The world is abuzz, aflutter, a-something, with the recent release of the entire recorded catalog of The Beatles, meticulously digitally remastered.
While many will wrestle with the decision of paying almost $300 for the remastered set, you should know some of the hidden gems unearthed by these incredible technological wonders.
Oh, you saucy lads-- let's rock again, shall we? Yes, let's do! Play that funky music, white boys!
1. “I Wanna Hold Your Hand” is restored with the missing Gregorian chant track featuring The Monks of the Benedictine Abbey Road. While producer George Martin thought the background vocals dragged the pace of the song down, they do lend an interesting texture and depressing patina that sells the intense yearning for holding ‘your hand.’
2. The re-mix on “I Feel Fine” reveals the previously hidden lyrics: “I’m in love with her and I feel fine/ well, actually I’m a bit congested and have some flu-like symptoms/ best to get to a chemist’s shoppe after this session/ got no time to get sick/ hope I’m not coming down with something…”
3. A refreshed, revitalized“Eleanor Rigby” unearths a hidden track of Marcel Marceau pantomiming the sorrow that Eleanor feels throughout the song. Although one must strain to hear the masterful mime at work– frowning, pretending to wring his sopping hankie of tears and walking against the wind to go to her grave in the cemetery– the impact is felt deeply. The song achieves new poignancy, sadness, depth, and announces to the world “It truly sucks to be Eleanor Rigby.”
4. McCartney’s classic song “Yesterday” enjoys a new day in the sun with the alternate lyrics mixed in: “Yesterday/ saw a movie starring Danny Kaye/ it was good, I have to say/ oh, I really love my Danny Kaye.” Although McCartney has long denied an infatuation for Danny Kaye, these lyrics prove otherwise.
5. While you probably know Eric Clapton plays the guitar solo on George Harrison’s “While My Guitar Gently Weeps” you’ve never heard it like this. The re-mastered version allows you to hear Clapton’s stomach growling during his performance. Following his solo, you can clearly hear Clapton’s voice off-mike asking “What’s a fellow have to do for a sandwich, some chips, a kidney pie, or something? A bowl of gruel, a bite of something, please. I’m starving here!”
6. Despite the long time rumor that at the end of “Strawberry Fields Forever”, John says, “I buried Paul”, the newly re-mastered version clearly has Lennon saying, “I cremated Paul.”
7. The stories of the rifts among The Beatles comes to clear audio life with some of the re-mastered songs. In the revised “Yellow Submarine” you can hear Ringo call McCartney “an overbearing codger” and Paul responding “shut up, you gormless git!” In the re-engineered “Long And Winding Road”, one can actually hear a fistfight break out between Lennon and McCartney, along with the sound of Yoko Ono being thrown through the air and crashing onto an amp, cursing McCartney and knocking over Ringo’s drum kit while accidentally stepping on a cat and dragging her nails across a chalkboard and tripping a fire alarm.
8. On Lennon’s “Revolution 9” track from The White Album, the re-mastered version reveals the following previously unheard lyric, “mumbler mime” instead of “number nine.” Apparently, this was an insulting reference to Marcel Marceau who was a notorious low talker. When Marceau heard about the snide insult, he pretended to punch Lennon. John decked him.
There are many more audio gems to be discovered in this digital dive. Grab your wallets and go!