Free As A Bird
Apple Records / Capitol Records
Free As a Bird was released in 1995 as the first “new” song by all four Beatles in 25 years. It was part of a multi-media blitz of the Anthology CD releases and the Anthology mini-series on ABC television.
Yes kids, in 1995, multi-media meant CDs and a TV show (plus a lot of promotion on something called FM radio).
At the time, Free As a Bird was received as a novelty. It was a publicity stunt as part of the Anthology releases. Most fans watched, listened, and said, “Okay, it’s good, but play something from Rubber Soul or Sgt Pepper again!”
But 23 years later, Free As a Bird is BRILLIANT. If you haven’t heard it in a while, give it a listen again please:
How did we get here?
Perhaps our standards just that much lower now. As musicians stopped playing actual musical instruments, did we lower the bar of what constitutes a good song?
In spite of the media’s phony accolades poured upon the likes of Jay-Zee, Beyoncé, and Adam Levine as “geniuses,” the universe hasn’t produced songwriters close to Lennon and McCartney in decades.
Even an unproduced, unfinished scrap song demo from John Lennon is brilliant compared to anything by Kanye West.
A True Beatles Song
I’m a huge fan of the Anthology albums and the mini-series. At the time, I had thought of the new songs Free As a Bird and Real Love only as interesting codas. But now I consider them full-fledged Beatles creative achievements.
And unlike Real Love, which is fantastic in its own way, Free As a Bird was not a complete recording. Real Love allowed Paul, George, and Ringo to come in as a backup band to provide backing vocals and a guitar solo to John’s nearly-complete song. But on Free As a Bird, the other three Beatles created 75% of the song that John started.
Also, in writing this, I realize for the first time that Free As a Bird can be abbreviated as FAB. Heh…
I’m glad Free a Bird was made back in 1995 and not 2018. If created in 2018, someone may have convinced the surviving Beatles to use auto-tune. John Lennon auto-tuned. Imagine that…