The Beatles’ songs brought joy to millions of people. However, Prince condemned one of The Beatles’ songs as deeply unnatural. Here’s why he took such issue with a Fab Four track with an unusual backstory — and why The Beatles’ longtime producer didn’t like it either.
Prince disliked one of The Beatles’ songs because he was ‘not a demon’
Ever since The Beatles broke up in 1970, fans wanted more Beatles songs. However, John Lennon’s murder in 1980 made it seem like that would never happen again. In 1995, fans got to hear a Beatles song that was new — or at least new to the public.
According to The Washington Post, John created a demo of the song “Free as a Bird” in the 1970s. In 1994, the remaining Beatles worked together to complete the song. The completed version of “Free as a Bird” helped catapult a compilation called Anthology 1 into the limelight. The Fader reports Prince decried the song during a discussion of virtual reality.
“That’s the most demonic thing imaginable,” Prince said, referring to virtual reality. “Everything is as it is, and it should be. If I was meant to jam with Duke Ellington, we would have lived in the same age. That whole virtual reality thing… it really is demonic. And I am not a demon.
“Also, what they did with that Beatles song [‘Free As a Bird’], manipulating John Lennon’s voice to have him singing from across the grave… that’ll never happen to me,” he said. “To prevent that kind of thing from happening is another reason why I want artistic control.” Notably, some of Prince’s material has been released posthumously, including the albums Piano and a Microphone 1983 and Originals.
The Beatles producer criticized two of The Beatles’ song released after John Lennon’s death
Prince wasn’t the only one to have a negative attitude toward the prospect of a new Beatles song. The Beatles’ producer, George Martin, didn’t like the idea behind “Free as a Bird” or another demo from John that received the same treatment, “Real Love” “I kind of told them I wasn’t too happy with putting them together with the dead John,” he tole Rockcellar Magazine. “I’ve got nothing wrong with dead John but the idea of having dead John with live Paul and Ringo and George to form a group, it didn’t appeal to me too much.”
How the public reacted to The Beatles’ ‘Free as a Bird’
Regardless of what Prince and Martin thought of “Free as a Bird,” it was a hit. The track reached No. 6 on the Billboard Hot 100, remaining on the chart for 11 weeks. Its parent album was a hit as well. Anthology 1 reached No. 1 on the Billboard 200 and stayed on the chart for 29 weeks. “Free as a Bird” remains one of the most famous songs released posthumously — even if it had some prominent detractors.
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