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The Not-Remix

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The Not-Remix is different from what people think of when they hear the term 'remix'. This type of remix doesn't set out to add a new backing track to pre-existing lyrics. They're extremely similar to the original song. In fact, some people may not even realize that it is a remix. And that's the point. These remixes aren't made to be different; they're made to be 'better' than the originals.

You may ask, "Why? What's the point?" Basically, to take advantage of modern technology, as well as fix or change around things that you couldn't at the time through modern technology. A song only available in mono could now be remixed into stereo, for example (if the original multi-track tapes are available). When done right, these new mixes can give new life to old songs, as well as bring them up to more modern quality and mixing standards. On the other hand...


Of course, this is controversial if the new mixes are to replace the original ones, and can lead to a Keep Circulating the Tapes scenario for fans of the original mixes. Another point of contention with music fans is when these types of remixes are not advertised as such; do they really think we are going to look at the copyright information on the back to make sure it's the original mixes?

For remixes that are intended to substantially change the content of the music, see Rearrange the Song and Remix Album.



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  • A non-artistic example: Any album that uses samples will have to be remixed if the original mixes are found to use uncleared samples. As more sample-based artist are aware of what they can and can't do, this is nowhere near as bad a problem as it was in the 1990s.
  • Some Greatest Hits Albums have specially made remixes of hits on them. It may be to shorten a song in a way a simple edit cannot, it may be to make a song more consistent with other hits (e.g. making a softer song more rock-oriented), or because someone felt like it.
    • Notable example: Madonna's first best of, The Immaculate Collection, is a best of In Name Only: all the songs on there are remixes of her hits. No song was spared; some songs ("Like A Prayer" and "Express Yourself") even had different backing music!
    • Like Madonna, KISS' first greatest hits album, Double Platinum, only contains remixed versions instead of either album or single versions, except for Strutter 78, a re-recorded version of Strutter from 1974.
    • "Under Pressure" was remixed in 1992 by Hollywood Records for inclusion in "Classic Queen". This version is missing Freddie Mercury saying "that's okay" at about the 53 sec. mark. This remix is also available on several Bowie compilations, but not "The Platinum Collection" or "The Best of David Bowie 1980-87", which use the album version. The version on Queen's "Greatest Hits II" CD is not a remix; that's just an edit.
    • "Valerie" by Steve Winwood was originally released as a single in 1982; it's highest position was #70 on Billboard. It was remixed in '87 for Winwood's best of 'Chronicles'. This version peaked at #9, and is the one most listeners are familiar with.
    • Joan Armatrading's best known song is probably "Love and Affection." One of her compilation albums was reported to contain a version which had been remixed to sound more like people remembered it.
  • Averted: Almost all audiophile labels will insist on using the original mixes when re-releasing popular albums for a limited time. E.g. "Pet Sounds" by The Beach Boys, released by 'Audio Fidelity'.
    • Steve Hoffman remastered all of The Doors' albums for 'Audio Fidelity'. They use the original mixes (see above), but rather than completely ignore the remixes, a few tracks from each album were doubled up; once as a part of the original album, and again as bonus tracks in their remixed form! To put that into context, any sort of bonus track is a rarity amongst audiophile releases.
  • A huge portion of the EMI Capitol Collectors' Series, Legends of Rock and Roll Series and Legendary Masters Series compilations from the early 1990s are a Trope Maker of this phenomenon as much of these remixes were done to create stereo mixes of songs from the multitracks that were previously released only in mono or rechanneled stereo.
  • Some compilation albums, due to the label being unable to secure the rights to the original masters, have the artists re-record the song as closely to the original as possible and some of the re-recordings even include updated for the time arrangements.
  • Many rock recordings in the 1960s that were released in both mono and stereo versions have stereo mixes with substantial differences from the mono versions apart from using stereo sound. The artists themselves concentrated more on the mono mixes, most notably The Beatles. The stereo mixes were generally slapdash affairs with lots of Gratuitous Panning. For this reason, mono mixes are prized by collectors, though stereo mixes are all that's generally available on modern formats, even with their inferior sound.

  • Red Hot Chili Peppers' "Greatest Hits" contains a remix of the single "Californication" (from the album Californication) instead of the single version. It doesn't differ hugely, but probably would piss off people buying the compilation for the track.
    • It also has a terrible remix of "Higher Ground" which may be because Warner just beefed up the original EMI CD version rather than using the mastertapes.
    • The version of "My Friends" included is a nice surprise because it is the original unedited version of the song which had beforehand only appeared on bootlegs. The versions of the songs from the album "Californication" also appear newly mastered, sounding much better than the infamously mastered album they originally appeared on.
  • Weezer have a couple of individual songs that were given a slightly different mix for their single versions: "Say It Ain't So" received a subtle remix, which the band liked enough that they replaced the album version with it (the remastered deluxe version of The Blue Album has the original mix as a bonus track). "Pink Triangle" was given a slight remix for its release as a single, including a newly recorded bass guitar part, played by someone from outside the band: It was decided the bassline needed some revising, but usual bassist Matt Sharp wasn't available due to work with his other group The Rentals, so Scott Riebling of Letters to Cleo filled in.
  • Pearl Jam did this for their re-release of Ten. It was released so that both the original version was included and Brendan O'Brien's new mixes. They weren't very different, but the remix brought forth the instruments in many songs and allowed Eddie Vedder speaking as the bum in "Even Flow" to be finally heard.
  • Starflyer 59's first two albums, Silver and Gold, were remastered for the former's tenth anniversary. Some fans praised the new mixes for sounding clearer, others criticized them for falling prey to the Loudness War.
  • Feeder's "Shatter" was remixed for single release to be more radio friendly, less distorted and have wider panning.
  • The Replacements included a new mix of the album Don't Tell A Soul on the box set Dead Man's Pop - the original version of the album was criticized by many (including the band themselves) for being too polished, so the remix removes some of the studio effects and even uses earlier, rougher takes of the songs.

  • Trisha Yearwood's Greatest Hits album PrizeFighter had all of the songs re-recorded, not only because she was on another label (RCA Records) than the one on which she had her big hits (MCA Records), but also because she wanted to remove some "dated" production styles, such as the reverb on "Walkaway Joe", but otherwise keep the recording close to the original.
  • "Meant To Be" by Bebe Rexha featuring Florida Georgia Line was given a slightly different mix for top 40 radio: Most notably, the regular version has Florida Georgia Line singing the whole first verse together and Bebe Rexha taking lead starting with the second verse, but for the "pop" version, Rexha sings both verses, with Florida Georgia Line's part being effectively reduced to backing vocals.

  • Jean-Michel Jarre:
    • "Equinoxe 5", Jarres second big hit, was edited prior to the CD release of Equinoxe. The string sound playing along with the leads was eliminated entirely, the hi-hat now plays over the entire piece save for the first two bars, and some of the effect sounds were redone. The cassette got the CD mix, too, but the 12" record wasn't re-released along with the CD, so all Equinoxe albums and "Equinoxe 5" singles on vinyl that you find at second-hand record stores have the old mix.
    • In 2004, two compilations were released. The Essential was compiled and released by Francis Dreyfus to make money with Jarre's music that was still his property. Jarre himself produced Aero, but since he didn't have the rights to his own recordings, he had to "re-record" the music (and added three new pieces of music). On the one hand, he still used material from the original recordings because he still had the old multi-tracks — Dreyfus didn't hold the rights on these, so Jarre could do with them whatever he pleased as long as it sounded different from the original releases. On the other hand, he also produced 5.1 mixes while he was already "not-remixing" his music.


    Folk/Folk Rock 
  • The Warner Bros. CD issues of Peter, Paul & Mary's 1960s catalog are remixed from the multitracks by Lee Herschberg and Peter Yarrow to make the music sound more "current" for the time with added reverb, etc. in 1989. The "Very Best Of" compilation and the "Carry It On" boxed set on Rhino revert to the original mixes and audiophile labels have issued some of their albums on SACD using the original mixes.
  • Gordon Lightfoot's 1975 best seller "Gord's Gold." This features half re-recorded United Artists material (such as Canadian Railroad Trilogy, Early Morning Rain, etc.) as not only does UA/Universal still own the 60s catalog, the sound of the 60s material didn't match the 70s catalog in style, and half original Reprise material including "If You Could Read My Mind," "Sundown," "Rainy Day People," "Carefree Highway" among other tracks. The 1988 compilation "Gord's Gold Volume 2" contains the bulk of the material in re-recorded form, including "The Wreck of The Edmund Fitzgerald," with the 4 original recordings of classic recordings being "Make Way (For the Lady)," "Ghosts Of Cape Horn," Baby Step Back," and "It's Worth Believin'." The "Songbook" boxed set and the "Complete Greatest Hits" compilations on Rhino revert to 100% originals including the UA material being licensed from EMI.
  • Donovan's best selling "Greatest Hits" from 1969 included updated for the time re-recordings of his Pye/Hickory hits "Catch The Wind" and "Colours," until the 1999 remastered and expanded reissue which reverts to the original Pye/Hickory recordings of those 2 tracks being licensed from Sanctuary and adds 4 more songs that charted after the compilation originally came out. This compilation is also notable for including the full length "Sunshine Superman" in stereo at 4:32 while the original mono single, which appears on the "Sunshine Superman" album, is 3:15.
  • On John Denver's first 2 Greatest Hits album, he re-recorded any song that was not a major hit, and in the case of the first volume of Greatest Hits from 1973, the re-recordings are often much preferred by many fans over the originals. Only the 3rd volume of Greatest Hits consisted of 100% original recordings among the original 3 Greatest Hits collections. The original recordings that appear on the first 2 volumes of Greatest Hits were the major hits. More comprehensive compilations spanning his career on RCA such as single CD compilations (e.g. Definitive All Time Greatest Hits, Greatest Country Hits), 2 CD compilations (e.g. Rocky Mountain Collection, The Very Best of John Denver comp on Heartland Music, the Sony/Legacy Essential John Denver, etc.), boxed sets (e.g. The Country Roads Collection, All of My Memories) revert to 100% originals. The Song's Best Friend compilation issued in the United Kingdom consists of all remixes of many of his biggest hits.

  • When Ayumi Hamasaki released A COMPLETE in 2008, her biggest hit M suddenly lacked its guitar solo, which had been replaced by synths. Aside from that the song was exactly the same, slightly remastered maybe.

  • Megadeth's first eight albums were completely remixed and released, and consequently the original mixes were taken out of print. The first album, done well before the rest, was a simple clean-up job using more resources and better equipment. Other than censoring out any changed lyrics in their "These Boots" cover, reception was very positive. On the rest, however, many things were changed due to missing tracks: several songs would be missing vocals or individual instrument tracks, so alternate takes would be used or in some cases re-recorded personally by Dave Mustaine. Some tracks were altered to undo any Executive Meddling (certain arrangements on later albums), and the drums on earlier albums were overdubbed with triggered samples. Reception was mixed, though the bonus tracks (unreleased music, demos, or rough mixes) were received well.
  • Die Krupps' Greatest Hits album Too Much History consists primarily of this. Jürgen Engler said this was because he felt unsatisfied with the older versions, and that it would be more fair to the fans to give them some new material.

    New Wave 
  • The Police Greatest Hits Album Message in a Bottle: The Classics includes a "New Classic Rock Mix" of "Message in a Bottle" alongside the original: the most noticeable difference in the remix is that the guitars are a bit louder and the bass is a bit quieter.
  • Simple Minds were fond of these remixes in The '80s. Last used on 'War Babies' from 1998, it made a comeback a decade later in the 'Graffiti Soul' and 'Lostboy' periods. To satisfy fan interest the band usually releases the remixes on iTunes.
  • The B-52s "6060-842" was remixed for single release to make Fred Schneider's vocals more prominent in the mix than they are on the album version (this is immediately noticeable in the intro). When releasing the album on CD, Island accidentally included this version on the album instead of the album version. The original mix is only available on that on the Warner CD.
    • In 1990, the band remixed "Party Mix" and "Mesopotamia" as they weren't happy with the original mixes. Whilst Party Mix is a simple case of bringing up the percussion, 'Mesopotamia' is a more pronounced case of this trope. There is a notable difference in 'Deep Sleep', as they turned off some of the delay. Elsewhere there are a significant amount of panning differences (notably, the harmony vocals will be panned to different channels to hear them separately and Ricky Wilson's guitar jumps to different channels). They were planning to do this with other albums but the project fell through. Fred Schneider did however remix his own first album 'Fred Schneider and the Shake Society' around the same time.
  • The version of Frankie Goes to Hollywood's "Relax" that reached #5 in 1993 (widely nicknamed the "Classic 1993 Version", to promote a Greatest Hits Album) has a similar-but-not-incidental backing track when compared to the 7" version.

  • The Everly Brothers' The Very Best of The Everly Brothers compilation on Warner Bros. issued in 1964 contains half of the material being stereo re-recordings of several of their biggest hits on Cadence Records including Bye Bye Love, Wake Up Little Susie, All I Have To Do Is Dream, etc. and half original Warner Bros. hits including Cathy's Clown, Crying In The Rain, Ebony Eyes, Walk Right Back, etc. Although there have been many comprehensive compilations of their original Cadence hits and compilations of their Warner Bros. hits since this compilation came out, The Very Best Of... has never gone out of print and for a time in the 1960s, this was the only compilation of anything resembling their Cadence Records hits in print.
  • Many compilations of Neil Diamond's hits do contain re-recordings or live recordings in some manor. On comprehensive compilations that were issued by Columbia that claimed to span his career, often times, only the 1960s hits on Bang Records and the 1970s-1980s hits on Columbia are originals while those on Uni/MCA were live recordings, and on MCA issued comps such as Glory Road, the songs from the Bang era are live versions. On original vinyl issues and 1996 CD issues of his best selling "His 12 Greatest Hits," Sweet Caroline and Holly Holy are represented by live versions while on the Half Speed Mastered LP and the 1985 CD issue of it, Sweet Caroline and Holly Holy are the originals with some remixing done. There have been multiple mono and stereo mixes of the Bang recordings that were done in the 1960s that each compilation of this era of his work on LP either has mono mixes, stereo LP versions, first time stereo mixes for songs never released in stereo, etc. The only comprehensive compilations that uses all of the originals of everything are the "In My Lifetime" boxed set issued by Columbia and the 50th Anniversary Collection issued by Capitol.
  • Harry Nilsson's Aerial Pandemonium Ballet consists of not-remixes of songs from his first two proper albums, Pandemonium Shadow Show and Aerial Ballet: Said albums had fallen out of print, but Nilsson opted to tweak songs from both albums and combine the results rather than do a straight reissue, feeling the production had already become dated in the few years since the original releases. Some vocals were re-recorded, but otherwise nothing new was added to the songs, which were instead remixed, slowed down, edited or some combination thereof.

    Progressive Rock 
  • Starting in 2009, King Crimson's albums are being reissued, with new 5.1 and stereo mixes where possible (some of the original multitrack recordings, such as for "The Devil's Triangle", are missing).
    • Also, similar to the Ozzy Osbourne albums mentioned above, the compilation Frame by Frame: The Essential King Crimson had a remix of "Cadence and Cascade" with Gordon Haskell's vocal part replaced by a new part sung by Adrian Belew and a remix of "Bolero - The Peacock's Tale" with Haskell's bass part replaced by a new part played by Tony Levin, due to a royalty dispute with Haskell (which has since been resolved). However, these remixes were not used on reissues of the original albums (the Frame by Frame mix of "Bolero" is included as a bonus track on the newest reissue of Lizard).
  • The 2008 Genesis remasters. No real changes to the songs, but the mixes bring a lot of softer parts out (the counter-melody lyrics at the end of "Lilywhite Lilith", for example. It especially takes "The Battle of Epping Forest" much further away from Ending Fatigue than the original CD release.)
  • Ayreon, who rerecorded a good chunk of the instruments for Actual Fantasy Revisited, due to tape loss, getting Gore to drum, thinking he could do it better, and an epic 5.1 release, and again to get Dawn of A Million Souls on the Rock Band Network.
  • Porcupine Tree's records Voyage 34 (1992), Up the Downstair (1993), and The Sky Moves Sideways (1995) were remixed in 2003-2005, in order to replace the original drum tracks (made with a drum machine) with new ones played on real drums. Also, Stupid Dream (1999) and Lightbulb Sun (2000) had new 5.1 and stereo mixes released in 2006/2008.
  • Rush's 2002 album Vapor Trails was highly criticized as being a casualty of the Loudness War, which is why it was remixed from the original masters to give it better dynamic range and re-released in 2013, including a vinyl pressing.

    Psychedelic rock 
  • The Doors' 6 main albums were remixed for the bands 40th Anniversary, and were appropriately called the '40th Anniversary Mixes'. The albums also had bonus tracks, including alternate takes and unreleased songs. General response has been average.
  • Pet Sounds by The Beach Boys was originally released in Mono. It has been remixed several times:
    • A new stereo mix was made in 1997, originally as a part of 'The Pet Sounds Sessions'. It was later released separately in 1999.
    • The album was re-released in 2001 with a new stereo mix, the original mono mix and a bonus track. This remix is based on the one in 1997, but with a few differences; certain vocal parts that were missing from the original multi-tracks were 'extracted' from the original mono mix and integrated them into the stereo mixes.
    • A new mono mix was made in 2006 for the 40th Anniversary Edition of Pet Sounds (CD + DVD). The DVD also contains stereo and surround sound mixes.
  • The Flaming Lips' The Soft Bulletin is mainly produced by Dave Fridmann, but as potential singles, "Race for the Prize" and "Waitin' for a Superman" were given somewhat different mixes by Peter Mokran, who mostly mixes or engineers for pop and R & B artists like R. Kelly. They couldn't decide which versions of the songs should go on the album, and ultimately ended up including both versions of both songs by tacking on Fridmann's mixes of "Race for the Prize" and Mokran's mix of "Waiting For A Superman" at the end of the track listing. Oddly, the Mokran version of "Buggin'" is listed as a "remix" on the packaging despite the fact that the original mix was only released on The Soft Bulletin 5.1 in 2006 - more than 16 years later. Also, the band made "stereo mixes" of a few songs from Zaireeka (an album consisting of four discs meant to be played simultaneously) and used them as The Soft Bulletin b-sides.


  • Three of Ozzy Osbourne's albums have been remixed:
    • The '02 reissues of Blizzard of Ozz and Diary of a Madman had the original drums and bass parts replaced. This was so Ozzy could avoid paying royalties to Lee Kerslake (Drums) and Bob Daisley (Bass), who sued him for unpaid royalties back in '86. Many fans were ... 'displeased'.
    • "Bark at the Moon" was also remixed in 2002. Some guitar parts are missing. What?
  • John Lennon's entire catalog has been remixed, along with some bonus tracks on each album, and in some cases different artwork was used. That was all supervised by Yoko Ono. Her reputation, as well as rumors that the mixes were brickwalled, means that this was never gonna please fans.
    • Update: In 2010, all of John's albums were remastered (by the same team who remastered the Beatles in '09), and have used the original mixes, which are now the standard again!
  • Two of The Beatles records (Help! and Rubber Soul) were remixed in 1987 by George Martin. He did this because he considers the original stereo mixes of these albums experimental, and not very good. He had intended to remix the first four albums as well, but was not given enough time to by EMI. When The Beatles' catalog was remastered in 2009, the 1987 George Martin remixes were used for the stereo version of the albums; the original stereo mixes showed up as 'bonuses' on the mono discs.
    • Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band had a notoriously bad stereo mix, so it was given a brand new stereo mix in 2017 by using software to isolate each instrument and create modern-sounding stereo composition. The result was very-well received.
  • David Bowie's music has gone through this trope a few times in recent years:
    • The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars got one in 2003 by producer Ken Scott; it was first included on an audio DVD as part of the 40th anniversary re-release of the album, before later being included on CD with the Five Years [1969-1973] Boxed Set.
    • Station to Station received a not-remix in 2010 from producer Harry Maslin, included on an audio DVD as part of the album's Deluxe Edition release that year. It was later released on CD as part of the Who Can I Be Now? [1974-1976] Boxed Set.
    • Lodger got a not-remix in 2017 from producer Tony Visconti exclusively for the A New Career in a New Town [1977-1982] Boxed Set. Unlike previous examples, this particular not-remix had some heavier and more noticeable alterations from the original release that garnered criticism from fans and critics and remains somewhat divisive to this day as a result; Visconti, for the record, attests that the 2017 remix was meant to better realize his original vision for the album's production.
  • In 1987, ZZ Top released a Boxed Set titled Six Pack, featuring not-remixes of six of their first seven albumsnote  - The band opted to remix the songs and add drum machines and occasional guitar effects, with the intention of making their early work sound more in line with their more commercially successful 80's material. Fans of their more straight blues-rock 70's sound were not happy. Tres Hombres and Fandango! had their original mixes restored for individual re-releases - if you buy a new cd copy of any of the other early albums, chances are you're getting the 1987 remixed version, unless you buy "The Complete Studio Albums" boxed set on Rhino from 2015 which consists of all original mixes of everything including the 6 albums that were remixed in 1987.


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