In the mid 1990's, the three remaining (I refuse to say surviving) Beatles got together to finish a John Lennon song called "Free As A Bird". The recording of the song was challenging, as they had to overdub their individual parts onto a circa fifteen year old tape, without ruining the original track with John singing. Despite the pressure, the song was completed and a new Beatles compilation had a very interesting opener.
Generally agreed upon as being only for the most loyal of fans, Anthology 1 lives up to that billing while simultaneously blasting it to pieces. There are plenty of things on here that even a casual listener could enjoy, such as a jaunty (and in my opinion better) version of "Can't Buy Me Love" on disc two, as well as a lovely live version of "Twist and Shout".
For the most hardcore of Beatles fans, there are rare gems such as the groups' first ever recording (That'll Be The Day-Buddy Holly), the infamous "Jewelry quote" where Mr. Lennon shows some sass to all the wealthy ones in the audience; which includes the Queen, and of course, alternate takes on beloved Beatles classics which shows the boys not only trying something new, but screwing up as well.
Also running rampant are mini-speeches by the group and its' manager, Brian Epstein. These could be fascinating... If they weren't about 22 seconds long each. Indeed, sometimes you can't figure out just what they hell the guys are commenting on, a task only made more difficult if you take into account that the questions that were asked do not show up on the recording.
However, these speeches are, as mentioned above, short and therefore don't really ruin the record. Everyone knows thats' what lesser tracks are for, and there isn't a shortage of them here. "Ain't She Sweet", "Cayenne", "Sheik Of Araby"... Just the tip of the iceberg. Yet even these have a youthful charm and are worth a listen, even if they are amateur.
Sometime into the first disc, I recieved a pleasant surprise in the form of a very early take on "One After 909". The quality is surprisingly good, and the song oddly gets even better after they f*ck up and try it again. It's common to hear The Beatles members making fun of each other after these little mess-ups, and I find it very interesting to listen to, as they're almost as famous for their wit as their tunes.
Just as I was starting to believe nothing else could possibly be thrown into this odds-and-sods collection of audio Beatle memorabilia, I stumbled across a few televison appearances the group made during the height of Beatlemania. The skits include John and Ringo cracking wise every couple of seconds with legendary comedy duo Morcomb and Wise, to an amusing take on "Moonlight Bay".
Many will consider these things not worth the record price, and for many that may be so. I, however, found these to be a rare insight into the way the biggest band of the 20th century operated in the beginning, before the acid, before the fighting, and before the Yoko.
While I wouldn't recommend this to anyone wanting to get acquainted with the group (I'll let "Abbey Road" handle that), If you are familiar with the Beatles in anyway, be it a casual listener to a fan since February of 1964, I guarantee this will be an amusing and entertaining purchase, at least for the first few times.
Famous quotes come to the surface
Some songs are better on here than released versions
Lesser tracks get old fast