[9 April 2009]
PopMatters Editor & Publisher
Back in the late ‘80s there was a great deal of excitement when the Beatles catalogue first came to CD. For many people, including me, it was the reason to buy a CD player in the first place. Finally we would hear pop music’s biggest classics in sparkling new sound quality and not have to worry about skips and clicks and scratches on vinyl records. Well, those early CDs may have sounded great on first listen, but they were quickly surpassed in quality by new remastered CDs loaded with extras and copious liner notes that made the Beatles CDs seem like relics.
At long last, that is being rectified and Beatlemaniacs and completists will be able to upgrade their full collection. EMI and Apple just announced this week a release date for new editions of the entire Beatles catalogue in remastered form. Producers have spent four years working on these versions at the famed Abbey Road Studios and we should expect majorly improved sound quality, making these a nearly essential purchase across the board.
On September 9, 2009, the same day the The Beatles: Rock Band video game hits stores, you’ll be able to pick up these CDs, which will include expanded liner notes and rare photos. To spur hefty initial sales, early limited editions will come with short documentaries about the making of each album. These will be the 12 UK albums that the Beatles intended, so none of the repackaged U.S. ones including Meet the Beatles will be part of this. The U.S. label had chopped up those early Beatles albums to basically create more product to sell in the U.S. market.
Additionally, two box sets are coming out that day: a set compiling all the stereo albums including the Post Masters recordings as well as The Beatles in Mono, a massive set of 12 records worth of all the original mono recordings. There has been no word on when and if any of the Beatles oeuvre will be available for download via iTunes or a similar service.
Given that we’re still mired deep in recession, start saving now.
Here’s the full line-up coming our way in September…
The Stereo Albums (available individually and collected in a stereo boxed set)
All CD packages contain original vinyl artwork, liner notes, and extensive archival photos.
Please Please Me * (CD debut in stereo)
With The Beatles * (CD debut in stereo)
A Hard Day’s Night * (CD debut in stereo)
Beatles For Sale * (CD debut in stereo)
Rubber Soul *
Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band * (also includes 1987 notes, updated, and new intro by Paul McCartney)
Magical Mystery Tour *
The Beatles *
Yellow Submarine * (also includes original US liner notes)
Abbey Road *
Let It Be *
Past Masters (contains new liner notes written by Kevin Howlett)
* = CD includes QuickTime mini-doc about the album
The Beatles in Mono (boxed set only)
Please Please Me
With The Beatles
A Hard Day’s Night
Beatles For Sale
Help! (CD also includes original 1965 stereo mix) +
Rubber Soul (CD also include original 1965 stereo mix) +
Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band+
Magical Mystery Tour +
The Beatles +
+ = mono mix CD debut