Tuesday, 22 February 2011

Back To Mono With Sergeant Pepper and The Beatles

Sgt Pepper - Mono Version
Last week, my friend, Nigel Corten, a work colleague who I regularly have had chats with about all matters of sixties music loaned me his mono vinyl copy of Sergeant Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band by The Beatles.

"Why?", I hear you ask, "surely you have it already?"

Yes, in stereo on vinyl and CD, (I even used to own it on cassette).

However; this groundbreaking stereo album was simultaneously released in mono in 1967 (then standard for most record buyers). I remember hearing a documentary on Radio 1 celebrating the albums 20th anniversary back in 1987 and recording engineer Geoff Emerick praising the mono version as the definitive version to have as that is the version The Beatles poured their heart and soul into.

On hearing this version I have to say how surprised I was and totally agree with Geoff's view.

Sgt Pepper - An Undisputed Classic
The sound brings The Beatles more together as a whole, with guitar and drum work more prominent. I even dare to suggest that McCartney's vocal of She's Leaving Home is better than on the stereo version. While the reprise of Sgt Pepper is decidedly different to the stereo take with McCartney in evidence of really rocking out!

I committed this version to digital format before returning this undisputed classic to Nigel, and it struck me how the clarity of this and other artists had to be so much better back in the 1960s. For a start when these records got airplay on the radio they had to sound good on there too. Stereo radio didn't arrive until much later!

I'm currently putting together an article on Pepper and would love to have your thoughts on what you think of the album whether you bought it in 1967 or today!

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