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The 3 Songs Each Member of The Beatles Performed in Tribute of John Lennon



On Dec. 8, 1980, John Lennon was assassinated outside his apartment building in New York City. The news shocked the world, and many musicians paid tribute to the former Beatle shortly after his death. For the remaining Beatles members, Ringo Starr, George Harrison, and Paul McCartney, it took some time for them to process John Lennon’s death fully. However, they each mourned their former bandmate and friend in the way they knew best: music. 

Here are 3 tribute songs the members of The Beatles performed for John Lennon

‘All Those Years Ago’ — George Harrison

George Harrison released “All Those Years Ago” as a single in 1981 for his album Somewhere in England. Initially, he wrote the song for Ringo Starr. However, Starr didn’t like the lyrics and felt the track was out of his range. Harrison took the song back and decided to change the lyrics after Lennon’s death. 

The song is one of the few times the three remaining Beatles played a song together. Starr played the drums, while Paul McCartney and his wife, Linda, provided backing vocals. The song was a hit, peaking at No. 2 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100. In a 1987 interview with Entertainment Tonight, Harrison recalled changing the lyrics after Lennon’s death and how singing it was tough. 

“Straight away, I changed it and made it, you know, more as a thing about John,” Harrison said. “Specifically about him. It was hard to sing it really because, you know, I mean at that time it was not long after you know his-he was killed and you know it’s sort of a bit difficult to sing it. At least take one was. Maybe by the time I’d done take eight, I was just not really thinking too deeply about what I was saying.”

‘I Call Your Name’ — Ringo Starr

“I Call Your Name” was a song written by John Lennon before the formation of The Beatles. It was first given to Billy J. Kramer and The Dakotas, another act managed by Brian Epstein. However, Lennon wasn’t happy with their track arrangement and decided to record his own version of it. The song was released on the Long Tall Sally EP in 1964. 

It’s a deep cut of The Beatles, but Ringo Starr resurrected the song for a Lennon tribute television performance, marking 10 years since his death and what would have been his 50th birthday. Starr performed it with an all-star band comprised of Jeff Lynne, Tom Petty, Joe Walsh, and Jim Keltner. 

‘Here Today’ — Paul McCartney

“Here Today” was written by McCartney for his 1982 album Tug of War. The song was written as a fake conversation between him and John Lennon, imagining what he would say to his former Beatles bandmate if he were still here. The pair had a brief public feud after The Beatles broke up but reconciled before Lennon’s death. 

In an interview with BBC, McCartney said he would never have said “I really love you” to Lennon in person, so “Here Today” allowed him to express how he really felt about Lennon. 

“There’s a longing in the lines if you were here today, and I’m holding back the tears no more because it was very emotional writing this song,” McCartney said. “I was just sitting there in this little bare room thinking of John and realizing I’d lost him. And it was a powerful loss. So, to have a conversation with him in a song was some form of solace. Somehow, I was with him again. And if I say, I really loved you…which I never would have said to him.”


Source: Cheat Sheet

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