Top critical review
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Eagerly anticipated,badly disappointed by the images
on 5 October 2000
Anthology is probably the most eagerly awaited Beatles book of all time and having previously read many books about them(the Hunter Davies biography,Philip Norman's Shout, etc), this should have been THE definitive book.
For the first time all four Beatles have their say,(along with contributions from Neil Aspinal and George Martin )and as a result, the book is well balanced. Unlike for example Shout, where Philip Norman's bias against Paul McCartney led you to believe the author had a personal vendetta against him.
A heavyweight book in size and content, Anthology is an enthralling read, and with the benefit of handsight, having everybody's views on critical stages of the Beatles story - Hamburg,the sacking of Pete Best(although Paul McCartney saying that they just wanted the best drummer in the world i.e. Ringo Starr leaves you with the feeling he's looking through rose tinted glasses),Beatlemania, touring, Sgt Peppers, Let It Be, The End, makes for a well rounded read.
And therein lies the books problem. The front cover is a picture of the 3 Anthology cd releases, the worst covers of possibly any album ever released. The content of the cd's painstakingly selected over hours of listening, then the covers looking like they'd been hastily put together at the last minute.
Anthology the book leaves you with exactly the same impression. The words, comments, quotes carefully extracted from the thousands spoken and written. The pictures thrown together like a childs scrapbook, most of them written over by comments, lyrics , tour dates, and coming nowhere near to the vibrant, powerful imagery of the Andrew Salt and Sam Egan, Imagine book.
Essential to any Beatles story, is not only the music, but the written word and the photographic history of the most influential musically, most written about and the most photographed group in the world.
When rating the book, it should have been 6 stars, instead it's three and solely because of the poor photographic content.
I was hoping to write about the book it is, instead I find myself writing about the book it could and should have been.
Keith Mann, Bradford, West Yorkshire