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The Beatles' acclaimed original studio album remasters, released on CD in 2009, make their long-awaited stereo vinyl debut
Manufactured on 180-gram, audiophile quality vinyl with replicated artwork, the 14 albums return to their original glory with details including the poster in The Beatles (The White Album), the Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Heart Club Band's cut-outs, and special inner bags for some of the titles
The titles include The Beatles' 12 original UK albums, first released between 1963 and 1970, the US-originated Magical Mystery Tour, now part of the group's core catalogue, and Past Masters, Volumes One & Two, first released individually in 1988, featuring non-album A-sides and B-sides, EP tracks and rarities. With this release, The Beatles' first four albums make their North American stereo vinyl debuts
Yellow Submarine ""Only A Northern Song"" is presented in mono. Additional insert includes original American liner notes
There has always been demand for The Beatles' albums on vinyl. Indeed, 2011's best-selling vinyl LP in the United States was Abbey Road. Following the success of The Beatles' acclaimed, GRAMMY Award-winning 2009 CD remasters, it was decided that the sound experts at EMI's Abbey Road Studios should create new versions of The Beatles' vinyl LPs. The project demanded the same meticulous approach taken for the CD releases, and the brief was a simple one: cut the digital remasters to vinyl with an absolute minimum of compromise to the sound. However, the process involved to do that was far from simple
The first stage in transferring the sound of a master recording to vinyl is the creation of a disc to be used during vinyl manufacture. There were two options to consider. A Direct Metal Master (DMM), developed in the late seventies, allows sound to be cut directly into a stainless steel disc coated with a hard copper alloy. The older, alternative method is to cut the sound into the soft lacquer coating on a nickel disc - the first of several steps leading to the production of a stamper to press the vinyl
A 'blind' listening test was arranged to choose between a 'lacquer' or 'copper' cut. Using both methods, A Hard Day's Night was pressed with ten seconds of silence at the beginning and end of each side. This allowed not only the reproduction of the music to be assessed, but also the noise made by the vinyl itself. After much discussion, two factors swung the decision towards using the lacquer process. First, it was judged to create a warmer sound than a DMM. Secondly, there was a practical advantage of having 'blank' discs of a consistent quality when cutting lacquers
The next step was to use the Neumann VMS80 cutting lathe at Abbey Road. Following thorough mechanical and electrical tests to ensure it was operating in peak condition, engineer Sean Magee cut the LPs in chronological release order. He used the original 24-bit remasters rather than the 16-bit versions that were required for CD production. It was also decided to use the remasters that had not undergone 'limiting' - a procedure to increase the sound level, which is deemed necessary for most current pop CDs
Having made initial test cuts, Magee pinpointed any sound problems that can occur during playback of vinyl records. To rectify them, changes were made to the remasters with a Digital Audio Workstation. For example, each vinyl album was listened to for any 'sibilant episodes' - vocal distortion that can occur on consonant sounds such as S and T. These were corrected by reducing the level in the very small portion of sound causing the undesired effect. Similarly, any likelihood of 'inner-groove distortion' was addressed. As the stylus approaches the centre of the record, it is liable to track the groove less accurately. This can affect the high-middle frequencies, producing a 'mushy' sound particularly noticeable on vocals. Using what Magee has described as 'surgical EQ,' problem frequencies were identified and reduced in level to compensate for this
The last phase of the vinyl mastering process began with the arrival of the first batches of test pressings made from master lacquers that had been sent to the two pressing plant factories. Stringent quality tests identified any noise or click appearing on more than one test pressing in the same place. If this happened, it was clear that the undesired sounds had been introduced either during the cutting or the pressing stage and so the test records were rejected. In the quest to achieve the highest quality possible, the Abbey Road team worked closely with the pressing factories and the manufacturers of the lacquer and cutting styli
An additional and unusual challenge was to ensure the proper playback of the sounds embedded in the 'lock-groove' at the end of side two of Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band. Requiring a combination of good timing and luck, it had always been a lengthy and costly process to make it work properly. In fact, it was so tricky, it had never been attempted for American pressings of the LP. Naturally, Sean Magee and the team perfected this and the garbled message is heard as originally intended on the remastered Sgt. Pepper LP.
- Is Discontinued By Manufacturer : No
- Language: : English
- Product Dimensions : 12.24 x 12.36 x 0.16 inches; 11.92 Ounces
- Manufacturer : Capitol
- Item model number : 28931425
- Original Release Date : 2012
- Date First Available : June 25, 2012
- Label : Capitol
- ASIN : B0041KVV8K
- Number of discs : 1
- Best Sellers Rank: #609 in CDs & Vinyl (See Top 100 in CDs & Vinyl)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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that's no reflection on the film, which is overall a delightful testament to the spirit of The Beatles. or at least their influence. given just how modest their contribution was, there's been debate over the years as to whether it truly qualifies as a Beatles project. (they (in)famously don't even voice their animated counterparts!) the band had signed a three-picture deal with United Artists, which had resulted in A Hard Day's Night and Help! Yellow Submarine was intended to finish their side of the deal, but the company decided it didn't really count due to the limited involvement of it's "stars."
if that's a tragedy for no other reason, consider that the band was forced to make that morbid documentary of their implosion, Let It Be. they wouldn't of bothered if they didn't have that obligation to settle, and to this day Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr are doing everything in their power to prevent the film from reaching dvd.
so maybe it's not really a Beatles production a' la A Hard Day's Night, so much as a Beatles tribute, a' la Julie Taymor's enchanting Across The Universe. but either way the film is a delight and more than worthy of your patronage.
it's soundtrack, not so much. a whole side, after all, is devoted to producer George Martin's orchestral themes. with very, very, VERY few exceptions - Monty Norman's James Bond theme, for instance, or John Williams' Superman theme - such orchestrations tend to lose something when removed from the films for which they were intended.
as for the "Fab Four" themselves, they contributed four new "throwaway" songs. (given that film already abounded with previous material, one can't help thinking it was more as a marketing ploy than, y'know, because it was necessary.) of the four, John Lennon's sprightly rocker "Hey Bulldog" is the only one with any punch. although sadly, it was left on the cutting room floor in the initial cut, and only reinstated for the dvd release around 2000. (an omen, perhaps?)
the other three alas, would be regarded as the rankest form of "filler" on any other album.
George Harrison contributions are particularly humdrum. "Only A Northern Song," an attempted indictment the widespread perception of the band as sages and miracle workers as opposed to simply entertainers, ironically comes off more like a commercial for Northern Songs, the band's publishing company. (George created his own company, Harrisongs, around the same time.) at 6 and a half minutes, the all-too-aptly titled "It's All Too Much" is a textbook example of meandering psychedelia at it's laziest.
Paul's jolly singalong "All Together Now" is pleasant enough, but would frankly sound more in place in something like Sesame Street.
so yes, this is unquestionably the greatest act in the history of all music, and yes, the film is a delightful specimen of what they were all about. but no, that movie magic didn't manage to translate to the record. this is an album with two noteworthy tracks - "Yellow Submarine" and "All You Need Is Love" - both of which can easily be obtained on better, earlier records.
on the other hand, there's the other version, the "revised" cd released in conjunction with the dvd. that one, which you'll know by a comparatively minimalist cover of the Yellow Submarine on a blue background, eschews the incidental score and focuses on The Beatles' songs to be used in the film. now, whether four strictly middle-of-the-road tunes are worth all the bother is debatable, but if you feel they are, then that one would be the way to go.
In the world of ‘Beatles Box sets’ many editions and/or pressings have been produced down thru the years. In my collection, I happen to own (1) the 1978 Parlophone Beatles BC 13 Blue box set, and (2) the 1982 Mobile Fidelity/EMI box set pressed by the Victor company in Japan on virgin vinyl. If I were to put aside all questions, comments, criticisms and/or debates regarding the mastering of the recordings, and merely focus on the quality of the vinyl. Well, it’s easy… The 1982 vinyl pressings are clearly the gold standard. The 1978 pressings come in at second place. And the new 2012 pressings are dead last. Again, I can only hope EMI/ Apple might consider a second run of pressings with a manufacturer devoted to superior audiophile quality.
Top reviews from other countries
Don't be fooled by the track listing, of the 13 tracks, only the first 6 are actually proper Beatles tracks. The other 7 are instrumental score from the cartoon and while composed by George Martin, they're not really much to do with The Beatles themselves. They're not particularly worth listening to as pieces of music in their own right. Pepperland is ok, I suppose, but some of the others are kind of droning junk. Flotsam around the periphery of this nautically themed musical shipwreck.
Of those first 6 proper Beatles tracks two are available on other albums (Yellow Submarine on Revolver, and All You Need Is Love on Magical Mystery Tour) and both of those albums are actually worth buying. The other 4 consist of three written by George Harrison, and one by John Lennon - and without wishing to do mr H a disservice - I think it's fair to say these are not his finest work.
Tracks 4 and 5 Hey Bulldog and It's All Too Much are best described as B-sides. There's potential there, but they don't quite cut it alongside the main album tracks.
- Hey Bulldog has the catchy riff, and is the best of the bunch (it was written by Lennon), but it just isn't quite refined and (given the ending) has the overtones of a muck-around that got enough editing to make it onto a disc, and not get saved up for the anthology mop-up a few decades later.
- It's all Too Much begins with the interesting attempt at mimicking a Hendrix intro, then goes off-piste with a second intro more akin to a Blackpool pier wurlitzer, and ends in a bit of a mess. It should end after Ringo's drum crescendo circa 3:52 but sadly it drags on all the way to 6:28 with the musical equivalent of polyfiller. It might make sense against the cartoon, but as a piece of music it's lacking. It definitely is all too much.
Then there are tracks 2 and 3 - Only a Northern Song, and All Together Now.
-Only a Northern Song sounds like a late-night "too tired to be bothered, but have to do my homework for my producer when I don't want to". The clue is in the song writing commentary "it doesn't really matter , what chords I play, what words I say..." etc - they've done their homework by writing how boring they're finding having to do their homework. A bit like a grumpy pupil handing in a doodle of a dog-turd for his art homework. To me this song is the drivel antithesis of the genius that is Hello Goodbye (which was written to show a journalist how easily song writing came to McCartney). It's almost like Harrison's late night drunken mumbling parody. Easily skippable. (NB this track was rejected from Sgt Peppers for not being good enough. Kind of says it all)
-All Together Now starts with promise, but at 20 seconds you start to worry, at 25 seconds you get that horrible sinking feeling you get witnessing an accident unfold before you, and from 30 seconds it becomes teeth-pullingly tedious and more deserving of a place on an infants' song album along with other repetitive tedium such as the wheel's on the bus, old McDonald and Bingo. Thankfully it's only 2.13 long. In fact, 30 seconds onwards is almost a different song. It's like he had an intro and hadn't finished it, but they just shoved it at the front to try and salvage a piece of tosh written by someone else entirely. A bit like putting "the Beatles" name on a cartoon where all the voices were provided by impersonating actors.
So, all things considered, assuming you're wanting to get a collection of Beatles songs, you can skip this album. If you own the other albums you'll listen to this the grand total of never. The good songs are on other albums. The musical scores at the end are not worth the time, and the 1 B-side and 3 D-sides are not interesting enough to make you want to blow the dust off and listen to it ever again.
Buying this album is a waste of money. Quite how other people on here are giving this album 5 stars baffles me. Don't say I didn't warn you. If you really really want to get it just to own Hey Bulldog then get the remastered songtrack 1999 version which has other Beatles songs too (basically anything half decent that had a snippet, bar or beat played in the film). Quick Link here -> Yellow Submarine Songtrack