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Dear Sir or Madam...

The John Lennon Series
by Jude Southerland Kessler

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Reference Library: Free As A Bird

From: BSC (71650.1156@CompuServe.COM)
Subject: McCartney discusses Free Like a Bird
Date: 5 Aug 1995 04:07:36 GMT

From August '95 interview in BASS PLAYER magazine:

"To do this song, we took a cassette of John's, not multitracked, but exactly like *that*," he says, pointing at my little Sony recorder. "It was him and piano, interlocked. You couldn't pull the fader down and get rid of the piano--they're there. And I mean-- not being boastful--with [producer] Jeff Lynne, we did a really good job. We recorded it here: me, George, and Ringo. I played the Wal, and what I liked was I played very, very normal bass, really out of the way, because I didn't want to 'feature.'

"There are one or two moments where I break a little bit loose, but mostly I try to anchor the track. There's one lovely moment when it modulates to C, so I was able to use the low C of the 5-string--and that's it, the only time I use the low one, which I like, rather than just bassing out and being low, low, low. I play normal bass, and then there's this low C and the song takes off. It actually takes off anyway because a lot of harmonies come in and stuff, but it's a real cool moment that I'm proud of. That's my Wal moment."

Wasn't it strange playing along with John Lennon's cassette?

"It was very strange and it was very magic; it was very spooky and it was very wonderful. Before the session we were talking about it, and I was trying to help set it up, because we never even knew if we could be in a room together, never mind make music together after all these years. So I was talking to Ringo about how we'd do it, and he said it may even be *joyous*.

"And it was--it was really cool. We pulled it off, that's the thing. And I don't care what anyone says. We could work together. We did a bit of technical stuff on the tape, to make it work, and Jeff Lynne was very good. We had Geoff Emerick, our old Beatle engineer; he's solid, really great. He knows how Ringo's snare should sound."

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