I had in my head to start this post in some dramatic fashion, but it just sounded lame. Let me just say that the Beatles’ Box Set is a must for any Fab Four fan. The clarity of the remastered discs is incredible; the stero remastering is better than the earlier attempts at releasing all or part of the catalog. The booklet for each CD is exquisite, with original liner notes, historical notes, and notes on the recording sessions themselves.
I chose to listen to all of the CD’s in order; I’m pretty sure I’ve never even tried to listen to an artist’s entire catalog in sequence. It was actually a cool experience. That’s right I listened to it all, including “Revolution 9” (there’s eight-plus minutes of my life I’ll never get back…). Here’s what I learned from listening to the box set…
- The original UK albums are far superior to the US released. Until Sgt. Pepper’s, the US and UK versions of the Beatles’ albums were different. The US releases had fewer tracks, as some tracks were taken off to create in-between release albums for the American record buying public. The box set showcases the albums the way they were created.
- There are surprising hidden gems on the early records. Songs like “Misery,” even with the cheesy piano, and “There’s A Place” are just about as good as the big hits. “I Call Your Name” is almost as good as The Mamas & The Papas cover version…
- I don’t dislike the White Album as much as I thought I did. I’ve discovered (or rediscovered, maybe) some great songs that I overlooked in the past, like “Savoy Truffle” and “Sexy Sadie.” I gained a new respect for an album I tended to somewhat stay away from in the past.
- Other than “The Long And Winding Road,” Phil Spector didn’t mess up Let It Bequite as much as Paul McCartney complained. I’ll defend Paul as my favorite Beatle until the grave, but he was a bit of a drama queen complaining about Spector’s production. It’s really not as overdone as I used to think it was.
OK, that’s it. No startling revelations here, just the same great music the Beatles were known for, restored lovingly and heard more clearly. Amazing.