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27 of 28 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars History in the Making
This first Anthology CD has lots of treasures, including the earliest recordings The Beatles made.
The spoken word segments are interesting, I think. It is helpful that they have been assigned a track each, so that you don't have to listen to them every time you play the CD.
A lot of the material was previously released on expensive bootleg recordings. These...
Published on 20 Jun 2003 by Gontroppo

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Before They Were Fab (1958-64)
I admit that I'm neither a Beatles completist nor expert - but I do have a natural interest in any sort of archive release by many a rock band and very recently I decided to finally complete my collection of "The Beatles Anthology" releases by buying a copy of this double CD - the earliest volume of the trilogy and the one that covers, for me at least, their least...
Published 13 months ago by M. S. Smith


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27 of 28 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars History in the Making, 20 Jun 2003
This review is from: Anthology 1 (Audio CD)
This first Anthology CD has lots of treasures, including the earliest recordings The Beatles made.
The spoken word segments are interesting, I think. It is helpful that they have been assigned a track each, so that you don't have to listen to them every time you play the CD.
A lot of the material was previously released on expensive bootleg recordings. These LPs, tapes and CDs were often marketed at about twice the price of commercial recodings, and were often only 15 minutes long.
The sound quality of the Anthology is vastly superior and much much cheaper than those now superseded pirate recordings. Even if the Anthology series had not been produced, it would still be hard to sell those bootlegs in our peer-to-peer on-line environment.
Some of my favourite tracks:
Free As A Bird It is great to hear The Beatles together, even if one member was not able to appear personally. Real Love is a better song, but FAAB was a great introduction to the Anthology set, I think.
Three Cool Cats and The Sheik of Araby are great fun. I love the "not 'arf!" in Sheik.
How Do You Do It It is interesting to hear how The Beatles, however reluctantly, performed this song, later recorded by Gerry and The Pacemakers.P>One After 909 The alternative versions made available in this set are interesting and this one is a real gem.
Leave My Kitten Alone is one of the best songs recorded, but not released by The Beatles.
I'll Be Back is one several songs on the Anthology series which let us listen to The Beatles creating their masterpieces. It is great to hear this version with a different metre and feel, and The Beatles evaluation of their experiments.
Not the best of the 3 sets, but well worth owning and listening to every once in a while.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Free As A Bird......, 17 Nov 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: Anthology 1 (Audio CD)
I like this version of "Free as a Bird". I also like this version of "One After 909" and "Leave my Kitten Alone". I wish it had included outtakes of "Don't Bother Me" (since that was, after all, George's 1st composition) and "She's a Woman". Also funny are the Morecambre & Wise routines and the classic line "Will the people in the cheaper rows clap their hands and the rest of you rattle your jewelery?" "8 Days a Week" features some nice hamornising from John and Paul. The alternative version of "Love Me Do" is evidence enough that Ringo was a better drummer than Pete Best! Also, if you can find it, get the CD single "Free as a Bird", which features 3 tracks not here including the 1967 "Christmas Time Is Here Again".
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A fascinating historical document, 14 Oct 2003
This review is from: Anthology 1 (Audio CD)
These 57 tracks are largely works in progress from their very earliest recording days - although their first "new" single "Free As A Bird" is also here. Included are their cover versions from Hamburg, their first self-written efforts, the early Decca audition tapes before they were signed, snippits of interviews, performances on TV and at live concerts. Many of the early stuff is very badly recorded. Overall the first Anthology shows that the band are not yet masters of their art although it is still a must buy for the avid fan.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Before They Were Fab (1958-64), 23 July 2013
By 
M. S. Smith "Big Room" (Stone - Staffordshire (UK)) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Anthology 1 (Audio CD)
I admit that I'm neither a Beatles completist nor expert - but I do have a natural interest in any sort of archive release by many a rock band and very recently I decided to finally complete my collection of "The Beatles Anthology" releases by buying a copy of this double CD - the earliest volume of the trilogy and the one that covers, for me at least, their least important era.

Most of the content of Anthology 1 is aimed at die-hard collectors - those who will have much of this material (and more) on bootlegs - but I guess the world that waited 25 years for any new Beatle product could be forgiven for rushing out and buying these archive releases, eager to know what the fuss may be about. It goes without saying that anything associated with The Beatles and Apple requires a long and winding road to be travelled down before gaining an official release and at least it's fair to report that the compilers haven't left many stones unturned in their pursuit of an evenly balanced and interesting collection.

There's no denying the historical significance of much of this material - after all this is The Beatles - and everything they did, if not truly sensational, eventually draws the listener in, like some doomed sailor pursuing a siren perched on some carefully hidden rocks.

Aside from `Free As A Bird' (a 1977 John Lennon demo that the surviving Beatles worked on to produce their first new song since 1969) that was issued as a single and launched the Anthology Project back in 1995 (a 6 part TV series, 10 DVD box set and 3 double CDs), Anthology 1 comprises a cluster of mostly unreleased material recorded between the summer of 1958 (as The Quarry Men) and October 1964 (the end of the year that "Beatlemania" took over the USA. These six years saw the band go from being hapless Buddy Holly impersonators to the single most important pop group this planet has ever produced, a position they are never likely to surrender; The Beatles and second fiddle and not terms one would put together too often.

The content of Anthology 1 is admittedly uneven. The first twenty tracks predate their EMI contract and comprise the famous 2 songs from The Quarry Men's 1958 acetate, three tracks recorded at Paul McCartney's house in 1960, 3 of the better tracks from their 1961 Hamburg sessions, 5 tracks from the Decca audition recorded on New Years Day 1962 plus a small number of spoken tracks as Lennon, McCartney and Epstein provide useful contextual commentary covering these very early years. There's very little among these tracks that provides any great insight as to what lay ahead and it's a testament to the vision of Epstein and EMI (in particular producer George Martin) that they knew instinctively just what The Beatles had and where they could go.

From hereon then, The Beatles career was like no other before it. The debut recording session for EMI (June 1962) produced an early version of their debut hit `Love Me Do', their second session produced their first No. 1 (in some charts), `Please, Please Me'. Their rise to the top of British pop music took less than 12 months from that apparently inauspicious session and the world of music was never quite the same again.

The remainder of Anthology 1 is culled from a number of radio and TV appearances as well as a few outtakes recorded mostly at Abbey Road, the most startling of which is `One After 909' from 1963 and should have been issued at the time. There are elements of humour thrown in for a sense of fun it was being a Beatle at this early stage of their career (The Morecambe and Wise Show and The Royal Command Performance being the most well known) and there are a few too many examples of songs breaking down mid way through or spoilt by fumbled words or laughter - personally I don't need to hear this sort of material to realise that The Beatles were not perfect and I would have preferred to hear more songs delivered flawlessly, although some listeners will no doubt welcome the warts and all approach.

So Anthology 1 gets 3 stars, more for its historical significance than for the killer performances, but as I paid only ten quid for the privilege of hearing this material, I'm not complaining. But they did much better work just around the corner.
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An important historical document, 30 Aug 2007
By 
Brian Levine - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Anthology 1 (Audio CD)
I do not understand how a Beatles fan could NOT give this five stars. It gives us insight into the early days, John's love of Eric Morecambe and goon-style jokes, the close harmonies without any musical air-brushing, the quips and the boys before they became famous (the first disc at least).

I think volume 2 - also reviewed - is better than this, but this is still a five star job and I recommend buying all three volumes of anthology and keeping them on the 6 disc CD changer in your car.
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16 of 20 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Little to recommend I'm afraid, 23 Jun 2007
By 
Marc B (Edinburgh Scotland) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Anthology 1 (Audio CD)
Even for the most passionate Beatle fan (I count myself as one) there really is not a lot here that stands up to repeat listening other than as a historical document. This is especially the case on the poor quality recordings from 1957 and the practice session from 1960, although granted they are fascinating. The failed Decca audition has passed into folklore and Dick Rowe unsurprisingly has been ridiculed ever since as the `Man who turned down the Beatles' but judging by the selections here this decision doesn't seem as much of a gross miscalculation as it does now with the benefit of hindsight. It shows that Rowe and Decca's musical judgement was more sound than Brian Epstein's who insisted that the Beatles play a more Showbiz and versatile set instead of the primal Rock and Roll that was whipping up the Cavern club on a daily basis. Tracks like Sheik of Araby are particularly excruciating. When the Beatles completed Please Please Me a copy was sent to Decca in an effort to trick them into rejecting them again... they failed to fall for it. The Parlophone test was going the same way until the EMI staff recalled a bored George Martin from the BBC canteen to hear an early take of Love Me Do. Here was something genuinely fresh and unique and it was on the strength of this and their personal charisma that won the day and the rest as they say is history. A curious decision was the omission of Love of the Loved which was performed at the Decca audition but not included, why? It's no worse than the other Lennon and McCartney originals from these sessions. Other disappointing cuts include an alternative take of Mr Moonlight (as if the world needed another version of what is the worse cover they ever recorded) a pointless version Long Tall Sally from the Around the Beatles show when a vastly superior version exists from the Swedish Drop in show, and a heavily edited version of Shout.
It isn't all bad news thankfully. The live tracks are particularly good, especially the 5 cuts from a fantastic live performance on Swedish Radio. The early takes of No Reply are interesting to hear how they got from the schmaltzy nonsense presented here to the excellent dark and brooding opener to Beatles for Sale. Other good cuts are an alternative take of Eight Days a Week an early version of the Let it Be track One after 909 and a version of You Can't Do That without the backing vocals. The real gem however is the cover of Leave my Kitten Alone, unreleased till now but really would have improved the Beatles for Sale album.
Pull all the gems together with the choice cuts from Volume 2 and 3 and you have an excellent playlist for your Ipod.
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4.0 out of 5 stars It's good, but not dynamic, 6 July 2014
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This review is from: Anthology 1 (Audio CD)
This CD is for listening too whilst driving. Not for serious listening at night. And you have to be a total Beatles fan to appreciate it. It's good, but not dynamic.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars, 6 July 2014
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This review is from: Anthology 1 (Audio CD)
excellent
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3.0 out of 5 stars HISTORICAL NECESSITY, 30 April 2014
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This review is from: Anthology 1 (Audio CD)
This charts the (very) early days of the Fab 4 and as such as an aural document of their roots. It's interesting to note that in their later (solo) years all four of the Beatles released albums of rock'n'roll covers, and on their first four albums they matched their own material with plenty of energetically played rock'n'roll classics.
So, this collects together early rehearsals, the Hamburg days, early studio work, the Tony Sheridan days and their emergence as an unstoppable pop phenomenon. Much of it is for the completist only......the audio quality is understandably weak on much of the material and some of it is, well, just not very good.
My personal highlight is their exchange with Morcambe and Wise where Eric keeps calling Ringo, 'Bongo'. Priceless.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Anthology on Vinyl, what a treat!, 23 Jan 2014
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This review is from: Anthology 1 [VINYL] (Vinyl)
I originally bought the anthology series (like most people in the 1990s) on CD, and they were good; but nothing compared to these beatifully executed vinyl versions. A must for any serious Beatles fan the anthologies bring you through their development, their early success, their increasing sophistication until we meet them in their pomp in Anthologhy 3 when they were both the most popular AND the best, most creative band in the world. Then once the apogee had been reached Lennon (wisely in my opinion) knew that the Beatles could do no more without repeating themselves and decided the "dream was over", but what a dream!
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Anthology 1 by The Beatles (Audio CD - 1995)
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