Beneath the blue suburban skies
|Filming “Penny Lane”.
So here it is, the new “Penny Lane” video. This video has been rescued from a positive film with faded colours. And the restoration crew has indeed been able to correct the colours, although they are perhaps more subdued than we remember from the old 2-inch U-matic video tape the previous restoration came from. The skin tones vary a bit throughout but in general, the Beatles look winterly pale and their bright (newly colourised?) red coats make the contrast stand out even more.
It also looks like they have inserted a few shots from the trimmings, which look more like a natural colour. Does the shot above of Lennon on horseback look familiar to you? It’s nowhere to be found in the video that was made from the U-matic video tape in 1992, it wasn’t in the original video from 1967, and here in the new version it appears at 1:53.
As for the new stereo mix, renowned remaster engineer Steve Hoffman posted this comment on his own site:
“Penny Lane remix? Sterile, unemotional, everything stands out, nothing blends, all subtlety gone, sounds like 20 overdubs all on separate lines being squeezed together to make one artificial picture. Too much top end EQ on everything, no soul, just clinical sound from a mixer (no idea who it is) that decided that “the Beatles need to be brought into the 21st century”. The original (mono or stereo) at least has heart and sounds like a “whole” of something. The remix sounds like someone broke a china teacup, glued it together and shone a big light on it. “Hear what I did? I “fixed” this song. It’s good now.”
“Horrible thing to do to such a classic song.”
You be the judge.
For comparison with the previous incarnation of “Penny Lane”, here’s that:
You’ll notice that during the line “he likes to keep his fire engine clean…” they inserted individual short shots of the Beatles faces in this order:
Paul, George, Ringo
The new one goes:
John, Paul, George, Ringo
So the quick shot of John here is new, making this a new edit, however unobtrusive.