Sgt Pepper 50th Anniversary Mini Site, Press Release and Record Store Day Announcement

Well, after all the teasers and leaked information (accidental and otherwise), the 50th Anniversary Editions of Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band have today been formally announced by Apple and Universal Music….

The Beatles’ official site now has this mini site:

The breaking news is that there is to be an exclusive, limited edition seven-inch vinyl single of The Beatles’ ‘Strawberry Fields Forever’/’Penny Lane’ for Record Store Day on April 22:

Meanwhile, here’s the official Press Release:

 THE BEATLES CELEBRATE ‘SGT. PEPPER’S LONELY HEARTS CLUB BAND’
                   WITH SPECIAL ANNIVERSARY EDITION RELEASES

‘Sgt. Pepper’ Presented with New Mixes in Stereo and 5.1 Surround Audio; Expanded with Previously Unreleased Session Recordings, Video Features & Special Packaging

Previously Unreleased 1992 Documentary Film, ‘The Making of Sgt. Pepper,’ Restored for Anniversary Edition’s Super Deluxe Boxed Set

London – April 5, 2017 – It was 50 years ago this June 1st when The Beatles’ John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison, and Ringo Starr astonished and delighted the world, ushering in the Summer of Love with Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, a groundbreaking masterwork that became popular music’s most universally acclaimed album. To salute the occasion, The Beatles will release a suite of lavishly presented ‘Sgt. Pepper’ Anniversary Edition packages on May 26 (Apple Corps Ltd./Capitol/UMe). The album is newly mixed by Giles Martin and Sam Okell in stereo and 5.1 surround audio and expanded with early takes from the studio sessions, including no fewer than 34 previously unreleased recordings.

“It’s crazy to think that 50 years later we are looking back on this project with such fondness and a little bit of amazement at how four guys, a great producer and his engineers could make such a lasting piece of art,” says Paul McCartney in his newly-penned introduction for the ‘Sgt. Pepper’ Anniversary Edition.

“‘Sgt. Pepper’ seemed to capture the mood of that year, and it also allowed a lot of other people to kick off from there and to really go for it,” Ringo Starr recalls in the Anniversary Edition’s book.

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,” among the first songs recorded during the ‘Sgt. Pepper’ sessions, which began in November 1966. Rather than being held for inclusion on the album, the two songs were released as a double A-sided single in February 1967. Amidst intense media speculation about the band’s next move, the single bridged what was then considered a long gap between the Revolver album, released in August 1966, and ‘Sgt. Pepper,’ which followed 10 months later.

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. To create the new stereo and 5.1 surround audio mixes for ‘Sgt. Pepper,’ producer Giles Martin and mix engineer Sam Okell worked with an expert team of engineers and audio restoration specialists at Abbey Road Studios in London. All of the Anniversary Edition releases include Martin’s new stereo mix of the album, which was sourced directly from the original four-track session tapes and guided by the original, Beatles-preferred mono mix produced by his father, George Martin.

Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band Anniversary Edition releases include:

A CD featuring the new ‘Sgt. Pepper’ stereo mix, complete with the original U.K. 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”
CD 4:
– Direct transfers of the album’s original mono mix and the “Strawberry Fields Forever” and “Penny Lane” singles
– Capitol Records’ U.S. promotional mono single mix of “Penny Lane”
– Previously unreleased early mono mixes of “She’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 McCartney, Harrison, and Starr, and in-studio footage introduced by George Martin.

– “A splendid time is guaranteed for all” –

The album’s vibrant artwork, including its extravagant Pop Art cover which finds The Beatles surrounded by a crowd of heroes in a 3D collage, was created by Peter Blake and Jann Haworth in collaboration with the band. The original artwork is showcased across the suite of Anniversary Edition releases, including the album’s pull-out sheet of ‘Sgt. Pepper’ cutouts. Housed in a 12-inch by 12-inch box with lenticular artwork and two bonus posters, the six-disc Super Deluxe set is presented with a 144-page hardcover book. The book includes new introductions by Paul McCartney and Giles Martin, and chapters covering comprehensive song-by-song details and recording information, the design of the cover, the album’s musical innovations and its historical context by Beatles historian, author and radio producer Kevin Howlett; composer and musicologist Howard Goodall; music producer and writer Joe Boyd; and journalists Ed Vulliamy and Jeff Slate,  illustrated with rare photographs, reproductions of handwritten lyrics, Abbey Road Studios documentation, and original ‘Sgt. Pepper’ print ads. The Deluxe 2CD digipak is slipcased with a 50-page booklet abridged from the box set’s book, and the 2LP Deluxe Vinyl is presented in a faithful reproduction of the album’s original gatefold jacket.

– “We hope you will enjoy the show” –

Just as many ideas are sparked by chance, ‘Sgt. Pepper’ first sprang from a conversation between Paul and Beatles roadie Mal Evans on an airplane, when Mal’s request to pass the salt and pepper was misheard by Paul as “Sgt. Pepper.” The concept of who such a figure could be took root in Paul’s mind, blooming with the imagination of The Beatles as an Edwardian era military band — “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band.” The Beatles’ creative wellspring for ‘Sgt. Pepper’ also flowed from such myriad sources as The Beach Boys’ Pet Sounds album, a Victorian circus poster (“Being For The Benefit Of Mr. Kite!”), a TV commercial for breakfast cereal (“Good Morning Good Morning”), a picture drawn by John’s young son, Julian (“Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds”), a teen runaway reported in the news (“She’s Leaving Home’), and Hindu teachings (“Within You Without You”).

– “Lend me your ears and I’ll sing you a song” –

Using the standard four-track tape recording equipment of the day, The Beatles collaborated with producer George Martin to achieve “the impossible,” as they dubbed it, to go as far out as they could with arrangements and new technology to realize their collective vision for Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. As George Martin described it, “We were into another kind of art form where you were putting something down on tape that could only be done on tape.” The Beatles clocked more than 400 hours in Abbey Road’s Studio 2 to record the album, wrapping sessions in April 1967.

– “I read the news today oh boy” –

Upon its release on June 1, 1967, Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band initially spent 148 weeks in the British chart, including a total of 27 weeks at number one. During its first U.S. chart run, the album held the number one spot for 15 of the 88 weeks it appeared in the Top 200. ‘Sgt. Pepper’ won four GRAMMY Awards®, including Album of the Year, and it remains one of the most influential and bestselling albums of all time. In 2003, the U.S. Library of Congress selected ‘Sgt. Pepper’ for the National Recording Registry, recognizing the album as “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant.” ‘Sgt. Pepper’ tops Rolling Stone magazine’s definitive list of the “500 Greatest Albums of All Time.”

Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band Anniversary Edition Tracklists

CD
(‘Sgt. Pepper’ 2017 Stereo Mix)
1.  Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band
2.  With A Little Help From My Friends
3.  Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds
4.  Getting Better
5.  Fixing A Hole
6.  She’s Leaving Home
7.  Being For The Benefit Of Mr. Kite!
8.  Within You Without You
9.  When I’m Sixty-Four
10. Lovely Rita
11. Good Morning Good Morning
12. Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band (Reprise)
13. A Day In The Life

Deluxe [2CD, digital]

CD 1:  ‘Sgt. Pepper’ 2017 Stereo Mix (same as single-disc CD tracklist, above)

CD 2:  Complete early takes from the sessions in the same sequence as the album, plus various versions of “Strawberry Fields Forever” and “Penny Lane”
1.  Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band [Take 9]
2.  With A Little Help From My Friends [Take 1 – False Start And Take 2 – Instrumental]
3.  Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds [Take 1]
4.  Getting Better [Take 1 – Instrumental And Speech At The End]
5.  Fixing A Hole [Speech And Take 3]
6.  She’s Leaving Home [Take 1 – Instrumental]
7.  Being For The Benefit Of Mr. Kite! [Take 4]
8.  Within You Without You [Take 1 – Indian Instruments]
9.  When I’m Sixty-Four [Take 2]
10. Lovely Rita [Speech And Take 9]
11. Good Morning Good Morning [Take 8]
12. Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band (Reprise) [Take 8]
13. A Day In The Life [Take 1 With Hummed Last Chord]
14. Strawberry Fields Forever [Take 7]
15. Strawberry Fields Forever [Take 26]
16. Strawberry Fields Forever [Stereo Mix – 2015]
17. Penny Lane [Take 6 – Instrumental]
18. Penny Lane [Stereo Mix – 2017]

Deluxe Vinyl [180g 2LP]

LP 1:  ‘Sgt. Pepper’ 2017 Stereo Mix (same as single-disc CD tracklist, above)
SIDE 1 SIDE 2
1.  Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band 1.  Within You Without You
2.  With A Little Help From My Friends 2.  When I’m Sixty-Four
3.  Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds 3.  Lovely Rita
4.  Getting Better 4.  Good Morning Good Morning
5.  Fixing A Hole 5.  Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band
6.  She’s Leaving Home 6.  A Day In The Life
7.  Being For The Benefit Of Mr. Kite!

LP 2:  Complete early takes from the sessions in the same sequence as the album
SIDE 3
1.  Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band [Take 9 And Speech]
2.  With A Little Help From My Friends [Take 1 – False Start And Take 2 – Instrumental]
3.  Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds [Take 1]
4.  Getting Better [Take 1 – Instrumental And Speech At The End]
5.  Fixing A Hole [Speech And Take 3]
6.  She’s Leaving Home [Take 1 – Instrumental]
7.  Being For The Benefit Of Mr. Kite! [Take 4]

SIDE 4
1.  Within You Without You [Take 1 – Indian Instruments]
2.  When I’m Sixty-Four [Take 2]
3.  Lovely Rita [Speech And Take 9]
4.  Good Morning Good Morning [Take 8]
5.  Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band (Reprise) [Take 8]
6.  A Day In The Life [Take 1 With Hummed Last Chord]

Super Deluxe [4CD/DVD/Blu-ray boxed set]

CD 1:  ‘Sgt. Pepper’ 2017 Stereo Mix (same as single-disc CD tracklist, above)

CD 2:  Complete early takes from the sessions, sequenced in chronological order of their first recording dates
1.  Strawberry Fields Forever [Take 1]
2.  Strawberry Fields Forever [Take 4]
3.  Strawberry Fields Forever [Take 7]
4.  Strawberry Fields Forever [Take 26]
5.  Strawberry Fields Forever [Stereo Mix – 2015]
6.  When I’m Sixty-Four [Take 2]
7.  Penny Lane [Take 6 – Instrumental]
8.  Penny Lane [Vocal Overdubs And Speech]
9.  Penny Lane [Stereo Mix – 2017]
10. A Day In The Life [Take 1]
11. A Day In The Life [Take 2]
12. A Day In The Life [Orchestra Overdub]
13. A Day In The Life (Hummed Last Chord) [Takes 8, 9, 10 and 11]
14. A Day In The Life (The Last Chord)
15. Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band [Take 1 – Instrumental]
16. Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band [Take 9 And Speech]
17. Good Morning Good Morning [Take 1 – Instrumental, Breakdown]
18. Good Morning Good Morning [Take 8]

CD 3:  Complete early takes from the sessions, sequenced in chronological order of their first recording dates
1.  Fixing A Hole [Take 1]
2.  Fixing A Hole [Speech And Take 3]
3.  Being For The Benefit Of Mr. Kite! [Speech From Before Take 1; Take 4 And Speech At End]
4.  Being For The Benefit Of Mr. Kite! [Take 7]
5.  Lovely Rita [Speech And Take 9]
6.  Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds [Take 1 And Speech At The End]
7.  Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds [Speech, False Start And Take 5]
8.  Getting Better [Take 1 – Instrumental And Speech At The End]
9.  Getting Better [Take 12]
10. Within You Without You [Take 1 – Indian Instruments Only]
11. Within You Without You [George Coaching The Musicians]
12. She’s Leaving Home [Take 1 – Instrumental]
13. She’s Leaving Home [Take 6 – Instrumental]
14. With A Little Help From My Friends [Take 1 – False Start And Take 2 – Instrumental]
15. Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band (Reprise) [Speech And Take 8]

CD 4:  ‘Sgt. Pepper’ and bonus tracks in Mono
(Tracks 1-13:  2017 Direct Transfer of ‘Sgt. Pepper’ Original Mono Mix)
14. Strawberry Fields Forever [Original Mono Mix]
15. Penny Lane [Original Mono Mix]
16. A Day In The Life [Unreleased First Mono Mix]
17. Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds [Unreleased Mono Mix – No. 11]
18. She’s Leaving Home [Unreleased First Mono Mix]
19. Penny Lane [Capitol Records U.S. Promo Single – Mono Mix]

DISCS 5 & 6 (Blu-ray & DVD)
Audio Features (both discs):
– New 5.1 Surround Audio mixes of ‘Sgt. Pepper’ album and “Penny Lane,” plus 2015 5.1 Surround mix of “Strawberry Fields Forever” (Blu-ray: DTS HD Master Audio 5.1, Dolby True HD 5.1 / DVD: DTS Dolby Digital 5.1)
– High Resolution Audio versions of 2017 ‘Sgt. Pepper’ stereo mix and 2017 “Penny Lane” stereo mix, plus 2015 “Strawberry Fields Forever” hi res stereo mix (Blu-ray: LPCM Stereo 96KHz/24bit / DVD: LPCM Stereo)
Video Features (both discs):
– The Making of Sgt. Pepper [restored 1992 documentary film, previously unreleased]
– Promotional Films:  “A Day In The Life;” “Strawberry Fields Forever;” “Penny Lane” [4K restored]

Sgt Pepper 50th Anniversary Re-Issues Revealed

Significantly more detail has emerged about the May 26th release of the 50th Anniversary Editions of The Beatles Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band.

As already noted, the BIG news is that there’ll be a 2LP set;  a 1CD set; a 2CD Deluxe Edition; and a 6 Disc Super Deluxe Edition! That’s four CDs plus a DVD and a Blu-ray disc of the documentary “The Making of Sgt. Pepper”.

This “unboxing” video has been released:

As you can see, it says “Remixed….a brand new stereo mix by Giles Martin and Sam Okell from the original master tapes”.

Plus, wait for it, one CD of “previously unreleased session takes” in the double CD set, and in the 6 disc edition “two CD’s of extras – a deeper dive with 100 minutes of outtakes, many previously unheard and unreleased”.

There’ll also be a Mono mix “…with 6 extra tracks, including the ‘lost’ version of “Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds”.

Phew!  More soon.

(click image for larger version)

Cryptic Sgt Pepper 50th Anniversary Re-issue Hints?

The official Beatles website has today begun some sort of a mystery teaser campaign by publishing a cryptic, four-colour image on its front page:

While many are asking what it means, others are saying the image symbolises the colours of the uniforms the four Beatles wore on the front cover their Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band album – which in June is about to celebrate its 50th Anniversary:

If this is true it’s very much like what the site did for the “1” and “1+” video, CD and vinyl project back in September, 2015. Back then it began a teaser campaign by publishing a mysterious countdown video with red numbers on a bright yellow background. There was little or no other explanation offered at the time::

And so, we await further instalments!

Tweets and retweets from each of the individual Beatles have also surfaced:

Ringo’s specifically says “Coming soon…..”, while John’s Tweet below confirms that the colour of his Pepper uniform is the key to unpicking the coded message: 

And then there’s this on the official Beatles YouTube Channel:

And Amazon US is saying that on May 26 there’ll be Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band Anniversary Editions released as a 2LP seta 1CD set; a 2CD Deluxe Edition set; and a 6 Disc Super Deluxe Edition set! No images available yet.

Then, a further teaser video….

Free Download of Exclusive Demo Track from ‘Flowers In The Dirt’

As he has done with previous Paul McCartney Archive series releases Paul McCartney, in the lead-up to his forthcoming re-issue of Flowers In The Dirt in multiple formats, is making available a track that won’t be part of those packages.

If you go to McCartney’s official website you can get the demo version of ‘Distractions’, an album track from Flowers. It’s exclusive and it is free.

Speaking earlier this week about the song, Paul said:

“I like a good love song, you know. And it’s always nice to be in the mood to write a ballad and that was the case when I sat down to write this. It just occurred to me that if you love someone, one of the problems is that you don’t always spend enough time with that person. Because you’ve got things to do, you’ve got work or you’ve got other obligations to other people or whatever. And so I thought, yeah you could call those distractions from the main event kind of thing. That was basically what this is:

“What is this thing in life that persuades me to take time away from you?…                  ….Distractions, like butterflies….”

I elaborated on that theme, it’s just someone wishing they could spend more time with their loved one. And you know for me at that time it was about Linda. But people often say to me, ‘Who did you write this about?’ and even though then I would have been writing specifically about Linda – because she was the object of my affection – I liked the idea that it could also be the sort of dream of romance. It could just be an ideal – we all love someone and wish we could spend more time with that someone. A romantic ideal! I know that a young couple won’t hear this about me and Linda, the guy will hear it about him and his girlfriend, the girl will hear that it’s about her and her boyfriend, and I like that. I like that about my songs, that people use them for their own purpose. And I think that’s a very romantic idea.”

UPDATE: Since this article was first published there have been a further two exclusive free demo tracks from the Flowers In The Dirt sessions added to the McCartney download page: ‘This One (Demo)’, and ‘Back On My Feet (Demo)’.

There are still five other free downloads from previous McCartney Archive Series re-issues available on the site as well.

A Hard Day’s Night Re-Issue Coming Soon

http://www.criterion.com/films/28547-a-hard-day-s-night

Criterion Films have announced a new re-issue of the Beatles A Hard Day’s Night film. It will have a new cover:Hard Days Night coverHard Days Nigh Rear cover

And will come in two versions – a DVD only, and a “dual-format” 3 disc box set edition which combines DVD and BluRay versions. What you’ll get is:

  • A new 4K digital film restoration, approved by director Richard Lester, with two audio options—a monaural soundtrack and a new 5.1 surround soundtrack made by Apple Records (which Giles Martin worked on) — presented in uncompressed monaural DTS-HD Master Audio on the Blu-ray (dual-format only)
  • Audio commentary featuring various members of the film’s cast and crew (dual-format only)
  • In Their Own Voices, a new piece combining interviews with the Beatles from 1964 with behind-the-scenes footage and photos
  • You Can’t Do That: The Making of “A Hard Day’s Night,” a 1994 documentary program by producer Walter Shenson
  • Things They Said Today, a 2002 documentary about the film featuring Lester, music producer George Martin, writer Alun Owen, cinematographer Gilbert Taylor, and others (dual-format only)
  • New piece about Lester’s early work, featuring a new audio interview with the director (dual-format only)
  • The Running Jumping and Standing Still Film (1959), Lester’s Oscar-nominated short featuring Peter Sellers and Spike Milligan (dual-format only)
  • Anatomy of a Style, a new piece on Lester’s approach to editing (dual-format only)
  • New interview with Mark Lewisohn, author of Tune In: The Beatles: All These Years—Volume One (dual-format only)
  • Deleted scene (dual-format only)
  • Trailers
  • PLUS: An essay by critic Howard Hampton
  • The film will be in a 1:75:1 aspect ratio, which is how it was originally shown in movie theatres in 1964
  • The re-issue is due for release on June 24

Beatles 2012 Remastered Vinyl – Released (First Pictures)

Is Australia the very first country to see the new Beatles Remastered Stereo Vinyl Box Set delivered?

The new records aren’t due for release in the UK and the USA until next week (12 and 13 November respectively). However, today I got a call from my local record store in Sydney saying “Come on in – your order for the Beatles box set is ready for collection today“.  (That’s Thursday, 8 November)

Naturally I high-tailed it down there – and here are the first pictures of it being unpacked. It comes in a big protective outer box:

The large sticker declaring the contents is placed on both sides of the box:

The two shipping labels on the side. Both say “Deliver Thursday”:

 

When you open the box you see what looks like another box-within-a-box:

It is held in place by two thick white foam inserts that you usually see in packaging for large electrical goods like TV’s, etc.  At this point I should say this package is incredibly heavy. You actually have to lie it on its side to slide it out:

What initially looked like an inner box is actually a thick brown cardboard wrap around the main package (above). Once you take it off you see this:

It’s just like the Beatles Remastered Stereo CD box released in 2009. There’s a thin cardboard outer sleeve around the record box itself. As you can see above it has “The Beatles” and an Apple logo printed on the front. This is what’s printed on the rear:

The outer sleeve slides off to reveal the main, lidded box:

Opening the lid – there are two pieces of black foam and two large moisture absorbing packs:

The book and all the LPs are completely sealed in heat-shrink plastic:

“Let It Be” (below) has the green Apple on the rear:

The book is really heavy and looks amazing – even in its heat-shrink wrap:

It has black-edged pages:

One side of the outer sleeve has the record and book edges printed on it. I guess that’s so it’ll look good when sitting on a shelf with that edge facing out:

Well, that’s about it for now. Hope you enjoyed this. Haven’t had time to open up any of the records or the book. Just wanted to get this up quickly for all to have sneak peek at the new Beatles Remastered Stereo Vinyl Box Set. 

(Click on images to see larger versions)