Diehard fans of The Beatles have been waiting for this moment for decades. On Sept. 9, EMI will release remastered copies of the band's entire catalog, from 1963's Please Please Me to the 1969 album Abbey Road. The remastered versions offer stunning clarity to The Beatles' music, allowing fans to hear elements in the songs they most likely never noticed before, like subtle sound effects or guitar lines that were lost in the original, all-analog releases.
The casual listener might not immediately recognize a stark difference between the original recordings and the newly remastered versions, but All Songs Considered host Bob Boilen says there's still plenty to get excited about. The new versions, especially the box set editions, include expanded liner notes, new artwork, never-before-seen photos, and short documentaries on the making of each album.
EMI is releasing both the original mono versions of the first 10 Beatles albums, up through The Beatles (The White Album), in addition to the all-stereo versions. Though a lot of fans will default to the stereo CDs, Boilen notes that The Beatles and producer George Martin put most of their care into the mono recordings. "From 1963 to 1967 most people listened to record players with one speaker," says Boilen. "The same was true with radio. FM stereo just wasn't available."
Despite that, Boilen personally recommends getting the stereo albums. "You can hear instruments with more definition. The details pop. It's a bit like watching your favorite movie in HD for the first time."