Sunday, May 03, 2009

Free As A Bird - The Beatles

Written by John Lennon and recorded in 1977 by the Beatles


John Lennon recorded this as a demo in 1977. The other Beatles recorded around his tracks to complete song in 1994. The next year, it was released as a single.

Jeff Lynne of The Electric Light Orchestra produced this. Ringo Starr and George Harrison both played on E.L.O.'s 2001 album Zoom.

Yoko Ono agreed to release Lennon's demo to the other Beatles the day after he was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Yoko got a bad rap by a lot of Beatles fans, but she has been very protective of Lennon's legacy. This is one of the few projects she has authorized on his behalf.

Beatles producer George Martin was not involved in the production because of concerns about his hearing.

Some royalties were donated to a Romanian AIDS charity set up by Elton John and the Beatles' wives.

The phrase "Turned out nice again" at the end of the song is a reference to George Formby, a musical hall entertainer who played the ukulele and is represented in the closing scenes of the video. "Turned out nice again" was Formby's catchphrase. The connection here is that George Harrison played the ukulele and was a member of the George Formby Appreciation Society. He even attended their gatherings. Harrison was said to have had a ukulele in every room of his home and gave one to McCartney early on in their career. (thanks, PJ - Glasgow, Scotland)

This won the 1996 Grammy for Best Pop Performance By A Duo Or Group With Vocal.

McCartney told Observer Music Monthly that they put some backward recordings at the end of the single as a joke, "To give all those Beatles nuts something to do." (thanks, Bertrand - Paris, France)

While locked up in Wormwood Scrubs prison for breaching a probation order, the controversial Rock vocalist Pete Doherty claimed he listened to this song every day.




Thom said...

Thanks for the info on the Beatles. That is a great song :)

Jamie said...

Love this recording and speaking of "Love", Yoko allowed the use of songs for the Cirque du Solleil show "Love" at the Mirage. if you get to Vegas, go see it. The other night on CSI one character offered their tickets to "Love" to another character, and the response was "I've already seen it - twice". Great, great show.

Ivanhoe said...

So many wonderful facts you were able to gather! Awesome :o)
Sometimes I wonder how did we grew up without computer & google ;o)

life of the beatles said...

A great track and an amazing video. John recorded multiple versions of the song, which are worth checking out.

Travis said...

This is a great song. I remember the excitement surrounding its release.