Monday, May 27, 2024

The Beatles $117 Sgt. Pepper Box Set is Number 1 on Amazon, Number 6 Download on iTunes


Fifty years later, “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” is marching to the top again.

The 50th anniversary box set is number 1 on The lavish package with 4 CDs and 2 DVDs retails for $117.99. It’s been at the top with pre-orders for a month. But now it’s here, and it’s outselling all regularly priced albums.

The downloadable version (which is great but as extensive as the offerings in the box set) is number 6 on iTunes. That version includes the remixed original album plus a sequence of outtakes that form a ‘reimagined’ version of the album. “Strawberry Fields” and “Penny Lane” are included in new stereo mixes.

But you have to get the box set to get the Mono version (with those extra songs– including the famous piccolo ending on “Penny Lane”) plus two CDs of outtakes and two DVDs (one is a Blu Ray).

The limited version can be streamed, too, on Spotify.

The 50th anniversary box is really an occasion. Hats off to Jeff Jones and Jonathan Clyde and the Apple Records staff. They’ve really done the Beatles justice. There so many spectacular small things about the box set. For one thing, all the songs are great. There isn’t a dud. The more you listen, thanks to Giles Martin’s remix, the more you hear. I’ve been listening to this album for five decades and find surprise after surprise. The outtakes, instrumentals, and “work drafts” so to speak reveal layer after layer. “Sgt. Pepper” is an astonishing achievement. “Revolver” prefaced it, and the three subsequent albums– the White Album, Abbey Road, Let it Be– plus “Hey Jude”– fulfilled its promise.

Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

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