An undoubted masterclass in creativity, the new Beatles album project "Love" is also shaping up to be a massive commercial success. Initial shipments ahead of the Monday (Nov. 20) international releas

An undoubted masterclass in creativity, the new Beatles album project "Love" is also shaping up to be a massive commercial success.

U.K. retailers are confident that the album will prove a sales winner in the lead-up to Christmas. "Any Beatles recording will always have wide appeal - both with the hardcore fans and more mainstream music buyers," says HMV U.K. & Ireland London-based head of music Gary Rolfe.

"Obviously, the Christmas gift market means it will have the potential to reach an even wider audience this time around, particularly as the packaging is so well presented and there is much anticipation around George Martin's production of the album."

Initial shipments ahead of the Monday (Nov. 20) international release are "great," and the recording has achieved No. 1 pre-sale status on Amazon.com, EMI Music U.K. & Ireland chairman/CEO Tony Wadsworth tells Billboard.biz.

Wadworth was speaking this morning at the celebrated Abbey Road Studios in north west London, where the album was presented in its entirety to a throng of reporters. The 26-track, 78-minute "mashup" of Beatles hits is the culmination of two year's reworking by original producer George Martin and his son Giles. Both appeared for a Q&A session in the complex's famous Studio 2 following the album playback.

"The first score I did with the Beatles was for 'Yesterday'. This is the final one," said George Martin, who was inducted Tuesday (Nov. 14) into the U.K. Music Hall of Fame. "It's top and tail. And it's very important to me."

When asked by host Paul Gambaccini how he felt on completing the project, Martin quipped, "Great relief. I'm too old for this lark now." Martin went on to explain, "It's been an odyssey, a journey and it's been a lot of fun along the way. This music is to convey the unanimity of the Beatles. It was a great privilege for me."

The album, conceived as an accompaniment to the Cirque Du Soleil/Beatles show "Love," will arrive via Apple Corps Ltd./Capitol Records, in a two-disc CD and DVD-Audio package.

"It's a unique album, there's nothing to measure it by," adds Wadsworth. "It will be interesting to see how other artists take it on board and recreate their own works."