Anthology 2

The Beatles

Apple Records, 1996

http://www.thebeatles.com

REVIEW BY: Benjamin Ray

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 10/05/2004

I wanted to get to this before Chris Thelen trashed it.

Well, that and because it's a very interesting snapshot into Beatle history.

Arguably, the most creative period in this band's history was between 1965 and 1967 - specifically, Help! and Magical Mystery Tourmy_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250 . I will never understand how any band could create such incredible works of art and undergo so many stylistic changes and experiments in just three years. This anthology tries hard to encapsulate those three years and, while it is destined to fail, it ends up being the best of the three Anthology double-discs.

The first CD starts with the waning days of Beatlemania and the fun the band was rapidly having less of. Highlights such as the unreleased "If You've Got Trouble" and "12-Bar Original" give way to a very early, very different "Tomorrow Never Knows" and a giggle-laden "And Your Bird Can Sing." My personal favorite is a string-only version of "Eleanor Rigby" which is both sad and gripping at once; personally, I would have preferred this version over the album track. Many of the songs here are similar to their original versions, appearing in different takes or as backing tracks, yet one can still glimpse into the creative process as a sort of fly-on-the-wall, peering into magic at work.

CD Two consists of most of Sgt. Pepper in alternate forms, including an instrumental "Within You Without You" and the basic track of "Good Morning Good Morning." It's interesting to hear early versions of "Strawberry Fields Forever;" one version even has Ringo pounding out a drum solo at the end, proving he was more than just a beat-keeper. The rest of the CD, though, has versions similar to their album counterparts, and while they are fun to hear they don't add much to the Beatles canon.

For an interesting snapshot of genius in progress, this two-disc set is worth the money. Beatles completists will delight in hearing different versions of songs they love. All others, though, would do well to purchase the five albums this set encompasses, five of the best albums in rock history, to hear what the songs on this anthology led up to.

Rating: B

User Rating: B


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