Beatles Sgt. Pepper mono red vinyl

Beatles Sgt. Pepper mono red vinyl

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Review of 1982 Japanese reissue of the Beatles Sgt.Pepper in mono

Review of 1982 Japanese reissue of the Beatles Sgt.Pepper in mono

Sgt. Pepper is perhaps one of the most listened to rock LPs ever, but for decades it has seldom been heard in its original MONO mix. The version that George Martin, Geoff Emerick and the Beatles themselves pored over and the one they claim is the ultimate version has been sent to a virtual oblivion by the stereo mix. The advent of the stereo only CD has nearly sealed the mono mix's fate as a fossil (save for numerous "import" CDs sourced from needle-drops).

If you've never heard this mix, and especially if you're a big fan of this music, some subtle and some dramatic differences will jump out as you listen to this LP. Vocals are treated to additional effects such as flanging and phasing adding to the ethereal and trippy nature of songs like Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds. She's Leaving Home sounds like it's in a much-higher register, the tape being played back at a considerably faster speed than the familiar stereo version. And more aggresive mixes with only slightly different balances make tunes like Good Morning Good Morning rock a little harder and shed just a little bit of their music-hall stylings and coy cleverness.

Augmenting what is, for many listeners, a novel presentation of familiar music, the red vinyl the Japanese pressed this reissue on is very quiet. And the treble-boost many associate with Japanese pressings from the 70s and 80s seems, thankfully, absent.

As for comparisons to other editions, hardcore types swear the original UK pressings are king when it comes to listinging to any Beatles mono LPs. But being Beatles records, they are typically well-loved and well-played records. It's very difficult, if not impossible, to find an original pressing of a mono Beatles LP in mint condition -- most suffer lots of groove distortion and worse.

EMI in UK reissued these in 1982, around the same time of the red vinyl Japanese versions. While they were manufactured using the original stampers from the 60s, the vinyl was much thinner and considerably noisier. Most who have compared the British and the Japanese reissues favor the latter for their higher quality quiet vinyl.

Being pressed on red vinyl and wearing a sexy Obi sash, the Japanese red vinyl edition of Sgt. Pepper is very rare and VERY expensive. But on the upside, most have been VERY well-cared for and it is likely that, should you find one, it will be in very playable condition (excellent or near-mint). Not to be neglected is the additional 1986 release - it has a different sash but appears to be pressed from the same stampers as the 1982 version.

On an odd note, this edition of Pepper contains the "inner groove" familiar to many as a bit of gibberish that never ends on manual turntables because it runs back into itself, creating an endless loop. But in THIS presentation, the bit of gibberish is at the end of "A Day in the Life" and not on the inner groove at all. And it only plays once -- it does NOT loop!

Editor review

Overall rating 

Beatles Sgt. Pepper mono Japanese red vinyl

Features a now seldom-heard mix of one of the most famous records ever recorded -- a mix that is favored by the Beatles themselves and those that helped maked this record. Without a CD release, this is the highest quality readily available source of this recording. It's on colored vinyl, so its not just relatively rare, but collectible too. Many copies may be in the hands of Beatles fans who lack a turntable to play them.

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