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Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr reunite to record John Lennon song

Sir Paul McCartney and Sir Ringo Starr have reunited to record a cover version of a song written by John Lennon in the final year of his life.

The track marks the latest collaboration between the two surviving members of the Beatles and goes some way to reuniting the musical talents of the Fab Four, since part of a George Harrison song is also reprised on the recording.

Lennon wrote Grow Old With Me during the recording sessions for Double Fantasy, the final album he made before he was shot dead outside his apartment in Manhattan in December 1980.

Starr, 79, said he had not been aware that Lennon recorded a demo version of the song until he was played it by the record producer Jack Douglas, who produced Double Fantasy, which was co-written by Yoko Ono, Lennon’s widow.

“Jack asked if I ever heard the Bermuda Tapes, John’s demos from that time,” Starr said. “And I had never heard all this … 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.

“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.”

He added: “So, John’s on it in a way. I’m on it and Paul’s on it. It’s not a publicity stunt. This is just what I wanted. And the strings that Jack arranged for this track, if you really listen, they do one line from [Harrison’s] Here Comes the Sun. So in a way, it’s the four of us.”

Harrison died of lung cancer in 2001. McCartney and Starr have worked together on a number of records since the Beatles split up in 1970, including Starr’s last album, Give More Love.

The track, recorded in Starr’s home studio, features on What’s My Name, his 20th solo album, which also features a number of regular contributors and members of his touring All-Starr Band. It will be released in October.

This week, the Guardian was given access to a rare recording of the band’s discussions while they recorded Abbey Road.

“It’s a revelation,” the historian Mark Lewisohn said of the find. “The books have always told us that they knew Abbey Road was their last album and they wanted to go out on an artistic high. But no – they’re discussing the next album. And you think that John is the one who wanted to break them up but, when you hear this, he isn’t. Doesn’t that rewrite pretty much everything we thought we knew?”

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