Last week was a big week for the Fab Four. Sure, The Beatles still aren't on iTunes, but the band remastered and re-released its entire catalog on CD. We also got a look at The Beatles: Rock Band. Both the new CDs and the new videogame were released on 9-09-09, a tip of the hat to "Revolution No. 9" from "The White Album".
Well, it's all kinda gone Helter Skelter ever since.
According to the London Times, Guitar Hero 5 beat out The Beatles: Rock Band in sales. Perhaps the bigger jaw-dropper is that none of the re-mastered Beatles CDs grabbed the top spot on UK sales charts (which may have been the problem, they were competing against themselves). The number one selling album in Britain was "We'll Meet Again - The Very Best of Vera Lynn" by 92-year-old Dame Vera Lynn. Yes, I have all her albums... Meantime, CNET doesn't give the remastered Beatles CDs a great review, mostly saying they're just "louder".
But for mega-fan Richard Ambrose, the 9-09-09 release date has nothing to do with any song. Nine marks "the number of times I have had to re-buy The White Album and the entire Beatles catalog, no joke."
Are there even nine variations out there? Yes.
"For me it started with in 1968," Ambrose says. "My Dad had this wonderful Ampex reel-to-reel stereo, so I bought The White Album and quickly followed with the rest of the catalog."
Next came the cassette stereo version in 1971. "I had a cassette player in my car. But my brother had an 8-track, so, as a gift, he got The White Album."
That makes three purchases.
"By the time college rolled around I had been exploring the world of high fidelity and 4-channel 'quadraphonic' stereo," says Ambrose. "So in 1974 I bought The White Album on vinyl for the first time. I soon was embarrassed to learn that anyone who really knew only bought the 'import' version because of the better purity of the vinyl and, allegedly, the sound. So once again I bought."
Ok, we're up to five purchases.
"Then came this outfit called Mobile Fidelity Sound Labs, which pressed their versions on import vinyl AND at half speed, so, allegedly, REALLY good sound. I bought the MSFL version."
That's number six.
Then came the CD version in 1990-"it was a no-brainer and a must have!"
"In '99, it was impossible to resist the 'The 30th Anniversary' re-mastered edition."
And now, the remastered catalog is out, and Ambrose has to buy for a ninth time. Except there's both a stereo and a mono version coming out! "Oh, what the heck, make it ten."
So this weekend, Ambrose went to two Best Buys and two Walmarts, wallet in hand, to once again feed his Beatle mania. But wait! "Box sets were nowhere and almost no single CDs either!" he says. "I did manage to get one, though, because it was misfiled."
It was The White Album.
Here are some images of Ambrose's collection of White Albums