Sir Ringo Starr received an unexpected message from John Lennon from beyond the grave on a long-lost demo recorded shortly before the Imagine singer’s death, he has revealed.
Starr has teamed up with Sir Paul McCartney, to record a new version of Grow Old With Me, written by their Beatles bandmate during the sessions for his last album, Double Fantasy. It was the final record Lennon made before he was shot dead on 8 December 1980.
The drummer says he only learned of the demo and Lennon’s personal message years later which led him to record the song himself.
The 79-year-old was introduced to the song by Double Fantasy producer Jack Douglas. Starr told the BBC: “I’d never heard about this track and I bumped into the producer, Jack Douglas. He said ‘Did you ever hear the John cassette?’.
“(I said) ‘I don’t know what you’re talking about.’ He said ‘I’ll get you a copy.’ It says on the beginning ‘This will be great for you, Ringo.’ And so I said ‘I’m going to do the track.’”
On what Lennon would’ve made of it, Starr added: “He’d have loved it.”
Starr enlisted the help of 77-year-old McCartney to play bass on the track, which he previously admitted had brought him to tears when he first heard it.
The track features on Starr’s new album, What’s My Name, which he announced last month.
In the announcement, Starr said: “Jack asked if I ever heard The Bermuda Tapes, John’s demos from that time. And I had never heard all this.
“The idea that John was talking about me in that time before he died, well, I’m an emotional person.
“And I just loved this song. I sang it the best that I could. I do well up when I think of John this deeply. And I’ve done my best. We’ve done our best.”
He continued: “The other good thing is that I really wanted Paul to play on it, and he said yes.
“Paul came over and he played bass and sings a little bit on this with me. So, John’s on it in a way. I’m on it and Paul’s on it.”
With reporting by PA.