The Beatles - Beatles For Sale

Cut at Abbey Road Studios using non-limited 24-bit digital masters sourced from the original analog master tapes!

Pressed on 180-gram vinyl; album's North American LP debut in stereo

Optimum audiophile-quality sound from a first-rate team of producers and engineers


For years the most anticipated vinyl reissues have been from the one, the only Beatles catalog. Finally, after a delay due to the meticulousness of the remastering process and assorted other hurdles, that day has come. The Beatles catalog is getting the audiophile treatment! 180-gram vinyl pressings cut at Abbey Road Studios using the non-limited 24-bit digital masters sourced from the original analog master tapes!

The Beatles were working, it seemed, at least nine days a week in late 1964. As a biography reflects, they'd been touring constantly, had just released A Hard Day's Night in June and were rushed back into a recording studio the week after they returned from America to record a new album and single in time for Christmas. "They were rather war-weary," producer George Martin said. With little time to write original songs, almost half of the Beatles for Sale LP consisted of covers the group had been playing onstage for years. The same day the Beatles finished "Eight Days a Week," they knocked out seven complete tracks.

Beatles For Sale was released in the U.K. in December 1964. Beatles '65, its U.S. counterpart, did not include "Eight Days a Week." The song was released as a single in the U.S. two months later, and it went to No. 1.

Beatles For Sale was the last Beatles record to feature traces of the band's early rock and roll influences. Beatles For Sale also functions as a harbinger of what was to come, as John Lennon's songwriting reflects his embrace of Bob Dylan's folk rock. There's also a distinctive change in moods. The record opens with a trio of darker-flavored material, "No Reply," "I'm a Loser," and "Baby's In Black" much more despairing than anything the quartet had previously attempted.

For its Beatles' Stereo Albums series on LP, Capitol/Apple turned to a crack team of engineers to remaster Beatles For Sale from the original sources. The team, including Guy Massey, Steve Rooke and Sam Okell with Paul Hicks and Sean Magee undertook a four-year restoration process for the LP versions, combining state-of-the-art equipment, vintage studio gear and rigorous testing to meet the highest fidelity standards and produce authentic unsurpassed sound rivaling the original LPs. There is no longer any need to pay hundreds of dollars for Japanese pressings!

Recorded only four months after A Hard Day's Night, the effort involves much of the same repeat echo techniques yet also adds a few new wrinkles. "Everybody's Trying to Be My Baby" and "Rock and Roll Music" are enhanced with extra slap-back echo to pay homage to band's early influences. This pressing opens up the previous veil, allowing the effects to be more prevalent and detailed than ever before.

In addition, there's a more solid drum foundation, thanks to Ringo's acquisition of a larger 22-inch Ludwig kick drum. Again, this LP pressing brings the instrumentation to the fore in a way never imaginable. Same goes for the myriad percussive accents and the nylon-string Jose Ramirez acoustic guitar that appears on several tracks. Combined with the move toward songwriting that addresses weariness and bleakness, shifts that balance the go-for-all romp of covers such as "Kansas City/Hey! Hey! Hey!," the Beatles turned in what was then their most diverse-and unexpected-record to date. You haven't experienced this 1964 classic until you've heard this pressing.

Extensive testing was done before engineers copied the analog master tapes into digital files using 24-bit/192 kHz resolution and a Prism A-D converter. Dust build-ups were removed from tape machine heads after the completion of each title. Artifacts such as electrical clicks, microphone vocal pops, excessive sibilance and poor edits were improved upon as long as they were judged not to damage the integrity of the songs. The 24/192 transfers were done to produce an archival copy of the tapes and then those files were reduced to 24/44.1 kHz files for final mastering. De-noising technology was applied in only a few necessary spots and on a sum total of less than five of the entire 525 minutes of Beatles music.

The digital files were cut to lacquers at Abbey Road Studios. Engineer Sean Magee cut the LPs in chronological release order. He used the original 24-bit remasters rather than the 16-bit versions that were required for CD production. It was decided to use the remasters that had not undergone "limiting," a procedure to increase the sound level.

Steps to eliminate vocal distortions and inner-groove distortions were addressed using a digital workstation. The latter can affect high-middle frequencies, producing a "mushy" sound noticeable on vocals. Using what Magee has described as "surgical EQ," problem frequencies were identified and reduced in level to compensate for this.

Lastly, the first batches of test pressings made from the master lacquers that had been sent to two pressing plants were judged. Records with any noise or click appearing on more than one test pressing in the same place were rejected, on the grounds that undesired sound had been introduced either during the cutting or pressing stage.

For producer Rick Rubin, The Beatles' recorded achievements are akin to a miracle. The most popular bands in the world today typically produce an album every four years, Rubin told a 2009 radio audience. That's two albums as an eight-year cycle. "And think of the growth or change between those two albums. The idea that The Beatles made thirteen albums in seven years and went through that arc of change ... it can't be done. Truthfully, I think of it as proof of God, because it's beyond man's ability."

Side 1
No Reply
I'm A Loser
Baby's In Black
Rock And Roll Music
I'll Follow The Sun
Mr. Moonlight
Kansas City : Hey-Hey-Hey-Hey!

Side 2
Eight Days A Week
Words Of Love
Honey Don't
Every Little Thing
What You're Doing
Everybody's Trying To Be My Baby

Be the first to write a review for this item OR just rate it