I spent a decent part of the day yesterday finding and downloading some … let’s just call them “alternately available fan recordings”. It wasn’t necessarily Beatles, but a few other groups as well. Why? I was looking for a list comparing what was included in the three different Artifacts box sets that wound up getting an actual official release through the Anthology. I never did find anything, but I did come across a few other items that I didn’t have.
Anthology is the first (well, only) time alternate recordings were released commercially. The Beatles have a vast catalog of unreleased material, both studio and live recordings. Many of these have found their way to the public through various bootleg releases, and three of the best are the multi-disc box sets Artifacts. Three of them were released, and despite their hefty price at the time, I picked them up. These box sets were a revelation at the time of the process the group went through in bringing what was their finished product to the public, as well as was wasn’t deemed viable to be released.
Meant to prevent the public from delving deep into the world of bootlegs, Anthology helped to stem the desire for these releases. The sound quality on Anthology is indeed much better than on Artifacts, but the track listing just isn’t as extensive. It can’t be, since the three Artifacts box sets total 14 CDs and the three Anthology releases total 6 CDs. Then there are the other various live and studio recordings that are out there not in the Artifacts box sets.
What does this have to do with anything? Well, I was trying to figure out how to wrap up this Beatles week, and I couldn’t come up with anything. Originally I had planned this week and I was going to end it with my favorite Beatles album. The week took a slightly different turn, and now that entry isn’t appropriate. So I’m searching around for a topic, and I start looking to see if somebody has compiled a chart cross referencing what is included on both Artifacts and Anthology, as well as what isn’t. Then it hit me, there’s so much out there and available, both unauthorized and authorized, canon and compiled, that there are many different weeks worth of topics I could explore.
One possibility is that I take a look at some of the EPs that were released, each having four songs on them. I could do a week looking at solo releases. Heck, I could do a week based just on the appearances on the Ed Sullivan show. Then the entire Let It Be sessions could take up a week.
I pick Anthology as it opens up so many possibilities for the future in the same way it opened up the vaults for fans. I need to get my copies of Anthology ripped to MP3 so I can listen to them more often.