All eight programmes from the epic documentary series are collected in this box set. It follows the development of the most popular band ever from the births of the band members (beginning in 1940) through to the acrimonious split in 1970. Also featured are interviews with all the influential people in the band's history and rare archive footage. This collection is almost twice as long as the version broadcast on television in 1995.
The Beatles Anthology
was initially broadcast as a TV miniseries to run alongside the series of three Anthology
double-CD albums. This set of eight documentaries has the heft and scope of one of Ken Burns' expansive projects. Still, you may find yourself with more material--particularly about the Beatles' early lives as lads in Liverpool--than you'll want to watch. The documentary material is copious, including early performance films and tapes, at the point before they found their true voices. The actual Beatlemania years--beginning in 1963 and concluding in 1970--feature extensive performance films, as well as home movies and archival material. The best parts, of course, are the interviews with the Beatles themselves, who produced the entire thing. Along with reworking two previously unreleased John Lennon tracks as "new Beatles songs", the Anthology
includes some unseen Lennon interview tapes so that his acerbic voice can be heard as well. This stands as a comprehensive document of that heady period, the second coming of rock & roll, as the Beatles took what Elvis had started and expanded upon it exponentially. This box set gives a solid sense of the historical context and the way these four musicians changed the world around them in the 1960s. --Marshall Fine