Pop & Hiss

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Beatlemania 2009: 'Who could outdo the Beatles -- Britney Spears? I'm sorry.'

September 9, 2009 |  5:01 pm

Beatlesmono300 At the Grove shopping center, oldies radio station KRTH (101.1 FM) hosted an early release party in conjunction with disk jockey Gary Bryan’s morning program. Beatles tribute band Paperback Writer played on a small stage in the middle of an outdoor plaza, and a nearby Barnes & Noble store did a brisk business in Beatles CDs and other merchandise -- not including Rock Band.

A store clerk said they started the day with more than a dozen copies of the stereo box set of CDs (list price: $260) and three boxes of the limited-edition mono CD set ($300). By mid-afternoon, all the mono boxes were gone and only three of the stereo boxes remained. (“All those baby boomers!” the clerk behind the counter said with a chuckle.)

A table display devoted to Beatles items included most of the individual CDs; the Trivial Pursuit and Monopoly board games; Philip Norman’s biography of John Lennon and Bob Spitz’s 2005 biography of the group; Beatles T-shirts; and coffee mugs. Across the aisle was another end display with more CDs and DVD copies of the films “A Hard Day’s Night” and “Help!”

Actor Alex Jordan of West Hollywood, who declined to give his age, affected a Liverpudlian accent as he surveyed all the merchandise and said, “John would hate it. He’d say ‘What are we doing? We’re selling out.’” Then he laughed as he examined copies of the new CDs. “I don’t think they’re just being exploited. They deserve to be remastered. This is the gold standard of pop music in terms of lyrics and melodies. Who could outdo the Beatles — Britney Spears? I’m sorry. They were the first and greatest pop band.”

-- Randy Lewis

Photo: The Beatles in mono. Credit: Apple Corps Ltd.