Although he recently claimed that John Lennon only complimented his songwriting one time, Paul McCartney still has a lot of love for his longtime friend. That’s why their relationship inspired him to pen “Dear Friend”, the closing track from Wings’ 1971 debut, Wild Life. Now, McCartney has shared a pair of previously unheard versions of “Dear Friend” pulled from the upcoming massive deluxe reissue of the album.
Set for a December 7th release (alongside a similarly expanded, remastered edition of 1973’s Red Rose Speedway), Wild Life has been remastered in full at Abbey Road studios. It features 25 bonus tracks, including rough mixes, original single edits, B-sides, home recordings and other previously unreleased material. Amongst those additional songs are a new remaster and home demo versions of “Dear Friend”.
McCartney detailed the somber process of revisiting “Dear Friend” in a press release:
“With ‘Dear Friend’, that’s sort of me talking to John after we’d had all the sort of disputes about The Beatles breakup. I find it very emotional when I listen to it now. I have to sort of choke it back. I remember when I heard the song recently, listening to the roughs [remastering works-in-progress] in the car. And I thought, ‘Oh God.’ That lyric: ‘Really truly, young and newly wed.’ Listening to that was like, ‘Oh my God, it’s true!’ I’m trying to say to John, ‘Look, you know, it’s all cool. Have a glass of wine. Let’s be cool.’ And luckily we did get it back together, which was like a great source of joy because it would have been terrible if he’d been killed as things were at that point and I’d never got to straighten it out with him. This was me reaching out. So, I think it’s very powerful in some very simple way. But it was certainly heartfelt.”
Stream the new and demo versions of the track — along with a home recording of “Indeed, I Do” performed alongside Linda McCartney — below. You can grab a copy of the Wild Life deluxe reissue here.