Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band (4CD + DVD + Blu-ray Reissue) By The Beatles

December 5, 2017

 

 

 

It was 50 Years ago today, (give or take), that Sgt. Pepper’s taught the band to play. Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band has reached the half-century mark and the Capital label has released a massive 4-CD + DVD + Blu-ray set that contains everything you could ever want to hear or know about one of the most influential albums in music history.

The summer of love and the expansion of the Vietnam War were about to change American culture and Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band was about to change the music industry. It was an impeccably produced album where the songs blended together into a creative whole. While the music has been an accepted part of the musical landscape since its release, there is still a fascination to it that invites constant exploration.

The highlight of the release is the new stereo mix. It brings out additional textures and invites the listener to explore unheard layers of the music. A prime example of this enhancement process is “Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds,” which now has an almost sonic quality. This re-imagining of the album makes the set worthwhile by itself.

Discs two and three may not be played as much as the first disc but are important for their historical significance. They contain 35 tracks and over 100 minutes of demos and songs in progress, which give a look into the recording process. The intimate studio chatter adds a dimension that that will be appreciated by fans of the band. The real bonus is most of the music is being released for the first time.  How many times someone will want to listen to these discs will depend upon the level of one’s desire to explore the Beatles music in depth.

The members of the Beatles always preferred the mono version of the album. The fourth disc contains the complete mono version in all its glory. In some ways, it pales next to the enhanced version but it presents the album as it was originally envisioned.

The DVD and Blu-ray contain the 1992 documentary The Making Of Sgt. Pepper’s. While the film takes on some new life through the enhancement of its clarity, it still has been available for 25 years. The interviews with Paul, Ringo, and particularly George are worthwhile, as is the studio footage with commentary by George Martin. While it does not have the impact of the CD’s, it does form a good foundation for the set and it is nice to actually see the Beatles.

The 140 page book is highlighted by song information, recording info and a number of in depth essays. It all adds up to a good companion piece to the music.

The new stereo mix and the original mono release deserve the highest rating with the unreleased in progress discs and the book just a little below that level. The set provides a lot to absorb and ultimately to experience.

 

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We Can Work It Out By The Beatles

September 27, 2016

“We can Work It Our” topped the American Singles Chart for three weeks beginning January 8, 1966. In England, “We Can Work It Out” and its flip side “Day Tripper” shared the number one honor.

“We Can Work It Out” was a Paul McCartney composition and he provides the lead vocal. It was one of their last releases before their music would begin to undergo a creative transformation.


Yesterday By The Beatles

May 21, 2016

“Yesterday” was one of the most recorded songs of the 20th century. It was also a Paul McCartney solo effort released under the Beatles name.

In the studio producer George Martin suggested the McCartney record the song with just an acoustic guitar backed by a string quartet. It may not have been typical rock and roll but it became one of the most recognizable songs in music history.

“Yesterday” reached the top of the American Singles Chart on October 9, 1965, and there is remained for four weeks.


Help By The Beatles

April 3, 2016

The Beatles returned to the top of the American Charts for the ninth time on September 4, 1965, for the first of three weeks.

“Help” was the title song of their second film and had a quick journey to the top. It entered the charts at number 41 on August 7, and four weeks later it arrived at number one.

John Lennon once stated that “Help” and “Strawberry Fields” were his favorite songs.

 


Ticket To Ride By The Beatles

January 4, 2016

“Ticket To Ride” may not have spent as many weeks at number one as the Beatles biggest hits but on May 22, 1965, it spent the first of seven days on top of the American Pop Chart.

Interestingly if you look at the fine print on the label of “Ticket To Ride,” you will see it as a release from the upcoming Beatles film, Eight Arms To Hold You. The name was ultimately changed to Help.


Eight Days A Week By The Beatles

September 12, 2015

 

“I Feel Fine” by The Beatles was  the number one song in the United States on January 1, 1965. After all their success in 1964, two months seemed like a long time between number one’s. On March 13, “Eight Days A Week” ascended to the top of the BILLBOARD Pop Chart and remained in that position for two weeks.

The song also marked a subtle change to their sound. The textures and melodies were becoming more complex and they were becoming more of a studio band than one that would play live. The song featured a double tracking of John Lennon’s  voice and a unique guitar fade in.

The flip side, “I Don’t Want To Spoil The Party” also made the top 4, peaking at number 39.  All in all it added up to their seventh American number one.

 

 

 

 


I Feel Fine By The Beatles

June 28, 2015

 

“I Feel Fine” was the song that sold me on the Beatles. The guitar feedback at the beginning was groundbreaking in 1964. When you add in the flip side “She’s A Woman,” which reached number four on the Billboard Hot 100, you have a spectacular single.

When “I Feel Fine” reached number one on December 26, 1964, it was their sixth chart topper. It spent three weeks in the number one position.  The two sided hit single provided their 29th and 30th chart songs of the year.

“I Feel Fine” provided a fitting end to 1964 for the Beatles as no artist in the history of American music had enjoyed such a successful year, but the best was yet to come.