View Full Version : The Beatles Anthology

11-06-2004, 02:05 PM
Searching for some optimism after the election, I watched the entire Beatles Anthology this week.

This is the best document on the Fabs ever produced. Thankfully made with the co-operation of key players in their rise and fall (save John, Brian and Mal Evans), this documentary film is a true testament to these extremely talented lads from Liverpool.

It shows just how intelligent, witty, sarcastic and exalted these 4 men were. It covers their entire career, starting with their humble beginnings in northern England (The Quarrymen, The Cavern Club), and progressing with a wonderful pace to the long and winding road that are the albums Let it Be & Abbey Road.

You see just how TIGHT these guys were. Tight as musicians, tight as friends, tight as brothers, tight as Beatlemania wave-riders.
The mania was indeed awesome, and if you pay close attention to this documentary, you can literally feel the power of "conquering the known world through music".

The songs. The songs are divine in most cases.
As Eric Burdon famously said: "You can't have a party without Beatles music". Raw rock and roll for the most part, they progressed to psychedelia when Bob Dylan said to them one day in a hotel room "I like your music guys but you're not sayin' anything!"
He turned them on to the herbal jazz cigarettes and told them to write more avant-garde tunes. The result was Revolver, arguably their best album, and recognized everywhere as one of the best records ever produced. Listen to Here, There and Everywhere- it's Sir Paul in Romantic overdrive.

I could talk about the Beatles forever. My favorite band is The Doors, but The Four Horsemen of Pepperland are held in supreme regard, and anyone who knows music cannot deny the genius that was THE BEATLES.

Watch The Beatles Anthology if you haven't already.
It's the story told by those who were at the vortex.

11-06-2004, 06:33 PM
Thanks Johann. I'm a Beatle maniac and yet amazingly have never seen the Anthology from start to finish. Gotta get it back into my life.

The Beatles were such a presence, way beyond anything in the world of pop today. I envy that era, where pop music had depth. The music was divine, as you say, and the characters were fascinating. At my undergraduate college, they actually taught an entire course on the Beatles. Can you imagine a course on Britney Spears now? It would be over in 5 minutes.

Revolver is too schizophrenic an album for me. Hate to say it. Some of Paul's "power ballads" are borderline nauseating, though it still cracks me up that "Got to Get You into My Life" is about pot and not about some fresh squeeze of the month. John's songs on that album are just brilliantly original and fucked-up, though. I mean, what were his influences? Lewis Carroll, I guess to some extent, but it's really just a window into the mind of John. "And your bird can sing, but you can't see me". Huh? If I had to pick a favorite album it would be The White Album. Two discs, all great songs, start it up with "Back in the U.S.S.R.", that'll raise a few eyebrows.

Is there any musical act nowadays (or in the last 30 years) that wasn't influenced by The Beatles or Bob Dylan to some degree? I doubt it. And these guys were still in their 20's when they broke up in 1970. What would John being doing now if he were still alive? Could he have had any influence on the election? Would he still be bigger than Christ?

11-07-2004, 11:15 AM
Well the Beatles are the greatest band ever, and this documentary is great, but . . .
They really botch up the ending. Six hours or so is spent on Beatlemania, but about an hour is dedicated to The White Album, Abbey Road, and Let it Be combined. Not a fair distribution, but they probably don't like talking about the fighting times. Still a great documentary and works well with The Complete Beatles which kisses their royal asses but contains no interviews with surviving Beatles. Happens to be OOP, but so does Let it Be and we can still find that.

11-07-2004, 03:33 PM
My favorite album is the White Album as well.
Who doesn't get taken away with "Dear Prudence" or "Julia"?
That record is known as "the fracturing of the band", but I don't care. Some of the greatest music ever is on that LP.

I agree with you completely on todays' music scene. The lack of depth and meaning to the songs is really what pisses me off.
Britney Spears did a song called "Toxic" recently, and when I saw the video I wanted to puke. You're toxic alright: Toxic Waste.
Anyone see the ad for her perfume "Curious"?
I'm curious Britney: when are you gonna get your gold watch and fade away like the New Kids on the Block? Your 15 minutes were up about 3 years ago.. same goes for that skank/note destroyer Christina Aguilera. If this is what passes for "top of the charts" these days we're in serious trouble.

Incidentally, Sir Paul recently said that he took a drive by himself from London to northern england and he took with him 2 albums: Sgt. Pepper and The Beach Boys' Pet Sounds. He said he "wondered where the progress is in modern music. He's right:
where are the bands who are pushing the frontiers? U2? Not really. They keep moving forward and rarely repeat themselves, but the music is not as great as the Beatles' was.

There is NOBODY as far as I can see who is as creative or musically on par with the Fabs today. Eminem and The Red Hot Chili Peppers are damn creative, as well as The Beastie Boys, but the music doesn't really speak to me.
I can appreciate what they do but I can't really relate.

It's sad. As Jim Morrison sang: We need something else, something new. Something else to get us through...Calling on the dogs, calling on the Gods....

Where is the spirit of music these days? It can only be found in the classic texts of classic rock: The discographies of The Beatles, Pink Floyd, The Doors, Jimi Hendrix, Cream, etc..

Go to the classics!

11-07-2004, 05:21 PM
I am waiting for the Grateful Dead anthology(the greatest live int concert band of them all) which should be that long i don't think i'll live long enough to see it all!
Old habits die hard.

11-07-2004, 10:59 PM
So Prudence was Mia Farrow's sister, and Julia was John Lennon's mom, right? And a "helter skelter" is actually a playground slide, though Manson unfortunately wasn't familar with that British term.

I guess it's ironic that John would be 64 if he were alive today. I think Paul's the one who actually sang that song ("When I'm 64"), though of course it was credited to Lennon/McCartney. I bet they never thought that day would come...

I'll make it a point to catch the Anthology ASAP.

11-10-2004, 02:26 AM
I admire the Dead, and I have a couple albums: Workingman's Dead & AoxomoxoA.

The classic rock from the 60's is where it's at for me.
The Beatles were alchemical, they really had something, those guys. I think any new band would want the cohesion these guys had, the ability to reach for a common goal and have everyone contribute in a profound way. Think Magical Mystery Tour : when those white-tuxed lads stroll down the staircase it's a beautiful thing.

Your mother should know...

11-10-2004, 05:47 PM
saw the fab 4 in melbourne oz back in 64,they played for 1/2 hour,&
u couldn't hear a bloody thing! all that screaming,but a time i will never forget.
not a great live band,but a monumental studio oufit,thank god Dylan turned them on,it just got weirder & better after that.

11-28-2004, 08:57 PM
Finally got to see the Beatles Anthology. Well worth the time, love the concert footage and interviews, but still not quite as much historical biography type material as I was expecting. More of a first person, subjective account of their time as The Beatles. Very successful in achieving what it sets out to do, but doesn't really try to go further and explain what was so original and fresh about The Beatles or what their importance was to that time and to the years since then. Probably not a subject the band members themselves would feel comfortable taking on.

Part of what I love about The Beatles is that they never took themselves too seriously. I think when the load started to get too heavy, that's when they broke up. Great moment in Anthology is Paul giving an interview, while someone behind him (presumably one of the other band members) keeps thumping him in the back of the head intermittently. He just laughs it off and keeps on talking.

11-29-2004, 12:22 PM
I used to lie on the floor with the speakers from my "stereo" on either side of my head (this was before headphones were available to the general public). Listening to the Beatles 'separation' in stereo was magical. You could hear the different voices harmonizing. This year on Ebay, I sold my Beatles record collection (I had every album in pristine condition). But the person I am envious of is 'gratefultiger.' Did you really see them in concert? I saw the "Dead" once but never the Beatles. Even now, when I sit and listen to "Fool on the hill" or "My Guitar Gently Weeps" or my fave, "Here, There, and Everywhere" (it was my first slow dance with a girl who had boobs) brings back fond... well, I guess I went there already.

The greatest impact on music was the Sgt. Peppers album. It was like the Kennedy Assassination or 9/11. Our world stopped the day it came out. It was summer and I was in Columbus. We ran over to a friend's house and listened to it all day long, just taking breaks to eat. I had never heard such a new and radical sound. It was monumental in its scope and impact. I think music changed that day. It certainly affected just about every performer in rock. Talk about Dylan's influence, the Beatles even affected Dylan after that. I don't think since that time there has been a moment in music that caused such a radical shift to take place. At least, not since the birth of the blues happened.

oscar jubis
11-30-2004, 09:51 AM
I've enjoyed the discussion here. I own just about everything they released, but The Beatles' Second Album and Rubber Soul get played most often in my house.

12-22-2004, 12:40 AM
Also of interest to Beatles fans I'm sure is the concert film, Concert for George, a live performance filmed at Royal Albert Hall in 2002 on the 1-year anniversary of George Harrison's death. The "quiet Beatle" was also perhaps the most thoughtful and sincere, and the musical tribute to him by his friends and colleagues here is quite moving.

The first 45 minutes or so of the concert is filled with an orchestral (if that's the correct word) performance of Indian music, which evidently was composed by Ravi Shankar and is conducted by his daughter. She also plays several songs on the sitar, including George's "The Inner Light". As is widely known, the spirituality of Indian music and religion played a large part in George's life, particularly as he got older.

Then, what follows is an "Intermission", in which the Monty Python troupe appear and put on a really strange show. At least it was good to see Terry Gilliam back with the old gang. George was instrumental, I believe, in supporting and getting produced The Life of Brian, which was probably no small feat given the subject matter of that film.

The rest of the concert consists of a "Who's Who" of George's contemporaries (though no Bob Dylan, unfortunately) performing some of his best known songs. Highlights for me were Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers' singing "Taxman", Billy Preston banging away on keyboard, Clapton playing "While My Guitar Gently Weeps" (which he also contributed to on The Beatles' White Album), and of course Paul McCartney and Clapton together on "Something" and "All Things Must Pass". George's son, Dhani, is on stage singing and playing guitar during most of the concert, and he's a spitting image of the Beatles-era George. By the end of the show, when everyone's back on stage to sing "Wah Wah", the staid Royal Albert Hall crowd is on its feet singing along.

I highly recommend this concert film to anyone who's a fan of The Beatles or of George Harrison's work post-Beatles.

12-24-2004, 04:30 PM
Thanks for the review, J. I'll rent that one asap.
Haven't seen Concert For George, and I'm ashamed.

George was many things. I love it in episode 5 of the Anthology when he talks about meeting Elvis: "I was just trying to find out if any of his gang had any reefer" meaning, the Kings' "memphis mafia".
George could be really funny.

So could Dr. Winston O'Boogie...