Beatles Sgt. Pepper's Super Deluxe 6-Disc Box Set Features New Stereo Mix, 33 Previously Unreleased Takes, 5.1 Surround Mixes on Blu-ray/DVD, 144-Page Hardcover Book, More
A splendid time is guaranteed for all: Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, the watershed Beatles classic many consider the finest album in pop history, is celebrating its 50th anniversary in a big way. Newly mixed by Giles Martin and Sam Okell at Abbey Road Studios in stereo and 5.1 surround audio and expanded with early takes from the studio sessions, including no fewer than 33 previously unreleased recordings, this Super Deluxe six-disc box set of the 1967 masterwork features a head-exploding array of unsurpassed music, bonus material, and archival treasures.
Housed in a 12-inch by 12-inch box with lenticular artwork and two bonus posters, this incredible set is presented with a 144-page hardcover book. The lavish book includes new introductions by Paul McCartney and producer Giles Martin, as well chapters covering comprehensive song-by-song details and recording information, the design of the cover, the album's musical innovations, and its historical context by Beatles historian, author and radio producer Kevin Howlett; composer and musicologist Howard Goodall; music producer and writer Joe Boyd; and journalists Ed Vulliamy and Jeff Slate. It is illustrated with rare photographs, reproductions of handwritten lyrics, Abbey Road Studios documentation, and original Sgt. Pepper print ads.
"It's crazy to think that 50 years later we are looking back on this project with such fondness and a little bit of amazement at how four guys, a great producer and his engineers could make such a lasting piece of art," says Paul McCartney. "Sgt. Pepper seemed to capture the mood of that year, and it also allowed a lot of other people to kick off from there and to really go for it," Ringo Starr adds.
This is the first time Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band has been remixed and presented with additional session recordings, and it is the first Beatles album to be remixed and expanded since the 2003 release of Let It Be... Naked. To create the mixes for Sgt. Pepper, Martin and mix engineer Okell worked with an expert team of engineers and audio restoration specialists at Abbey Road Studios in London. All of the Anniversary Edition releases include Martin's new stereo mix of the album, which was sourced directly from the original four-track session tapes and guided by the original, Beatles-preferred mono mix produced by his father, George Martin.
Just as many ideas are sparked by chance, Sgt. Pepper first sprang from a conversation between Paul and Beatles roadie Mal Evans on an airplane, when Mal's request to pass the salt and pepper was misheard by Paul as "Sgt. Pepper." The concept of who such a figure could be took root in Paul's mind, blooming with the imagination of The Beatles as an Edwardian era military band - "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band." The Beatles' creative wellspring for Sgt. Pepper also flowed from such myriad sources as The Beach Boys' Pet Sounds album, a Victorian circus poster ("Being For The Benefit Of Mr. Kite!"), a TV commercial for breakfast cereal ("Good Morning Good Morning"), a picture drawn by John's young son, Julian ("Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds"), a teen runaway reported in the news ("She's Leaving Home'), and Hindu teachings ("Within You Without You").
Using the standard four-track tape recording equipment of the day, The Beatles collaborated with producer George Martin to achieve "the impossible," as they dubbed it, to go as far out as they could with arrangements and new technology to realize their collective vision for Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band. As George Martin described it, "We were into another kind of art form where you were putting something down on tape that could only be done on tape." The Beatles clocked more than 400 hours in Abbey Road's Studio 2 to record the album, wrapping sessions in April 1967.
Upon its release on June 1, 1967, Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band initially spent 148 weeks in the British chart, including a total of 27 weeks at No. 1.Sgt. Pepper won four Grammy Awards, including Album of the Year, and it remains one of the most influential and bestselling albums of all time. In 2003, the U.S. Library of Congress selected Sgt. Pepper for the National Recording Registry, recognizing the album as "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant." Sgt. Pepper tops Rolling Stone magazine's definitive list of the 500 Greatest Albums of All Time.
Super Deluxe Edition Contents:
- New 2017 stereo album mix
CDs 2 & 3
- 33 additional recordings from the studio sessions, most previously unreleased and mixed for the first time from the four-track session tapes, sequenced in chronological order of their recording dates
- A new stereo mix of "Penny Lane" and the 2015 stereo mix of "Strawberry Fields Forever"
- Direct transfers of the album's original mono mix and the "Strawberry Fields Forever" and "Penny Lane" singles
- Capitol Records' U.S. promotional mono single mix of "Penny Lane"
- Previously unreleased early mono mixes of "She's Leaving Home," "A Day In The Life," and "Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds" (a mix thought to have been erased from a tape in 1967, but discovered during archive research for the anniversary edition)
Discs 5 & 6 (Blu-ray and DVD)
- New 5.1 surround audio mixes of the album and "Penny Lane" by Giles Martin and Sam Okell, plus their 2015 5.1 surround mix of "Strawberry Fields Forever"
- High resolution audio versions of the new stereo mixes of the album and "Penny Lane" and of the 2015 stereo mix of "Strawberry Fields Forever"
- Video features: 4K restored original promotional films for "Strawberry Fields Forever," "Penny Lane," and "A Day In The Life;" plus The Making of Sgt. Pepper, a restored, previously unreleased documentary film (broadcast in 1992), featuring insightful interviews with McCartney, Harrison, and Starr, and in-studio footage introduced by George Martin.
- Housed in a 12-inch by 12-inch box with lenticular artwork, 144-page hardcover book, and two bonus posters