The Beatles' original studio album remasters, released on CD in 2009 and in 2010 for digital download will make their long-awaited stereo vinyl debut on 12th November. Manufactured on 180-gram, audiophile quality vinyl with replicated artwork, the 14 albums return to their original glory with details including the poster in The Beatles (The White Album), the Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Heart Club Band's cutouts, and special inner bags for some of the titles. Each album will be available individually, and accompanied by a 252-page hardbound book in a boxed edition which is limited to 50,000 copies worldwide.
The book, exclusive to the boxed edition, is authored by award-winning radio producer Kevin Howlett and features a dedicated chapter for each of the albums, as well as insight into the creation of the remasters and how the vinyl albums were prepared. The 12"x12" book showcases a wealth of photographs spanning The Beatles' recording career, including many images which were not included in the 2009 CD booklets.
The titles include The Beatles' 12 original UK albums, first released between 1963 and 1970, the US-originated Magical Mystery Tour, now part of the group's core catalogue, and Past Masters, Volumes One & Two, featuring non-album A-sides and B-sides, EP tracks and rarities. With this release, The Beatles' first four albums make their North American stereo vinyl debuts. In 2013, the remastered albums will make their mono vinyl debuts.
Since it was recorded, The Beatles' music has been heard on a variety of formats – from chunky reel-to-reel tapes and eight-track cartridges to invisible computer files. But there has never been a more romantic medium for music than a long-playing twelve-inch disc. The process of carefully slipping the disc out of the sleeve, cleaning it and lowering the stylus provides a personal involvement in the reproduction of the music.
When The Beatles' albums were first released, the listener enjoyed a tangible relationship with the music in the grooves of a record. There was an emotional connection to the artifact carrying the sound, and this bond was strengthened by the LP sleeve. Rather than a merely functional object to protect the disc, it was elevated to a stylish accessory. Certainly, the cover of a Beatles album conveyed a message about the music it was wrapped around. For example, the dominant orange and brown hues and elongated faces on the front of Rubber Soul seem to embody the sound of the record. With the advent of the cassette tape in the seventies and the compact disc in the 1980s, album artwork was reduced in size and importance, losing much of its charm. That is partly why vinyl LPs have not, as predicted, been discarded.