Archive for March 18th, 2009



beatles reissues

on+a+streetWhy is it we don’t have decent sounding CDs of the greatest band of all time? The Beatles, whose music is unarguably better than Wolfgang Mozart’s on his best day, have been heard for the last 30 years on tinny, crappy CDs rushed to market in the late 1980’s.

I’ll spare you the whole story, which has been recounted at length on other parts of the internet. Suffice to say The Beatles CDs sound way worse than those of their contemporaries. It galls me that The Monkees, began as a cheap cash-in on The Beatles’ early style, have remixed, remastered CDs that sound as good as the day a boatload of studio musicians piled into some recording booth in the 1960’s.

There are a few recent releases that offer fans a taste of what The Beatles actually sounded like: the Yellow Submarine Songtrack, comprised of songs from the film Yellow Submarine (itself no longer in print), the horribly titled Let it Be…Naked, and Love, the soundtrack to a Las Vegas Cirque du Soleil show. These three releases sound really good: full, loud. Listening to Love made me realize how much “Revolution” rocks. On “I Am the Walrus,” I heard the band playing together, something that gets lost on the murky-sounding Magical Mystery Tour CD. I would never trade the Love album in for any reason, but at the same time I’m angry that I had to wait for Cirque du Soleil to put on a show to hear The Beatles remastered.

The Apple website shows us how companies still don’t get the internet. The 40th anniversary of the White Album came and went with no remaster, but we can buy a $500 White Album pen. Imagine that! A white pen! People should be getting fired over this. I imagine the Apple corporate headquarters is a rundown farm, with a sickly horse wheezing in the stable, two cows too old to give milk, chickens wandering listlessly in the driveway, and a constantly quarreling farmer and his wife.

In whose interest is it to not release commodities for sale? When you eliminate the logical reasons, all you’re left with is laziness, incompetence, or insanity. All three must be at work in Apple.

I can’t imagine either Paul or Ringo cares very much at this point. They’re pretty well set financially, and if they ever want to hear the recordings they can just pop into Abbey Road studio to hear the original tapes. But it is in their interests to push for better sounding CDs – this is, after all, their legacy. As long as we are stuck with facsimiles of facsimiles, thin carbon copies of the real recording, the world’s impression of The Beatles is less awe and more “eh.”