Apple, EMI release new Beatles CDs

Remastered discs timed with new videogame

Beatles fans will have a chance to add substantially to their collections when a digitally remastered version of the band’s catalog becomes available in September.

Apple Corps Ltd. and EMI Music announced Tuesday that they will be releasing the new discs worldwide on Sept. 9, the same day as the release of a video game, “The Beatles: Rock Band.”

The release continues a recent trend of repackaging and tweaking The Beatles’ output, which fans may have thought ended in 1970 with “Let It Be.”

Each of the dozen CDs will include the original U.K. album art and new, expanded liner notes, according to an announcement on The Beatles Web site. For a limited time, each CD will also be embedded with a brief documentary film about the album.

The collections “Past Masters Vol. I and II,” including singles, out-takes, live versions and B-sides which weren’t on the albums, will be reissued in one package.

In addition, Apple Corps and EMI will be releasing a boxed set named “The Beatles in Mono,” with the original monaural versions of 10 albums plus two further discs of mono masters of early material. The mono versions of “Help!” and “Rubber Soul” also include the 1965 stereo mixes.

There has been no breakthrough yet on negotiations to get the Beatles’ extensive catalog available for legal downloading.

“Discussions regarding the digital distribution of the catalog will continue,” Apple Corps and EMI said.

The repackaging began in 1973 with “The Beatles/1962-1966” and “The Beatles/1967-1970.”

Then came “Live at the BBC” in 1994, “Past Masters” in 1988, “Anthology 1” and 2 and 3 in 1996, “Yellow Submarine Songtrack” in 1999, “1” in 2000, “Let It Be … Naked” in 2003 and “Love” in 2007.

Apple said the new package is the fruit of four years of work by engineers at the Abbey Road Studios.

The surviving Beatles, Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr, played together at a charity benefit in New York several days ago.

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