Apple Records has unveiled the most ambitious reissue of a Beatles title to date, with a “super deluxe edition” of “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band.”
The May 26 release celebrates the 50th anniversary of the psychedelic music classic.
Highlights include a new stereo mix of the album, 5.1 surround via Bluray/DVD discs, a “lost” version of “Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds” and two CDs full of studio outtakes.
Sorry, it’s a “no” for the long-sought-after experimental Beatles track “Carnival of Light,” which dates back to the period.
Here’s what’s coming based on materials released April 4 and 5 by the Beatles’ label (updated content):
- A new mix of the 1967 album by Gils Martin and Sam Okell from the original master tapes.
- Two CDs of outtakes, with almost three dozen tracks, many titles repeated, all of them from “Sgt. Pepper” or the single that preceded it. For example, five takes of “A Day in the Life.” In chronological order of recording.
- New stereo mixes of “Strawberry Fields Forever” and “Penny Lane.” A new “Penny Lane” 5.1 mix and the 2015 surround version of “Strawberry Fields” (from “1+”).
- High-resolution versions of the new stereo mixes.
- A mono album with a “lost” version of John Lennon’s “Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds” and five other tracks.
- A DVD/Bluray video package with “The Making Of” documentary. Restored promo films for “Strawberry Fields,” “Penny Lane” and “A Day in the Life” (4k).
- A 144-page book. Two posters and insert.
The set currently lists for $150 on a partial product page set up on Amazon.
“All of the Anniversary Edition releases include Martin’s new stereo mix of the album, which was sourced directly from the original four-track session tapes and guided by the original, Beatles-preferred mono mix produced by his father, (producer) George Martin,” the “Sgt. Pepper” press release says.
The set does not reissue the widely available standard stereo version of the Beatles album.
The extras on the CDs are said to be “a deeper dive with 100 minutes of outtakes, previously unheard and unreleased.” Much of the material has been previously bootlegged, however, as was the case with the last major archival release, the “Anthology” CDs. The official release undoubtedly will bring higher quality to the studio rejects.
Contrary to recent media reports and resulting rumors, the newly remastered “Sgt. Pepper” does not insert “Strawberry Fields” and “Penny Lane” into the classic album’s running order.
Apple also is offering a single CD ($19), double CD ($25) and double LP ($39) edition of the anniversary release. (Prices likely to drift a bit.)
As for the vinyl version: “Expanded 180-gram 2LP vinyl package features the new stereo album mix on the first LP and adds a second LP with previously unreleased complete takes of the album’s 13 songs, newly mixed in stereo and sequenced in the same order as the album.”
“The Making Of Sgt. Pepper” was an official hourlong documentary that debuted in the U.K. in June 1992. Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ring Starr participated, giving separate interviews. Producer George Martin also weighed in from the control board at Abbey Road. A slightly shorter version reportedly aired on the Disney Channel.