- Friar Park Studio, Henley-on-Thames, UK
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(the content of this page is taken from https://reunionsessions.tripod.com/al/faabsessions/1994c.html )
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 rumours 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 favoured from their Quarry Men and pre-Beatlemania days. Ringo confirmed that the trio played an acoustic jam; “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.Jeff Lynne
The jam was filmed for possible inclusion in the upcoming 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).
Speaking in late 1996, Bob Smeaton, Anthology TV series director, was quite enthusiastic about the Friar Park recordings:
Smeaton: The more we include of the three guys together, the more we realise 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.
The special features disc later included on the 2003 Anthology DVD set included much more footage from this day, including the performances of Raunchy, Thinking Of Linking, Blue Moon Of Kentucky, Baby What You Want Me To Do, I Will, Dera Dhun and Ain’t She Sweet. The songs performed out in the garden feature Paul and George on ukeleles.
Unconfirmed press reports at the time claimed that George, Paul and Ringo had now completed around ten hours of recordings, prompting rumours that the trio was working on an entire album. What exactly was recorded (apart from the above-specified tracks) is still a mystery, although it’s unlikely those ten hours of tape all comprise new Beatles songs. The August 1994 Beatles Monthly reported that in recent weeks the Beatles ‘came up with some fresh musical ideas for the soundtrack of their Anthology series‘ and speculated the bulk of the recordings may also be comprised of ‘warm-up demos‘. It’s also possible that producer Jeff Lynne often left a tape running during the ‘reunion’ sessions to record the occasions for posterity.
Last updated on September 5, 2020
Baby What You Want Me To Do
The definitive guide for every Beatles recording sessions from 1962 to 1970.
We owe a lot to Mark Lewisohn for the creation of those session pages, but you really have to buy this book to get all the details - the number of takes for each song, who contributed what, a description of the context and how each session went, various photographies... And an introductory interview with Paul McCartney!
We owe a lot to Chip Madinger and Mark Easter for the creation of those session pages, but you really have to buy this book to get all the details!
Eight Arms To Hold You: The Solo Beatles Compendium is the ultimate look at the careers of John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr beyond the Beatles. Every aspect of their professional careers as solo artists is explored, from recording sessions, record releases and tours, to television, film and music videos, including everything in between. From their early film soundtrack work to the officially released retrospectives, all solo efforts by the four men are exhaustively examined.
As the paperback version is out of print, you can buy a PDF version on the authors' website