It’s hard to ask questions when your breath has been taken away.

For Christmas, I received a copy of Love by The Beatles. Tonight I sat down and listened to it all the way through for the first time, and the title of this post (which comes from a Guardian review) sums it up nicely. It’s truly an amazing record.

At my core, I am a Beatle geek. I completed my collection of their original albums 25 or so years ago. Everything since then has been repackaged “greatest hits” or outtakes and other assorted crap. But this was like listening to a brand new Beatle album for the first time. By taking shocking liberties with the original tapes, Giles Martin has produced the kind of greatest hits album that John, Paul, George and Ringo would have done before handing their catalog over to the corporate reissue machine. Not only that, but even the stuff he didn’t touch has been re-mastered to the point where it’s like you’re sitting in the same room with them.


– A version of “Get Back” that starts with the opening chord of “A Hard Day’s Night” and the drum and guitar solos from “The End” mixed with Hollywood Bowl screaming and strings from “A Day in the Life” then flows into “Glass Onion” using snippets of “Penny Lane” and “Hello Goodbye” which floats into the “Eleanor Rigby” string quartet that’s just hella cool.
– A mix of “Being for the Benefit of Mr. Kite” that will make you want to hide under the bed in terror. It drifts in from the creepy “Blue Jay Way” mixed with “Nowhere Man” and some strings and other sounds from Sgt. Pepper at the end of “Something” (of all things), then builds from its own eerie calliope sounds into the death march of “She’s So Heavy” from Abbey Road with the screaming vocals of “Helter Skelter” over top of it all.
– “Strawberry Fields Forever” that uses John Lennon’s original demo and builds seamlessly through various takes, while mixing in sounds from Sgt. Pepper, the “Piggies” harpsichord and “Hello Goodbye”.
– “Within You and Without You” mixed with the drum track from “Tomorrow Never Knows” that sounds like they were always meant to be together.
– An acoustic take of “While My Guitar Gently Weeps” with added strings arranged by George Martin (the only newly recorded sound on the album) that almost made me weep.

All-in-all this is seriously one of the best Beatle albums ever…though, I’m pretty sure that the Guardian reviewer is correct–a remastered set of the complete catalog is well overdue.

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7 Responses to It’s hard to ask questions when your breath has been taken away.

  1. Linkmeister says:

    I’ve been wavering about getting this, because even if it was George Martin and Son doing it, what could it be like? Would it muck up my memories of the songs as I heard them? Your review helps immensely.

  2. mkh says:

    I agree completely with your assessment. I was expecting to be underwhelmed, but was amazed by the richness of this mix. I’m actually quite curious now about the Cirque de Soleil show for which it was created.

  3. Ric The Schmuck says:

    I have a copy sitting under the remnants of the Christmas Tree. I, too, was wondering about it, a bit skeptical. And I’ve simply been too tired, due to the season, to tackle listening to it, in a proper setting, in the proper frame of mind.

    Now that you’ve given your review, Solly, I anxiously look forward to cracking it open and listening! After all, it is your fault that I, too, am a Beatle geek! (Thankfully!!!)

  4. Solonor says:

    With headphones, man!

  5. Ric The Schmuck says:


  6. Brian says:

    Thanks to The Intarweb, I have been listening to my…ahem…borrowed copy of this album for about a month.

    The remix of “While My Guitar Gently Weeps” is, undoubtedly, the best cut on the whole album and I think it blows away the original released version.

    I also find the remix of “Eleanor Rigby” to be haunting and deeper than the original.

    Some of the other songs sound barely remixed at all. My overall impression is probably a bit less enthusiastic than yours — the good cuts are phenomenal, the so-so ones not really worth it.

  7. Vicki says:

    … I am so removed from reality that I didn’t even know this existed (Long story)… I will have it in my hands tomorrow, though… your review took my breath away 😉

    Happy Upcoming Year!

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