The Beatles’ remastered back catalogue has finally been released in mono and stereo by EMI and Apple Corps.
The compact discs are available as single or double CD sets, a stereo box set, and a limited edition 13-disc set containing the original mono mixes.
As announced in April 2009, The Beatles’ back catalogue has been carefully digitally upgraded from the original mixes by a team working at Abbey Road Studios. The releases are the configurations as originally released in Britain, with the exception of Magical Mystery Tour, which retains the full-length US tracklisting.
No bonus tracks or alternative mixes are included, with two exceptions. George Martin’s 1980s stereo mixes for Help! and Rubber Soul have now become the standard versions; the 1965 stereo mixes have been included as extra tracks in the Beatles In Mono box set.
The stereo remasters
Much attention to detail has been lavished on the packaging, from the glossy box with magnetic clasp to the three-panel sleeves (four-panel in the case of the White Album) that house the discs.
There are additional booklets containing photos and essays, and the CDs themselves have reproductions of the Parlophone, Capitol or Apple labels that originally adorned them. Additional historical notes were written by Kevin Howlett and Mike Heatley, and recording notes are by Allan Rouse and Kevin Howlett.
Initial quantities of the CDs, apart from the Past Masters collection, will contain embedded QuickTime documentaries on the making of the albums. The short films will also be collated on a DVD available only on the stereo box set. The documentaries feature extracts from interviews recorded for the Anthology project, and are brought together on a special DVD in the stereo box.
The stereo albums were remastered by Guy Massey, Steve Rooke, Sam Okell with Paul Hicks and Sean Magee.
The Beatles in Mono
The mono box set is a limited edition, although initial reports of 10,000 copies have been denied by EMI. The mono mixes are unavailable as individual CDs. The box contains a total of 185 songs spread over 13 discs.
The box contains the original albums, from Please Please Me to The Beatles (White Album), which were mixed differently for mono in the 1960s. Many fans see these as the definitive versions, as The Beatles and George Martin typically spent more time working on the mono mixes than they did on stereo.
The CDs bonus packaging is absent from the mono release, but each disc is packaged with an accurate reproduction of the original albums, including, in some cases, the folded down cardboard flaps on the back covers.
Extras such as the White Album poster and portraits, and the Sgt Pepper cutouts, are also included, as is a special 44-page booklet containing photographs and historical information written by Kevin Howlett.
The mono albums were remastered by Paul Hicks, Sean Magee with Guy Massey and Steve Rooke.
A bonus two-CD set, Mono Masters, is also included in the box. This features mono mixes made in the 1960s which were not included on the albums, together with tracks from an abandoned Yellow Submarine EP which was to include ‘Across The Universe’.
The Yellow Submarine album is not included in the mono box, as the original mono UK LP was a fold-down version of the stereo version, rather than a unique mono mix.
Also on this day...
- 2018: Ringo Starr live at Century Center, South Bend, Indiana, USA
- 2016: Album release: Live At The Hollywood Bowl
- 2014: The Art Of Paul McCartney tribute album announced
- 2014: The Beatles’ remastered mono vinyl collection gets worldwide release
- 1971: US album release: Imagine by John Lennon
- 1969: John Lennon, Paul McCartney and George Harrison meet to discuss their future
- 1968: Recording: Helter Skelter
- 1962: Live: Cavern Club, Liverpool (evening)
- 1961: Live: Aintree Institute, Liverpool
- 1960: Live: Indra Club, Hamburg
Want more? Visit the Beatles history section.