The Threetles (lost unreleased recordings from Beatles reunion sessions; 1990s)
The Threetles was the unofficial name given by the press to the three surviving members of The Beatles. The surviving members Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr (John Lennon was murdered in 1980) reunited for The Beatles Anthology, a multimedia project that consisted of a documentary series, a book and three albums containing unreleased recording spanning the group's career and three planned new recordings from the surviving members of the group.
History[edit | edit source]
In 1989, Paul McCartney, George Harrison, and Ringo Starr announced plans to produce an extensive Anthology formally accounting for their 10-year careers in The Beatles. Rumors began circulating of the remaining Beatles reuniting to make new music; the rumor was denied by the members and any associates.
Paul McCartney soon approached Yoko Ono, John Lennon's widow, believing she would have some of his unused recordings featuring Lennon. Ono gave McCartney three cassette tapes, one of which was found in Lennon's New York apartment with the words "For Paul" written in Lennon's handwriting. The tapes contained songs titled Free as a Bird, Real Love, Grow Old With Me, and Now and Then, featuring Lennon on piano and vocals. The three remaining Beatles soon began work on all demos with Jeff Lynne (who had previously worked with George Harrison on his Cloud Nine album and The Traveling Wilburys) producing.
The recording sessions began in February 1994 at Paul's recording studio The Mill Studio in Sussex England and George's at his Friar Park mansion and would continue sporadically until May 1995. During these sessions, The Beatles worked on the Lennon cassette songs, live-in-studio renditions of previously unrecorded Beatles songs, rock n roll standards and a new McCartney/Harrison composition "All For Love". It is generally believed that no attempt was made to overdub the "Grow Old With Me" demo.
When the The Beatles Anthology premiered on television November 1995 the songs "Free As A Bird" and "Real Love" were officially debuted to the public. These were released sequentially on the Anthology 1 & 2 compilation albums. The TV special also featured some of the live-in-studio performances of the rock and roll covers.
However, the planned third reunion song was never released for Anthology 3. Attempts at completing the Lennon demos, the McCartney/Harrison song "All For Love", the work done to the “Now And Then” demo and further live and the studio performances are still to see the light of day.
Unreleased/Lost Recordings[edit | edit source]
Friar Park Live-in-Studio Session[edit | edit source]
During the live-in-studio section of the documentary, The Beatles performed a set of songs they'd written and performed in the group's early days. Out of the performances didn't make the final cut of the documentary were "Love Me Do", "I Saw Her Standing There" and "Roll Over Beethoven". Some short footage of Ringo playing the ending of "Love Me Do" over The Beatles 1962 recording is featured on the documentary.
Now And Then[edit | edit source]
See main article: "Now and Then" (lost overdub session of Beatles song; 1995)
The most likely contender for the third Beatles singles, attempts at "Now And Then" occurred all throughout the Threetles sessions. The song was mostly finished, but contained a verse where Lennon would vocalise the melody in place of yet to be written lyrics.
"So we did the two that were the two favourites. We did Free As A Bird and Real Love those two songs of John’s, and that was very exciting, very moving for me and very comfortable having his voice in my headphones in the studio again. And the idea arose that there was a third track, another song we kind of had our eyes on called Now And Then. I don’t know, it didn’t really have a title [sings: “you know/it’s true; it’s up to you…”]. That beginning bit’s great and then it just goes a bit crummy. We all decided that it’s not one of John’s greatest songs. I like the beginning, but we’d have to do a hatchet job on it." - Paul McCartney
Another major issue with the cassette recording was a 60 cycle hum, that was embedded in the mono cassette recording. Since this was pre-DAW recording technology, it would have required an extensive amount of work to remove the loud hum. But the song was largely shelved because Harrison disliked it as he reportedly called the song "fucking rubbish." In 1997, the song was shelved and left incomplete. An unreleased instrumental opening to Ringo's Don't Pass Me By titled A Beginning opened Anthology 3 instead.
Since 1997, the demo cassette recording has leaked with the hum and in the late 2000s, a version of the recording from a lower generation cassette was released without the hum on the John Lennon demo bootleg compilation At Home. It is believed this copy was originally stolen from Lennon's home after his death and not available to Yoko Ono or surviving members of The Beatles at the time. The Beatles version of "Now And Then" has never surfaced as a bootleg and still remains officially unreleased.
Despite George Harrison’s dislike of the song at the time, Paul McCartney has been a vocal supporter of it and has stated in interviews that he would like to finish the song one day.
All For Love[edit | edit source]
It was reported in The Beatles fan magazine Beatles Monthly that during recording sessions, a McCartney/Harrison original titled "All For Love" was also considered for the third Beatles reunion single. The information came from Beatles collector Pete Hodgson who visited McCartney's Hog Hill Studio in March 1995 and questioned McCartney about mystery track. 
"I visited Paul McCartney at his Recording Studio on 27th March 1995. Whilst Paul was showing me around his recording Studio he mentioned that Yoko & Sean had been there 2 weeks previously and that they had recorded a track (which was titled Hiroshima Sky Is Always Blue). He also told me that the previous week, George and Ringo and himself had been working on a song, I then asked him what it was called. His answer was “All For Love.”
Now what happened was that a gentleman named Andy Davis ( Record Collector Magazine & Beatles Monthly ) had been phoning me on a number of occasions and I mentioned to him that Paul had mentioned “All For Love” during conversations that we had had. Paul definitely said “All For Love” when I asked him what the song was called that he, George & Ringo had been working on the previous week, 100% “All For Love” were his exact words. The article was in Beatles Monthly and was picked up by various other publications including Keith Badman’s book, the sessions for the song would have been March 20-21 1995
My visit to Paul’s studio in East Sussex took place on 27th March 1995. Rip, I hope that it clears things up, the track was definitely worked on as I know that my ears were not deceiving me when Paul said “All For Love." - Peter Hodgson, Abbey Rd's Beatles Page
It has been question on whether or not this was a working title for "Real Love". Hodgson has addressed this by stating "Real Love" had already been completed before the meeting with McCartney (The Beatles version was recorded in February 1995). "Real Love" had also been previously released in another demo form on the Imagine: John Lennon soundtrack in 1988 and the only other alternate title the song has been known as was "Girls and Boys" in the very early stages of its development.
See also[edit | edit source]
References[edit | edit source]
- The Daily Beatle article on The Threetles recording sessions. Retrieved 21 Oct '19
- More on "All For Love" -- what Paul really said (with pictures) (archive.org)
- The Paul McCartney Project article for the song All for Love. Retrieved 21 Oct '19
- Reunion Sessions article on The Threeetles recording sessions update. Retrieved 21 Oct '19