This year is the 50th anniversary of The Beatles’ 1967 release ‘Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band’, one of the most influential albums of all time. To celebrate, the record is being remastered and reissued- in four different formats. Fans can opt to purchase the standard CD version, which features the new ‘Sgt. Pepper’ stereo mix; a two-CD deluxe edition which also contains outtakes and unreleased tracks; a 2-LP deluxe vinyl edition; and for those fans who have cash to burn, they can splash out and buy the Super Deluxe version. This comprehensive 6-disc box set will set you back $120USD but it’ll basically give you all the Beatles goodness you could ever possibly need. Like, you’ll be able to listen to four different takes of ‘Strawberry Fields Forever’, five takes of ‘A Day in the Life’, and three takes of ‘Penny Lane’. What more could you possibly need in life?
The project is being produced by Giles Martin, son of the band’s longtime producer George Martin. In addition to his work on this reissue he has worked on other Beatles material; he remastered the 2016 release of ‘Live at the Hollywood Bowl’, and assisted with the Beatles-themed Cirque du Soleil production of ‘Love’, the 2011 George Harrison documentary ‘Living in the Material World’ and Paul McCartney’s recent album ‘New’. Clearly he knows what he’s doing and fans won’t be disappointed.
A fair disclaimer before the commencement of reading this article: I am not a fanatical Beatles listener. I would barely even consider myself a Beatles “fan”. I approach their music the same way I’m sure a lot of people of my generation do (not to generalize, that is), which is with respect and gratitude for one of, if not the most, significant musical acts of all time. The Beatles garnered the attention and adoration of people all over the world, and their legacy has not been forgotten for a moment in the past almost four decades since their break-up.
Seven years ago, a website was created by a man writing under the pseudonym James Richards. Richards details the story of how he came to be in possession of a new Beatles album. At least, new to this dimension. The website is aptly titled “The Beatles Never Broke Up” and includes the album available to download. The story of Richards acquiring the album is incredibly far-fetched, however very entertaining.
The story begins on September 9th 2009, with Richards chasing after his dog in a canyon off the highway and literally falling into a rabbit hole and knocking himself unconscious.
He later wakes up in a strange room filled with electronic equipment accompanied by a man named Jonas who lets him know that he has brought Richards to an alternate dimension to tend to his wounds. The two men discuss differences between their dimensions, including technology and culture, and eventually progress to speaking about the Beatles. Richards is shocked to find that in this alternate dimension, the Beatles never broke up and John Lennon and George Harrison were alive and well. Richards manages to steal a cassette copy of one of the albums that the Beatles released in this dimension before returning to our dimension.
The album is titled Everyday Chemistry, and at first listen is almost uncannily similar to the music released by the Beatles prior to their break-up, however with further research, listeners came to understand that the album had been constructed from remixes of the bands members’ solo work after the end of the Beatles. For example, the second track on the album, “Talking to Myself”, is a mix of Lennon’s “I’m Losing You”, Harrison’s “Stuck Inside a Cloud”, McCartney’s “Uncle Albert/Admiral Halsey”, and Starr’s “Early 1970”.
When confronted with the discovery of the music being just a remix, Richards (who created an email address for any questions) insisted that he definitely acquired the tape from the alternate dimension. He chalked the similarities to the idea that if the Beatles had never broken up, their future music ideas wouldn’t disappear, which is why the songs on Everyday Chemistry sound like they are made of elements of their solo work.
Whether you are or aren’t a Beatles fan, this album (and accompanying story) is something to experience. The origin tracks are merged seamlessly to create something new and musically solid. Unlike some remixes, James Richards has put a lot of effort into making something worthwhile to satisfy the void left by the break-up of this incredible band.
Either that, or he actually did fall down a rabbit hole and pop back out with this album. But that would be up to you to decide for yourself.