The Beatles Anthology, Volume 2Slightly more accessible than the first volume of the Anthology, this collection covers what is likely more familiar and beloved ground to many – the years that spanned Rubber Soul, Revolver and Sgt. Pepper in which the Beatles abandoned the stage and ensconsed themselves in the studio. And it’s good. It’s really good. For every interesting live/early piece on Anthology 1, Anthology 2 has an unreleased or remixed studio track (and a few live ones too, from Blackpool Night Out and Shea Stadium).

First things first. Not having heard anything but the album masters of the many songs heard in different forms here, the main reason I bought Anthology 2 was “Real Love”, a song which has been stuck in my head since November 1995 when it aired on TV. This is a beautiful song. I thought “Free As A Bird” sounded just like what it was, a Lennon solo piece with overdubs from the other Beatles. “Real Love”, though it is also an incomplete Lennon demo, sounds and feels more like a Beatles song. It hits that soft spot in everyone’s heart, that corner of everybody that – despite all cynical efforts to deny it – is a hopeless romantic. What a great song. On the technical side, great production by my musical hero, Jeff Lynne.

The rest isn’t bad, either. Included are such interesting items as a no-vocals mix of “Eleanor Rigby”‘s string quartet, an instrumental rehearsal of “I’m Only Sleeping” (one of my personal favorite Beatles tunes), the basic rhythm tracks and vocal of “I Am The Walrus” sans overdubbed strings and effects, truly weird takes 4 out of 4of “Tomorrow Never Knows” and “Your Mother Should Know”, and some very nice stripped-down takes of “Across the Universe” (another beautiful song), “Hello Goodbye”, and many others. The booklet is, again, wonderful to read whether you’re listening to the CDs or not.

How could they top this one with Anthology 3? I asked myself…

Order this CD

    Disc one

  1. Real Love (3:54)
  2. Yes It Is (1:50)
  3. I’m Down (2:54)
  4. You’ve Got To Hide Your Love Away – false starts (2:45)
  5. If You’ve Got Trouble (2:48)
  6. That Means A Lot (2:26)
  7. Yesterday – first take, guitar only (2:34)
  8. It’s Only Love (1:59)
  9. I Feel Fine – live TV appearance from Blackpool Night Out (2:15)
  10. Ticket to Ride (2:45)
  11. Yesterday (2:43)
  12. Help! (2:54)
  13. Everybody’s Trying To Be My Baby – Shea Stadium, 8-15-65 (2:46)
  14. Norwegian Wood (This Bird Has Flown) – first take (1:59)
  15. I’m Looking Through You (2:54)
  16. 12-Bar Original – instrumental (2:55)
  17. Tomorrow Never Knows – first take (3:14)
  18. Got To Get You Into My Life – no brass (2:54)
  19. And Your Bird Can Sing – second take, blooper (2:14)
  20. Taxman (2:32)
  21. Eleanor Rigby – string quartet only (2:06)
  22. I’m Only Sleeping – instrumental rehearsal (0:41)
  23. I’m Only Sleeping – first take (2:59)
  24. Rock ‘n’ Roll Music – Bukodan, 6-30-66 (1:38)
  25. She’s a Woman – Bukodan, 6-30-66 (2:55)
    Disc two

  1. Strawberry Fields Forever – John’s demo (1:42)
  2. Strawberry Fields Forever – first take (2:34)
  3. Strawberry Fields Forever – seventh take (4:14)
  4. Penny Lane (3:13)
  5. A Day in the Life – no orchestral overdubs (5:04)
  6. Good Morning, Good Morning – no brass (2:40)
  7. Only a Northern Song (2:44)
  8. Being for the Benefit of Mr. Kite (1:06)
  9. Being for the Benefit of Mr. Kite – seventh take (2:33)
  10. Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds (3:06)
  11. Within You Without You – instrumental tracks only (5:27)
  12. Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band – reprise (1:27)
  13. You Know My Name, Look Up The Number (5:44)
  14. I Am The Walrus – no orchestral overdubs (4:02)
  15. The Fool on the Hill – Paul’s demo (2:48)
  16. Your Mother Should Know – 27th take (3:02)
  17. The Fool on the Hill – fourth take (3:45)
  18. Hello Goodbye – 16th take (3:18)
  19. Lady Madonna (2:22)
  20. Across the Universe – recorded 2-68, John & guitar only (3:28)

Released by: Capitol
Release date: 1996
Disc one total running time: 63:37
Disc two total running time: 64:21