“Real Love” is a song written by John Lennon, and recorded with overdubs by the three surviving Beatles in 1995 for release as part of The Beatles Anthology project. To date, it is the last released record of new material credited to the Beatles.
Lennon made six takes of the song in 1979 and 1980 with “Real Life”, a different song that merged with “Real Love”. The song was ignored until 1988 when the sixth take was used on the documentary soundtrack Imagine: John Lennon.
“Real Love” was subsequently reworked by the three surviving former members of the Beatles (Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr) in early 1995, an approach also used for another incomplete Lennon track, “Free as a Bird”. “Real Love” was released as a Beatles single in 1996 in the United Kingdom, United States and many other countries; it was the opening track on the Beatles’ Anthology 2 album. It is the last “new” credited Beatles song to originate and be included on an album. To date, it is the last single by the group to become a top 40 hit in the US.
The song reached number four and number 11, respectively, in the UK and US singles charts, and earned a gold record more quickly than a number of the group’s other singles. The song was not included on the BBC Radio 1 playlist, prompting criticism from fans and British members of parliament. After the release of “Free as a Bird” and “Real Love”, Starr commented, “Recording the new songs didn’t feel contrived at all, it felt very natural and it was a lot of fun, but emotional too at times. But it’s the end of the line, really. There’s nothing more we can do as the Beatles.”