Re-experiencing the Beatles’ U.S. Albums

In celebration of the 50th anniversary of the Beatles’ landmark Abbey Road album, and as a way to placate my fixated anxiousness for the release of its super deluxe edition and picture disc, I’ve decided to dust off my box set of the Beatles’ U.S. albums. I’m rediscovering and revisiting each individual album in chronological sequence as I await to revel within the newly remixed Abbey Road in all its glory on the golden anniversary of the historic release date. In the meantime…

I wasn’t born when the Beatles first arrived in America, but that didn’t stop me from liberating their albums from my eldest sister and memorizing every word, harmony and riff until I could hear them in my sleep, and repeatedly dream of the Capitol Records’ label with its dome logo and colorband ring spinning in my head. However, I’ll shamefacedly admit that during my early adulthood I thought I’d outgrown the mop topped Fab Four and briefly pushed them aside as I sought to forge my own musical identity. But an eager audiophile soon set me back onto the right track. With the Beatles’ 13-disc box set The U.S. Albums, I’m able to habitually seize the opportunity to turn back time and experience a taste of Beatlemania for myself.

The U.S. albums (notorious for their equalized echo chamber sound, or duophonic simulated stereo, and arbitrarily sequenced track lists), reportedly annoyed the band members, which is believed to be the inspiration behind the infamous “Butcher’s Block” cover (featuring the band holding disjointed baby dolls and raw meat while sporting white lab coats) for the U.S. only release Yesterday and Today. However, these are not the versions included here, but instead merely duplicated track sequencing sourced from an amalgamation of the original 1960s masters and the 2009 remasters. This box set, alongside the deluxe remixed editions of Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, The Beatles, and the anniversary remix edition of Abbey Road, are requisite additions to any Beatles completist’s collection. [Read full feature]

The Beatles: ‘The White Album’ 50th Anniversary Edition

First off, let me preface my forthcoming comments by admitting The Beatles (“The White Album”) is not my all-time favorite album by the Fab Four. In fact, I’ve always had a strange aversion to it thanks to its unfortunate association to the Manson Family murders. But with that said, I’m constantly surprised by how much I actually enjoy it whenever I take the time to dust it off and listen.

Just such an occasion has recently presented itself for a well-deserved revisit of the legendary double album with the 50th anniversary edition. The Beatles has been newly remixed by Giles Martin and given a superb new stereo remix, much like he did with 2017’s extraordinary deluxe treatment of Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band.

The Beatles is available as a super deluxe edition, which consists of 6 CDs plus a Blu-ray audio 5.1 mix of the proper album, and also includes the long-awaited Esher Demos and numerous alternate versions and outtakes. Additionally, a condensed 3-disc version is offered as an alternative to the super deluxe box set, which features the newly remixed version of the double album, plus the Esher Demos.

However, putting the bonus material aside, the new 2018 remixed and remastered version is a vast and noticeable improvement over the previously released versions and remasters of The Beatles.  Giles Martin and engineer Sam Okell have once again outdone themselves with this marvelous new stereo remix. Never before have favorites “Back in the U.S.S.R.” and “Helter Skelter” sounded so good. For skeptics wondering if you need to buy yet another copy of the “The White Album,” the answer is astoundingly yes!

Personally, I chose to skip the super deluxe box set and opted for the 3-CD version, as I don’t need to own every alternate take or demo version of “The White Album” tracks. While the outtakes are certainly interesting and enjoyable, after streaming the super deluxe version, I’m satisfied I made the correct choice in purchasing the 3-disc edition. Now, bring on the super deluxe box set of Abbey Road.

Why Every Beatles Fan Needs ‘Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band’ (Super Deluxe Edition)

It was 50 years ago today when the Beatles unleashed what would become the band’s seminal masterpiece, Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. The album was a sonic work of art in 1967, forever changing the landscape of what could be achieved in the recording studio. It’s hard to imagine now, but back then, no one had heard anything remotely close to the conceptual revelation that was encapsulated on the fab four’s eighth studio effort.

Now, there’s an entirely new reason to revisit and marvel at the historic wonders of Sgt. Pepper, as a new super deluxe edition box set has been released to coincide with its original release day (May 26th), to commemorate the album’s 50th anniversary. Giles Martin (late producer George Martin’s son) has created a new up-to-date remix, not just another remaster, but a completely remixed version from the original tape masters.

Similar to 1999’s Yellow Submarine Songtrack, the new Sgt. Pepper mix is well balanced, leaving plenty of headroom for the lead vocals to breathe, which are now appropriately up front and center. It’s literally as if you’re hearing this beloved masterwork in stereo for the very first time, highlighting a noticeable wealth of previously buried minute details. The 5.1 surround mix on the box set’s Blu-ray literally brings the album to life in such a way, you literally feel as if you’re standing inside the studio while the Beatles are recording. [Read Full Review]