The Beatles

Live at the BBC

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AllMusic Review by Richie Unterberger

From 1962 to 1965, the Beatles made 52 appearances on the BBC, recording live-in-the-studio performances of both their official releases and several dozen songs that they never issued on disc. This magnificent two-disc compilation features 56 of these tracks, including 29 covers of early rock, R&B, soul, and pop tunes that never appeared on their official releases, as well as the Lennon-McCartney original "I'll Be on My Way," which they gave in 1963 to Billy J. Kramer rather than record it themselves. These performances are nothing less than electrifying, especially the previously unavailable covers, which feature quite a few versions of classics by Chuck Berry, Little Richard, Carl Perkins, and Elvis Presley. There are also off-the-beaten-path tunes by the Everly Brothers and Buddy Holly on down to obscurities by the Jodimars, Chan Romero (a marvelous "Hippy Hippy Shake"), Eddie Fontaine, and Ann-Margret. The greatest gem is probably their fabulous version of Arthur Alexander's "Soldier of Love," which (like several of the tracks) would have easily qualified as a highlight of their early releases if they had issued it officially. Restored from existing tapes of various quality, the sound is mostly very good and never less than listenable. Unfortunately, they weren't able to include every single rarity that the Beatles recorded for the BBC; the absence of Carl Perkins' "Lend Me Your Comb," which has circulated on bootlegs in a high-fidelity version, is especially mystifying. Minor quibbles aside, these performances, available on bootlegs for years, compose the major missing chapter in the Beatles' legacy, and it's great to have them easily obtainable in a first-rate package.

Track Listing - Disc 1

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time Stream
1 The Beatles feat: Tony Hall 00:13 Amazon
2 The Beatles 00:27 Amazon
3
The Beatles feat: Brian Matthew 00:53 Amazon
4 The Beatles 02:48 Amazon
5 The Beatles 02:05 Amazon
6 The Beatles 02:30 Amazon
7 The Beatles 01:57 Amazon
8 The Beatles 01:56 Amazon
9 The Beatles 02:14 Amazon
10 The Beatles 02:07 Amazon
11 The Beatles 02:00 Amazon
12 The Beatles 02:01 Amazon
13
The Beatles 00:27 Amazon
14 The Beatles 02:43 Amazon
15 The Beatles 02:53 Amazon
16 The Beatles 02:34 Amazon
17 The Beatles 01:59 Amazon
18
The Beatles 00:25 Amazon
19 The Beatles 02:39 Amazon
20 The Beatles 02:01 Amazon
21 The Beatles 02:09 Amazon
22
The Beatles feat: Brian Matthew 00:42 Amazon
23 The Beatles 02:37 Amazon
24 The Beatles 02:49 Amazon
25 The Beatles 01:57 Amazon
26 The Beatles 01:52 Amazon
27 The Beatles 02:31 Amazon
28 The Beatles 01:39 Amazon
29 The Beatles 02:51 Amazon
30 The Beatles 02:12 Amazon
31 The Beatles 01:49 Amazon
32 The Beatles 02:06 Amazon
33
The Beatles 00:28 Amazon
34 The Beatles 02:13 Amazon

Track Listing - Disc 2

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time Stream
1
The Beatles 01:04 Amazon
2 The Beatles 02:24 Amazon
3
The Beatles 00:21 Amazon
4 The Beatles 02:09 Amazon
5
The Beatles feat: Alan Freeman 00:20 Amazon
6 The Beatles 02:15 Amazon
7 The Beatles 02:04 Amazon
8 The Beatles 02:18 Amazon
9 The Beatles 03:14 Amazon
10 The Beatles 02:20 Amazon
11
The Beatles 00:10 Amazon
12 The Beatles 02:36 Amazon
13 The Beatles 02:59 Amazon
14 The Beatles 01:49 Amazon
15 The Beatles 01:51 Amazon
16 The Beatles 02:46 Amazon
17 The Beatles 01:53 Amazon
18 The Beatles 02:12 Amazon
19 The Beatles 02:32 Amazon
20 The Beatles 02:20 Amazon
21 The Beatles 02:00 Amazon
22 The Beatles 02:56 Amazon
23 The Beatles 02:42 Amazon
24 The Beatles 02:37 Amazon
25
The Beatles 00:27 Amazon
26 The Beatles 01:57 Amazon
27 The Beatles 02:08 Amazon
28
The Beatles 00:26 Amazon
29 The Beatles 01:55 Amazon
30 The Beatles 01:36 Amazon
31
The Beatles 00:35 Amazon
32 The Beatles 02:02 Amazon
33 The Beatles 02:36 Amazon
34 The Beatles 02:11 Amazon
35 The Beatles 02:29 Amazon
blue highlight denotes track pick