It’s hard to think of a better British rock act than The Beatles, likely because there isn’t one. But we’d say that the triumvirate of The Jam’s Paul Weller, Oasis’ Noel Gallagher and The Beatles’ Sir Paul McCartney is a pretty close second. In 1995 the trio joined up together to cover the Fab Four’s classic ‘Come Together’.
It all came about after Paul Weller, AKA The Modfather, was working on The Help Album. The record was intended to raise money for those suffering from the ravages of war in Bosnia and Herzegovina, which was ongoing at the time.
Taking inspiration from John Lennon’s one-day-wonder Instant Karma!, The Jam man was intent on recording the whole album in one day. But the real question was: could he get the roster he needed? Weller picked up his Filofax, well… it was in the nineties, and perused through his contact list picking up some of the best and brightest of British music to contribute to the record.
Some of the nation’s finest answered the call, like Oasis, The Stone Roses, Radiohead, Massive Attack, Portishead and more all joined the record, producing exclusive cover versions of tracks to help out the best they could. While many of the bands included decided to do special renditions of their own songs, Weller, not to be outdone, went the extra mile and created his own ‘supergroup’.
Weller’s plan was to create a new band, The Smokin’ Mojo Filters, and he managed to recruit the likes of Noel Gallagher, Steve Cradock, Steve White, and Carleen Anderson for the track—but there was a Beatle-sized hole in his band. One addition which would take the song to the highest levels.
Using Melody Maker writer Paolo Hewitt who faxed his letter over to Macca, Weller asked: “We’d love you to come down [to Abbey Road], even better if you’d fancy doing the track with us.” Weller continued: “I hope you’ll consider it and as a personal thing to me, I’d love to do a track with yourself!”
McCartney received the letter and accepted Weller’s request, making his way down to Abbey Road studios on Monday, September 4th, 1995 to record the song alongside Noel Gallagher and Paul Weller. In the footage below it is incredibly interesting to see the two levels of music-credentials below Macca.
The Beatle, a bonafide legend even 25 years ago, walks in to find Paul Weller is somewhat flustered but still buoyed by the idea that McCartney had even come. Noel Gallagher, still in the infancy of his growing fame, however, is like a kid in a sweet shop, giggling at everything McCartney says, blushing at his every movement.
It’s a touching moment when musicians get together, full of admiration for one another, and it’s even better when it comes complete with a belting rendition of a Beatles classic.
You can read the original letter and see the performance, below.