Beatles Grab Bag – Three Japanese Beatles CD Variations

Sometimes you just never know what you’ll find when browsing through the used bins in various shops.

With the all the virus madness putting a hard hit stop on shopping, I thought I might reminisce about some of my fun Beatles CD finds from the past year. In particular some Japanese Beatles CDs that I found in a couple of offbeat bookstores.

I’ve read online that some people don’t find much in the way of Beatles in the used record stores or thrift stores but for me this past year brought some lovely gems.  Of course I love me some imported Beatles CDs and if they’re from Japan even better!

So let’s go back a bit to the height of the CD era. The Beatles first hit the shelves in the CD format in 1987 and by 1988 all their studio work had finally made it to the digital age. At the time I, along with most fans, were happy to have digital Beatles but there were a few glitches with the first batch of CDs released in 1987.

Most Beatles fans found the 1987/88 CDs lacking especially the first four which were only released in mono and not the odd but endearing wide stereo that fans had grown accustomed to and loved.

Looking back on the pre-2009 Remastered Beatles CDs many folks, including myself, were really pushing for some updated Beatles CDs that sounded closer to what people experienced on vinyl.

The 1987/88 CDs lacked the warmth, clarity and punch of the cherished vinyl pressings that most hardcore fans owned and loved.

So where does this lead me? Well last year I found two 1980’s Beatles CDs from Japan which made me re-evaluate the pre-2009 CDs.

In fact after buying and listening to them closely, the original Japanese CD pressings of “Revolver” and “Let it Be” kind of took me by surprise. They actually sounded pretty damn good!

(Note: actually neither the “Revolver” or “Let it Be” CD’s are first Japanese issues, I believe, as they both have the Apple logo but they contain the pre-2009 mastering of each album.)

Let me preface this by saying that I am a big fan of the 2009 remastered CDs for the most part. The first four in stereo are really great and the mono box set is fantastic!

It wasn’t until I ran into these two Japanese pressings that I re-listened closely to the older versions and after all this time they don’t sound bad at all. Not all the 1987/88 CDs are great but for the most part after re-listening they actually sound very nice.

Of course these Japanese CDs are a fun find as they all came from tiny little stores in which I thought I would never find imported CDs and for a cheap price too. Such is the age of declining interest in my beloved little silver discs.

Nevertheless in retrospect I’m glad I kept the 1987/88 CDs as everything from “Revolver” on is just fine sound wise. The earlier ones sound a bit better on the 2009 CDs so all’s good.

The other Japanese CD I found last year was of a CD called “Yellow Submarine Songtrack” that came out in 1999. This CD features all the songs from the “Yellow Submarine” film with the added bonus of being remixed from the multi-tracks.

The original soundtrack album for “Yellow Submarine” only featured six Beatles songs from the film leaving out several more tunes that were featured in the film. Thus making the “Yellow Submarine Songtrack” a much better Beatles experience than the original  soundtrack LP from 1969.

Truth be told I always found the “Yellow Submarine Songtrack” CD to sound a little bit too digital and kind of flat at times. More digital sounding than analog.

I was surprised top find that this original Japanese import CD sounded really nice and not nearly as digital as I had remembered. I’m sure it’s the same mastering but for some reason this Japanese CD sounds warmer and more lively than my original US pressing.

I could be wrong, and I probably am, but this CD sounds better in my ears  and besides it sure is purdy. LOVE the groovy OBI on this.

Anyway, just a bit of a CD distraction today to counteract all the dreariness of the news.

As usual there are photos above so you can take a gander at these little Japanese gems. Not the rarest CDs but a fun find for me and a reminder of what life was like pre-Covid.

That’s all for now.

Take care and be well and I hope you have some good music to get you through the day.





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