On September 26, 1969, the Beatles released Abbey Road — and almost exactly 50 years to the day, the legendary album will be re-released in a variety of lavish formats to celebrate its 50th anniversary. The news comes today, the actual 50th anniversary of the day that John, Paul, George and Ringo crossed the street.
The six photos taken by Iain Macmillan for the Abbey Road cover. pic.twitter.com/NT5vAG1pJa
— Professor Frank McDonough (@FXMC1957) August 8, 2019
The news, which was hinted at by Ringo Starr just last week, was officially detailed on Thursday. And while, like most other Beatles albums, Abbey Road has had its fair share of reissues over the years, this 50th anniversary version looks pretty slick in its own right.
Specifically, the album’s 17 tracks have been newly mixed by Giles Martin and mix engineer Sam Okell, and will be accompanied by 23 recordings and demos from the album sessions, of which most have previously remained unreleased.
ABBEY ROAD REVISITED WITH SPECIAL ANNIVERSARY RELEASES! New mixes in stereo, 5.1 surround, and Dolby Atmos + previously unreleased session recordings and demos. Available everywhere 27th September 2019. Pre-order: https://t.co/qWXolZuh0w #AbbeyRoad pic.twitter.com/A1xilvQzOy
— The Beatles (@thebeatles) August 8, 2019
Via the news release;
“The Beatles recording journey had gone through many twists and turns, learning curves and thrilling rides. Here we were – still wondering at the magic of it all,” McCartney recalls in his written foreword for Abbey Road’s anniversary edition packages.
This is the first time Abbey Road has been remixed and presented with additional session recordings and demos. The album’s sweeping new edition follows the universally acclaimed remixed and expanded anniversary editions of Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band and The BEATLES (‘White Album’) released in 2017 and 2018, respectively. To create Abbey Road’s new stereo, 5.1 surround, and Dolby Atmos mixes, Martin and Okell worked with an expert team of engineers and audio restoration specialists at Abbey Road Studios. All the new Abbey Road releases feature the new stereo album mix, sourced directly from the original eight-track session tapes. To produce the mix, Giles was guided by the album’s original stereo mix supervised by his father, George Martin.
“The magic comes from the hands playing the instruments, the blend of The Beatles’ voices, the beauty of the arrangements,” Giles Martin explains in his written introduction for the new edition. “Our quest is simply to ensure everything sounds as fresh and hits you as hard as it would have on the day it was recorded.”
Abbey Road’s Super Deluxe box set presents 40 tracks – including “The Long One” Trial Edit & Mix for the album’s epic Side 2 medley – on three CDs (stereo) and one Blu-ray disc (Dolby Atmos, 96kHz/24 bit high resolution stereo, and 96 kHz/24 bit DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1). The four discs are housed in a slip-sleeved 12” by 12” 100-page hardbound book with McCartney’s foreword; Martin’s introduction; insightful, in-depth chapters written by Beatles historian, author, and radio producer Kevin Howlett covering the months preceding The Beatles’ Abbey Road sessions, track-by-track details and session notes, the cover art and photo shoot, and the album’s reception upon its release; plus an essay by music journalist and author David Hepworth looking at the album’s influence through 50 years. The gorgeous book is illustrated with rare and previously unpublished photographs, including many taken by Linda McCartney; never before published images of handwritten lyrics, sketches, and a George Martin score; Beatles correspondence, recording sheets, and tape boxes; and reproduced original print ads. The Super Deluxe digital audio collection presents all 40 tracks for download purchase and streaming in standard and MFiT formats, as well as in high resolution audio (96kHz/24 bit) for download.
Abbey Road’s limited edition Deluxe vinyl box set features all 40 tracks from the Super Deluxe collection on three 180-gram vinyl LPs. The album’s new stereo mix LP is packaged in a faithfully replicated sleeve, with the two Sessions LPs paired in their own jacket, presented with a four-page insert in a lift-top box. The Deluxe 2CD set pairs the new stereo mix with versions taken from the session takes and demo recordings of its 17 songs, sequenced to match the album’s running order. The two discs are presented in a digipak with a 40-page booklet abridged from the Super Deluxe book. The album’s new stereo mix is also available in 1CD and 180-gram 1LP vinyl packages, for digital download in standard and MFiT audio, and on a limited edition picture disc vinyl LP illustrated by the album’s front and back cover art images.
Abbey Road’s Super Deluxe and Deluxe vinyl box sets’ 23 session and demo recordings are presented in chronological order of their first recording dates. “I Want You (She’s So Heavy)” leads the charge.
As a preview, here’s the 2019 mix of “Something”:
And the studio demo:
And an instrumental/strings only version: