- The Beatles Anthology
"The Beatles Anthology" is the name of a documentary series, a series of three albums and a book, all of which focus on the history of
Approximately coinciding with the release of the "
Free as a Bird" single and " Anthology 1" album (the first of three double-CD albums), "The Beatles Anthology" series of documentaries was broadcast on ITVin the United Kingdomand ABC television in the United Statesin 1995.The Anthology series was assembled in the same way that the book was, as a series of first-person accounts by the Beatles themselves. Footage in the Anthology series features voice-overrecordings of all four Beatles to push the narrative of the story. Paul McCartney, Ringo Starrand George Harrisonare also shown in interview segments filmed for the series itself, while John Lennonappears in archival interview footage.
The series, which was made over five years of planning and production, is composed of numerous film clips and interviews that present a complete history of the band from the
Beatles' own personal perspectives. The series was later released on VHS, laser disc and as a boxed set of five DVDs (Full-Screen only).
*DVD 1 Episodes 1 & 2 (July '40 to February '64)
*DVD 2 Episodes 3 & 4 (February '64 to August '65)
*DVD 3 Episodes 5 & 6 (August '65 to June '67)
*DVD 4 Episodes 7 & 8 (June '67 to The End)
*DVD 5 Special Features
Air dates on ABC:
* Sunday, November 19, 1995: 9-11 p.m.
* Wednesday, November 22, 1995: 9-11 p.m.
* Thursday, November 23, 1995: 9-11 p.m.
To accompany the "Anthology" series, three double music albums were released, each containing two CDs or three vinyl discs of never-before-released Beatles material (although many of the tracks had appeared on
bootleg vinyland CD for many years prior).
Two days after the first television special in the series had aired, "
Anthology 1" was released to stores, and included music recorded by The Quarrymen, the famous Decca Recordsaudition tapes, and various out-takes and demos from the band's first four albums. It also included the song "Lend Me Your Comb", omitted from the collection 'Live at the BBC', released the previous year (1994). The song " Free as a Bird" was included at the very start. 450,000 copies of "Anthology 1" were sold in its first day of release, the most sales for an album in a single day ever. The Beatles' original drummer Pete Best, fired by the band in 1962 before they hit it big, received his first substantial Beatles royalties from this album, for the inclusion of early tracks on which he played.
March 17, 1996, " Anthology 2" was released. The second collection presented out-takes and demos from the Beatles' sessions for "Help!", " Rubber Soul", "Revolver", " Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band", and "Magical Mystery Tour". These included selected early demos and takes for Lennon's " Strawberry Fields Forever", previously available only to bootleg collectors. The new song "Real Love" — which, like "Free as a Bird", was based on an unfinished Lennon recording — was also included in the two-CD collection.
The three album covers, when laid side-by-side, become one long painted collage of various peeling posters and album covers representing the different stages of The Beatles' career. This was the work of
Klaus Voormann, who also created the album cover for "Revolver" in 1966. The "Anthology" covers required Voormann to recreate elements of his cover for "Revolver" within the collage. During the music video for " Free as a Bird", the "Anthology" collage appears as posters on a shop window as the camera pans quickly across the street. The design also adorned the VHS, laserdiscand DVD releases, again to be properly encountered by laying the cases side-by-side. Upon the release of "Anthology 3", HMV stores made available a cardboard sleeve designed to hold all three CD volumes of which each side of the sleeve make up half of the collage.
2000, "The Beatles Anthology" book was released, which included interviews with all four band members and others involved, plus rare photos. Many of the interviews quoted are from those featured in the documentary films. The book is designed as a large-format hardback, with imaginative artwork throughout, and several visually impressive and colorful spreads featuring graphics relevant to the proceeding chronology, photographic arrays and a variety of text styles and layouts. The book went straight to the top of the " New York Times" bestsellers list. [ [http://www.hawes.com/2000/2000-10-22.pdf The "New York Times" Best Seller List - October 22, 2000] . From [http://www.hawes.com/2000/2000.htm] ]
During the filming of "The Beatles Anthology",
Yoko Onoand McCartney recorded "an extreme avant-gardepiece called 'Hiroshima Sky' consisting of an endless E-minor chord played by Linda on keyboards, Paul churning away on his double bass, Sean Lennonplus junior members of the McCartney family on whatever was to hand and the usual yelps and hollers from Ono." [http://www.bbc.co.uk/music/release/3j63/ "The Unknown Paul McCartney" review] bbc.co.uk Retrieved: 16 November, 2006 ] The tape has never been officially released but bootleg copies have been reported to circulate on the Internet. On 1 September, 2007, a recording appeared on YouTube[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V5vr-s2L-aU here] .
Each of the three Anthology albums was accompanied by a promotional CD sampler sent to radio stations shortly before the official release dates. These CDs have since become highly sought collector's items. Even rarer is a vinyl version of the sampler for Volume 2, which was only sent to College radio stations and featured a different cover (though the contents were the same).
Promotional displays used in stores for each of the three album releases are also now fetching high prices amongst collectors.
The success of the "Anthology" albums was parodied by the release of the Rutles' "Archaeology" some months later. This album even included a spoof of "Free as a Bird", entitled "Don't Know Why." In "Anthology" style, the album included both outtakes from the original Rutles album and new material. Perhaps fittingly, delays in the release of the third volume of the Beatles' series ultimately meant that the Rutles' parody arrived in shops on the same day as its inspiration.
"Weird Al" Yankovicparodied The Beatles Anthologies in an AL-TVspecial. He said he had a copy of a fictional #17 (which he claimed wouldn't be available to the public for a while). He played for the audience a track of Paul McCartney brushing his teeth.
* [http://es.geocities.com/midithebeatles/video/anhtology.htm The Beatles Anthology Complete 9 Episodes and Reviews]
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