The mid-1990s were important years for Beatles fans with the
release of the three Anthology CD sets as well as the video
series and extensive book. The CDs are not repackaged greatest
hits but are full of unreleased tracks and curios that do
much to tell the story of the Beatles and are thus of major
Released in November 1995, Anthology 1 covers the early years up to the
release of Beatles for Sale. Leaving aside the later track Free as a Bird, the
compilation starts with two tracks from the Quarrymen, the oldest recordings of
John, Paul and George. In Spite of all the Danger is a McCartney/Harrison song
with Lennon handling the lead vocals and shows that even in the late 1950s they
were already writing their own material. This was unusual but turned out to be a
major reason for their later success.
The next three tracks are the only known recordings of the Beatles with Stu
Sutcliffe. The Ray Charles track Hallelujah, I Love Her So was a stalwart of the
live shows and appear on the Star Club tapes. These three tracks were recorded
as demos at Paul's Liverpool home.
While in Hamburg the band befriended
singer/guitarist Tony Sheridan and Polydor made the first "official" recordings
of the Beatles. Only two tracks were credited to the Beatles, Ain't She Sweet
and Cry for a Shadow, while My Bonnie was credited to Tony Sheridan & the Beat
Brothers. By now, Pete Best had been recruited on drums and he features on these
recordings. My Bonnie is an important disc in Beatles history. Released
initially in Germany only, Raymond Jones requested it in NEMS record store in
Liverpool run by a certain Brian Epstein. This encouraged him to check out this
local band at the nearby Cavern Club.
By now Brian Epstein was the group's manager and he approached record
companies in London. Decca invited the band to record some demos in January
1962. The tracks chosen were mostly covers of standards which were OK but
nothing special and did not highlight the band's original songs. Decca were not
overly impressed. This is despite the inclusion of Paul's Like Dreamers Do
and John's Hello Little Girl which were later hits for the Applejacks
and the Fourmost respectively.
Almost the last chance was George Martin who ran EMI's Parlophone label. This
imprint released mainly comedy LPs but the Beatles were impressed that
the artists included the Goons. Two of the four numbers played at EMI's Abbey
Road studios are included here. Besame Mucho was a stage favourite while
Love Me Do eventually became the group's debut single. Interestingly, the
Beatles made three studio recordings of Love Me Do. This version
features Pete Best on drums before he was replaced by Ringo Starr. The LP
version of the track features Ringo while the single version has session drummer
How Do You Do It was lined up as the follow-up to Love Me Do.
The band wished to stick with their own material. Gerry & the Pacemakers
used the Beatles arrangement of the track and it took them to number 1 in
the charts. The Beatles finally released Please Please Me and the
version included here is an early recording without harmonica.
An early Lennon/McCartney composition is One After 909. These are
early attempts although the song was finally released on the Let It Be
The remainder of disc one is made of live versions of well-known Beatles
tracks and include two cover versions from the new LP With the Beatles.
Despite having plenty of their own quality material they still included cover
versions in their stage show and on LPs.
Disc two starts with the famous Royal Variety Show performance. This was a
major showcase for the Beatles and they opened with their number one
single She Loves You. They then followed with two covers, Till There
Was You and Twist & Shout. This was a good way to please the broad
audience. The final track was prefaced with Lennon's quip about people in the
cheap seats clapping and the remainder rattling their jewellery.
Morecombe & Wise was another important TV show with a huge audience. The
Beatles turned in with the comedy of Morecombe & Wise and showed off their
own wit. George, in particular, was ready with a quick line while John Lennon
could always master the "put-down", noting that being famous was "not like in
One thing that is amazing about the Beatles is that so many of their
LP tracks are as well-known as the hit singles. Paul's All My Loving was
the first sing the band played on America's Ed Sullivan Show. Taken from the new
LP With the Beatles the song made an immediate impact and the show
effectively broke the Beatles in the US. They would return several times.
After returning to the UK, the Beatles started to record the
soundtrack for their first film A Hard Day's Night. This was recorded
before the start of filming as they did not play live in the film. However, even
while they were undertaking the hectic filming schedule they were still booked
to record a TV special in April1964. I Wanna Be Your Man - a
Lennon/McCartney sing that was a hit for the Rolling Stones - Little
Richard's Long Tall Sally, the Shirelles' Boys
(recorded on Please Please Me) and Shout were recorded although
Shout was not featured in the final Around the Beatles programme.
Shout is particularly interesting as Lulu's cover of the Isley
Brothers song was a major hit later. The Beatles version is quite
different and has all four Beatles sharing vocals.
No Reply, I'll Be Back and Eight Days a Week are
works-in-progress for the forthcoming Beatles for Sale as is the
Kansas City/Hey-Hey-Hey-Hey medley which dated back to Hamburg days. Two
previously unreleased songs were George's You Know What To Do and the
cover Leave My Kitten Alone. George's track was his second song and did
make any previous Beatles album although he did have a song on With
the Beatles. Given the number of cover versions included on Beatles for
Sale it seems strange that a decent song like You Know What To Do was
omitted. Leave My Kitten Alone was intended for inclusion on Beatles
for Sale but was left out.
Anthology 1 is arguably the most interesting of the three Anthology
releases as it shows the band evolving from its stage act through gaining a
record contract and becoming global megastars. The inclusion of tracks by the
Quarrymen as well as recordings with Stu Sutcliffe and Pete Best make this
CD Release: 21 November 1995
- How Do You Do It
- Please Please Me
- She Loves You