Longboxes, Promos and Imports – Oh My!/The Beatles Anthology on CD


Today my friends is where the rubber meets the road as far as collecting goes.

You may see this blog post and think, seriously? Boxes? Cardboard?

I see fun variations and cool differences.

It’s hard to see through a collector’s eyes unless you have this same affliction.

You see in my younger days I had a desire to collect all sorts of variations of the music I loved – be it different boxes or imported version or what have you. I still have that affliction to a degree but it has been tamed somewhat over the years.

Anyway, I thought it might be fun to take a look at some cool variations of The Beatles “Anthology” CDs that came out in the mid-1990’s.

The Beatles “Anthology”, for those who don’t know, was a series of TV programs and CDs and vinyl that was basically telling The Beatles story through their own words and music.

Instead of picking the well-known and loved hit studio versions of their work, for “Anthology” The Beatles chose to tell there story through rare and unreleased versions of their music including demos, live versions and studio out-takes both in audio and video form.

Plus there was the added addition of two brand new Beatles reunion songs “Free As A Bird” and “Real Love” that were created from unreleased demos by John Lennon in the late 1970’s which was a major selling point for the CDs.

For Beatles fans the “Anthology” sets and videos were a major treat and a rare peek behind the curtain of The Beatles and gave a great glimpse into their creative process and was the perfect way to stroll through their career.

For the average fan I’m sure it was somewhat of a puzzle as to why The Beatles felt the need to release all these out-takes instead of the well-known versions but I’m sure another reason they chose this route was to counteract all the terrific sounding unofficial studio out-take collections that were flooding the market since the late 1980’s.

So that brings me to the fun “Anthology” variations (see above) in this post today.

The three 2 CD “Anthology” sets came out in different formats for different retailers. Though the CD longbox was pretty much a thing of the past The Beatles “Anthology” CDs came out in not one but two different sizes of longbox for different retailers.

I’m guessing since there was such a buzz and huge sales for these CDs it must have made it easier for stores like Target to have these sets packaged in these attractive boxes which could be displayed easier and more prominently than just shrink wrapped CDs.

The cassettes were also packed this way but even I had a limit and didn’t buy the cassette longbox versions. Since I was firmly a CD guy at that point I stuck with the CD format boxes.

As you can see this was also around the time that dreaded stores exclusives came into vogue. Best Buy had a fun 4 CD boxset of Beatles interviews free with purchase if you bought “Anthology” from them (see above) and Target was offering a free keychain inside the longbox if you bought “Anthology 3” at their store.

(Note: I have never opened the “Anthology 3” box above so I have no idea what the keychain even looks like!)

I’ve also included above photos of two promotional copies of “Anthology 1 & 2” as well as a recent Japanese CD reissue of “Anthology 2” plus a promotional cardboard slipcase that holds the three regular CD issues of all three “Anthology” CDs that I absolutely can’t remember where it came from but it’s one of my favorite promo pieces from the whole project.

I know some fans don’t look as favorably at the “Anthology” sets or reunion songs as when they came out but for me I still really enjoy them and I especially still find the reunion songs very enjoyable and a quite fitting and poignant endnote to The Beatles career.

(Note 2: Recently all three “Anthology” sets were remastered but for download or streaming only. I really hope someday these upgrades will come out on CD and the Anthology series gets upgraded for Blu-Ray as well. I have my doubts it will happen but with The Beatles and Apple one never knows!)

So take a look at Collector Mania in action above and until next time be well and have a good week!







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