Fans of The Beatles can celebrate the 50th anniversary of Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, the iconic British band’s seminal psych-rock album, in a new and exciting way: In spectacular Dolby Atmos. Dolby Laboratories and Universal Music Group have announced a number of special listening opportunities throughout the United States and Canada on Thursday.
The companies have partnered for one-day-only listening parties that will take place in select cinemas throughout North America. At the parties, the album will be played in astonishing clarity via Dolby Atmos, the state-of-the-art immersive sound tech that has been slowly making its way into high-end theaters.
Needless to say, it should sound amazing. The special Dolby Atmos masters were created by Giles Martin, the son of acclaimed Beatles producer George Martin, in collaboration with Abbey Road Studios’ senior engineer Sam Okell and Academy Award-winning mixer Chris Jenkins.
“This is one of the most important albums of all time,” said the younger Martin of the record. “Each track has its own character and imagery, building song by song across the record as a whole. The Dolby Atmos mix is truly immersive, placing the audience inside the recordings like never before.”
Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band was released on June 1, 1967, and remains one of the Beatles’ most critically acclaimed albums of all time. The album will be one of the first music-based projects to be specially remixed for Atmos’ object-based format, which allows any sound effect or instrument to be moved independently to be specifically targeted across dozens of speakers, including those mounted overhead.
“The remixing of Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band in Dolby Atmos marks a significant milestone for the technology,” said Curt Behlmer, senior vice president of Content Solutions for Dolby Laboratories. “This project demonstrates the capability of Dolby Atmos to bring moving audio to music in a new and innovative way. We look forward to continuing our collaboration with Universal Music Group to transform the music experience.”
Naturally, those who don’t live in any of the select cities hosting the event may be wondering just how and when they can hear this new mix for themselves. Unfortunately, it may not happen any time soon. DT contributor Mike Mettler asked Giles Martin himself about the mix making its way to Blu-ray, and as of yet it appears Universal has no plans to do so. However, Mike has heard the new 24bit/96kHz 5.1 surround sound version that comes with the album’s new box set, and tells us it’s pretty impressive even without full Atmos sound.
Those interested in attending one of the listening events can check out the event website, where each theater and showtime is listed.
Updated 6-1-2017 at 11:00 a.m. PT by Ryan Waniata: Added info from our forthcoming exclusive with Giles Martin about a possible Blu-ray version of the Atmos mix, as well as details about the box set’s 5.1 mix.