Saturday, August 1, 2009

The Beatles Anthology 1, 2, and 3 - Which Beatles Anthology Set is Best?

By Jackson Weinheimer

In my opinion The Beatles Anthology series should really be listened to after all of The Beatles original studio albums. After all these are the alternate takes and songs which were deemed "not good enough" to be included on the original albums.

This is the stuff that serious Beatles fans need to seek out after they've heard everything else. It's not a good way to first be introduced to the band. Unfortunately I think a lot of people were first introduced to The Beatles via the Anthologies back in the mid 1990s. That's particularly unfortuante with Anthology 1 which is my opinion really only suitable for extremely hardcore Beatles fans who are interested in the early history of the band.

The Beatles Anthology 1

This includes some very early recordings of the band that are mostly interesting as "historical artifacts" more so than as songs to listen to on their own. It also features a lot of live performances of early hits such as "She Loves You" & "I Want You To Hold Your Hand." This is definitely the set I would least recommend unless you are someone that really prefers the 1962-64 era.

The Beatles Anthology 2

This set features The Beatles from Help! through Magical Mystery Tour. Many people feel this was their most creative period. The highlight for me is the multiple versions of "Strawberry Fields Forever" that lets the listener inside the creative process of one of the greatest songs of all time. While there are a lot of great songs in this set, what I don't like is that too many of the versions are too similar to the original studio album versions to make them particularly interesting to listen to.

The Beatles Anthology 3

In my opinion this is the most interesting set of the three. Why? Because the versions of the songs here are the most different from those heard on the original studio albums which makes them the most interesting. Some good examples of that are the slow version of "Helter Skelter" and the acoustic versions of "While My Guitar Gently Weeps" & "Something." There's also a greater amount of songs that were never previously released on a Beatles album such as "Junk," "All Things Must Pass," "Not Guilty," "What's The New Mary Jane," "Come and Get It," & "Step Inside Love."

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