Monday, September 21, 2009


When it was announced that remasters of all the Beatles CD's would be released, I read up on the differences between the stereo and mono versions of the albums that had originally been released in mono. Since mono was how the Beatles had recorded their earlier albums and that was how they intended to have them played, I decided to buy the Beatles mono box set instead of the stereo version.

Then after reading some advance reviews of both versions, I also ordered stereo versions of Sgt. Pepper and the White Album, as well as the Abbey Road CD (which was originally released only in stereo).

I haven't had a chance to listen to everything but what I have heard so far has convinced me that it was well worth the expenditure.

On Saturday I listened to the White Album and Sgt. Pepper in stereo mode. The recording quality is excellent! I am not sure if it is from the fact that they are remastered or I have better audio equipment than I did back when the original vinyl LP's were released, but I heard subtle things on the songs that I don't recall hearing on the vinyl versions. The recording quality was also much improved, especially on louder songs like Yer Blues and Helter Skelter. What sounded like a congested mess before on my old stereo sounded clean and distinct on my present setup. Again I don't know how much is due to remastering versus the audio equipment itself, but it sounded great.

As I sat there listening, I concluded that the Beatles were absolute musical geniuses. That might warrant a "duh" from many of you but what I mean is that they weren't merely the fad of the moment, like today's trendy restaurants that are serving oh-so-incredible cutting edge innovative cuisine on week one and then the in crowd deserts it to stampede over to the next innovative place on week two; what I mean is that, well, I was just amazed at the sheer genius of their recordings. Not all, mind you (I still have to skip over "Within You Without You" on Sgt. Pepper because I can't stand that song), but the ratio of excellent songs to filler has to be unmatched by anyone else. The variety of musical styles on their albums is also something to marvel at.

One other thing - I say Ringo is one of the most underrated drummers of all time. He really does have a style all his own and it is this style that puts the perfect backbone into each song. In the early days he was considered the musical weak link in the group but he really came into his own from Sgt. Pepper onwards.

If any of you have been on the fence about whether or not to buy the remasters, my advice is get down off that fence and pull out your wallet (or purse)! These are worth the money. First of all the recording quality is superb but what really makes these sweet are the songs themselves. Sheer genius.

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