AFTER much anticipation and speculation, Capitol Records has announced the contents of the historic double-disc, double-cassette, and triple-album release of "The Beatles Anthology I."
The milestone in rock-and-roll history is now set for release on Tuesday, Nov. 21, and features an extraordinary 60 tracks - a combination of largely unreleased studio music, live recordings, radio and television sessions, and the Beatles' own private tapes - far more music than originally anticipated.
As previously announced, the anthology will include unreleased material from the Fab Four recorded between 1958 and 1964.
It also features early recordings of the Beatles' first two singles, "Love Me Do" - with original drummer Pete Best instead of Ringo Starr - and "Please Please Me."
The album opens with John Lennon's "Free as a Bird," for which Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr, and George Harrison completed lyrics after Lennon's widow, Yoko Ono, sent them a tape of the song with a verse missing. (Lennon had been working on the song at the time of his murder in 1980.)
It will also contain material compiled from the Beatles' EMI, Polydor, and Decca Records days, as well as a variety of live radio and television broadcasts, including a recording of the group's legendary debut on the "Ed Sullivan Show."
The release is set to coincide with ABC's airing of a six-hour, three-part, Beatles special to be broadcast Nov. 20 to Nov. 22.
"The Beatles Anthology I" is the first in a series of three double CDs to be released in the coming months and will include a series of eight 75-minute videos, featuring film footage gathered from many sources, both private and public.