All Those Years Ago

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"All Those Years Ago"
UK picture sleeve
Single by George Harrison
from the album Somewhere in England
B-side "Writing's on the Wall"
Released 11 May 1981 (US)
15 May 1981 (UK)
Format Vinyl 45
Recorded FPSHOT, 19–25 November 1980, early 1981 (new lead vocal and backing vocals)
Genre Blues rock, pop rock
Length 3:42
Label Dark Horse
Writer(s) George Harrison
Producer(s) George Harrison, Ray Cooper
George Harrison singles chronology
"All Those Years Ago"
Somewhere in England track listing
"Life Itself"
"All Those Years Ago"
"Baltimore Oriole"

"All Those Years Ago" is a song by English musician George Harrison, released as a single from his 1981 album Somewhere in England. The song was a personal tribute to former Beatles bandmate John Lennon, who was murdered on 8 December 1980. It included performances by fellow former Beatles Paul McCartney on vocals and Ringo Starr on drums. It was the first time that all three appeared on the same recording since the Beatles' I Me Mine in 1970, and the last time they would appear together until Free As A Bird in 1995. It was released on 11 May 1981 in the United States, where it spent three weeks at number 2 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, and on 15 May 1981 in the United Kingdom,[1] where it reached number 13 on the UK Singles Chart. In addition, the song spent one week at number 1 on the American adult contemporary chart, Harrison's first number 1 on this chart as a solo artist.[2] It has also been included on two Harrison compilations: Best of Dark Horse 1976–1989 and Let It Roll: Songs by George Harrison, and in a live incarnation on his Live in Japan album. In 2010, AOL radio listeners chose "All Those Years Ago" as number 6 of the 10 Best George Harrison Songs.[3]


Harrison originally wrote the song with different lyrics for Ringo Starr to record. Although he recorded it, Starr felt the vocal was too high for his range and he did not like the words.[citation needed] Harrison took the track back and, after Lennon's death, the lyrics were changed to reflect a tribute to Harrison's lost friend and colleague, John Lennon. In the song, Harrison makes reference to the Beatles song "All You Need Is Love" and the Lennon song "Imagine" ("you were the one who imagined it all").

Band lineup[edit]

The recording of the song featured all three remaining Beatles (Harrison, Starr and Paul McCartney), though this was expressly a Harrison single. It is one of only a few non-Beatles songs to feature three members of the group. Harrison and Starr recorded the song at Harrison's Friar Park studios between 19 November and 25 November 1980. After Lennon's death the following month, Harrison removed Starr's vocals (but left Starr's drumming track) and recorded his own vocals with rewritten lyrics honouring Lennon. McCartney, his wife Linda and their Wings bandmate Denny Laine visited Friar Park to record backing vocals.[4] The lineup was rounded out by Al Kooper on keyboards, Herbie Flowers on bass and percussionist Ray Cooper. The album's liner notes also thank the Beatles' former producer George Martin and engineer Geoff Emerick. Harrison co-produced the recording with percussionist Ray Cooper. This was the first time that Harrison, McCartney and Starr had recorded together since the three of them had worked on Harrison's song "I Me Mine" for the Beatles' album Let It Be. The three would later record "Free as a Bird" and "Real Love" for The Beatles Anthology in the mid 1990s.

Music video[edit]

The music video features a slide show-type presentation of stills and short archival video clips. The emphasis is on Lennon and, to a lesser degree, Harrison. The post-Beatles stills of Lennon at older ages are countered with stills of Harrison from the same time frame.


Chart positions[edit]

Chart Peak
Austrian Singles Chart[5] 14
Canadian RPM Top Singles 1
Irish Singles Chart[6] 4
Norwegian Singles Chart[5] 2
Swiss Singles Chart[5] 8
Swedish Singles Chart[5] 11
UK Singles Chart[7] 13
US Billboard Hot 100 2

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "All Those Years Ago". Retrieved 2011-09-20. 
  2. ^ The Billboard Book of Top 40 Hits, 6th Edition, 1996
  3. ^ Dickinson, Boonsri. "10 Best George Harrison Songs". AOL. 
  4. ^ Badman, Keith (1999). The Beatles After the Breakup 1970-2000: A day-by-day diary. London: Omnibus Press. ISBN 0-7119-7520-5. 
  5. ^ a b c d Hung, Steffen. "George Harrison - All Those Years Ago". Retrieved 2011-09-20. 
  6. ^ "Search by Artist > George Harrison", (retrieved 11 April 2014).
  7. ^ "George Harrison Chart Archives in the United Kingdom". Retrieved 2011-09-20.