Beatles’ legendary recording techniques come through on new CDs
Incredible! That’s what I have to say after listening to some of the brand new remastered Beatles compact discs. Their entire catalog was reissued Wednesday after a meticulous four-year process of going through each and every song in an attempt to convey to the listener the sound that the Beatles originally recorded.
There was no remixing of the original recordings, which to me is crucial here. The Beatles spent more time in the studio than almost any band and their recording techniques are legendary. So it would be a shame to remix the songs as someone did with the “Yellow Submarine” reissue in 1999.
Personally, I think it would be a big mistake to try and improve any Beatles song. In fact, the original monophonic recordings, supposedly the favorite of purists, is available as a box set, as is the stereo versions. Individual CDs are only available in stereo.
Because I had pre-ordered the CDs, I received a cool Beatles T-shirt with their logo and the date 09.09.09, along with a 2-CD sampler featuring two songs from each of the Beatles’ 16 stereo albums. The sampler is a great mix of hits and more obscure tunes. It is set up chronologically and it is easy to see how, as the Beatles’ music evolved, so did their recording techniques so the latter recordings have more depth and warmth.
Since I couldn’t decide on just one, we opened “Revolver,” “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band,” “the Beatles (White Album)” and “Abbey Road.” That total of five is perfect for our CD changer at the store.
As I said, the sound is astonishing. There is so much life to these songs, it is as though you were right there in the studio with the band as they made these amazing recordings. The sound is so clean and the imaging has been tightened up so much that as I am listening to these songs, I am hearing things that either weren’t on the previous CDs or they were just buried so deep in the sound you couldn’t hear them.
It is as though layers upon layers of cellophane have been painstakingly removed, revealing warmth, depth and precision that makes the greatest rock band ever even more mind-blowing!
Right now, I am listening to “I Saw Her Standing There” from the sampler and it sounds even more fresh and innocent than it did the first time I heard it. Do you know what I mean? Now it is on to “I Am the Walrus,” and it is remarkable to hear the amplified string instruments recorded with microphones surprisingly made from headphones. Those are two more recording methods that can be attributed to the Fab Four.
Jeff Lynne was so enthralled when he first heard “I Am the Walrus” that he based his band, the Electric Light Orchestra, on that song and its psychedelic-acid-trip music and lyrics. How many bands based their entire sound on one song from another band? Better yet, how many bands that you know of have had that kind of influence on others?
Personally, I think it is a very short list and the Beatles are at the top of the hill. If you need further proof, just go out and pick up one of these great new releases.
Trust me, it’s easy. Just pick out your favorite Beatles recording. Start there and hear the Beatles for the first time, all over again, just like I did.