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What Happened to a Reported, Unreleased Harrison-McCartney Song?

July 24, 2018

Courtesy: VARA / Beeld en Geluidwki 

 

The Beatles have few secrets when it comes to the band’s songwriting and recording history, as was noted in Sound Words STL's reporting on the unreleased track, “Carnival of Light.”

 

But unlike that song, which some people have listened to, a rumored song, believed to be written by George Harrison and Paul McCartney, is one that no one seems have heard, outside of those involved. 

 

During the “Anthology” sessions, the three living Beatles worked on finishing some of John Lennon’s late-70s demos and repackaged them as songs by the Fab Four. This led to the release of “Real Love” and “Free As a Bird” in 1995.

 

Other Lennon demos were considered, but never completed as Beatles songs. And there was a song, reportedly, that work started on, though never finished, during those sessions, “All for Love.” 

 

While it's believed to not feature any trace of Lennon, who died almost 15 years earlier, the song was an attempt at something new.

 

According to Andrew Grant Jackson's book, "Still the Greatest: The Essential Songs of the Beatles' Solo Careers," "the sessions ended in a fierce argument." In the book, Harrison's quip about the sessions is quoted: "It's just like being back in the Beatles." The author did not specify how much of the song Harrison and McCartney finished or if they made any recording.   

 

Questions as to the nature of song's existence today are officially unanswered to some degree, but message board posters have a theory -- it was given to another band and the songwriters didn’t take credit.

 

At least one poster has wondered if the song was secretly given to a band called The Badge.

 

The New York City rock band did release a song called “All for Love” on its 2003 album, “Calling Generation Mojo,” and it does sound incredibly Beatle-esque.

 

Badge singer/songwriter Jeff Slate said that he has never heard the reported Harrison/McCartney composition, but he was still inspired by it. 

 

“I always loved the rumored title, and after [Harrison] died,” Slate said in an email, “I wrote the song in tribute” to Harrison and for “a musician friend of mine who also followed Far East religions.” He wrote the song in 2001 and 2002, according to the musician, years after the mid-90s presumably partially-finished Harrison/McCartney composition. 

 

Slate asked Jeff Lynne, producer, about the track, but the ELO frontman would not address it directly, according to Slate. However, Lynne acknowledged to him the three Beatles left some things unfinished. 

 

To add to the Badge-Beatles tie, the now-solo artist and journalist contributed to the liner notes for the 50th anniversary version of "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band." Slate also has formed the duo Sick & Slate with former Lennon guitarist Earl Slick. But it appears the connections stop there.

 

"All for Love" (Harrison-McCartney) could be released still, but it's my opinion never as a Beatles song. The two living Beatles, McCartney and Ringo Starr, seem to enjoy working together on each other's solo projects, recording together as recently as Feb. 2017. (They recorded two songs, "We're on the Road Again" and "Show Me the Way" on Starr's "Give More Love," which was released on Sept. 15.) So, a finished version of the song could be a candidate to get a recording by the pair, though, with Olivia Harrison's permission. 

 

 

 

 

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