RE-INTRODUCING THE BEATLES...ON COMPACT DISC
In 1995, with the imminent release of the Beatles Anthology sets, I felt it would be a good idea to finally write down all the ideas that had been brewing in my head for ten years about how to properly present the Beatlesí catalog on CD. I wrote the following proposal in November of 1995 and promptly sent it to Mike Heatley at EMI in the UK, Phil Sandhaus at Capitol in the US, and most importantly, Neil Aspinall at Apple. It meant more to me knowing Iíd finally gotten my ideas on paper and that I didnít have to ponder the subject anymore then whether or not anyone actually responded. However, I received pleasant but noncommittal responses from the first two. Frankly, knowing how the Beatlesí organization works (or doesnít work), I was surprised when I received a letter from Apple, signed by Neil Aspinall (or Neilís secretary) stating that it was not a course of action they felt was appropriate at the time. I filed the letter (on cool Apple stationery) away and promptly submitted it as an article to Goldmine (who published it in their 1996 Beatles issue) and Beatlefan (who featured it in 1997). Then, I forgot about it.
Three years later, along came "Beatles 1" and the use of picture sleeves from around the world in the accompanying booklet, something I had stated rather clearly in the article. Not that I reinvented the wheel with my proposal, but I felt honored and (to be honest) a tad miffed that some of my ideas were apparently utilized. Ah well, the world is full of bitter people, so I wonít be another one! Therefore, I felt it would be a good idea to have Steve post this for permanent display on his fine website; I havenít changed anything from my original proposal, so certain concepts may be a little out of date. However, see what you think; I still think it makes sense, even five years later!Mark Easter
The release of the Beatles Anthology in 1995 and 1996, with its attendant CD and video collections, has been cause for great joy among long-suffering Beatles fans starved for new product. However, amidst all of the hoopla afforded the Anthology, the groupís main claim to fame, its thirteen-LP British catalog on CD (with the two catch-all Past Masters compilations of non-LP tracks) has been completely neglected in the "new age" of CD remastering and repackaging which began in the early Ď90ís. In 1987-í88, when these discs first came out, they were acceptable given the limitations of the medium at the time. While the packaging overall left something to be desired even then (save the Sgt. Pepper CD), the sound quality, while not stellar, was certainly better than most ears had heard before, especially in the case of the later material. Regardless of this fact, there was (and continues to be) a nagging feeling in the minds of most Beatles fans that there was more that could have been accomplished on all fronts with these discs, but as time passed, hopes that anything would be done to remedy the problems seemed to fade.
With all of this renewed Beatles activity, however, the time is exactly right for a complete overhaul of the original Beatles catalog. The advent of 20- and 24-bit remastering technology in particular, and huge advances in analog-to-digital transfers overall, together with a heightened consumer awareness of the advantages of a well-designed package (as has been shown in the successful re-release of the Rolling Stonesí post-1971 output and the Whoís reissue program, among others) would mean not only a boost in sales for the catalog, but a means to finally put things right. The biggest, most important band the world will ever know deserves nothing but the best for their work and its preservation for future generations of music lovers to discover and enjoy.
Therefore, the reason for this proposal. After consulting with many "Beatleologists", as well as some more casual fans who would not necessarily buy everything that has the magic name attached, about possibilities for an overhaul and what they might like to see included, the following concepts were the most popular. The concepts will first be described in general, and the specifics will then be discussed, album-by-album.
Obviously without question, all tracks (whether in their mono or stereo mix) would come from the absolute, first-generation master tapes, with no noise reduction techniques, such as the horrific Sonic Solutions "No-Noise" process, employed that might color the sound in an unfavorable way (i.e. high-end frequencies slashed to get rid of tape hiss). In other words, what is on the tapes is what goes on the discs, with proper equalization to ensure that the frequency range available on CD is used to its fullest. [Side note: A respected engineer who has worked on many high profile reissue projects, who used to use "No-Noise" on his remasters in the late Ď80ís and early Ď90ís, mentioned recently in a personal interview that using the process was one of the biggest mistakes he had made in his career. He stated that unless one is working on acetates or items with so much noise theyíre unlistenable without it, no self-respecting remastering engineer should utilize "No-Noise".] No remixing whatsoever should take place; while the temptation is always there to try to "improve" on history, the fact remains that no one repaints works of art that may have weathered a bit, and no one should do the same to these recorded works of art!
While on the subject of mixes, another controversy regarding the Beatlesí albums (and singles as well) is which mix to use: stereo or mono. In the UK, especially where their earlier works are concerned, the mono is preferable as this is how most people purchased these albums, plus more time was devoted to the mixing of the monos. However, in the US and many other countries, people are used to the stereos, besides the fact that sonically, most of the records are superior in stereo. What can be done that could conceivably please everyone? The overwhelming response to this question is to, in the case of all the albums up through and including Revolver, include the mono and stereo mixes on one CD (as with recent reissues by Cream and Jefferson Airplane), with the Sgt. Pepper and White Album monos released as individual CDís, given their extreme differences mix-wise, plus their longer timings. We realize that this is most likely wishful thinking, due to the royalties situation, but these mono, and in a couple of cases, stereo mixes should be made available. This could be done perhaps as a limited edition package of some sort, such as a box-set called The Alternative Beatles, which would also be a place for (placed on a separate disc within the set) some of the odd versions or mixes of songs that appeared in the US or other countries only, like those collected on the US Rarities LP from 1980. There is precedence for this: as well as Rarities (a top 25 album at the time), the Beatles Mono Collection box set of all 10 mono LPís was a big success when issued by EMI in 1981, selling out its limited pressing immediately and now selling for large amounts on the collectorís market. It would be a shame for these differences to be lost forever in the digital age, seeing as in most situations, listening to these classic albums and singles in either stereo or mono is a different experience entirely.
1) A limited-edition, deluxe 12" x 12" package that would open into a gatefold (much like the limited-edition Who Live at Leeds reissue, with a similar price-point of around $30.00) would be issued for each album, reproducing exactly the original LP graphics on glossy stock on the front and back. When the outside flap is opened, there would be an indentation on the right hand side where the jewel box would go, with graphics surrounding this inner gatefold area (a montage of such items as contemporary pictures, press clippings, and sheet music). The booklet packaging within the jewel box should be an exact miniature of the LP art, with the idea being that one could place the CD within their regular CD storage system if they wish besides leaving it in the album-sized package. An 11" x 11" booklet would be inserted in the left flap, containing extensive, authoritative liner notes concerning all aspects of the LP, such as a track-by-track analysis and a detailed history of the album. Other ephemera besides that listed above, such as tape boxes, record release sheets, advertisements and such would find a good home within the booklet as well. Also, this would be an excellent place for picturing international releases of the material, showing the front and back covers of US, German, Japanese and other countriesí LP releases (full-size in many cases, especially the US covers that were used as the basis for many other releases worldwide), as well as picture sleeves from these countries of any 45 or EP extractions. There is great sentimental value to reproducing these items as, regardless of the fact that they were not necessarily "sanctioned", these covers are still the way many fans the world over remember these albums being packaged at the time. Original promotional posters from Parlophone and Capitol for each release would also enhance the overall appearance, as would appropriate Beatles Fan Club flyers and Beatles Monthly Book covers for the various eras. This booklet should truly be the last word on the albumís history. As a nice finishing touch, the label of each CD would be an exact replica of the original Parlophone or Apple label for the respective record. Overall, the entire package would stand as the absolutely definitive version of the album.
2) The regular release packaging would simply echo the CD within the limited-edition set. As long as all original packaging elements from the original LP are included in their correct form (no cutting-up of pictures and placing them on various pages of the booklet, ala the current Revolver CD), this should be sufficient for the average consumer. Of course, if the construction of a shrunk-down version of the limited-edition book was conceivable and cost-effective, then obviously that would be preferable.
The idea in both cases is to present the consumer with the best possible package for the money, whether they spring for the deluxe or regular version; that it reflects the quality of the music in both appearance and content.
Each of the individual releases will now be discussed in detail, with appropriate comments included pertaining to sound and packaging.
PLEASE PLEASE ME (1963)
The Beatlesí first album should be released in its mono form for this package. While the stereo is interesting from a fanís and musicianís viewpoint (given its extreme separation of vocals and instruments), the average fan should hear this the way it was intended. The stereo version would be made available, however, within the aforementioned twofer or Alternative set.
Packaging-wise, the gatefold would feature outtakes from the various Angus McBean and Dezo Hoffmann photo sessions for the cover, press releases and ads for the "Love Me Do" and "Please Please Me" singles, as well as for the album itself. The booklet would also feature reproductions of the various Parlophone record labels of the era (the "red" 45 labels for the above singles, as well as the rare "black and gold" version of the original album label) and the sleeves for various releases of the album around the world (Vee-Jayís Introducing the Beatles, Songs, Pictures and Stories, The Beatles and Frank Ifield On Stage and The Beatles Vs. The Four Seasons and Capitolís The Early Beatles in the US, Die Beatles in Germany, the different cover for the Japanese release of PPM, etc.) and the singles pulled from them (the US Vee-Jay "Love Me Do" sleeve, for example).
WITH THE BEATLES (1963)
As with PPM, for WTB the mono mix should be used for the same reasons as outlined above, with the stereo again being used for the possible twofer or Alternative.
For this package, alternate shots from the Robert Freeman sessions that produced the classic front cover "half-shadows" picture would make for a terrific gatefold outlay, with the usual ads, etc. strewn across.
Inside the booklet, full-size repro's of the classic US Meet the Beatles and Beatles' Second Album covers would be in order, along with the usual array of foreign compilations of the material from this album (Canada's Beatlemania! and Long Tall Sally, Japan's different-from-the-US Meet the Beatles and Second Album, for example, with 45 and EP sleeves [UK "All My Loving" EP, US "Four by the Beatles" EP, et al] pictured from all over the world).
A HARD DAY'S NIGHT (1964)
This first completely penned-by-Lennon-McCartney Beatles album should be heard for the first time on CD in its glorious original stereo mix. This sonically superior version is very properly mixed in true stereo (surprising given the short time taken to mix it!), and is prime fodder for the dynamic range afforded the compact disc. The mono version would be available on the twofer or Alternative set.
This gatefold should feature stills from the movie, as well as the requisite ads, press book cuttings, etc. Outtakes from the famous Robert Freeman "head shots" (as used on the cover) would be a fine backdrop for the above. The booklet should feature most if not all of the many releases of this material worldwide; there are many different covers (especially the original Japanese and German issues) that are quite interesting and unique. The artwork for the US United Artists HDN and the Capitol Something New albums should be shown full scale, front and back covers. Picture sleeves for the numerous U.S. singles from these albums (the very rare "Canít Buy Me Love" sleeve, as well as "A Hard Dayís Night", "Iíll Cry Instead", and "And I Love Her") and the innumerable foreign pic sleeves (45 and EP) from Japan, Mexico, Germany, etc., should also be featured front and back. Even the rare sleeve for the U.A. George Martin instrumental single of "Ringoís Theme (This Boy)" that pictures the Beatles would be a nice touch.
BEATLES FOR SALE (1964)
The same should apply for BFS as for HDN; the superb stereo mix of this album should be featured as the standard issue. It is well balanced and quite superior to the relatively muddy mono mix, which should be relegated to the twofer or Alternative.
BFSís gatefold would actually in this case be a "quadfold". As the original album had one of the first rock gatefold covers, this package would utilize a design that when opened, the original inner graphics would be reproduced on the first two flaps. Then, this flap would open again, revealing the design outlined on the above releases; a montage of ads for the album, recording sheets and the like, on a backdrop of Robert Freeman outtakes from the cover sessions. Booklet-wise, this release would picture full-size the Beatles Ď65 and Beatles VI US Capitol LPís on which these songs were featured (and might also feature the Beatlesí Story documentary LP that was released around the same time), and the requisite variety of foreign releases of the BFS material, such as the Japanese Beatles No. 5 LP. The US pic sleeves of "Eight Days A Week" and the EP "4 by The Beatles" are two of many sleeves worldwide that could be pictured of the various single and EP releases.
The Beatlesí fifth album was remixed in 1987 for CD release, with inadequate results. This mix should be disregarded, as the original stereo mix is quite sufficient for this new CD issue, with the mono again being used for the twofer/Alternative. As George Martin himself has mentioned in recent interviews, the original mixes should stand as the definitive versions. They worked for twenty-plus years, after all, and should suffice for the next twenty (at least)!
As with HDN, there is a wide variety of material to be utilized in the gatefold package, due to this albumís doubling as a movie soundtrack. Again, press book clippings, lobby cards, and more Freeman stills among other items could be used. There are many different releases of this album that can be featured in the booklet: the US gatefold cover (again, featured full-size inside and out) and the rare Australian version (looks like the UK, but with a giant "Shell" symbol looming behind the boys!), with picture sleeves featuring the "Ticket To Ride", "Help!" and "Yesterday" US 45ís, and numerous other foreign 45 and EP sleeves, from Japan and France in particular, would be great illustrations.
RUBBER SOUL (1965)
This was the second of two albums remixed for CD issue in 1987, and as with Help!, the job done was not particularly impressive. Again, the original stereo mix should be used, for the same reasons outlined above. Mono version = twofer or Alternative.
The usual ads, release and session sheets, etc. could be utilized for this gatefold. Many fine photos (such as those seen in the Beatlesí 1965 tour booklet) from this era by Robert Freeman would constitute a nice backdrop for those items. As this was the first Beatles album to be issued worldwide with similar back and front covers, alternate releases will be a bit on the slim side (though the US release is different enough to warrant another full-size reproduction front and back), though the usual plethora of foreign 45 and EP picture sleeves (such as the US "Nowhere Man"45 and the French "Michelle" EP) for tracks taken from the album would be pictured as usual. A bonus for the booklet, provided it could be found, would be the unretouched, uncropped version of the Freeman cover photo, with the Fabsí faces unstretched! The picture has been seen, and is very impressive.
No remixing (thankfully) was attempted for this or any of the remaining original Beatles CDís. The stereo mix would be utilized within the regular package, with the (considerably different) mono mix used in the twofer or Alternative set.
As with Rubber Soul, the cover art on this release was uniform worldwide (though with a different track listing in the US and other countries), but there is a variety of contemporary visuals that can be used for this package. The gatefold could feature the many Robert Whitaker outtake photos from the back cover session underneath the usual session sheets, ads, "Bang!" promo poster, etc. The booklet should feature a full-size reproduction of not only the regular release version of the US 1966 Yesterday and Today "trunk cover", but also the famous withdrawn "butcher cover", both from the original negative (as pictured in the 1980 Rarities gatefold) and the actual cover itself, with the titles superimposed. The Y&T "butcher" "Incredible!" promo poster should also be shown. There are also several outtakes from this famous shoot; as many as possible should be used. Also, 45 sleeves such as the US "Yellow Submarine/Eleanor Rigby" and the 1976 reissue of "Got To Get You Into My Life" should be featured.
SGT. PEPPERíS LONELY HEARTS CLUB BAND (1967)
This landmark album should of course be featured in stereo, though the mono version should be given special attention in some way, as it is a striking listening experience, with some songs sounding completely different (phasing on "Lucy In The Sky", sped up "Sheís Leaving Home", etc.). As it is too long to be featured in any twofer form, it would be necessary to feature it as a separate release in mono, or it should be included on the Alternative set. Otherwise, as long as the extras at the conclusion of the album (the high frequency "dog message", the "inner groove") are included as on the original CD, all will be well!
As befits one of the most acclaimed album packages in all of rock history, the packaging for the Sgt. Pepper CD should be nothing less than stupendous. The original CD did a good job (certainly the best package of any of the original Beatles CDís) of maintaining that quality, and should be used as a springboard for the limited edition set. This would be another quadfold, opening up as the original album did, with a further flap revealing the usual montage artwork. To be reproduced full-size is the sheet of cutouts that came in the LP, as well as the "psychedelic" printed inner sleeve (the first such item in rock history), which could be placed loose inside the second gatefold flap, behind the booklet. There is an abundance of visual material that can be used for both the montage and the booklet, such as the many alternate shots that exist of the front and back cover sessions, and the many photo sessions held during the making of the album. Many "teaser" ads were used in the UK music press prior to the LPís release, and these would be a welcome sight visually, as well as the "Out Now" type of ads when the album was released. As this was the first Beatles album to be released in a truly uniform manner worldwide (both song lineup and packaging) and with no singles initially drawn from it, there arenít many vintage vinyl items that could be featured in the booklet, other than the 1978 45 issues from the UK and US of the title track and miscellaneous releases from Japan and other countries. (The hilarious Taiwan version of the LP should be reproduced for laughs, with its garbling of the title as "Sgt. Peppipís Loney Hearts Club Band" [sic!])
MAGICAL MYSTERY TOUR (1967)
This is the album that "breaks the mold", so to speak, where the US version of a release has now supplanted worldwide the original UK formatting of this material. The UK originally released MMT as a double 7" EP set, containing just the six songs from the film, where the US put the rest of the non-Sgt. Pepper 1967 output together with those six, and made a full-fledged LP (which the UK themselves issued in 1976!). As this is the way it was released on CD in 1987, this is the way it should stay in this repackage. The stereo mix used for the original CD is the best, and should be used for this issue as well. While all of the songs from this album have appeared on CD in mono before (on the boxed EP and Singles collections), they should still be featured in the Alternative set for completenessí sake.
Packaging for the original set was quite lavish (both EP and LP versions), with a booklet (12"x12" for the LP, 7" for the EP) relating to the film adhered to the gatefold sleeve. The 12"x12" version would be reprinted in full within this quadfold set, with the ads for the EP and LP (and singles included on the album, such as "Strawberry Fields", "All You Need Is Love", and "Hello Goodbye") and the usual ephemera acting as the montage elements, along with the many pictures taken at events during the year (the "Our World" broadcast, MMT and the various promo film shoots, and the beautiful shots taken for the "Strawberry Fields" sleeve). As there were different covers associated with this LP, such as in Germany, as well as the numerous picture sleeves for the singles included on the album (mentioned above) from all over the world, all should be pictured within the booklet.
THE BEATLES (THE WHITE ALBUM) (1968)
This double album has the distinction of being the sole two-record set in the Beatlesí original catalog, as well as the last Beatles album to be mixed into both stereo and mono (though the mono appeared only in the UK). The stereo would be the mix used for the package, however as with Sgt. Pepper, the mono mix is so different (for example, "Helter Skelter" doesnít fade back up for the "...blisters..." remark and "Donít Pass Me By" has different fiddle parts) that it must be included either as part of the Alternative set or as a limited edition two-CD set on its own.
This package would be another quadfold, reproducing the original gatefold LP design with the embossed "The BEATLES" logo and "limited-edition" numbering system on the outer cover and the photos and titles on the inside. The second gatefold would feature various Apple paraphernalia (as this was the first Beatles album to be released on their own label) such as press releases, the Apple watch, Apple matchbook covers, etc., as well as the US "Itís Here" promo poster, among other items strewn across pictures of the famous July 1968 "Follow the Beatles around London" photo session and others done around this same period. The "montage poster" as well as the four portraits of the individual Beatles that were included in the original LP would be reproduced exactly, from the original materials on the same heavy stock paper on which they were initially printed. These would be placed in the left flap behind the booklet. (These items should also be reproduced in miniature for the booklet to be enclosed in the jewel box, which itself should be white and in the slim-line "brilliant box" format, so that the 12"x12" box will not be any thicker in width than the others.) The booklet itself should feature such vinyl items as the German and US "Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da" single sleeves, the 1976 UK re-release of "Back In The USSR", etc., and could also picture how the original UK LP design opened from the top end of the cover by showing the black inner sleeves (used for the initial issue) protruding from the top! The Apple labels on the records would also be important to illustrate on the disc faces, again since this was the first Beatles Apple LP.
YELLOW SUBMARINE (1969)
This soundtrack album to the animated classic was also released in mono in the UK, the last Beatles LP to be issued in that format. However, the "mono" mixes are actually the two-track stereo mixes reduced to mono, rather than a true mono mix from the multi-tracks, so their legitimacy as true alternate mixes is somewhat challenged. Nevertheless, for completenessí sake these mixes should be included on the Alternative set. [Side note: As "Only A Northern Song" was never mixed into true stereo, and the "stereo" version on the LP is just a fake-stereo mix, perhaps the original mono mix, never used for record production, could be used in place of the pseudo-stereo version. This is what many fans had hoped would be done on the original CD, as the sound of rechanneled stereo on CD is certainly less than pleasant!]
Thereís no end to the visual material that can be used for this package. The gatefold can feature lobby cards and the various posters for the film, a sampling of the vast amount of memorabilia issued as tie-ins for the movie (the Corgi Toys die-cast Yellow Sub, books, lunch box, Halloween costumes, etc.), and pictures from the Beatlesí live-action appearance at the end of the film. The booklet should reproduce the US version of the album cover in full, which differs slightly from the UK on the front, and is completely different on the back, as well as more movie-related material (stills, cels, production drawings and such).
ABBEY ROAD (1969)
This, the last recorded Beatles LP, will be a pretty straightforward affair both sound and packaging-wise.
There is only one mix, stereo, so the Alternative set would end here (actually, with the [UK] "Get Back" single, the last Beatles 45 to be mixed into mono).
In the packaging realm, since the Abbey Road LP was such a low-key affair, with little promotion behind it (not much was needed), there isnít a lot to choose from for visuals. Tape-boxes, release sheets, etc., would make a good foreground montage for, perhaps, Paulís original sketches for the album cover concept in the gatefold. There were several pictures taken by Iain MacMillan for the cover, with the Beatles crossing Abbey Road in different directions, which would make wonderful full-size booklet photos. Also welcome would be the unretouched photos for the back cover art. There are sleeves from Japan, Germany and France for the "Come Together/Something" 45, and a nice touch would be to show the US Apple single in the generic black, and rare white, "Apple" sleeve (and perhaps the "The Beatles On Apple" sleeve as well!) Photos from the last Beatles photo sessions in summer 1969 would also be good additions to the booklet, along with Linda McCartneyís photos of the recording sessions and cover shoot.
LET IT BE (1970)
The final Beatles album, a soundtrack to their final film, is also a relatively simple package, in sound terms, as only a stereo mix was done. The real challenge with LIB lies within its packaging possibilities.
As originally issued in the UK, Japan and Canada, Let It Be came packaged in a box, with a thick book of pictures and text from the movie included. Ideally, this book would be reprinted faithfully (though with better binding than the original, where the pages tended to fall out after one read-through!) and inserted within the gatefold (or possible quadfold; the US album opened up into a gatefold with pictures from the book, though I believe this package should reflect the UK set) inset on top of or behind the jewel box. The gatefold could feature more unused Ethan Russell photos for the book, along with lobby cards and posters for the movie, release sheets, the tape-box for the "rooftop concert", etc. The booklet would be the place for a full-size reproduction of the original unused covers for LIB and Get Back, as it was originally titled, with the Beatles posing as they did for their first LP, Please Please Me, on the stairwell at EMIís headquarters in May 1969 (the photo of which was later used on the 1967-1970 two-LP hits package in 1973). Picture sleeves for the UK "Let It Be" and US "The Long And Winding Road" 45ís, along with other foreign issues, could also be featured. All in all, a fitting package for this, the last of the thirteen original Beatles albums.
PAST MASTERS VOLUMES 1& 2 (1988)
As this compilation is a kind of "catch-all", taking in all of the non-LP single and EP tracks and putting them into two neat packages, PM should be left in the catalog as is, tracklisting-wise. The real work on these should be in the sound and packaging quality department.
Soundwise, the mono mixes of the two German language tracks ("Komm, Gib Mir Deine Hand" and "Sie Liebt Dich") should be replaced by the stereo versions, with the monos going onto the Alternative set. "From Me To You" and "Thank You Girl" should remain in their mono form on PM, but the stereos should also be placed on the set, as well. Otherwise, the stereos (all taken from original mixes) used on PM are fine.
The gatefolds for these sets should feature pictures from all appropriate eras, from 1962-1969. Many great ads in the UK and US were used to promote the singles contained within, and should be shown as well. As this compilation is in a sense the "Last Compilation" of previously released material, the booklet should pay homage to "those that have gone before", reproducing the covers of such collections as A Collection of Beatles Oldies (1966), Rock and Roll Music (1976), Love Songs (1977), Rarities (UK 1979, US 1980), Beatles Ballads (1980), Reel Music (1982), and 20 Greatest Hits (1982). Also featured should be the mammoth number of picture sleeves for the 45ís and EP within PM. Below is a shortlist of some of the items that should be pictured (and remember, this are just US and UK sleeves; pick and choose any number of other countriesí!)
(VeeJay) "From Me To You", (Swan) "She Loves You", (Capitol) "I Want To Hold Your Hand", "I Feel Fine", "Day Tripper", "Paperback Writer", "Lady Madonna", and "The Ballad Of John And Yoko".
"Long Tall Sally" EP, the "No Oneís Gonna Change Our World" various artists charity LP (where the original "Across The Universe" featured on PM had its initial release in 1969), and all of the 1982 reissue 45 sleeves (only "Strawberry Fields" and "Let It Be" had pic sleeves upon their original release in the UK).
All told, the variety of materials that can be used for these two packages is almost endless given the concept of the collections and the time they span.
THE ALTERNATIVE BEATLES:
As discussed in the prologue, this collection would be a stand-alone, limited-edition collection (most likely an eight-CD set) of all the released versions of the Beatlesí songs not included in the regular batch of CDís described above, sequenced as chronologically by release date as possible. These would include the stereo versions of Please Please Me, With the Beatles, and the single "From Me To You"/"Thank You Girl", and the original mono mixes of all other albums, singles and EPís. On a "bonus" disc, the remaining alternate mixing oddities from various countries would appear. All sound significantly different to warrant inclusion. Most of the stereo versions simply feature alternative placement of the instruments and vocals than the regular mix, but other differences are noted below.
Fitting comfortably onto a 75-minute CD, the songs included would be:
1) "All My Loving" (stereo from German Beatles Greatest LP, w/ four-beat hi-hat intro)
2) "I Want To Hold Your Hand" (1963 alternate stereo, only on Aussie reissue singles and LPís)
3) "Long Tall Sally" (alternate mono from US Beatlesí Second Album LP, flat mix)
4) "I Call Your Name" (alternate mono from US Beatlesí Second Album LP, w/ different edits)
5) "And I Love Her" (alternate mono US UA LP/Capitol single version, w/ single-tracked Paul vocal)
6) "I Should Have Known Better" (stereo remix of mono version from Reel Music LP)
7) "Iíll Cry Instead" (alternate mono US UA LP/Capitol single version, w/ extra verse)
8) "When I Get Home" (alternate mono from US Something New LP, w/ different edit of vocal track)
9) "Any Time At All" (alternate mono from US Something New LP, w/ different piano mix)
10) "Sheís A Woman" (alternate stereo from UK The Beatles EP, w/ count-in)
11) "Day Tripper" (alternate stereo from US Yesterday and Today LP)
12) "We Can Work It Out" (alternate stereo from US Yesterday and Today LP)
13) "Norwegian Wood (This Bird Has Flown)" (alternate stereo from UK Beatlesí Ballads LP)
14) "The Word" (alternate stereo from US Rubber Soul LP)
15) "Michelle" (alternate mono from US Rubber Soul LP, w/ more prominent percussion)
16) "Iím Looking Through You" (alternate stereo from US Rubber Soul LP, w/ false start)
17) "Paperback Writer" (alternate stereo from US Hey Jude LP)
18) "Iím Only Sleeping" (alternate mono from US Yesterday and Today LP, w/ less backward guitar)
19) "Dr. Robert" (alternate mono from US Yesterday and Today LP, w/ Johnís "OK, Herb!" at end)
20) "And Your Bird Can Sing" (alternate mono from US Yesterday and Today LP, flat mix)
21) "Strawberry Fields Forever" (alternate stereo from US Magical Mystery Tour LP)
22) "Penny Lane" (alternate mono from original US promotional single, with horn outro)
23) "Baby Youíre A Rich Man" (alternate mono from US Capitol single, w/ "seven"(?) shouted at start)
24) "I Am The Walrus" (alternate mono from US Capitol single, w/ four extra beats in middle)
The limited availability of this set would guarantee swift sales, regardless of its size, and would allow those hard-core fans the opportunity to finally have all of these items in one place. Far from being an exploitation, these fans would be grateful for the chance to have this material in perfect quality, rather than having to search to the ends of the earth for a mint copy of the mono Second Album, for instance, which is next to impossible at this late date! The packaging should include a 12"x12" box (much like the nine-CD Complete Stax-Volt Singles sets), and usual detailed booklet with all pertinent details on the tracks within.
[Side note: While the scope of this article is limited to their studio work, I would be remiss in not mentioning a possible CD reissue of the 1977 The Beatles At The Hollywood Bowl LP. This package should be held to the same standards as the others in this series.]
Thus ends the proposal. The 15 individual CD sets should, as stated before, knock the reissue world on its ear for the breadth and scope of the packaging alone; taken together with the newly remastered sound, the Beatlesí catalog will be the last word and the definitive documents of their recorded output. The Alternative package (or the twofer sets) would complete the picture, ensuring that the totality of the Beatlesí musical legacy will be available for all, from hardest-core to casual fan, to dissect, explore and above all, enjoy.
(© 1995/1996 Mark C. Easter)
Mark Easter is the co-author (with Chip Madinger) of "Eight Arms To Hold You: The Solo Beatles Compendium" (44.1 Productions, 2000).