Monday, April 3, 2017

What COULD be on the Beatles' Sgt. Pepper anniversary package - UPDATED


OK - We now know the Beatles are issuing a 6-disk Super Deluxe Anniversary Edition of Sgt. Pepper. That means some of the outtakes and potential extra tracks mentioned below may be part of the release. 

It also means some of my skepticism about the Beatles being skimpy on said extras may be, thankfully, unwarranted.

Here's my original post:

Since we're all waiting for the Beatles to spill the beans on the contents of their upcoming Sgt. Pepper anniversary edition, let's take a look at things that could potentially be included.

Below are different tracks that have surfaced via the Anthology and bootlegs that would fit in well. Keep in mind, however, that Apple is traditionally less than generous when it comes to such compilations.

Personally, I'd love to see Apple follow the model of the Beach Boys' Pet Sounds and SMiLE box sets, which include a wealth of studio material. But I think, realistically, we're looking at something far more modest.

That said, here's what we KNOW will be included: A remix of the Sgt. Pepper album that will include the double A-side single that preceded it: "Penny Lane/Strawberry Fields Forever."

The remix will likely be in stereo, but perhaps multi-channel options will also be available.

As to format, I imagine we'll see this on CD, vinyl and download. It would be cool to see the remixed Pepper LP packaged with a picture sleeve of the "Penny Lane/Strawberry Fields" single.

A book or booklet featuring session photos and historical information would be nice. We'll, of course, also need a sheet of the Pepper paper cut-outs.

Now, how about audio extras. These could potentially include:
  • The original stereo mix of Pepper.
  • The original mono mix of Pepper.
  • The rare U.S. promotional single version of "Penny Lane" with the trumpet tag on the end.
  • The evolution of "Strawberry Fields" from John Lennon's acoustic demos through the various takes and the ultimate, combined version.
  • Session rehearsals and outtakes. We know from bootlegs and the Anthology that session material exists for "Penny Lane"; "A Day in the Life"; "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Heart Club Band"; "Good Morning, Good Morning"; "Being for the Benefit of Mr. Kite"; "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds"; "Sgt. Pepper Reprise," and "Within You Without You." Surely there's more.
  • "Elements" mixes. Why not an all-vocal version of Pepper coupled with an all-instrumental version? Could we hear the sound effects or selective other bits and pieces in isolation?
  • "Only a Northern Song": released versions and studio outtakes. This song was recorded during the Pepper sessions.
  • Home demos. Do any beyond John's for "Strawberry Fields" exist? Does Paul have anything squirreled away?
  • Perhaps "Carnival of Light," the never-released 14-minute experimental track the Beatles contributed to the Million Volt Light and Sound Rave, held on Jan. 5, 1967, in London's Roundhouse Theater.
  • The BBC Radio "Where It's At" program with Kenny Everett. The program featured zany interviews performed with the Beatles during the Pepper launch part at Brian Epstein's flat on May 19, 1967. It's a fun listen, featuring track previews from the Pepper album and lots of zany, Sixties-style sound edits. 
  • Video material. The 1987 "It Was 20 Years Ago Today" TV special features interview material with Paul, Ringo, George, George Martin and Derek Taylor, among others. This could be included intact, or in parts. Additionally, there's plenty of Pepper material from the Anthology video set, plus the promo films for "Penny Lane," "Strawberry Fields" and "A Day in the Life."
Pepper is the most important pop record of the Sixties in terms of its influence and cultural impact. Surely it deserves an in-depth, box set release that including the material mentioned above.

What we'll get, however, I think will be more along the lines of Let it Be Naked, a new album featuring the remixed Pepper augmented with "Penny Lane: and "Strawberry Field." No outtakes, no video, no extra nothing. It's likely to be a completely different package, with its own unique cover riffing off Pepper, maybe something like this:

What do you all think?

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