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Another incredibly influential band, the Sex Pistols. The same moral panic that started with fears of the Beatles’ long hair gave rise to much greater turbulence in the subsequent decade. In many ways, the two bands share a common story.
Any Cinderella-type story, such as Slumdog Millionaire, as Jamal is pulled from the crapper or correctly names the third musketeer—with the early hits of hope and unbridled enthusiasm ringing out in my ears.
The Beatles’ Mono Masters is a compilation album limited to non-album (from a U.K. album perspective) tracks originally mixed to mono. Of course, when it comes to the band’s early LPs, the packaging of album tracks in Britain greatly differed than the process employed in the U.S. LP releases in America included U.K. hit singles and EPs; the U.K. albums lacked such material.
Apple’s analog Beatles reissues follow the U.K. protocol, so the early albums are devoid of many of the monster hits that brought the lads fame and fortune. This material is assembled on Mono Masters. The later tracks tend to crossover with the stereo compilation album Hey Jude. But even if you own every LP issued by the Beatles, Mono Masters remains indispensable. The original U.K. albums don’t have these tracks and the U.S. albums tend to wreck the sound. And while earlier Beatles singles compilations exist, they don’t present all the music in proper mono and did not receive the level of mastering on display here.
Disc one, side one, includes the original single versions of “Love Me Do,” “From Me to You,” “Thank You Girl,” “I’ll Get You,” “I Want to Hold Your Hand,” and “This Boy.” That’s all you really need to know—great music and close to great sound. Keep in mind Beatles albums are not as well recorded as some of the very finest, like Island originals of Nick Drake or Traffic. Furthermore, Apple’s 2014 remasterings are most successful on the band’s mid- and later-period records, which show a slight loss of three-dimensionality and dynamic range compared to U.K. first pressings. The reissued singles from the same early period suffer the same slight defects. But you won’t find these songs sounding better unless you are crazy enough to collect and play original 45s.
Sonics improve on side two, featuring two German-language tracks and EP material issued in the U.S. on the album Something New. Disc two includes, among other cuts, “Day Tripper,” “Paperback Writer,” “Lady Madonna,” and “Hey Jude.” Here, we move into the area where the group was issuing both stereo and mono versions, and some of the material was released in stereo on the compilation set Hey Jude. The mono versions seem, by comparison, a bit compressed. The third LP features an assortment of tracks previously issued in fold-down mono from the stereo version, where a real mono track existed or tracks like “Get Back” and “Don’t Get Me Down” were released in different versions.
The three albums are housed in a three-way foldout cover with detailed informative liner notes about the history of each song. Like all the other covers in the band’s mono series, Apple copies the “fold-over” cover construction.
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