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POP MUSIC

Beatles' catalog will be reissued Sept. 9 in remastered versions

The iconic group's repertoire is considered the most significant body of music still not available for downloading.

April 08, 2009|Randy Lewis

In recent years, surviving Beatles Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr as well as others within the Beatles camp have said there were no plans for remastering the music. The secrecy is consistent with the privacy with which all matters relating to the Beatles are guarded within Apple and EMI. However, McCartney has said that he expects the band's music to become available digitally this year. The Beatles catalog is considered the most significant body of music still not available for downloading.

In addition, Capitol Records, the Beatles' U.S. record label, recently has been expanding its series of vintage albums reissued on vinyl, and many within the Beatles community expect the group's remastered albums also will appear in that configuration as well. A spokesman for the group said Tuesday that no one from the band or the record label would be available to comment beyond the information in the news release.

Even though the recordings are not being completely remixed the way the "Love" soundtrack from the Cirque du Soleil show in Las Vegas was, consumers should expect a significant improvement in sound quality from the remastering process, historian Lewis said.

"If people are listening to their music through iPods or cellphones, they may not hear much difference," Lewis said. "But on something as sonically superb as what the Beatles and George Martin created, it needs a physical carrier equal to that, and the [sound] files you can get on a CD are of a quality you can't get on MP3.

"This music was recorded with what we could think of today as Neanderthal caveman conditions. But the actual recording work done by the Beatles and their two main engineers, Norman Smith and Geoff Emerick, is absolutely remarkable. . . .

"The Beatles catalog is the Rolls-Royce of contemporary music, and every indication is that they've spared no expense," Lewis said. "We can be disappointed or bemoan the fact that it's taken 22 years, but from what we're hearing, it appears they have done it right."

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randy.lewis@latimes.com

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