BY BILLY SUTER
HARD TO believe that exactly half a century has whizzed by since The Beatles released the classic Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band album – a celebration that has now spawned a special anniversary edition release of the collection.
The album is being presented with new mixes in Stereo and 5.1 Surround Audio. It is also being expanded with previously unreleased session recordings, video features and special packaging
The previously unreleased 1992 documentary film, The Making of Sgt Pepper’s, is also being restored for Anniversary Edition’s Super Deluxe Box Set,
It was 50 years ago today, on June 1, 1967, that The Beatles’ John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr delighted the world, ushering in the Summer of Love with Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band.
The groundbreaking masterwork tbecame popular music’s most universally acclaimed album.
“The album is now being re-released, 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 34 previously unreleased recordings,” says a record company spokesman.
“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 album’s anniversary edition.
“‘Sgt Pepper’s 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 (April 22), Apple Corps Ltd./Capitol/UMe released 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’s 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’s 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,” adds the spokesman.
“To create the new stereo and 5.1 surround audio mixes for Sgt Pepper’s, 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.”
The releases are distributed locally by Universal Music South Africa.