Saturday, March 26, 2011

The hot new thing that's got the whole world talking

The only thing better than listening to The Beatles is listening to The Beatles In Mono. (Hint: click on the cover pictures for more of what you fancy.)

Ever since I bought my first complete set of Beatles albums on vinyl, in the early eighties, I have been vaguely troubled by the fake stereo separation evident on, particularly, the early albums. You kind of knew that Ringo wasn't really sitting by himself in the far left corner of the room bashing away on the drums while the others were huddled over to the far right, somehow coming together in the centre for the vocals. (You could always fake a mono set-up by pressing the "mono" button on your amplifier but it isn't quite the same, a bit like watching a black and white movie on a colour TV and getting distracted by the residual colour tints on the screen.) And so "The Beatles In Mono" is the answer to a lot of problems. It is also, if you read the hype, The Beatles as The Beatles originally intended. Which, if true, must surely count for something.

A song like "Please Please Me" -- any of them, in fact -- sounds so incredibly fresh and alive today, nearly fifty years later,  that it's impossible to imagine how revolutionary it must have sounded in 1963. "Beatlemania", kids, wasn't just some cynical marketing ploy.