A Beatles song never heard before by the public will be played as part of a new radio series celebrating what would have been John Lennon’s 80th birthday next month.
New documentary John Lennon at 80 on BBC Radio 2 will see his youngest son Sean speak to his half brother Julian, Paul McCartney and Elton John about his father and his music.
And during their interview, Sir Paul will play a segment of an unheard Beatles track called Just Fun.
In his first ever radio show about his father, Sean speaks to Sir Paul who shares his memories of meeting John and how fortunate it was that they bonded and become arguably the world’s greatest ever songwriters.
Sir Paul, 78, says: “I look back on it now like a fan, how lucky was I to meet this strange teddy boy off the bus, who played music like I did and we get together and boy, we complemented each other!”
Turning to their writing partnership in the Fab Four, 44-year-old Sean asks if there were any songs he and John didn’t like or if they struck gold from the beginning.
Paul replies: “There were a few songs that weren’t very good… you know, clearly young songwriters who don’t know how to do it.”
He then picks up his guitar and plays an example, an excerpt of a song they never recorded – a never-before-heard Lennon/McCartney track called Just Fun.
He goes on to say: “Eventually, we started to write slightly better songs and then enjoyed the process of learning together so much that it really took off.”
Only the most die hard Beatles fans are aware of the existence of Just Fun, which is believed to have been written in late 1957 or early 1958. It is mentioned briefly in the Let It Be movie when Sir Paul recalled writing it with Lennon while playing truant and sang a line of it.
McCartney is also said to have sometimes played the song during soundchecks for solo concerts and a bootleg version of the song from June 2004 exists but the quality is so poor the lyrics cannot be deciphered. It is said to have the repeated line “They say our love was just fun”.
The song has never been released on anything official by Sir Paul or The Beatles, who have sold over 600 million albums around the world and hold the record for the most number one albums in the UK album charts.
On the Radio 2 documentary, Sir Paul and Sean also discuss the Let It Be period (The Beatles broke up soon after the album was recorded in 1970) and Paul says he always thought it was gloomy until he saw some recently discovered footage of the recording sessions and recalls a photo, taken by his late wife Linda of them both writing during the sessions, saying it reminds him of the strength of his friendship with John.
Sean also asks about his father’s insecurities, with Paul replying that his confidence was “a shield”, explaining that his wit guarded him from his insecurities.
He added: “Wait a minute, there’s this guy ‘John Lennon’ who’s like a genius, clever, witty, confident, and everything, why would he have insecurities? Because we’re all fragile beings.”
John Lennon would have turned 80 years old on Friday October 9. He was shot dead outside his home in New York in 1980 by Mark Chapman shortly after the release of his LP Double Fantasy with wife Yoko Ono.
* John Lennon At 80 presented by Sean Lennon will be broadcast on Saturday 3rd and Sunday 4th October, 9-10pm on BBC Radio 2.