Apple to reissue The Beatles’ UK albums on vinyl

The Beatles’ UK albums are to be reissued on vinyl, Apple has announced.

The Beatles' limited edition vinyl box set, 2012

The albums will be released individually, and also as a box set accompanied by a 252-page hardback book, limited to 50,000 copies worldwide.

The collection will include The Beatles’ 12 original UK albums, plus the Capitol Records compilation Magical Mystery Tour, and the Past Masters collection of non-album tracks.

The book is written by radio producer Kevin Howlett, and features a chapter on each album, plus details on the creation of the remasters, and many photographs from throughout The Beatles’ career.

The editions will be on 180-gramme heavyweight vinyl, and will feature the stereo remastered audio. Copies of Help! and Rubber Soul will feature remixes created in 1986 by George Martin to rectify concerns he had about the original stereo mixes.

The albums are pressed from the full 24-bit, 192KHz digital masters created in the 2009 remastering process, rather than the 16-bit masters used in production of the CDs. Previously, the only way for fans to hear the 24-bit, 192KHz versions was from the 2009 Apple USB flash drive.

Engineers working on the vinyl pressings also used no limiting or compression, unlike the CD reissues. The absence of limiting allows for a wider dynamic range on the vinyl versions.

Here’s the official announcement:

The Beatles’ acclaimed original studio album remasters, released on CD in 2009 and in 2010 for digital download exclusively on iTunes, will make their long-awaited stereo vinyl debut on 12th November (13th November in North America).

Manufactured on 180-gram, audiophile quality vinyl with replicated artwork, the 14 albums return to their original glory with details including the poster in The Beatles (The White Album), the Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Heart Club Band’s cutouts, and special inner bags for some of the titles. Each album will be available individually, and accompanied by a stunning, elegantly designed 252-page hardbound book in a lavish boxed edition which is limited to 50,000 copies worldwide.

The book, exclusive to the boxed edition, is authored by award-winning radio producer Kevin Howlett and features a dedicated chapter for each of the albums, as well as insight into the creation of the remasters and how the vinyl albums were prepared. The 12”x12” book showcases a wealth of photographs spanning The Beatles’ recording career, including many images which were not included in the 2009 CD booklets.

The titles include The Beatles’ 12 original UK albums, first released between 1963 and 1970, the US-originated Magical Mystery Tour, now part of the group’s core catalogue, and Past Masters, Volumes One & Two, featuring non-album A-sides and B-sides, EP tracks and rarities. With this release, The Beatles’ first four albums make their North American stereo vinyl debuts. In 2013, the remastered albums will make their mono vinyl debuts.

Since it was recorded, The Beatles’ music has been heard on a variety of formats – from chunky reel-to-reel tapes and eight-track cartridges to invisible computer files. But there has never been a more romantic or thrilling medium for music than a long-playing twelve-inch disc. We ‘play’ records. The process of carefully slipping the disc out of the sleeve, cleaning it and lowering the stylus provides a personal involvement in the reproduction of the music.

When The Beatles’ albums were first released, the listener enjoyed a tangible relationship with the music in the grooves of a record. There was an emotional connection to the artifact carrying the sound, and this bond was strengthened by the LP sleeve. Rather than a merely functional object to protect the disc, it was elevated to a stylish accessory. Certainly, the cover of a Beatles album conveyed a message about the music it was wrapped around. For example, the dominant orange and brown hues and elongated faces on the front of Rubber Soul seem to embody the sound of the record. With the advent of the cassette tape in the seventies and the compact disc in the 1980s, album artwork was reduced in size and importance, losing much of its charm. That is partly why vinyl LPs have not, as predicted, been discarded.

None of that would really matter, were it not for the enduring power of The Beatles’ music. In September, 2009, The Beatles’ remastered albums on CD graced charts around the world. Seventeen million album sales within seven months was resounding evidence of the timeless relevance of their legacy. Through five decades, the music of The Beatles has captivated generation upon generation.

For producer Rick Rubin, surveying The Beatles’ recorded achievements is akin to witnessing a miracle. “If we look at it by today’s standards, whoever the most popular bands in the world are, they will typically put out an album every four years,” Rubin said in a 2009 radio series interview. “So, let’s say two albums as an eight year cycle. And think of the growth or change between those two albums. The idea that The Beatles made thirteen albums in seven years and went through that arc of change… it can’t be done. Truthfully, I think of it as proof of God, because it’s beyond man’s ability.”

The Stereo Albums
Available individually and collected in a boxed collection, accompanied by a beautiful 252-page hardbound book.

Please Please Me
“Love Me Do” and “P.S. I Love You” are presented in mono
(North American LP debut in stereo)

With The Beatles
(North American LP debut in stereo)

A Hard Day’s Night
(North American LP debut in stereo)

Beatles For Sale
(North American LP debut in stereo)

Help!
Features George Martin’s 1986 stereo remix

Rubber Soul
Features George Martin’s 1986 stereo remix

Revolver
Original album

Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band
Packaging includes replica psychedelic inner sleeve, cardboard cutout sheet and additional insert

Magical Mystery Tour
Packaging includes 24-page colour book

The Beatles (double album)
Packaging includes double-sided photo montage/lyric sheet and 4 solo colour photos

Yellow Submarine
“Only A Northern Song” is presented in mono. Additional insert includes original American liner notes.

Abbey Road
Original album

Let It Be
Original album

Past Masters, Volumes One & Two (double album)
“Love Me Do” (original single version), “She Loves You,” “I’ll Get You,” and “You Know My Name (Look Up The Number)” are presented in mono. Packaging, notes and photographic content is based on the 2009 CD release.

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