July 16, 2007

"Free As a Bird"

From the Wikipedia entry:

"Free as a Bird" was originally a piece of music that John Lennon composed, but never completed. The original Lennon recording was made circa 1977 in New York City. Yoko Ono gave a basic recording of the unfinished music to the remaining Beatles (Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr) who reunited to finalize and record the completed song.

The Beatles' overdubs and production were recorded between February and March, 1994 in Sussex, England. According to interviews, the group treated the song as though Lennon had gone on holiday and had left the song for them to complete. The original demo had to be stretched and cleaned up, as Lennon's voice was notably shaky and slightly out of time.

"This is the Beatles video with John only, the home recorded tape John made and the surviving Beatles took and overdubbed themselves onto for the official release. It tells you what they had to work with." (description from uploader ahcansee)

Back to Wikipedia entry:

The song features a classic Beatles arrangement, layered with drums, guitars (acoustic and electric), bass guitar, piano, and harmonized Beatle voices.

It ends with a slightly psychedelic coda including a strummed ukulele (an instrument for which McCartney and Harrison have expressed fondness) and the backward voice
(how Beatlesque!) of John Lennon. The message, when played backward, is "Turned out nice again", which was the catch-phrase of George Formby, whom Harrison and Lennon admired. This line has been noticed by many fans as it sounds like it's saying 'made by John Lennon'. Most fans believed this was intended to be the case, until it was revealed it was in fact simply the phrase 'Turned out nice again' being played backwards. According to McCartney, the result was unintentional and was discovered only after the surviving Beatles completed the single and reviewed the result.

This page points out all the great Beatles' references peppered throughout.


Idaho Escapee said...

Thank you for those wonderful posts. McCartney has been criticized for his apparently shallow lyrics that begin with the phrase, "whatever happened to"...turns out that was LENNON'S idea, and maybe that phrase is a comment on his deteriorating relationship with Yoko, if all the negatory stuff about Yoko is to be believed. I also enjoyed the "naked" tape of Lennon only, and actually, his voice sounds okay to me. I've been a Beatles fan since the '60s, but your posting is proof that "you learn something new every day." I've written about the Beatles (and many other things) on my blog, "Atmospheric Ruminations", www.hklbrrypkr.blogspot.com in case you wanna cruise by. Again, thanks. Great stuff.

Chris said...

I like your theory that the relationship between John and Yoko was deteriorating. It no doubt was.

Atmospheric Ruminations has some interesting stuff. Thanks for alerting me to it!