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The Beatles' classic ''Yellow Submarine'' is revamped

George Martin’s original instrumental score gets dropped from the mix

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The Beatles
Corbis/Hulton-Deutsch Collection

Beatlemaniacs tend to view phrases like ”remastered and remixed” with extreme suspicion. So the Sept. 14 release of newly overhauled versions of the Fab Four’s 1968 animated film ”Yellow Submarine” and its soundtrack album will afford fans the choice of either going apoplectic or bowing to technology.

The film, which will be available on videotape and DVD, has been digitally renovated and now features booming, state-of-the art 5.1 Dolby Surround Sound. The album (which is now called a ”songtrack”), meanwhile, is a radically different beast from the original, which featured six Beatles tunes and an instrumental score by Beatles producer George Martin.

In its new incarnation, Martin’s music has been jettisoned, and nine Beatles songs from the film added (”Nowhere Man,” ”Eleanor Rigby”). ”We realized from the start that we were dealing with a sacred cow, and you can’t compromise the Beatles’ music,” says Bruce Markoe, who oversaw the film’s renovation. ”We handled the remixing from the original mono and stereo tapes with an eye toward sharpening the sound for audiophiles while maintaining the songs’ integrity. [Beatles engineer] Geoff Emerick listened to what we’d done and gave final approval.” (The remaining Beatles, who gave the project their blessing last year, had little hands-on involvement.)

No word yet on how Martin feels about his score winding up on the cutting-room floor, but purists can take heart: The original ”Yellow Submarine” album will remain in print.

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