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Review: Sgt. Pepper 50th anniversary remix brings the classic Beatles album into the 21st century

“Sgt. Pepper – Wow! Was it really 50 years ago today? Can’t be true…”
– Paul McCartney in April 2017

On May 26, The Beatles will release a new remixed version of their groundbreaking Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band album on CD and vinyl, and this 50th anniversary edition is a vibrant achievement. Giles Martin and Sam Okell took the original master tapes from the classic 1967 Beatles album and enhanced the sound to bring it up to date to the stereo standards of the 21st century.

Beatles Sgt Pepper 50 deluxe

Mixed in stereo and 5.1 surround audio, this is a vast improvement over the 2009 remastered Beatles CD version. This is the first time the album has been remixed. The original four-track session tapes were the source and Giles Martin used the original mono mix produced by his father, Beatles producer George Martin, as a guide.

When comparing the 2009 remastered Sgt. Pepper CD to the remixed 2017 version, it’s like going from black and white to color. The 2009 remastered version almost sounds muted when compared to the 50th anniversary remix due to the fact that the sound of the vocals, guitars and drums are all brought to the front.

Paul McCartney commented on the remix in a recent Q&A with Japanese fans: “It’s very clear. So whereas the old mix was just sort of a general mix, this time you can hear every little instrument. And it was quite surprising to hear, ‘Ooh, I’d forgotten we did that.'”

Beatles Sgt Pepper 50th anniversary

The sound is so clear and enhanced that you can even hear McCartney shouting in the background at the end of “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band (reprise).” You’ll also hear an unexpected addition to the end of “Within You, Without You.”

Ringo Starr also raved about the new remix. A friend of Ringo’s reported that “it originally was recorded on a 4-track with a lot of overdubs, which buried the drums. Now, the drums have been lifted and come through as they should. He was pleased.”

The remixed Sgt. Pepper CD is definitely worth getting, no matter how many previous versions you have. While you can just get the remixed CD by itself, here’s why you should get the Super Deluxe edition.

If you love to hear outtakes and get a glimpse into how The Beatles’ song process took place, you’ll especially enjoy Disc 2 of the Deluxe package. Here you get 18 tracks including five takes of “Strawberry Fields Forever” and five takes of “A Day in the Life.” These outtakes include an alternate attempt at creating the dramatic piano sound at the end of “A Day in the Life”, instead with all of The Beatles humming in unison. Note that Disc 2 on the Super Deluxe version is different from the outtakes included on Disc 2 of the 2-CD Deluxe set.

Disc 3 offers 15 additional outtakes for the diehard Beatles fan. Disc 4 offers the entire album in the original mono mix, along with 6 additional mono tracks including “Strawberry Fields Forever” and “Penny Lane.”

If you are not that interested in outtakes, the Super Deluxe package is still worth the money because of the lavish hardcover book and The Making of Sgt. Pepper documentary on DVD and Blu-ray.

sgt pepper vinyl

The Making of Sgt. Pepper documentary was made for the 25th anniversary of the album’s release and contains great interviews with Paul, George, Ringo and George Martin. The highlight is watching George Martin sit at the engineering controls in the recording studio and isolate either the vocal or instrumental tracks on several of the songs and discuss The Beatles’ recording process.

The six-disc Super Deluxe set comes with a 144-page hardcover book the size of an album. The book includes chapters written by different writers on various aspects of the album. Topics include the design of the cover, the album’s musical innovations and its historical context by Beatles historian, author and radio producer Kevin Howlett; composer and musicologist Howard Goodall; music producer and writer Joe Boyd; and journalists Ed Vulliamy and Jeff Slate.

The book also features rare photographs, reproductions of handwritten lyrics, Abbey Road Studios documentation, and original ‘Sgt. Pepper‘ print ads. Last but not least, there is a complete list of every person featured on the Sgt. Pepper cover. You could spend hours and hours looking at that.
Take your time and savor every aspect of the Sgt. Pepper 50th anniversary Deluxe edition. By the time you get through it all, the new White Album reissue project will be ready!
– Trina Yannicos
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The Beatles Sgt. Pepper 50th anniversary edition offers over 30 unreleased outtakes

It was 50 years ago on June 1, 1967 when The Beatles surprised the world ushering in the Summer of Love with Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, the groundbreaking masterpiece that became popular music’s most universally acclaimed album. To salute the occasion, The Beatles will release special CD and Vinyl packages of the Sgt. Pepper 50th Anniversary Edition on May 26. The album is newly mixed by Giles Martin and Sam Okell in stereo and 5.1 surround audio and expanded with early takes from the studio sessions, including 34 previously unreleased recordings.

“It’s crazy to think that 50 years later we are looking back on this project with such fondness and a little bit of amazement at how four guys, a great producer and his engineers could make such a lasting piece of art,” says Paul McCartney in his newly-penned introduction for the Sgt. Pepper Anniversary Edition.

Sgt. Pepper seemed to capture the mood of that year, and it also allowed a lot of other people to kick off from there and to really go for it,” Ringo Starr recalls in the Anniversary Edition’s book.

This is the first time Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band has been remixed and presented with additional session recordings. To create the new stereo and 5.1 surround audio mixes for Sgt. Pepper, producer Giles Martin and mix engineer Sam Okell worked with an expert team of engineers and audio restoration specialists at Abbey Road Studios in London. All of the Anniversary Edition releases include Martin’s new stereo mix of the album, which was sourced directly from the original four-track session tapes and guided by the original, Beatles-preferred mono mix produced by his father, George Martin.

Beatles Sgt Pepper 50th anniversaryRingo Starr has expressed his delight at the new remastered Sgt. Pepper recordings. According to Keith Allison, former Paul Revere and the Raiders bassist, who was recently hanging out with Ringo: “He thought it was great! Why? Because it originally was recorded on a 4-track with a lot of overdubs, which buried the drums. Now, the drums have been lifted and come through as they should. He was pleased.”

Fans have been waiting for a new stereo remix of Sgt. Pepper since the original stereo release was rushed out with no input from The Beatles. The mono version was what The Beatles and George Martin had poured their heart and soul into back in 1967.

“No matter how well you know the album, this remix is full of nuances any fan will notice, especially the bottom end —Ringo’s kick drum really reveals new dimensions,” explains Rolling Stone writer, Rob Sheffield.

 

“The alternate takes are full of discoveries; hours of new Beatle music that gives a taste of how many treasures remain in the vault. It’s not just historic value — it’s an astounding listening experience,” says Sheffield, who got an exclusive first listen to the Sgt. Pepper outtakes.

The Super Deluxe set includes a 144-page hardcover book featuring new introductions by Paul McCartney and Giles Martin, and chapters covering comprehensive song-by-song details and recording information, the design of the cover, the album’s musical innovations and its historical context.

Beatles Sgt Pepper 50 deluxe

The Super Deluxe edition also includes a DVD and Blu-ray featuring the previously unreleased documentary film The Making of Sgt. Pepper (broadcast in 1992), with insightful interviews with McCartney, Harrison and Starr, and in-studio footage introduced by George Martin.

For Record Store Day on April 22, Apple Corps Ltd./Capitol/UMe will release an exclusive, limited edition seven-inch vinyl single of The Beatles’ “Strawberry Fields Forever” and “Penny Lane,” among the first songs recorded during the ‘Sgt. Pepper’ sessions, which began in November 1966. 

(Source: Includes excerpts from official press release)

 

Quick Order Links:

Super Deluxe edition (4 CD/DVD/Blu-ray combo)

2 CD Deluxe set

1 CD

2 Vinyl LP

See the FULL Track listings of each CD package by clicking here

 

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Ringo Starr sings about his band before The Beatles

ringo-postcardsalbum

Postcards from Paradise album cover. Photo credit: Rob Shanahan

Ringo Starr has written a new song reminiscing about his early days in Liverpool about the band he was in before he joined The Beatles. The song title, “Rory And The Hurricanes,” was announced last week along with the full track listing and release date of Ringo Starr’s new album, Postcards From Paradise.

The song “Rory And The Hurricanes” coming out on March 31 will add to the musical autobiography that Starr has been creating since 2008. Instead of publishing a traditional autobiography, Ringo has chosen to write about his life through his songs.

“I have been offered autobiographies, but all they only really wanna know about is those eight years in The Beatles and there would be three volumes before I even got to that,” Ringo explains. “[So] I’ve decided to do mini-autobiographies, instead of writing a book, I’m doing it on record… I’d rather put it quickly in a song, snippets of part of my life.”

This song will continue the musical memoir that Starr started in 2008 with his song “Liverpool 8” about the good and the bad of growing up in this British working class town where he became part of The Fab Four.

Rory Storm was mentioned in “Liverpool 8” as Ringo sings: “Played Butlin’s Camp with my friend Rory / It was good for him, it was great for me.”

It was while Ringo was the drummer for Rory Storm’s band that he adopted the first name “Ringo” instead of “Richard” for all the rings he wore and “Starr” instead of “Starkey” for “Starr Time,” a portion of the show where Ringo did a major drum solo.

Here are Ringo’s autobiographical songs (so far) in order of release:

“Liverpool 8”

“Liverpool 8” released in 2008 is the first song in Ringo’s virtual musical biography. Ringo sings about joining The Beatles and leaving Liverpool for worldwide fame. In the song, which was co-written with Dave Stewart of the Eurythmics, Ringo asserts “Liverpool, I left you, but I never let you down.”


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“The Other Side of Liverpool”
“The Other Side of Liverpool” released in 2010 was about the negative aspects of growing up poor in Liverpool as Ringo sings “We had to go to Steeple Street / Just to take a bath.”


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“In Liverpool”

“In Liverpool” is the third installment to Ringo’s musical biography released in 2012. He sings of his early days as a drummer and going to clubs: “Me and the boys, me and the band / Living our fantasies.”

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Paul McCartney releases Wings remasters and New Ringo Starr tour dates

Wings remastered albums

Reissues of two Wings albums, Venus and Mars and At The Speed of Sound, were released last week. Both albums are available in a variety of physical and digital formats. Starting with a 2-disc (2 CD) Standard Edition, the first CD features the original remastered album and the second CD includes bonus audio made up of material including demos and unreleased tracks.

The 3-disc (2CD, 1DVD) Deluxe Edition is housed in a hardback book featuring unpublished photographs, new interviews with Paul, material from Paul’s archives and expanded track-by-track information. The deluxe version bonus DVD is comprised of filmed material from around the time of each release, some of which has never been seen before.

As with all the Archive Collection, Paul McCartney has personally supervised all aspects of the reissues.  The remastering work was done at Abbey Road by the same team who have worked on all the reissues as well as the Beatles’ catalogue.

Since launching the Paul McCartney Archive Collection in 2010, Paul has received two GRAMMY Awards for the releases.  In 2012 he picked up Best Historical Album for Band on the Run and this year Wings over America picked up an award (Best Boxed or Special Edition Package) on the same night that Paul set a personal best by picking up five awards in just one night. In 2013, RAM was nominated for Best Historical Album.

Other titles released to date in the Paul McCartney Archive Collection are Band on the Run, McCartney, McCartney II, RAM and Wings over America.  Is your collection complete?

(Source: Official Press release)

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New Ringo Starr Tour dates

Ringo-2014tourPRRingo Starr and his All Starr Band – Steve Lukather, Richard Page, Gregg Rolie, Todd Rundgren, Gregg Bissonette and Warren Ham – announced new tour dates beginning on February 13 in Louisiana and then onto Texas, Birmingham, South Carolina, and Orlando before traveling throughout Latin America with shows in Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic, Brazil, Chile, Mexico and more. The tour continues through March ending with 3 shows in California in Santa Ynez, San Francisco and San Diego and a show in Las Vegas.

This incarnation of the All Starr band is the same line up he has played with since 2012, and the addition of these new dates comes as no surprise to anyone who has heard Ringo talk about this band, with whom he loves performing. “We have so much fun playing together , we don’t want it to end!”  Ringo also loved touring in Latin America and said “the audiences were just great and so loving, we can’t wait to go back”.

RINGO STARR AND HIS ALL STARR BAND ON TOUR:

February 2015
13 Riverdome, Bossier City, LA
14 Cowan Center, Tyler, TX
15 BJCC Concert Hall, Birmingham AL
17 The Peace Center, Greenville, SC
18 Bob Carr PAC, Orlando FL
21 Hard Rock Hotel Punta Cana, Dominican Republic
22 Coliseo de Puerto Rico, San Juan
24 Van Wezel PAC, Sarasota FL
26 HSBC Brasil, Sao Paolo, Brazil
27 Vivo Rio, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
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March 2015
1 TBD
3 Movistar Arena, Santiago, Chile
6 Bogota Corferias, Columbia
8 Coliseo Merida, Yucatan, Mexico
10 National Auditorium, Mexico City
12 Chumash Casino, Santa Ynez CA
13 Masonic Theater, San Francisco CA
14 Pala Casino, Pala, CA
15 The Pearl at Palms Casino Resort, Las Vegas, NV

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For additional dates and on sale dates please check local listings and for more information please visit:
www.ringostarr.com

(Source: Official Press release)

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Paul McCartney’s ‘NEW’ album getting rave reviews

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Credit: MPL / Mary McCartney

Paul McCartney has been working overtime promoting his new album called ‘New.’ In the US, he appeared on Jimmy Kimmel, Jimmy Fallon, and Howard Stern, plus he performed at the iHeartRadio Music Festival in Las Vegas, did an impromptu mini-concert in New York’s Times Square last week and a surprise concert in Queens at the Frank Sinatra School for the Performing Arts.

‘New’, with a release date of October 15, is McCartney’s first album of original material in six years. With all the attention that ‘New’ is getting, the reviews are in: it’s a hit!

The UK Telegraph says “Paul McCartney’s jaunty, melodic 16th solo album, New, proves the former Beatle’s talent is timeless.”(5 out of 5 stars)

Rolling Stone says “New feels energized and full of joyous rock and roll invention.” (4 out of 5 stars)

The Irish Times says “New finds him in one of the best shapes of his life.” (4 out of 5 stars)

The Associate Press says “the end result is surprisingly cohesive, modern-sounding and, most of all, fun to listen to.”

Entertainment Weekly gives New a grade of A- : “[New] celebrates the idea that pop music can still invigorate, inspire, and surprise — even if you had a hand in inventing it.”

The Montreal Gazette: “Sir Paul delivers his most irresistible effort in decades.” (4 stars)

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Credit: MPL / Hear Music

Talking about the album, Paul said: “It’s funny, when I play people the album they’re surprised it’s me. A lot of the tracks are quite varied and not necessarily in a style you’d recognise as mine. I didn’t want it to all sound the same. I really enjoyed making this album.  It’s always great to get a chance to get into the studio with a bunch of new songs and I was lucky to work with some very cool producers.  We had a lot of fun.”

Songs receiving special attention include the title track, “On My Way to Work” and “Queenie Eye”.

There are also some mixed reviews of the album:

The Guardian gives New 3 out of 5 stars.

The Independent says “There’s an unsatisfying, piecemeal character to New, probably attributable to McCartney’s decision to use four producers.” (3 out of 5 stars)

Paul worked on the album with producers Paul Epworth, Mark Ronson, Ethan Johns and Giles Martin.

Commenting on the process, Paul said: “The original idea was to go to a couple of producers whose work I loved, to see who I got on with best – but it turned out I got on with all of them! We made something really different with each producer, so I couldn’t choose and ended up working with all four. We just had a good time in different ways.“

The album was recorded at Henson Recording Studios, Los Angeles; Avatar Studios, New York; Abbey Road Studios, London; Air Studios, London; Wolf Tone Studios, London and Hog Hill Mill, East Sussex.

New_CoverCTracklisting for Paul McCartney’s “New”:

1.     Save Us (produced by Paul Epworth)

2.     Alligator (produced by Mark Ronson)

3.     On My Way to Work (produced by Giles Martin)

4.     Queenie Eye (produced by Paul Epworth)

5.     Early Days (produced by Ethan Johns)

6.     New (produced by Mark Ronson)

7.     Appreciate (produced by Giles Martin)

8.     Everybody Out There (produced by Giles Martin)

9.     Hosanna (produced by Ethan Johns)

10.  I Can Bet (produced by Giles Martin)

11.  Looking At Her (produced by Giles Martin)

12.  Road (produced by Giles Martin)

The deluxe version also includes two bonus tracks:

13.  Turned Out (produced by Ethan Johns with additional production by Giles Martin)

14.  Get Me Out Of Here (produced by Giles Martin)

Here’s a video of Paul McCartney performing ‘New’ on Jimmy Kimmel Live:

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Video: The Beatles to release new ‘On Air, Live at the BBC Volume 2’ CD set just in time for the holidays

The Beatles "On Air: Live At The BBC Vol 2" CoverApple Corps announced today that The Beatles will release a new two-disc CD set ‘On Air – Live at the BBC Volume 2‘ on November 11, 2013, almost 20 years after Volume 1 came out. ‘On Air’ features 63 live recordings, none of which overlap with The Beatles’ first BBC release. According to the press release, ‘On Air’ includes 37 previously unreleased performances and 23 previously unreleased recordings of in-studio banter and conversation between the band’s members and their BBC radio hosts.

The Beatles appeared on various BBC radio shows including Saturday Club and Easy Beat. In June 1963, The Beatles got their own BBC weekly radio show called “Pop Go The Beatles.” Between March 1962 and June 1965, the BBC broadcast 275 unique musical performances by The Beatles in the U.K.

Ten of the songs on The Beatles ‘On Air Live at the BBC Volume 2‘ were never officially recorded by the group for EMI, including two never before released performances:  The Beatles’ direct-to-air performance of Chuck Berry’s “I’m Talking About You” and a rocking cover of the standard “Beautiful Dreamer.”  ‘On Air’ also includes different versions of six rarities heard on the 1994 BBC collection:  Little Richard’s “Lucille,” Chuck Berry’s “Memphis, Tennessee,” Chan Romero’s “The Hippy Hippy Shake,” Ray Charles’ “I Got A Woman,” and two songs they learned from records by Carl Perkins, “Glad All Over” and “Sure To Fall.”

Also included for the first time are the Beatles’ candid interviews for the Pop Profile series recorded in November 1965 and May 1966.

Along with the Volume 2 release, a remastered reissue of The Beatles ‘Live at the BBC’ (Volume 1) is also being released in 2013. When Volume 1 was originally released in 1994, it sold 5 million copies in the first six weeks reaching number one in the UK and number three in the US.

bbc-archivesbkAlso being released is the book, The Beatles: The BBC Archives: 1962-1970 by producer Kevin Howlett who compiled and researched the CD set along with Mike Heatley.  The booklets for both collections include Kevin Howlett’s essays on the history of The Beatles’ BBC radio sessions and his detailed commentaries on all of the tracks.

View FULL track listing of The Beatles ‘On Air Live at the BBC Volume 2’

View slideshow of photos of The Beatles at the BBC in London over the years

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The long and winding road of Yellow Submarine, now newly restored

Thirteen years after its first DVD release, The Beatles’ animated film, Yellow Submarine, was re-released on DVD and Blu-ray on June 5. Yellow Submarine captures the heart and spirit of The Beatles and has become a classic animation film. The current restoration of the film allows viewers to see the most vibrant colors intended to evoke the mood of the psychedelic 60s. The film was restored by hand, frame by frame, because of the delicate nature of the hand-drawn original artwork.

Hard to believe that a film which is so beloved by so many had such a rocky road to completion. Back in 1967 before his death, The Beatles’ manager, Brian Epstein, convinced The Beatles to go along with the project to fulfill their film contract with United Artists. The Beatles hesitantly agreed even though they were fearful that the film may turn out like The Beatles ABC-TV cartoon series which they were not a fan of.

But as Production Executive John Coates describes in the bonus audio commentary, as the film began to take shape, The Beatles became more and more interested in the project. The Beatles’ suspicions that the filmmakers would “Disney-fy” them were put to rest when they attended advance screenings throughout the production process.

The film was completed under an ultra-tight schedule of 11 months. Designers and animators had to constantly work around the clock to complete the film in time for the July 1968 premiere date in London. Time was so precious that students from London art schools had to be brought in night after night to help with the coloring of the hand-drawn cells. Coates estimates that there were anywhere between 100,000 to 200,000 animation cells that were used to create the film.

The film became an instant classic upon its release receiving rave reviews like this one from the Daily News: “Thunderous applause! I doubt that the Beatles themselves can top their ‘Yellow Submarine’!” The film even received a special honor in 1968 from The NY Film Critics Circle Awards.

The new DVD/Blu-ray release includes a 7-minute bonus behind-the-scenes documentary called the “Mod Odyssey” from 1968. Additional bonus features include the film’s original theatrical trailer, audio commentary by producer John Coates and art director Heinz Edelmann, several brief interview clips with others involved with the film, storyboard sequences, 29 original pencil drawings and 30 behind-the-scenes photos.  Both Digipak packages include reproductions of animation cels from the film, collectible stickers, and a 16-page booklet.

Along with the DVD releases, the Yellow Submarine songtrack has also been re-issued, as well as the Yellow Submarine children’s book.

–Trina Yannicos

Editor’s note: Daytrippin’ issue #8 features a special behind-the-scenes look at Yellow Submarine

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