My default response to all the major Beatles album remixes (Abbey Road, White Album, Sgt. Pepper, Rubber Soul) has been to scoff. And then to buy them.

I’m no audiophile but I’ve always held that while the new versions sound agreeably enhanced they aren’t significantly different than the originals, and that these remixes, when all is said and done and digested, are mainly a marketing hustle. But I bought them anyway because of the lifelong emotional investment factor.

But guess what? This morning I compared the 2022 remix of “Taxman” vs. the 2009 version, and discovered to my surprise that the differences in the ’22 mix are striking. This is due to a technological innovation, engineered by Get Back director Peter Jackson, that allowed Giles Martin and Sam Okell to separate all the instruments and do a remix from scratch.

George Harrison‘s vocal track is on both sides now and not just the left, John Lennon‘s rhythm guitar is louder and more distorted sounding (in a good way), and the sound of the amplifier hum at the beginning of “Taxman” is now missing. You could argue that you’ve always liked the amplifier hum and that removing it kills the historic, low-tech 1966 vibe and I wouldn’t call you wrong, but if you listen on headphones the new “Taxman” is, I feel, a fuller, more alive rendering.

Wiki excerpt: “George Harrison wrote ‘Taxman’ at a time when the Beatles discovered they were in a financially precarious position. In April 1966, a report from the London accountancy firm Bryce, Hammer, Isherwood & Co. advised them that despite the group’s immense success, ‘Two of you are close to being bankrupt, and the other two could soon be.’ In his 1980 autobiography, I, Me, Mine, Harrison says: ”Taxman’ was when I first realised that even though we had started earning money, we were actually giving most of it away in taxes; it was and still is typical.” As their earnings placed them in the top tax bracket in the United Kingdom, the Beatles were liable to a 95% supertax introduced by Harold Wilson‘s Labour government; hence the lyric ‘There’s one for you, nineteen for me.'”

The solution came with establishment of Apple Corps, Limited, a tax-dodge company that let the Fab Four sidestep the 95% tax and instead pay a lower corporate tax rate.

The Guardian‘s Michael Ellison, Arts Correspondent, 11.24.95: :A 1995 documentary called “All You Need Is Cash” reports that Apple Corp, the apparently altruistic hippie ideas factory they set up in 1968, was conceived as a tax dodge.”