To commemorate the 50th anniversary of their landmark album, Abbey Road, The Beatles released a brand new video for Here Comes the Sun and it is simply magical.
The video itself isn’t magical. It’s pleasant, well done, clever, nostalgic, and emotional but there’s no newly-found footage from the recording studio or anything to truly get die-hard fans frothing at the mouth. What makes it magical is that it’s the first listen fans get of the newly remixed track and the remix reveals a beauty and perfection that far exceeds the mix fans have loved for 50 years.
Giles Martin — son of producer George Martin and the man responsible for recent remixes of Sgt. Pepper and the White Album — had a daunting task when it came to remixing Abbey Road as it was by far the best mixed album in the Beatles catalog. Many fans wondered how Martin could possibly improve on an already perfect album but with the release of this video all those questions were answered within 20 seconds of George Harrison’s masterpiece.
The first thing fans will notice is that the vocals, once panned hard to one speaker, are centered. Harrison’s voice sounds strong and vulnerable and perfect as it floats over a crisply mixed acoustic guitar and synthesizer. The second thing listeners are sure to notice, though, is where the magic begins. We have always heard the background vocals beneath “here comes the sun” and “it’s alright” but they were originally mixed along with the instruments and not alongside the lead vocal. Martin has changed all of that and what listeners are treated to is a remarkable harmony vocal, front and center and beautifully mixed with the lead vocals.
There are many moments in this remix that will leave fans with a tear in their eyes. Harrison’s beautiful vocal, masterful harmony vocals, McCartney’s driving and relentless bass line, and Starr’s seamless shifts between alternating meters are expertly highlighted with a mix that is a true treat on headphones.
Watch the video once and enjoy it. It’s beautiful. But after you watch it, listen to the 2009 remaster of Abbey Road with your eyes closed. It’s perfect and wonderful. Now go back to this new video, close your eyes, crank up your headphones and enjoy this more perfect mix.
How is it possible that 50 years later, The Beatles’ music is still able to inspire, move, and amaze us? How is it that the simple task of mixing tracks using today’s standards as opposed to those utilized in 1969 can reveal new artistry, new craftsmanship, new perfection? Their music is timeless because we never stop discovering new things to delight our ears, minds, and hearts.
If the rest of the Abbey Road remix is as good as Here Comes the Sun — and the pre-released Come Together and Oh! Darling indicate that it will be — it will be a new revelation to listeners who already knew how great this music was but get to hear it with new ears for the first time in decades.
The Beatles are simply magic.