Rolling Stone (4/4/96, p.59) - 3 Stars - Good - "...these tracks offer a compelling human story along with one of the most crystalline definitions of synergy in popular culture..."
Melody Maker (3/16/96, p.38) - Recommended - "...The best of this is matchless, and the worst is funnily fascinating..."
NME (Magazine) (3/16/96, p.46) - 10 (out of 10) - "...the most extraordinary documentary about pop ever made..."
The second in this series of rare and unreleased Beatles recordings covers the group's famed middle period. It features outtakes, demos and alternate versions of songs from the albums HELP!, RUBBER SOUL, REVOLVER, SGT. PEPPER'S LONELY HEARTS CLUB BAND and MAGICAL MYSTERY TOUR. There are also three previously-unreleased Beatles songs from 1965, several live cuts and the second of the Beatles' new recordings, "Real Love," which began as a late-'70s John Lennon demo and was completed by the remaining Beatles in 1995.
The Beatles: John Lennon (vocals, acoustic & electric guitars, piano, drum programming); Paul McCartney (vocals, acoustic guitar, piano, acoustic & electric basses, percussion); George Harrison (vocals, acoustic & electric guitars, sitar, percussion); Ringo Starr (vocals, drums, percussion).
Additional personnel includes: Mal Evans (spoken vocals); Brian Jones (saxophone); George Martin (harmonium).
Producers: Jeff Lynne, John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison, Ringo Starr (disc 1, track 1); George Martin (disc 1, tracks 2-8, 14-23; disc 2, tracks 2-12, 14-20); George Martin, Chris Thomas (disc 2, track 13).
Compilation producer: George Martin.
Engineers: Geoff Emerick, Jon Jacobs (disc 1, track 1); Norman Smith (disc 1, tracks 2-8, 14-16); Geoff Emerick (disc 1, tracks 17-23; disc 2, tracks 2-12, 14-15); Geoff Emerick, Jeff Jarratt (disc 2, track 13); Ken Scott (disc 2, tracks 16-18, 20); Ken Scott, Geoff Emerick (disc 2, track 19).
Principally recorded at EMI Studios, London, England between February 16, 1965 and April 30, 1969; and live at ABC Theatre, Blackpool, England, Shea Stadium, New York, New York and Nippon Budokan Hall, Tokyo, Japan in 1965 and 1966. "Real Love" recorded in New York, New York circa 1979 and in Sussex, England in February 1995. Includes liner notes by Derek Taylor and track-by-track annotations by Mark Lewisohn.
ANTHOLOGY: 2 features the Beatles' working tapes from their most fertile period--the years in which they abandoned touring, retreated into the studio, and recorded some of their most enduring music. This isn't a survey of Beatles hits, but a treasure trove of rough drafts and near misses. An early take of "You've Got To Hide Your Love Away" finds John Lennon still working out his vocal phrasing; a run-through of "Got To Get You Into My Life," recorded before the brass section was brought in, has the band trying all sorts of harmonies and an alternate bridge. "Your Mother Should Know," with a marching snare-drum beat, is nearly unrecognizable from the released version, and "Good Morning Good Morning," stripped of the heavy SGT. PEPPER psychedelic makeup, rocks with Stones-like ferocity.
There is also lots of clowning around on ANTHOLOGY: 2--most prominently, John and Paul giggling their way through an early vocal take of "And Your Bird Can Sing." But the bulk of ANTHOLOGY: 2 isn't genius at play; it's genius at work. There are three takes of "Strawberry Fields Forever" that see this rock classic evolving from Lennon demo to bare-bones practice arrangement to full-blown production. Also featured are McCartney's solo demos for two of the Beatles' best. To hear him showing the band the chords to "Yesterday," and sitting alone at his piano, still fooling with the words to "Fool On The Hill," is to hear pop history quite literally in the making.
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