The Beatles Anthology

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The Beatles Anthology is the name of a documentary series, a set of three double albums and a book, all of which focus on the history of The Beatles. The surviving members of the group participated in the making and approval of the works, which are sometimes referred to collectively as the Anthology project.

The Beatles Anthology documentary series was first broadcast in November 1995, with expanded versions released on VHS in 1996 and on DVD in 2003. The documentary used interviews with The Beatles and their associates to narrate the history of the band as seen through archival footage and performances. The initial volume of the album set was released in conjunction with the documentary in November 1995, with the subsequent two volumes released in 1996. The albums included unreleased performances and outtakes presented in roughly chronological order, along with two new songs based on demo tapes recorded by John Lennon after the group broke up. The book, released in 2000, paralleled the documentary in presenting the group's history through quotes from interviews.


Documentary series

Approximately coinciding with the release of the "Free as a Bird" single and Anthology 1 album (the first of three double-CD albums), The Beatles Anthology series of documentaries was broadcast on ITV in the United Kingdom and ABC television in the United States in 1995. The Anthology series takes a form similar to that of the Anthology book, by being a series of first-person accounts by the Beatles themselves, with no linking, external "objective" narration. Footage in the Anthology series features voice-over recordings of all four Beatles to push the narrative of the story, with contributions from their producer, road manager and others. As well as telling their story through archival footage, Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr and George Harrison appear in interview segments recorded exclusively for the series itself; John Lennon appears only in historic archival footage. The Beatles' wives past and present do not appear (excluding archival footage such as video from India and the music video for Harrison's "Something").

The series, which was made over five years of planning and production, is composed of numerous film clips and interviews that present a complete history of the band from the Beatles' own personal perspectives. The series was later released on VHS, laserdisc and as a boxed set of five DVDs.

  • DVD 1 Episodes 1 & 2 (July '40 to February '64)
  • DVD 2 Episodes 3 & 4 (February '64 to August '65)
  • DVD 3 Episodes 5 & 6 (August '65 to June '67)
  • DVD 4 Episodes 7 & 8 (June '67 to The End)
  • DVD 5 Special Features (MPJ)

Air dates on ABC:

  • Sunday, 19 November 1995: 9-11 p.m.
  • Wednesday, 22 November 1995: 9-11 p.m.
  • Thursday, 23 November 1995: 9-11 p.m.

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