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Weirdly, I discovered the music of the Beatles without ever really knowing just how staggeringly famous they were. As a kid, I rifled through my parents' music collection out of curiosity, liking a lot of what I discovered and unconsciously forming my tastes away from what the radio wanted me to hear. To me, the Beatles were just another bunch of semi-old artists that sounded interesting, along side Cream and Tubby Hayes and all those other LPs that lived under the stairs. I liked the weird circus of sounds on Sgt. Pepper, and the stark heaviness of 'I Want You' on Abbey Road. Curious to learn more, I bought a few more of their albums on my own, and only later discovered just how much media attention they received (and still do).
When the insightful and interesting documentary 'Anthology' aired in the early 90s, my interest in the group was rekindled like so many other people, but was accompanied with a certain unease that I couldn't put my finger on. With the benefit of being older, wiser, and a hell of a lot more cynical, it is entirely obvious that the Beatles had become something other than a band who made memorable rock and roll songs and weird psychedelic noises. The name had transcended the group itself and become a lucrative marketing label. And that's where this album, and indeed the whole Beatles franchise, starts to stink like a putrefying cash cow.
To accompany all things Beatles related, the surviving members decided to plunder the archives and release a series of three double albums that were intended to take a 'behind the scenes' look at their albums, each one covering a couple of years of their short but productive period together. To those in the know, which is EVERYONE, these are nothing more than official bootlegs. To anyone with a passing interest in the band, it is well known that the vaults at EMI are absolutely stuffed with their work in various guises, a large portion of which has been leaked over the last decaded as bootlegs.
Anthology 3 covers the last period of the group's history, from the recording of the White Album, the depressing Get Back/Let It Be sessions, and their final time together on Abbey Road. There are home demos and alternative takes of familiar songs, which do reveal the ideas for the songs as they develop
(Happiness is a Warm Gun, Sexy Sadie), and some are very different songs entirely (Helter Skelter didn't start out as the metallic racket it came to be). Some of the songs are very intimate indeed, such as the take of Lennon's dreamy and quite lovely 'Julia', where you can hear the mistakes and breathing so closely it's almost like he's in the room. Perhaps of most interest are the clean versions of songs that didn't make it onto their official recordings, such as Harrisons' brooding 'Not Guilty' (how they could have picked 'Bungalow Bill' over this I'll never know), or the totally bonkers 'What's the New Mary Jane?'. Studio chatter peppers the recordings, giving a bit of insight as well, and it does feel like a bit of a backstage pass to their recording sessions. A new mix of the end medley from 'Abbey Road' features to close things off, which is even more grandiose than the official release.
The real problem I have with all this is not so much the content (although it is wearing to sit through the whole lot at once) is the way in which it has been handled. Pretty much every other band has their back catalogue treated and released in a sensible way. The recent 'Deluxe' CD editions that have come out are great for enthusiasts, as they often feature not only the original album, but out-takes, demos, b-sides, live tracks and alternative mixes galore. Take, for example, The Who's release of their awesome 'Who's Next' on the Deluxe edition. It is rammed with these sorts of goodies, and carries a price tag of only a few pounds more for the privilege. Yet for some reason the Beatles' releases are deemed to be above all this, and for ages their albums carried stupid price tags from retailers (£17 in HMV for 'Revolver'? Get stuffed!). The Anthology series were similarly priced, which is frankly insulting for a load of material that arguably should come as bonus disc material. Recently their whole back catalogue was remastered and reissued - was there any such bounty for the faithful? No chance. And given that most of their recordings were released in radically different mono and stereo mixes, I don't doubt that it's only a matter of time beofre the mono lot are drip-fed to gather as much money for Apple Records Corp. as possible.
I liked the Beatles as a band, and admire their creativity and innovation, but I utterly loathe what they have become. Whoever is in charge of their catalogue should be ashamed, as it has been really badly handled to the extent of being insulting to their fanbase. They've become the musical equivalent of the Star Wars franchise, and that's not a good thing.
My review of The Beatles Anthology Vol.3
Accompanying the popular television series a while back, were the Anthology releases. This is Volume 3 of what became a very popular short run of albums.
Unlike the usual Beatles compilations -the Anthology ones go a little more left field - being full to the brim with rare recordings. Moving on from Volume two (which was mainly concerned with the mid years) Volume three moves into chaotic and brilliant world of the fractured, soon to be split up Beatles.
Yoko was pulling John in to conceptual art, George was under the spell of Eastern mysticism, Paul had one already firmly on a solo career, and George was apparently, in his own words 'down to his last £50,000' lol!!
Because it was such a volatile time in the Beatles career, the creativity on offer here is often 1st rate, though often a little weird (but interestingly so!!). This was after all the era of the White Album, and the argumentative Let It Be project, rescued only by Phil Spector's intervention (who was non too popular with Paul).
Album highlights include - John's Happiness Is a Warm Gun out takes (the finished version is on the White Album) -inspired by John seeing the disturbing phrase in a magazine...
The Long And Winding Road - a classic ballad by Paul (released on Let It Be), but this is the version before Phil Spector added the strings (violins, cellos etc) - which Phil apparently did without Paul's consent. But here on Anthology Vol. 3 is Paul's preferred version of his song. (Incidentally, despite Paul's criticism of Spector's mix, it as this same version complete with strings that won Paul a Grammy -lol!!).
Also in evidence are George Harrison's demos of Something and (worth buying the album for this track alone) While My Guitar Gently Weeps (later on the finished version, George would bring in Eric Clapton to play lead guitar on it).
CONLUSION (IN MY OPINION)
Much like volumes 1 & 2 of Anthology... Vol 3 while being fascinating and addictive listening; is not the kind of album you'd normally expect from the fab four.
It's just too obscure to request at discos -lol! But as a treat for fans - Anthologies' third volume is second to non; if you see what I mean :-)
Definitely one for the fans - and a 'something to consider getting'' album for every one else... Arguably the best of the 3 volumes!
Hope you found my review of some help, and good luck with your bargain hunting!!
The final Beatles Anthology release focuses on the band's final years, as the band had retired from touring at this point, it only features studio outtakes & alternate takes, & is all the better for it. This is probably the most cohesive collection of the 3 Anthology albums.
The 3 George Harrison solo demos are a real treat here, & fit wonderfully alongside a fabulous solo acoustic 'While My Guitar Gently Weeps', which is probably the highlight of the entire Anthology series, let alone this third installment.
Much of the material is drawn from the White Album, which is hardly a surprise as the other albums made during this era were the famously fractious 'Let It Be' sessions, & the McCartney-polished 'Abbey Road'.
There is more than enough here to make it worthwhile, perhaps not quite as strong as Anthology 2, but still enough to guarantee repeat listens, and the unreleased tracks will be a treat to completists, even if in reality they appear to have been outtakes for a reason.
The Anthology series seems like a stupid idea. Just early versions of our favourite songs, why not just give us the proper ones? Well, after listening to this, I think they were entirely justified in releasing them. They’re huge cash ins but they’re good, and isn’t that the main thing. This particular one spawns from the last recording sessions from the guys, from The White Album to Let it Be. It features the Beatles’ most complex and amazing songs, Happiness Is A Warm Gun, Come Together, While My Guitar Gently Weeps they’re all here. Some of them, particularly Happiness… are very much the unfinished product, but they’re recorded live so they sound absolutely brilliant. A lot of the songs also feature some sound bites from the band, suggesting how they should change the song, commenting on how good it is or, in the case of Oh! Darling, singing ad lib after the song should have finished. This was prompted by the news that Yoko’s divorce had gotten through. It also features a lot of songs that ended up as solo material, All Things Must Pass and Junk being the best of those. It shows the depth of songs the guys had to choose from, a lot of great songs ended up not ever being properly recorded. The album showcases the musical coming of age of George Harrison, who contributes nine songs, all of them being very listenable. He steals the song of the album with Something, it comes across as much more passionate than the album version, and in my opinion, surpasses it. All in all, it’s a good album with a lot of tracks and different enough to warrant buying.
'Anthology 3' documents the last two increasingly acrimonious years of the Beatles, during which all of them quit at one time or another - Ringo during the 'White Album' sessions, George while they were recording and filming 'Let It Be', both to return after a few days, John at the end of 1969 secretly but permanently, and finally Paul in a blaze of publicity in April 1970. The first few tracks date back to the era when they launched Apple Records, ironically as they were splintering into different units, increasingly solo artists appearing as session musicians on each others' songs. Or to look at it another way, they were already peering over the horizon at the post-Beatle world. This time there are no reconstructed and heavily overdubbed demos from which to create 'new' singles, but plenty of demos and alternate takes from the white album, ‘Abbey Road’, and ‘Let It Be’ (with John spoiling the seriousness of a run-through of the title track by cheerfully calling Paul a bounder and a cheat) as well as early versions of ‘All Things Must Pass’ and ‘Not Guilty’, which George wrote and later recorded properly on two of his solo albums in the 70s; and Paul's versions of ‘Step Inside Love’ and ‘Come And Get It’, hits respectively for Cilla Black and Badfinger. The others include a rock'n'roll medley included during the difficult ‘Let It Be’ sessions, run-throughs of 'Ain't She Sweet' and 'Mailman Bring Me No More Blues', and probably best of all an amusing version of ‘Get Back’, with Paul ad-libbing vocals at the end just as the police were coming to order them off the office roof during that famous last live open-air performance in January 1969. The main exclusive is John Lennon's ‘What's The New Mary Jane’, a much-hyped 'rarity' which had been rumoured
as a possible Plastic Ono Band single at the time, featuring John, George, Yoko and roadie Mal Evans (the two latter contributing sound effects), but neither Paul nor Ringo. It's not so much a song, more a 6-minute piece of eccentricity or wilful self-indulgence, depending on your mood. Like its predecessors, it's a good insight into what made the Fab Four tick, but because of the lack of previously unreleased songs (not counting those they didn't write themselves, the songs listed above that they gave to other artists and 'Mary Jane'), it's probably less of a must-have than the previous two Anthology sets. However, if you're a Beatles fan who has everything else, you're not going to let a little thing like that stop you from completing your set, eh?
The Beatles were definitely the best ever band in the world. They were absolutely brilliant. All four of them had great voices, making fantastic harmonies, and they were all extremely talented musically, especially the predominant songwriters, Paul McCartney and John Lennon. They had some fantastic songs on this anthology, including Let it Be, Hey Jude, The Long and Winding Road, and Something. They were much better than any band existing today, and I just wish that they could have stayed together for longer to produce more music of the same quality. Please give your comments on the fantastic Beatles.
Disc #1 Tracklisting
2 Happiness Is A Warm Gun
3 Helter Skelter
4 Mean Mr Mustard
5 Polythene Pam
6 Glass Onion
9 Honey Pie
10 Don't Pass Me By
11 Ob La Di Ob La Da
13 Cry Baby Cry
15 Sexy Sadie
16 While My Guitar Gently Weeps
17 Hey Jude
18 Not Guilty
19 Mother Nature's Son
20 Glass Onion
21 Rocky Raccoon
22 What's The New Mary Jane
23 Step Inside Love/Los Paranoias
24 I'm So Tired
25 I Will
26 Why Don't We Do It In The Road
28 I've Got A Feeling
29 She Came In Through The Bathroom Window
30 Dig A Pony
31 Two Of Us
32 For You Blue
33 Teddy Boy
34 Rip It Up/Shake Rattle And Roll/Blue Suede Shoes
35 Long And Winding Road
36 Oh Darling
37 All Things Must Pass
38 Mailman Bring Me No More Blues
39 Get Back
40 Old Brown Shoe
41 Octopus's Garden
42 Maxwell's Silver Hammer
44 Come Together
45 Come And Get It
46 Ain't She Sweet
48 Let It Be
49 I Me Mine
Disc #2 Tracklisting
1 I've Got A Feeling
2 She Came In Through The Bathroom Window
3 Dig A Pony
4 Two Of Us
5 For You Blue
6 Teddy Boy
7 Rip It Up/Shake Rattle And Roll/Blue Suede Shoes
8 Long And Winding Road
9 Oh Darling
10 All Things Must Pass
11 Mailman Bring Me No More Blues
12 Get Back
13 Old Brown Shoe
14 Octopus's Garden
15 Maxwell's Silver Hammer
17 Come Together
18 Come And Get It
19 Ain't She Sweet
21 Let It Be
22 I Me Mine