One of the benefits of my older brother (and I’m sure he’d be pleased to know that I use the plural form) is that as Beatles albums came out in the ’60s, he went to Kresge or wherever and bought them. And then on it would go to the hifi in the living room for hours and hours and hours. It was probably a good thing that our dad worked the afternoon shift, because otherwise I suspect that the longevity of the records would have been truncated rather rapidly. So we listened. Oh we listened. And as time went on, the Beatles records were joined by the Stones and the Who and. . .pretty much the entire British Invasion. We didn’t know. We didn’t care. We just listened.
I find it curious that Beatlemania has reemerged. I find it down right puzzling that when I check The Official Beatles Shop I discover that in the event that I wanted to buy discs—not those black vinyl things that were on the RCA unit, but those shiny coaster-like things that would have been considered something to have been delivered by a UFO back in the ’60s—that contained monaural versions of some of the early music, I would have to wait more than a month. The demand has been that great. For mono.
And so I am puzzled.
Yes, I understand there are collectors who might want to hear what it sounded like. But beyond that, what is the point? I am confident that when the music was originally recorded, the objective was to make it sound as good as it possibly could, given the available technology. And as the technology improved, it was used. It was good.
I am particularly puzzled by the availability of Help! and Rubber Soul in the mono collection as they include “the original 1965 stereo mix.” Maybe I’m missing the point.
Back when mono was giving way to stereo, I remember getting mono. No, not another hifi. Mononucleosis. The kissing disease. It was rampant in junior high. And it was the kind of thing that you wanted to hide from mom, but alas, when you had to go to the doctor and got that diagnosis, there was no way to cover it up.
I don’t think I’d care much for that version of mono, anymore, either. What’s more, Peggy probably isn’t what she once was, either.