Anthology 3 was the third and final instalment in The Beatles’ Anthology project, which ran from 1995 to 1996.

The double-CD collection contains 50 demos and studio outtakes recorded between May 1968 and January 1970. The last track, ‘The End’, contains the final chord from ‘A Day In The Life’, recorded on 22 February 1967.

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

Unlike Anthology 1 and Anthology 2, there was no new Beatles recording based on a John Lennon demo. ‘Now And Then’ was worked on by Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr on 20 and 21 March 1995, but work ended on the second day with the song incomplete.

According to McCartney, Harrison “didn’t want to do it,” possibly because the song needed to be extensively rewritten before it could be released. Another factor was a humming sound on Lennon’s demo which proved hard to mask.

It was one day – one afternoon, really – messing with it. The song had a chorus but is almost totally lacking in verses. We did the backing track, a rough go that we really didn’t finish.
Jeff Lynne

‘Now And Then’ was replaced on Anthology 3 by the orchestral track ‘A Beginning’, recorded in 1968 as an unused introduction for ‘Don’t Pass Me By’.

There was one more that we didn’t do, which was a pity. It didn’t have a very good title, it needed a bit of reworking, but it had a beautiful verse and it had John singing it. But George didn’t wanna do it.
Paul McCartney
Q magazine, November 2006

Anthology 3 contains seven demo recordings made at Kinfauns, George Harrison’s home, in late May 1968. The songs, which mostly appeared on the White Album and Abbey Road, were ‘Happiness Is A Warm Gun’, ‘Mean Mr Mustard’, ‘Polythene Pam’, ‘Glass Onion’, ‘Junk’, ‘Piggies’, and ‘Honey Pie’.

The other recordings were all studio rehearsals and outtakes. There were demo versions of George Harrison’s songs ‘While My Guitar Gently Weeps’, ‘Old Brown Shoe’, ‘Something’ and ‘All Things Must Pass’, plus a demo of McCartney’s song ‘Come And Get It’, made for Badfinger to use as a basis for their single version.

In addition to ‘A Beginning’, a handful of the songs had not previously been officially released. ‘Step Inside Love’/‘Los Paranoias’ were outtakes from the ‘I Will’ session on 16 September 1968, and The Beatles’ cover versions of ‘Mailman, Bring Me No More Blues’ and ‘Rip It Up’/‘Shake, Rattle And Roll’/‘Blue Suede Shoes’ were recorded during the January 1969 Get Back/Let It Be sessions at The Beatles’ Apple headquarters at 3 Savile Row, London.

Nine other Anthology 3 songs dated from the January 1969 sessions: ‘I’ve Got A Feeling’, ‘She Came In Through The Bathroom Window’, ‘Dig A Pony’, ‘Two Of Us’, ‘For You Blue’, ‘Teddy Boy’, ‘The Long And Winding Road’, and ‘Oh! Darling’, plus a version of ‘Get Back’ from the Apple rooftop show on 30 January 1969.

Two of the album’s songs – ‘Junk’ and ‘Teddy Boy’ – were re-recorded by McCartney for his debut solo album, 1970’s McCartney.

‘All Things Must Pass’ was recorded again by Harrison for his album of the same name, while ‘Not Guilty’ was abandoned during the White Album sessions but eventually re-recorded by Harrison for his self-titled 1979 album.

The release

Anthology 3 was released worldwide on 28 October 1996.

It topped the US Billboard 200 chart, and went top ten in Australia, Canada, Finland, France, Germany, Japan, New Zealand, Sweden, and the United Kingdom.

Anthology 3 was certified triple platinum by the RIAA and was The Beatles’ third consecutive double album release to reach number one in the US charts.

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

Published: |