1 June, as corroborated by Beatles expert Mark Lewisohn, will mark the 50th anniversary of the official release of ‘Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band’. And of course, the world is celebrating with a series of new editions. Let’s unwrap the new double LP version.
When I bought it yesterday, I was once again pleasantly surprised by the visual richness of the album, which goes extremely well with the music.
Front sleeve (older version in the back, more about that below):
The set contains a new and shiny stereo mix by Giles Martin, who previously produced the labyrinthic soundtrack album ‘Love’ together with his more famous dad George, and a second record, which features about fourteen interesting session outtakes. Among them: an instrumental version of Within You Without You, all sitar and tablas, and an alternative ending to A Day In The Life. A bit underwhelming, but of course that’s why the Fab Four left if off and went for a more thunderous option.
The labels, roughly the same as the original UK 1967 release (Parlophone – PMC 7027):
The DIY cut-out insert:
The red half-tone print on white ‘psychedelic’ inner sleeves, also included in the first UK 1967 release:
The all-new bright yellow folder, containing short introductions by Paul McCartney and detailing the story about the legendary cover, the recording sessions and the outtakes – click pictures to enlarge:
The back of the new fategold sleeve:
One thing I find interesting is comparing different versions of a certain release – go on, call me a nerd 😉 Of course I already had a copy of ‘Sgt. Pepper’s’. Unfortunately not a first press of any kind, but still a rather neat French version of 1974 (Odeon/Apple Records– 2C 064 04177), which also had the cardboard cut-out insert, but not the ghost track you’ll hear when the needle slips into the run-out groove, right after the monumental end chord of A Day In The Life dies out. It also featured ‘Apple’ labels, instead of Parlophone labels. Of course, The Beatles only founded Apple Records in 1968.
A little comparison:
That’s it, folks. What do you think about the new package and mix? Oh right, the ghost track …