The Beatles Remastered, Not Just For Audiophiles Diehard fans of The Beatles have been waiting for this moment for decades. On Sept. 9, EMI will release remastered copies of the band's entire catalog, from 1963's Please Please Me to the 1969 album Abbey Road. The remastered versions offer stunning clarity to The Beatles' music, allowing fans to hear elements in the songs they most likely never noticed before, like subtle sound effects or guitar lines that were lost in the original, all-analog releases.
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The Beatles Remastered, Not Just For Audiophiles

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The Beatles Remastered, Not Just For Audiophiles

The Beatles Remastered, Not Just For Audiophiles

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The day of The Beatles has arrived again. Let us celebrate. Or put it another way: Let us spend a lot of money. First, we should deconstruct what's on offer. Tomorrow, a new video game called "The Beatles: Rock Band." We explained that one on yesterday's program. And now, we turn to The Beatles' music itself and an avalanche of reissue.

Here to help, Bob Boilen of NPR's ALL SONGS CONSIDERED. Hi, Bob.

BOB BOILEN: Hi, Noah. I have a bag for you.

ADAMS: You have... The Beatles in mono.

BOILEN: Yes, and then the bigger one.

(Soundbite of laughter)

ADAMS: It's a big black box. The Beatles with a little green apple there. That's very nice. Listen, before we start, let's play just any kind of Beatles - I want to - I just got to hear something to get in the right mood here, just anything.

(Soundbite of song "Getting Better")

THE BEATLES: (Singing) It's getting better all the time.

Mr. PAUL MCCARTNEY (The Beatles): (Singing) I used to get mad at my school.

THE BEATLES: (Singing) No, I can't complain.

Mr. MCCARTNEY: (Singing) The teachers that taught me weren't cool.

THE BEATLES: (Singing) No, I can't complain.

Mr. MCCARTNEY: (Singing) You're holding me down, turning me 'round, filling me up with your rules. I have to admit it's getting better...

ADAMS: That's the question. Is it getting better all the time?

(Soundbite of laughter)

ADAMS: I would guess. And so, we've got a lot of music here, mono and stereo. Which one you want to start with?

BOILEN: Well, I would start with the stereo one. The stereo one's the one that sounds most amazing. I turn these on, the bass is incredibly, incredibly warm. What they did in the studios at Abbey Road, they bring out the cymbals a little more. You hear the harmonies so much better than you ever did.

ADAMS: All right. Okay. I've got it open. I've got just a handful - how many in here?

BOILEN: The stereo one contains all of The Beatles' releases, 13, if you include "Magical Mystery Tour," which - and then a DVD of - it is a handful.

ADAMS: Right. I've got two handfuls of The Beatles. These are separate albums, but you buy them...

BOILEN: You can buy them as a box. You can buy it separate in terms of the stereo. Yeah, you can buy any way you want.

ADAMS: Oh, you can? Okay. All right, let's play something here.

BOILEN: Why don't we play a cut off of "The White Album." We'll play "Dear Prudence." I was listening to that this morning before I came in, and listen to Paul's bass, and listen to the harmonies that are going on.

(Soundbite of song "Dear Prudence")

THE BEATLES: (Singing) Dear Prudence, won't you come out to play? Dear Prudence, meet the brand new day.

ADAMS: Well, that's very nice, but it was very nice before. You're saying you can really hear the difference.

BOILEN: Oh, absolutely. It totally changed the way the whole presentation of the music was. It was - it's like taking your favorite old movie from that 20-inch TV and throwing it on your HD.

(Soundbite of song "Help")

THE BEATLES: (Singing) Help, I need somebody. Help, not just anybody. Help, you know I need someone. Help.

ADAMS: You know, it strikes me it's an amazing amount of music that I'm holding here.

BOILEN: Five hundred twenty-five minutes.

(Soundbite of laughter)

ADAMS: Five hundred twenty-five.

BOILEN: That's just off the top of my head, 525 minutes.

ADAMS: Now, forgive the skepticism. This music was remastered in '87.

BOILEN: It was actually released on CD in '87, but not remastered. They took the original analog recordings and sort of just bounced them onto a CD. The technology from analog to digital wasn't so hot then. They sounded brittle. They didn't sound warm. They do now.

(Soundbite of laughter)

ADAMS: Okay, get your money out again. So what does this big collection cost?

BOILEN: I think it's around 270 bucks for the stereo. You get every album they did, all 13 albums and then you get this bonus double record of basically all the singles in stereo.

ADAMS: Now, The Beatles in Mono, this box sells by itself. How much is this?

BOILEN: Two hundred and ninety-something dollars, $298.

ADAMS: Oh, well.

BOILEN: Buy two because you put one away, you pay for your kids' college in 20 years.

(Soundbite of laughter)

ADAMS: All right, this is pretty impressive. It's nice and glossy and well-packaged. But if you got all this stuff, you've got all this stuff, right? If you've got the original albums, the LPs. You got the '87 CDs. If you got it, you've got it.

BOILEN: The cynic would say Capitol, EMI, they're going to milk the last dollar out of people, another reissue of Beatles stuff. And in some ways, it's for the record company, last gasp stuff for the CD, and in some ways this may be for many people the last CDs they buy.

ADAMS: Bob Boilen, thank you, for coming in and playing music for us.

BOILEN: Pleasure to do this.

ADAMS: Bob Boilen is the host of NPR's ALL SONGS CONSIDERED, And he has lots more Beatles material at that Web site.

(Soundbite of song "Hello Goodbye")

ADAMS: And Melissa, we'll stay on a nostalgic note here as I thank you and the staff for the chance to come back to Washington and spend five days hosting ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. It's been great pleasure. Great memories here.


Oh, it's great, and talk about nostalgia, hearing this music and just seeing you here and hearing you back on the air again after hosting - how many years was it, Noah, hosting ALL THINGS CONSIDERED?

(Soundbite of laughter)

ADAMS: Oh, let me ask you a tougher one.

BLOCK: Okay.

ADAMS: How many years did we work together and travel together, and I actually worked for you when you were the producer of the show.

BLOCK: Yeah, well, I know that. I came here 25 years ago. You gave me my first job here, which you know, setting up interviews for you, 25 years coming up in January.

ADAMS: Well, I'd like to take credit for that.

BLOCK: Yeah.

ADAMS: I sometimes say I hired Melissa Block, and they say, wow.

BLOCK: Well, no, don't be a stranger. Come back soon, and we'll see you on the radio.

ADAMS: Okay, I hope we can do it soon.

(Soundbite of song "Hello Goodbye")

THE BEATLES: (Singing) Oh no. You say goodbye, and I say hello. Hello, hello. I don't know why you say goodbye, I say hello. Hello, hello. I don't know why you say goodbye...

BLOCK: You are listening to ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News.

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