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FROM THIS EPISODE

This is Celia Hirschman with On the Beat for KCRW.

Today, on the ninth day, of the ninth month, in 2009, The Beatles have once again invaded. This time, the landing pad is the world stage, with multiple massive Beatles releases.

But before even contemplating the scope of these latest products, one should first marvel at a band that created 13 brilliant studio albums in only eight years.

While they stopped recording as a band in 1970, no other contemporary group had greater significance in our culture before or since.

Today, EMI and Apple Corps released digital re-masters of all the studio albums and a combined double-CD set of all the singles and EP's. The re-mastering was painstakingly handled at Abbey Road Studios over four years.

Each of the CD re-masters can be purchased individually, or as a box set with an exclusive DVD. EMI and Apple Corps are also reissuing all the Beatles albums in mono, as a CD box set. Of course, several of those albums were actually recorded in stereo. Both of these box sets have already sold out at Amazon.com proving that the Beatles are recession proof.

EMI, the parent company, has seizes the day with their marketing, partnering with particular retail outlets for special visibility. Restoration Hardware will sell 4,000 copies of The Beatles' Box of Vision, which holds but does not contain any of the re-mastered CD's. Selling collectors' storage boxes is a standby marketing favorite in the UK. It baits completists to fill the set. The storage box comes with a 200-page linen-lined book of Beatles' artwork reproductions.

Target and Best Buy will both have Beatles Boutiques within their stores. And Whole Foods, Pathmarket, Ralph's, Blockbuster and even 7-Eleven have Beatles promotions scheduled as well.

While reissued CD's are one headline, a new video game, The Beatles: Rock Band also hit the shelves today. Video gaming has been taking a bit of a financial hit in the last few months, but it's anticipated that The Beatles Rock Band edition, will revive that slump. The game features 45 Beatles songs covering the diverse musical history of the band. In addition, over the next few months, some of the catalog titles will be available for gaming purposes, keeping The Beatles at the forefront of gaming through the end of the year.

The game is available on Wii, Sony Playstation and X box. You can play the wireless guitar, bass or drums. Up to six people can play, with three simultaneous karaoke singing parts.

The game features lush animations of the band with historic and psychedelic overlays. You can preview the opening sequence at The Beatles.com.

Although I'm a huge Beatles fan, this is all a bit too overwhelming. I never would have imagined The Beatles so commercially joined at the hip with big business. And I'm not sure I completely agree with it. But, in spite of my trepidation, I am pleased about one thing. The Beatles always deserved the credit they got, and with all this attention, millions more will be exposed to their brilliance. And if that inspires more kids to pick up a guitar or play the piano, it's all worth it. Because culturally, we are only as relevant as we are creating. While we can retrospectively admire our past, it's our future that determines our fate.

This is Celia Hirschman with On the Beat for KCRW.

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