To finish off the month, I have put together a special Beatles What-If project. Being in lockdown allowed my imagination to wander somewhat, but I do hope that you enjoy this alternative history project of what The Beatles Anthology albums could have been.
The Long & Winding Road Vol.1
In 1995, The Beatles released their Anthology project that consisted of a TV series, albums, and a coffee table book. They had also thrown open the doors on the archives to allow unreleased studio recordings to be officially heard for the first time. The project had been running from 1970 when Neil Aspinall, future head of the Apple Company, put together a compilation of archival footage that he called The Long & Winding Road. The film was ready by 1971, but as relations between the band members were not as good as they could have been, they were not involved in the project. This film itself became a part of the archive but permission was given to use some of the footage so that Eric Idle could complete his Rutles project. The project was resurrected in 1980 when John Lennon said that he would be getting back together with the other Beatles for a reunion concert and that it would be used as the end of the Long & Winding Road film. Tragically, Lennon was killed before this could happen.
Up to this point, Beatles fans had been poorly served by archival material being released. Between 1970, when the band split up, and 1995 when the Anthology project saw the light of day, there were a couple of live albums. The Live at the Hollywood Bowl and Live! at the Star-Club In Hamburg, Germany albums, both from 1977. In 1980, EMI had asked house engineer John Barrett to listen to and catalogue The Beatles session tapes whilst he recovered from cancer treatment. This led to a multi-media event called ‘The Beatles at Abbey Road’, which included some unreleased material being heard for the first time since they had been recorded. All of the surviving Beatles attended the event and Harrison said that he was happy for his solo take of While My Guitar Gently Weeps to be released. EMI prepared an album called Sessions, but The Beatles undertook legal proceedings to prevent it coming out. All of the songs that were put forward for the Sessions album would be released on the Anthology albums.
These albums contained material that had not been released before and this took the form of some live cuts, TV appearances, demos and alternative mixes of previously released songs. What these albums showed was that there was little in the way of songs that were not used anywhere else. Most of these songs came from the early days of the band and their recordings before signing with EMI in 1962. What was also missing were any curiosities that had come out down the years, and are little known outside of the most dedicated Beatles fans.
What if the project had been released in 1980 as planned, but instead of what we got in 1995, these records were made up of some of the aforementioned curiosities, some unreleased mixes and demos. I have seen this as a continuation of my Collection of Beatles Oldies LPs, so as these would still be readily available in this alternative timeline, none of the songs included on those collections are included here. These albums would be released three single LPs and would have a cover photo close to the period when the music was recorded. That is why Pete Best is included on the sleeve for Vol.1 as Ringo Starr does not play on many of the songs on that record. All of the sleeves are based on the U.S. version of the Rarities album that was released in 1980.
I have tried to show where these songs can be found as a number of them have been released officially down the years, but some are still in the archive (or on bootlegs, if you know where to look). There is a gap in these collection between 1963 and 1966, mostly down to the fact that the best archival recordings from that period had already been used on the first Collections of Beatles Oldies LP. I would hope that The Beatles in this timeline would see fit not to double up on material to give their fans the best value for money compilations they could.
- That’ll Be The Day – The Quarrymen – Demo
- In Spite Of All Danger – The Quarrymen – Demo
- Hallelujah, I Love Her So – Home Demo
- You’ll Be Mine Home – Demo
- Cayenne – Home Demo
- My Bonnie – With Tony Sheridan
- Ain’t She Sweet – With Tony Sheridan
- Cry For A Shadow – With Tony Sheridan
- ‘Till There Was You – Decca Demo
- Like Dreamers Do – Decca Demo
Tracks 1, 2, 3, 4 & 5 would be released on the Anthology 1 album (1995).
Track 6 was originally released as a single, but the band was credited as The Beat Brothers (1961)
Track 7 was originally released as a single (1964)
Track 8 was originally released on the ‘Mister Twist’ EP (1962)
Track 9 is currently unreleased.
Track 10 would be released on the Anthology 1 album (1995).
- Take Good Care Of My Baby – Decca Demo
- The Sheik Of Araby – Decca Demo
- Love Of The Love – Decca Demo
- Crying, Waiting, Hopping – Decca Demo
- Three Cool Cats – Decca Demo
- Hello Little Girl – Decca Demo
- Besame Mucho – EMI Demo (Pete Best on Drums)
- Love Me Do – EMI Demo (Pete Best on Drums)
- Please Please Me – Andy White on Drums
- Bad To Me – Home Demo
- I’m In Love – Home Demo
Tracks 2, 5, 6, 7, 8 & 9 would be released on the Anthology 1 album (1995).
Tracks 1, 3 & 4 are currently unreleased.
Tracks 10 & 11 would be released on the The Beatles Bootleg Recordings (2013)
The Long & Winding Road Vol.2
- A Beginning (Take 4)/Don’t Pass me By (Take 7) – Studio Recording
- Child Of Nature – Esher Demo
- Step Inside Love – Studio Jam
- Los Paranoias – Studio Jam
- Circles – Esher Demo
- Junk – Esher Demo
- Can You Take Me Back (Take 1) – Studio Recording
Tracks 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, & 8 would be released on the ‘The Beatles – 50th Anniversary Box Set’.
Track 7 would be released on the Anthology 3 album.
- It’s All Too Much – Full Length Version
- What’s The New Mary Jane – Studio Outtake
- The Inner Light – Stereo Mix
- Tomorrow Never Knows – Matrix XEX 606-1 – Mono
- Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band (Reprise) – U.S. 8-Track Stereo Mix
- Inner Grove Sgt Pepper’s
Track 1 is currently unreleased.
Track 2 would be released on Anthology 3 (1996).
Track 3 would be released on The Beatles EP Collection (1981)
Track 4 was released on the first pressing of the Revolver LP. When ‘Revolver’ was initially mixed, a different master for ‘Tomorrow Never Knows’ was sent off to be pressed. The mix is known as Remix 11. Although subtle, it is different to the standard Remix 8 which was ultimately to replace it. The story goes that each group member was given the first copies from the production line and John Lennon went off to listen to it. But, it turned out that he was unhappy with the mix or that the wrong one had been used and he informed George Martin. Production was then stopped as the new masters were cut and the pressing plates were replaced. First pressings have XEX 606-1 whereas the standard press has XEX 606-2 and beyond (www.thebeatles-collection.com). This version has not been made available since.
Track 5 was released on the 8-Track version of Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Heart Club Band (1967) The 8 track edition of Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band features a longer edit of Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band (Reprise), created to fill more of the tape and “even out” the recording sides. At about 1:15, where Paul’s “Woo!” is heard, the previous 15 seconds are replayed and that “Woo!” is heard again before the song completes (www.aboutthebeatles.com).
Track 6 was released on the initial UK pressing of the Sgt Pepper album (1967). Later pressings, especially in the USA did not include this track.
The Long & Winding Road Vol.3
- Come Together – Brazilian Mono Mix
- Teddy Boy – Get Back – 1st Version
- Dig It – Get Back – 1st Version
- Something – Inc. Coda Jam
- The Ballad Of John & Yoko – NZ Censored Edition
Track 1 was released in Brazil (1970). Both Abbey Road and Let it Be were released in Mono in Brazil. They were not dedicated Mono mixes though, but a fold down of the Stereo one.
Tracks 2, 3, & 4 are currently unreleased. Tracks 2 & 3 were the original versions of songs that would be released later as the Let It Be album. Track 4 includes an extended piano jam that an was exorcised from the final version.
Track 5 was made specifically for New Zealand radio with references to Christ edited out. This version has not been made commercially available.
- Come & Get It – Studio Demo
- Old Brown Shoe – Australian Mono Single Mix
- Don’t Let Me Down – Get Back – 1st Version
- Watching Rainbows (Edit) – Demo
- All Things Must Pass – Studio Demo
- Goodbye – Home Demo
- Get Back (Coda) – Get Back – 1st Version
Tracks 1 & 6 would be released on Abbey Road 50th Anniversary Deluxe Edition (2019)
Track 2 was released in Australia (1969). It is not a dedicated Mono mix, but is a fold down of the Stereo.
Tracks 3, 4 & 7 are currently unreleased. Tracks 3 & 7 were versions of songs that would be released later as the Let It Be album. Track 4 is a songwriting jam from the Let It Be sessions.
Track 5 would be released on Anthology 3 (1996).
A Spotify playlist could not be created for these collections due to the amount of songs that have still not been officially released.