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Beatles in Mono.

Discussion in 'Music' started by Ockeghem, Apr 17, 2009.

  1. Ockeghem

    Ockeghem Ockeghem

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    I read an article the other day in which the author asserted that the first usage of a capo by the Beatles was for the track If I Needed Someone (1965). (And yes, he mentioned the Japan concert.) This is what prompted me to want to investigate a bit further. He may be correct, but there are a few questions regarding keys that I have. Perhaps a guitarist or two will be able to offer some suggestions.

    http://oldies.about.com/od/thebeatlessongs/a/ifineededsomeone.htm

    Here is the quote I found interesting:

    "The basic track for "If I Needed Someone" was laid down in one take during the third session for Rubber Soul, just after work was completed on the single "Day Tripper." Two days later overdubs were added, just before work began on "In My Life." Though George later described the song as being written in D, he actually plays it in A, using a capo (almost certainly the first time any Beatle had used one)."

    How do you suppose the Beatles, ca. 1964 (Beatles For Sale), achieved a G-flat major tonality for Mr. Moonlight without a capo? (The only other tune I know of by the Fabs in this key is Yellow Submarine -- which is obviously later. And the brass players probably were not very happy about having to play in this key. ;)) I think I will have to pull Everett off of the shelf for this one.

    I don't believe that the key used for Mr. Moonlight is the same phenomenon as what we hear in the (specifically) La Scala performances in the film A Hard Day's Night. (I think it was the HTF poster Guido who brought the 'why' of this phenomenon to my attention.)

    Curious.
     
  2. Sam Favate

    Sam Favate Lead Actor

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    Got my Mono box today (Stereo should arrive tomorrow). Very impressive package (although my outer box has a crease in it from mailing -- really, Amazon, couldn't you spring for a box instead of mailing it in a puffy envelope?), and the detail to the original LPs is striking. I especially liked the Magical Mystery Tour booklet; haven't seen most of those pictures since I last looked at my vinyl copy.

    Here is something no one seems to be mentioning: We keep hearing that this is the first time the mono mixes have been on CD and that's what makes this special, etc., etc. (and presumably why they created a separate, higher priced box set for the monos). But what about the two Capital Album box sets from a few years ago that put together the first 8 US albums, and gave us mono and stereo mixes for each? I realize that this is the first time these (UK) albums have been in mono on CD, but not the first time many of these songs have.

    But I guess if they reminded people about those US LPs on CD, they'd have to explain why we got mono and stereo in one package then, but not now. I like the new reissues, I really do, but the cost could have been kept down considerably but putting mono and stereo mixes on one CD. These releases are now the third and fourth times I bought these albums. Sigh, Blu-Ray 5.1 mixes, here we come.

    Now that these CDs are out I would like to see Apple turn their attention to Let It Be on DVD/BD, and a CD of the great Live at the Hollywood Bowl LP. Maybe that can be part of Capital Records Vol. 3: Hey Jude, Hollywood Bowl, Yesterday and Today, and Love Songs (or Rarities).
     
  3. Philip Hamm

    Philip Hamm Lead Actor

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    Some of the monos on the Beatles US albums are unique mixes - listen to "And I Love Her" - no doubled vocals on the verses - sounds MUCH nicer IMO.
     
  4. Carlo Medina

    Carlo Medina Executive Producer

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    Scott, when you do get around to listening to it in this order, be sure to keep in mind the "Side 1" nature of the LP, as I feel this track list flows better as a Side 1 of an LP. That's one of the things I miss about LPs, the side change. Track ordering is definitely a different [and mostly lost] art for CDs.

     
  5. Ockeghem

    Ockeghem Ockeghem

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    I edited my post above and included the link for If I Needed Someone.


    Sam,

    For my own part, I'd like to see not only a pristine Let It Be on DVD, but also Magical Mystery Tour.

    "Some of the monos on the Beatles US albums are unique mixes - listen to "And I Love Her" - no doubled vocals on the verses - sounds MUCH nicer IMO."

    Philip,

    I agree regarding the single vocals on And I Love Her. It sounds nicer to me because when singing (or playing, for that matter) a line by itself, there is not a second line that in many cases has to match up almost precisely so as not to be out of tune. (With the introduction of a third line = tripling, the problem is masked to a great extent.) The Beatles matched up fairly well when they doubled their lines in unison, but not always.

    We watched A Hard Day's Night last night. Goodness, I really do prefer much of the music in this film to the recorded versions on either LP or CD. The pitch of several tunes sounding one half-step lower is so 'unnatural' (in a positive sense) that it is to my ears infinitely more compelling musically.
     
  6. Ockeghem

    Ockeghem Ockeghem

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    Carlo,

    Will do. I just completed listening to Help! and Rubber Soul. I will be getting to Pepper after Revolver. Perhaps I will just create a play list to match the order you've posted:

    Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band
    With a Little Help From My Friends
    Being for the Benefit of Mr. Kite!
    Fixing a Hole
    Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds
    Getting Better
    She's Leaving Home

    BTW, did you intend to complete the list for a (hypothetical) side two? Or is this the completed list as is?
     
  7. Carlo Medina

    Carlo Medina Executive Producer

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    According to the liner notes, only side 1 was impacted, not side 2, so the remainder of the songs on Sgt. Peppers is in the order that the Beatles originally intended.
     
  8. Ockeghem

    Ockeghem Ockeghem

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    Okay, great. I just listened to India, India (Lennon); now I'm going to listen to Pepper in the order you provided. :)
     
  9. Ockeghem

    Ockeghem Ockeghem

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    Carlo,

    Wow, very interesting. I've never done that before with an album. I have used the random function on occasion, but this list is not a random ordering of songs.

    I have thought for years that Lucy In the Sky With Diamonds comes upon the listener a bit too quickly. But I am so used to it where it occurs, that it's difficult to block out my preconditioned expectations.

    I did think that Being For the Benefit Of Mr. Kite flowed very nicely into Fixing A Hole. I think this may have to do with the tonic-to-subdominant (C-F) key relationship (or tonic-to-dominant = F-C if you invert) as well as the overall style of the two pieces.

    I also liked where Lucy was introduced in this ordering. Getting Better and She's Leaving Home use the same key relationship (in this ordering) of tonic to subdominant (C-F). So in that way, it is relatively unified, not only within each pair of songs that use it but also between the two pairings of songs (four songs total).

    Carlo,

    Which do you prefer at this point?
     
  10. Sam Favate

    Sam Favate Lead Actor

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    Agreed. The current (? 10 yrs old!) DVD isn't the best. But Let It Be needs to be the first DVD priority. Why it wasn't done when Let It Be Naked came out, I will never understand.

    Question about the new MMT mono CD: I notice the front cover of the gatefold is very heavy cardboard; was the original LP this way? It almost feels like a storybook with the pages inside. I only have a later pressing of the LP (from the mid 70s) and the front cover isn't quite as heavy as the CD replica.
     
  11. Carlo Medina

    Carlo Medina Executive Producer

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    Scott - honestly I prefer the original (as the Beatles intended) version. Like so many of you, I grew up listening to the record so it was at first a little disconcerting. I am not as musically in-tune as you are so I can't do a key-relationship analysis, but I will say this:

    I like how Benefit follows Sgt Peppers/With a little help. It keeps the "circus act" motif that Sgt Pep/WALHFMF establishes. Then you flow into Fixing a Hole which to me hints at the slight lunacy/edge of sanity of the whole act. Then we go to LitSWD which is the ultimate psychedelic manifestation of the "we're not in Kansas anymore" idea. Then we start the road back to sanity with Getting Better. And in my opinion She's Leaving Home is a song tailor-made to end Side A, both in theme and in sound.
     
  12. Ockeghem

    Ockeghem Ockeghem

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    Sam,

    I'm at work now, and as such don't have access to my LP collection. I believe I own four (maybe five) Magical Mystery Tour LPs. I do know that some of the originals (two of which I own -- and one of these is sealed!) had the pages in storybook format, but I can't answer for certain regarding the heavy nature of the cardboard with the original. But I think it was this way. I will have a look at them tonight and let you know.
     
  13. Ockeghem

    Ockeghem Ockeghem

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    Carlo,

    I must say, I am beginning to like the placement of Lucy In the Sky With Diamonds (as track 5) more and more as I listen to it this way. For some reason, I'm more 'prepared' to hear that song at that point than I am as track 3, after With A Little Help From My Friends.

    Agreed with regard to the placement of She's Leaving Home. One of the saddest songs they ever wrote (maybe on a par, if not surpassing, For No One).
     
  14. NeilO

    NeilO Producer

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    For the early albums this is the first time that the stereo mixes have been on CD. When the Beatles first came out on CD they were the mono versions for the first N albums (I think Sgt. Pepper was the first of the stereo CD releases, but I'm not sure). This time around they were all remastered, etc. I can't think of any good reason for the mono versions to come out in a higher priced box set except they thought that mono would sell to a smaller audience.
     
  15. Tim Tucker

    Tim Tucker Screenwriter

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    In 1987, EMI released the first four albums in mono. At the time, George Martin said that was a mistake, because A Hard's Day Night and Beatles For Sale were four-track recordings that had been mixed for stereo back in the '60s, while Please Please Me and With The Beatles were two-track recordings best suited for mixing down to mono.

    IIRC, the test pressings for the stereo AHDN and BFS were rejected in 1987 because they didn't sounds as loud as the mono versions, but that was a mistake in the mastering process.

    So 22 years later, we finally get that mistake corrected.
     
  16. Carlo Medina

    Carlo Medina Executive Producer

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    I'm glad you're digging it. Like I said, it took me a little while to "unlearn what I had learned" [/Yoda voice] with regards to the song order, and when I did, I found the new order preferable. Again, YMMV for each listener, but I can certainly understand what The Beatles were thinking when they originally suggested this order.

     
  17. gomezfan69

    gomezfan69 Stunt Coordinator

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    Is it just me or does "Your Mother Should Know" on the mono Magical Mystery Tour sound really bad? Especially once it gets to around 1:45.
     
  18. Joe Karlosi

    Joe Karlosi Producer

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    I finally got my MONO set and the first disc I played was MAGICAL MYSTERY TOUR. I'd agree that "Your Mother Should Know" sounds bad, and I'd definitely be sticking with the STEREO release of this particular album on a whole. The one track which came to life for me was ALL YOU NEED IS LOVE. I was most amazed at the background singing with this - even during the guitar break you can really hear the "LO--O---OVE" chant loud and clear (and for 42 years I always thought they were singing "Love, Love, Love" throughout).
     
  19. Carlo Medina

    Carlo Medina Executive Producer

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    I do agree that not all mono stuff sounds better than the stereo. And there are some rare exceptions where you do wonder what went wrong. All I can say is that the mono remasters were taken from the best sources and very little limiting and remastering could be done due to the nature of mono recordings, according to articles I've read, which may explain the unevenness of some of the mono recordings.
    That said, I would estimate that 90%+ of the mono songs I've heard (haven't had a chance to go through every song carefully in mono) sound very good, or better than their stereo counterparts, particularly the earlier (pre-MMT) albums.

     
  20. Joe Karlosi

    Joe Karlosi Producer

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    The thing is, there are certain songs I like better in Mono, and others in Stereo. I just played REVOLVER in Mono -- again, I'll stick with the Stereo for that one; I think She Said, She Said and Tomorrow Never Knows sound so much more trippy in Stereo
    and those songs are so much better suited for that sound. It's nice when we get the vocal for Eleanor Rigby centered instead of it moving left and right, but even there I prefer the version on the 1999 YELLOW SUBMARINE album.

    I did like Rain in Mono (from MONO MASTERS)-- John's voice sounds so much more pronounced.
     

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