Today marks the 40th anniversary of the famous Abbey Road photo shoot. This is probably the most popular of all The Beatles' albums, and justly so. As a farewell it is majestic, funny, shocking and beautiful all at once. I think there are more words of wisdom contained within its grooves than any popular musician save Bob Dylan.
I've been fortunate enough to find an early-press British LP, which sounds absolutely spectacular. When you hear the original UK presses of Beatles albums, you understand just why the analog record is the gold standard for recorded music. And you've never lived a full life until you've heard Sgt. Pepper and Abbey Road on the original analog LP.
I specify "analog" because so much music being reissued on vinyl records today are, in fact, digitally sourced. The Beatles' records that you can buy brand-new at various shops are taken from the 1987 digital CD masters. Digital music on a vinyl LP just sounds awful to my ears, inferior to digital CDs and digital files on your iPod, and vastly inferior to the analog LP. I've learned this lesson the hard way, so I've learned to trust the few genuine audiophile brands that properly reissue albums in the superior analog sound.
Everybody, I'm sure, is looking forward to the new Beatles reissues on CD on September 9 (9/9/09 - hey, 10 years after Sega Dreamcast!), including me. But I'm really looking forward to the album reissues on LP, and I'm hoping and praying they'll be analog. Steve Hoffman hinted that RTI, his mastering firm, will be in charge. If that happens, fantastic. If not, you would be wise to track down some UK or Japanese* pressings.
*I have a Japanese pressing of The White Album, and the sound is absolutely spectacular. It would stop you dead in your tracks. The Japanese are highly regarded among audiophiles.