Beatles Anthology 1…Desert Island Box Set

We are wrapping up Hanspostcard’s album draft…100 albums in 100 days. We went into extra innings extending four more picks from these categories… favorite Soundtracks, Greatest Hits, music related movie and now ending with Box Sets. This is my pick for the final round…the Box Set I would take to the island: Beatles Anthology 1


Now for my last pick in our draft. I’ve come full circle with the Beatles…back in July (hard to believe it was that long ago) it was the White Album and now the 1996 release of Anthology 1 that focuses on a happier but hectic time in the Beatles history.

I can’t explain how excited I was for this release. I was working at a wood shop…just a few months away from my first corporate IT job and I was about to buy this new Beatle CD with a new song. For the first time in my life I could buy a Beatle song that wasn’t recorded in the sixties called Free As A Bird. I had a friend I worked with that doubled as a distribution center driver during holiday season. My plan was to head to lunch the day it was released and buy it in a record shop…remember those? My friend came in with a thick CD case and said here you go…it was Anthology 1 and he said Merry early Christmas. 

Anthology 1 covered everything in the time span of 1958-1964. You got a rare McCartney/Harrison song and a Lennon/Harrison song included. Also home studio taped songs and early Decca demos that were shopped and that I only read about until then. Many of the songs were listed in books but had been locked away in EMI’s vault. Also on this were live performances and alternate takes of the songs. 

The Anthology series introduced the Beatles to a new generation. I had a couple of cousins who were all into New Kids On The Block…when Anthology came out they called me and said now they understood why I liked the Beatles and to this day they still do.

The other thing it did was to help Paul McCartney’s standing. After John Lennon was murdered he was put on a pedestal and Paul was a square.  It was unfair. After the Anthology Paul’s reputation as a great songwriter and singer started to move up again in it’s rightful place…

Now to the song that really excited me. The first official new Beatle song in decades. Free As A Bird still stands up to me. George’s slide just cuts through you and it sounds modern yet older at the same time.

The video is hands down my favorite music video. It was still the mid 90s and CGI wasn’t what it would become just a just a few years later but this works well.

In Spite of All the Danger… a McCartney/Harrison song…the only one to be credited as such was recorded in 1958! One of the first recordings they ever did. You can hear those raw harmonies forming and this was part of the birth of the Beatles. They never properly recorded this song later on which is a shame. I like George’s solo on this one also. Paul will perform it in concert on occasion.

The home/demos were great to hear. Before the Cavern, Hamburg, and worldwide stardom…the start of it all. Hallelujah I Love Her So.

This Anthology covers so much and to see them grow just between 1958-1964 is something special…not to mention how much they grew with the two other Anthologies. Every band grows but usually not to this extent. So to my fellow castaways we have enough to keep us entertained. Thanks to everyone and thanks to Hans for hosting this. Hope to see you all back when the next draft starts.

Paul, George And Ringo Over The Blue Moon –

Author: Badfinger (Max)

Power Pop fan, Baseball fan, old movie and tv show fan... and a songwriter, bass and guitar player.

27 thoughts on “Beatles Anthology 1…Desert Island Box Set”

  1. That first picture shows 4 guitarists and a drummer, so who was the fifth Beatle or the fifth Quaryman? The Free as a Bird video is awesome. In Spite of All the Danger and Hallelujah I Love Her So are both new to me.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Stu Sutcliffe…he was the original bass player….he died at 21 of a brain hemorrhage. Great friend of John’s and learned bass just to play with them.

      Liked by 3 people

  2. I loved the anthology! I always loved that they were influenced by so many – Carl Perkins, Little Richard, Chuck Berry, and Ray Charles. Hallelujah I Love Her So is one of my favorite Ray songs!! I forgot that one was on this collection.

    Free As a Bird was such a neat song. To be able to lift John’s vocal out (even though the quality isn’t that great) and create a finished product around it is just amazing. I don’t remember ever seeing the video for it. You almost wish they’d re-edit it with CGI!

    With The Beatles was released in the UK on this date in 1963 – the day JFK was assassinated.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It was magical to me… listening to a new Beatles song!!!

      It was a lot of hard work putting that together.

      Keith… you gotta look at my post before this one… I wanna see your band!

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes it was…do me a favor Jeremy…I want to see “your”band…you are one of the reasons I did it…the post before this one.


  3. I was very excited by Free As A Bird, despite some critics getting the slagging off in early, and believed it was quality. Still do. The song works – check out Dubstar’s acoustic version released a few weeks back during Lockdown, it’s a great song even stripped down to little. If I could change anything, it would be the decision to not release the single till the album was out to boost CD sales in the UK. That lost single sales that might have got it to number one instead of number 2, and these things were important to me! 🙂


    1. Hard to believe it’s about to end…but in January we start up again with movies which will be different for you and me…it will expand our scope a little bit for our blogs.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Great and surprising pick, Max. Speaking of their early years, yesterday I watched a doc called “Looking for Lennon” on Prime. If you haven’t seen it, I highly recommend it. Probably the best Beatles related doc without the involvement of any of the principals that I’ve seen.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Thanks Stephen for that…We have Prime so I will check it out over the Thanksgiving holidays…that will be perfect.


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