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Friday, January 24, 2014

Real Love

On March 4th, 1996, the next component of the Anthology series appeared.  This time the process was reversed with the release of the single and EP Real Love in advance of Anthology 2.  The single featured Baby's in Black as the B-side.

Real Love - By the 1990's, the ex-Beatles paid so little attention to each others solo careers that Paul, George and Ringo were seemingly unaware that the demo version of this song had already been released as part of the soundtrack to the film Imagine: John Lennon.  Unlike Free as a Bird, this composition was complete, so it did not require as much original input from the Threetles.  The bulk of the work was left to producer Jeff Lynne and old friend engineer Geoff Emerick to make the sound of John's cassette blend with the overdubs, something they did much better on this number than they had on the previous one.  Once again, the highlights of the collaboration are the Beatlesque harmonies of Paul and George, and George's distinctive guitar work.

Baby's in Black - The inclusion of this number from the 1965 Hollywood Bowl concerts is nothing short of amazing considering that all four Beatles wanted nothing to do with The Beatles at the Hollywood Bowl album when it was released in 1977.  For me, the best part of this track is not the performance of the song itself from August 30th, but rather John's typically outrageous introduction from the previous evening's show.  Of course, his remarks were most likely completely inaudible from the audience, but knowing that he was being recorded allowed him to express himself for posterity.  Given the great number of hits that the group had already compiled by this time, it strikes me as odd that they even chose this song for their live set.

Yellow Submarine - These next two tracks which adorned the EP are the first in the Anthology series to feature a new wrinkle - one that not all fans appreciated, either.  In this case, we have the same take we are all familiar with, but the sound effects have been brought to the forefront in order to showcase them.  Some are interesting when heard with such clarity, others less so.  The only truly fascinating addition here is Ringo's previously unheard spoken preamble to the song, though one can see why this incongruity was lopped off before the number was released.

Here, There and Everywhere - McCartney's perfect ballad from Revolver is given an unusual treatment, as well, but it is one that would be used multiple times on Anthology 2 and Anthology 3.  We first hear take 7 of the song with the group's simple but elegant backing track and Paul's guide vocal, but as the second bridge ends, a segue is made into a remastered take 13 to bring the number to an end.  While this combination of different takes is meant to be enlightening (and many listeners no doubt enjoyed it), the major criticism is that it simply does not illustrate the growth of a piece in the studio the same way a series of takes did so effectively on Anthology 1.

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