Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Desmond, she's a singer with the band

As I mentioned before, I am a huge Beatles fan.

I have all their LPs, most of their 45s, some of their EPs, some of their cassettes, all their CDs, some foreign LPs, lots of bootleg LPs, lots of bootleg CDs, stuff you never heard of, common stuff, and rare stuff, lots of stuff. (That's one advantage of being an old lady like me: I was able to buy all the stuff when it was new and just released, not after it became rare.)

In case you missed it, they remastered all the Beatles' LPs and released the new remastered LPs on CD last month. In addition to individual CD LPs, they also released two boxed sets. One set collects all the individual CD LPs, whereas the other box set is completely different.

According to Amazon, "The Beatles Mono Box Set was compiled as a special interest package for the hard-core fan. It presents the first ten albums in re-mastered mono (the final 3 albums made their debuts in stereo only), and a double album of singles and EPs, called Mono Masters.

"Why would anyone want a newly minted mono collection? The final mono songs were sometimes different. Stereo mixes were usually done days, if not weeks after the original mono mix, and could include different takes when the engineers made the overdubs. Stereo mixes, particularly for the first five albums, did not include as much critical listening from George Martin, and almost none from the Fab Four."

Yes, way back when the Beatles started recording, mono was king and stereo was something that only audio aficianados dabbled in. So recording artists of the era put all their effort into their mono recordings; the stereo recordings were an afterthought.

Although I am definitely a hard-core fan, in these economically-challenged days, I was not in a rush to go out and buy both boxed sets. I figured I would wait until the feeding frenzy ended and the prices dropped a bit, but then I learned that the mono set was a limited edition and was selling out at a lot of retailers.

I hightailed it to Amazon and discovered that they were sold out, but they indicated that the demand for the mono set was so high that a second limited run was in the works, so I anted up and ordered a set on September 9.

October 23 was the day USPS delivered my mono boxed set.

The boxed set is very nice. Each CD LP replicates the cover of the original British version of the LPs including any extraneous contents. For example, the White Album has "The Beatles" embossed in raised letters on the white cover just like the original and includes miniature versions of the poster and Beatles portraits that accompanied the original LP. There is also a nicely done booklet packaged with the boxed set.

So far, the music is disappointing. I am working my way backwards and have listened to the two Mono Masters CDs and the White Album and to tell you the truth, I have not noticed much difference between the original recordings and the new remasters.

Maybe that is due to the fact that I am used to listening to the old stereo versions and not the mono versions. The songs on the greatest hits CD, One, released back in 2000, were the first Beatles' songs to be remastered and those stereo remasters blew me away, so I have a feeling that when I hear the new stereo remasters, I will notice a big difference.

Anyway, during all the hubbub concerning the release of the remasters, I learned something new about one of the trans references in the Beatles' music.

In one verse of Obladi Oblada, Paul sings,

"Molly stays at home and does her pretty face
And in the evening she's a singer with the band"

Two verses later, Paul sings,

"Desmond stays at home and does her pretty face
And in the evening she's a singer with the band"

I always thought the Desmond reference was an intentional trans reference just like the "Sweet Loretta Martin" reference in Get Back, but in a recent interview, Paul claims that it was just a flub during the recording of the song that they decided to not fix.

I dunno. I prefer my take on Desmond and I am going to stick with it.


  1. In fact it's "Desmond stays at home and does HIS pretty face" Not her.

  2. Anonymous --- You're right. I knew that, but the web site I copied the lyrics from had it wrong!

  3. STAY. AWAY. FROM. MY. BEATLES.March 05, 2010

    thank you so much for clearing that up for me, i was frickin going crazy! i couldnt figure out whether the song was about cross dresssing...homosexuals...

    anyway i had listened to the song and then learned it on guitar and thats when i realized it, and i went ballistic trying to find the meaning.

    so good. it was a mistake. much better than MY theories!

  4. I noticed it right away. It's ba fun song and I always thought they did it intentionally. It wasn't untill the day when I was listening to the song on you tube, i went down to the comments and someone asked about that. I decided I might be able to find the answer on it brought up the site songfacts and it gave alot of info on just that song alone. Like John hated that song and actually didn't like Paul's later songs.