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Editorial: Beatles lead the way in resurgent vinyl

One of the 'perks' I've always enjoyed in this place is being able to write the odd opinion piece on the music industry and those who make, or who have made, their livelihood from it. It's a perk the community has gifted me – like it or not – due to the fact music plays such a big role in the Kivalliq.

Kivalliq News Editor Darrell Greer
Kivalliq News Editor Darrell Greer

In short, folks in our region love music and I border on being a complete fanatic on the subject.

As with the other subject I tackle, facts are facts, but we all have opinions on various subjects and, arguably, music tops the list of how wide-ranging personal opinions can be.

Whether you're a digital lover or you still have your coveted 8-track player in pristine condition, one fact that cannot be ignored is that vinyl is making a comeback.

Yes, it's been baby steps with the rediscovery of records the past few years, but those steps continue to grow and the industry has climbed back on board the vinyl wagon.

In the good old U.S.A., 2017 saw the sale of vinyl records increase by just a tad over nine per cent from the previous year, reaching 14.3 million units.

That's the most vinyl records sold in America in one year since 1991.

And, vinyl LPs comprised 14 per cent of all physical-album sales, which represents an all time Nielsen music high. Wow.

Now, there is this little band from Liverpool, England, I plug every now and then when I tackle a column on the music industry and, in my somewhat fanatical opinion, when you discuss popular music, there are these four lads, known collectively as the Beatles, and then everyone else.

These four Liverpudlians – known worldwide as John (Lennon), Paul (McCartney), George (Harrison) and Ringo (Starr) – made more of an impact on the world of popular music in the 1960s than words can convey, but the ultimate tribute to their impact is the continued popularity of their music almost half a century since their demise as a group.

photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

And the resurgence in the love for vinyl records is proving itself to be no exception.

The Beatles took not the top, but the top two spots in the U.S.A.'s year-end sales chart for 2017. Their continued popularity and success on the sales charts can, at times, be truly hard to comprehend.

With Giles Martin hard at work on a 50th anniversary deluxe reissue of the Beatles White Album at London's Abbey Road Studios, don't expect those chart numbers to drop any time soon.

In 2017, Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band topped the sales chart with 72,000 copies of the anniversary release being sold. Abbey Road came in a close second, having sold 66,000 copies.

Even more head-shaking is the fact number two was somewhat of a disappointment for Abbey Road, which is believed to be the highest selling vinyl reissue of all time, topping the U.S.A. sales chart for four consecutive years from 2009-2012.

The numbers defy the laws of logic. The last time the four Beatles were together in a recording studio was Aug. 20, 1969, for the final sequencing of the Abbey Road album, which is considered the group's best LP in many quarters, although ranking the songs or albums of the Beatles in any manner is always rife with argument.

There is little doubt the anniversary edition of the White Album will be released in November to coincide with its original release of Nov. 22, 1968.

And, while many think there is nothing new than can be added to the White Album release, Beatles fanatics know this is far from the truth.

While there has been no information leaked to date on what the 50th anniversary edition may contain as bonus material, hopes run high the 11-minute version of Revolution #1 may finally see the light of day, as well as the heaviest of all things Beatles, the staggering 21-minute-long version of Helter Skelter.

Stay tuned.