It was 50 years ago when The Beatles' John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison, and Ringo Starr astonished and delighted the world, ushering in the Summer of Love with Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, a groundbreaking masterwork that became popular music's most universally acclaimed album. The album is newly mixed by Giles Martin and engineer Sam Okell in stereo, sourced directly from the four-track masters at Abbey Road Studios in London, and guided by the original, Beatles-preferred mono mix produced by his father, George Martin. This expanded 2CD package features the new stereo album mix on the first CD and adds a second CD of 18 tracks, including previously unreleased alternate takes of each of the album's 13 songs, newly mixed in stereo and sequenced in the same order as the album. The second CD also includes a new stereo mix and a previously unreleased instrumental take of 'Penny Lane,' and the 2015 stereo mix and two previously unreleased alternate takes of 'Strawberry Fields Forever.'
Flush from remixing Elvis to his 30th number one with A Little Less Conversation as JXL, Dutch DJ Tom Holkenborg turned down a request from the Beatles to remix something of theirs and instead reverted to his full moniker for this fantasy league of his favourite vocalists. Along similar lines to Oakenfold's similarly star-studded 2001 Bunkka, the album is based on an imaginary pirate broadcast and mixes Holkenborg's dance/trance sculptures with trademark vocals from the likes of Dave Gahan, Peter Tosh, Solomon Burke and Chuck D, with a real Cure-y jewel in the one sung by Robert Smith, Perfect Blue Sky. Holkenborg reinvents Gary Numan as a trance star and, in a real coup, coaxes Terry Hall into at last revisiting his fabulous early-Specials ska sound for Never Alone. Less successfully, there are a mystifying three awkward contributions from Republica's Saffron, and an accompanying chillout disc is mostly dull. But for all its wobbles and indulgence, this is infinitely superior to a JXL mix of, say, Maxwell's Silver Hammer.