Big Differences in Stereo vs. Mono Beatles

Video: The Beatles – Stereo vs. Mono: What’s the Difference, and Who Cares!?

While definitely not attempting to be complete, this is a really nice collection of interesting differences between the stereo and mono mixes of Beatles songs. I’ve been listening to both on headphones since 09/09/09, but there were still several that I never noticed. Very cool, especially if you—like all of us who’ve only heard the original CDs—have never heard the 1962-64 stuff in stereo or the 65-68 stuff in mono.

Some of the highlights:

• “Please Please Me” – In the stereo version, John can be heard flubbing his vocal, then chuckling during the “come on” lyrics.

• “From Me To You” – The harmonica heard during the intro of the mono version is missing in stereo.

• “If I Fell” – In stereo, Paul’s voice cracks as he delivers the second “vain” lyric.

• “Help!” – The stereo and mono versions have distinctly different lead vocal takes throughout.

• “I’m Only Sleeping” – There is a backwards guitar effect on the mono mix that is not present in stereo.

• “Got To Get You Into My Life” – Longer fadeout in mono; alternate vocals.

• “She’s Leaving Home” = The mono version is sped up (although some would argue that the stereo version is slowed down).

• “Sgt. Pepper’s (Reprise)” – In the mono, Paul can clearly be heard shouting at the end of the track. This is buried in the stereo mix.

• “Blue Jay Way” – Backward vocal effect present in stereo, but missing in mono.

• “I’m So Tired” – Paul’s vocals are much more prominent in mono than in stereo.

• “Don’t Pass Me By” – The mono is clearly sped up.

• “I Will” – Paul’s “mouthbass” vocals are missing from the first verse in mono.

• “Honey Pie” – Guitar track present in the mono mix, but missing in stereo.


6 thoughts on “Big Differences in Stereo vs. Mono Beatles”

  1. I’m surprised there’s no mention of the mono version of “Helter Skelter” here. There’s weird noises going on in the mix and no “blisters on my fingers” at the end.

  2. The difference between the mono and stereo versions of help only appears to be prevalent when you are listening to the 45 and not the album. I could be wrong, but on my mono “Help!” LP, it has the same takes as the stereo recording. My 45 does have the different takes though.

  3. There are more differences which are just as dramatic as these. Yellow Submarine has a guitar chord along with Ringo’s vocal to open the song and there are other changes throughout. The animal noises in Blackbird and Piggies are different. Ob-La-Di has handclaps and a different mix. Revolution 9, Back In The USSR, and many others on the White Album have different mixes. I Call Your Name guitar solo opening is very different. Harmonica parts are missing at the end of Thank You Girl in mono. Eleanor Rigby, first time Paul sings Eleanor, the double tracking is mistakenly left on from the chorus in the stereo, while it is not in the mono. A slightly different set of Indian instruments is used in The Inner Light. John and Paul’s vocals in Lucy In The Sky are somehow different in each. They are dreamier and more like Tomorrow Never Knows in the mono version giving it a different feel.

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