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But like I said on the Anthology 1 review, the Anthologies can only really be appreciated with a pre-existing knowledge of the band's studio songs (and the band members' personalities to a lesser extent). It's like watching home videos of someone else's childhood--you just can't fully appreciate it without some proper frame of reference.
So this should still go only to those fans that consider themselves fans of the band. It is the best of the 3, so if you're undecided about whether or not to get the set, this would be the ideal starting point. The music here is good (even early versions and alternate takes of these songs sound great), and there is less live and interview "filler" that brought the first Anthology down. And it's fun hearing different versions of songs we're already used to. Plus, Real Love sounds great!
Like Anthology 1, this CD begins with a John Lennon solo song performed by John with additional music provided by Paul, George, and Ringo. Probably because this is a more complete song, the concept works a little better than on "Free as a Bird".
Beyond that, you get a grabbag of demos, alternative takes, and live tracks from 1965 to early 1968. "Yes It Is" begins the set. Interesting is some of the studio banter like in "I'm Down" (with Paul saying in a pseudo-American accent: "Let's hope this one turns out pretty darn good... Plastic soul, man!") and "You've Got to Hide Your Love Away" (glass shatters and John mumbles: "Paul's broken a glass broke a glass Paul broke."). There are also never before released songs like "If You've Got Trouble", "That Means a Lot", and "12 Bar Original" (a fun jam in the mold of "Green Onions").
Live performances include television performances of "Yesterday" (with George introducing Paul) and "Help!", "Everybody's Got to Be My Baby" (from the legendary Shea Stadium concert) and "Rock & Roll Music" and "She's a Woman" (from their final 1966 tour). You can hear the Beatles slowly go through the motions in the end on stage as their studio recordings became more complex...
There are only a few outtakes from Rubber Soul, including the heavily sitar drenched "Norwegian Wood" and "...Looking Through You" in its early stage (with a hand clapping intro). The Revolver selections are more generous, with "Tomorrow Never Knows" (which even without all the tape effects sounds bizarre!Read more ›
The live versions of 1965 material start the first disc off and then it moves to the more inventive songs from "Rubber Soul" and "Revolver." There are several very interesting alternate takes here, but the real excitement is on the second disc. Here one sees the evolution in sound during the making of "Sgt. Pepper," and it becomes very clear that the Beatles could have gone many different directions with their new songs. The "Magical Mystery Tour" material is first rate; unfortunately, many people have forgotten this over the past 30 years.
The absolute highlight of the collection for me is the sparse version of 'Across the Universe' that closes the second disc. It is light years better than the half-baked version that turned up on "Let it Be" three years later. "Anthology 2" shows the Beatles at the height of their powers, and in this it pleases Fab Four Fanatics or general music fans alike.
As mentioned, this CD serves as a historical retrospective to the band. The material is arranged in chronological order. One of the strengths of "Beatles Anthology Volume 1" was that there was material that was prefaced with spoken words by the likes of Lennon, McCartney, and Brian Epstein. These spoken words helped set the stage for the material to follow. Unfortunately, "Beatles Anthology 2" does not have any spoken words with the exception of some comments that are on the demo cuts.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Beatles' three Anthogies are worth the price. Lots of stuff I never heard before, and i thought I heard it all. LPs in perfect shape and shipping was fast. Thank you!Published 3 days ago by Wolfgang
This is going to replace the current one I own. Terrific cd! Listen in particular to Lennon's Strawberry Fields Forever. It shows the development of a song.Published 16 days ago by Joy Turbin