We’re taking a trip back to 1995 to revisit an exceptional piece of correspondence shared between The Beatles bassist Paul McCartney and The Jam’s enigmatic leader Paul Weller. It saw the latter pen a heartfelt message to the former Fab Four member asking him to help create his Beatles supergroup.
The situation arrived after Paul Weller became involved with The Help Album, a charitable record which set out the aim of raising money to provide aid to war-stricken areas such as Bosnia and Herzegovina. A poignant moment which would be emboldened by the Beatle’s presence.
The recordings took inspiration from John Lennon’s Instant Karma!, a track written and recorded in a single day, and followed the premise that records—like newspapers—should be released as soon as they are created. With that in mind, songs on The Help Album were all recorded in a single day.
The most prominent bands of the day were welcomed to the studios. The likes of Oasis, The Stone Roses, Radiohead, Massive Attack, Portishead and more all joined the record, producing exclusive cover versions of tracks that were created in a single day. While many of the bands included took the decision to avoid Beatles numbers and, instead, to lay down special renditions of their own songs, Weller went the extra mile and created his own ‘supergroup’ for his effort. And he had big plans for who he wanted in it.
Weller, the former leader of The Jam, decided to pen a handwritten letter to Paul McCartney inviting him to participate in the recording of a version of The Beatles song ‘Come Together’. Weller’s plan was to create his new band, The Smokin’ Mojo Filters, and he managed to recruit Noel Gallagher, Steve Cradock, Steve White, and Carleen Anderson for the track.
However, one person remained on his hit list, and that was one of the song’s creators, a former Beatle who could bring the cover version up to the dream levels that Weller had envisioned; Paul McCartney himself.
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 did receive the letter and did accept Weller’s request, heading down to Abbey Road studios on Monday, September 4th, 1995 to record the song. You can read the original letter and see the performance, below.