Song facts: Free as a Bird

On December 4th 1995, The Beatles released Free as a Bird to promote the band's Anthology documentary and Anthology 1 album.

Free as a Bird was written by John Lennon and originally recorded in 1977 as a home demo, with John on vocals and piano. Lennon never got around to finishing the song before his death.

When the three surviving Beatles began work on the Anthology project they wanted to record something new. But they had always maintained if one member was absent they would never release anything as a group. Paul McCartney approached Yoko Ono and asked her if there was any unreleased recordings of John's that they could work on. 

McCartney visited Ono and was played a cassette tape of four songs Lennon had been working on in the years before his death: Free as a Bird, Real Love, Grow Old With Me and Now and Then. The Beatles used Free as a Bird, recording and adding vocals and instruments to accompany John on piano.

They chose to work on Real Love for Anthology 2. The song Now and Then was scrapped due to the poor quality of the recording, and Grow Old With Me was released on the posthumous John Lennon album Milk and Honey in 1984.

The Beatles included their song Christmas Time (Is Here Again) as the single's B-side; the song was originally released on their fifth fanclub Christmas record in 1967.

Grammy Awards

On February 26th 1997, The Beatles received three Grammy Awards for the Free as a Bird music video:

  • Best Pop Performance by a Duo or Group (for "Free As A Bird")
  • Best Music Video: Short Form (for "Free As A Bird")
  • Best Music Video: Long Form (for "The Beatles Anthology")

Personnel  

  • John Lennon – lead vocal, piano
  • Paul McCartney – lead vocal, harmony vocal, bass, acoustic guitar, piano, synthesizer
  • George Harrison – lead vocal, harmony vocal, electric slide guitar, acoustic guitar, ukulele
  • Ringo Starr – drums, harmony vocal
Free as a Bird single, 1995. 

Free as a Bird single, 1995.