GRAMMY Nom Says The Beatles are History/iTunes Brings Them Up To Date

Fab, groovy, prophetic; the list of adjectives applied to the Beatles and their music could fill a thesaurus. But there’s one designation that you might not have seen coming; historic. Sure, everybody knows that even the most recent of Beatles songs is an oldie and that the late John Lennon would have turned seventy-years-old in 2010. Still it’s a little shocking to realize that last year’s all-encompassing, sixteen-disc The Beatles Stereo Box Set release from Apple/EMI is nominated for a GRAMMY Award in the ‘Best Historic Recording’ category. In a way, that puts lovely Rita, meter maid, on a par with Florence Nightingale. It makes a ride in a yellow submarine, perhaps to an octopus’s garden, the fantastic equal of tagging along with Hannibal as he crosses the Alps with his elephants. It seems that Lucy and her sky with diamonds are of similar import as Neil Armstrong and his bag of moon rocks. The GRAMMY folks have it right, of course. How else but historic could you describe this entity that’s been the biggest influence on music, if not pop culture as a whole, for the last half-century? The GRAMMY nomination comes in the same breath as the announcement that the Beatles catalog is finally available digitally through iTunes after a long hold-out; considering that this year is also the thirtieth anniversary of Lennon’s death there are a lot of historic moments converging right now, a situation that will no doubt bring overflowing bags of cash to a patient iTunes. The potential award-winning box set, by the way, contains remastered versions of all thirteen Beatles albums, the Past Masters collection and a DVD loaded with mini-documentaries for each album that feature rare footage, archival photos and candid studio chatter. As the set’s title indicates all the music here is in stereo, including for the first time on CD the Please Please Me, With the Beatles, A Hard Day’s Night and Beatles for Sale albums, previously only available in pre-historic mono (an almost identical all-mono box set is also available for purists.) Paul McCartney penned some new notes about Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band for the box and all the individual CDs come, rightfully so, in packages that replicate their original English releases”does iTunes have that? Owners of The Beatles Stereo Box Set will not only have a good chunk of the most-revered music ever made at hand and something to hand down to the kids; they’ll also have an unquestionable excuse for eccentric behavior. Get caught screaming along at the top of your lungs to Revolution or playing manic air guitar to Helter Skelter? No problem. You’re not acting crazy; you’re just brushing up on history.

By Kevin Wierzbicki

Kevin Wierzbicki is a music and travel writer based in Arizona. His articles about music, travel and music-related travel have been published in the likes of USA Today, The Arizona Republic, Desert Living Magazine, Campus Circle in Los Angeles and Antimusic.com.