George Harrison Said The Beatles’ 1999 Reissue of ‘Yellow Submarine’ Did Well Because People Were Sick of Music With Drum Machines

George Harrison surmised that The Beatles‘ 1999 reissue of their 1969 album, Yellow Submarine, sold many copies because people were sick of music with drum machines. They wanted something nostalgic.

A movie poster for The Beatles' 'Yellow Submarine.'
The Beatles’ ‘Yellow Submarine’ | LMPC via Getty Images

The Beatles’ 1999 reissue of ‘Yellow Submarine’ went to No. 1

In 2000, George spoke to Billboard about The Beatles’ reissue of Yellow Submarine.

Billboard said, “Your old band has got the No. 1 album around the world.” George said it was great because it wasn’t just The Beatles’ fans who’d grown up with the band who bought the album. It was a whole new generation of fans. The reissue had sparked their interest in The Beatles.

“I know, it’s funny, isn’t it? It’s interesting, and it’s amazing, ’cause I’ve been out a couple of nights lately where there’s been a lot of people, and there’s lot of young people who are just so into it,” George said. “It’s great, it’s really good, because you see kids who are 5, 6, and 17 — that whole span — and they genuinely like it.”

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George said fans bought The Beatles’ reissue of ‘Yellow Submarine’ because they were sick of music with drum machines

The former Beatle guessed that the younger generations bought The Beatles’ 1999 reissue of Yellow Submarine because they were sick of their generation’s music and drum machines. Billboard continued to point out, “The 1999 reissue of the ‘Yellow Submarine’ film and music was a good opening chapter for some of these young ones.”

George added, “I think because it’s the same when people were 9 or 16 back in the ’60s. They liked it then, and they like it now for the same basic reasons: The songs are catchy, they’re fun, and they still have whatever it was then.

“It’s in those grooves, and it’s boom. Also they’re a bit of light relief after all this drum machine stuff that we’ve been having for the last 15 or 20 years. So I thought I’d cash in on the craze [laughs] and put out all my old tracks!”

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What George liked about the film

In a VH1 special, George said that the best part of the film was that The Beatles didn’t have to do anything to it.

“They just took the music, we met with them, they talked about basically what they were going to do,” George explained. Then, the filmmakers took it from there.

As for the album, George was astounded by the sound quality on the 1999 reissue of The Beatles’ Yellow Submarine. “The sound of the cellos in ‘Eleanor Rigby,’ it’s just amazing when you think it’s-I mean I said the cellos, there’s only one. It’s a string quartet, but it sounds like… It was recorded so well.”

No wonder so many people liked the 1999 reissue. If The Beatles were pleased with its new crisper sound, everyone had to be.

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