Rolling Stones SACD Remasters Move Back – and Forward

Well, the wait for the Rolling Stones Remastered series on Stereo SACD is about to end. But we learned today that the wait will be just a bit longer than first anticipated.

The original release date of August 20th has been moved back one week to Tuesday, August 27th for all 22 Rolling Stones Remastered albums due to limited worldwide production capacity of Hybrid Layer SACDs. (Readers of High Fidelity Review will remember this issue with the release of new Hybrid SACDs and the work that Philips is doing to alleviate that problem).

According to ABKCO spokesman Bob Merlis “Simply stated, production capacity has been outstripped by demand so instead of shipping partial orders for the original onsale date of 8/20, ABKCO has decided to buy some time to get everything where it needs to go in one fell swoop.”

The Stones SACDs Start to Roll Off The Production Line
To demonstrate that the Rolling Stones Remastered SACDs are indeed nearing sale, ABKCO started sending out copies of the first group of the discs late last week. Sure enough on Saturday I received a care package from ABKCO containing 12 of the Rolling Stones Remastered SACDs.

The package included the following albums from the Rolling Stones Remastered series:

  • Big Hits: High Tide and Green Grass (ABKCO 90012)
  • Their Satanic Majesties Request (ABKCO 90022)
  • Let It Bleed (ABKCO 90042)
  • Get Yer Ya-Ya’s Out (ABKCO 90052)
  • Metamorphosis (ABKCO 90062)
  • 12 x 5 (ABKCO 94022)
  • Out Of Our Heads (ABKCO 94302)
  • Aftermath – UK Edition (ABKCO 94772)
  • Got Live If You Want It (ABKCO 94932)
  • Between the Buttons (ABKCO 95002)
  • Beggars Banquet (ABKCO 95392)
  • Hot Rocks 1964-1971 (ABKCO 96672)


Each disc comes with a sticker on the outside of the shrink wrapped plastic that says “ABKCO’s the Rolling Stones Remastered Series”. The sticker also indicates that the package “includes Inaugural Edition Certificate”.

A Low Key SACD Release
Some have described the Stones Remastered albums as a low key SACD release. This is very true packaging wise. The usual grey Hybrid Stereo SACD sticker on finds on an SACD album is nowhere to be found on the cover of the Stones digipaks.

What you will find on the cover is a black sticker that says “ABKCO’s the Rolling Stones Remastered Series – Includes Inaugural Edition Certificate” and a new copyright date “(c) 2002 ABKCO Records”. If you see a digipak case (vs. the usual CD Jewel Case), this sticker and the 2002 copyright date on the back of the album jacket, then you know you have the newly remastered SACD version of the album.

Once you open the digipak, the SACD itself carries the SACD, DSD, CD, Stereo and Direct SBM logos. The last page of the album booklet carries the Remaster Series technical credits that we listed in a prior story (see link to “An Update on the Rolling Stones Reissues on SACD” below). But other than those items, this would appear to the casual listener to be just a new CD remastering of the material.

Mono and Stereo Versions
There has been considerable interest and speculation in whether the Stones Remastered Series would offer Mono and Stereo versions of the Rolling Stones hits. For example, some have wondered if the album “Big Hits (High Tide and Green Grass)” would be an all-mono album – offering the original mono mixes of the Stones Singles hile the two “Hot Rocks” collections might offer the same tracks in Stereo.

While I haven’t had a chance to listen to all 11 of the Stones SACDs sent over by ABKCO yet, I can report that the decision was made to go with a mix of mono and stereo on the remastered albums.

On the Big Hits: High Tide and Green Grass disc, 7 of the 11 tracks are indeed in mono. The tracks breakdown this way:

Big Hits – Mono Tracks

  • The Last Time
  • As Tears Go By
  • Tell Me
  • 19th Nervous Breakdown
  • Get Off of My Cloud
  • Not Fade Away
  • Good Times, Bad Times
  • Play With Fire


Big Hits – Stereo Tracks

  • (I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction
  • Time Is On My Side
  • It’s All Over Now
  • Heart of Stone


On the other hand, the Hot Rocks: 1964-1971 SACD is indeed primarily made up of Stereo tracks. Here’s the breakdown on that 2 SACD set:

Hot Rocks: 1964 to 1971 – Mono Tracks

  • Play With Fire
  • As Tears Go By
  • Get Off of My Cloud
  • Mother’s Little Helper
  • 19th Nervous Breakdown


Hot Rocks: 1964 to 1971 – Stereo Tracks

  • Time Is On My Side
  • Heart of Stone
  • (I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction
  • Paint It Black
  • Under My Thumb
  • Ruby Tuesday
  • Let’s Spend The Night Together
  • Jumpin Jack Flash
  • Street Fighting Man
  • Sympathy For The Devil
  • Honky Tonk Women
  • Gimme Shelter
  • Midnight Rambler (Live)
  • You Can’t Always Get What You Want
  • Brown Sugar
  • Wild Horses


Certificate of Authenticity and a Puzzle
Inside the digipak of each album is indeed a “Certificate of Authenticity” that says “Inaugural Edition Hybrid Disc 2002” and a quote from one of the songs on that disc. For example, on Big Hits: High Tide and Green Grass, the inscription reads:

“Walkin’ thru the sleepy city in the dark it looks so pretty till I got to the cafe that stays open night and day. Just a lookin’ at the sleepy city in the night it looks so pretty. No one sees the city lights. They just care about the warmth inside – MJ/KR”

On the back of each Certificate of Authenticity is a different piece of a picture of the Rolling Stones. So if you pick up all 22 discs, you’ll be able to see the entire image.

It’s a collectable jigsaw puzzle of what looks like the cover of the album “Their Satanic Majesties Request”. Clever.