Beatles 6-Disc ‘Sgt. Pepper’ 50th Super Deluxe Edition Dueby Best Classic Bands Staff
Update (April 5): Click here for the official announcement made today, will complete details.
The Beatles are preparing a 50th Anniversary release of their landmark Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band album in a variety of editions including a “Super Deluxe Edition” 6-Disc set. Best Classic Bands learned today (April 4) that this mammoth version–as well as single CD, a deluxe 2-CD and 2-LP editions–is set for a May 26, 2017 release.
While no formal announcement on any of the editions have been provided, Beatles enthusiasts–including many eagle-eyed BCB readers–have indicated that the Super Deluxe edition includes 4-CDs, a DVD, Blu-ray disc, and more.
A video was posted today with further details. The deluxe 2-CD set apparently includes a CD of previously unreleased session takes, while the Super Deluxe Edition includes two CDs of extras with “a deeper dive with 100 minutes of outtakes, many previously unheard and unreleased.” That apparently includes much-rumored, new stereo mixes of “Strawberry Fields Forever” and Penny Lane.” (See it below.)
Watch the video to see many more details of the various releases…
The speculation, now apparently confirmed, is that Giles Martin, the son of The Beatles’ longtime producer George Martin, has been working on these reissues. (The video notes “Giles Martin and Sam Okell.”) Reports have indicated that Ringo Starr and Paul McCartney were given copies of Martin’s full, planned release for their approval. The younger Martin produced 2016’s Live at the Hollywood Bowl release, working from the original tapes, updating the 1977 release that his father produced.
At 9 a.m. ET, on April 4, The Beatles‘ Sgt. Pepper teaser gif was updated yet again via their various social media channels…
— The Beatles (@thebeatles) April 4, 2017
On April 3, The Beatles offered teaser #2 of a Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band reissue. At just after 9 a.m. ET, the graphic that they had posted on March 31 was revised with animation and the first 10 seconds of the title track, on their social media accounts. The much-beloved album will celebrate its 50th anniversary on June 1.
Posted by The Beatles on Monday, April 3, 2017
Here’s the original graphic from March 31…
On March 31, Ringo Starr offered a breadcrumb (see below). There were reports–still unconfirmed–in March that the album many say is the greatest rock recording of all time, or at least The Beatles’ high-water mark, would have two songs added to it.
The way the story goes, the Beatles were originally going to include two newly written compositions, “Strawberry Fields Forever” and “Penny Lane,” on the album. But with their record company, EMI, clamoring for a new Beatles single to keep them on the charts, the band agreed—reticently—to release those two songs as a single. When the album was being prepared for release, it was decided not to include the two already-released tracks on the LP.
Coming soon peace and love peace and good 😎✌️🌟💖🎵🎶🎵🎶☮ pic.twitter.com/ad0PeHQ0bW
— #RingoStarr (@ringostarrmusic) March 31, 2017
On March 6, when Best Classic Bands asked a spokeswoman for UMe, the catalog division of Universal Music Group, the parent company of the Beatles’ label Capitol Records in the United States, about the rumor, she replied, “We have no information at this time,” when asked if the U.K. report was true.
According to the article in The Mirror, Beatles producer George Martin, who died last March, confessed that he was partly to blame for the two songs being omitted from the final album, calling the decision “the biggest mistake of [his] professional life.” According to the piece, he said, “The only reason that ‘Strawberry Fields Forever’ and ‘Penny Lane’ didn’t go onto the album was a feeling that if we issued a single it shouldn’t go onto an album. It was a crazy idea, and I’m afraid I was partly responsible…Brian [Epstein, the Beatles’ manager] came to me and said, ‘I must have a really great single. What have you got?’ I said, ‘I’ve got three tracks and two of them are the best tracks [Lennon and McCartney] have ever written.’ So we put them together.”
“Penny Lane” and “Strawberry Fields Forever” both reached #2 in England while in the U.S., “Penny Lane” made #1 and “Strawberry Fields Forever” hit #8 on the Billboard chart. The Sgt. Pepper album, meanwhile, topped the LP chart in both countries and several others.
The day after the initial March 31 teaser, many media outlets created elaborate hoaxes including “newly discovered” tracks that were said to have been recorded at around the time the group were recording the album. The dateline of these stories: April 1, aka April Fool’s Day.
The Beatles have a history of teasing big releases. On September 12, 2015, they teased what ultimately became a big reissue campaign for their 1 collection.
Best Classic Bands will continue to update this story.