The Beatles – Anthology 1: #519 of best 1,000 albums ever!

The Beatles - Anthology 1

So why is The Beatles’ Anthology 1 on this best 1,000 albums ever thing?

How to “handle” The Beatles’ three anthology albums that were released in the mid-1990s posed a particularly interesting challenge with relation to this here best 1,000 albums ever project.

Take Anthology 1 for example: it contains 60 tracks and some two hours of music. It also includes precisely one single “new” song (“Free As A Bird”), which is pretty good but honestly nothing mind blowing going by the insanely high bar The Beatles naturally set.

Among the 60 tracks, there are a bunch of alternative takes or recordings of early Beatles songs (I’m tempted to call them “classics,” but at some point all Beatles songs sort of became classics, I guess?), such as “Love Me Do,” “Please Please Me,” “On After 909,” and “Roll Over Beethoven.”

Which is all good stuff. And yet: there’s gold in them thar hills, for those Beatles superfans willing to look. That’s to say, there’s a sweet treasure trove of early recordings on the Anthology 1 that either aren’t available anywhere else or (at least pre-streaming era) are quite hard to find.

Songs like “Hello Little Girl,” “Searchin’,” “Three Cool Cats,” and “Besame Mucho” show off the seemingly effortless way that the band breezes through different late 1950s and early 1960s musical styles. And you can get a riveting sense of the immense talent that was about to be unleashed upon the world.

I must also add that I really dig the very loose, live recording of “All My Loving” that’s included.

Some stats & info about The Beatles – Anthology 1

  • What kind of musical stylings does this album represent? Rock Music, British Bands, British Invasion, Rock & Roll
  • Rolling Stone’s greatest 500 albums ranking – not ranked!
  • All Music’s rating – 3 out of 5 stars
  • When was Anthology 1 released? 1995
  • My ranking, the one you’re reading right now – #519 out of 1,000

The Beatles’ Anthology 1 on Spotify

A lyrical snippet from The Beatles’ Anthology 1 that’s evocative of the album in some way, maybe

Well up came that first cat, he said, “Man, look at that! Man do you see what I see?”

What’s something interesting thing about The Beatles’ Anthology 1 that most people don’t know?

Interspersed throughout Anthology 1 are a number of audio tracks from Beatles manager Brian Epstein, who is sometimes referred to as “the man behind The Beatles.” These tracks are interesting enough, though they of course can’t convey the enormous impact he had on The Beatles’ fortunes.

One of many things that is deftly highlighted by the brilliant Beatles’ documentary, Get Back, is how much the band misses Epstein’s presence and influence during the latter days of their career as a band.

I could go on for thousands of words more about how great Get Back is, but I’ll limit myself to one further observation that relates to the early Beatles days. With surprising frequency, you hear Paul or John reference their days “in Hamburg,” which refers to the time period from 1960-1962 when The Beatles would get regular gigs abroad to make some cash and polish their chops before they broke huge.

I mention this because during the time period of Get Back, early 1969, the band has been famous worldwide for years, but of course for them – still very young men at this point – their time as a band and as friends before they were famous didn’t seem all that long ago to them.

What does the “best 1,000 albums ever” mean and why are you doing this?

Yeah, I know it’s audacious, a little crazy (okay, maybe a lot cray cray), bordering on criminal nerdery.

But here’s what it’s NOT: a definitive list of the Greatest Albums of All-Time. This is 100% my own personal super biased, incredibly subjective review of what my top 1,000 albums are, ranked in painstaking order over the course of doing research for nearly a year, Rob from High Fidelity style. Find out more about why I embarked on a best 1,000 albums ever project.