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4.6 out of 5 stars
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4.6 out of 5 stars
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on 6 May 2017
It was a really good deal and I really like it. Thank you so much, indeed. I'll look for another deal in the future.
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on 18 March 2017
the 3 anthology's are very good
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on 16 March 2017
Sorry this rating should be 5 star ! Fast delivery
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on 19 August 2013
Excellent box set
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on 12 October 2000
packed with rare takes and live performances, this is essential listening for the beatles fan. no greatest hits collection, this album feels more like being a voyeur to some of the most historic recordings done by the beatles. standout tracks include the instrumentals 'eleanor rigby' and 'within you without you' (have to be heard to appreciated), early versions of 'fool on the hill' and 'i'm looking through you' and the incedible 'strawberry fields forever' john lennon recorded in his house.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 15 November 2015
For Beatles enthusiasts, the three anthologies which were released by Apple/EMI Records in 1995/1996 to tie-in with the 'The Beatles Anthology' eight-part television series are truly indispensable.

If you are looking for a collection which contains the timeless pop tunes which helped to change British culture forever, you should look into the following two boxsets instead: 1962-1966 [The Red Album] and 1967-1970 [The Blue Album], both of which have all of the essential singles, and songs you'll always hear played on the radio, These 'Anthology' series however, loaded with treats and rarities, are probably of the most interest to collectors, and genuine devotees.

If you fall into either one of the above categories, what you have on offer here are two CDs covering the period 1965–1968, with everything, mostly in chronological order. The first disc opens up with a John Lennon penned track: 'Real Love', which, especially for this release, was recorded with overdubs by the three surviving Beatles. The song, originally released in 1988, was then issued as a single and peaked in the UK charts at no.4 in March 85.

The bulk of the remaining material are fascinating alternative performances, and previously unissued songs from the 1965 sessions for the 'Help!' album, and early takes of many of the tracks which appeared on the records 'Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band', and 'Magical Mystery Tour'. Golden nuggets to single out include an instrumental only 'Eleanor Rigby', and a humorous version of 'And Your Bird Can Sing'.

A wonderful bonus in each of these sets are the bumper booklets, containing detailed information about each of the recordings, and some excellent vintage photographs of the band from over their first period. With so much of real merit on offer, the Anthology albums are an excellent series for fans of John, Paul, George and Ringo, four talented men who gave us some of the best British music that has ever been written and composed. These aren't 'greatest hits' packages, their treasure troves.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 3 June 2016
This is the second volume of the Beatles "Anthology" - a double CD set featuring 45 tracks, released in 1996. It accompanies Anthology 1 and Anthology 3. This particular album was a major critical and commercial success, topping the charts in several countries (including Britain). The music is from the period 1965 to 1968 (aside from the inclusion of the "Real Love" song). Unlike the initial volume, this collection doesn't include several dialogue tracks - but instead focuses on the music. It's a compilation of alternative takes, live performances and demos, including the likes of "Strawberry Fields", "Help!" and "The Fool on the Hill"'. Nothing featured on the album had previously been released by the Beatles in the form it's heard here. Rather, this album represents an opportunity to listen to the Beatles in a slightly new way.

The "Anthology" project was a major contribution to music - consisting of three double albums, new singles, a documentary series (The Beatles Anthology [DVD] [1995]), and a book (The Beatles Anthology). It aimed to present the history of the Beatles, in a new an more intimate manner, in chronological order. Included with this album is a deluxe 46 page booklet - providing information of the songs, as well as lots of photos of the band.

If you're a fan of the Beatles, I thoroughly recommend this collection. If you're totally new to the Beatles' music then, while you will no doubt enjoy this compilation, I'd suggest you first listen to the original Beatles studio albums (or perhaps the so-called 'Red' and 'Blue' double CD sets, featuring the greatest hits of the band - see The Beatles 1962 - 1966 (The Red Album) and The Beatles 1967 - 1970 (The Blue Album)).

Overall, a truly fantastic item.
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on 26 July 2013
Picking up where Anthology 1 left off, the second volume of previously unreleased Beatles recordings relies less on `historical significance' displayed on the first volume and more on the wealth of alternate versions of well known material from the phenomenally successful series of albums and singles recorded between 1965 and 1967, their most consistent 3 years when their creativity and commercial impact were both peaking. These were also the years in which The Beatles turned from being a band that toured, into a band that didn't. For me these are The Beatles' halcyon days - roughly 1000 of them - when they stood head and shoulders above anyone that dared to consider pop music as a career.

With just three unreleased songs within its track listing (one of which is a forgettable blues influenced instrumental), the vast majority of Anthology 2 comprises alternate versions of landmark recordings such as `Yesterday', `Help!', `Norwegian Wood', `Tomorrow Never Knows', `Strawberry Fields Forever', `A Day in the Life', `Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds', `I Am the Walrus', and a host of others.

The lack of unreleased songs suggests that The Beatles didn't write many songs they didn't find a use for, and although there are exceptions, most of the material written in the period 1965-67 ended up on the album or single under current consideration rather than being shelved for a future project. The exceptions tend to be lesser songs, suggesting the band were good judges of what to pass on, albeit ultimately using these lesser tracks as circumstances required (a film soundtrack, a b-side and a benefit compilation album).

From the touring days (Disc 1) the live recordings on Anthology 2 include 4 tracks from Blackpool (August 1965), 1 track from Shea Stadium (also August 1965) and 2 tracks from Tokyo (June 1966) recorded just two months before they made their final planned concert in San Francisco, which is sadly not represented on the album. Live, The Beatles had devolved into something of a train wreck due to the hysterical audiences they played to back then. But the Shea Stadium recording above all else demonstrates the task that lay before them and they sound burned out (this was the opening night of the tour remember) and lacklustre. The Tokyo tracks are, if anything, worse still. Perhaps that justifies the lack of live recordings contained in their back catalogue but I would have been happier with a wider representation of them as a live band.

The studio material on offer, while at times fascinating (Lennon's demo of `Strawberry Fields Forever' is the stand out from a historical perspective), often sounds like filler material to my ears and I'd far sooner play the last half of the red album and the first half of the blue album if I wanted an overview of their work from this highly charged period. But the Anthology project was conceived as a peek behind the curtains - an alternative view of their recording career - in which fans could finally acquire some of the lost treasures in the EMI vaults. So all this demonstrates is that, under the guidance of George Martin, the band was quite capable of getting the best out of their material and left very few lost gems on the shelf. `You've Got to Hide Your Love Away' and `It's Only Love' are decent enough takes but the absence of a couple of key overdubs renders them second best to the masters issued, a feeling that is par for the course really on much of Anthology 2.

The tracks that would grace Revolver are, not surprisingly, more complex in structure and bear less resemblance to the finished versions - `Tomorrow Never Knows' represents their "giant leap" in soundscape terms and even the earliest take demonstrated just how far from `Love Me Do' the band had travelled in just four years. An early version of `Got to Get You into My Life' is even more interesting lacking most of the embellishments the track would eventually feature as well as including a few lyrical alterations too. Then there's the briefest section of a rehearsal of `I'm Only Sleeping' complete with vibraphone which gives the song a nice atmosphere that would have worked on the final recording I'm sure. This is where Anthology 2 stands on its own merits and one is tempted to wonder whether a "making of Revolver" album or documentary could ever be made from the surviving tapes.

On that note, the compilers have elected not to feature any speech to provide the sparse commentary that worked so well on Anthology 1. Disc 2 takes all of its content form the vaults at EMI, essentially a string of demos, try outs, although in some cases the compilers have produced new `finished' versions by blending tracks or sections from different takes. `A Day in the Life' is such an example and while undoubtedly intriguing (how could you fail to make it so, with such profound writing as this song so easily displays), its no competition for the finished master. Personally I would have liked a few words to explain the decision to come off the road, as well as some contextual information surrounding Sgt. Pepper but perhaps the remaining Beatles simply wanted the music to speak for itself.

And Sgt. Pepper (which dominates Disc 2) certainly speaks for itself. This is the album that did so much for the format - printed lyrics, gatefold sleeve, inserts, an iconic sleeve design (itself full of icons) - that has become a statement not just for the music but for the times it was recorded in, as well as setting the bar for others to surpass in terms of musical complexity and experimentation. Those that managed to hold onto the pop sensibilities that are the foundations of Sgt Pepper and survived the Sixties' pre-occupation with drugs, went onto tap into the deep reserves of an emerging market where pop turned into rock and fame turned into fortune. Just about every subsequent rock star worth mentioning in dispatches owes a debt to The Beatles in general and to Sgt. Pepper in particular.

By 1967 The Beatles had become a band that appeared neither on radio nor television, although they would make exceptions when they were in control of proceedings of course - their live telecast of All You Need is Love was an event (a TV `happening' if you will) not merely a programme and A Magical Mystery Tour was a Beatles production where they (unfortunately) controlled the entire thing. From here on in The Beatles relied largely on their industriousness, their talent as writers and a solid reputation to hide any sense of crisis that lurked within. And no single event signalled the arrival of that crisis more than the death of Brian Epstein, whose job, it seems, was done.

So, on the whole, Anthology 2 is a fair representation of the period even if precious little stands up as essential listening compared to the material the band issued at the time. But with material this arresting it's impossible to dismiss or downplay the collection, so I'll give it 4 stars.
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on 14 October 2003
Although most of the 45 tracks are largely interesting works in progress there are also 4 self written tracks that can not be found anyehere else ....enough reason alone for a fan to buy this! Better than "Anthology 1" due to the higher quality songs exposed and better recordings of them but not as good as "Anthology 3".
Overall this is an interesting and enjoyable experience of the craft that went into the Beatles late Summer-Autumn period from the 1965 album "Help" to late 1967 "The Magical Mystery Tour".
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on 27 November 2016
Released in 1996, this 2 CD anthology covers the period February 1965 to February 1968 when the Fab Four were at their creative peak: covering the albums/EPs of Help, Rubber Soul, Revolver, Sgt Pepper’s and Magical Mystery Tour. CD 1 contains five live tracks, taken from two performances in August 1965 before they stopped touring. The rest of the CDs comprise previously unreleased first takes and variant takes of songs that the group and ‘Fifth Beatles’ George Martin went on to develop and rearrange for the released versions. There are three unreleased songs, all from 1965: ’12 Bar Original’ (an instrumental), ‘If You’ve Got Trouble’ and ‘That Means a Lot’ – in all cases it is not surprising they did not ‘make the cut’ for the Help and Rubber Soul albums. As was the case with Anthology 1 (‘Free as a Bird’), Anthology 2 includes one substantially new track: ‘Real Love’, which adds to the vocals taken from a 1979 John Lennon demo instrumentation by the (then) remaining three Beatles added instrumentation. This song has a nice melody, but I would have much preferred a George Martin reworking rather than Jeff Lynne’s mushy production here. It's inclusion seems to be more of a marketing gimmick. Anthology 2 provides interesting insights into how songs such as ‘Strawberry Fields’ and ‘I Am the Walrus’ developed from very sparse beginnings into the full multi-instrumental glory of their final released version. But, by doing so, it highlights two things. First, the key to The Beatles success was their ability to develop song ideas and, with the arrangement skills of George Martin, develop them into pop-rock perfection: none of the first or variant takes on Anthology 2 is superior to the final version. Second, with The Beatles releasing four albums and an EP in this 36 months period, virtually all the songs they wrote found their way to record: there are no hidden gems of unreleased songs hiding away in the vaults. The Anthology series give a fascinating insight into The Beatles creative process and is of great interest for ‘Beatles addicts’. But for the more casual listener who wants to hear Beatles songs in their finest versions, best to go straight to the Red, Blue and individual original albums.
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