(Is this to blame for the vibrance slider?)
Just thought I'd mention, before today is over, on the off chance you haven't heard: today is the 50th anniversary of the release of "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band." And to think—of the original Beatles, only one is left alive*. And his name is Richard, which wasn't even one of the Beatles' names.
I'm not usually too sentimental about such pop culture things, but I listened to the whole album today**. The streaming version of the anniversary remix sounds amazing, gotta say. The music has reached such iconic status and is so familiar that every note, sound, harmony and segue sounds utterly perfect.
*As everyone knows, Paul McCartney passed away in 1969.
**UPDATE 12 midnight: ...twice.
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(To see all the comments, click on the "Comments" link below.)
Featured Comments from:
Speed: "'It was fifty years ago today Sergeant Pepper taught the band to play'...."
emptyspaces: "The new stereo mix is incredible...everyone who hasn't should Google Giles Martin [George Martin's son —Ed.] and read about how they did it.
"I am lucky that at my office there was a demo set up with Sennheiser HD800 headphones, a Pro-Ject headphone amp, and the Marantz SA8005 (which has a great DAC).
"The Beatles were before my time, but I sure hope more of these stereo re-mixes are in the works."
Mike replies: It really is amazing. I had just listened to the old stereo version (MP4) when I wrote the post and linked to the Amazon page. Since it's free to me to stream, I started listening to the new version—a much more immediate and immersive experience, with a lot more to listen to. As you say, incredible; the writer at the following link called it 'truly stunning.' The story of how it was done is very interesting too.
(...Why, however, have they put that horrible little glitch at the very end of the record, after the end of "A Day In the Life"? The famous sustained chord that concludes that song is one of the great endings in all of music—and all of art, never mind just to the song. The blip that's been stuck on the end seems not only artistically totally wrong to me, but a desecration, like taking a magic marker to a great Renaissance painting. Just an aside.)
Thanks for the tip.
Isaac replies to Mike: "That 'glitch' at the end has always been there! It was originally an infinite run-out groove that you would hear if you didn't have one of those fancy auto return record players. Paul said he thought it would be a laugh."
Mike replies: I might go dig out the album and listen for it, but I'm pretty sure it's not there on the US LP because I would have remembered it.
It's an absolutely terrible idea, like putting fart noises in Bach's "Art of Fugue." Paul McCartney, like my fave Neil Young, is a genius who has no taste. He can't tell the difference between a good idea and a wretched one, a beautiful song and an atrocious one. It's hard to believe that the same guy who wrote and sang "Yesterday," "She's Leaving Home," and "You Never Give Me Your Money" also thought the alarmingly horrid "Rocky Raccoon" was worthy of anything but being buried with a shovel. As Mark Kemp wrote at pastemagazine.com, "'With the Beatles' revealed a weakness that would follow the band throughout its career: Paul McCartney’s taste for schmaltzy Tin Pan Alley pop. His acoustic-based cover of 'Till There Was You,' from [the] Broadway play 'The Music Man,' remains one of the most egregious songs in the Beatles’ catalog." Amen. People think Macca jumped the shark with "Silly Love Songs," but that strain of tastelessness—kept mostly in check by John and George Martin during the Beatles years—was there from the start.
Tom Burke: "Actually, the original Beatle who's still surviving is named Peter—Pete Best. I worked with him for a year or so in Liverpool in the mid-1970s. This was in a employment office, part of the (government) Department of Employment. I was a newcomer to the Department, the job, and the city. Pete was the same grade as me, but was the senior in that grade in our section, and I was given to understand that if I had any problems, Pete would help me. And he did—always friendly, always helpful. This included the time I had to sidle up to him and report that I didn't understand what the jobseeker I was interviewing meant when he said that the reason for being dismissed from his previous job was because he was 'doing a foreigner....' (Answer: using his employer's tools, equipment, etc., while working on his own account.)
"One other thing—after I'd been there for a week or so and was getting to know people, one of Pete's close colleagues came up to me and checked that I knew who Pete was, and of course I said I did. This other person then gently advised me not to ask Pete about the Beatles. He wouldn't talk about it, I was told; he'd already said everything he was going to say."
Jon Orchard: "For anyone interested here is the story behind the name of the album and the reference to my neck of the woods (Ontario, Canada), just a few hundred miles from TOP World Headquarters."
Gaspar Heurtley: "'Sgt. Peppers' was the first 'adult' album I had when I was a kid. My totally uncool uncle Juan (he was old too, he must have been almost 30 at the time, yuck) gave it to me for my seventh birthday. I remember his smile while I opened the small box with the beautiful orange cassette. Still have it today; it's one of my priciest possessions. And my uncle is now of course one of the coolest persons alive."