Sgt. Pepper's on Vinyl - and Mono!

A bit of an off-topic surprise, folks, but I wanted to share. I've been collecting vinyl for a couple months, thanks to a recent purchase of a portable turntable. PREACHY SERMON OF THE DAY - get yourselves a turntable and vinyl records.

Anyway, I go record hunting on Saturdays, thanks to several local vinyl record shops in Uptown Minneapolis. Treehouse Records is the best place for used vinyl, and today, tucked away in the recently-acquired stock...The Beatles' Sgt. Pepper's Hearts Club Band.

Oh, and did you notice that little sticker? MONO.

When I saw this, the adrenaline kicked in. I could hardly believe my own eyes. Is this the long-sought, legendary mono version of Sgt. Pepper's? I pulled out the record and checked the serial number.

Yep. This is the real deal, kids. The mono version of Sgt. Pepper's!

And did you see that price tag again? $25.00. That really sent my head spinning. I was almost certain someone would club me on the head and run off with the record. Breathe, breathe, calm down, don't panic.

This is one of the holy grails of vinyl records. You see, most '60s pop albums were recorded and mixed exclusively for mono sound. Stereo was still a novelty for older consumers with greater incomes, and as a consequence was used mainly for jazz or classical. Coltrane's Giant Steps has some of the best sound you'll ever hear on vinyl.

So that means all the early Beatles albums were created for mono. These are the versions they wanted you to listen to. After the mono album was finished, the master tapes were sent to another plant for the necessary alterations into stereo. Eventually, stereo took over, and those were the versions that persevered.

What does this mean? It means Sgt. Pepper's hasn't been available in mono for 35 or 40 years. It hasn't been around for decades.

The version I have is the Capitol release, and I don't think this baby's been played more than once or twice. It's in perfect shape. The original vinyl sleeve is also here, with the psychedelic water pattern. And, finally, the paper cutouts are present as well.

There are a number of differences between this version and the stereo version everyone knows. Some subtle changes, and a few major changes. At least one song is played at a different tempo, numerous sounds in the mix pop in and out, and you can hear Paul's shouts at the end of the Sgt. Pepper's Reprise. Oh, and the Capitol version doesn't have the famous run-out groove, which royally sucks. I love that part! Ah, well.

How much is this worth? The last time I checked Ebay, a copy of Sgt. Pepper's mono sold for $500. I bought mine for 25 bucks. Ha ha ha ha ha ha!!!


Anonymous said...

Congratulations on your find. I'll give you $26.00 for it, but hurry this offer only good today!

I remember getting my first Sgt. Pepper album and listening that record and staring at the pictures over and over again. That album just keeps giving all these 25+ yrs later. I even cut up the carboard cutouts! Wish I still had that one. But I still have my "picture disc" from the early 80s that still hasn't been played!

Daniel Thomas MacInnes said...

That's too bad if you don't have your vintage Sgt. Pepper. The Beatles' vinyl albums are still being produced today, but unfortunately, they all use the CD's digital master since 1987. You're getting a record that's better than the existing CD's, yes - but it's still crummy digital.

There are lots of old LPs floating around, many in excellent shape or unused at all. You'll just have to search around a bit for them. And sometimes you'll just get lucky, which is half the fun of record collecting. It taps into that hunter-gatherer archetype.

Chris Sobieniak said...

Heh, I STILL have my copy of the record from my mom's collection (with the paper cut-outs, but the sleeve the record was in probably isn't original but I haven't taken that thing out of storage in a long while to listen to). Interesting I didn't know all that much about this at all (often I scuff mono in favor of stereo personally, though I can see how my parents couldn't afford any better themselves).

Robert Benson said...

Great Find!!
and I bet you felt like a million bucks, these type of treasures are hard to find, but that is why I keep looking. I think you might want to check to see if this is not a countfeit Beatles record, they are more common than you think.
Check out this site:
Or Google "Beatle counterfeit records" and it will list amny sites that will give you more info.

Stop by my site and pick up a copy of my ebook

Robert Benson

Anonymous said...

i just got my first beatles vinyl today. sgt pepper. an orginal that hasnt been opened in years.only 15 bucks. Too bad it wasnt mono though.

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