There’s no doubt that Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band is a seminal rock and roll album. Many of its songs, such as “With A Little Help From My Friends” and “Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds,” have cemented themselves into pop culture, and even people who don’t listen to The Beatles are familiar with the colorful cover art. Now, 50 years after the album’s release, fans can rediscover the album thanks to a special reissue. The reissue comes in four different formats—a single CD with a stereo remix produced by Giles Martin; a double CD set with additional takes from the recording of the album, as well as stereo mixes of other Beatles songs; a double vinyl set; and a six-disc box set with four CDs, a documentary, and a surround sound mix. It should be noted that Giles Martin is the son of George Martin, who produced Sgt. Pepper and all of the Beatles’ other albums aside from Let It Be.
The new edition of Sgt. Pepper is particularly exciting given the album’s release history. Originally, the album was produced in mono. Then, in a last-minute change of plans, a stereo version was quickly mixed and released to the American public. In 2009, the stereo version was remastered, allowing listeners to better appreciate the instrumentation and vocals. While this remaster was impressive, Martin’s remix is even more stunning, as it was made using the original studio tapes instead of copies.
Of course, the bonus content released for the 50th anniversary of the album is just as enthralling as the actual remix. It’s difficult to say which outtakes are the best, but some of the most interesting ones are instrumental versions of songs like “She’s Leaving Home” and “With A Little Help From My Friends”; an earnest-sounding, high-energy take of “Lovely Rita”; and a stripped-down take of carnival song “Being For The Benefit Of Mr. Kite!”. Fans who are partial to “Strawberry Fields Forever,” which was initially intended for inclusion on the album but ultimately released as a separate single, have a special treat in store—three different versions of the song (a 2015 stereo remix and two additional takes) are included.
What do you think of the Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band reissue? What are your favorite bonus tracks? Let us know in the comments.