Abbey Road 50th Anniversary Special Releases Coming September 27th

The Beatles Abbey Road gets the expected 50th anniversary treatment on September 27th UMe announced today, which coincidentally is the 50th anniversary of the famous walk across the street photo shoot that became the iconic album cover.

There will be new stereo, 5.1 Surround and Dolby Atmos mixes presented on multiple formats including a "Super Deluxe" 4-disc box set, 3LP box set and 1LP picture disc. 17 tracks have been newly mixed by producer Giles Martin and mix engineer Sam Okell, accompanied by 23 session recordings and demos, most of them previously unreleased. These are presented on the Super Deluxe and Deluxe vinyl box sets in chronological order of their first recording dates. The three-track ‘Something’ EP, featuring the 2019 Stereo Mix, the Studio Demo and Take 39 – Instrumental – Strings Only, can be streamed here now.

From the press release: "The Super Deluxe box set of Abbey Road contains 40 tracks —including “’The Long One’ Trial Edit & Mix for the epic medley on side two — 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” x 12” 100-page hardbound book. Elements include McCartney’s foreword, Martin’s introduction and in-depth insights by Beatles historian, author and radio producer Kevin Howlett.

"These cover 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. The hardbound book also has an essay by music journalist and author David Hepworth, examining the album’s influence over 50 years. The volume is illustrated with rare and previously unpublished photographs, including many by Linda McCartney; never before published images of handwritten lyrics, sketches, and a score by George Martin; Beatles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, and in high resolution audio (96kHz/24 bit) for download.

"The limited edition Deluxe vinyl box set features all 40 tracks from the Super Deluxe collection on three 180-gram vinyl LPs. The 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 from the session takes and demo recordings of its 17 songs. These are sequenced to match the album’s running order. "These two discs are presented in a digipak with a 40-page booklet, abridged from the Super Deluxe book. The new stereo mix of Abbey Road 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. "Martin and Ozell worked on the new Abbey Road mixes with Abbey Road’s expert team of engineers and audio restoration specialists. All of the editions feature the new stereo album mix, sourced from the original eight-track session tapes. Giles Martin used the original stereo mix by his father George Martin as his guide. "Says Giles Martin in his written introduction: “The magic comes from the hands playing the instruments, the blend of The Beatles’ voices, the beauty of the arrangements. 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.”

For those who would also like to be able to purchase a cut from the original two-track tape, all-analog edition housed in a glossy, laminated "fold over" jacket, some of us (me) are pushing for that possibility once the excitement here has calmed down a bit. Based upon the previous remixes, we are 100% optimistic about Mr. Martin's newest remix from the 8 track tape but feel that the original document still carries great weight and historic importance and so we'd like to see that reissued as well (and The Beatles done that way too complete with laminated fold-over "top loader" packaging).

volvic's picture

Been waiting for the release announcement. Next year we should get Let it Be. Will Mr. Martin remaster the earlier Beatles albums or not?

firedog's picture

The previous vinyl and digital versions sound quite good. Especially the 2009 digital version, on the digital side.
I’m wondering what Giles Martin really felt there was to improve here. I hope it is more than pumping it up and volume compressing it to make it sound “modern”.
Let it Be has already undergone a remake, so I’d hope they are looking at a Christmas release of Rubber Soul and/or Revolver. Although those were recorded onto 4 track with bounce downs, and I don’t know if the original individual tracks still exist. That makes the remix a more difficult to do well.

Michael Fremer's picture
Was awful. Geof Emerick hated it and he was the main engineer. He felt the dynamic compression ruined what he'd worked so hard to achieve. To me that "Abbey Road" was among the worst things on that box. I can only imagine you've never heard an original U.K. pressing! I'm hoping this comes closer to that!
firedog's picture

We can agree to disagree on 2009. I "only" have an original US pressing and and the original MFSL vinyl. In 2009, the dynamic compression was pretty light handed, actually: the 80's CD supervised by George Martin and the 2009 have the same avg DR meter reading, and I don't think the original GM pumped up his version.
I'm pretty sure I've never seen Geoff Emerick like anything done to anything he worked on. His prerogative.

Is he more entitled to judge if the sound is as it should be than Ringo and Paul? Paul apparently gave ongoing input to both the 2009 remasters and later Giles Martin remixes.

I seem to remember you liked Giles Martin's work on Sgt Pepper and the White Album. Those both had more compression added than the 2009 stuff.
That's my big fear about this re-issue - that they will try to make it sound too modern. from the bits released on the Web already, the mix and loudness seem very different from the original.

vinyl listener's picture

... uniformly awful.
if the us pressings and mofi (also awful) are your references,you need to hear some better editions; early uk, the uk bc-13 blue box, the 2014 mono remasters.
not a fan of the junior martin.

MalachiLui's picture

avoid US pressings at all costs IMO, they aren't good. cut from 3rd gen tapes usually. and the MoFi's don't have a good reputation either as they were smiley-face EQ'd which usually doesn't sound natural.

so the pressings you should get for Beatles albums? 2014 mono pressings and UK pressings (originals and represses are both great). once you hear UK Beatles vinyl you can't go back to US, MoFi, and the meh 2009 remasters.

vinyl listener's picture

1987 was the year they started pressing from digital masters.
not as meh as the 2009, not great either.

metal beat's picture

100% agree. the 2009 vinyl release was awful. The only thing worse was the White album.
made to sound polite, rolled off, too much bass and BORING and devoid of life.

azmoon's picture

They better not waste this opportunity to release a remaster in all analog. The digital remaster was a huge disappointment.

von Hohenbalken's picture

Mr. G. Martin has been asked to enhance the original recording, I would find it difficult to believe that Apple or "The Beatles" will allow "enhancements" made directly to the original analog tapes - possibly enhancements can be made to a duplicate analog tape - but wouldn't the steps leading to the enhancement be digital in nature i.e. ADA. If so, is it really AAA?

PAR's picture

..I guess that you haven't been following the story so far.

There have already been Beatles (or what's left of them) approved releases remastered by Giles Martin of Sgt. Peppers and The Beatles (the white album). This will therefore be the third in a series of 50th anniversary albums.

The original tapes are not changed and are back in their vault. Yes there is a digital interstage. But it is a high resolution one. Having original British releases of the albums to compare with the Giles Martin productions are superior. No, they are not AAA. But it is the end result and not theoretic technical expectations that count.

Michael Fremer's picture
I think glven how "Sgt. Pepper's..." was originally mixed, the new version is clearly superior. However, while I think "The Beatles" remix sounds great, I still prefer an original UK stereo. I'm really curious to hear what Martin did with "Abbey Road" because I have no complaints about the original!
firedog's picture

That's exactly what concerns me. Sgt Pepper stereo clearly had room for improvement; and the White Album less so, but I liked the result.
Abbey Road? What's really wrong with it?
A remix may be interesting, but will it improve it? Doubtful.

Michael Fremer's picture
I'm sure they transferred the original 8 track tapes to 192/24 bit and remixed from there...
MalachiLui's picture

The previous remixes were only available in 96/24 from the usual places so that’s probably the transfer sample rate.

firedog's picture

If you go back and read how they produced the 2009 remasters: they archived all the original tapes in 24/192 - straight flat transfer. That's the "untouched" digital master. They use that so as not to abuse the original tapes if they don't have to.

To produce remasters and remixes they don't apparently actually work in 24/192. In 2009 they worked in 24/44.1, which is why the USB version was in 24/44.1 - that's the highest finished version they had.

EMI/Abbey Road have publicly stated they see no reason for 192 other than archive use, and see no advantage to it in listening over 96k.
I don't think EMI releases anything in 192. Max 24/96.I'm pretty sure from comments they've made in the past that 24/96 is their max working standard for hi-res.
Very little work anywhere is done in anything over 24/96. Yes, their are exceptions, but they are a small percentage of the total.

MalachiLui's picture

they digitized the MASTER TAPES (not the same as the multitracks) to 192/24 before dithering to 44.1/24 for the 2009 reissues. We don't know what they did with the multitracks. they're only working in 96k, and we don't even know if they have those multitracks at 192.

Michael Fremer's picture
work done at 192/24 and final release at 96/24
Mile High Music's picture
Michael Fremer's picture
For sharing that.
Puffer Belly's picture

Hopefully, Giles Martin's next two projects are the 55th anniversary editions of Rubber Soul and Revolver. Let It Be can wait for its 55th anniversary.

thomoz's picture

I found the remix of Something a bit jarring, the stereoized vocals in particular. I’ll get used to it I suppose.

I personally think a repressed from tape (half speed or otherwise) Abbey Road is 5-10 years away. THIS remixed and cut from digital “product” will be the one in print and being promoted for the foreseeable future, otherwise why do it in the first place?

thomoz's picture

I found the remix of Something a bit jarring, the stereoized vocals in particular. I’ll get used to it I suppose.

I personally think a repressed from tape (half speed or otherwise) Abbey Road is 5-10 years away. THIS remixed and cut from digital “product” will be the one in print and being promoted for the foreseeable future, otherwise why do it in the first place?

AnalogJ's picture

Listening to "Something", it seemed hyper-realized, like looking at someone and seeing their individual cells rather than the whole.

AndreC.'s picture

Hi, will QRP make all the vinyl for world wide distribution?

MalachiLui's picture

QRP is doing the US 1LP edition, while (I assume) Optimal is probably handling the 3LP. I'm getting both - if you read our QRP vs Optimal "White Album" piece you'll see my thoughts on both pressing plants...

AndreC.'s picture

I´am asking because i have the 4 record set of the esher demos pressed by Optimal and it sounded horrible (2 returned and always the same).

SpinMark3313's picture

Mine sound terrific - listening as I write ASMOF. Bummer to hear you've had trouble.

MalachiLui's picture

the only issue on mine is some bad non-fill on the intro of "Birthday" but other than that it's excellent QC-wise. Esher Demos sound fantastic on my box, no pressing issues and no mastering issues either. perfectly quiet vinyl too. you must've gotten a couple duds. I'd also suggest streaming the digital files of the Esher Demos just to make sure it's not a vinyl defect.

bkinthebk's picture

How can we help make this happen???

"For those who would also like to be able to purchase a cut from the original two-track tape, all-analog edition housed in a glossy, laminated "fold over" jacket, some of us (me) are pushing for that possibility once the excitement here has calmed down a bit. Based upon the previous remixes, we are 100% optimistic about Mr. Martin's newest remix from the 8 track tape but feel that the original document still carries great weight and historic importance and so we'd like to see that reissued as well (and The Beatles done that way too complete with laminated fold-over "top loader" packaging)."

Jack Gilvey's picture

"For those who would also like to be able to purchase a cut from the original two-track tape, all-analog edition housed in a glossy, laminated "fold over" jacket, some of us (me) are pushing for that possibility once the excitement here has calmed down a bit. "

We very briefly discussed this in line at Barnes and Noble after a presentation you did a couple years ago. I still have faith in you! :)

Having said that, I have very much enjoyed Mr. Martin the Lesser's work and will certainly buy this re-issue. Maybe even the digital set to get the Atmos mix.

warpig's picture

Oh well I will purchase it because it is the 50th. If it sounds good I will spin it, if not its an investment. Maybe 10 years from now someone will like it. Thinking about it there are going to be a lot of 50th coming out. Thinking rock. The early 70's had some great music.

DrJB's picture

Many of us boomers from the US who grew up with the Beatles actually spent the last fifty years getting educated and then working hard to provide for our families and contributing something to society. We have not had the luxury of chasing down pristine copies of original UK Beatle's records, nor could we have ever justified spending thousands in the process.

So I find it insulting when someone shames a fan for not ever having owned or even heard an original UK pressing of Abbey Road or any other Beatles album for that matter. That behavior reeks of snobbery and elitism.

The first album I ever bought was a mono version of Revolver (Capitol) at Thrifty Drugs in Ventura, CA. I wanted the stereo version so that I could play it on my dad's Curtis Mathis console, but it was $1 more, and at 11 years old, that was out of my price range.

In '67 my sister and I mowed lawns and pulled weeds to get enough cash to be able to afford Pepper, and when we finally had the funds we were faced with an unconscionable decision: Pepper or Experienced? We couldn't have 'em both. I still have the original. When I picked up the 50th anniversary and saw the cut outs and the pink and white inner sleeve, it brought back so many memories of my sister and I listening to A Day in the Life over and over again in her room trying to figure out all of the quirky British stuff embedded throughout the album. It was a gift to a couple of pre-teens from a band 5000 miles away that would help us better understand the world around us.

I collected the recent mono releases of the first 7 albums along with the 50th anniversary editions of Pepper and The Beatles. I treasure all of those records nearly as much as I did my originals, and they sound amazing! So the news that Abbey Road gets the 50th treatment is cause for celebration, and I'm certainly not going to speculate about its shortcomings before I've heard it on MY stereo in MY studio. Audiophiles would love the all analog treatment--I get that--and I hope it happens.

But for some of us, having such lovely reissues to treasure once more means a lot more than "does it sound as good as the original UK pressing blah, blah, micro detail, half-speed master, blah, blah, reverb tails, blah blah, first stamper, blah blah blah, Kanye West, blah."

It means that we can hear the music on our modern VPI decks and Sutherland pres like we've never heard it before and once again be thrilled by the genius of the music and production. For some of us, these records represent a benchmark of how far we've come, how much more we understand about the world than we did in '67. And the icing on the cake is that they sound freaky good on my modest but capable system.

Blah. Top loader.

Oh, and how 'bout a mono cart roundup sometime?

WaltonGoggins's picture

Well said, Doc!

warpig's picture


Vinylghost's picture

I think I'll just save my money and buy ELVIS LIVE 1969.

amir7706's picture

The previous remixes have been digital (but excellent). This will be the same.

JamieH's picture

It's a total disappointment that the original mix is not included. There are many of us who simply prefer Geoff Emerick's mixes. The original 192/24 should be out there. An AAA is not going to be as good as a well restored tape playback with current SOTA, which is digital.
Too many games.

Macman007's picture

never mind all this other stuff in the pipeline. We, who are the true Beatle fans prefer to see a glossy fold over jacket treatment with a yet-to-be unspecified stereo version for the 50th anniversary Abbey Road cash grab rollout.,.. 'before things calm down initially'.

All the stuff above,the other stuff mentioned is OK. BUT I'm quite sure real fans would be far more interested buying an audiophile analog/vinyl release to die for.

We would prefer to have the anniversary 'Abbey Road' remastered and re-released on 180 gram vinyl, 1/2 speed mastered on 2 45-RPM discs with a gatefold jacket and rice lined cardstock inner sleeves. I get it, that's not the way the original UK Garrod and Lofthouse' jacket/packaging/release was done. But who cares, who says this has to be a faithful reproduction of the original anyway?. Isn't there room to do an original 33 1/3 reproduction and an audiophile double 45 rpm gatefold 1/2 speed version. I'm sure it would have no problems selling out at any price.

With the latest remastering, updating, cleaning up, removing years of haze and age from the original stereo tapes, implementing modern techniques available at Abbey Road, it makes the most sense releasing the vinyl versions this way, which is far superior to anything they can do with a single 33 1/3 LP. All that master tape sound quality,the sheer level of resolution available, plus the clarity,.. why waste increased sound quality in simply pressing something the same old same old way don for 50 years?

Side 2 from You Never Give Me Your Money up to The End will fit on one 12" 45 RPM side. The rest of the tracks are already banded, allowing the other songs to form the other 3 sides. Abbey Road with Her majesty is 47 minutes long, much too long for highest quality single 33 1/3 release. That is why fidelity isn't anywhere near as dynamic as what is recorded on the master tapes. Then, take into account todays mastering improvements on reissues.

With a double gatefold jacket, there will be plenty of extra real estate to add 1969 and 2019 production notes, session photos, as well as the (second) innersleeve to print lyrics, maybe add a poster or band photos similar to The Beatles 'White Album'. An added (limited time)coupon allowing free 24/96 or 24/192 high resolution digital downloads increases the package value. Now THAT'S a special anniversary edition package truly fit for Abbey Road's 50th celebration. I know that I'm not alone here, there are so many other fans which also consider Abbey Road the Beatles milestone release and the best release of all, where the Beatles together were at the peak of their musical powers. Sgt Pepper gets all the hype for being the 'Summer Of Love' industry changing release,.. regarded the same as the Beach Boys release of 'Pet Sounds'.

Sure, having extras studio chatter with unreleased or demo recordings on the LP package are nice. However, I'd rather pay even more for a superior quality faithful analog release of Abbey Road 10 times over extra material and filler anyday. Anthology and BBC releases have more than their share of what is considered the best material remaining unreleased after their break up. Releasing John's demos that the others overdubbed their parts on, mixed by Jeff Lynne in the Mid 90's was good Others out here will probably agree with me, quality over quantity anytime anything Beatles is re-released, especially in the analog domain.

You are out analog advocate Michael, you single handedly managed to convince the powers that be to release the exquisite and faithfully detailed individual Mono Lp's, Cd's Digital and Analog box Mono Masters box sets. This righted the wrong perpetrated by the release of the 2009 Stereo Box set and individual titles with their odd audio remastering decisions.

I know you too would also prefer an available 45 RPM double LP release of Abbey Road in a tastefully designed gatefold jacket, showcasing Abbey Road's analog material at analog (vinyl's) best. I believe in doing the release this way would allow us mere mortals as close to the real analog tape sound of Abbey Road as we could or would ever get.

If I were the one making decisions and money was no object, I'd have the powers that be re-release the entire Beatles UK catalog using the 2014 Mono Master tapes up to/including The White Album, on 180 gram 1/2 speed 45 rpm vinyl. Releases such as 'Love', and the Red and Blue 'greatest hits' would benefit from this same treatment. Most of the US releases would be wasted on this process, excepting Yellow Submarine, Hey Jude compilation, and Magical Mystery Tour. MMT could be done as the original UK EP, taking up one side of a 45 rpm 12" release. Anthology's 1,2, and 3 would be another waste on this treatment, same with the BBC release and similar stuff. The resolution and quality for that type of material wouldn't in my opinion be any better on 45 rpm 1/2 speed mastering than it is presently on the 180 gram 33 1/3 releases

Who else is with me here? We're the only ones who might get something like this done, along with Michael as our special Beatles advocate, his far reaching publications and knowledge of the folks who would be able to make it happen. I'd gladly pay 60$ and up for a minimalist releases on the 45RPM double LP release. 90$ or more should be reasonable to secure something with more info, pictures, poster, art, perhaps an added 3rd 12"33 1/3 LP including some audio 'extras' from the AR sessions, maybe a limited edition high res 24/96 digital download coupon as well. All the other stuff they say they have planned in the above article is nice, but in the end it's pretty much meaningless fluff lacking real audio substance,.. the audiophile quality vinyl treatment which AR deserves.

Forget the rest of it, we want the best of it. Otherwise, why bother at all?

Who Else is with me here?

DrJB's picture

I totally agree with what this TRUE fan is saying.

The 50th anniversary series is aimed at the masses, and we all know that there is no way they can be TRUE Beatle fans. Those plebeians will probably think that the new records sound amazing on their mass produced $500 turntables (complete with--oh the humanity--Ortofon Reds) compared with their old, worn out originals or the dubious reissues/represses from the 70's and 80's. How common and ignorant of them.

Indeed, why bother? We just want the best--"Here. here!" Since the analog sources of those 50th anniversary records are being converted to digital, there is no limit to the number of so-called high quality copies that can be pressed or the amount of money that can be made. Imagine a record company wanting to make money! Even worse, pretty much anyone who desires a vinyl copy of Giles Martin's Abbey Road will be able to purchase one. This includes those nefarious Plebes. The horror! They don't deserve it. Pearls before swine and all of that.

On the other hand, an all analog path will restrict the number of records that can be put on the market and only TRUE Beatle fans will have the luxury of owning them. I would recommend a vetting process based whether or not your system has the ability to mine micro details while maintaining perfectly black backgrounds. If not, you should be restricted to the plebeian version or better yet, denied altogether.

Finally I would like to congratulate the TRUE fan for beginning his comments with, "We who are the true Beatle fans..." I think it takes a huge pair of cajones de plastico to make that statement, so congratulations on your giant, plastic balls. Like the deep grooves of a well pressed 200 gram reissue, there's a lot of hidden meaning that comment. For example, some folks may say: "That's me. I'm one of the TRUE fans to which he is referring. Since I spend more money on gear than those repugnant fake fans, I'm entitled to have my all-analog version of Abbey Road. Don't bother making something others may enjoy. this is about meeeeeee--the TRUE fan.

"Dilly dilly!"

One troubling fact remains: I can only imagine that a fake fan is going to let his or her ears be their guide. If they prefer a version of Abbey Road other than those which have been officially sanctioned by TRUE fans, audiophiles will assume that they are uncultured and that their equipment is not up to audiophile standards. They deserve nothing less than harassment and aspersion because of their lack of enlightenment.

Now, rock on for me George, one more time.

Steelhead's picture

I'm with you and in.

Would order a white gloved treatment in a NY minute.

Know I will get the upcoming Abbey but would LOVE to see the Beatles catalog in a one-step mofi type handling.

HighNoon's picture

Bought this back in 79 (Australia print) as a young kid with very little money. Still have it and it still sounds great.
But like many, I suspect, I was severely disapointed to learn an unadulterated AAA from the original tapes,
cut on modern equipment and pressed on heavy vinyl was not going to happen.
Add me to the (me too list) please!!!

However despite my thoughts above, I did find
the streaming demos were more impressive than I was expecting, although the bass seemed prominment,
a bit like a car stereo boom box. (I hope Paul wasn't responsible for that.)
Probably will purchase all the same, but mainly for the audio curiosity factor.

Macman007's picture

There have been so many remasters, reissues and territorial versions of Abbey Road as well as the other US and UK releases over the last 50+ years, it is staggering just to mentally contemplate them all.

For the longest time, my preference overall, not just for AR, but all titles was the sound and overall quality of the German Apple stereo import reissues US circa 1979-1981. Having owned so many US, Canadian Japanese, even some UK versions, the German Apple US imports pressed during these years sound best, most accurate and well rounded compared to all others.

The German Apple AR I purchased in 1979 cost nearly 20$US at that time, a huge amount to spend on only one record, but well worth it to my ears.

Unfortunately, my mother gave away my entire LP collection in the mid 80's while I was serving abroad in the US Navy, some 400 titles in all, not counting duplicates. Ever since I have unsuccessfully attempted to replace AR and the other Beatle albums purchased during the time period. So far I've had only a little luck.

I'd like to believe the latest remastered reissues, especially AR, will sound as good or better than others I speak of so highly. Aside from the Mono Masters box set, I've been disappointed by the reissues for one reason or the other. I have no idea what made the German Apple Stereo reissues sound so good, making it impossible to quantify the differences or establish a realistic working metric for purchasing any reissues. Overall quality, flatness and quiet of the vinyl was only part of the equation. The unknown mastering choices are the largest and missing piece of the puzzle. There have been so many, it would be nice if everyone could get on the same page and tell us what page that is. In the meantime, I'll continue to sample what we are given with optimism, with hope that someone will hit upon that magic formula again.

Like others posters here, I too will likely give this 50th anniversary stereo AR a spin (no pun intended) and see (and hear) what it is about. Perhaps I'll luck out and the quality will be what I've been missing for so long. The earlier anniversary reissue of Sgt Pepper is another one I'm eager to try. Will there ever be one truly magnificent reissue of these beloved albums that will satisfy the masses as the original albums once did? Till then we have little choice than sample what comes available.