Here it is again. Another Beatles album in less than half a year. In almost a similar rate as the one experienced with the early Beatles Albums, the Anthology volumes are making Beatlemaniacs happier by the day and there still one more to go. After the initial blast from the first volume we can face the second one more calmly and critically. Once again the songs are for SERIOUS fans. In this second Anthology, however, the producers of the album (and I'm supposing the composition of the tracks will have to do with several persons and not only good old George Martin) have focused more in the making of the songs instead of just showing rarities. And yet the two discs are full of strange unheard recordings (asumming you're not a consumate bootlegger)
One of the things that certainly made The Beatles the best group ever was their studio work. They changed completely the way of producing, recording and editing songs. They spent endless nights in the studio Two at Abbey Road. They would rather rehearse there a song, improving if after hearing early takes of the track. Neither before nor rarely after, has a group been able to hold up so much studio time. It's true that nowadays groups may have the technology at home, but they won't have George Martin to write a score for a string octet overnight to accomodate to a song. The Anthology 2 deserves special atention for this particular. It's not just more rare tracks (also has them) It allows songs to be heard growing and becoming myths.
Another ESPLENDID song from John Lennon, brought to life by the remaining Threetles. I personally don't think is as good as Free As a Bird. But certainly it's wonderful. I would say it's more Beatles sounding, specially because we don't get to hear Paul's voice as clearly as in FAAB (more similar to the one in his solo career than to the one in his Beatles times) The drums are also better balanced with the rest of the rythm track. The Lennon vocals are slightly better than in FAAB (more audible at least) helped by an almost unnoticeable McCartney vocal that helps John in the lead. The song's middle eight allows for a longer Harrison solo. George keeps it in his usual simplicity and yet beauty. Once again the backing vocals are great by Paul and George. Certainly a Beatles classic!
Probably my favourite Beatles song (don't ask me why it just gets to the deepest part of my heart), this track beggins with Take 2, with The Beatles trying to perfect the rythm track while John symply mutters the song very intimately. The track is completed with take 14 (the master) that has been mixed and edited again by George Martin and Geoff Emerick. A delightful little piece of Beatles rehearsal
Take 1 of I'm down, later to be released as B-side to Help! Quite close to the issued version except for Paul even howling and barking. A good clue to The own Beatles not liking entirely the take, is Paul comment after the instrumental bit when he tells the others to "keep going" when the take was probably to break down. Paul finishes the take saying Plastic Soul, man. Plastic Soul.... possibly the origin of their next L.P. Rubber Soul? Just Interesting.
An all-time Beatles favourite among their slightly less famous songs. They recorded the final song in less than 2 hours. This is the other complete take. Not very different except for John's vocals, and the final solo which is not overdubbed here.
Another one of the "lost tracks" this song has been bootlegged again and again. Unreleased oficially until now, it's a Lennon-McCartney number written for Ringo. It's certainly a finished song although The Beatles didn't consider it good enough... but you certainly will! A good reason to get this Anthology.
Also intended for Help!, That Means a Lot is another oficially unreleased song for The Beatles (although it HAS been released beefore). Written by Paul, they never were quite satisfied with it and decided to give it away. P. J. Proby got to record it. That Means a Lot is almost a final version, with reverb effects on the vocals. The Beatles didn't like the result...I think it's quite a nice song, specially some of the harmonies. If you haven't heard it, you'll enjoy it a lot!
THE SONG. Probably the most famous song of all times, here is one of the 2 takes that were necessary for Paul to record it. Some lyrics changes can be heard in this take as Paul sings doubting some of the lines. The guitar is slightly livelier to the one in the Help! version. A good ocasion to hear Yesterday without Martin's string quartet arrangement (the final and perfect touch to this wonder)
Take 2 of It's Only Love, is quite similar to the final take 6. The lead guitar is missing and Ringo's drumming is slightly different. Just curious.
These 4 tracks from The Beatles appearance at Blackpool Night Out in the BBC, don't present much differences with the songs we all know. They're just historical documents of The Beatles playing live, with quite high quality in the recording. However, the performances are far from being perfect, although fans couldn't hear it and tell. The performance of Yesterday is the first one on stage by The Beatles.
From the famous concert at the Shea Stadium, this performance had never been released before. Although it was filmed during the concert, the film didn't include the song. For those who saw The Anthology series on TV, the sound may appear to be worse that in the songs featured in the film. That's probably because the tracks were later dubbed by The Beatles in the studio for the film release, trying to preserve a live feeling.
Once a master, this version of the song could have been released in the Rubber Soul LP. However The Beatles thought it could be improved. The sitar is different to the one in the final version, although overall the take is quite similar.
A great chance to understand how Beatles used to work developing their songs. In this version, that was even decided to be Best, the "Why tell me Why" chorus is missing. The percussion and rythm of the song changes totally. And yet the song is great. But certainly The Beatles did improve the track with the released version.
Here we've got almost 3 minutes edited from the already bootlegged 6'36'' take of 12-bar original. The first instrumental by The Beatles at EMI, never made it to a record. Certainly a rarity, but nothing really special. Sounds like The Beatles jamming while George plays around with his tone pedal.
A different version, but for the melody, to the Revolver release. However, even in its origins, the song was innovative and weird. Ringo's processed drumming mantains an steady beat all through the song (as in the final version , although more conventional) John's voice sounds as strange as it does in the other song. You may like it.
For some people, Paul's only valuable contribution for this period, Got To Get You Into My Life changed totally from beginning to end. The rythm track in this take has only an organ, a guitar and drums. The backing vocals are delightful and the lyrics and structure differ from the final version. However it lacks of the force of the released song, with it's incredible brass arrangements.
This track shows The Beatles having a wonderful time recording the song. A great version of the song, in my opinion even better than the released version. George's guitar is not as repetitive as in the final version, and the vocals are oustanding, except for the continous laugh of all the Beatles.
A quite similar version to the Revolver's opening Taxman. However the "anybody got a bit of money?" backing makes it worth listening.
A remix of the double string quartet arrangement of George Martin for Eleanor Rigby. It clearly shows that The Beatles wouldn't have been the same without Martin. He always knew to make a classic out of a Beatles melody. Relax and enjoy it!
A rehearsal and an alternative take with two-voice vocals by John and Paul. Certainly curious although quite rough, missing most of the arrangements of the final song.
Although these 2 tracks have already been bootlegged, they're among the category "not very wise buys". The sound quality is almost unbearable... and the screaming Japanese fans gathered at the Nippon Budokhan Hall make you whish to go over to the second disc... so why don't You?