Monday, September 21, 2009

The Beatles: Masterful in 2009

The Beatles
Catalog Remasters

As with most news concerning The Beatles, the announcement of the release of remastered and repackaged CDs of the group's entire discography seemed at first something to celebrate. Second thoughts arose when details of the exercise were divulged. But over-cerebralization gets in the way of enjoying the music. The nature of the marketplace, and diversities of personal preference, are perhaps more productively viewed as different ways to enjoy the work of a band that has exerted more influence than any other in the history of pop music.

The first batch of Beatles CDs issued in 1987 presented the titles in their original British track sequences. This was in contrast to the hodgepodge created at the time of the original American releases when Capitol cobbled together what amounted to extra LPs to satisfy the demands of Beatlemania--by mixing album tracks and singles. (Those titles have themselves since been reissued, indicating that interest in the Beatles' work really knows no bounds).

As digital technology and archiving expertise evolved over a quarter century, virtually nothing was done with the Beatles' catalog with the exception of The Anthology (Capitol-Apple, 1995-6), a mammoth work on its own terms, plus the isolated revision of Yellow Submarine, as soundtrack to the 1999 DVD reissue, and Let It Be... Naked (Capitol-Apple, 2003), more about which later. In contrast to the forward thinking that earmarked the Beatles career, the modernization of their recorded legacy was left to languish.


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