During the sessions for Free as a Bird and Real Love in 1994 and 1995, the three remaining Beatles considered overdubbing instruments and vocals onto Lennon’s recording of Grow Old with Me, but, as Paul McCartney later explained, “John’s original demo required too much work”.
Yoko Ono then asked George Martin to write an orchestral score, which was recorded at Abbey Road Studios in early 1998. Martin’s son Giles played bass guitar on the recording, and was also assistant producer. This Abbey Road Studios version of Grow Old with Me was released on the box set Lennon Anthology in November 1998.
“For John, Grow Old With Me was a song that would be a standard, the kind that they would play in church every time a couple gets married — horns and symphony. It was a song John made several cassettes of, as we discussed the arrangements for it. Everybody around us knew how important those cassettes were. They were in safekeeping, some in our bedroom, some in our cassette file, and some in a vault. All of them disappeared since then except the one on the record. It may be that it was meant to be this way, since the version that was left to us was John’s last recording. The one John and I recorded together in our bedroom with a piano and a rhythm box.”
— Yoko Ono, 1984