BEATLES VS. THE ROLLING STONES

There was a time when a person’s musical tastes were defined by whether he or she liked the Beatles or the Rolling Stones. Here at the Mixed Media online blog, we love both. Here are some Beatles and Stones related reissues and releases.

Here they are, the Beatles!

Beatles Wax for Sale

All of the Beatles’ British albums on Parlaphone, along with the Past Masters release, are now available on vinyl for the first time, through EMI in America. All of the original packaging is included and the albums are pressed on heavyweight 180g vinyl. The albums were mostly mastered from the 2009 stereo digital re-masters. Some purists are not happy with this method, particularly in the case of the Beatles albums that they were originally mastered in England in mono. This issue has been debated since the very first Beatles albums were reissued on CD in stereo in the 1980s and due to space will not be debated here. While I doubt I could honestly recommend all of these releases over the original vinyl albums, it’s great to be able to purchase such vinyl albums as the White Album with all the packaging. It certainly is nice to have brand-new vinyl albums complete with all the packaging, minus the wear and pops and clicks of the old albums.

Roll Up for the Mystery Trip

The Beatles’ controversial film Magical Mystery Tour (EMI) has been reissued in a glorious box set that may once and for all bury any lingering criticism the film has received since it was released in 1967. The deluxe collector’s edition includes the film on DVD and Blu-ray. There are also lots of extra special features including a director’s commentary by Paul McCartney, a documentary on the making of the film, a music video of Traffic performing the title song of the film “Here We Go Round the Mulberry Bush” (who knows why this is included, but who’s complaining!) and many more excellent bonus features. If that’s not enough, the package comes with the original vinyl double, disc of the soundtrack EP in mono and a 65-page collector’s book.

Act Naturally

Two new videos from Eagle will thrill Beatles fans. Produced by George Martin, originally aired on the BBC is now available on Blu-ray. This glorious documentary is a fitting tribute to the erudite British producer. The documentary also reveals that Martin was more than just the Beatles’ producer although certainly that alone would be enough. Martin worked with Peter Sellers, America, Jeff Beck and countless others. He also launched one of the greatest studios in British music history: AIR studios. The life and work of George Martin has always been a key part of the success and personal appeal of the Beatles and their world. Other than James Bond himself, no figure from the world of British 60s popular culture was classier than George Martin.

Paul McCartney’s recent foray into the American popular songbook has now been captured on a highly entertaining documentary, Live Kisses. The DVD chronicles the making of McCartney’s Kisses on The Bottom album released in 2012. Filmed almost exclusively at the legendary Capitol Studios in Hollywood, the film celebrates McCartney’s album and the historic sessions that took place at the iconic studio located in the famed circular Capitol Tower. There are performances, videos, interviews and loads of bonus material also included.

Ladies and Gentlemen, the Rolling Stones

The Rolling Stones are celebrating their 50th anniversary and many Stones-related releases have come out this year. Easily the best release and perhaps the best reissue of the year is Charlie is my Darling, Ireland 1965 (ABKCO). The title refers to a film that Andrew Loog Oldham, the group’s manager at the time, produced that was directed by Peter Whitehead. The stark, black- and-white film was a screen test of sorts to launch the group’s film career. It turned out to be a cinema-verite, behind-the-scenes glimpse of the band just as they were about to explode around the world. The live performances are riveting and add greatly to the group’s live filmography. The super deluxe box-set package includes the film in Blu-ray and DVD versions. There are also a soundtrack CD, a CD with unreleased live recordings from the tour (!), a 10″ vinyl LP of live recordings from the tour and many more bonus materials. There have been some excellent Stones reissues of late, but this package is truly special.

Grrr!

Grrr! from Universal, released in various configurations, is a career retrospective that is most notable for including two new excellent Stones songs. While many have been buying best-of Stones collections since the 1960s, this set may be the last such release of consequence since it contains what will probably be the group’s final recordings together.

Face of the Stones

Two new videos from the group’s Ron Wood era are worth searching out. Muddy Waters/The Rolling Stones/Checkerboard Lounge/Live Chicago 1981 (Eagle) captures various members of the Rolling Stones at the famous Chicago club with a host of blues legends, most notably Muddy Waters. To see the Stones in such an intimate setting jamming on old blues songs with the icons of the genre is a thrill. The Rolling Stones Under Review 1975-1983 The Ronnie Wood Years (Pt. 1), distributed by MVD, covers the years when Wood first joined the group and reflects the best studio recordings he made with the group.