Tuesday, January 31, 2017


There are few bands that have been as researched and obsessed over as much as The Beatles.  I'm not sure how many books have been written about them, but they must number in the thousands.  When Mark Lewisohn (author of The Beatles Recording Sessions, my favorite Beatles book of all time) said he was writing a multi-volume biography of the band, with the first volume housed in two separate books weighing eight pounds and counting 1700 pages, I thought it was insane.  He did it, though, and that volume only covered through 1962!  Lewisohn said the books are proving to be more work than expected, so volume two isn't expected until 2020, and volume three in 2028.  So apparently there IS more to say about The Beatles.

A few months ago I heard about a twenty-eight hour podcast on The Beatles called Beatles Anthology Revisited.  It's unclear who put the podcast together, as it is unauthorized and breaks countless copyrights, but it was done to mark the 20th anniversary of The Beatles Anthology, the documentary that the band put out to tell their story.  Over the course of eighteen episodes the story of The Beatles is told in incredible detail, using music (including bootlegged tracks) and countless interview clips, to give the story from birth to break-up and beyond.  Where the sanctioned Anthology ended, the Beatles Anthology Revisited continues on.  Their story is told until the end of the 1970s, getting into their solo projects and life beyond the band.

Is it worth the time to listen to twenty-eight hours of audio documentary?  I say yes, if one is committed and is a fan.  The series brings a degree of loving obsessiveness to it that could only be birthed by a super fan.  It's doubtful that The Beatles would have put something this thorough out.  Every aspect of their life is spelled out via interviews with the band, their associates, and beyond.  The amount of time and organization that something like this would have required is mind boggling.  I'd love to talk to the person that put in the hours on this, but I haven't been able to find any information on them.  There are people out there that clearly know who made it, as that is inferred on a BootlegZone chat group, but I can't figure out an identity.

One thing I would say about Beatles Anthology Revisited is that it does require an advanced level of familiarity with the band for some parts.  None of the voices are identified when they speak, so while one may recognize the band members, they may not recognize people like Mal Evans, George Martin, Neil Aspinall, Derek Taylor, etc.  These are all major names in Beatles lore, and they're regularly referenced in any books on the band, but their voices might not be that familiar.  Even so, there's still a lot that can be learned from these podcasts.  Literally TWENTY-EIGHT HOURS worth of information can be learned.  I mean, The Beatles don't even break up until episode sixteen!

The Beatles Anthology Revisited podcast was briefly available online, and even through places like iTunes, until Apple found out about it and pulled everything down.  Where can you find it now?  There are lots and lots of dead links on the web, but with persistence and some well worded Google searches you can find it.  I'm not going to do any direct links, so you're going to have to do your own hunting, but it's worth it.

Happy hunting!


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