The Beatles - Remastered


A friend posted on Facebook today what possible meaning could be found in 09/09/09, the curious date that is today, finding no answer.

Well, one possible connection of the dots is The Beatles' White Album, which featured "Revolution 9" (an experimental but still terrible song) that included, in what would generously be called a lyric, "Number 9, Number 9, Number 9..."

I began collecting Beatles records in the late 70's, after the original Capitol pressings had been relabeled with the Beatles' Apple label and then reverted back to Capitol.   Finding a Beatles' record with an "Apple" logo was a minor but welcome discovery, but it was usually diminished sonically by the ultimate wear and tear that a diamond needle caused to AppleRecordsa vinyl groove over time, not to mention the more jarring accidents that caused permanent "pops" and skips. 

Fast forward to 1987.  Fresh out of college and coming to terms with the joys of a paycheck, Capitol cashed in and released the first four Beatles albums (UK versions) on CD.  I remember leaving work at lunch, going to the Riverchase Galleria in Birmingham to a "record store," and buying all four at once.  My paycheck at the time wasn't so great that this was an incidental cost, but the sound...!  Pure, hiss free, high fidelity Beatles.

My CD collection has now grown many times over, but alphabetically between the Beach Boys and Jeff Beck lie 18 Beatles titles each of which has been played many times over, to my enduring satisfaction.  (Note: This does not include solo releases... those would be filed under H, L, M and S - whoops, not so fast Ringo).

Today, Capitol released "remastered" versions of the Beatles catalog.  I'm quite familiar with remastered versions of CDs.  Done correctly, they definitely enhance the sound quality and, despite the partiality of purists who cling to "it sounded better on vinyl," just about everything recorded prior to around 1990 that has been reworked just sounds better.   

A re-release makes sense, aside from it being 22 years since they last raided my disposable income.  The Beatles songs are timeless.  Translated: they continue to sell.  New generations are going to buy the products over time.beatles rock band  The co-release of The Beatles: Rock Band for today's generation is a great entry for nimble fingered youth.  Got it.  I understand. 

And so does Capitol.  They also know that to satisfy corporate ROI (Return on Investment) means that they have to appeal to the good folks who have the money today.  That would be the Boomers... the same good people, incidentally, who are paying for the Rock Band release for their kids.

So Capitol "enhanced" their offer. 

Original artwork and original liner notes (blah blah blah). But wait! There's more.  Expanded booklets with NEW liner notes, plus rare photos!  (slight interest... is there anything really new to learn?)  But wait, there's even more if you act now!   "For a limited time only," each CD also includes an embedded DVD commentary on the making of the album.  And, if you somehow missed buying the set before, why not just buy them all at once in boxed editions?  You can even buy the sets in stereo or mono, your preference.

The Beatles - Mono Set

I no longer "collect" anything.  I obviously continue to love (and purchase) music, but buying things just to possess them has lost much of its attraction.  So it comes down to whether or not it's truly worth it.

Thanks Rolling Stone, for shaking my resolve. 

The buoyancy of "Something" becomes more comprehensible when you hear clearly Paul McCartney's nimble bass line. You knew that "Twist and Shout" featured one of John Lennon's most visceral performances, but here you can feel his vocal cords shred. The horns on "Good Morning Good Morning" roar, driving the song in a way you may not have noticed before. Lennon and George Harrison's guitars on "You Can't Do That" sharpen to a gleaming edge.

Dang, dang, dang!


  1. Nice, I just got the remastered "White Album" today, and it shines! It's very clean and has more low end where appropriate, clearer highs, and more presence. I too gave up collecting to just collect but believe me, if you've got a half decent set of ears, you'll quickly notice the improvement. It's like a layer of grime has been cleaned off of the old tunes!

  2. Wow - I'm stunned. I had no idea how this blog would end. You completely shocked me. Yeah, right.
    I never listened to the Beatles - just a little too late, I guess. So unless it's one of the most known of their songs I'm never sure if it's a Beatles song.
    However, I've come up with a pretty fail-proof way of figuring it out. If the lyrics are so ridiculous that the only way it would be popular is if the Beatles recorded it, then it's a pretty sure bet it's a Beatles song. Works most everytime.