Today’s the day that most Beatles fans have been counting down to: 09-09-09 (September 9th) when the remastered Beatles In Stereo box set, along with the new The Beatles: Rock Band game finally hits the market. Each of the new stereo CD’s are also sold separately and are packaged with replicated original UK album art, which includes expanded booklets containing original and newly-written liner notes with rare and never-before-seen photos.
For a limited period, each disc will also be embedded with a brief Quick Time documentary film about the album. The documentaries contain archival footage, rare photographs and never-before-heard studio chat from the group. The box set features an extra bonus DVD featuring all of the mini-docs together.
Unfortunately for fans who didn’t pre-order The Beatles In Mono box set, featuring the band’s work up through The Beatles — better known as The White Album — it’s temporally sold out — although Capitol/EMI will be pressing up additional sets seeing as how fast the 10,000 limited-edition collection was snapped up. The mono discs are not sold separately.
One of the main draws of the revamped catalogue is the official CD release of the band’s first four albums — Please Please Me, With The Beatles, A Hard Day’s Night, and Beatles For Sale — in stereo, along with the mono versions of Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band and The White Album — which feature distinctly different sounding mixes than their stereo counterparts.
The 1988 discs Past Masters Vol. 1 and Vol. 2 — which collected the group’s stray B-Sides and EP tracks and was originally sold separately — are now being marketed as a two-disc set. A revised mono version is included on the mono box set
As opposed to the deluxe gatefold stereo CD’s, the mono discs are sold in miniature replicas of the original LP’s. As an added bonus, the mono Help! and Rubber Soul discs also include the original 1965 stereo mixes, which have not been previously released on CD — the 1987 releases featured newly-remixed versions by Beatles producer George Martin.
The Beatles’ catalogue is:
Please Please Me (1963), With the Beatles (1963), A Hard Day’s Night (1964), Beatles For Sale (1964), Help! (1965), Rubber Soul (1965), Revolver (1966), Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band (1967), Magical Mystery Tour (1967), The Beatles aka the “White Album” (1968), Yellow Submarine (1969), Abbey Road (1969), Let It Be (1970), and Past Masters (1988)
The Beatles: Rock Band background visuals feature the band performing live at Liverpool’s Cavern Club on August 22nd, 1962; The Ed Sullivan Show on February 9th, 1964; Shea Stadium on August 15th, 1965; Tokyo’s Budokan Arena on June 30th and July 1st, 1966 — utilizing both afternoon and evening shows featuring the band in both light and dark suits; on the set of 1967’s Magical Mystery Tour movie, in the studio in 1968; two fantasy sequences for 1969; as well as the band on top of the legendary Apple Rooftop on January 30th, 1969.
The Tracklist For The Beatles: Rock Band is:
Singles: “I Want To Hold Your Hand,” “I Feel Fine,” “Day Tripper,” “Paperback Writer,” “Revolution,” and “Don’t Let Me Down”
Please Please Me: “I Saw Her Standing There,” “Boys,” “Do You Want To Know A Secret,” and “Twist and Shout”
With The Beatles: “I Wanna Be Your Man”
A Hard Day’s Night: “A Hard Day’s Night” and “Can’t Buy Me Love”
Beatles For Sale: “Eight Days A Week”
Help!: “Ticket To Ride”
Rubber Soul: “Drive My Car,” “I’m Looking Through You,” and “If I Needed Someone”
Revolver: “Taxman,” “Yellow Submarine” and “And Your Bird Can Sing”
Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band: “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band/With A Little Help From My Friends,” “Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds,” “Getting Better,” and “Good Morning Good Morning”
Magical Mystery Tour: “I Am The Walrus” and “Hello Goodbye”
The Beatles (White Album): “Back In The U.S.S.R.,” “Dear Prudence,” “While My Guitar Gently Weeps,” “Birthday” and “Helter Skelter”
Yellow Submarine: “Hey Bulldog”
Let It Be: “Dig A Pony” “I Me Mine” “I’ve Got A Feeling” and “Get Back”
Abbey Road: “Come Together, ” “Something,” “Octopus’s Garden,” “I Want You (She’s So Heavy),” “Here Comes The Sun,” and “The End”
The Beatles LOVE: “Within You Without You/Tomorrow Never Knows”
SOUNDBITES FROM THE TEAM
George Harrison’s son Dhani Harrison played an integral role in helping develop the game with Harmonix and pitch it to the Beatles’ company Apple — which is owned and run by Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr, Yoko Ono, and his mother Olivia Harrison. Dhani took particular delight in scoring the obviously Beatle-centric release date for The Beatles: Rock Band: “And it’s really, really exciting to see that they’ve announced our release date. It was actually “Project Number Nine” for Harmonix — it’s the ninth video game that they’ve made — so obviously with the Beatles reference “Number Nine…” — y’know, as a joke? So, we’ve got the release date of 09-09-09.
Kevin Howlett, who cowrote the liner notes for the remastered CD’s says that despite the restoration — the music still sounds just as you remember it: “I think that it’s been done with the ultimate taste and that’s always characterized the Beatles catalogue — it’s always been done with the greatest taste. So, they haven’t over done it. Also, (they) just used the analog masters, stereo and mono masters, they haven’t remixed from multitrack. So if you remember how the record sounded in the ’60s, then that’s pretty much how it’s gonna sound now, except with the extra clarity that comes from this remastering.”
Giles Martin, George Martin’s son who supervised the sound for the Rock Band game, says that following the fan reaction towards his work on the LOVE, he’s gained a wider acceptance within Beatles fandom: “People have been very kind about this. It’s just great that people have enjoyed listening to it. It’s with a considerable amount of care and respect that we’ve gone about doing this. And I think that people are now appreciating that.”
McCartney says that working with the teams remastering the CD’s as well as creating Rock Band, memories of his time working on the music with John Lennon have come flooding back: “I used to go out to John’s house in Weybridge to write songs. And at that particular time, I had been busted for speeding so I had to have a driver to take me out there. And we were chatting on the way. I remember saying to the guy, ‘Well how’ve you been — you been busy?’ And he said, ‘Oh yeah mate, I been workin’ eight days a week!’ And I went into John’s house, I said, ‘Right — I got the title, ‘Eight Days A Week.’ And we wrote it there and then.”
McCartney recalled one of the band’s sessions just prior to their trip to India: “One of the things that I like about John’s songwriting style is it’s quirkiness. And I think ‘Hey Bulldog’ is very surreal. And obviously I like the moment when we’re in there and I’m harmonizing with him, and I start being a dog, and he says ‘You got any more? (howls). The spirit of that session is brought back by the recording, y’know?”
Ringo Starr says that during the Beatles’ whirlwind career, there was never a point where he paused to consider the long-term effect of the band on either his or their fans’ lives: “Even though we felt ‘Yes, we’re established and we’ve conquered all these countries, and we’re sellin’ a lot of records and they all love us,’ it was not a thought (that) it’s going to end tomorrow — (or) it’s going to go on forever. I never had that thought. It was just happening now, y’know? It wasn’t like making plans for the future. It was just on this roll and we were all in our early 20’s and we were just going with it.”
In 2007 McCartney and Ringo appeared together on Larry King Live, and McCartney said he feels privileged because people keep thanking him for the music. ” (McCartney) It’s really gratifying now for people to stop you on the street and go, ‘Thanks for the music. You know, you’ve saved my life.’ And you hear so much of that, that it’s a privilege to have been… (Ringo) Part of it. (McCartney) Part of those four guys.”
FAST FACTS ABOUT THE BEATLES’ ALBUMS
The only outside musicians who play on the Beatles’ first album, 1963’s Please Please Me, are George Martin who added piano to “Misery” and celeste to “Baby, It’s You,” and Andy White who drummed on “Love Me Do.” Aside from the album’s two singles — “Love Me Do”/”P.S. I Love You” and “Please Please Me”/”Ask Me Why” — Please Please Me was recorded in one marathon 13-hour session on February 11th, 1963
1963’s With The Beatles features George Harrison’s first solo composition “Don’t Bother Me.” During the band’s pre-fame Hamburg sessions he had cowritten the instrumental “Cry For A Shadow” with John Lennon, the tune which is now available on Anthology 1, features Pete Best on drums and wasn’t originally released until after the band had cracked America. With The Beatles was released on November 22nd, 1963 — the same day the President John F. Kennedy was assassinated.
“You Can’t Do That” from 1964’s A Hard Day’s Night album features John Lennon’s first recorded guitar solo. A performance of the tune was filmed for inclusion for the concert sequence at the end of A Hard Days Night, but ended up on the cutting room floor. The clip was aired on The Ed Sullivan Show on May 24th, 1964. A Hard Day’s Night holds the distinction of being the only Beatles album wholly comprised of Lennon & McCartney originals.
For their cover of Chuck Berry’s “Rock And Roll Music” on 1964’s Beatles For Sale, both John Lennon and Paul McCartney joined produced George Martin on grand piano. The album featured the band also covering two Carl Perkins tracks; “Honey Don’t” and “Everybody’s Trying To Be My Baby,” Little Richard’s “Kansas City/Hey! Hey! Hey! Hey!” and Buddy Holly’s “Words Of Love.”
1965’s Help! album featured the first use of string and brass on a Beatles album — with session players supplying the flutes on “You’ve Got To Hide Your Love Away,” and strings on “Yesterday.” The album also featured the first appearance of McCartney’s distinctive lead guitar, playing the solos on “Another Girl” and “Ticket To Ride.”
The title for 1965’s Rubber Soul was rumored to be a subtle dig at good friend Mick Jagger, who was seen by some in the R&B community as being a bit of a poseur and deemed “Plastic Soul.” Ringo Starr earned his first Beatles song co-credit when he added words to John Lennon’s long-unfinished “What Goes On.” George Harrison first became intrigued with the sound of the sitar during the filming of the Help! movie earlier that year. Between that and the Rubber Soul sessions he had acquired the instrument and figured out the notes to add to Lennon’s “Norwegian Wood (This Bird Has Flown),” which single-handedly brought Eastern music into the pop world, paving the way for all future world music.
The working titles for 1966’s Revolver were The Beatles On Safari and Abracadabra. Although it was used on the previous year’s Rubber Soul Sessions, McCartney’s solid-bodied Rickenbacker 4001 bass became his primary instrument for the duration of the Beatles’ career starting with Revolver. “Eleanor Rigby” — which only featured a string ensemble alongside the group’s vocals — marked the first time that the Beatles played no part in the backing tracks to one of their songs.
Interestingly, after the Beatles’ breakup, both Lennon and McCartney gave separate interviews detailing who wrote what within the duo’s partnership. They two agreed on everything except two songs — Lennon claimed that he wrote the majority of the lyrics to McCartney’s “Eleanor Rigby” and McCartney claimed that he wrote the melody to Lennon’s “In My Life.”
1967’s Sgt. Pepper Lonely Heart’s Club Band was the first album to be recorded after the group had stopped touring. The recording sessions stretched over a five month period, spanning from November 24th, 1966 to April 21st, 1967, at the legendary Abbey Road Studios. The album reportedly took more than 700 hours to record and cost more than $75,000, an unprecedented amount at the time.
Despite its universal praise, the album only won one Grammy award, when Geoff Emerick scored the first-ever Grammy for Best Engineered Rock Album.
The album was recorded using only four-track tape machines, often combining many tracks into one, to overdub more sounds.
Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band spent fifteen weeks at Number One on the Billboard 200, and a combined 113 weeks on the chart. The album has been certified eleven times platinum, for sales of over 11 million copies in the U.S. alone.
The album was the first rock album to feature printed lyrics to its songs.
“Strawberry Fields Forever” and “Penny Lane” were recorded early on in the sessions, but were removed from the album project and released as a double-A sided single in February 1967, because there had been no new Beatles music released for months. Producer George Martin later regretted the decision, saying it was the biggest mistake of his career. Nearly all of the songs recorded for Sgt. Pepper ended up on the album. Only Harrison’s initial contribution “Only A Northern Song” was shelved. The track was eventually released on the 1969 Yellow Submarine soundtrack.
1967’s Magical Mystery Tour was only released in the UK as a double EP — meaning each seven inch disc featured up to two songs per side. In addition to the film songs — including the title track — “The Fool On The Hill,” “Flying,” “Blue Jay Way,” “Your Mother Should Know,” and “I Am The Walrus,” the U.S. market expanded the album into a full-length LP and tagged on the other 1967 non-album singles — “Strawberry Fields Forever,” “Penny Lane,” “All You Need Is Love,” Baby You’re A Rich Man,” and “Hello Goodbye.”
1968’s The Beatles — better known as the “White Album” was released on November 22nd, 1968 five years to the day of the Beatles’ second album — 1963’s With The Beatles. The White Album was originally going to be titled A Doll’s House after Henrik Ibsen’s play — but was changed when they found out it was already taken by another band. During sessions for The White Album, Ringo Starr quit the group and took an impromptu family vacation to Sardinia. While there he wrote “Octopus’ Garden.” In his absence, Paul McCartney drummed on “Back In The U.S.S.R” and “Dear Prudence.”
The night that Linda McCartney — then Linda Eastman — moved into McCartney’s St. John’s Wood townhouse, he came home in the early morning hours and played her a rough-mix acetate of Lennon’s “Happiness Is A Warm Gun.”
George Martin left for vacation midway through the sessions and appointed his assistant Chris Thomas as the de-facto producer. Although Thomas produced a good portion of The White Album, he received no production credits. Thomas also played the harpsichord on “Piggies” and the harmonium on “The Continuing Story Of Bungalow Bill.”
Several songs originally intended for the The White Album turned up on later solo albums, such as “Junk,” which McCartney released on his 1970 solo debut McCartney, “Child Of Nature,” which Lennon rewrote as “Jealous Guy” for his 1971 album Imagine, “Not Guilty,” which made its way onto Harrison’s 1979 self-titled album, and “Circles,” which finally saw release on his 1982 album Gone Troppo.
1969’s Yellow Submarine featured only four previously unreleased Beatles songs. In addition to the by then-classics “Yellow Submarine” and “All You Need Is Love,” the album’s first side featured the Sgt. Pepper outtake “Only A Northern Song,” the Magical Mystery Tour session tunes “All Together Now” and “It’s All Too Much,” and “Hey Bulldog” — which was recorded in early 1968 at the same time as “Lady Madonna.” George Martin’s film score was featured on Side Two.
The album was unable to rise any higher than Number Two due to The White Album holding the top spot on the Billboard album charts at the time.
Although Let It Be was released in May 1970, it was recorded before Abbey Road, in January 1969. The album ultimately served as the soundtrack to the Beatles’ final film which was originally planned to document their return to live performance. After a year of producer Glyn Johns’ various remixes being rejected by the band, John Lennon and business manager Allen Klein enlisted the help of Phil Spector to remix the tapes and add orchestral and brass overdubs to several songs.
The high point of the album is the inclusion of three tracks recorded live by the Beatles and Billy Preston on the rooftop of the Apple Headquarters in London; “I’ve Got A Feeling,” “Dig A Pony,” and “The One After 909.” Although the album’s closing version of “Get Back” was edited to sound like a live performance, it in fact is merely the studio track minus the song’s coda.
Let It Be earned the Beatles their only Academy Award, when they won the 1970 Oscar for Best Original Song Score.
Abbey Road was the Beatles final album and was released on September 26th, 1969. The album’s working title had been Everest — after a brand of cigarettes their engineer Geoff Emerick smoked — before the group simply chose the name of the street where their recording studio was located. The recording studio Abbey Road was built in 1929 by the Beatles’ British record label EMI and named EMI Recording Studios. It was only after the album’s success that EMI formally changed the studio’s name to Abbey Road.
Abbey Road spent 11 weeks at Number One and featured the double A-sided Number One single “Come Together” and “Something,” the highest-charting Beatles song written by George Harrison.
On August 20th, 1969 all four Beatles attended the album’s final mix and running-order session. It was the last time all four Beatles were together in a recording studio.
Throughout the years, many of the songs on Abbey Road have been performed live, with Lennon including “Come Together” in concert in Madison Square Garden at his 1972 “One To One” benefit; McCartney has performed “You Never Give Me Your Money,” “She Came In Through The Bathroom Window,” “Golden Slumbers/Carry That Weight/The End,” “Her Majesty,” and Harrison’s “Something” over the past two decades; Harrison introduced both “Something,” and “Here Comes The Sun” as part of his live repertoire at 1971’s The Concert For Bangladesh; and Starr’s “Octopus’s Garden” made its live debut during his 1998 taping of VH1 Storytellers.