Recorded: 16 February 196530 April 1969; 1995
Producers: George Martin, Jeff Lynne, John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison, Ringo Starr

Released: 18 March 1996

Tracklisting

Anthology 2 was the second collection of previously-unreleased archive recordings by The Beatles, following 1995’s Anthology 1.

The album contained a mixture of live recordings and session outtakes, recorded between 16 February 1965 and 30 April 1969, although the bulk of the recordings were from prior to The Beatles’ trip to India in February 1968. It also kicked off with ‘Real Love’, the second ‘new’ recording by the three remaining Beatles, based on a demo by John Lennon.

There’s no way round it, Anthology’s been good to us. I mean, shit! It’s thirty years later and we’re more successful than ever! And it means I can get back to just recording, playing without any pressure.

I’m working on a new album right now, which won’t be released until 1997 because of Anthology, which suits me fine. I’m enjoying just making music without all the farting. I’m working to my own deadlines. I’ve even been working with my old Beatles buddy, Ringo. We got together again, he came down and did a bit of drumming with me… and it felt good. I fit together with him like an old glove. Oh, he’s gonna love me calling him an old glove!

Paul McCartney
Q magazine, October 1996

The songs

Anthology 2 begins with ‘Real Love’, based on a demo recording by John Lennon, and augmented by Paul McCartney, George Harrison, and Ringo Starr.

The first disc contains three previously-unreleased Beatles compositions. ’12-Bar Original’ was a blues jam recorded during the Rubber Soul sessions, and credited to Lennon-McCartney-Harrison-Starkey.

The other two compositions were both by Lennon-McCartney. ‘If You’ve Got Trouble’ and ‘That Means A Lot’ were both recorded during the Help! sessions. ‘If You’ve Got Trouble’ was sung by Starr, while ‘That Means A Lot’ was sung by McCartney and later given to singer PJ Proby.

There were seven live songs on Anthology 2. ‘I Feel Fine’, ‘Ticket To Ride’, ‘Yesterday’, and ‘Help!’ were all recorded on 1 August 1965 for the television special Blackpool Night Out, while ‘Everybody’s Trying To Be My Baby’ was from The Beatles’ first Shea Stadium show on 15 August 1965.

The two other live performances – ‘Rock And Roll Music’ and ‘She’s A Woman’ – were both from the Nippon Budokan Hall in Tokyo, Japan, on 30 June 1966.

‘I’m Down’ had originally been sequenced chronologically as track seven, but was moved to track three at Paul McCartney’s request. He reportedly paid the reprinting costs for the cover himself.

Disc two contains studio outtakes from 1966 to 1968, plus ‘You Know My Name (Look Up The Number)’, a 1967 recording containing overdubs from 1969.

The outtakes mostly date from the time when The Beatles were working on the Sgt Pepper and Magical Mystery Tour projects, in addition to the early 1968 sessions in which they recorded ‘Lady Madonna’ and ‘Across The Universe’.

Paul McCartney had hoped to include ‘Carnival Of Light’, an experimental recording from the Sgt Pepper sessions, but it was reportedly vetoed by Harrison, Starr and Yoko Ono. It was replaced with an instrumental version of ‘Within You Without You’.

The release

Anthology 2 was released on 18 March 1996.

It topped the album charts in the United Kingdom and United States, and went top ten in Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Finland, France, Germany, Japan, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Sweden, and Switzerland. Anthology 2 has been certified 4× Platinum by the RIAA.

All three Anthology albums were remastered and reissued as digital downloads on the iTunes Store on 14 June 2011.