Beatlemania sweeps the world again

Fab Four create global stir with revamped 14-set CD collection - and a video game
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The Independent Culture

The scenes were familiar: long, snaking queues of ardent fans waiting eagerly to lay their hands on the latest Beatles album. But the photos were taken in 2009, not 1969, and there were 14 different CD albums up for grabs, rather than just the one on vinyl.

Beatlemania returned around the world yesterday with the release of remastered copies of the Fab Four's studio recordings and a new computer game to draw in a new audience.

The new CDs are designed to appeal to those who want to upgrade their collections and to potential younger fans whose interest has been sparked by classics from their parents' – or grandparents' – albums, or from bands who have name-dropped their influence.

Some 45 years after the first wave of Beatlemania, the album charts are expected to be swamped with 14 revamped albums by the band by this weekend and the group are also expected to top the video game charts with the newly developed Beatles Rock Band.

Bookies are already predicting John, Paul, George and Ringo will top the album charts once again with Sgt Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band favourite to be the biggest seller, according to bookmaker William Hill. The next most fancied is Revolver, then Abbey Road.

The online retailer Amazon said a box-set version of the band's stereo albums, priced at £170, topped its bestseller list on pre-orders alone. It is thought to be the most expensive item ever to head the chart.

Experts have polished the sound and enhanced the quality of the original recordings which have been processed digitally. It is the first time the releases have been tweaked since they were first issued on CD in 1987.

In The Beatles' home city of Liverpool, people were queueing outside the main HMV store well in advance of the 9.09am opening time. In London's Oxford Street, hundreds of fans queued outside HMV, which was also offering the Rock Band game for a cut price for the first 99 customers. There were similar lines outside record stores around the world, including in Seoul in South Korea.

Producer Giles Martin, who helped enhance the 1960s classics, said: "We're now at a stage where the experience of The Beatles is now what it should be.

"You can listen to the material in the same way people listened to them in the 60s, if not better. It's the single most well-known and beautiful collection of music in the world."

Despite ongoing discussions with computer giant Apple, The Beatles' music is still not available to buy from iTunes.

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