Wednesday, January 19, 2011

The Beatles Anthology Documentary Series

The Beatles Anthology is a documentary series aired on ABC television in three two-hour installments on November 19, 22, and 23 of 1995. The documentary, which was the first time the Beatles provided a history of the group in their own words, used interviews with Paul McCartney, George Harrison, and Ringo Starr, with voice-overs from past interviews with the deceased John Lennon to account for his point of view of Beatles history. The series also relied on interviews with George Martin and Neil Aspinall. Aspinall, former Beatles Roadie and interim administrator for Apple Corp, Ltd., produced the series. An interesting Beatles fact not generally known is that the interviews were conducted over a five-year period.

The series used archival footage from all phases of the Beatles career, portraying the group's concerts, interviews, and everyday actions in both live action footage and still photographs.

The series was followed by three double-CD sets of unreleased recordings and outtakes. New to the Beatles catalog, however, were two new Beatles songs based on two tapes given to the remaining Beatles by Yoko Ono. The tapes, of poor quality, revealed two solo songs, "Free as A Bird" and "Real Love," recorded by Lennon in his post-Beatles years. He accompanied himself on an acoustic guitar. The tapes were cleaned up in the studio and augmented with performances by Harrison, McCartney, and Starr to create the first true Beatles collaboration since the break-up of the group. "Free as a Bird" was aired at the end of the first installment of the series on November 19, 1995, while "Real Love" was aired at the end of installment two on November 22, 1995.

The series was released in VHS format in 1996 and on DVD in 2003. The Beatles Anthology (book) was published in October, 2000 and rose to the top of the New York Times bestseller list.

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