‘Sgt. Pepper’ deluxe set due May 26

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 … [Read more...]

Harrison ‘Vinyl Collection’ on the way

George Harrison's solo output will be celebrated with an 18-LP box set due in late February. Universal Music's "George Harrison: The Vinyl Collection" packs in a dozen studio albums -- ranging from "Wonderwall Music" to "Brainwashed" -- as well as a pair of 12-inch picture discs, for the singles "Got My Mind Set on You" and "When We Was Fab." The set also includes the double album "Live in Japan." "The original analogue master tapes were used for the new remasters and were cut at the legendary Capitol studios," project promoters say. Also promised are "exact replicas of the original release track listing and artwork," meaning "All Things Must Pass" returns to the classic black-and-white look. The box has a 3D-style lenticular cover image (see video below). The albums will be … [Read more...]

Live Zeppelin, Beatles, Crimson for Q3

Got live if you want it: Stand by for in-concert recordings by Led Zeppelin, the Beatles, King Crimson, Iron Butterfly, Yes and ELP. Other key releases for 2017's third quarter include works by Frank Zappa, Gong, the Byrds, the Turtles and Sun Ra. Led Zeppelin's formative years are celebrated on "The Complete BBC Sessions," the return of a 1997 set being expanded and remastered. The rest of Zeppelin's catalog just enjoyed similar treatment, and guitarist Jimmy Page again supervises the audio on the new set. The "BBC" collection -- spanning 1969 through 1971 -- will feature eight unreleased tracks, including several versions of "Communication Breakdown" and "What Is and What Should Never Be." Of particular interest to collectors will be three tracks from the "previously 'lost' … [Read more...]

Beatles producer George Martin dies

George Martin, the producer credited with turning the Beatles into the world's biggest and most respected rock band, has died. He was 90. His death leaves alive only two of the five creative forces behind the Beatles' remarkable string of singles and albums: Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr. Martin frequently was cited as the "fifth Beatle," an honor he said he didn't deserve. Starr tweeted the news of Martin's death late March 8: "God bless George Martin. ... George will be missed." In addition to the Beatles, Martin worked with many successful British acts, including Jeff Beck, Elton John, Cilia Black, Wings, Billy J. Kramer and the Dakotas, Dire Straits, Peter Gabriel and Kate Bush. He reteamed with McCartney on three of his solo albums. Martin was credited with 23 No. 1 … [Read more...]

Beatles join the streaming revolution

For those who grew up with the Fabs, the Christmas holidays always meant the Beatles. The tradition continues now, in late 2015, with the arrival of the group's catalog on streaming audio. The rollout began at 12:01 a.m. on Dec. 24, in some cases (on the West Coast) a bit earlier. Fans were invited to "track the Beatles' streaming media launch around the world, from east to west" via a globe graphic on the band's web site. "Happy Crimble, with love from us to you," a band video teaser said. Paul McCartney's Instagram account added: "Float downstream as of midnight tonight." The nine streaming services are Spotify, Apple Music, Google Play, Amazon Prime Music, Tidal, Microsoft Groove, Napster/Rhapsody, Deezer and Slacker Radio. The Beatles follow by a few years the other … [Read more...]

‘Beatles 1’ gets video upgrade with 5.1

Looks like another monster holiday season for the Fabs, with news that "The Beatles 1" collection is getting a "visually inspired" upgrade starring music videos with surround-sound remixes. Set for a Nov. 6 release, the millennial greatest hits set is "newly restored and expanded in multiple configurations." The mother lode will be found in what's billed as "Beatles 1+" -- which "celebrates their career in over 200 minutes through 50 promotional films and videos," Apple Corps says. The core concept is to pair the 27 original No. 1 hits found on the 2000 CD with Beatles videos -- some pre-existing, some newly created with archival material. This is what's found on the new double-disc "Beatles 1." New stereo mixes are on offer on the CD of the 27 original No. 1 hits. The videos, … [Read more...]

Lennon solo albums in vinyl box set

Eight of John Lennon's solo albums have been newly cut to vinyl for a box set that touches down June 9. The albums will be sold separately in late August. The Universal Music box set streets for about $200. The set marks the debut on vinyl of the remastering jobs of 2010 "by Yoko Ono and a team of engineers led by Allan Rouse at Abbey Road Studios in London and by George Marino at Avatar Studios in New York." "These LPs have been newly cut to vinyl from those 96k digital files for Lennon, cut by Sean Magee at Abbey Road Studios and manufactured for the world by Optimal Media in Germany." Optimal did last summer's "The Beatles in Mono" box set. Magee of Abbey Road worked on that set as well. The new Lennon vinyl albums include the three most popular solo works by the former … [Read more...]

6 Harrison albums in ‘Apple Years’ set

George Harrison's first six albums are being packaged in the box set "The Apple Years 1968-75." The eight-disc set drops Sept. 23. The albums, digitally remastered from the "original analogue masters," are "Wonderwall Music," "Electronic Sound," "All Things Must Pass," "Living in the Material World," "Dark Horse" and "Extra Texture (Read All About It)." The Harrison titles also be available individually, on CD and as digital downloads. The late Harrison's son, Dhani, teased the project on Twitter a month ago, followed by speculation amongst fans as to whether the first two albums -- both unconventional -- would be part of the package. Fans had been waiting on the official release of Sept. 2 to confirm what exactly would be in the package. "Some of these records have long been … [Read more...]

Review: ‘A Hard Day’s Night’ on Blu-ray

The long-awaited Blu-ray of "A Hard Day's Night" comes with the prominent subtitle: Directed by Richard Lester. Truth in packaging, as the Criterion Collection's smashing release of the Beatles' film puts the focus squarely on the iconoclastic director, whose vision and bravery under fire made what could have been a forgettable "jukebox musical" into a classic of several genres. "A Hard Day's Night" makes most critics' best-ever lists. The Beatles' first and best film is widely considered an electrifying mix of great music and hip comedy, both a time capsule of the swinging '60s and a timeless entertainment. Roger Ebert called it "one of the great life-affirming landmarks of the movies." Respect hadn't led to respectful treatment. Legal wrangling followed "A Hard Day's Night" … [Read more...]

‘A Hard Day’s Night’ via Criterion

"A Hard Day's Night" -- one of the best rock 'n' roll movies ever made -- looks to get all the loving it deserves with a full-blown Blu-ray release via the Criterion Collection. The Blu-ray includes "a new 5.1 surround soundtrack made by Apple Records" in DTS-HD Master Audio, apparently with Giles Martin doing the heavy lifting. There's also a mono mix. Street date is June 24. (The Criterion combo set includes both a DVD and Blu-ray.) Criterion is considered the premiere video company for film reissues, which should reassure Beatles consumers weary of botched versions of this beloved title. The TCM Classic Film Festival in Los Angeles plans a "world premiere restoration from the original negative and presented in collaboration with Janus films." The festival runs April 10-13. … [Read more...]

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