My friend Michael Giltz seems to be a tad confused and even slightly disappointed over the upcoming 50th anniversary release of "Sgt. Pepper," which will feature a new stereo mix of the album proper, and oodles of Beatles outtakes we may actually not have heard before. He texted this to me-
"I’m all for doing a new stereo mix of the original album and of course it had everyone’s blessing. But to celebrate the album, I still think Mono should come first and the new stereo mix as a bonus on the second CD. And I’m all for The Ultimate Sgt Pepper adding in Fields and Lane, which they don’t seem to have done in any official capacity."
I, on the other hand, am really looking forward to this. So, I replied-
"I understand what you're saying. The two extra tracks are not incorporated into the sequence of the original record. Still, I don't think that they are trying to push this release as a definitive version. They are offering a new stereo mix, with extra material, which is something The Beatles camp haven't done as often as everyone else, and have never abused their catalogue, like say both Elvises or The Who."
"Buy a CD of Sgt Pepper and all you get is the new stereo mix. But two cds and you get extra tracks. Buy the massive boxed set and you'll find the mono on CD four. If I were the Beatles I'd have the U.K. Mono mixes as the albums available on default up to White Album w the stereo relegated to the boxed set collections of stereo or the boxed set of US album versions. To me the monos are tremendous and sound awesome -/ no casual fan would know or think twice. It's just the album and it doesn't sound weird or less in any way. The serious fan I assume would prefer mono. (But happy to buy both.) the way it's packaged, from now on if you go to the store or type in sgt pepper on Amazon you're being offered the 2017 stereo version only. I feel that's a mistake. Make a dozen versions available but to me they made a dreadful mistake going w stereo on the original CD releases and the chance to correct it has been missed. Again."
"I think you're missing the point completely about this release. No one is pushing mono versus stereo. It's simply a new package with the new stereo mix and unreleased material. No one has said, this is better than the mono mix, which is readily available for $20, albeit, on vinyl, but not stand alone CD. But that's not what this is about. It's about a celebration of a record and to change things up a bit, you've got a new stereo mix, which is exciting. Plus you have all this extra stuff, which is exciting. The mono CD box and the mono LP aren't being deleted. It's the 50th anniversary of the record, all involved want to know how to celebrate it. If someone suggested, how about we rerelease the mono mix on a CD, or worse, how about we take the perfect mono mix and fuck it up for everybody and charge them more, how would that pan out? Plus Ringo is on record, saying he prefers the mono. Paul, of course, loves both."
What say you, Beatles fanatic and cynics? And, if you were to sequence both "Penny Lane" and "Strawberry Field Forever" into "Sgt. Pepper," where would you put them?