After “Free As A Bird” was recorded, the three Beatles continued to work on the documentary. They were all interviewed throughout the next two years, so when you see the entire broadcast, they have many looks, hair and facial changes..
MPL released the book, “Paintings,” which featured images of all of Paul’s paintings he had created from 1988-92.
They started work on June 22nd on the second John Lennon demo cassette track, “Now And Then.”
The three Beatles recorded at Paul’s Mill Studio. This was their first get together in the studio since February, the delay being put down to George’s business negotiations for the sale of Handmade Films.
Jeff Lynne claimed the song (which has a chorus but is lacking in verses) was technically still without a formal title, but should it ever be completed, it would probably end up as either “Now And Then” or “Miss You“.
Yoko Ono has confirmed it was she who chose the recording, selecting unreleased Lennon songs “very carefully“. She chose “Now And Then” (later copyrighted as “I Don’t Want To Lose You“) for almost therapeutic reasons.
“Because these songs were to come from the Beatles. The Beatles will be singing to the world again. The implication of that was tremendous. I thought this was a song which would release people from their sorrow of losing John.
By listening to the song, they will eventually be able to release their sorrow and arrive at an understanding that, actually, John is not lost to them. Paul, George and Ringo lost a great friend as well. If they sang this song from their hearts it would have helped many people around the world who felt the same.” – Yoko Ono
Jeff Lynne had again been assisted in cleaning up the original “Now And Then/I Don’t Want To Lose You” tape by musician Marc Mann. Mann recalls that the demo they worked with had been recorded on a four-track (John’s voice was doubled) and he’d used a tambourine. Lynne didn’t want the tambourine, so they frequency notched around it so the filter would not affect John’s vocals substantially. Unfortunately, the “Now And Then” recordings the Beatles attempted on this day did not go well and the session was aborted early.
“We had a go at it but there were a lot of words that hadn’t been completed on it. The playing on it was fine. It was just that the words weren’t finished, and quite a lot of them weren’t finished. It was a decision to do something that was already complete, so we could actually get it down on tape.
It was one day – one afternoon, really – messing with it. The song had a chorus but is almost totally lacking in verses. We did the backing track, a rough go that we really didn’t finish. It was sort of a bluesy sort of ballad, I suppose, in A minor. It was a very sweet song; I liked it a lot, and I wished we could have finished it.
It didn’t have a very good title, it needed a bit of reworking. It had a beautiful verse and it had John singing on it. But George didn’t want to do it.
The best thing about it all was to work with John again. Hearing him in the headphones, it was like he was in the next room. It’s like an impossible dream.” – Jeff Lynne
George apparently suggested the group continue the next day, this time at his Friar Park Studios in his Henley-on-Thames mansion.
George, Paul and Ringo convened (accompanied by their respective wives) at George’s studio at his Friar Park mansion, apparently to perform a symbolic version of “Let It Be” to be filmed for the conclusion of the Anthology TV series.
John’s absence was apparently so overwhelming that, after a long private discussion between the three out in the garden (unconfirmed rumors suggest George was particularly unhappy with the plan and that the ‘discussion’ lasted three hours), the idea was abandoned and the Fab Three turned their hands instead to re-working rock and roll classics much favored from their Quarry Men and pre-Beatlemania days.
“It was just two acoustic guitars and me on brushes. It was just like a time-warp kind of thing. We played some old rock-and-roll stuff, a couple of Chuck Berry’s, even I Saw Her Standing There.” – Ringo
The jam was filmed for possible inclusion in the Anthology videos but, initially, only a minute long segment of the threesome performing Blue Moon Of Kentucky was screened publicly (on the television program ‘Good Morning America‘ on December 6th, 1996).
The original video release of the series featured Ringo drumming along (or so it appears) to Love Me Do, an extremely brief run-through of the White Album track I Will and a longer performance of the unreleased Harrison song Dera Dhune (both performed out in the garden rather than the studio).
Bob Smeaton, Anthology TV series director, was quite enthusiastic about the Friar Park recordings: “The more we include of the three guys together, the more we realize that John isn’t there. In years to come people might get the chance to see that footage of the three of them playing together at George’s place.
Knowing the way Apple works, it’ll come out eventually, in some shape or form. There’s a whole load of that stuff, we were there for a full day and the Beatles started playing songs like Thinking Of Linking and Ain’t She Sweet. A little bit of this film was used when George sang Dehra Dune. They did a whole load of rock’n’roll songs.
And we shot a load of stuff at Abbey Road, with the three guys and George Martin, which was fantastic. For the Beatles fan, it’s priceless, I’m sure that somewhere down the line, that stuff will come out.”
1994 ended with Paul still working out writing for the STANDING STONE classical work, songs for future albums and behind the scenes for the Anthology project.
Next: 1991’s UNPLUGGED album, television show and mini tour, the onto 1995.