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EMI to release Beatles’ ‘Red,’ ‘Blue’

Remastered editions due out Oct. 19

Continuing one of the most successful reissue campaigns in recent memory, EMI Music North America will release 1973’s classic “Red” and “Blue” compilations of the Beatles’ hits in remastered editions on Oct. 19.

The two-CD packages — “The Beatles/1962-1966” (the “Red” collection, so named because of the color highlighting the original LP jacket) and “The Beatles/1967-1970” (the “Blue” compilation) — are being remastered by the same team that handled the ’09 re-release. Sets were first issued on CD in 1993, employing the original 1987 digital masters.

New editions will include expanded booklets with the original liner notes, new essays by Bill Flanagan and rare photos.

Compilations were the first to follow the Beatles’ break-up in 1970, and were a major hit in their day. The “Red” set peaked at No. 3, while the “Blue” album reached No. 1. They have been certified by the RIAA for sales of 15 million and 17 million, respectively. Each spent more than three years on the U.S. album chart.

Most recent Beatles compilation, “1,” was released in 2000; package spent eight weeks at No. 1 and has been certified for sales of 11 million.

Financially troubled EMI has wrung plenty of currency out of its Beatles reissue campaign. The remastered catalog sold nearly 3.3 million units in the U.S. last year, according to Nielsen SoundScan; EMI’s recent annual report said the titles sold more than 10 million copies worldwide.

Fab Four sets will enhance a busy fourth quarter of Beatles-related releases from EMI: Company is reissuing John Lennon’s entire catalog on Oct. 5 (Variety, June 30) and 15 titles from the catalog of the band’s label Apple Records on Oct. 26 (Variety, July 7).

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