by The Kronos Quartet. Its really haunting to feel the Harp behind you as Lennon's aching voice floats away with a somber "Bye-bye..."

The cut-up-spliced-tape Calliope carnival parts on "Being for the Benefit of Mr. kite!" trip gleefully around the room; hey, it was 1967 after all! The rich combination of Indian and traditional orchestral instrumentation on "Within You,Without You" -- Violins, Cellos, Sitar, Dilruba -- makes for a lovely surround showcase as those final rushes of Harp-like sounds gently hug you. The back up harmonies on "When I'm 64" really pop! And now you can feel the earthy woodiness of the acoustic guitar opening strums to "Lovely Rita" -- and throughout -- delivering a wonderful rhythmic twang.

Ringo's drumming on "Good Morning, Good Morning" is absolutely fierce throughout while the raw urgency in Lennon's vocal sounds borderline punk emanating from the center channel. Spoiler alert: listen closely for the animal noises at the end of which culminate in the back left rear speaker; those final clucks behind you give way to that all important electric guitar pull-off riff which leads us back into the Reprise -- diagonally across the room in the front right channel! This new surround sound mix makes me realize what a quite brilliant production choice it was for The Beatles to begin wrapping up the album with this song as it leads into the"Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Heart's Club Band (Reprise)" and into "A Day in the Life."

There are three videos on the Blu-ray Disc and, curiously, those mixes seem to be a little different than the audio-only surround sound versions (so be sure to compare and contrast when you get the set to decide for yourself). Also interestingly, the surround sound audio for these videos is quite different than the previously released surround mixes on The Beatles #1 collection of just a few years back and on The Beatles Anthology DVDs from 2003 (which contained as far as I know the first attempts at mixing Beatle music into surround sound). So, for example, the bass on the videos for "Strawberry Fields Forever" and "Penny Lane" seems more prominent -- perhaps too much so -- on the The Beatles #1 version than on the new Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band Super Deluxe Edition. And while on "A Day In The Life" the sound on The Beatles #1 version is much bigger than on The Beatles' Anthology DVD set (the Anthology version of this song also has some different video edits happening in it, so hold on your copy for now!), the new Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band Super Deluxe Edition version differs significantly as well. Most notably, on the big build up orchestral section, Mal Evans' time-countdown is is much more audible on the The Beatles #1 version. All that said, the newer mix is indeed more true to the original recordings, bringing us full circle back to the original purpose of this set.

Gosh.... With all these new mixes to consider, you really get a sense of just how well Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Heart's Club Band was recorded. It reminds us that The Beatles were recording in one of the best studios in the world -- EMI's Abbey Road -- with one of the best producing, mixing and engineering teams in the world at the time (George Martin, Geoff Emerick) with the best equipment available.

The result, Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Heart's Club Band, remains, a world class artistic statement and this new deluxe edition gives us a fine alternative perspective to study for the ages. It is an amazing new way to hear a favorite album more clearly than ever before.


May 02, 2017

Satellite radio's SiriusXM is debuting Beatles channel

NEW YORK (AP) -- SiriusXM satellite radio said Tuesday it will debut a channel devoted to the Beatles later this month, achieving a long-sought dream to highlight the music of the pop legends.

The Beatles Channel launches May 18, a week before the band's newest archival project is released: a box set keyed to the 50th anniversary of "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band."

Backed by the band, the channel will feature music from the Beatles, its members' solo projects and artists who influenced them. Its suite of programs will include "My Fab Four," where other musicians and celebrities talk about their favorite Beatles songs.

"I still remember the thrill of when we first heard our music on the radio, but I don't think any of us would have imagined that we'd have our very own Beatles radio channel more than 50 years later," said Paul McCartney, with Ringo Starr one of the two surviving Beatles. "The SiriusXM channel will have it all, eight days a week."

SiriusXM has more than a dozen channels branded to specific artists, including Bruce Springsteen, Eminem, Kenny Chesney, Pitbull and Tom Petty.

The Beatles remained the Holy Grail, and SiriusXM President and chief content officer Scott Greenstein said he made his interest plain with the band's management years ago. But it was a delicate subject; both McCartney and Starr remain active musicians and have worked with Sirius, and he didn't want them thinking the satellite network was only interested in their past.

But, he said, "The moment came, and you can rest assured that when the moment came, we dove right in."

Similarly, the band and its management were cooperative once the decision was made that the time was right, he said. Plenty of archival material was made available, including interviews where Beatles had talked about specific songs, many of them heard once or twice before and forgotten.

"It will be a channel that will sound shockingly current and alive, not a retrospective jukebox," Greenstein said.

Veteran music author Bill Flanagan will have a major role on the network, hosting a live weekly call-in round table with broadcaster Dennis Elsas, and a second show based on themes that tell the story of the band. The network will have a weekly "Magical Mini Concert" featuring live music recorded by the band and its solo members.

On June 1, the network will play the newly remixed "Sgt. Pepper" album on the 50th anniversary of its release, with commentary from the late producer George Martin and his son, Giles, who was responsible for putting the new box set together.

SiriusXM will also use the new channel for a membership drive, offering free listening to people with inactive satellite radios from May 17 to May 30.

The network's debut on SiriusXM channel 18 will come at 9:09 a.m. Eastern (for the Beatles song "One After 909," remember?)


April 18, 2017

Remastering the One Beatles Live Album Finally Made It Great

The Beatles’ mid-’60s live album sounded terrible until Abbey Road used custom code to clean it up . Author: Tim Moynihan. Tim Moynihan Gear

The Beatles’ remarkable catalog includes just one official live album, and the group’s immense popularity made it unlistenable. The Beatles at the Hollywood Bowl, recorded in 1964 and 1965 but not released until 1977, was always a frustrating listen. Try as you might, you simply cannot hear much music above the fan-belt squeal of 10,000 Beatlemaniacs.

You can’t blame the Fab Four, nor their legendary producer George Martin. Martin did what he could with the three-track tapes, but the limitations of 1970s technology did little to elevate the music above the din. Boosting the high frequencies—the snap of Ringo Starr’s hi-hat, the shimmer and chime of George Harrison’s guitar—only made the racket made by all those fans even louder.

To get a sense of what the team at Abbey Road Studios did, imagine deconstructing a smoothie so you’re left with whole strawberries, peeled bananas, and ice cubes, then mixing them again from scratch.

All of which makes the remastered version of Live at the Hollywood Bowl especially impressive. The do-over, which coincided with the August release of Ron Howard’s documentary film Eight Days a Week, squeezes astonishing clarity out of the source tapes. You can finally hear an exceptionally tight band grinding out infectious blues-based rock propelled by a driving beat, wailing guitars, and raspy vocals. This album never sounded so lucid, present, or weighty.

“What became apparent when you compared it to what came out in 1977 is how hard Ringo is hitting the drums,” says Giles Martin, George Martin’s son and the producer of the remastered album. “How hard the band were really digging in. We didn’t really know about that before. You take these layers of natural tape effects away to get to the heart of the performance, and when you get there, you actually hear the dynamics.”

Technological wizardry helped uncover the hidden sonics. But don’t think you can just run out and buy the same software to make your crappy Can bootlegs listenable. There’s no checkbox in ProTools to reverse-engineer a lousy recording. To get a sense of what the team at Abbey Road Studios did, imagine deconstructing a smoothie so you’re left with the strawberries, bananas, and ice in their original forms, just so you can blend them again from scratch.

To do that, James Clarke, a systems analyst at Abbey Road Studios, developed a “demixing” process to separate each instrument and vocal track from the cacophony. He isolated everything Ringo, Harrison, Paul McCartney, and John Lennon played and sang, separated it from the din of the crowd, and effectively created clean tracks to remaster. Fittingly, Clarke’s audio-modeling process used spectrograms—imagery you might associate with ghost-hunting—to bring the spirit of these live performances back to life.

“It doesn’t exist as a software program that is easy to use,” Clarke says. “It’s a lot of Matlab, more like a research tool. There’s no graphical front end where you can just load a piece of audio up, paint a track, and extract the audio. I write manual scripts, which I then put into the engine to process.”
Make This Bird Sing

Before tackling the project, Martin told Clarke to take a crack at a track Martin thought might give the engineer fits. “I challenged him with ‘And Your Bird Can Sing’ on an acoustic guitar, and I knew just by being a mean, mean bastard that separating acoustic guitar and vocals was going to be the biggest challenge for him,” Martin says. “You have a lot of frequency crossover and distortion of signal path that goes on.”

Clarke passed that test. Then came the real challenge: Working with those three-track source tapes from the Hollywood Bowl to create digital models of each instrument, the vocals, and the enraptured crowd. From there, engineers could tweak each track to create the final mix.

The Old Recording

The New Version

Separating the kick drum and bass guitar proved relatively easy, because low frequencies don’t suffer from crossover with crowd noise. But vocals, guitars, snare drums, and cymbals share the same sonic real estate with the banshee wail of the fans. The Beatles’ virtuosity and consistency helped here. The modeling process involves using samples of each instrument to help the software determine what to look for and pull out into its own track. If the recording didn’t have a clean enough version of the track Clarke wanted to isolate, he used session recordings to build those audio fingerprints. “I went back to the studio versions to build the models,” he says. “They’re not as accurate, as there are usually temporal and tuning changes between playing in the studio and playing live, but the Beatles were pretty spot-on between studio and live versions.”

After creating spectrogram models of each instrument, he loaded the files into what he calls his “little controller program.” A few hours later, it gave him a clean track of the instrument he modeled. All of those tracks went to the mixing engineer.

From the start, Martin hoped to make the recording as lifelike and accurate as possible. “I wanted to know what it was like watching the Beatles play live,” he says.

Clarke’s process could breathe new life into other old recordings. He and Martin say a few other bands have asked them about working a little magic on the live shows in their own archives, though they wouldn’t name names.
Liven It Up

The Beatles at the Hollywood Bowl is a live album, and Martin and Clark decided to leave a little crowd noise in, even though Clarke says he achieved “nearly full separation” of the music and the audience. As with Bob Dylan’s 1966 concert at “Royal Albert Hall” and Johnny Cash’s gigs at Folsom and San Quentin prisons, the recording wouldn’t have the same energy without a little cheering and screaming. In the end, the remaster dropped the crowd noise by about 3 decibels. “They could have pushed it a lot further if they wanted to,” Clarke says, “but I think they got it spot on.” After almost 40 years, you can finally hear the Beatles in The Beatles Live at the Hollywood Bowl, and they sound glorious.


February 10, 2017

Paul McCartney sues Sony over Beatles song rights

The complaint was filed in the Southern District of New York. The musician hopes to regain ownership of songs co-written with John Lennon.
In 1969, Lennon and McCartney lost ownership of their publishing when Northern Songs was bought by ATV in 1969. In 1985 Michael Jackson bought ATV Music for $47.5 million, beating a joint bid by McCartney and Yoko Ono. A merger between ATV and Sony a decade later saw Sony acquire a half stake in the song rights, and in 2016 the company bought out the other 50 per cent stake for $750 million.
McCartney's legal action will leverage the termination provisions of the US Copyright Act. In 1976, Congress increased the period of copyright protection for creative works, and allowed authors to reclaim rights in the latter stages of a copyright term. The lawsuit declares that McCartney has been serving termination notices for almost a decade.
Under US copyright law, songwriters are able to reclaim the publishing rights to their work after 56 years. McCartney’s songs will be eligible from in 2018, 56 years after the release of The Beatles' first EMI single Love Me Do.
McCartney's complaint states that Sony has failed to provide confirmation of the musician's termination notices. "For years following service of the first Termination Notices, Defendants gave no indication to Paul McCartney that they contested the efficacy of Paul McCartney’s Termination Notices. Defendants’ affiliates did, however, oppose at least one other artist’s terminations of transfers under the terms of the 1976 Copyright Act."
The writ continues: "Rather than provide clear assurances to Paul McCartney that Defendants will not challenge his exercise of his termination rights, Defendants are clearly reserving their rights pending the final outcome of the Duran Duran litigation in the U.K."
This is a reference to Duran Duran's unsuccessful attempt to regain rights to their songs. In December 2016, a judge in England ruled that American termination law should not take precedent over English contract law.
In response to McCartney's claim, Sony/ATV Music Publishing issued a statement:
Sony/ATV has the highest respect for Sir Paul McCartney with whom we have enjoyed a long and mutually rewarding relationship with respect to the treasured Lennon & McCartney song catalog. We have collaborated closely with both Sir Paul and the late John Lennon’s Estate for decades to protect, preserve and promote the catalog’s long-term value. We are disappointed that they have filed this lawsuit which we believe is both unnecessary and premature.