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In Reply to: RE: Anyone running a dedicated mono cart? posted by PAR on November 16, 2021 at 02:08:49
Their rise and fall as an active group encompassed the early to very late 1960s more or less. Stereo was in vogue already by the very early 60s. All the Beatles LPs that I and my wife bought new during those years (we didn't yet know each other) are in stereo, to include Abbey Road, Sergeant Paper, etc. I also own what I believe to be an original pressing of Revolver on Parlophone, pressed in the UK; it's stereo. Likewise, I have the equivalent on the Capitol label, pressed in the US, also in stereo. So where does the obsession with mono Beatles albums as being more true to the form come from, apart from the fact that the recently issued mono Beatles set may sound better to some than the very same set in stereo?
I know someone is going to tell me I am ignorant of the real history. That's why I asked.
Let It Be and Abbey Road were issued stereo only, and are not included in the Beatles mono box. As posted by another, the Beatles and George Martin focused on the mono mixes through the White Album, and the stereo mixes were left to others.
I have an early stereo reissue of the US version of Rubber Soul, and the stereo effects are what I would call dual-mono and not true stereo - drums and bass in one speaker, vocals and guitar in another - this is the case for a lot of early stereo issues - true of some of the jazz releases in the early 60s as well, and not a true attempt to capture music in a space. I keep, and play, that LP because I of songs that were chosen for the US release - fewer songs sadly, but the US release starts with "I've Just Seen a Face", leading into "Norwegian Wood", which for me captures the vibe of Rubber Soul better than the UK version.
Here's the other thing about the mono box - it sounds great, while the earlier stereo box was sourced from compromised digital masters. You can hear it.
So for me, when I listen to the earlier Beatles, I want the mono box LPs. I probably would switch to the more recent stereo reissues supervised by Giles Martin starting with Sgt. Pepper. For Let It Be, if I had to pick one, it would be the Let It Be- Naked issued maybe 15 years ago.
Ironically, the (stereo) Abbey Road that is included in my stereo box set is clearly inferior sonically to my original pressing of Abbey Road, on Apple Records, that I bought new in ca 1971 and have played on all sorts of turntables ever since. However, I have three stereo versions of Revolver (original Parlophone, original Capitol, and MOFI, I think), not including the one that came with my box set. All of those 3 are terrific. Perhaps the stereo effect is artificial, but I haven't noticed it if so. Perhaps the difference is that those 3 were not subject to digitizing.
there's an excellent Wiki page on this very subject where your questions are answered and then some ... particularly under the 'intent' portion
I suppose I will be drummed out by the Beatles cognoscenti for my ignorance of this history. At least I am on the path for Yellow Submarine, Abbey Road (my favorite of their albums, anyway), and Let it Be.
Should I set fire to my stereo boxed set? Gosh, I like Sergeant Pepper in stereo. On some tracks, the music seems to benefit from what is the otherwise annoying bounce effect from L to R and back to L. It's psychedelic. (I knew there was a word for it.) Maybe if I actually got stoned, I could imagine I was listening in mono. Or one could use the mono switch. Now that would be a switch.
I think you'll be OK Lew ... the label's stereo remixes are what I first heard and listened to for years, when I did listen, so that's what I'm used to as well
though I respect what the Fab4 accomplished I'm actually not a Beatles fan
I've got some favorites scattered across their albums but never actually owned any on vinyl ... I filled out my wife's CD collection for her though
for me, because of their pervasiveness, it's almost like Xmas music!!
so if I never hear Let It Be again that would be just wonderful
Yeah, Beatles are a bit like KOB. Great but been there. (Actually I deliberately do not play KOB except once a year, maybe, and that way I do not tire of it.)
Not in the mono box but in the stereo box. So there are three stereo only, not the two I was thinking.
ah ... it was common practice back then for the producers to totally take recording projects over once the band stopped playing
the Fab4 were an exception as they muscled in on mono mixing but the stereo stuff was snatched away from them where the labels hired hands did what they were used to doing ... and did it really fast too!
artist were really under the thumb of the labels back then eh?
Before the release of the Abbey Road box (was that last year?), my go to was my copy that I bought a very long time ago...can't recall when. The version in the stereo box was inferior. I have not compared the new Giles Martin version to the old one. I doubt if old one is a 1970 or so - I did not have a good TT before the mid-70s, and few of my LPs (or perhaps none) date from that time. I am guessing that I own a last 70s pressing.
Although stereo had been available since the late 1950s it did not attain general acceptance in the UK until the late 1960s/early 1970s when there was a boom in stereo.
At the time that most of the Beatles albums were made the mass market for pop music was centred on mono discs. Although stereo versions for some (not all) pop albums were released, until around 1965 they were often put out weeks after the mono release and were often stocked by record shops only as special orders from customers. They also carried a premium price over the mono, at least during the early years of the sixties.
That market background impacted the Beatles, their record company EMI and label Parlophone.
The Beatles were heavily involved with their producer George Martin in finalising the mix of their records. The final mix was made with them present and it was the mono mix - that was the multi-million seller. The Beatles themselves were not involved in the stereo mix which was left to studio staff to concoct later.This is why the mono records have primacy amongst Beatles fans.The first Beatles album where the original artistic intention was for it to be in stereo was Abbey Road - paradoxically the last Beatles album (in production terms although Let It Be was released subsequently).
So the mono records (aside from Abbey Road) are considered as the true representations of the Beatles intentions and that is why they are valued above the stereo ones.
"We need less, but better" - Dieter Rams
Your post explains a lot. For example, I also have some early Rolling Stones LPs on Decca UK label and in mono. These were inherited from the estate of a dear friend, so I was not sure of their provenance. It did surprise me that the 'Stones LPs would have been issued in mono, since their rise to fame began after that of the Beatles, at least in my mind.
I happen to have been in the UK in the summer of either 1966 or 1967. As a college student about to enter med school, I was doing research at the University of Sussex, just north of Brighton. After work, I would often go into Brighton for dinner or whatever. There was a huge record store in town, and I distinctly recall seeing "Revolver" being stocked in bins shortly after its release. Thus I was thinking "Revolver" would have had to have been released in stereo, by 1966. Now I understand.
Yes I have those first two Rolling Stones mono albums, red label Decca (1) and red label London (2). As you may know London was the imprint that Decca used to use in the USA because of the American Decca label. So how come I have a copy intended for the USA (both were pressed at New Malden in London)? Well so did everyone I knew in South London who had the album. A truck loaded with them mysteriously "lost" several boxes at the docks. I would have a good guess that mine was one of those although I didn't get it until few years ago second hand.
Yes the Stones first records came out a few months to a year later than the Beatles.
Incidentally , in line with the topic of this thread, those original Decca pressings in mono sound astonishingly good through my mono replay system. Decca had great engineers and the raw excitement of the group is undeniable. They are demonstration discs of mine for mono doubters.
So it's 1967 and you were up in Falmer, Brighton studying and I was down in Brighton itself at Brighton College of Art. I hope that you got to see some of the classic rock bands appearing there at around that time (and into 1968). I saw Jimi Hendrix twice, once at Sussex University and once at the Dome. Incredible String Band and Pentangle (Dome), Pink Floyd (Dome), Fleetwood Mac (King & Queen), Ten Years After (Jimmy's Blues Club). What a time to be young!
"We need less, but better" - Dieter Rams
That summer, I discovered Biryani, at a tiny Indian restaurant in Brighton. It was so spicy hot that my scalp would start sweating and my hair was drenched by the time I left the place. Yet I could not resist it, twice a week. I have never yet found Biryani as delicious and hot anywhere here in the US, since that summer. I am now remembering it was 1966 for sure, because I watched England win the world cup, along with a few dozen foreign students who were marooned at the University. We watched every game on the single large screen TV; it was a great experience.
Brighton was definitely swinging that summer. I know there were concerts going on, but I did not attend any. Met a lot of nice girls, though. Yes, the stony "beach" was not a very comfortable place to stretch out, unless you brought an air mattress or the like.
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