Look for Beatles fever to start building again.
Now that the rescheduled release date for the "Beatles Anthology, Vol. 2" album has been determined--March 19--the focus can shift to what can be expected in the two-disc collection and to the tantalizing news that there may be a third "reunion" song in the future.
For the Record
Los Angeles Times Friday February 9, 1996 Home Edition Calendar Part F Page 18 Entertainment Desk 2 inches; 38 words Type of Material: Correction
Beatles--Due to an editing error, a story in Thursday's Calendar on the upcoming Beatles "Anthology" album referred to the first take of "Yesterday" as an instrumental intended for "Rubber Soul." That instrumental, which is also on the album, is titled "12 Bar Original."
The album--which was pushed back from the scheduled Feb. 27 release due to a last-minute reworking of the running order by Paul McCartney, according to Capitol Records sources--is expected to contain the real gems of the planned three-volume series of the group's unreleased material.
The set--containing 45 outtakes from the Beatles' most creative period, 1965 through early 1968--opens with the second Beatles "reunion" song. The tune, "Real Love," will be released to radio on Wednesday and come out as a CD maxi-single on March 5. A video is being completed, with hopes of release to MTV and VH1 on Saturday.
Meanwhile, Capitol sources say, the three ex-Beatles probably will team up again to transform a third unfinished John Lennon tape into a Beatles "reunion" song, for inclusion on "Anthology, Vol. 3," expected in the stores by early summer. "Free as a Bird," the first of the "reunion" tracks led off the Vol. 1 edition of the "Anthology" series.
"The word we are getting is that a third song will happen," said a Capitol executive who requested anonymity.
McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr worked briefly on a third Lennon song last year, said by producer Jeff Lynne to carry two possible working titles: "Now and Then" and "Miss You." The song was left incomplete because it lacked verses, Lynne said, and the three instead turned to "Real Love."
However, McCartney hinted in an ABC radio interview last fall that the three might choose a different song altogether, saying, "There are a couple of tracks that we could work with."
"Anthology, Vol. 1" was a sales sensation last year, entering the charts at No. 1 in November by selling an estimated 850,000 copies upon its release. The album has since sold more than 3 million copies.
The "Real Love" single and "Anthology, Vol. 2" were first slated for middle and late February, coinciding with a major Valentine's Day marketing campaign.
The one-month delay was caused by McCartney's insistence on changing the position of one song--even after album production had begun, Capitol sources said.
Capitol executive vice president Bruce Kirkland confirmed that "we were part way along in the production," but would not comment on one report that 2.5 million CD booklets were junked and new ones prepared to reflect the new running order.
Judging by track listings obtained from Capitol, McCartney merely moved an alternate take of "I'm Down" from the sixth position to the third spot on the first disc.
Said one Capitol official: "Paul just didn't like the order. It's no longer chronological. It was apparently an artistic decision."
Meanwhile, release of the full, 10-hour version of "The Beatles Anthology" video to the home market has also been postponed--from spring until September or October.
"It's just not finished, and manufacturing time for video is greater than for CDs," said Steve Chamberlain, Capitol's senior executive advisor for the Beatles projects. Each of the eight 75-minute volumes will list for $24.96, with a special Christmas box set priced at $229.98.
"Anthology" annotator and noted Beatles scholar Mark Lewisohn said that Vols. 2 and 3 of "Anthology," which contain many tracks that have never been bootlegged, are where the "real interest" will be for fans. Vol. 2 covers the period when the group worked hardest and most innovatively in the studio--including about six solid months on "Sgt. Pepper."
Perhaps the standout song on Vol. 2 will be "Mark 1," the first take of Lennon's groundbreaking "Revolver" closer, "Tomorrow Never Knows."
Lewisohn described it in his definitive survey of the band's studio work, "The Beatles: Recording Sessions," as "a sensational, apocalyptic version which is very close to defying adequate description . . . a heavy metal recording of enormous proportion."
Other Vol. 2 highlights include three evolving versions of "Strawberry Fields Forever" and six "Sgt. Pepper" outtakes, including working versions of "Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds," "Being for the Benefit of Mr. Kite" and "Sgt. Pepper (Reprise)."
Also included is the first take of "Yesterday," an awkward instrumental originally intended for "Rubber Soul"; radically different versions of "Got to Get You Into My Life" and "I'm Only Sleeping"; the first stereo release of "Only a Northern Song," with a different vocal; the spoof "You Know My Name (Look Up the Number)," 90 seconds longer than the released version; and a beautiful alternate take of Lennon's "Across the Universe."
The CD maxi-single, "Real Love," will carry three bonus tracks not on Vol. 2, notably a version of "Yellow Submarine" with a whimsical, 30-second spoken-word introduction by all four Beatles that was trimmed from the original release.