Free as a bird – The Beatles

Free as a bird
It’s the next best thing to be
Free as a bird

High, home and dry
Like a homing bird I fly
As a bird on wings

Whatever happened to
The life that we once knew?
Can we really live without each other?

Where did we lose the touch
That seemed to mean so much?
It always made me feel so free

Free as a bird
It’s the next best thing to be
Free as a bird

High, home and dry
Like a homing bird I fly
As a bird on wings

Whatever happened to
The life that we once knew?
Always made me feel so free

Free as a bird
It’s the next best thing to be
Free as a bird…

Free as a Bird” is a song originally composed and recorded in 1977 as a home demo by John Lennon. In 1995, a studio version of the recording, incorporating contributions from Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr, was released as a single by The Beatles. It was released 25 years after the break-up of the band and 15 years after the death of Lennon.
Although Lennon had died in 1980, Starr said that the three remaining Beatles agreed they would pretend that Lennon had “gone for lunch”. The remaining Beatles recorded a track around Lennon’s basic song idea, but which had gaps they had to fill in musically.
This song provides an epilogue to the Beatles’ story, with the surviving Beatles entering the studio to experience their reunion: that was the first time a single containing new material had been released under the Beatles’ name since 1970.
Lennon’s part, “Free as a bird, that’s the next best thing to be” means that he is freeing himself from a troubled situation, a painful relationship. The new condition is “the next best thing to be” (the best would be love and friendship) . Being away from a troubled relationship can be liberating in one sense, but the longing remains. Anyway, he then says he is “home and dry”, expressing his happiness with his relaxed new lifestyle as being a househusband and a father to Sean.
The appended words by McCartney and Harrison “whatever happened to…” are about missing Lennon and the special relationship they shared. They also suggest that freedom does not exclude connection, that isolation leads to an emotional prison. Only if we are connected we may avoid sadness
The music video for “Free as a Bird” shows, from the point of view of a bird in flight, many allusions to the Beatles’ story. We never see the bird: the camera is the bird. In its journey we see images, people and scenes taken from the Beatles’ songs.

 

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