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The Beatles Song They Had to Work Hard on to Hide the 'Bad Bits'

Sunday, February 18, 2024

Paul McCartney was thrilled to put out a new Beatles song in 1995. Producer George Martin wasn't as sure about the finished product.

In 1995, The Beatles released “Free as a Bird,” their first new song in years. John Lennon originally wrote it in 1977, and his surviving bandmates worked on it years later. While the song was a success on the charts, longtime Beatles producer George Martin wasn’t sure how he felt about it. He gave it his stamp of approval but felt it sounded a bit odd.
George Martin wasn’t sure about the finished product of a late Beatles song

At the start of 1994, Paul McCartney called Yoko Ono to wish her a happy New Year. Through this conversation and further ones, they began discussing the possibility of working on some of Lennon’s home demos and releasing them as Beatles songs.

“I liked ‘Free As A Bird’ immediately,” McCartney said in the book A Hard Day’s Write: The Stories Behind Every Beatles Song by Steve Turner. “I liked the melody. It had strong chords and it really appealed to me…”

Ringo Starr and George Harrison joined him to complete the song “Free as a Bird” along with ELO’s Jeff Lynne. They showed it to Martin, who had produced the rest of The Beatles’ singles. He said he approved, but cautiously. He believed that the work they did to conceal the song’s “bad bits” made it sound awkward.

“They stretched it and compressed it and put it around until it got to a regular waltz control click and then they were done,” Martin said. “The result was that, in order to conceal the bad bits, they had to plaster it fairly heavily so that what you ended up with was quite a thick homogeneous sound that hardly stops.”

Despite Martin’s misgivings, the song hit No. 2 on the U.K. Singles Chart and No. 6 on the Billboard Hot 100.

Source: Emma McKee/cheatsheet.com

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