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19 September 2014
10.54pm
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Linde
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The Beatles were the biggest band ever. They were bigger than the sum of its parts (is that the right expression?) and once you get out of a band like the Beatles, your career can only go down. They will always be known for having been in the Beatles. On their own they were never able to match the succes of the band they had been in. 

I think that some days it may be rather annoying to be seen as ''Beatle Ringo'' (or John, Paul or George of course), but I think that it sometimes may be a blessing too, especially for Ringo. That may sound mean, but let's face it, his career hasn't exactly been years and years of hits and #1 records.

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19 September 2014
11.34pm
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meanmistermustard
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Seems very appropriate - and its an amazing song.

"I get tired of being Beatle Ted".

But if you read enough you find that whilst George hated so much of the public adulation, intrigue and voyeurism that surrounded his life he was very willing to take advantage of the doors that being an ex-Beatle opened.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v.....BM21HKm5HQ

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24 September 2014
12.22pm
william.s
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That's one of my favourite songs, as it recalls three different memories very important to me:

1) When I first listened to it, I was scared when I was driving to the college for my first ever test;

2) The 2nd: when I really fell in love for the first time in my life, I was in a small bar and it spread from the radio;

3) Years ago I broke with some important people. When we came back to peace, it was going again...

24 September 2014
5.39pm
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StrawberryFieldsForever
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@Billy Rhythm  said

Ahhh Girl said

Free As A Bird
It's the next best thing to be

So what's the best thing to be?

It was said by many who knew John earlier on (Cynthia's one who comes immediate to mind) that John was always on the look out for the 'Next Big Thing' in Life (Rock 'N' Roll , Drugs, Maharishi, etc.) and going by the timeframe of this song's conception, the 'Next Big Thing' or "next best thing" was to be "free" of the chains that had held him down for so long with life as a Beatle, the "next" lyric didn't mean "second place" to something else but rather to be "just around the corner".  John was getting ready to step out over a cliff and take flight for the first time in his life, becoming just "John" as opposed to "Beatle John", he was finding himself during the Dakota Years...:-)

Just today I was listening to the song and going over your explanation of his the then feelings when it hit me that Free As A Bird  is followed by whatever happened to, the life that we once knew . Unless the latter lyric was added later during the Anthology project, don't you think it makes the entire freeing feel a bit dodgy? Or maybe its just me missing some point here.ahdn_paul_01

24 September 2014
6.21pm
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Billy Rhythm
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StrawberryFieldsForever said

@Billy Rhythm  said

Ahhh Girl said

Free As A Bird
It's the next best thing to be

So what's the best thing to be?

It was said by many who knew John earlier on (Cynthia's one who comes immediate to mind) that John was always on the look out for the 'Next Big Thing' in Life (Rock 'N' Roll , Drugs, Maharishi, etc.) and going by the timeframe of this song's conception, the 'Next Big Thing' or "next best thing" was to be "free" of the chains that had held him down for so long with life as a Beatle, the "next" lyric didn't mean "second place" to something else but rather to be "just around the corner".  John was getting ready to step out over a cliff and take flight for the first time in his life, becoming just "John" as opposed to "Beatle John", he was finding himself during the Dakota Years...:-)

Just today I was listening to the song and going over your explanation of his the then feelings when it hit me that Free As A Bird  is followed by whatever happened to, the life that we once knew . Unless the latter lyric was added later during the Anthology project, don't you think it makes the entire freeing feel a bit dodgy? Or maybe its just me missing some point here.ahdn_paul_01

Here's John's original demo in case you haven't heard it yet:

 

 

The "whatever happened to, the life that we once knew" lyric is indeed part of John's original demo, but it turns to gibberish immediately afterwards.  Not sure what you mean exactly by "a bit dodgy", but it's most interesting that he uses "we" here and it's never easy to acetane whether he's referring to "Yoko & Me" or perhaps his old mates in this case.  Kinda like trying to figure out if George means "the Lord or his Lady" whenever he uses "You" in his songs.  I believe that this demo is dated around 1977 (or '78?) and by most accounts John was in a state of clarity here, no drugs or alcohol and clearly introspective.  The brief glimpse back ("the life that we once knew") appears to underscore the looking ahead aspect of "next best thing", in my opinion.  His vision was always a very broad scoping of life experiences, he looked to be "remembering yesterday", while "dreaming about tomorrow" but "living today".  A great song and a most suitable swansong to The Beatles' legacy for me personally...:-)     

24 September 2014
6.34pm
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StrawberryFieldsForever
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What I meant by dodgy was that while he's looking forward to/enjoying being free (which was the next best thing for him) he's also at the same time reminiscing when he was free, the lyrics "whatever happened to the life that we once knew, it always made me feel so free" suggesting that he misses this era of his past. I hope I made myself clear. Just trying to analyse what it was that John was experiencing.

Maybe he meant that he was free (being the Beatle/ finding Yoko in '66), and then came the 70s and after much emotional turmoil he was searching his way back to being free? 

24 September 2014
6.42pm
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Billy Rhythm
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The "it always made me feel so free" lyric wasn't John's though, that was added later by Paul.  The "searching his way back" part of it though is referenced in "like a homing bird in flight", but I see that more as John trying to find himself before he got lost, which was probably when his Mother died while he was a teen or, even as far back as when he had to choose between which parent he wanted to live with as a young child...:-)

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25 September 2014
4.37am
McCall1981
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I love this song.

I was a kid when it came out and I remember watching on tv with my Dad. It's a really happy memory for me.

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30 October 2015
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Matt Busby
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Has anyone seen the official video? I couldn't find it on YouTube this morning - want to show it to the missus on the bigger screen 🙂

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30 October 2015
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meanmistermustard
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Matt Busby said
Has anyone seen the official video? I couldn't find it on YouTube this morning - want to show it to the missus on the bigger screen 🙂

@Matt Busby, 

The official version was removed ages ago and the other uploads of it have probably been pulled due to the promos getting officially released.

Best quality i can find is on vimeo, however its slightly clipped at the beginning

https://vimeo.com/14194438

Complete but lesser quality videos are on Daily Motion. This is probably the better of them.

Wait a couple of weeks and you can show it to her on the big screen in incredible quality.

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30 October 2015
3.45pm
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meanmistermustard said

Matt Busby said
Has anyone seen the official video? I couldn't find it on YouTube this morning - want to show it to the missus on the bigger screen 🙂

@Matt Busby, 

The official version was removed ages ago and the other uploads of it have probably been pulled due to the promos getting officially released.

<snip>

Wait a couple of weeks and you can show it to her on the big screen in incredible quality.

Thanks MMM! To where are they going to be released in a couple weeks?

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30 October 2015
3.54pm
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On the '1+' double disc editions.

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26 July 2017
12.54pm
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I realised a while back what the 1995 mix reminded me of and it's a handful of the very off-kilter sounding Buddy Holly recordings which were overdubbed after Buddy's death. Some worked, others didn't.

 

 

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26 July 2017
4.33pm
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It's just a great song. Not Real Love level great, but certainly of a high standard. For me the highlight is the vocal melody and George's beautiful slide guitar. Both song songs have an Old Brown Shoe /When We Was Fab vibe to them I think.

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26 July 2017
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I don't like this song that much but to be fair i can't blame The Beatles, this was a rock band from the 60's releasing a song in 1995 and i don't typically like newer music from older bands and also this song has a 90's feel to it which i don't like in this case. It was nice seeing The Beatles reunite after being apart for 24 years though, even if it was just temporarily and resulted in only 2 new songs that got released, with a few more that never got an official release.

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27 July 2017
8.22am
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SgtPeppersBulldog
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I remember when I just became a Beatles fan and being then unaware of Anthology, thought Free As A Bird and Real Love were tracks off Rubber Soul or Revolver or an album like that. That's how good they are in replicating that sound!

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27 July 2017
10.05am
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William Shears Campbell
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@QuarryMan said
It's just a great song. Not Real Love level great, but certainly of a high standard.

I actually like this song a bit more than Real Love .

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27 July 2017
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The chorus of Real Love makes me tear up though. It's funny, because literally 95% of John's solo songs are either personal or detailing a real problem (Woman Is The N*gger Of The World for example) and yet these two songs seem to be much more abstract. 

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27 July 2017
1.08pm
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Free As A Bird sounds like something off of Walls And Bridges in my opinion. But I love the song nonetheless, just like I live Walls And Bridges

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30 December 2017
10.43am
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Billy Rhythm
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meanmistermustard said 
i heard a fan mix on Anthology Plus that stripped so much of the song away and it was gorgeous with the focus being on the harmonies and that became the go-to version for me

I've been on the lookout for this ever since you first mentioned it...  Is this it?:

 

 

An interesting listen, to be sure, but the song loses a lot of its lustre for me without George's excellent guitar work and Ringo's drums...  If you're gonna listen to this one "stripped" then John's original demos are ultimately more effective, in my opinion...:-)

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