17 November 2011
Our friends across the pond may be unaware of this, but when "I Feel Fine" and "She's A Woman" were released in the United States, George Martin added a layer of reverb that was absent from the original UK release. Before the 1987 CDs, these versions were how the majority of Americans heard those songs. I always wondered why they sounded so drastically different on my vinyl copy of Beatles '65 in comparison to my Past Masters CD.
Which versions of these songs do you prefer?
I place my vote for the American reverb versions. I realize that they aren't how The Beatles intended them to be heard, but they're the versions I grew up with. The original UK versions sound a bit too "naked" to my ears without the reverb, especially "She's A Woman". However, I will say that I do enjoy the British "dry" versions for letting you clearly hear what the band is playing.
Which versions do you prefer?
- American "reverb" versions
- British "dry" versions
- "I Feel Fine" with reverb, "She's A Woman" without
- "She's A Woman" with reverb, "I Feel Fine" without
NOTE: To those unfamiliar with the term, "reverb" (short for "reverberation") is a type of echo in which a sound is immediately "bounced back" to the listener (Whereas a regular echo is more delayed).
18 January 2011
In the first place, I wonder why George Martin did this? Was it really him, or was that done by Capitol or whoever in America?
I always found She's A Woman a very empty song, "naked" as you said, just boring. The reverb certainly adds something to it and improves it somewhat. I Feel Fine doesn't really need it at all, it's interesting to hear it like this, but I definitely stick with the original version. In general I would say that such strong reverb makes a song less listenable.
Just like George's voice on Everybody's Trying To Be My Baby.. don't like it very much (Well, okay, that wasn't reverb, but some echo delay stuff, but... anyway.)
17 November 2011
Upon further research, it appears that Capitol demanded that Martin add more reverb to American Beatles releases. In response, he added an extreme amount to that single, figuring that they would reject it in favor of the British mix. However, they put the reverb-soaked versions out, and for 23 years, that's how they sounded over here.
I'm probably just too used to the British versions, but I find the extreme reverb pretty hideous. The sparse, empty groove of She's A Woman is what's great about the song. Rather than filling all the space with a wash of rhythm guitar chords like in many earlier rockers, you get those stabbing, angry chords which gives the song so much more character and originality, and the reverb detracts from that. I Feel Fine just sounds really muddy.
It was Dave Dexter from Capitol who was responsible for plastering everything in reverb. He's quite an interesting guy - here's a comment by the respected audio engineer Steve Hoffman (who himself has worked on a number of Beatles-related releases): http://forums.stevehoffman.tv/.....ost-252290 (the whole thread is worth a read too).
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