The Beatles-Remastered Versions Official and Not so Official
“You haven’t heard Sgt. Pepper until you‘ve heard it in Mono.” -John Lennon
One of the recurring themes of our upcoming book release is the almost obsessive passion for striving to the get the best sound. Be it in a mixing/remixing capacity or simply a guitarist looking to get a specific sound from his setup using different guitars, amps, and other assorted effects, the one common thread that holds music fans together is the quality sound. Its the difference between hearing a string quartet playing in an intimate setting vs hearing a poorly transferred mp3 played on an AM transistor radio.
Many of times during the writing of the book, Galen and I got into discussions regarding our favorite Beatle songs and the way certain instruments sounded. We also talked in depth about Pink Floyd the Wall and how certain sounds were achieved. Half of the fun of working on this great rock and roll book project was getting the warts and all behind the scenes info the casual listener may not care about. That said, being that the Beatles and Pink Floyd are my favorite bands of all time I thought it would be a good idea to talk about some quality Beatles recordings available for those who are audiophiles or perhaps those who can simply say no to anything Beatle related.
A few years ago Apple and Capitol both released remastered version of the Beatles. And being since this was the first time that it had been done to the Beatles catalog since 1986, it was not only quite a big event but also a huge money maker I am sure. And then to read some debate on Amazon regarding the remastered versions of the White Album and “are they really different” made me all the more long for superior Beatle recordings.
But what casual fans didnt know was that there are superior sound quality versions of all the Beatles catalog done by a group of fans with the tech savvy to bypass the middle man and simply find their own high quality copies and remaster it themselves using their own equipment. And these are dedicated fans-this is not simply buying the Sgt Pepper CD from target and tweaking it through audacity. They have gone out and found pristine, pure sources to do their work with and the proof is in the pudding.
Now one must keep in mind these are not authorized recordings so I will not post links, you will have to go out on your own to find the goods, so to speak, but it is worth your time without question. There are two separate factions who have done some marvelous work in this realm. And in no particular, lest you think I am favoring one above the other, there can found as “Dr Ebbetts” and as “Purple Chick.”
I will give just two quick examples of thing I have noticed in their versions of official Beatle releases that I have not heard in the original releases and in most cases even the remastered versions. I wont single out whose unauthorized remastering is, as I think if you are reading this blog you should go and find both versions. And once again, you are going to have to go through some semi-nefarious sources to find them but its probably something you or your local teenager cant find in about 15 seconds. Although Dr Ebbetts does have a website with an extensive catalog. Keep in mind Dr Ebbetts website is not going to give you download information of any type, way, shape, or form and rightfully so as I am sure they are Public Enemy #1 for Apple Corps staff of well armed and financed attorneys.
The first comes from Revolver, and is the song “Got to Get You Into My Life. Now we all know it for its horns and snappy chorus, but in the DrEbbetts/PurpleChick versions you can clearly hear some electric guitar belting out some rhythm to accompany the horns. Once again-you would be hard pressed to find it on any “official” release.
The next comes from Abbey Road from “I Want You.” And it comes from Paul McCartney’s middle bass solo and in the background you can once again, hear some clearly audible vocals in the back. To me, it sounds like Ringo giving some sort of triumphant exclamation followed by what sounds like “bring it back” or “bring it down” before kicking back into the final verses.
This video gives some pretty good examples of what I am talking about.
I mention this not to diminish the work of the official remasters, but to let people know there are some magnificent sounding versions of the Beatles work out there for those willing to look for it. And while this may be common sense for those with some sort of technical prowess, I should also mention if at possible try to find these versions as WAV files as the quality will be better than Mp3 versions for the most part. I conclude with my thoughts that when listening to the Beatles you really have to listen with the headphones to really enjoy the brilliance of their work. With that in mind, let us know what you found and what your thoughts are on the two different versions as well as the Remastered versions.
Here are two very high quality legitmate offerings from the Beatles Catalog we highly recommend.