The song had first been broadcast on 22 November 1995 when the ABC network aired the second episode of Anthology in the USA.
‘Real Love’ was sent to radio stations for broadcast on 14 February, Valentine’s Day. However, the release of Anthology 2, in which it was the opening song, was postponed from 26 February to 18 March. This suggests that ‘Real Love’ was originally intended for release on Monday 19 February, a week ahead of the album.
‘Real Love’ did not repeat the commercial success of ‘Free As A Bird’. It made its debut on the official UK singles chart on 16 March at number four, and sold 50,000 copies in the first week.
Its fortunes may have been negatively affected by BBC Radio 1’s decision to omit ‘Real Love’ from its playlist. Press officer Polly Ravenscroft confirmed the decision, saying: “We have played ‘Real Love’ a few times, but no, it’s not on the playlist.”
It’s very heartening to know that, while the kindergarten kings of Radio 1 may think the Beatles are too old to come out to play, a lot of younger British bands don’t seem to share that view. I’m forever reading how bands like Oasis are openly crediting the Beatles as inspiration, and I’m pleased that I can hear the Beatles in a lot of the music around today.
Daily Mirror, 9 March 1996
In the US, ‘Real Love’ peaked at number 11 on the Billboard Hot 100, and sold 500,000 copies in the first three months.
Also on this day...
- 2021: John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band to get super deluxe reissue
- 2018: John Lennon’s Monkey Bike is auctioned for £56,000
- 2009: Casting begins for Backbeat: The Musical
- 2009: Liverpool Hope University launches Beatles masters degree
- 1969: George Harrison is interviewed for the BBC’s Scene And Heard
- 1966: John Lennon: “We’re more popular than Jesus”
- 1966: UK EP release: Yesterday
- 1965: Filming: Help!, the Bahamas
- 1964: Mixing: I Call Your Name
- 1964: Filming: A Hard Day’s Night
- 1963: Live: Plaza Ballroom, St Helens
- 1962: Live: Casbah Coffee Club, Liverpool
- 1961: Live: Aintree Institute, Liverpool
Want more? Visit the Beatles history section.