Beatles “˜Rock Band’ Coming In September

Beatles fans will finally have a chance to play alongside the Fab Four on September 9, when the much-anticipated “The Beatles: Rock Band” videogame hits the shelves.

Apple Corps, the band’s music label, has strayed from its historical aversion to digital distribution of music by working with Harmonix and MTV Games to release the new title, which creators call “an unprecedented, experimental progression through and celebration of the music and artistry of The Beatles.”

Apple Corps and Viacom Inc.’s MTV Networks announced the new game on Thursday, saying it would be priced at $59.99.   For an additional $99.99, fans can purchase instruments similar to those used by the Beatles.

The game is based on MTV’s popular “Rock Band” videogames, and will “allow fans to pick up the guitar, bass, mic or drums and experience The Beatles extraordinary catalog of music through gameplay that takes players on a journey through the legacy and evolution of the band’s legendary career,” Apple Corp and MTV Networks said in their statement.

“The Beatles: Rock Band” will be available simultaneously at locations in Europe, North America, Australia and New Zealand on 9/09/09, a date selected because of the importance to the Beatles of the number 9.

The game will be compatible with Sony Corp’s Playstation 3, Microsoft Corp’s Xbox 360 and Nintendo Co Ltd Wii entertainment systems, and current Rock Band instrument controllers can be used.

Since the first announcement last October, few specifics have been revealed about the new game, and even now the companies have yet to disclose some details, such as which songs will be included.

The game will mark the Beatles’, who have sold more than 600 million albums, first step into the world of digital music.  Indeed, surviving members and their representatives have so closely guarded distribution that Beatles songs are still unavailable on Apple Inc.’s iTunes.

Other major rock groups, such as The Rolling Stones, Aerosmith and AC/DC, have made their music available for sale online, and have licensed music to “Rock Band” or rival Activision Blizzard Inc.’s  “Guitar Hero”.

“Abbey Road” was the last album the Beatles recorded together, although “Let it Be” was ultimately the final album released by the group.

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