“A year after realising Free as a Bird, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr completed a second unfinished John Lennon recording, adding new vocal and instrumental tracks to strengthen and enrich the orginal sound from John’s cassette. Real love and care was invested and fine is the result.”
— Real Love liner notes, 1995
Producer Jeff Lynne’s assistant, Marc Mann, notes:
“We had about two weeks, as Jeff was going in January of 1995 back to England to work with the guys again, so we had to work fast. We needed to do enough things to a remaining track so that the rest of the group could say, ‘Yes, we can record with this.’ We had to improve the sonic quality of the original tape, as well as steady the tempo, to make a consistent beat, as well as, again, emphasizing Lennon’s vocal above the piano. It’s a very natural thing for somebody just sitting at a piano or a guitar and singing into a tape recorder to play in an uneven tempo; there’s no drummer or metronome to help keep time. But one of Jeff’s production goals was to have a really steady, strong tempo. The first song we worked on was Now And Then, not Real Love. We worked on Now and Then for nearly two weeks. But as we were finishing up that first song, we were very excited, saying to ourselves, ‘Yes, this is working! We got it!’ The funny thing is, though, Jeff had only told me there was that one song to work on. So now he says, ‘We’ve got a couple of days left, let me play you this other one that I didn’t think we’d be able to do anything with because it had tambourine on it.’ So he played the Real Love demo for me and I was ecstatic. But Jeff insisted, ‘I don’t think we can do anything with it because of the tambourine,’ so I said ‘Let me try.’ In the two days left, we worked around the clock preparing Real Love, again to make it ‘record ready.’ We tried various things, like we pulled the intro from the middle section of the song and put it up front, because it was a better intro. It also didn’t have an ending, so I thought: What if we take a chorus out of the song and create a vamp chorus to fade out at the end, alternating every other line that John sang in the song? Jeff said, ‘Well, try it.’ So I did it, we tried it, and he liked it.
“When the song was later broadcast in November, I turned into a fan — I turned off the phones and everything and just listened to the final product like everybody else did. It was very exciting. I think the technology was a nice enabler, but what really made this possible was the fact that there was some healing between them all, to a point where there was some completion. When we were working on it, Jeff and I knew, it was a neat feeling. We both knew, This is not for us. It’s for them. So the way I look at it is that it was a way of John actually bringing the guys back together again, to heal old wounds and make all so they could actually feel better about the whole thing.”
Audio track – Real Love
Music video – Real Love
More information about Real Love is here.