Top 10 Beatles Bootleg Albums
The three Beatles Anthology volumes released in the ’90s were supposed to stop bootleggers. Okay, maybe not stop them, because the Beatles have been one of the world’s most heavily bootlegged artists ever since unreleased session tapes started making the rounds in the late-’60s, as you’ll see in our above list of the Top 10 Beatles Bootleg Albums.
The trio of double-disc albums officially released by Capitol Records was certainly designed to keep all but rabid fans from acquiring illegal Beatles records. And for most casual fans, they were enough.
The Anthology albums did a fine job of sampling the countless hours of demos, mixes, alternate takes and live shows that are available, but they merely skimmed the surface of all the fabness out there.
Our list of the Top 10 Beatles Bootleg Albums surveys the best of the rest, as well as some of the material that ended up on the Anthology records. Every single era of the Beatles’ brief but fruitful career is represented — from the early days before they snagged a record deal to the sessions that produced their mid-decade burst of creativity to their last public performance to the recording of their final album.
The Anthology series collects the leftover highlights, but true Beatles fans want everything, and their collections aren’t complete without these essential bootlegs. There are many more out there — most of which cover the same material gathered on these 10 albums. These are the ones that, along with the official albums and Anthology releases, pretty much tell the Beatles’ story from start to finish.