Anthology 2 came out on March 18, 1996, just a few months after Anthology 1 was released. For a description of the Anthology project, see the text under Anthology 1.
Like its predecessor, Anthology 2 is a compilation of audio materials created by the Beatles. It picks up chronologically where Anthology 1 left off, and, like Anthology 1, leads off with a late song, Real Love, made in 1995 by the surviving Beatles, overdubbing a recording John Lennon made before his death. Also like Anthology 1, Anthology 2 went to platinum in the US (2x) and to number 1 in the Billboard 200 charts.
Anthology 2 covers the period that started with the recording session for Help! in 1965, ending just as the group is about to depart for India in February, 1968, to visit the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. The two disc set includes 55 tracks with a total duration of 2 hours and 8 minutes.
Noteworthy on Anthology 2 is the 12-Bar Original, an instrumental jam that was improvised during a Rubber Soul session, but not included on the album. Two other abandoned songs from Help! can be heard: If You've Got Trouble (intended for Ringo to sing on the album) and That Means a Lot (shunted off to P.J. Proby). Early takes from the recording of several other songs for Rubber Soul appear on disc 1. The second disc is mainly about Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band and Magical Mystery Tour. Only a Northern Song, You Know My Name (Look Up the Number), and Across the Universe also appear in early demos or recording session takes. Carnival of Light, an unreleased recording from this period, was not placed on the album because Harrison exercised his veto.