Beatles Reissues: What Will Be Next?

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With the expanded editions of Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band and The Beatles (the White Album) now done deals, Beatles fans are, of course, wondering what the next major project is likely to be. Will the team responsible for those universally acclaimed releases dive into Abbey Road for its 50th anniversary next year? And what about the Beatle holy grail, the long-out-of-print 1970 film Let it Be and its attendant soundtrack album?

Nothing has been announced yet and, at a September 26, 2018, presentation in New York City to introduce the White Album to the press, producer Giles Martin was asked about plans for an expanded edition of Abbey Road. Martin politely deflected, indicating that the focus was on the enormous task that had been completed on the expanded White Album. “I haven’t given it any thought,” he said

But that same month another insider—Paul McCartney himself—hinted that Let it Be, the documentary that captures the Beatles in the throes of falling apart, could be on the future release schedule. [With 2020 being the 50th anniversary, that would be the most likely target date.]

“We keep talking about it,” McCartney told DJ Yannick Tremblay of Canada’s Radio X at the time. “We have meetings at Apple, you know, the original Beatles Apple. And it’s one of the things you never quite know what’s gonna happen with it. So there’s no [definite] story at the moment. But I keep saying ‘What’s gonna happen?’ because people ask about it. I tell you what I think it’s gonna happen. I think there may be a new version of it. That’s kind of the latest gossip. There’s a lot of footage, and the original movie came out, and it was really sort of about the break-up of the Beatles. And so for me, it was a little sad, the movie.”

Related: White Album facts and trivia

Continuing, McCartney said, “But I know people have been looking at the [unreleased] footage; there’s about 56 hours of footage. And someone was talking to me the other day and said, ‘The overall feeling is very joyous and very uplifting. It’s like a bunch of guys making music and enjoying it,’ you know. So I think there is some talk about making a new movie, re-editing it from the same period, from the same footage. We can make a new film out of it. So who knows, that may be happening in a year or two.”

Let it Be, which also includes footage of the Beatles’ famous final live performance, on the rooftop of the Apple headquarters in London, has been unavailable since the 1980s.

Abbey Road was released in October 1969 in the U.S., and Let it Be originally came out in May 1070, so any announcements of new releases related to those two landmarks would likely take place a few months in advance of the anniversaries. Stay tuned!

Watch outtake footage from Let it Be

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