Free As A Bird

In the 1990s I kept reading about the Beatles Anthology coming out and the three surviving Beatles getting back together to release old never heard before music as well as new. They were going to take a John Lennon demo and add something to it. This was beyond exciting for me. I was too young to remember a new Beatles song coming out.

It had an older feel but sounded modern at the same time. George Harrison’s distorted slide guitar playing brought an edge to it. It even had the strange ending like some of their other songs.

I got an early release of the Anthology CD from a friend of mine that worked in a record store and he said…don’t tell anyone. I sat glued to Free As a Bird because for once I was listening to a new Beatles song… I was one-year-old in1968 so I missed them when they were originally out. I liked the song and still do. I have talked to Beatles fans who don’t really like it that much but the song has stuck with me. Real Love…the second release didn’t do as much for me because it was basically a solo John Lennon song.

Was Free As a Bird the best song in the Beatles catalog? No not even close but just to hear something new was fantastic. The Anthology videos and CDs jump-started their popularity all over again…and it hasn’t stopped since then. I had cousins who were teenagers at the time who never had an interest in them until Anthology came out. All I could say to them was…I’ve told you for years.

The video of Free As a Bird is fantastic and still one of my favorite music videos. It told their history through the different eras of their career. Every time I watch it I always notice something I didn’t notice before.

Little did he know that day in1977 when John made a demo of a song idea on a cheap cassette recorder… it would be a future Beatle song. Not to even mention that the tape itself would be part of the song.

It did win a Grammy Award for Best Pop Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal…

After reading the mixed reactions one thing dawned on me. The Beatles did the right thing by not reuniting when John was alive. There is no way they could have made anything that would have lived up to the expectations of everyone…You cannot compete against a memory because you lose every time… But yea… I still would have loved to hear it.

 

 

Author: badfinger20

Guitar, Bass, song writer,

14 thoughts on “Free As A Bird”

  1. I am with you- Free As A Bird I really liked and still do- Real Love- it was ok. I thought with Free As A Bird- they really did a lot with what little they had to start with. I loved the video too. Did they even do one for Real Love? I can’t remember it. … I have always been in the camp I am sure a minority- even when they were all living I didn’t want to see a reunion at least not one which included a studio album. If they had gotten together and toured that would have been fine but why mess with the perfection they had when it came to the studio? Touring- it may have been enjoyable for them to have an audience that was listening instead of screaming their heads off.

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    1. Without looking it up I do remember a Real Love video…all l remember is a piano falling… I agree. Nothing they could have done in the studio would have lived up to what they did…It could be the greatest album ever but it would never match people’s imagination. They would be competing with perfect teenage memories of people and it would not have flown… Now if it would have been in 72 or 73 they could have gotten by with it because of the short length of time… Like you said though why mess with a career with no clinkers. Not many bands can say that.

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    2. Your last sentence is spot on. Heck, by ’68 or ’69 at the latest the sound equipment for big auditoriums and stadiums, along with an older and more stoned audience, would’ve made a huge difference for them. Too bad they were so splintered. The Isle of Wight Festival in ’69 or ’70 would’ve been a perfect occasion to take the stage again.

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      1. Imagine them playing the White Album and Abbey Road material live… that would have been great and doable unlike some of their MMT and Sgt Pepper period. I’ve read where Mick Jagger even told John hey it’s different now but like you said the crack was there.

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  2. And, I do think all four would’ve gotten back together after 1980. Maybe it would’ve been an album, but at the very least for the Anthology. I learned only recently that the seed of the Anthology project was actually started around the time of the breakup. Neil Aspinal had been gathering footage and working on it for a brief time.

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    1. Yes, I’ve read where John signed some agreements about working on a project called “The Long and Winding Road” which turned into the Anthology.

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  3. The world never really got to see the best of The Beatles as a live band. I would have loved to have been back at The Cavern in the early 1960’s for that. That had to have been amazing.

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    1. That would have been great. Just hearing that old star-club album that was recorded on a cheap recorder was exciting. I agree the world never saw their best. John Lennon in later interviews was convinced it would be Beatlemania again if they toured. I never understood that…things had calmed down by 68-70… The Stones took off because of the improvements of the day in PA’s and amps.

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      1. A year ago I read Steve Turner’s book Beatles ’66- a great read if you haven’t read it already- I think that tour destroyed their nervous systems…the whole Bigger than Jesus and the Marcos mess…

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      2. I haven’t read that… I’ll look that one up. It makes sense because sometimes I wondered after that year they were unsure of themselves live. I’m not saying scared of it but maybe after 66 that was all they could handle…well all but Paul.

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      3. It seemed like George was the one most effected by it all. He never did a whole lot of touring as a solo artist. I figure it was one of those deals where all 4 had to be for touring to tour not a majority rules .

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      4. Thank you for the recommendation…I just downloaded it from audible. I didn’t know what book was the next one. I have to go to Atlanta next week so I needed something plus my drive anyway.
        George would be the one grumbling about the Beatle experience more than the others I agree.

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      5. off topic but the library got in my order of Bedazzled and Part II of Alone In The WIlderness. Going to Gettysburg for a few days will have to watch them when we get back.. also wanted to wait on part one of Alone In The Wilderness to watch them in order..

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      6. Yes, the first one is the best. After I wrote about Alone in the Wilderness I watched it again. I hope you enjoy Bedazzled.

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