Graham Reid | | 2 min read
It is one of the many ironies of the Beatles Remastered project (which I have noted in this Listener article) is that these albums might not have even come out at this time were it not for the Beatles Rock Band interactive game.
The remasters were finished some years ago and have been sitting around waiting for . . .?
Some kind of marketing tie-in, the go-ahead from the remaining Beatles and the others' estates? Who knows?
As anyone familiar with the arcane workings of Apple Records will tell you, they are difficult to deal with and live within the rarified air that only those closest to the moneypot can.
But the marketing synergy came together with Beatles Rock Band which is expected to outsell the complete Beatles catalogue many times over: that makes sense as Beatle-age parents buy the box for their children (or grandchildren) and a new generatrion which has heard some of this music on the periphery of their lives can saitsfy curiosity through a medium they understand better than old-fashioned CDs.
The Beatles Rock Band is pretty impressive, even for non-gamers. It opens with terrific, US$1 million animated film made by Passion Pictures who are the people behind Gorillaz. The film is chock full of more visual clues to Beatles song titles, movies and the like than the Free As A Bird clip, and also refers to the art of Alan Aldridge who did two books of the Bealtes illustrated lyrics in the late Sixties.
Even if the game isn't for you then you should at least try and see this clip.
Of the games, the 45 songs (all using the remastered tracks) move through the Beatles' early years, into their first American tour (Ed Sullivan and Shea Stadium), the music from the studio years, and that final rooftop concert in London in '69.
The animation is a step up from previous Guitar Star/X-Box games and there is a keen attention to detail for those sitting watching someone else playing along.
There is another animated clip right at the end which is only available to you "if you play all 45 songs to the machine's satisfaction," said EMI's Paul Bromby who showed it to me back in July.
But of course as someone else noted, "on September 10th* it'll probably be all over YouTube".
* As one wag has pointed out, the Beatles Remasters should have been released, not on September 9 (aka 09/09/09 or "number nine, number nine, number nine"), but on the following day.
Why? Because that's "the one after 9.09".