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Mike Batt destroyed the Wombles master tapes so that they can’t be remixed after he dies

By | Published on Wednesday 12 October 2022

The Wombles

I know you’ve all been sitting there, jittery and sweating, waiting for the big Wombles remasters. I don’t think there’s a person among us who doesn’t wish we could listen to those records with a new, digitally beefed up bottom end.

Well, the bad news is, the one person who doesn’t want that to happen is songwriter and producer Mike Batt. And he’s now revealed that he’s destroyed the original recordings in a bid to stop that from ever happening.

“I’ve destroyed many of the original multi-track tapes for The Wombles and my solo albums so people can’t fuck around with them after I’m gone”, he tells i. “I mixed them as I wanted them, not how some corporation or great-grandchild might like to remix them when I’m not around”.

Batt was apparently inspired to get rid of the Wombles master tapes after learning that Giles Martin, son of producer George, had created an all-new mix of the Beatles 1966 album ‘Revolver’ – due for release on 28 Oct – from the original master tape.

This follows similar remasters for ‘Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band’, ‘The White Album’, ‘Abbey Road’ and ‘Let It Be’.

“The Wombles aren’t the Beatles”, Batt acknowledges, just in case you were wondering. “I might look back and say I could’ve done with a clearer bass guitar on that track or I could’ve mixed it differently. But if I wanted to go back and change it I would. They aren’t perfection but they are a faithful representation of what I offered to the world in 1974 and 1975”.

Warming to his theme, he goes on: “Do you think the Eagles would want ‘Hotel California’ remixed when they’re dead and gone? What’s wrong with it as it is? What if the next generation came along and said John Constable was a great painter but these days we like to use a different colour for water, so let’s just paint over that?”

Just to clarify, not all of the Beatles are dead yet. And presumably they’re on board with the production and sale of the 407th versions of each of their albums. But if you think The Wombles are going to join them, you’ve got another thing coming.

That said, there’s now AI technology that can split out tracks individually where master tapes aren’t available, so maybe we’ll get those Wombles remasters eventually anyway.

This story is discussed on this edition of our Setlist podcast.