The Last Beatles Song (and Other News) The Beatles Remixing History

Sidebar: The Beatles Remixing History

Until The Beatles Love soundtrack album in 2006, the group's songs stood pretty much as they were recorded and mixed between1962 and 1970. There had been original LP releases—both EMI's "official" mono and stereo versions and Capitol's USA mono and stereo versions. The first CD releases, in 1987 by EMI, were UK sequences and from "official" master tapes. The non-album singles and EP tracks were collected into two Past Masters anthologies.

To produce the sound for the Cirque de Soleil's 2006 Beatles-themed Love show, the band's original producer, George Martin, worked with his son Giles and returned to the band's multitrack tapes. The Martins digitized certain sounds and sequences from the tapes and remixed them with original songs into new sound-collages and mashups of songs, to which Cirque de Soleil acrobats perform in the wildly popular show, which is still on-stage in Las Vegas.

In 2009, EMI produced remastered stereo CDs and issued the Beatles mono masters on CD. In 2012, Universal Music Group acquired most of EMI including The Beatles' catalog, and soon after released the 2009 stereo digital remasters on vinyl and then an AAA LP box set of the original mono masters.

From there, the next step for UMG was to revisit the Beatles catalog with an eye on surround sound. Thus began the remixing, by Giles Martin, which culminates (for now) on the new reissues of 1962-1966, aka The Red Album, and 1967-1970, aka The Blue Album. Apple Corps CEO Jeff Jones said all of the songs from Revolver backward to the band's first recording session in 1962 have been or will be put through the "de-mixing" process and remixed by Giles Martin.

Here is a summary of the remixing so far.

2015: Giles Martin, building on his experiences with Love, worked with Abbey Road engineer Sam Okell to remix The Beatles' #1 singles for both stereo and 5.1 surround, released as 1+. For the stereo mixes, Martin used multitrack tapes where available, often tightened the stereo spread, and sometimes changed the tonal and instrumental balances compared to prior releases. For surround, Martin placed two full-range speakers in Abbey Road Studio 2 (where most of the songs were originally recorded) and set up microphones along the wall. He used this ambient "live in the room" audio for the rear channels (footnote 1).

2017: Giles Martin and Okell remixed Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band and some contemporary singles. The press release for the reissue describes the remixes. "To create the new stereo and 5.1 surround audio mixes for Sgt. Pepper, [Martin and Okell] worked with an expert team of engineers and audio restoration specialists at Abbey Road Studios in London. ... [The] new stereo mix of the album ... was sourced directly from the original four-track session tapes and guided by the original, Beatles-preferred mono mix produced by [Martin's] father, George Martin."

2018: The Beatles, aka The White Album, was remixed in stereo and 5.1 surround by Giles Martin and Okell, "sourced directly from the original four-track and eight-track session tapes." The accompanying press released noted the new mix was "guided by the album's original stereo mix produced by ... George Martin."

2019: Abbey Road was remixed in stereo and 5.1 surround by Giles Martin and Okell "directly from the original eight-track session tapes," again "guided by the album's original stereo mix supervised by ... George Martin."

2021: Let It Be and some contemporary songs were remixed in stereo, 5.1 surround and Dolby Atmos by Giles Martin and Okell. The stereo remixes were "guided by the original 'reproduced for disc' version by Phil Spector and sourced directly from the original session and rooftop performance eight-track tapes." Peter Jackson's WingNut Films provided "de-mixing" technology used in the accompanying Get Back documentary series (which streams on Disney+).

2022: For the remix of 1966's Revolver, Giles Martin and Okell went all-in with the de-mixing/remixing method. From the album's press release: "Newly mixed by producer Martin and engineer Okell in stereo and Dolby Atmos (footnote 2) ... the album's new stereo mix [was] sourced directly from the original four-track [session] tapes. The audio is brought forth in stunning clarity with the help of cutting edge de-mixing technology developed by the award-winning sound team led by Emile de la Rey at Peter Jackson's WingNut Films Productions Ltd."

2023: Thirty of 38 tracks on the 50th Anniversary expanded reissue of 1962-1966, and seven of 37 tracks on the anniversary expanded 1967-1970, were newly mixed in stereo and/or Dolby Atmos by Giles Martin and Okell, aided by WingNut Films' audio de-mixing technology.

Footnote 1: see for a detailed Giles Martin interview about 1+.

Footnote 2: starting with Revolver, Beatles deluxe reissues will not include a Blu-ray disc with HD stereo and surround/Atmos audio, according to Apple Corps CEO Jeff Jones. Thus the only Atmos listening option is lossy streaming. See As We See It in the December 2023 Stereophile.

JRT's picture

I think that mischaracterizes the trend, because I doubt that this is the last time that AI will be utilized to create another new song from The Beatles, rather quite the opposite.

"Money don't get everything, it's true. What it don't get, I can't use. Now give me money, that's what I want. That's what I want..." The Beatles didn't write that, but they covered it rather well, and it speaks to the underlying desires and motivations in this, which won't be satiated by just one more song, if the production of that song is profitable.

stereostereo's picture

I never really liked the work with Jeff Lynne. Although I am a big fan of his the work sounded too much like a Jeff Lynne song rather than a Beatles one. His influence was too apparent. I am hoping this latest is more in the Beatles vein rather than an ELO one.

supamark's picture

The only thing they used it for was to separate John Lennon's vocal from the piano on the cassette. ALL instruments were played/recorded by the former Beatles, and all the music was written and arranged by human beings; not AI. Unless they find more recorded material (and at least one more living Beatle), this will be the Beatles' last "new" song.

This ain't a Tupac situation, where his estate has released more music after he died than when he was alive.

I'd be more worried about the new AI products coming out that can essentially mix and master a multitrack recording for you. It won't sound very good, but the software exists and is being continually improved.

Mark Phillips,
Contributor, SoundStage! Network.

teched58's picture

...that you guys decided to post a story that would generate some easy traffic. And, thankfully, it's not accompanied by art that's a poorly framed photo of a 60-ish guy with unkempt hair and a protruding belly that's full of, well, belly fat.

Joe Whip's picture

It would be nice if they released the full Atmos tracks which requires a Blu ray. A pity, just like with Revolver.

kai's picture

Tell Me If You Can – the only composition by Paul McCartney and Tony Sheridan, predates “Love Me Do”, and was never released in the Beatles’ era.

It’s world premier recording was by Tony Sheridan and the Ensemble Chantal at Abbey Road Studios London in 2004.

Now that we have a “last The Beatles song”, Tell Me If You Can could in some way be one of “the first Beatles songs”.

Paul McCartney, John Lennon, George Harrison and Pete Best as The Beatles, accompanied Tony Sheridan on recordings in 1961 and as backing band in the Star Club Hamburg in 1962.

downunderman's picture

The new 'Beatles' single is an example of jumping the shark.

McCartney playing in the style of Harrison does not make this single an actual Beatles song just for starters.

cognoscente's picture

even the BBC is so honest and announced it as a song made with AI technology, so you can ask the question, is this a Beatles song or deep fake?

ChrisS's picture

...the Chicago Symphony Orchestra conducted by Muti (


a flash mob in Japan (

is still Beethoven.

ChrisS's picture Fur Elise.

Never published or performed during his lifetime.

It is still Beethoven.

bilguana's picture

The AES held a meeting at the Hollywood Dolby ATMOS theater (6321 Hollywood Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA, 90028) in June. The sound was so bad that we walked out. I hope the Manhattan one was a better presentation.
My complaint about "Now and Then" is that Paul decided to omit the bridge, which would have made for a more impactful song. Giles claims to have exactly used the tape that Paul gave him. Hummm...

Laurence Svirchev's picture

I listened to about one minute of the track and stopped. The arrangement is sloppy & maudlin, mainly due to the addition of the strings. The modern sound of the drums, bass, guitar are bury Lennon's voice. Much is made of extracting Lennon's voice from the guitar original, but perhaps that is exactly the reason that this version of a composition musically fails.
One over-riding thought occurred to me: Phil Spector's Wall of Sound. That sound should have been called Wall of Mud. McCartney famously removed all the spectored flourishes to get to essence of the song, renaming the session as Naked.
The Beatles and George Martin were remarkably adept at artistic sound manipulation to make ingenious music, yet here is McCartney returning to the same shuck that Spector used to ruin music. Really odd.