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The Journal Gazette

  • This cover image released by Capitol Records shows the "White Album" a remix of Beatles classics such as, ‚€œBack in the U.S.S.R.‚€Ě to ‚€œBlackbird‚€Ě and ‚€œOb-La-Di, Ob-La-Da.‚€Ě It coincides with celebrations for the album‚€™s 50th birthday. (Capitol Records via AP)

  • FILE - In this Feb. 10, 2008 file photo, Beatles producer George Martin, left, and his son Giles Martin appear in the press room with their awards for best compilation soundtrack and best surround sound album for "Love" at the 50th Annual Grammy Awards in Los Angeles. Giles Martin has reached into the treasure trove of original recording sessions to remix key albums by John, Paul, George and Ringo. Last year he remixed “Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band” and returns this year with a fascinating and exhaustive look at “The Beatles,” better known as the “White Album,” which contains such classics as “Back in the U.S.S.R.” to “Blackbird” and “Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da.” It coincides with celebrations for the album’s 50th birthday. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill, File)

  • FILE - In this May 24, 2006 file photo, Giles Martin, left, listens as his father, original Beatles producer George Martin speaks after a sneak preview of a new Beatles-themed Cirque du Soleil show, "Love," in Las Vegas. Giles Martin has reached into the treasure trove of original recording sessions to remix key albums by John, Paul, George and Ringo. Last year he remixed “Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band” and returns this year with a fascinating and exhaustive look at “The Beatles,” better known as the “White Album,” which contains such classics as “Back in the U.S.S.R.” to “Blackbird” and “Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da.” It coincides with celebrations for the album’s 50th birthday. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong, File)

Friday, November 09, 2018 1:00 am

'White Album' remix reveals layers

MARK KENNEDY | Associated Press

NEW YORK†– Hardcore fans of the Beatles like to pore over every detail of the band and endlessly dissect their songs. Then there's Giles Martin, who manages to time travel to meet the Fab Four.

Martin is the son of legendary Beatles producer George Martin, and he's lately been returning to the treasure trove of original recording sessions to remix key albums by John, Paul, George and Ringo.

“It's really nerve-wracking because it's a legacy of music which is really important,” the soft-spoken Martin said. “What I do is make sure I provide the fans – and people who don't even know the Beatles – with music that's worth listening to and is interesting.”

Martin last year remixed “Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band” and this year resurfaces with a fascinating and exhaustive look at “The Beatles,” better known as the “White Album,” which contains such classics as “Back in the U.S.S.R.,” ''Blackbird” and “Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da.” Out today, it coincides with celebrations for the album's 50th birthday.

Besides punchier, remixed versions of the 30 songs on the original double album, the anniversary package includes 27 acoustic demos of material the Beatles made at Harrison's house before going into the studio and 50 studio outtakes, including the unreleased “Not Guilty,” a studio jam of “Blue Moon” and early versions of “Let It Be,” “Lady Madonna” and “Across the Universe,” which would appear on other albums.

Martin was tapped by the surviving Beatles and the wives of Harrison and Lennon to rummage around in Abbey Road Studios in London and re-listen to everything, including abandoned songs and rehearsals.

That meant going through 107 takes of “Sexy Sadie,” dozens of versions of both “I'm So Tired” and “Long, Long, Long” and a 13-minute “Helter Skelter.” It meant hearing the Beatles discuss songs, joke and even order lunch.

Martin couldn't help using a Beatles reference to explain what his goals are: “I'm sort of trying to peel back the layers – the glass onion, if you like. I peel back the layers so you get to hear what I can hear at Abbey Road.”

Among the gems in the box set is an unrecorded Lennon song called “Child of Nature” that will later morph into his solo hit “Jealous Guy” and also a very cool “Good Night” stripped of the orchestrations it got on the “White Album.” You can hear “Happiness Is a Warm Gun” start out life as quite gentle before ending up on the “White Album” like a template for Frank Zappa.

The Beatles worked through the summer of 1968, often in exhausting all-night sessions. Martin says the multiple takes for many songs may be because the band had largely stopped performing live.

“I think the most revealing thing for me working on the 'White Album' is just how creative they were, all of the time,” said Martin. “It's almost like the studio couldn't handle the level of demand that they wanted to do and the amount of songs they wanted to record.”