David Browne
October 25, 2000 AT 04:00 AM EDT

The Beatles Anthology

type
TV Show
Current Status
In Season
mpaa
Unrated
run date
11/19/95-11/23/95
performer
The Beatles
director
Bob Smeaton, Geoff Wonfor
Producers
Apple Corps, Granada Television
distributor
ABC
author
Bob Smeaton
genre
Documentary

We gave it a C+

Like the 1995 TV documentary to which it is a belated companion, this in their own words coffee table tome is an only intermittently magical history tour. Structured chronologically, it takes us from birth to breakup, touching on key topics but in generally unenlightening ways: Ringo calls ”Sgt. Pepper” ”our grandest endeavour” (wow!); Paul admits he’s proud of ”Yesterday” (stop the presses!). John, via old interviews, offers snatches of the acerbic wit that is still missed.

And any doubts that George was the Grumpy Beatle are laid to rest with his entries: He complains about the tedium of the ”Pepper” sessions, admits he was ”definitely uncomfortable” having Yoko around, calls the original ”butcher” cover of ”Yesterday and Today” ”gross,” and dubs Apple Records ”John and Paul’s madness.” You almost want to kiss his sour puss.

The band’s vacation photos, documents, and memorabilia are nice eye candy, and ”Anthology”’s lads to rads tale — the template for every ”Behind the Music” — is as timeless as ”Rubber Soul,” but only collectors will want to pay this much to hear it again. It’s all too much, and too little.

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