The ANTHOLOGY series was wonderful. Few bands have ever given their fans so much unreleased vault material in such a short time. Between LIVE AT THE BBC, the 3 ANTHOLOGY sets and the cd singles, the Beatles' catalog must have doubled in playing time.
I wouldn't say that anything was better than the final versions, but there are some great alternates on these albums.
LIVE AT THE BBC has some great tunes that would have fit in well on many of their albums. TOO MUCH MONKEY BUSINESS would have been a great addition to WITH THE BEATLES. I'LL BE ON MY WAY would have made a great spring 1963 single. SOME OTHER GUY could have and should have been on their PLEASE PLEASE ME album. A studio take of that track would have been fantastic. I FORGOT TO REMEMBER and A SHOT OF RHYTHM AND BLUES would have made BEATLES FOR SALE even better.
Getting to hear HIPPY HIPPY SHAKE, SWEET LITTLE SIXTEEN, JOHNNY B GOODE, and NOTHIN' SHAKIN' is at last a chance to hear quality recordings of the same songs they played live in Hamburg. One of the highlights of BBC for me is the version of HONEY DON'T with John on lead vocal.
The BABY IT'S YOU cd single has smokin' versions of I'LL FOLLOW THE SUN and DEVIL IN HER HEART. Very nice.
My favorite tracks on ANTHOLOGY 1:
YOU CAN'T DO THAT, I'LL BE BACK, LEAVE MY KITTEN ALONE
The FREE AS A BIRD cd single has a fun version of THIS BOY, and a listenable short version of CHRISTMAS TIME (IS HERE AGAIN) plus a rather tight alternate of I SAW HER STANDING THERE.
ANTHOLOGY 2, highlights for me:
IT'S ONLY LOVE, PENNY LANE, ONLY A NORTHERN SONG, HELLO GOODBYE and the gorgeous version of ACROSS THE UNIVERSE.
The REAL LOVE cd single had a nice alternate version of HERE THERE AND EVERYWHERE and a cool remix of YELLOW SUB with Ringo's spoken intro intact, and the sound effects brought foward in the mix.
NOT GUILTY, I'M SO TIRED, CRY BABY CRY, THE LONG & WINDING ROAD, ALL THINGS MUST PASS, AIN'T SHE SWEET, COME TOGETHER, COME AND GET IT...Wonderful stuff, this, Agnes...
I'm still waiting for ANTHOLOGY 4, 5 & 6. I wonder how much is left that could actually be released and be as good as the ANTHOLOGY sets...