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March 01, 1987|RIP RENSE

There's considerable confusion on the compact-disc front about why EMI has relased the first four Beatles albums in mono rather than stereo. Simply speaking, most rock historians have always considered the mono recordings of the early LPs to be a punchier and more accurate reflection of the true Beatles sound.

George Martin, who produced all the Beatles albums except "Let It Be," agrees. Martin acted as a consultant on the first four compact discs and will remix at least some of the later releases.

"They were going to reissue the things as they stood, in stereo versions that were different from my original mono mixes," Martin has said. "They asked me what my opinion was. I thought it was not very good and I told them so. Those particular albums were not designed to be released in stereo.

"I recorded them on twin track for a heavily compressed mono sound. The stereo was not genuine. Neither the Beatles nor I had anything to do with the stereo. I told them, 'What you should do is issue these things in mono.' "

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