Picks and Pans Review: The Beatles Anthology
Ever wonder how good the Beatles were as teenage rockers? Then dip into this magical history tour, which includes rare tracks recorded between 1958 and 1964. Until now these were buried in record company vaults or available only on obscure bootleg albums. The 52-song, two-CD set contains the band's earliest known recordings—the crackling 1958 rendition of Buddy Holly's "That'll Be the Day" sung by John and the McCartney-Harrison ditty "In Spite of All the Danger"—plus thrilling live versions of "She Loves You" and "Twist and Shout," and studio first-takes of several Fab Four classics.
The anthology leads the listener on an aural odyssey from the band's infancy to the ebullient first flowering of its genius. As for the controversial, digitally concocted "Free As a Bird," any song by the Beatles, albeit mediocre by their supreme standards, is still better than most offerings by other bands. This gem is a double fantasy come true. (Capitol)