Welcome to my 2017 Beatles Christmas post, part II!
Last week I detailed the wonderful Beatles Christmas Records colored vinyl set that was just released and today I’m going to feature another record that came out that same day – a picture disc of The Beatles seminal album “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band.”
Picture disc you say? Yes, you heard me right, picture disc!
Now those of you reading this who were old enough to experience the 1970s know that this isn’t the first time this Beatles album has been released in the picture disc format.
In 1978 Sgt. Pepper was released on picture disc designed to coincide with the release of the ill-fated “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” movie starring Peter Frampton and The Bee Gees.
Most of you reading this may wonder why on earth release this album on picture disc again, in this day and age? Aren’t picture discs notorious for sounding worse than their black vinyl counterparts and usually more expensive?
Well, first off vinyl reissues are a hot item these past few years and secondly this new version of the Sgt. Pepper picture disc features the new 2017 remix of the album by Giles Martin, son of famed Beatles producer George Martin.
Having succumbed to a pre-Christmas sale, today I took the bait and purchased this new picture disc at a very nice sale price (yes, New Year’s goal must be to work on self control lol!).
Let me say that after having played this disc (I know, most people don’t actually play picture discs!) I am quite surprised to say that it is a really nice sounding disc!
The 2017 remix of Sgt. Pepper has gotten a wide spectrum of feedback from fans with quite a few really enjoying it as well as quite a vocal sector of fandom wishing it had never been tampered with at all.
I can see both sides but I have to say that I do really enjoy the new remix especially on vinyl.
I think a lot of long-time fans like the remix but were turned off by the “hot” (loud) nature of the mix that was on the CD and the Blu-Ray or DVD 5.1 mix that came out as part of the Super Deluxe Edition earlier this year.
Listening to the CD and Blu-Ray/DVD mixes, I can see why long-time fans were a bit turned off. I must admit it is pretty loud, though I’d say not completely brick walled as can be the case with a lot of current mastering in music.
BUT on vinyl, this new 2017 remix of Sgt. Pepper is tamed quite a bit as far as loudness is concerned allowing one to experience the clarity of the new remix without reaching for the volume control to turn it down.
I must say I was surprised to find that this new picture disc version of Pepper sounded even a bit more tamed than the previous black vinyl 2 disc issue that came out earlier this year.
To me that’s a good thing as this disc was the most pleasant listening experience I’ve had yet of the new remix which I now can say I really enjoy.
I was also surprised, for the most part, how quiet this new picture disc was as well. There were a few pops here and there but overall this was a nice clean, quiet pressing that sounded just great!
This is definitely not your father’s picture disc as the 1978 picture disc version of this album is not a pleasant listening experience. As I remember it was a very noisy pressing that sounded flat compared to most of its black vinyl cousins.
I haven’t done a side by side comparison to the black vinyl version of the 2017 Sgt. Pepper remix from earlier this year but I must admit listening to this picture disc was a complete pleasure!
Nice clean fat bass, nice highs and like I said earlier the remix sounds much more tame than the CD counterpart which allows you to get more involved in the listening experience (nice touch including the Sgt. Pepper inner groove at the end of side 2 as well!)
Beatles fans, if you’re so inclined to buy this disc, do so without hesitation!
Granted, it is a niche product and not a necessary purchase by any means but the disc looks great, the cover is nice (I love that they kept the rear album artwork the same as the original album unlike the 1978 version) and it sounds great!
So again, have a very Merry Christmas and if you have a Beatles fan on your list, you could do way worse than to buy this new picture disc for them. They might actually enjoy playing it which is something I wasn’t sure I’d say!
Merry Crimble and until next time, Peace!!! (Photos of the new disc above and below)