Sgt. Pepper's on Vinyl - and Mono!
A bit of an off-topic surprise, folks, but I wanted to share. I've been collecting vinyl for a couple months, thanks to a recent purchase of a portable turntable. PREACHY SERMON OF THE DAY - get yourselves a turntable and vinyl records.
Anyway, I go record hunting on Saturdays, thanks to several local vinyl record shops in Uptown Minneapolis. Treehouse Records is the best place for used vinyl, and today, tucked away in the recently-acquired stock...The Beatles' Sgt. Pepper's Hearts Club Band.
Oh, and did you notice that little sticker? MONO.
When I saw this, the adrenaline kicked in. I could hardly believe my own eyes. Is this the long-sought, legendary mono version of Sgt. Pepper's? I pulled out the record and checked the serial number.
Yep. This is the real deal, kids. The mono version of Sgt. Pepper's!
And did you see that price tag again? $25.00. That really sent my head spinning. I was almost certain someone would club me on the head and run off with the record. Breathe, breathe, calm down, don't panic.
This is one of the holy grails of vinyl records. You see, most '60s pop albums were recorded and mixed exclusively for mono sound. Stereo was still a novelty for older consumers with greater incomes, and as a consequence was used mainly for jazz or classical. Coltrane's Giant Steps has some of the best sound you'll ever hear on vinyl.
So that means all the early Beatles albums were created for mono. These are the versions they wanted you to listen to. After the mono album was finished, the master tapes were sent to another plant for the necessary alterations into stereo. Eventually, stereo took over, and those were the versions that persevered.
What does this mean? It means Sgt. Pepper's hasn't been available in mono for 35 or 40 years. It hasn't been around for decades.
The version I have is the Capitol release, and I don't think this baby's been played more than once or twice. It's in perfect shape. The original vinyl sleeve is also here, with the psychedelic water pattern. And, finally, the paper cutouts are present as well.
There are a number of differences between this version and the stereo version everyone knows. Some subtle changes, and a few major changes. At least one song is played at a different tempo, numerous sounds in the mix pop in and out, and you can hear Paul's shouts at the end of the Sgt. Pepper's Reprise. Oh, and the Capitol version doesn't have the famous run-out groove, which royally sucks. I love that part! Ah, well.
How much is this worth? The last time I checked Ebay, a copy of Sgt. Pepper's mono sold for $500. I bought mine for 25 bucks. Ha ha ha ha ha ha!!!