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The classic Who album is released by Polydor Records as Hybrid Multi-Channel Super Audio CD Print E-mail
Monday, 02 February 2004
35 years after its first release, Polydor Records / Universal Music Group have announced the release of a specially re-mixed and re-mastered Deluxe SACD of The Who’s legendary album, Tommy. This new dual disc release features all 25 tracks that appeared on the original vinyl release, including classics such as I’m Free and Pinball Wizard. Also included on an additional disc are 17 previously unheard out-takes and demos which have been taken from the 1968/69 recording sessions at IBC Studios in London. Also included is a stereo CD mix, which has been down converted from the DSD (Direct Stream Digital) tracks. This third mix enables playback on any standard hi-fi, in-car or portable CD player as well as all DVD-Video players. This SACD release is the brainchild of Pete Townshend who has produced and re-mixed the 5.1 multi-channel version of Tommy. Various stories surround what happened to the final mixed stereo master tapes of Tommy. One story was that the original 1969 producer, Kit Lambert, destroyed the final master leaving only a ‘sweetened’ version. However, Townshend says that these stories turned out to be untrue, and while researching for this new SACD version the original stereo masters were discovered, still intact, residing in the record company’s vault.

For the first time, the stereo version included within this package is taken from the original masters, as originally heard by the band in March 1969. For the 5.1 mix, Townshend used the original eight-track tapes. During the project, he also unearthed quite a few out-takes from the original recording sessions at IBC Studios in London.

Several of these out-takes are included within this Deluxe addition, demonstrating the warmth and intimacy between the group in the studio while recording, adding to the feeling of reality that listeners gain from this new high-resolution version of Tommy.

George McManus from Polydor Records was present at the original Ronnie Scott’s launch of Tommy on May 1, 1969 and he endorses the fantastic atmospherics and emotion that SACD gives these seminal recordings.

Working closely with Townshend on this major project was Jon Astley, who mastered the SACD at his own Twickenham-based studio, Close To The Edge. Astley is well satisfied with the project. “This has been a labour of love for Pete and all the production team,” explains Astley. “Super Audio CD is significantly higher resolution than CD and especially in surround it sounds as if the band are right there in front of you, playing the music live. There are times when it’s more impressive to point out that you can’t hear the difference between a finished product and the studio masters. More than anything, this new Tommy release is a homage to the original recordings and a return to what was Pete’s preference for a more acoustic feel.”

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