A week after The Beatles threw the world into a debate about the legitimacy and quality of their “last song” Now And Then, we’re finally treated to the most exciting aspect of the big announcement — new 2023 mixes of many beloved songs.
The release of Now And Then was meant to coincide with the re-release of the popular 1973 double compilations — 1962-1966 (aka The Red Album) and 1967-1970 (aka The Blue Album). These two best-of sets compiled not only the band’s hit singles, but also popular album tracks that were never singles, like Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band and In My Life. These two albums boast 36 brand new Giles Martin mixes, combined with 38 others he’s mixed which have previously been released in 2015, 2017, 2019, 2021 and 2022.
For me personally, the mixes done by Martin (son of legendary Beatles producer George Martin) are the definitive versions of these songs. Martin never wildly alters the songs, and leaves the original intended presentation intact. He just uses modern methods and techniques to improve the sound and help The Beatles achieve the experience they’d all envisioned. Many of Martin’s mixes give me actual chills, like Dear Prudence from The White Album. So, I was delighted there are so many remixes on these new re-releases — which top my Xmas list, if you’re looking for something (in the way) to get me.
There are definitely some standouts here if you’re looking for some new-mix euphoria. If I Needed Someone, originally from Rubber Soul, is magnificent. Perhaps George Harrison’s songs didn’t get the attention that John Lennon and Paul McCartney’s did back in the day because this one absolutely shines now, especially the two Rickenbacker guitars. They’re clearer, and more defined from each other.
The new mixes will certainly be loved by Ringo Starr and his admirers. In almost every instance the drums are the most obvious sonic improvement. The bell on the ride cymbal, the isolation of the kick drum, the percussion separation and just a bit more oomph overall. Really fun to blast these tracks. Good lord, he was an inventive drummer — Ticket To Ride, I Feel Fine, Nowhere Man, You Can’t Do That, Eight Days A Week, Help! and more. Perhaps the most dramatic new additions are the fiery bongos and cowbell on A Hard Day’s Night
Other beautiful new mixes include I Saw Her Standing There and You’ve Got To Hide Your Love Away, which is perhaps Lennon’s most underappreciated masterpiece. The new mix of Nowhere Man packs a lot of punch, and it’s a bit of an oddity on this new collection as I believe it is the only one which has been remixed twice. The first time was back on the Yellow Submarine “songtrack” album in 1999 when George Martin remixed it and several others.
So far Giles has remixed Revolver, Sgt. Pepper, The White Album, Let It Be and Abbey Road. He’s done Now And Then, these 36 new tracks as well as the mashups on the Cirque du Soleil Love album and 1+ (a 2015 remix of the 2000 compilation 1 featuring virtually all the band’s No. 1 hits). Giles updated a few of his 2015 remixes from 1+ for 2023 — A Hard Day’s Night, I Feel Fine, Eight Days A Week, Ticket To Ride, Help!, Yesterday, Day Tripper and We Can Work It Out.
So — what’s left for Martin to remix? Let’s take a look.
Please Please Me (1963)
Nothing’s been remixed except Please Please Me, Twist And Shout and I Saw Her Standing There.
Would love to hear new mixes of: Boys and Do You Want To Know A Secret.
With The Beatles (1963)
Nothing’s been remixed except All My Loving, Roll Over Beethoven and You Really Got A Hold On Me.
Would love to hear new mixes of: It Won’t Be Long, Don’t Bother Me and Money.
A Hard Day’s Night (1964)
Nothing’s been remixed except A Hard Day’s Night, And I Love Her, Can’t Buy Me Love and You Can’t Do That.
Would love to hear new mixes of: I Should Have Known Better, Tell Me Why and Things We Said Today.
Beatles For Sale (1964)
Nothing’s been remixed except Eight Days A Week.
Would love to hear new mixes of: I’m A Loser, Kansas City and No Reply.
Long Tall Sally EP (1964)
Nothing’s been remixed — Long Tall Sally, Matchbox, I Call Your Name and Slow Down.
Nothing’s been remixed except Help!, You’ve Got To Hide Your Love Away, Ticket To Ride and Yesterday.
Would love to hear new mixes of: Dizzy Miss Lizzy, I’ve Just Seen A Face, I Need You and The Night Before.
Rubber Soul (1965)
Nothing’s been remixed except Drive My Car, Norwegian Wood, Nowhere Man, In My Life, Michelle and If I Needed Someone.
Would love to hear new mixes of: I’m Looking Through You, Think For Yourself and The Word.
Revolver (1966) & Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band (1967)
Everything has already been remixed.
Magical Mystery Tour (1967)
Nothing’s been remixed except Magical Mystery Tour, I Am The Walrus and Fool On The Hill.
Would love to hear new mixes of: Flying and Blue Jay Way.
Yellow Submarine (1968), The Beatles (1968), Abbey Road (1969) & Let It Be (1970)
Everything has already been remixed.
All the singles and flip sides have been remixed except: My Bonnie / The Saints (1961), Sie Liebt Dich / Komm Gib Mir Deine Hand (1964), Yes It Is (1965), I’m Down (1965), Baby You’re A Rich Man (1967), The Inner Light (1968), You Know My Name (Look Up The Number) (1970), Free As A Bird / Christmastime Is Here Again (1995), Real Love (1996).
And don’t get me started on how we probably need remixes of everything pre-1969 in both mono and stereo. Plis, what about quadraphonic and Dolby Atmos? Seems like we’ll be spending money on “new” Beatles material for years to come.
All the new mixes:
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Area Resident is an Ottawa-based journalist, recording artist, music collector and re-seller. Hear (and buy) his music on Bandcamp, email him HERE, follow him on Instagram and check him out on Discogs.