Posts Tagged ‘EMI’

New details on remastered John Lennon releases

September 1, 2010

EMI has just announced the full track listings and other details for the newly remastered John Lennon albums to be released in October.

EMI will release eight remastered John Lennon solo albums and new titles including Double Fantasy Stripped Down, Power To The People: The Hits, Gimme Some Truth and the John Lennon Signature Box. The Double Fantasy Stripped Down might be the most interesting, with new remixes of each song on Lennon’s 1980 release done by Yoko Ono and Jack Douglas, who co-produced the original album with John. The mixes pare back on the sometimes lush production of the original songs.

Here is a quite moving blog post from Yoko on the remastering/remixing process.

And here’s the text of EMI’s press release with the details on the track listings:

For the first time, Lennon’s classic solo albums and other standout recordings have been digitally remastered from his original mixes. Double Fantasy, 1980’s GRAMMY Award winner for Album of the Year, will be presented with a newly remixed ‘Stripped Down’ version produced by Yoko Ono and Jack Douglas, Lennon’s original co-producers for the album. Some Time In New York City has been restored to include the six ‘Live Jam’ recordings featured on the original album.

The deluxe 11CD and digital John Lennon Signature Box includes 13 previously unreleased home recordings, and Yoko Ono, Sean Lennon, and Julian Lennon have each written personal essays for the lavish collection.

The cover art for the new titles includes original drawings by Sean Lennon for Double Fantasy Stripped Down, while the cover of 1974’s Walls and Bridges is restored to its original artwork.

John Lennon’s life and music will be specially feted this fall with a variety of commemorative releases and events around the world. Please visit http://www.johnlennon.com for official announcements and updates.

POWER TO THE PEOPLE: THE HITS [CD; Digital]

1. Power To The People

2. Gimme Some Truth

3. Woman

4. Instant Karma! (We All Shine On)

5. Whatever Gets You Thru The Night

6. Cold Turkey

7. Jealous Guy

8. #9 Dream

9. (Just Like) Starting Over

10. Mind Games

11. Watching The Wheels

12. Stand By Me

13. Imagine

14. Happy Xmas (War Is Over)

15. Give Peace A Chance

POWER TO THE PEOPLE: THE HITS (EXPERIENCE EDITION) [CD/DVD]

CD

(tracklist same as above)

DVD

1. Power To The People

2. Gimme Some Truth

3. Woman

4. Instant Karma! (We All Shine On)

5. Whatever Gets You Thru The Night

6. Cold Turkey

7. Jealous Guy

8. #9 Dream

9. (Just Like) Starting Over

10. Mind Games

11. Watching The Wheels

12. Stand By Me

13. Imagine

14. Happy Xmas (War Is Over)

15. Give Peace A Chance

GIMME SOME TRUTH [4CD; Digital]

Working Class Hero

1. Working Class Hero

2. Instant Karma! (We All Shine On)

3. Power To The People

4. God

5. I Don’t Wanna Be a Soldier Mama I Don’t Wanna Die

6. Gimme Some Truth

7. Sunday Bloody Sunday

8. Steel And Glass

9. Meat City

10. I Don’t Wanna Face It

11. Remember

12. Woman Is The Nigger Of The World

13. I Found out

14. Isolation

15. Imagine

16. Happy Xmas (War Is Over)

17. Give Peace A Chance

18. Only People

Woman

1. Mother

2. Hold On

3. You Are Here

4. Well Well Well

5. Oh My Love

6. Oh Yoko!

7. Grow Old With Me

8. Love

9. Jealous Guy

10. Woman

11. Out The Blue

12. Bless You

13. Nobody Loves You (When You’re Down And Out)

14. My Mummy’s Dead

15. I’m Losing You

16. (Just Like) Starting Over

17. #9 Dream

18. Beautiful Boy (Darling Boy)

Borrowed Time

1. Mind Games

2. Nobody Told Me

3. Cleanup Time

4. Crippled Inside

5. How Do You Sleep?

6. How?

7. Intuition

8. I’m Stepping Out

9. Whatever Gets You Thru The Night

10. Old Dirt Road

11. Scared

12. What You Got

13. Cold Turkey

14. New York City

15. Surprise Surprise (Sweet Bird Of Paradox)

16. Borrowed Time

17. Look At Me

18. Watching The Wheels

Roots

1. Be-Bop-A-Lula

2. You Can’t Catch Me

3. Medley: Rip It Up/Ready Teddy

4. Tight A$

5. Ain’t That a Shame

6. Sweet Little Sixteen

7. Do You Wanna Dance

8. Slippin’ and Slidin’

9. Peggy Sue

10. Medley: Bring It On Home/Send Me Some Lovin’

11. Yer Blues (Live)

12. Just Because

13. Boney Moronie

14. Beef Jerky

15. Ya Ya

16. Hound Dog (Live)

17. Stand By Me

18. Here We Go Again

JOHN LENNON SIGNATURE BOX [11CD; Digital]

Original Albums [digitally remastered]

– John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band

– Imagine

– Some Time In New York City

– Mind Games

– Walls and Bridges

– Rock ‘n’ Roll

– Double Fantasy

– Milk and Honey

Home Tapes

1. Mother

2. Love

3. God

4. I Found Out

5. Nobody Told Me

6. Honey Don’t

7. One Of The Boys

8. India, India

9. Serve Yourself

10. Isolation

11. Remember

12. Beautiful Boy (Darling Boy)

13. I Don’t Wanna Be a Soldier Mama I Don’t Wanna Die

Singles

1. Power To The People

2. Happy Xmas (War Is Over)

3. Instant Karma! (We All Shine On)

4. Cold Turkey

5. Move Over Ms. L

6. Give Peace a Chance

ORIGINAL ALBUMS (REMASTERED) [CD; Digital]

John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band (1970)

1. Mother

2. Hold On

3. I Found Out

4. Working Class Hero

5. Isolation

6. Remember

7. Love

8. Well Well Well

9. Look At Me

10. God

11. My Mummy’s Dead

Imagine (1971)

1. Imagine

2. Crippled Inside

3. Jealous Guy

4. It’s So Hard

5. I Don’t Wanna Be A Soldier Mama I Don’t Wanna Die

6. Gimme Some Truth

7. Oh My Love

8. How Do You Sleep?

9. How?

10. Oh Yoko!

Some Time In New York City (1972)

DISC ONE

1. Woman Is The Nigger Of The World

2. Sisters, O Sisters

3. Attica State

4. Born In a Prison

5. New York City

6. Sunday Bloody Sunday

7. The Luck Of The Irish

8. John Sinclair

9. Angela

10. We’re All Water

DISC TWO

1. Cold Turkey (live)

2. Don’t Worry Kyoko (live)

3. Well (Baby Please Don’t Go) (live)

4. Jamrag (live)

5. Scumbag (live)

6. Au (live)

Mind Games (1973)

1. Mind Games

2. Tight A$

3. Aisumasen (I’m Sorry)

4. One Day (At A Time)

5. Bring On The Lucie (Freda Peeple)

6. Nutopian International Anthem

7. Intuition

8. Out The Blue

9. Only People

10. I Know (I Know)

11. You Are Here

12. Meat City

Walls and Bridges (1974)

1. Going Down On Love

2. Whatever Gets You Thru The Night

3. Old Dirt Road

4. What You Got

5. Bless You

6. Scared

7. #9 Dream

8. Surprise, Surprise (Sweet Bird Of Paradox)

9. Steel And Glass

10. Beef Jerky

11. Nobody Loves You (When You’re Down And Out)

12. Ya Ya

Rock ‘n’ Roll (1975)

1. Be-Bop-A-Lula

2. Stand By Me

3. Medley: Rip It Up/Ready Teddy

4. You Can’t Catch Me

5. Ain’t That A Shame

6. Do You Wanna Dance

7. Sweet Little Sixteen

8. Slippin’ And Slidin’

9. Peggy Sue

10. Medley: Bring It On Home To Me/Send Me Some Lovin’

11. Bony Moronie

12. Ya Ya

13. Just Because

Double Fantasy Stripped Down (2010) / Double Fantasy (1980)

Stripped Down

Original Album, Remastered

1. (Just Like) Starting Over

2. Kiss Kiss Kiss

3. Cleanup Time

4. Give Me Something

5. I’m Losing You

6. I’m Moving On

7. Beautiful Boy (Darling Boy)

8. Watching The Wheels

9. Yes, I’m Your Angel

10. Woman

11. Beautiful Boys

12. Dear Yoko

13. Every Man Has A Woman Who Loves Him

14. Hard Times Are Over

Milk and Honey (1984)

1. I’m Stepping Out

2. Sleepless Night

3. I Don’t Wanna Face It

4. Don’t Be Scared

5. Nobody Told Me

6. O’Sanity

7. Borrowed Time

8. Your Hands

9. (Forgive Me) My Little Flower Princess

10. Let Me Count The Ways

11. Grow Old With Me

12. You’re The One

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Beatles “Red” and “Blue” compilations remastered

August 18, 2010

EMI and Apple Corps. have just announced that the Beatles’ 1973 greatest-hits compilation “Red” and “Blue” albums have been remastered for release in October. The remastering work has been done by the same Abbey Road/EMI team that handled the chore for 2009’s release of the remastered original catalog of albums. (For an interview with Allan Rouse, head of the remastering project, click here.)

I don’t know if you’ve heard the remastered versions of the original albums, but you need to do so if you haven’t. I know that I’ve relegated my old Red and Blue CDs to my young children’s CD players — which means, of course, they are not long for this world. The remastered versions of the songs are that much better. The engineers, headed by Rouse, did a fantastic job walking that fine line between improving the clarity and punch without hyping (that is, ruining) the original sounds.

So if you really just want the best-of-the-best in their best-possible-sounding digital form, the coming remastered Red and Blue compilations might be just the ticket!

EMI as the Fool On The Hill?

May 18, 2010

Here is an interesting rant on TechCrunch about the ongoing Apple Corps/Apple/EMI/Beatles scrum that has, so far at least, prevented the Beatles from selling their music on iTunes, or any other digital seller, for that matter.

Thanks to Kurt Greenbaum for pointing this out to me.

Report: EMI puts Abbey Road up for sale

February 16, 2010

EMI is trying to sell the iconic Abbey Road studios, according to this report in Billboard. It’s perhaps the latest sign of the decline of major recording studios worldwide. But a sale does not necessarily mean the studio is in trouble. In fact, as the report details, the studio has its own music series and will soon debut retail goods like sweatshirts and stationery. It’s also involved in selling software emulations of some of its classic gear for recording.

UPDATE: Here’s a fun did-you-know list from the Daily Mirror about the studio and its history.

Let’s all hope that EMI finds a buyer willing to invest in the longterm success of one of the most sacred spots in the history of recorded music — or recommits to the studio itself.

Beatles to release music on USB drive, vinyl

November 3, 2009

appleThe Beatles’ Apple Corps and EMI announced today that they would release all the group’s remastered stereo albums on a special, apple-shaped USB drive. Interesting move… wonder if people who passed on the CDs will be tempted to purchase this. The music will be saved as 24-bit files — higher quality than CD — as well as .MP3 files, which are actually lower quality than CD.

Also, according to Mojo, it appears the remastered music will be available on vinyl, too. Woohoo!

Remastered Beatles albums selling fast

September 22, 2009
Courtesy Apple Corps

Courtesy Apple Corps

The remastered Beatles albums have given EMI a worldwide sales success, as you might expect. Here’s the text of the label’s triumphant announcement:

Underlining their timeless appeal and unique status in music, The Beatles have broken multiple chart records around the world following the September 9, 2009 (9-9-09) CD release of their digitally re-mastered catalogue. In the major music markets of North America, Japan and the UK, consumers purchased more than 2.25 million copies of The Beatles’ re-mastered albums, individually and in two multiple-CD boxed sets, one in stereo and one in mono, during the first five days of release (excluding non-traditional retail outlets whose sales are not tracked by the chart compilers).

The Beatles’ original UK studio albums were re-mastered by a dedicated team of engineers at Abbey Road Studios in London over a four year period, carefully maintaining the authenticity and integrity of the original analogue recordings. The result is the highest fidelity the catalogue has seen since its original release.

The most popular band of the 20th century, The Beatles are beloved by music fans in the 21st century, as evidenced by their current unparalleled global chart performance:

  • US: During the first five days of release, consumers purchased more than one million copies of re-mastered Beatles titles, and the individual CD and boxed sets debuted strongly across multiple Billboard charts.

o        On Billboard’s Comprehensive Albums chart, which lists the most popular album releases in the US, including current and catalogue titles, The Beatles set a new record for the most simultaneous titles by a single artist (18), including five of the top 10 and nine of the top 20.

o        On the Pop Catalog chart, The Beatles achieved another new Billboard chart first for the most simultaneous titles in the top 50 (16), a record they previously set themselves with 12 titles in December 1995.  The Beatles have nine of the chart’s top 10 titles, and all 14 re-mastered CDs are in the top 20, led by ‘Abbey Road’ at number one and ‘Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band’ at number two.

o        On the Billboard Top 200 Albums chart, ‘The Beatles’ stereo boxed set debuted at number 15, and ‘The Beatles in Mono’ limited edition boxed set debuted at number 40.

  • UK: In last week’s chart, The Beatles had four titles in the top 10, seven in the top 40 and 16 in the top 75, including both the stereo and mono boxes, as well as 2000’s ‘Beatles 1’ compilation. This set a new record for the most simultaneous albums in the UK charts according to the UK Official Charts Company. In this week’s UK chart, The Beatles have 13 albums in the top 75.  A further 84,000 CDs were sold last week, bringing their total sales of the remasters to more than 354,000 in 11 days and their total UK sales this decade to 6,755,000.
  • Japan: All 14 re-mastered titles and boxed sets debuted in the top 25 of the international chart, including seven of the top 10, led by the stereo boxed set at number two, the mono boxed set at number three, ‘Abbey Road’ at four and ‘Let It Be’ at six. Across all titles and box sets, more than 840,000 albums were purchased by consumers in Japan in the first three days of sales.
  • Canada: The Beatles have 15 of the top 20 catalogue titles including all of the top 11. The stereo boxed set is a new entry in the current albums chart at number four, the highest debut for a boxed set in Canada since Nielsen SoundScan started tracking sales. Cumulative sales across all titles were just under 160,000 over the counter.
  • France: All 14 of the re-mastered titles and boxed sets entered the latest album chart, including three in the top 10, led by ‘Abbey Road’ at number four, a new record for the most original studio albums in the French album chart in one week.
  • Italy: The Beatles have 17 titles in the current chart – all 14 re-mastered titles, the two boxed sets, plus the ‘1’ compilation, a record for the most simultaneous entries in the album chart.
  • Belgium: With 17 entries in the current chart – the 14 re-mastered titles, two boxed sets and ‘1’ compilation – The Beatles have set a new record for the most simultaneous albums in the Belgian chart as confirmed by chart compiler Ultrapop.
  • Sweden: The Beatles have 16 titles simultaneously in the top 60, led by ‘Abbey Road’ at number six. Local industry body IFPI have confirmed that this is a record for the Swedish charts.
  • Argentina: Seven of the current top 10 albums are Beatles re-masters, led by ‘Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band at number two, ‘Abbey Road’ at number three and ‘The Beatles’ (The White Album) at number four.  All 14 re-mastered titles are in the top 20 and the boxed sets are at numbers 73 and 74 in the chart.
  • Spain: 13 Beatles albums plus both boxed sets debuted in the latest chart, a record for a single artist.  The combined sales of the boxed sets places them at number four in the chart.
  • Poland: All 14 re-mastered albums and two boxed sets debuted in the current top 100, led by ‘Abbey Road’ at six. This is a record for the highest number of simultaneous entries in the Polish chart.
  • Switzerland: 14 Beatles titles, including the stereo boxed set, debuted in the most recent album chart, a record for the most simultaneous titles in the album chart.
  • Denmark: The latest album chart includes 15 re-mastered Beatles titles, plus the ‘1’ compilation, including four of the top 20.
  • Australia: The Beatles have 14 titles in the current chart, including the ‘1’ compilation.
  • Germany: The combined sales of the stereo and mono boxed sets, with one boxed set counted as one unit sale, places them as the number three best seller in the latest chart.
  • Austria: The current top 75 contains 12 re-mastered titles plus the stereo boxed set.

  • Portugal: The re-mastered titles occupy 11 places in the current top 30 album chart, including three of the top 10.
  • Norway: The combined stereo and mono boxed sets debut at number three with a further 12 re-mastered titles in the top 100.
  • Colombia: Half of the current top 10 albums are Beatles re-masters titles.
  • Korea: During the first sales week The Beatles occupied 16 of the top 17 spots in Korea’s Hottracks album chart.

Beatles remasters: The latest from Abbey Road

August 25, 2009

remastered

The man in charge of the first-ever remastering of the Beatles’ catalog says the resulting recordings sound “the closest they’ve ever sounded to the original master tapes.”

Allan Rouse, an engineer at EMI’s Abbey Road studio, heads the team that remastered all the original Beatles albums and singles for release Sept. 9 — the same day that the Beatles Rock Band video game is released.

Rouse told me in an hour-long telephone interview from Abbey Road that his team tried to restore the sound of the band’s music as closely as possible to its original condition, before the group’s catalog was first transferred to the CD format in 1987.

The goal: to allow listeners to experience the Beatles “as they heard themselves here in the studios.”

“Quite honestly, you cannot get a lot better than that,” he said.

And yet, Rouse and his team have chosen to go beyond a straight analogue-to-digital transfer of the master tapes, leaving the door open to criticism and second-guessing from audio purists and some devoted fans.

At times, Abbey Road’s mastering team used tools such as limiting — which reduces dynamics to raise the overall loudness of a track — and removal of “errors” like imperfect edits and noise. These tools, Rouse stressed, were used conservatively; noises that were deemed part of the group’s performance of a song, such as lip smacking or a squeaky drum pedal, were left in.

The engineers, he said, were well aware that they were working on an historic collection — “the real holy grail,” in Rouse’s words — in which every flubbed lyric and background click was known, debated and loved by millions.

And he knows that anything they do to pop music’s most celebrated catalog will be dissected and debated, starting Sept. 9. (UPDATE: I received my packet of CDs from EMI, and I share my initial reactions  here.)

Getting Better

Rouse certainly knows his Beatles songs.

He joined Abbey Road in 1972, just two years after the Beatles’ breakup, and worked under Norman Smith, who had been the Beatles’ first balance engineer. Rouse has worked on several solo Beatle projects as well as the Beatles Anthology project in the 1990s, and he was in charge of the first-ever remix of Beatles songs for the Yellow Submarine soundtrack CD released a few years ago.

The pressure, he said, was enormous.

“No one had remixed Beatles music before,” he said. After he and his team remixed several iconic songs, including “Eleanor Rigby” and “Yellow Submarine,” he recalled, “Suddenly I’m in the studio with Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr….. We’re all sitting in Studio 3 and we’re about to play them material that had never been remixed by anyone besides Beatles engineers.”

Luckily for him, the project got the two surviving Beatles’ approval. “During playback, they were smiling,” Rouse said. “They were loving it.”

No remixing was done on the project that’s about to be unveiled. Remixing means taking the individual tracks of a multitrack recording and re-combining them, treating each group of voices or instruments to their own sound effects. Most of the Beatles work was either two-track, four-track or eight-track, so lots of fundamental changes are possible.

In remastering, by contrast, only the final stereo or mono master is treated to changes.

However, significant differences are still possible — especially in the Beatles’ case, because everything the group recorded was captured in analogue tape. When the Beatles CDs were released in 1987, those tapes were transferred to digital information using technology that was still evolving. The result: Most anyone who has compared the CD sound to the original vinyl finds the digital versions harsh and lacking in depth.

This time around, Rouse said, Abbey Road used modern, extremely high quality digital converters.

“There’s been a huge improvement in digital in over 22 years,” Rouse said. After the digital transfer, he said, “We already had an improvement” over the 1987 CD releases.

But Rouse’s team went further.

Abbey Road engineers who worked on the Beatles remastering project. Allen Rouse is at right.

Abbey Road engineers who worked on the Beatles remastering project. Allan Rouse is at right.

Long and Winding Road

The remastered songs are divided into two major categories: First, the original albums and non-album singles are being released in stereo, some for the first time ever in that format. The albums will be available individually or as a boxed set. Of more interest to die-hard Beatles fans, perhaps, are the second group — the original mono mixes of each album and the non-album singles, to be available only as a boxed set. For more details, see the official press release here.

Rouse and co. decided on a two-pronged strategy: The stereo versions would be subject to some limiting, equalization and de-noising. The mono versions, however, would be free of limiting, with only minor de-noising and EQ.

Why the different approaches? Rouse said he expects the stereo releases to attract the bulk of attention from the public. His team chose to do more of the technical work on these versions to make them more palatable to a modern audience accustomed to hard-limited — i.e., extra loud — production now in vogue.

“The reason we limited the stereos is because we wanted them in particular to be able to stand against some of the material today — but not compete with it,” he said.

In other words, Rouse continued, he wanted the remastered stereo versions to be heard back to back against modern music without a dramatic loss in volume. To do any less, he asserted, “wouldn’t have been fair to the Beatles music.”

But the team, he said, resisted the temptation to try to make the sound too modern.

“Our restraint was based on the fact that to have made them sound contemporary with music of today is also wrong, because it isn’t today’s music,” he said. “The most important factor is, the dynamics have been retained.”

Here’s what EMI has said about the remastering process:

The re-mastering process commenced with an extensive period conducting tests before finally copying the analogue master tapes into the digital medium. When this was completed, the transfer was achieved using a Pro Tools workstation operating at 24 bit 192 kHz resolution via a Prism A-D converter. Transferring was a lengthy procedure done a track at a time. Although EMI tape does not suffer the oxide loss associated with some later analogue tapes, there was nevertheless a slight build up of dust, which was removed from the tape machine heads between each title.

From the onset, considerable thought was given to what audio restorative processes were going to be allowed.It was agreed that electrical clicks, microphone vocal pops, excessive sibilance and bad edits should be improved where possible, so long as it didn’t impact on the original integrity of the songs.

In addition, de-noising technology, which is often associated with re-mastering, was to be used, but subtly and sparingly. Eventually, less than five of the 525 minutes of Beatles music was subjected to this process. Finally, as is common with today’s music, overall limiting – to increase the volume level of the CD – has been used, but on the stereo versions only. However, it was unanimously agreed that because of the importance of The Beatles’ music, limiting would be used moderately, so as to retain the original dynamics of the recordings.

When all of the albums had been transferred, each song was then listened to several times to locate any of the agreed imperfections. These were then addressed by Guy Massey, working with Audio Restoration engineer Simon Gibson.

Mastering could now take place, once the earliest vinyl pressings, along with the existing CDs, were loaded into Pro Tools, thus allowing comparisons to be made with the original master tapes during the equalization process. When an album had been completed, it was auditioned the next day in studio three – a room familiar to the engineers, as all of the recent Beatles mixing projects had taken place in there – and any further alteration of EQ could be addressed back in the mastering room. Following the initial satisfaction of Guy and Steve, Allan Rouse and Mike Heatley then checked each new re-master in yet another location and offered any further suggestions. This continued until all 13 albums were completed to the team’s satisfaction.

Rouse expects the mono boxed set to be of the most interest to the serious Beatles fan – people who, for the most part, grew up with the music and wish to hear the mixes that the Beatles, original producer George Martin and original engineers Norman Smith, Geoff Emerick and a few others spent the most time on.

In the mid-1960s, the English market for pop music was dominated by mono. Stereos were generally owned by older, more prosperous folks, and EMI and other British labels at the time assumed they were more interested in classical rather than pop music. So, the Beatles and the Abbey Road staff for the most part labored over the mono mixes of material – a fact confirmed by Emerick, the Grammy-winning balance engineer for Revolver, Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band and Abbey Road.

“Through Pepper, the Beatles were actually present..when those mixes were refined,” said Emerick from his Los Angeles home. “That was the way the Beatles wanted to hear it. That was the mono.”

Emerick described how he, producer George Martin and Emerick’s assistant Richard Lush would labor over every nuance of the mono mix. In many cases, special effects and additional sounds were “flown in” during the mix itself.

“With all the sound effects, such as on ‘Good Morning, Good Morning,’ some of those sounds weren’t on the four track. So we had to inject sound effects ourselves.” (For Emerick’s fascinating account of the Beatles years, read his excellent book, which you can order here. And to hear parts of my 2007 interview with Emerick centered on his work on Sgt. Pepper, go here.)

The mix, then, was its own performance — one that in some cases never could be repeated.

The stereo mixes, by contrast, were done much faster, usually without the Beatles’ involvement. “When it came to mixing the stereo, on Pepper, they’d gone on holiday,” Emerick recalled.

And the result is that there are sounds on the mono mixes that don’t exist on stereo — more clucks of the hen that introduces the Sgt. Pepper reprise, for example. And the effects on the vocals are different, sometimes substantially, as on “Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds.”

But mostly, the mono mixes represent the Beatles’ and the Abbey Road staff’s best work — the Beatles as they wanted to be heard. And that, perhaps, is what is most thrilling to longtime Beatles fans: the chance to hear the music in a state closer to the group’s intent.

Get Back

For his part, Rouse has deep respect for the work of Emerick and the other original engineers in creating those mono mixes, which by their nature are more difficult to perform than stereo mixes.

“What I find most amazing about the monos was the level of detail that was put into them, particularly when they became more complicated, to create a balance where you still hear everything,” he said “I find it quite astonishing.

“They managed without all that technology, and they did it incredibly well.”

Still, Rouse and his Abbey Road colleagues declined to invite Emerick or the other original engineers who survive to participate in the remastering process. Emerick said he doesn’t want to say much about that decision, but it’s clear that he was hurt by the slight.

“I don’t want to make it sound like sour grapes. It’s not sour grapes, it’s just disrespect,” Emerick said. “How stupid can anyone be not to ask the original engineer to at least listen to them and react?”

Rouse said it would have been appropriate to ask each engineer to react only to those songs that each worked on originally. Moreover, Rouse said, the original engineers might have been too close to the original recordings to be objective.

“It might have been nice, but I think it would have been wrong” to invite them, Rouse said. “Geoff would have been too close to it. I think our distance and the fact we weren’t involved in it just gives it a slightly different way of listening to it.”

And, Rouse added, the new versions have been approved by the two surviving Beatles, along with Yoko Ono and Olivia Harrison.

The End

What will millions of potential consumers think when they hear the remastered music?

First, and perhaps most obviously, EMI hopes it will attract new, younger fans to the band’s unequaled catalog.

“What I think you’re going to hear is something fairly magical,” Rouse predicts.

I haven’t heard the new versions yet, although the CDs have just in the last hour arrived from EMI. I will share my initial thoughts on them tomorrow.

As far as attracting new fans, I certainly believe that will happen. I bring to your attention a comment I saw from a young web surfer who had stumbled upon a video promotion from the soon-to-be-released Beatles Rock Band video game. The viewer liked what he or she had seen and heard, apparently for the first time:

“I was never much of a Beatles fan but after watching this trailer I definitely had to look them up on Youtube,” the person wrote. “Damn Their songs are amazing. I missed out on a great band. I’m a fan now.”

Amazing indeed.

Rouse says he doesn’t expect everyone to appreciate the way Abbey Road handled the remastering process. Emerick, understandably protective of his and the band’s work, says he worries about the changes the studio made. And die-hard fans may well take offense at any use of limiting, digital de-noising or equalization.

But in the end, I suspect that the incredible music that the Beatles produced, with substantial assistance from George Martin, Emerick and other key personnel at Abbey Road, will win over the vast majority of new listeners.