08 September 2009

The Beatles are coming, the Beatles are coming!

Holy chocolate Jesus on a whole wheat cracker! Tomorrow is gonna be HUGE! Not only are the Beatles releasing a box set of the remastered stereo versions of all of their albums (as well as a smaller set of redone mono versions) but their edition of the Rock Band video game comes out tomorrow as well. Even though I can't afford to buy the box sets right now (I could buy each CD individually but...ehhh), I'm still pretty excited. I've been a fan of the Fab Four for nearly twenty years. One of my friends in middle school, Brooke, turned me on to them. At the time, I only knew "I Wanna Hold Your Hand" and "Love Me Do" so I had written them off as some super-cheesy boy band. She gave me copies of both Past Masters collections as well as The White Album and some solo John Lennon. And I was hooked. To return the favor, I got her to listen to Hendrix (she thought all he did was play loudly until I played "May This Be Love" for her). I still consider it to be an even trade.

Here's a post of "Revolution 9" from the album The Beatles (more commonly known as The White Album). Honestly, this is not one of my favorites; I haven't listened to it in years, in fact. But one could definitely describe it as different. And it helps explain the significance of everything being released on 09/09/09 tomorrow. Plus, if you check out the related video of "Revolution 9" played backwards, you can hear Lennon repeatedly saying, "Turn me on, dead man," which was considered a major "clue" in the the whole "Paul is dead conspiracy."

And here is an extraordinarily in depth article about the Rock band video game that was published in the NY Times magazine last month. I have to admit, since my favorite Beatle is Ringo, my favorite part of the article is the writer's assertion that because of this game, more people will better appreciate the drummer's often complex percussive contributions. Finally! Some respect for Richie!

Here are two reviews of the remastered box sets, one from Dave McCoy of MSN music and this one from NPR, which has more of a Beatles-nerd vibe that I completely related to.

If you are hesitant about giving more money to the Fab Four (and Michael Jackson's estate, incidentally) but you're still curious about the music, at least check out Geoff Emerick's book Here, There and Everywhere. Emerick was a recording engineer at EMI Records who worked with the group from 1962 on up through the last album they recorded, Abbey Road. He gives the lowdown about how the albums were recorded and includes insight on the four as individuals and as bandmates and just how much Yoko Ono's presence disrupted the chemistry and balance of the group (look in the index under Ono's name and go to the "digestive biscuit incident" for a particularly vivid account). Emerick also touches on working with Wings and Elvis Costello (who wrote the foreword) as well as on the deaths of John Lennon, Linda McCartney, Brian Epstein, and Beatles assistant Mal Evans. (If you've ever seen the movie Help!, Evans is the swimmer who keeps popping up throughout the film.) My first read-through took me less than 2 days and it's nearly 400 pages! If you're a Beatles fan or just an appreciative music fan, you definitely won't be disappointed; it's truly a fascinating read.

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