"The Beatles Anthology"

The History and current Status of The Beatles' version of their story.

Copyright 1995
by Ed Chen (edc@evolution.bchs.uh.edu)
and saki (saki@evolution.bchs.uh.edu)

Editorial comments by Allan Kozinn (kozinn@aol.com)

The authors retain all copyright rights to this file -- It may be freely distributed in its entirety provided that this copyright notice is not removed. Selling of this text, including incorporation into any commercial documents without the express written consent of either of the authors is strictly forbidden by law.


Last Update: November 1, 1995. HTMLized by Harald Gernhardt.
Links to the major "Anthology" web sites (ABC, Capitol, Life Magazine) are all present at the top level of the rmb home page:

http://kiwi.imgen.bcm.tmc.edu:8088/public/rmb.html


Background

The project began at some unspecified time in the early 1970's as "The Long and Winding Road," a film chronicling the story of the Beatles. Despite a reasonably finished rough cut of the film by Derek Taylor (which supposedly heavily influenced the parody version "The Rutles"), personal and professional problems kept the project unreleased.

In the interim, much of the same footage from "L&WR" was located and used by other producers in projects such as "The Compleat Beatles (1981)," one of the most complete versions of the Fabs' history on film or video.

However, much additional footage remained, and Neil Aspinall (through Allan Kozinn reports that there was "much rarer footage" which had yet to see the light of day.

After the final settlement of the lawsuits between the remaining band members in 1989, the general concept of a filmography was one of the first projects to be revived.

The Development of "The Beatles Anthology"

To accompany the film; Paul, George and Ringo went into the studio together. The original intent was to record some incidental music for the project. When they decided to go beyond that limited scope, they agreed that they needed some Lennon "input" to truly make this a Beatles project. Yoko Ono agreed, and the day after Lennon's induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, she provided the band with a tape containing Lennon demos in various stages of completion. Using these demos as inspiration, the Beatles built upon Lennon's preexisting melodies and lyrics, adding harmonies, full instrumentation, and in at least one case ("Free as a Bird") additional verses.

After discussion, they eventually chose to complete three: "Free As A Bird" "Real Love" and "Grow Old With Me." Those songs were completed by the three in February '94, February '95, and Fall '95 (respectively) with Jeff Lynne producing. George Martin was not invited to participate in the production of the new tracks because of questions concerning his hearing. Martin is still involved, adding his historical input and production knowledge to the archival material for the audio "Anthology."

Although the third track was widely reported to be "Grow Old With Me," in an interview with NYT columist Allan Kozinn, Paul McCartney claimed the third song was a previously unheard Lennon demo (of which McCartney sang a verse to Kozinn), and that there was still a strong possibility that the tune would not be finished.

To preserve the "vintage" sound of the tapes, George Martin insisted on a late-1960's / early-1970's analogue mixing board rather than modern digital equipment. This and other "Anthology" facts are revealed in an interview with Martin in the October issue of the British industry magazine "Studio Sound."

The Video Concept

On the video front, hundreds-to-thousands of hours of footage have been viewed in preparation of the project. After one of the first screenings of the (edited) material for the Beatles, George Harrison, in a recent radio interview, commented on the first two hours with the statement that "At the end of it, Pete Best hadn't even joined the band yet."

The final project will consist of six hours of commercial airtime (five hours of program content) to be aired around the world (in the States on ABC-TV) beginning in November 1995, according to an ABC affiliate.

Additional footage will be incorporated into ten hours of video, intended for sale in late 1996 as individual and collective video histories. The producers of the project have been adamant to state that the videos will not simply be "an expanded version of the television series", according to Apple spokesman Derek Taylor.

In addition to archival material, the Beatles, George Martin, Neil Aspinall, and Derek Taylor have all steadily been filming interviews, which will be liberally sprinkled throughout the project. As perhaps a subtle commentary, one of the locations where interviews were performed was Portmeiron, a small, architecturally interesting community perhaps best known as the site of the television series "The Prisoner."

When Will It Be Aired?

Both ABC and ITV in Britain have announced the planned airdates for the show. The series will be airing in the US on ABC as three two-hour specials, November 19, 22, and 23. It will be airing in Britain on ITV, also beginning November 19 with two hours, but then at the rate of an hour a week from then until Christmas Eve.

Short, 5-10 second mini-promos have begun appearing on ABC, touting the November 19 start date. "Beatlefan/Extra" reports the network will launch their major advertising push the first week in November. Planned is a major media blitz, including ads over radio, television, print, movie theatres, and such eclectic places as the New York City "Sony Jumbotron" and Ticketmasters' national "on hold" line.

Capitol has arranged for a satellite broadcast of "Free As a Bird" to be done the night of November 19. This will allow radio airplay to begin almost immediately, possibly increasing initial chart position of "Anthology."

In 1996, separate and collective videos will be available in an expanded format, and will be on sale at video stores in the U.S. and the UK.

Advertising Plans

Capitol records and ABC are clearly planning for Anthology to be the major event of this Christmas. Beyond the $20 million the network paid to Apple for rights to "Anthology," they have earmarked an additional $30 million for promotion and advertising. As part of the agreement, ABC was given exclusive rights to the first airing of "Free As A Bird" on November 19,1995. It will be available for sale as part of the first double CD set to accompany the "Anthology" project, on November 20.

ABC is charging advertisers roughly $300,000 per 30-second commercial, and the current rumor (from Forbes Magazine) is that spots for all three nights have been sold.

Meanwhile, Capitol has hired Steve Chamberlain away from Turner Entertainment to handle the musical end of "Anthology" promotion. Apple plans are for this project to have new releases over a 15-month period of time, and sell product through this and next Christmas. According to "Beatlefan" magazine, Chamberlain has promised a "massive reintroduction of the Beatles." This "reintroduction" will include heavy promotion on MTV and VH1 to attract "that younger demographic." This will inevitably lead to a "Free as a Bird" video, which is reportedly in the planning stages, with Ono deciding how, or if, Lennon will be represented.

Capitol has announced it will be opening a website for anthology promotion, probably similar to their "Live at the BBC" web page of last year.

Beatlefan/Extra! reports the slogan to be used in all advertising for "Anthology" will be "You haven't heard everything yet."

The first round of promotional material, including posters, banners, flyers, buttons and other such items are expected in stores on October 24.

Video Samples

Apple has provided a 10-minute "sampler" to stations which have purchased "Anthology." A variety of reputable sources (ABC, The Beatles Monthly, and Beatlefan) report that it will include:

CD/LP Release Schedule

The first CD set will be made available on November 21, a Tuesday, two days after the "FaaB" world premiere. The need for confidentiality on "FaaB" forces "Anthology I" to break with tradition in several ways. Discs are usually shipped to retailers the previous week, and put on sale on Tuesday. Captiol's original plan was to use a US overnight courier to ship upwards of 2 million CD's and cassettes to CEMA (Capitol's distribution wing) outlets immediately after the Sunday airing of "FaaB", and Billboard and CEMA report that sales will begin on Tuesday. However, the San Francisco CEMA representative reports that plan has been altered because of the impending "logistical nightmare." It is now expected that the discs will go to CEMA outlets on Saturday, but that armed security will protect all product before it is delivered to retailers after the Sunday night premiere of "FaaB."

Long-time Beatle friend Klaus Voorman is the artist chosen to do the cover for the first "Anthology" CD's. The preview tapes sent to reviewers will *not* include "Free as a Bird."

The cover for the first "Anthology" CD-set has been released, and published in places such as the LA Times and USA Today. The cover consists of a collage of photos and follows the previously announced plan that the three covers placed side by side will create a single "meta" cover.

"Beatlefan/Extra" reports that the CD artwork will be replicated on the front covers of the videos, but divided into eight parts. The spines of the videos will join to create yet another illustration, this time of the band on the Ed Sullivan show.

In addition to the CD, singles from the project are planned, each likely to include 2-3 songs unique to the CD-single format. Allan Kozinn reports an edited version (3-4 minutes) of "Christmastime is Here again" will likely be one of those tracks.

Capitol has released the track listings for the first "Anthology" volume, and here they are as they appear on that press release:

``THE BEATLES ANTHOLOGY I'' TRACK LISTING

Compact Disc One
1 FREE AS A BIRD A new recording featuring John, Paul, George, and Ringo.
2 WE WERE FOUR GUYS... John Lennon spoken-word comment.
3 THAT'LL BE THE DAY Previously unreleased rare Quarry Men recording of the Buddy Holly song made in 1958.
4 IN SPITE OF ALL THE DANGER Previously unreleased rare Quarry Men recording of a Paul McCartney/George Harrison composition from 1958.
5 SOMETIMES I'D BORROW... Paul McCartney talking about recording at home in 1960.
6 HALLELUJAH, I LOVE HER SO Previously unreleased home recording from 1960 of the Eddie Cochran version of the song.
7 YOU'LL BE MINE Previously unreleased home recording from 1960 of a Paul and John song.
8 CAYENNE Previously unreleased home recording of an instrumental written by Paul.
9 FIRST OF ALL... Paul talking about recording in Hamburg.
10 MY BONNIE Recorded in Hamburg in 1961 with Tony Sheridan. (German intro)
11 AIN'T SHE SWEET Again recorded in Hamburg in 1961. Features vocals by John Lennon.
12 CRY FOR A SHADOW This Harrison-Lennon instrumental was also recorded in Hamburg in 1961.
13 BRIAN WAS A BEAUTIFUL GUY John talking about Brian Epstein.
14 I SECURED THEM... Brian Epstein recalling the Decca audition, reading from his book ``A Cellarful Of Noise.''
15 SEARCHIN' The first of five tracks taken from their failed Decca audition on 1st January, 1962. All previously unreleased. This was originally recorded by The Coasters.
16 THREE COOL CATS George Harrison handles the lead vocal on this Leiber-Stoller track, again originally recorded by The Coasters.
17 THE SHEIK OF ARABY Another George Harrison vocal with Paul and John ad-libbing.
18 LIKE DREAMERS DO Later a hit for The Applejacks, this is the original Beatles version of this Lennon-McCartney song.
19 HELLO LITTLE GIRL Another early Lennon-McCartney composition rounds-off the five Decca tracks. This track was later a hit for The Fourmost.
20 WELL, THE RECORDING TEST... A further extract from Brian Epstein's book, ``A Cellarful Of Noise.''
21 BESAME MUCHO This and the following track were recorded during The Beatles' first visit to Abbey Road in June 1962. Neither has been previously released.
22 LOVE ME DO Like Besame Mucho, this track features John, Paul, and George with Pete Best on drums. This is the first EMI version, never released, of The Beatles' first single.
23 HOW DO YOU DO IT Recorded on 4th September 1962, this track has remained unreleased until now. The song was later recorded by Gerry and the Pacemakers and became their first No. 1.
24 PLEASE PLEASE ME An earlier version of the group's second single. This recording dates from 11th September, 1962. Previously unreleased.
25 ONE AFTER 909 (SEQUENCE) Recorded during the ``From Me To You'' sessions on 5 March 1963, this section features segments of three incomplete takes.
26 ONE AFTER 909 (COMPLETE) This is a complete 1963 version of the song that The Beatles would re-record six years later for ``Let it Be.''
27 LEND ME YOUR COMB A BBC recording of a song originally recorded by Carl Perkins.
28 I'LL GET YOU A live recording from The Beatles' first appearance on the TV show ``Sunday Night At The London Palladium.''
29 WE WERE PERFORMERS... John recalls early live performances.
30 I SAW HER STANDING THERE This and the Following four tracks were recorded live for Swedish radio in October 1963. This track was the opening song on their first album.
31 FROM ME TO YOU Paul introduces a performance of their third single.
32 MONEY (THAT'S WHAT I WANT) This and the following two tracks were taken from the then Forthcoming LP ``With The Beatles.''
33 YOU REALLY GOT A HOLD ON ME John introduces this number by The Miracles.
34 ROLL OVER BEETHOVEN George takes vocals for the last track from this radio session. The song is a Chuck Berry classic.

Compact Disc Two
1 SHE LOVES YOU An excellent live performance taken from the 1963 Royal Command Performance, previously unreleased.
2 TILL THERE WAS YOU Introduced by Paul, this also is from the 1963 Royal show.
3 TWIST AND SHOUT Finally it was up to John to introduce their closing number. ``And the rest of you, if you'll just rattle your jewelry.''
4 THIS BOY First of two songs from ``The Morecambe And Wise Show,'' recorded in December 1963, Recorded live and previously unreleased.
5 I WANT TO HOLD YOUR HAND Having performed the ``B'' side of their current single they then also performed the ``A'' side.
6 ``BOYS, WHAT I WAS THINKING...'' Ernie Wise then introduced The Beatles to Eric Morecambe and there followed some good-humored banter between Eric and the boys.
7 MOONLIGHT BAY ``Television history'' is how Ernie introduces it - Morecambe And Wise and The Beatles together.
8 CAN'T BUY ME LOVE This is take 2 which was recorded in Paris in January 1964. It features a different lead vocal, guitar solo and backing vocals to the finally released version.
9 ALL MY LOVING The first song performed by The Beatles during their legendary first appearance on ``The Ed Sullivan Show'' in the USA.
10 YOU CAN'T DO THAT An earlier take of a song that became the ``B'' side to ``Can't Buy Me Love'' and appeared on the ``A Hard Days Night'' album.
11 AND I LOVE HER This is the second take of the song that later became a gentle ballad. This features a heavier sound including drums and picked electric guitar.
12 A HARD DAY'S NIGHT This is take 1 from the sessions that produced the master and is notably different to the finally released version.
13 I WANNA BE YOUR MAN This and the next three tracks are taken from studio recordings that were prepared for the 1964 television special ``Around The Beatles''. All have been lifted from the studio master and are presented here in stereo. Ringo handles vocals of this track, ably assisted by an enthusiastic Paul.
14 LONG TALL SALLY A blistering vocal performance from Paul of the Little Richard classic.
15 BOYS Although recorded for the show, this track was never broadcast. Ringo performs his solo spot from the group's debut album.
16 SHOUT A very rare performance of The Isley Brothers' original R&B hit.
17 I'LL BE BACK (TAKE 2) An early version of the song From ``A Hard Day's Night'' album, but sung in a different tempo.
18 I'LL BE BACK (TAKE 3) Only the next take but now sounding very different.
19 YOU KNOW WHAT TO DO The first-ever release of George Harrison's second-ever song, from June 1964. The tape was lost and rediscovered only recently.
20 NO REPLY (DEMO) Recorded the same day as ``You Know What To Do'' as a demo.
21 MR. MOONLIGHT Similar to the version on ``Beatles For Sale'' but an earlier take with a guitar solo instead of the familiar organ.
22 LEAVE MY KITTEN ALONE Never before released in any form by The Beatles, this is a great group performance of an R&B classic originally recorded by Little Willie John. John Lennon on vocals.
23 NO REPLY Take 2 of the remake of the song from September 1964. Not yet finished but nearly.
24 EIGHT DAYS A WEEK (SEQUENCE) Some false starts and experimentation for the ``Beatles For Sale'' track and U.S. single.
25 EIGHT DAYS A WEEK (COMPLETE) A complete version which starts and ends very differently to the commercially released version.
26 KANSAS CITY/HEY-HEY-HEY-HEY! This is take two of the track that also appears on ``Beatles For Sale.''

The Molyneaux home recording from the afternoon Lennon met McCartney has reportedly been nixed from the first set as impossible to bring up to anywhere near acceptable sound quality, according to New York Times music writer Allan Kozinn.

This tape, made on July 6, 1957, captures Lennon and the Quarry Men singing Elvis Presley and Lonnie Donegan covers. When asked, Apple spokesman Derek Taylor did not even know what had become of the tape. However, it is known the tape is still in the archives, and some restoration work has been done to it. Beatles writer Allan Kozinn heard a cleaned of version of the tape, and found the sound quality "appalling."

McCartney told The Beatles Monthly that Harrison's unreleased "You'll Know What to Do" is " not the greatest thing George ever wrote, but it's an undiscovered nugget. If you find a little Egyptian pot, it doesn't have to be the greatest Egyptian pot. The fact that it is Egyptian is enough."

The London Observer reports that the collection will also be available as a nine-record LP set.

Rumored

The second and third volumes of "Anthology" CD's are expected in January 1996, and "late spring" of 1996 respectively. No track listings are known, but it is thought set two will cover the years 1965-67, and set three 1968-70.

Beatlefan/Extra! reports a tentative track list for the second set, although no source is given for this information.

Real Love (new original tune)
Yes It Is
You've Got To Hide Your Love Away
Everybody's Trying to Be My Baby (Shea)
She's a Woman (Shea)
Norwegian Wood
I'm Looking Through You
Taxman
Penny Lane
Being for the Benefit of Mr. Kite
Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds
Within You Without You
Yesterday, take I (confirmed by McCartney on "Oobu Joobu")
And Your Bird Can Sing ("easygoing")
If You've Got Troubles (unreleased L/M song, Starr singing lead)
Granny Smith (early "Love You To" demo)
Twelve Bar Original
That Means a Lot
Magical Mystery Tour (film version)
Strawberry Fields Forever (excerpts of:)
-- Lennon demo
-- take 1
-- take 7
-- "a bit of the (Cranberry Sauce) drum track"
I'm Only Sleeping (alternate, take unknown)
Getting Better (alternate, take unknown)
I've Got a Feeling (alternate, take unknown)
Lucy In the Sky With Diamonds (alternate, take unknow)
Think For Yourself (alternate, take unknown)
A Day in the Life (created, Lennon demo + McCartney's "oh shit" middle)
Yellow Submarine ("Lands End to John o'Groats spoken intro + remixed version)
Lady Madonna

And tentatively for the third disc:

Esher Demos (possibly as many as 6-7 tracks)
Hey Jude
Can You Take Me Back
While My Guitar Gently Weeps (acoustic)
Dear Prudence
Helter Skelter (either the whole, or edited long version)
Across the Universe
Not Guilty
Goodbye (McCartney Demo)
Yer Blues (alternate, take unknown, not "Rock 'n Roll Circus" version)

Both the audio CD's and the videos will be released in a boxed set as well as individually. The Box set may include additional material not on the single CD's. Capitol executive VP Bruce Kirkland told Beatlefan recently that this (possible bonus tracks) is "not a strategic commercial decision," but is instead only about "the Beatles telling their own story." He did indicate that it is possible the CD boxed set may be "something altogether different," and "a totally separate work." (from the individual CD's)

Capitol is considering taking a hint from bootleggers by including "unique items" in the audio and video box sets, possibly reproductions of vintage paper memorabilia (ie: softback books or magazines), a CEMA source has revealed.

"Anthology" Accessories

Of the ancillary side, the following items have also been announced to go along with the video and CD's, according to Capitol Records:

Publicity from the Fabs

Finally, in the "the-more-things-change, the-more-they-stay-the-same" department, expect the three former Beatles not to appear together in any publicity. Harrison has expressed a desire to do no publicity at all for the project, and McCartney and Starr may follow his lead. Neil Aspinall is quoted as saying "There is no need for appearances by myself or the former Beatles. Publicity (for the project) will 'just happen.'"


Back to the Anthology Overview