The Rolling Stones are about to release a huge box set that contains 186 songs. The sixties catalogue box set due out this fall will be a compilation of the group’s mono recorded versions of some of their most famous tracks.
The Rolling Stones in Mono concentrates on the band’s U.K. and U.S. releases from the 1964 album The Rolling Stones and runs through to 1969’s Let It Bleed. Also in the collection are an assortment of singles and EP tracks dubbed Stray Cats.
Fifty-six of the songs have not been made publicly available in mono before. Record label ABKCO will also be issuing several versions of the release on September 30th.
Physical copies of the collection will be released in either a 15-CD or 16-LP configuration and will also contain a 48-page book containing a 5,000-word essay by Rolling Stone’s David Fricke and rare photos by Terry O’Neill.
Making sure to cover all bases, the set will also be released digitally in a variety of digital formats: standard digital, mastered for iTunes, and True HD.
Why did the band record in mono? Well, when the group started making its first recordings, mono was still the predominant format; stereo equipment was on the rise but was not yet widely available. The Rolling Stones’ stereo mixes were often made later, as were the Beatles’ who incidentally, released mono versions of their catalogue in 2009.
Back in 1968 during an interview with Rolling Stone, Jagger even told of his dislike of the stereo mix of Their Satanic Majesties Request. Whilst discussing his lyrics, the singer offhandedly said, “‘2000 Light Years’ … is my favorite [song] but it’s lousy in stereo.”
The new mono masters were made by legendary mastering engineer Bob Ludwig who has won Grammys for reissues of albums for Derek and the Dominos and Dire Straits as well as new albums by Pharrell Williams and Beyoncé. The new vinyl lacquers were cut at Abbey Road.