Tuesday, October 12, 2010


2009 was a great year for Beatles fans: it saw the long-overdue remastering of the band's catalog. Also, their mono recordings were available on CD for the first time. Plus, there was their edition of the popular video game Rock Band.

2010 isn't going to top that. But there are some cool releases from The Beatles and their members that we'll be talking about tomorrow morning on SIRIUS XM OutQ's Morning Jolt with Larry Flick.

First off, the reissues of the "Red" and "Blue" albums. Released in 1973, "Red," or 1962-1966, is a double album which includes their biggest hits from the first half of their career. "Blue," or 1967-1970, is a double album that covers the rest of their career. My parents had "The Blue Album," and I still have that copy.  That's one of the first albums I remember listening to. There is nothing on "Red" or "Blue" that wasn't reissued last year, but for people looking to start getting into the band, these are great places to start (there's also the single CD best of 1, but that's a bit too short for my tastes). Both collections hit stores next week.

Out now is The 4 Complete Ed Sullivan Shows Featuring The Beatles 2 DVD set which I just wrote about. Of course the highlights of these are The Beatles world-changing performances. But it is interesting to watch the rest of the shows, to see what passed for entertainment back then.  I don't mean that in a snobby way: it's just that, compared to the rest of the entertainers on Sullivan, The Beatles were totally wild and radical.  These days, The Beatles are part of the cultural language.  But watching these shows, you get a better sense for why they had the effect that they had.

This past weekend, the whole world seemed to be celebrating the life and music of John Lennon, as he would have turned 70 on Saturday. The official John Lennon page on YouTube featured video messages from Ringo Starr, Aerosmith, DMC, Jeff Bridges, David Gray and many others, plus lots of non-celebs, just fans. And of course, his catalog has just been reissued, including a box set.  But what interested me the most is the new version of 1980's Double Fantasy, which has the original album, and a "stripped down" version of the album, kind of un-re-mixed by Yoko Ono and Jack Douglas (who produced the original).

Meanwhile, Paul McCartney is reissuing what is arguably his finest post-Beatles work Wings' 1973 album Band On The Run. It comes out November 2, and will have extra discs with bonus tracks and a DVD with video footage from the era.

The Beatles have long been holdouts in the digital music marketplace: you still can't download thier music (legally) anywhere. But they are thawing a bit: they are going to reissue the non-Beatles Apple Records catalog on October 25, including music by Badfinger, James Taylor (his first album) and Billy Preston.

No comments: