BEATLES HEADS HAVE ALWAYS griped about the 1967 stereo mix of Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. With its wonkily positioned voices and drums, it was wimpy in comparison to the mono version. The Beatles hadn’t even bothered to turn up to the mixing sessions – leading to such anomalies as the stereo version of Pepper’s She’s Leaving Home being slower and pitched lower than the “proper” mono version.
Turning 50 this June, the album receives a Beatles-approved anniversary spruce-up, with Sam Okell and Giles Martin, the son of Beatles producer George, submitting a punchy, immersive new mix that rights many of the ’67 stereo’s unfortunate anomalies. (MOJO have heard it and can vouch for its thrilling presence and oomph.)
The new mix is allied with a cornucopia of unreleased Pepper outtakes at the core of four variations of the release. Among the uncovered gems are a version of the final chord on A Day In The Life rendered in choral unison by Beatle voices, before a selection of variously duff takes of the ensuing three-piano/one-harmonium pile-up reveal that not everything for the Beatles was instantly a piece of piss.
This is the first time Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band has been remixed and presented with additional session recordings, and it is the first Beatles album to be remixed and expanded since the 2003 release of Let It Be… Naked.
Also, for Record Store Day on April 22, Apple Corps Ltd./Capitol/UMe will release an exclusive, limited edition seven-inch vinyl single of The Beatles’ Strawberry Fields Forever and Penny Lane. Giles Martin’s 2015 stereo mix of the former and a brand new stereo mix of the latter will appear on Deluxe and Super Deluxe CD versions of the new Sgt. Pepper package
Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band Anniversary Edition format rundown:
CD: Single CD featuring the new Sgt. Pepper stereo mix, complete with the original UK album’s “Edit for LP End” run-out groove.
Deluxe: Expanded 2CD and digital package features the new stereo album mix on the first CD and adds a second CD of 18 tracks, including previously unreleased complete takes of the album’s 13 songs, newly mixed in stereo and sequenced in the same order as the album. The second CD also includes a new stereo mix and a previously unreleased instrumental take of Penny Lane and the 2015 stereo mix and two previously unreleased complete takes of Strawberry Fields Forever.
Deluxe Vinyl: 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.
Super Deluxe: The comprehensive six-disc boxed set features:
CD 1: New stereo album mix
CDs 2 & 3:
– 33 additional recordings from the studio sessions, most previously unreleased and mixed for the first time from the four-track session tapes, sequenced in chronological order of their recording dates
– A new stereo mix of Penny Lane and the 2015 stereo mix of Strawberry Fields Forever
– Direct transfers of the album’s original mono mix and the Strawberry Fields Forever and Penny Lane singles
– Capitol Records’ US promotional mono single mix of Penny Lane
– Previously unreleased early mono mixes of “he’s Leaving Home, A Day In The Life, and Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds (a mix thought to have been erased from a tape in 1967, but discovered during archive research for the anniversary edition)
Discs 5 & 6 (Blu-ray and DVD):
– New 5.1 surround audio mixes of the album and Penny Lane by Giles Martin and Sam Okell, plus their 2015 5.1 surround mix of Strawberry Fields Forever
– High resolution audio versions of the new stereo mixes of the album and Penny Lane and of the 2015 stereo mix of Strawberry Fields Forever
– Video features: 4K restored original promotional films for Strawberry Fields Forever, Penny Lane, and A Day In The Life; plus The Making of Sgt. Pepper, a restored, previously unreleased documentary film (broadcast in 1992), featuring insightful interviews with Paul McCartney, George Harrison, and Ringo Starr, and in-studio footage introduced by George Martin.
For more detail and to pre-order, visit http://TheBeatles.lnk.to/SgtPepperAnniversary
Watch a brief trailer video for Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band Anniversary Edition: https://TheBeatles.lnk.to/SgtPepperAnniversaryTrailer
TOP PHOTO: Getty