It was 40 years ago today (May 7th, 1981) that George Harrison released his tribute to John Lennon, called “All Those Years Ago.” The song is notable for being the first record since the Beatles' 1970 breakup to feature all three surviving group members, George Harrison, Paul McCartney, and Ringo Starr.
According to several sources, the song was originally taped the year before for inclusion on Ringo's 1981 Stop And Smell The Roses album. Harrison had written the song with different lyrics for him to sing, with the song's basic track featuring himself on guitar and Ringo on drums. The song was left off the album, and after Lennon's murder in 1980, Harrison revamped the song into a tribute to his late bandmate.
In early 1981, Harrison, Paul and Linda McCartney, and Wings co-founder Denny Laine recorded the song's distinctive backing vocals at Harrison's home studio Friar Park. The vocal sessions were supervised by legendary Beatles producer George Martin and engineer Geoff Emerick, who at the time were recording with McCartney for his Tug Of War album. During the session, Harrison was slated to lay down a lead guitar part for the McCartney track, “Wanderlust,” but time ran out and Harrison never followed up on making good on the promise. The officially released version of “Wanderlust” features a brass ensemble playing where Harrison's guitar part would've been.