Anthology 1 review by The Beatles

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  • Released: Nov 20, 1995
  • Sound: 9
  • Lyrics: 8
  • Overall Impression: 8
  • Reviewer's score: 8.3 Superb
  • Users' score: 8 (35 votes)
The Beatles: Anthology 1
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Sound — 9
An sonic trip through the back lots of post-war Liverpool all the way up to the teetering edge of stardom, The Beatles Anthology 1 offers a more than vital glimpse to the fan of the group's inception and early fame. Like others in the series, Track 1 (in this case, "Free As A Bird")is a "new" Beatles song, a Lennon demo completed by the then three surviving Beatles in 1995. From there the Anthology rewinds to 1958, starting at the Quarrymen's first recording and continuing onward, leaving Best behind and picking Starr up, and moving from scratchy tape recordings to studio demos. Of course, the early recordings sound dated and the live recordings are a little grainy (still miles better than Live at the Hollywood Bowl and Live at The Star Club 1962). But it is the historical significance that gives them merit, and even by 1961 (the recordings in Hamburg) they sound is almost no different than some of the hall reverb-drenched recordings of present day. All in all, the remastering process has left all of their songs intact, and made the earliest recordings listenable.

Lyrics — 8
As they whizz through show tunes ("Shiek of Araby"), covers (numerous), and eventually their own B-sides, the listener can hear Lennon/McCartney's voice grow from their skiffle roots to the pop genius of their early hits. It's difficult to say much about the record lyrically as many of the songs are written in the same vein (most of them were written at the same time and therefore have some similarities in wordplay and even in the music itself), but it certainly sounds ambitious. To hear them go from the simplicity of "How Do You Do It" to the alternate arrangement of "Eight Days A Week" is something to marvel in a band that had only rudimentary musical knowledge but a love for RnB and rock'n'roll. "No Reply" (demo): "I nearly died/'cause you walk hand in hand, with another man/plank...YOUR FACE." It was a work in progress of course, but it sounds like they're having a hell of a time doing it.

Overall Impression — 8
Although in terms of music it isn't as originals-orientated as Anthology 2 or 3, it is nevertheless an interesting look into the history of a group with more of a back story than groups that lasted twice as long as they did. Klaus Voorman's artwork for the series is both sentimental and irreverent, using torn up images of the Beatles (in their early leather days here) in a scrapbook style arrangement. It's as if you were in 1962, looking at these pasted-over advertisements for some "savage young" group called The Beatles.

13 comments sorted by best / new / date

    Jesus_Dean
    Theres no denying that the Beatles were one of the most influential bands ever. They had the freedom of doing in the studio anything that they wanted, regardless of how silly or senseless it may have seemed at the time. There is a diversity in the Beatles music that can be found nowhere else. Bands today have a certain style or format that the record label dictates which doesnt allow them to be as creative as they otherwise could be. I once read an interview with Janis Joplin where she complained (laughingly) about not being able to come up with new sounds or styles because the Beatles had already done it.
    Weyngott
    KurdtStaley wrote: also, why even review this? "the same old beatles you've been hearing for thirty years but with better sound quality" = entire review.
    Not to offend you... But do you have any idea what this album even is? It's not remastered Beatles, its almost the opposite: Demos, instrumentals, songs in mono and songs that never made it on the albums. So your logic won't work.
    yus_yus_13
    KurdtStaley wrote: ugh not true.. try listening to Brand New and Nirvana. They display way more contrast from album to album.
    Are you serious? You've obviously not been well acquainted with the Beatles catalogue. A Hard Day's Night -> Rubber Soul -> Revolver -> Sgt. Pepper's -> The White Album -> Abbey Road I left out a few, but each one of these steps were some of the most gradual musical changes by any band in the commercial music industry. I love Nirvana and own all three of their studio albums, but groups like this don't throw a stone on some of the greats of the 60s and 70s when it comes to album diversity
    fiktion
    KurdtStaley wrote: ugh not true.. try listening to Brand New and Nirvana. They display way more contrast from album to album. also, why even review this? "the same old beatles you've been hearing for thirty years but with better sound quality" = entire review.
    Lol. Hahahaha. Wow... Nirvana shows way more contrast than the Beatles? Not even. You are completely misinformed about everything you responded to. As Wyngott pointed out, this is way more than just remastered Beatles.
    -Dylan
    KurdtStaley wrote: Jesus_Dean wrote: Bands today have a certain style or format that the record label dictates which doesnt allow them to be as creative as they otherwise could be. ugh not true.. try listening to Brand New and Nirvana. They display way more contrast from album to album. also, why even review this? "the same old beatles you've been hearing for thirty years but with better sound quality" = entire review.
    you're a dumbass....
    jean_genie
    Also, note that even though some acts changed more than the Beatles (David Bowie is the most diverse musician I can think of offhand), no one else did as much in such a short amount of time While the Beatles were around for a while, their studio albums were made in ten years' time. The Beatles aren't my favourite band - even though they're up there - but I can't think of a single band that did even half as much new stuff as they did in ten years. It's almost like they were sent back from the future with a checklist. Almost every record has a different sound, every record was great (even though not every track was great), and most importantly, every sound was NEW. Meet The Beatles/With the Beatles launched the Britpop movement. Magical Mystery Tour launched the Psychedelic movement. Which in turn, created Metal. Beatles, Jefferson Airplane, Steppenwolf, Sabbath, Maiden. There's your timeline. Let it Be launched the Singer/Songwriter movement. Between these guys, Bob Dylan(or Woody Guthrie if you're a purist), and Chuck Berry comes basically all modern pop and rock. It just takes some 'in between' steps like Quicksilver Messenger Service and Blue Cheer that, unfortunately, not nearly enough people are familiar with today.
    KurdtStaley
    yus_yus_13 wrote: Are you serious? You've obviously not been well acquainted with the Beatles catalogue. A Hard Day's Night -> Rubber Soul -> Revolver -> Sgt. Pepper's -> The White Album -> Abbey Road I left out a few, but each one of these steps were some of the most gradual musical changes by any band in the commercial music industry. I love Nirvana and own all three of their studio albums, but groups like this don't throw a stone on some of the greats of the 60s and 70s when it comes to album diversity
    um you're trying to argue with me but you actually just agreed with me. I said they display a larger contrast from one album to the next as in from album A to A to B and then from B to C. The beatles changed more over their entire career from album A to K (or whatever it would be) but they've also had a much longer career than either of those bands.
    fiktion wrote Lol. Hahahaha. Wow... Nirvana shows way more contrast than the Beatles? Not even. You are completely misinformed about everything you responded to. As Wyngott pointed out, this is way more than just remastered Beatles.
    Then to this idiot, who obviously doesn't understand english. You think there is more of a contrast from Help to a Hard Days Night than there is from Bleach to Nevermind? You're "obviously misinformed" about what the word "next" means. And no this isn't original. I have these anthology albums or something exactly the same under a different name that has all the beatles oddities and covers from their early years. So in fact you're the misinformed one but that's not surprising since you can't understand english, it must be hard to be well read.
    hairy-southpaw
    Nevermind is nothing more than a more focused Bleach. I'm not saying there's anything wrong with that though. Both are really great albums.
    steve108819
    KurdtStaley has no clue what he's talking about. The reason Bleach and Nevermind sound so different comes down to one word. Budget. Anyone that would put The Beatles and Nirvana in the same sentence must be taken with a grain of salt.
    leatherjackets9
    Are you serious? You've obviously not been well acquainted with the Beatles catalogue. A Hard Day's Night -> Rubber Soul -> Revolver -> Sgt. Pepper's -> The White Album -> Abbey Road I left out a few, but each one of these steps were some of the most gradual musical changes by any band in the commercial music industry. I love Nirvana and own all three of their studio albums, but groups like this don't throw a stone on some of the greats of the 60s and 70s when it comes to album diversity. i like leather jackets
    KurdtStaley
    Jesus_Dean wrote: Bands today have a certain style or format that the record label dictates which doesnt allow them to be as creative as they otherwise could be.
    ugh not true.. try listening to Brand New and Nirvana. They display way more contrast from album to album. also, why even review this? "the same old beatles you've been hearing for thirty years but with better sound quality" = entire review.