Friday, 7 December 2012

The Beatles Anthology

The Beatles Anthology was probably the most anticipated documentary on The Beatles ever. It had begun life almost as soon as The Beatles split up. Neil Aspinall, their long time friend and road manager started collecting together material on his friends' career and at some point in the 1970's put together an early version called 'The Long and Winding Road' to show the Beatles. John, George and Ringo reportedly weren't impressed that Neil was naming it after a Paul song since tensions were still high between them so the project got pushed back and according to Yoko, there were plans to have the documentary be a Television special with the very thing that the world had been waiting for to finish it off: A Beatles reunion concert in England, John, Paul, George & Ringo together after 10 years apart. Sadly, with the murder of Lennon in 1980 this never happened and the project was shelved indefinitely.

In the Early 1990's Neil decided to push ahead with the project and after securing Paul, George and Ringo's direct involvement the documentary went ahead and featured new interviews with Paul, George & Ringo plus Neil Aspinall, Derek Taylor and George Martin as well as archive footage of John. No interviews were conducted with Pete Best, for whatever reason. Also there was some wonderful footage of The Beatles in their heyday aswell as previously unseen concert footage and home movies. The documentary series covered everything from their births in Liverpool to their last photo session in 1969. The series was broadcast on ITV in six, abridged parts in the Beatles' native United Kingdom and on ABC, which during the time the Anthology was on it's tagline was "A Beatle C", in the United States in a three part feature length special between 19-23 November, 1995.

Three albums were released to accompany the documentary which featured unreleased takes and even songs from the Beatles recording career. A couple of unfinished John Lennon songs with his voice on were re-recorded by Paul, George and Ringo making 'Free as A Bird" and "Real Love" the first "new" Beatles recordings in 25 years. The Anthology was their story in their own words but George often joked it should have been called "Mythology" because the Beatles agreed in the late 60's on a version of their story and it has since been expanded and elaborated until they themselves can't remember what is truth and what isn't. Which is why I personally believe the four of them came up with the whole "Paul is Dead" hoax. Purely because of all the people who read into their lyrics looking for a hidden meaning.

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