Saturday, September 12, 2009

Paul McCartney Was In A Band Before Wings?

Count me as utterly apathetic that the Beatles' albums have been remastered and reissued. No doubt it's an effort (and a successful one) to get fanatics to buy the product on compact disc once more before the CD fades out of existence. And how many buyers will in turn go and listen to their reissues as mp3s?

A great many thousands of Beatlemaniacs will shell out in the neighborhood of $600 for two box sets of extravagantly remastered records they probably already own, rip those suckers to iTunes-type computer programs, and blast them on iPod-type portable MP3 players through earbuds (overpriced at $30 or so) that render the sonic differences between the old stuff, the new stereo stuff, and the new mono stuff thoroughly negligible.

Maybe I'm just cynical because I don't own all the Beatles albums, and the ones I do have sound just fine to me. The Beatles stuff was also reissued as a mono collection (Common Man: "If you want to hear the Beatles in mono, listen to them on AM."), which attempts to replicate buying the albums as they were originally issued on vinyl.

My guess is the next step is to actually go ahead and reissue the albums on vinyl. You don't see much for Beatles stuff in the used racks, so likely most everybody is still holding onto their original LPs. Do longtime fans want new Beatles vinyl? Vinyl has been making a comeback in recent years, would younger folks with no Beatles vinyl want new LPs? With turntable owners still being a minority, maybe the first step in a vinyl reissue would be to release some sort of anthology. I'm thinking maybe two double LPs. One could cover the pre-Sgt. Pepper's years of 1962-1966. Assign the cover a bold primary color like red to signify the Beatles' brazen takeover of pop music in the early- and mid-sixties. And of course, feature a photo of them smiling in their moptops.

The other double LP could cover the years 1967-1970, after they had conquered the world. This album cover could be a softer primary color like blue to signify the experimental and more-individualistic sound the band embraced in the second half of its existence. To signify how much the band had changed since its inception, use a photo of them as longhairs. If they ever posed identically as both moptops and longhairs, those photos would be PERFECT for these two albums.

Aside from the obvious songs essential to any Beatles collection, both anthologies could throw in singles and other notable tracks not on the official Beatles LPs. Stereo or mono? I'll let the fanatics fight over that one. I'm already imagining these LPs in the stacks over by my turntable, ready to be played all weekend long.