The Beatles in Mono
Only within this last year had I become aware that most of The Beatles albums were originally released in both mono and stereo mixes, with the mono mixes receiving the most attention from the band members themselves (at the time, stereo was a mere novelty). My two favorite albums, Revolver and The White Album, both stereo LPs in my collection, were listened to hundreds of times throughout my life. A couple months ago I picked up Revolver in mono, and I was blown away by the listening experience, hearing things for the first time that weren’t present in the stereo mix.
I picked up The White Album today in mono, and am halfway through listening to it. My immediate reaction is: the experimental reputation it gained must have been due in large part to the stereo mix, which I had considered over the years strange in places and wildly uneven throughout. The mono mix I’m listening to now is much more even, which contributes to a more consistent musical flow. As familiar as I am with this album’s every nook and cranny, this mono mix is suddenly a different
masterpiece I never knew existed. (I suspect those who don’t like this album might feel differently hearing the mono mix.)