The Beatles Recording Sessions Update

23rd June

Friar Park Studios, Henley On Thames England: time unknown. Recording: 'Thinking Of Linking', 'Raunchy', 'Ain't She Sweet', 'Baby What You Want Me To Do', 'Love Me Do', 'I Saw Her Standing There', 'Roll Over Beethoven', 'I Will', 'Dehra Dune', 'Blue Moon Of Kentucky' (take numbers unknown) plus other unknown numbers.
P: George Harrison, Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr.

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.

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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".

The tiny studio was very cramped but was all the Beatles could afford...

Jeff Lynne: 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.

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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' 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).

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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.

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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 were 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 occassions for posterity.

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Sources include: Goldmine Magazine; Beatles Monthly No. 220 Aug 94, No. 249 Jan 97 (Beat Publications Ltd), Daily Mail 24th Jun 94, Sun News Services 20 June 96.

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