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The Beatles Anthology 2 album cover
3.91 | 92 ratings | 8 reviews | 26% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
rock music collection

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Boxset/Compilation, released in 1996

Songs / Tracks Listing

Disc 1
1. Real Love (3.54)
2. Yes It Is (1.50)
3. I'm Down (2.53)
4. You've Got To Hide Your Love Away (2.45)
5. If You've Got Trouble (2.48)
6. That Means A Lot (2.27)
7. Yesterday (2.34)
8. It's Only Love (1.59)
9. I Feel Fine (2.16)
10. Ticket To Ride (2.45)
11. Yesterday (2.43)
12. Help! (2.55)
13. Everybody's Trying To Be My Baby (2.45)
14. Norwegian Wood (This Bird Has Flown) (1.59)
15. I'm Looking Through You (2.54)
16. 12-Bar Original (2.55)
17. Tomorrow Never Knows (3.14)
18. Got To Get You Into My Life (2.54)
19. And Your Bird Can Sing (2.13)
20. Taxman (2.32)
21. Eleanor Rigby (Strings Only) (2.06)
22. I'm Only Sleeping (Rehearsal) (0.41)
23. I'm Only Sleeping (Take 1) (2.59)
24. Rock And Roll Music (1.39)
25. She's A Woman (2.55)

Disc 2
1. Strawberry Fields Forever (Demo Sequence) (1.42)
2. Strawberry Fields Forever (Take 1) (2.35)
3. Strawberry Fields Forever (Take 7 & Edit Piece) (4.14)
4. Penny Lane (3.13)
5. A Day In The Life (5.05)
6. Good Morning Good Morning (2.40)
7. Only A Northern Song (2.44)
8. Being For The Benefit Of Mr Kite! (Takes 1 And 2) (1.05)
9. Being For The Benefit Of Mr Kite! (Take 7) (2.34)
10. Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds (3.06)
11. Within You Without You (Instrumental) (5.27)
12. Sgt Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band (Reprise) (1.27)
13. You Know My Name (Look Up The Number) (5.43)
14. I Am The Walrus (4.02)
15. The Fool On The Hill (Demo) (2.48)
16. Your Mother Should Know (3.02)
17. The Fool On The Hill (Take 4) (3.45)
18. Hello, Goodbye (3.18)
19. Lady Madonna (2.22)
20. Across The Universe (3.28)

Total Time 1:27:54

Line-up / Musicians

- John Lennon / guitars, vocals
- Paul McCartney / bass, vocals
- George Harrison / guitar, vocals
- Ringo Starr / drums, vocals

Releases information

CD Apple Corps CDPCSP728

Thanks to PROGMAN for the addition
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THE BEATLES Anthology 2 ratings distribution

(92 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of rock music(26%)
Excellent addition to any rock music collection(50%)
Good, but non-essential (23%)
Collectors/fans only (1%)
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)

THE BEATLES Anthology 2 reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by chopper
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars This is my favourite of the 3 Anthologies. Most of these songs are of course already well known, but this CD features alternate versions, mainly early ones that didn't make it to the finished LP at the time. The highlights are -

"Real Love" - another Lennon solo effort completed by the remaining Beatles as per "Free as a bird". The original solo version can be found on the Lennon box set.

"That means a lot" - originally intended for Ringo, but eventually a single for P J Proby. An undiscovered Beatles gem.

"Tomorrow never knows" - a completely different early version, much slower.

"I'm looking through you" - McCartney's demo, a bit slower than the released version and without the "Why tell me why" middle eight.

"Got to get you into my life" - again very different to the Revolver version and without the brass section.

"And your bird can sing" - Lennon dissolves into hysterical laughter. "Strawberry Fields Forever" - there are 3 versions here which show how the final version we all know was constructed from the gentler acoustic version and the more manic version with the strings and brass. Fascinating.

"You know my name look up the number" - the full stereo version as opposed to the shorter mono version of Past Masters volume 2.

As with all releases of this type, most are of historical interest rather than something that you would play all the time, but few groups have unreleased material as good as this.

Review by Guillermo
3 stars This second volume of the "Anthology" series is more interesting due to the influence that the music of The Beatles of this period (1965-1968) had in the deveopment of new styles like Progressive Rock by other bands in later years. Betwwen those years, the creativity of The Beatles improved a lot in arrangements, new ideas, new experiments, always helped a lot by a very good producer like George Martin. With another producer, the band maybe couldn`t develop their ideas in a proper way, IMO. George Martin helped them to bring to reality their arrangements. He was a very good "Translator" of all these ideas to reality.

This "Anthology 2" package starts with "Real Love", another "new song", another song compoosed and recorded by Lennon in the late 70s to which the rest of the band added their parts in 1995, again with Jeff Lynne as a co-producer, but with better results than in "Free as a Bird". I think that as a song, "Real Love" is better than "Free as a Bird". Also the arrangement done by the other three Beatles are better, IMO.

The rest of Disc 1 shows the development of new aexperimental ideas for songs, like "Tomorrow Never Knows". Also there are some previously unreleased tracks, like "That Means a Lot", a very good song, IMO, which Lennon & McCartney finally gave to singer P.J. Proby to record, and "If You`ve Got Trouble", a song composed for Ringo to sing. There are also some live recordings of their 1965 and 1966 tours.

Disc 2 is mostly dedicated to their 1967-early 1968 period, with demos, alternate takes or new mixings of songs from the "Sgt. Pepper`s" album, the "Magical Mystery Tour" E.P. and some songs released as singles. Also included, is the 6 minutes Stereo version of "You Know My Name (Look Up the Number)", a very funny song. Disc Two is finished with a very good previously unreleased version of "Across the Universe", recorded in early 1968.

Review by Menswear
4 stars Volume 1 is undispensable.

For a Beatles fan like myself, this is a must. Living without it would be insanity, since so much material is related to my favorite period: from Revolver to Magical Mystery Tour.

The Beatles cohesion was still touchable, not too much dissonance was on the horizon. George still wanted to be 'fab', Ringo was himself has it's best, Paul and John were still tolerating and sometimes admirating themselves quietly.

To have Real Love as the 'new' Beatles song only proves this record right: this is to get and keep for a long time. Real Love is far superior as Free as a Bird in melody and honesty. Real Love already existing in John's repertoire, it is only better with George slide guitar and Ringo's laconic drumming. Plus you have 'Yes it is' and 'If You want trouble' performed by Ringo, a great song that could've been on Help if fate hasn't got into it.

Get this to complete your Beatles collection in a significant way. Bonus songs, great humor and total LSD attitude, this is the most complete anthology of the 3.

Vlolume 2 is fine, but redundant.

Review by AtomicCrimsonRush
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Each Beatles Anthology album is packed with alternative takes, demos, rarities and lots of fun chatter, a Beatles fan's paradise. This is perhaps my fave of the 3 due to the era it was focussing on, the psychedelic Beatles. I remember hearing some of these versions on a special radio show with the host boasting of owning such rarities; I wonder how he feels now that the versions are so easily accessible. In any case this is a great afternoon of listening and surprises with some of the rawness of the early versions without the studio trickery. They are not better versions per se but are simply fascinating curios showcasing the creation of legendary songs and milestone albums.

The album begins with the new song with Lennon resurrected thanks to the use of studio wizardry, Real Love (3.54), and it is a great song with a great clip to coincide; irresistible to Beatleholics. Highlights on CD 1 are alt versions of You've Got To Hide Your Love Away (2.45), If You've Got Trouble (2.48), Yesterday (2.34), It's Only Love (1.59), I Feel Fine (2.16), Ticket To Ride (2.45), Help! (2.55), Norwegian Wood (This Bird Has Flown) (1.59), 12-Bar Original (2.55), Tomorrow Never Knows (3.14), And Your Bird Can Sing (2.13), Taxman (2.32), Eleanor Rigby (Strings Only) (2.06), I'm Only Sleeping (Take 1) (2.59), Rock And Roll Music (1.39) and She's A Woman (2.55).

Highlights on CD2, are definitely the many versions of Strawberry Fields Forever (Demo Sequence), (Take 1), and (Take 7 & Edit Piece). Also love the versions Penny Lane (3.13), A Day In The Life (5.05), Good Morning Good Morning (2.40), Only A Northern Song (2.44), Being For The Benefit Of Mr Kite! (Takes 1 And 2), and (Take 7), Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds (3.06), Within You Without You (Instrumental) (5.27), Sgt Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band (Reprise) (1.27), You Know My Name (Look Up The Number) (5.43), I Am The Walrus (4.02), Your Mother Should Know (3.02), Hello, Goodbye (3.18), and Across The Universe (3.28). Wow, that is a lot of highlights but that is why this is really a great Beatles collection. If you take it as a collection of superb alternative versions it is a very enjoyable experience, but one has to bear in mind that none of the versions are cleaned up and as great as the originals. It does not matter really because this is a collection of how the tracks sound before the studio trickery and is certainly fascinating listening from start to end.

Review by Chicapah
4 stars The overwhelming success of the "Anthology 1" compilation probably surprised even die-hard Beatle fans who, while still not being able to understand how someone could be blasť about them, may have thought that such an eclectic collection of rarities, live performances and outtakes would only appeal to those of their own obsessed ilk. But the reality was that even a quarter of a century after their breakup their legacy had only grown larger in size and stature, due mainly to the fact that no artist or group had even come close to having the earth-shaking impact that the Fab Four had on civilization. Whether it was fate or incredibly fortunate timing or God's will that made the doors of fame open wide for the quartet from Liverpool they still to this day stand head and shoulders above all musical entities that have come and gone in the history of music. I suspect that they'll continue to be dissected and talked about a thousand years from now with the same reverence and admiration that they're granted today.

The first edition of the anthology centered on presenting the aural history of how they rose from the humblest of beginnings (via crude home recordings and amateurish demos) to become a solid, tight and cohesive combo of dedicated musicians and singer/songwriters who worked like the devil to constantly improve their skills. That they had raw talent and irresistible charisma is beyond debate but that double CD set illustrated clearly their indefatigable collective drive to push themselves to not only reach but exceed their potential. Few can say they changed the world they lived in as much as they did. "Anthology 2" is a continuation of the same method, uncovering and exposing the inner workings of their genius by allowing us to hear more of the behind-the-scenes stuff that led up to what we experienced as the final product eventually released on their heralded LPs. Roughly covering the time period from the "Help" soundtrack sessions to around the time of their infamous trip to India in February of 1968, the listener gets to hear how some of their most beloved compositions evolved out of incomplete and sometimes hazy outlines of song ideas as well as pointing out by default the huge contributions made by their producer extraordinaire, George Martin, and the courageous engineering crew of Abbey Road Studios that helped to turn their skimpy sketches into full-fledged masterpieces.

They open with the second new Beatles tune to be released since the band's demise, "Real Love." This one, even more than the stunning "Free as a Bird," has John Lennon's fingerprints all over it because on this one they really didn't have to add to the number's chord structure or alter the arrangement very much. Credit the phenomenal Jeff Lynne for doing another outstanding job of taking John's unadorned cassette recording and making it palatable so that the surviving threesome could embellish it and bestow upon it the indefinable Beatle magic that sets it apart from all others. Following that impressive curtain-raiser you're treated to studio run-throughs of seven of their songs. "Yes It Is" is presented in a stripped-down form that I actually prefer to the muddled final version that featured their sometimes off-key 3-part harmonies. Two of these numbers never saw the light of day until '96 and with good reason. "If You've Got Trouble" with Ringo singing the lead is weak and "That Means a Lot" sounds like they were aiming at erecting a Phil Spector-like wall of sound. Both provide proof that they were human after all and not every one of their compositions was a keeper. On "Yesterday" it's like you're sitting right there in the room with McCartney as he teaches Harrison and Lennon the chords and then sings it like it'd been around for decades. Next comes five live cuts, four of which were taped at the ABC Theatre in Blackpool for a TV show in August of '65. The most intriguing is Paul's debut of "Yesterday" for the rapt audience sans the group, complete with a string quartet behind him. The fifth live selection features George crooning "Everybody's Trying to be my Baby" from their historic Shea Stadium concert later that same month. The next ten tracks are more rough renditions of some of their most famous tunes. One is an instrumental called "12 Bar Original" that carries a palpable Booker T. and the MGs vibe but it's really not much more than an in-studio jam. I found "Tomorrow Never Knows" to be a standout because it demonstrates how adventurously progressive they were starting to get by experimenting with unique effects and radical recording techniques. On "And Your Bird Can Sing" the vocalists have the giggles so badly that one must suspect that they'd been smoking funny cigarettes at the time. A knockout is the string quartet-only accompanying track for "Eleanor Rigby" that shines a light on Martin's invaluable ability to take something merely good and turn it into something ground-breaking. I also found "I'm Only Sleeping" with stripped-down vocal, acoustic guitars and bongos to be very cool.

We then get two more live cuts from Nippon Budokan Hall in Japan from June of '66 that, to my ears, belie their fatigue and frustration with trying to perform on stage. (I still think their "Live at the Hollywood Bowl" LP offers a fantastic as well as the best encapsulation of their energetic and exciting in-person presence. See my review of that disc on this site for more info.) It's at this juncture that a new, freer mindset becomes evident as they've made the decision to no longer do concerts but concentrate on taking modern music where no other rock & roll entities have ever dared to take it. We're treated to three different looks at the formation of the psychedelic "Strawberry Fields Forever" that includes upright bass, slide guitar and some of the earliest use of the Mellotron. They obviously weren't afraid of taking risks. Another perk is hearing "A Day in the Life" with John counting aloud where the ascending orchestral mayhem will later be inserted. The instrumental take of Harrison's "Within You, Without You" demonstrates how comfortable he'd become in a relatively short time at manipulating the ungainly sitar while their loose demo of "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band" is stunningly aggressive and rockin'. I've always liked their goofy "You Know My Name (Look up my number)" and the alternate version included here is just as engaging in its own silly way. All of the other tracks included in this 20-song stretch share a common characteristic. Taken at face value you'll often wonder how they managed to turn disjointed, unrefined melody ideas into the classics that we know and love. It's not unlike witnessing the awkward, crude initial studio takes of some of Yes' prog gems that were added as bonuses on some of their digitally remastered re-releases. It's a miracle they didn't give up on them before they had a chance to fill out. In the case of the Beatles it was no doubt their ability, learned from experience, to see beyond the shaky chord progressions and unfinished lyric lines to what they heard in their heads. Not to mention George Martin's uncanny knack for letting them venture into places that no one had ever dreamed of venturing before and making their aural fantasies become a reality. The album ends with John singing "Across the Universe," a beautiful tune that comes off as being much more accessible without the overproduced distractions that marred it on "Let It Be."

Put out on March 18, 1996, almost four months after its predecessor, "Anthology 2" went straight to the #1 spot on the charts despite being another double CD package. It seemed that the public's appetite for anything Beatle-related was still insatiable. Serious musicologists of all ages will find this collection intriguing and informative because it so honestly portrays John, Paul, George and Ringo as fearless explorers that set no limits on what was possible for them to create together. If you're a fledgling songwriter you owe it to yourself to give this a listen and learn from the masters how to never be scared of sticking with a composition that you know has potential even when it sounds fragmented and unfocused. The Beatles always seemed to be able to see the light at the end of the tunnel and they knew that getting there was an exhilarating challenge that made it all worthwhile. Check it out.

Latest members reviews

4 stars The second of a trilogy of alternative and previously unreleased Beatles material. These three dubble-CDs are a quite interesting historical documents together with the accompanying booklets and just because of that worthy of the admission price. This, the second one is the one that I find to ... (read more)

Report this review (#94808) | Posted by Frasse | Tuesday, October 17, 2006 | Review Permanlink

5 stars For a prog-rock fan, this is the most interesting Beatles period (1965-1967), the one in which they were progressively abandoning the "pure pop songs" and started to experiment with the studio technique recordings, adding loops, mellotron, classical instruments, sitar, and instruments recorded ... (read more)

Report this review (#86668) | Posted by Jordi Planas | Friday, August 11, 2006 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Every Beatles fun must own this album, it would be a crime not to. The start of a new era for the band, they were gettin' better evry day and with every record they put out. From Rubber Soul to Abbey Road, The Beatles reached their creative pick and it was because of that period that they are ... (read more)

Report this review (#74371) | Posted by Pascual | Saturday, April 8, 2006 | Review Permanlink

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