Beatles – Real Love

This was the second “new” song by the Beatles to be released in the 1990’s and it was on the Anthology 2 album. I liked the song but it didn’t resonate with me like Free As A Bird did. Real Love sounded more like a Lennon solo song with the Beatles backing him…but I love Lennon’s solo output so I did like it but it wasn’t as “Beatle-ly” to me than Free As a Bird.

The song was more fully realized than Free As a Bird and didn’t take as much input by the other three shaping it. This is the only Beatles song where the songwriting credit is John Lennon alone instead of Lennon-McCartney or all four Beatles.

Paul McCartney did his best John Lennon imitation to help the lead vocal because the recording of John’s voice was low and spotty in some places. The lead vocal is actually a John and Paul duet.

The song with Lennon’s early takes on “Real Love,” recorded with just guitar and vocals, had also appeared on the soundtrack of the Imagine: John Lennon documentary before the Beatles got to finish it.

The song peaked at #11 in the Billboard 100, #12 in Canada, and #4 in the UK in 1996.

From Songfacts

This was an unfinished song written by John Lennon that was completed by the remaining Beatles. It was the second “new” release for the Anthology 2 album (“Free As A Bird” was the first). Yoko Ono supplied Lennon’s demos and gave the remaining Beatles permission to use them.

Jeff Lynne from The Electric Light Orchestra put this together. He has produced albums for George Harrison and played with him in The Traveling Wilburys.

Lennon recorded his demo on a small tape recorder, which posed a challenge when Lynne tried to mix it with updated tracks. He was able to use a noise reduction system to improve the sound. 

According to notes in the John Lennon album Acoustic, when Lennon wrote this song, the original title was “Girls and Boys.”

Real Love

All my little plans and schemes
Lost like some forgotten dreams
Seems that all I really was doing
Was waiting for you

Just like little girls and boys
Playing with their little toys
Seems like all they really were doing
Was waiting for love

Don’t need to be alone
No need to be alone
It’s real love, it’s real
Yes, it’s real love, it’s real

From this moment on I know
Exactly where my life will go
Seems that all I really was doing
Was waiting for love

Don’t need to be afraid
No need to be afraid
It’s real love, it’s real
Yes, it’s real love, it’s real

Thought I’d been in love before
But in my heart, I wanted more
Seems like all I really was doing
Was waiting for you

Don’t need to be alone
Don’t need to be alone
It’s real love, it’s real
It’s real love, it’s real
Yes, it’s real love, it’s real
It’s real love, it’s real
Yes, it’s real love, it’s real
It’s real love, it’s real
Yes, it’s real love, it’s real
It’s real love, it’s real

Author: badfinger20 (Max)

Power Pop fan, Baseball fan, old movie and tv show fan... and a songwriter, bass and guitar player.

55 thoughts on “Beatles – Real Love”

    1. Oh wow…I like it don’t get me wrong. When I heard this…it sounded familiar because I had already heard it…it took some of the surprise away.

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    1. I liked it but I had heard it before…it was released as a scratchy demo by John on a documentary…it took the surprise out…but it was a nice track…I liked the first one much more.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. I’d totally forgotten about this one, I think I like it better than ‘Free As a Bird” too. It has a wee bit of a Jeff Lynne sound too, which isn’t bad. Great trivia answer in it, the only Beatles song credited to just John.

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    1. I liked the 1967 type sound that Free As a Bird had…I always imagined this would sound good as a Lennon track more than Beatles…but that is just me.

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  2. Old chap, I disagree with just about everything you said about Real Love, which definitely has the edge to me, and by a great degree. Have I asked you what you thought about the re-mixes of RL and Free As A Bird Capital released a few years ago? I believe Giles Martin had a hand in it. My take is that they are inferior to the original versions, but they seem to be the preferred. Any thoughts?

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    1. I liked to be disagreed with… Its the only way I see the other side. More people like this song than I ever imagined…but I do like it also and I probably shouldn’t have compared it to Free As a Bird…Maybe it’s because the surprise was taken away because I had heard it before on a documentary about Lennon when it was released.

      I rarely if ever like remixes with one huge exception…The White Album. I thought they improved it and presented it in a way it was originally meant to be. It was always a little muddy to me…I still loved it and it’s always been in the top 3 of my favorite Beatle albums.

      They did fine with both the newer ones but yea I will stick with the originals on them.

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      1. Yeh, maybe I could have worded that better. But to me, Real Love was the masterpiece of the two. But that’s fine. Naturally, I love FaaB, too, and the memory of purchasing it at exactly midnight at Tower Records in San Francisco will stay with me forever.

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      2. Adding to Free as a Bird for me was the excitement of my first new Beatle song…and not being let down because of high expectations.

        I think I worded this post wrong also…because I think people think I don’t like it…I do a lot…The Anthology series was special and those two new songs didn’t disappoint…instead of just writing about Real Love I compared the two for what they meant to me…and I probably shouldn’t have.

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  3. I liked the video with this one. The song was kind of “enh” without it. Still, it was nice to hear “the lads” all together again. There was allegedly a third song on that tape Yoko found that they decided right away not to do. I’d like to hear it…

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    1. I like it also. I think I worded this post wrong…I do like it but I compared the two…I just like Free As A Bird so much… Well this should be a great listen for you!

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    1. If you looks at the comments…more people here liked it more than I did…I also thought it sounded like a Lennon solo track…not bad but Free As a Bird to me actually sounded like the Beatles.

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      1. That is cool. I know Canada celebrates it. One other New Zealand person I know lived in America for a while and he celebrates it….well what the hell….Happy late Thanksgiving.

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  4. While as a Beatle nut I was really happy to hear both tunes, I have a slight preference for “Free as a Bird.” Perhaps that’s in part because it was the first of the two “new” tunes to come out, and the wow-factor of how modern recording technology had made it all possible was greater.

    I’m shocked to admit I had never heard of “Now and Then.” While it doesn’t sound as compelling as the other two songs, I still would have been curious to see how that tune would have come out when fully produced.

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    1. Well you and I are in the minority here on this post but I agree. I just thought Free as a Bird sounded more like the Beatles…but I do like Real Love…The video with Harrison bringing in a 6-pack makes them so human…like we used to do.

      Paul talked about finishing the song…I hope he does.

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  5. My feelings about Real Love were that Free As A Bird was the classic first single, and Real Love was a good but lesser follow-up. My view about FAAB hasn’t changed, but Real Love seems to have the popular edge now in the UK following a hit cover by Tom Odell for a Xmas advert. If a song works enough to be a hit for someone else, it’s a sign it’s a great song, and I love it much more than I did at the time it came out. By way of comparison FAAB topped my personal charts, Real Love peaked at 4 – but if it were reissued it would be a number one too, now.

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    1. This one and Free as a Bird were exciting because they were new…and I never had known “new” Beatles because of my age… I love the Anthology music and the Documentary DVD set…but I’m a huge Beatles fan.

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      1. That was me toward the Stones…I kept buying and liking more of their music….funny thing is heck I should be 67 instead of 53 with my music taste…but it just worked out this way.

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    1. I shouldn’t have compared them…I must not have got across that I actually liked the song…just not was well as Free As A Bird. This one to me does sound like a solo Lennon track…but yea…they couldn’t go back.

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  6. I do prefer this over free as a bird….despite that there’s a harpsichord in the intro (jeff Lynne!!!)
    I loved the imagine soundtrack so that version for me is THE version, much prefer it to the rerelease…though I admit it was great seeing the lads back in the studio!
    Here’s the version (which I’m sure you’ll know well!)

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    1. I gotta go with Free as a Bird but I do like this one…but to me it sounds like a Lennon solo song…which…NOTHING wrong with that…I do like that one a lot!

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      1. Also, don’t know why they didn’t do a better job treating the lead vocal. There must have been decent tech back then for isolating and bringing the vocal to life. All they seemed to do was bury it in effects…really can’t stand the sound of the vocals on either of the tracks

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      2. Yoko in her wisdom gave them a 2nd or 3rd cassette generation copy…so I give them some effects…BUT…there is a 2015 remix…that is clearer.

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