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George/Paul (as told by Jeff Lynne)

Title: Remember to Live and Let Live
Pairing: George/Paul, implied George/Bob Dylan
Rating: PG
Word Count: 1593
Summary Jeff Lynne talks about the Traveling Wilburys, recording FAAB and Real Love, and George and Paul.
Disclaimer I may have borrowed a few real Jeff quotes from places but apart from that this is mostly made up.
I have literally spent the past couple of nights getting to know Jeff Lynne better through interviews on You Tube and on my Traveling Wilburys DVD to get his voice right for this story. Let's hope it's worked

The first time round, in my naivety, I assumed that, working with the Beatles, it was going to sound like a Beatles record. As the two of them entered the control room, Ringo grinned and said excitedly that it sounded just like the Beatles. I remember, George laughed and said that of course it'd sound like them if it was them. Hearing them sing together really was magical. When they started to harmonize not only together, but with John's voice too, it completely knocked me out. Not the Beatles, not in the strictest sense. But it was the next best thing.

Free as a Bird was incomplete, so we had the chance to play about with it a little. We often got strange looks over our technical jargon for interesting sounds. George'd come up and say something perfectly reasonable like, "Eh, Jeff, 'ow 'bout a bitta wobble on that" and Paul and Ringo would fall about laughing.

This time the song was more complete to start with, which Paul said made the recording of it a bit less fun. But to me it was still an experience beyond my wildest dreams to be sat there working with them again. I was right there, not even the fly on the wall, more like the fly in the middle of the room. I'd be in the control room and Paul and George would strike up the backing vocals and all of a sudden it's The Beatles again! I'd be waiting to record and normally I'd say, "OK, Let's do a take", but I was too busy laughing and smiling at everything they were talking about.

Some days George and me would sit together, almost in hysterics while we reminisced about the Wilbury days. I’d loved every minute of it and that was clearly the case for him as well. Sitting around in a circle with guitars and notepads and just shouting out words to each other. Back then, it was a case of the five, later four, of us writing tunes that were ready to record the same evening. Listening to a song knowing you’d got it already and all you could do was make it bad. There had been a sort of almost roughness to it that became part of the sound. You know, having to play the guitars in the kitchen because there wasn’t enough space to record them anywhere else and Jim Keltner banging the fridge for percussion. It were brilliant.

George laughed as we recalled how we’d show up at peoples houses and end up playing ukuleles ‘till dawn with kids dropping like flies all around us. We remembered one night when I broke into the studio to try an alternative chord pattern and how they’d all loved it when I showed it to the group. George asked me if I could remember when we were doing one of the songs and how Roy always got the so called dud line. The whole lot of us were in stitches hearing Roy’s operatic voice warbling ‘trembling Wilbury’. And no matter how we shared the lines or which way it went around he always got that line. I think it was just meant to be.

Though travelling was part of their name, the Wilburys never travelled very far in real life. It's pity, coz I think he would've enjoyed touring with the group.

Where was I? Oh, yeah. Real Love. This new song was really coming together now. I felt shivers go up the back of my neck as we sat and listened back to it. When I glanced round at Paul, I saw a strange look pass across his face. Realising he was upset, Ringo tapped him on the shoulder and asked if he was all right. Paul gave a small nod and a tight smile.

I knew it hurt for all three of them. They liked to pretend that John had gone on holiday while they added the finishing touches to his song. But when the reality hit, it was difficult for all of us not to get emotional. On Paul's other side, George patted his hand softly as we played the song through another time. Sat between his two best mates, Paul seemed to brighten a little.

Ringo suggested we should maybe have a tea break and barely a minute later Paul had already finished bundling himself up in a coat and scarf. George, who'd started noodling around on a guitar, looked up at him and asked lightly if he was leaving us for good.

"I need a walk." Paul said, a more relaxed and genuine smile lighting up his face as he looked around and met George's soulful eyes. "I'll be back. Won't be long, I promise."

George smiled crookedly and said he better not be. Paul bent to hug him and George wrapped his arms around him, placing one hand on the back of his head. It was such a tender gesture and yet it somehow seemed as if they were holding back just that little bit. Perhaps it was the presence of the camera. I caught a whispered question from George, but it left me confused so I put it out of my head at the time coz I knew I shouldn’t really have heard it. I did notice Paul nod as he answered him, though. That whole exchange was what gave me my first inkling that something was going off.

The next day I witnessed another moment between the two of them. I seemed to have developed a habit of seeing things I shouldn’t. Strangely enough, it only seemed to happen with George and Paul. This time they were in the garden. Though, I was supposed to be listening back to that morning's work, I'd stopped when I realised that I could hear and see them through the open window.

They were in the middle of a deep discussion. Talking about old times. You know, the music, old friends and all that. I heard Paul confess that there were some days that he wished that it had never ended and certainly not in the way it had done. His companion reassured him that it had never really been his fault, at least not entirely. After considering a little, George said they'd all been to blame, in their own way.

Paul nodded silently. The look of melancholy remained on his face, though. George lifted a hand to Paul's cheek and stroked it gently. He sang one line, softly, sadly. "It's all over now, baby blue."

I recognised it. It was not one of his own, but one he'd borrowed for a song. I'd produced the thing but I hadn't realised before who George had directed that line at. I just thought it had been a further nod to the sixties, and old friend Bob Dylan. You could see why I’d always assumed that. George was always in awe of Bob.

Even when we were in the Traveling Wilburys together, any guests that came round, he’d lead along quietly to a doorway and point through it, telling them in a reverent whisper that the man hunched over his guitar in there was Bob Dylan. To get a laugh, I’d point at George and add that this man was George Harrison. But seriously, George loved Bob. Absolutely adored and admired him as a musician, friend and…

I was drawn back to the present again as I heard George repeat the line. It occurred to me now that the song might have emotional resonances with the two of them that I hadn't picked up before, not having been filled in. Happy or sad, I couldn't ever know. It wasn't really my place to speculate, either.

I could not take my eyes off the couple outside the window. They were two Beatles, after all. If anyone other than me or the few close friends around this day had been there to witness this, it would’ve been printed all over the papers within hours. There’d be back puns left right and centre, of course. And it would be assumed, rightly or wrongly, that this was evidence of a relationship between the pair closer that any of us had guessed. It would be a huge new twist to the Beatles tale, something that could be very good or very very bad, and I wasn't prepared to be the one to force them to take that risk.

I tried in vain to go back to doing my job but I couldn’t tear myself away. Paul was now resting his head on George's shoulder. George kissed his forehead and took him in his arms. He whispered something which made Paul smile a little. It's the most intimate moment I've ever witnessed between two men. Two legends.

I thought about George’s wife, Olivia. She was a lucky woman, as was Linda McCartney, to have such a devoted and loving husband. At that moment, Olivia entered the studio quietly, and I jumped with surprise. After apologising for startling me, she asked me simply if I'd seen George. I told her that he was talking with Paul in the garden. That's all I said of it, believing that, if she knew the truth, she would understand. She nodded her dark head, saying only word in reply. Good.

Having had time to think about it, that's all that needed to be said. It was good, it really was. They had made their peace. And, for now, they just held on to what they had left. Their memories... And each other.


( 8 comments — Leave a comment )
Apr. 15th, 2008 08:36 am (UTC)
I love this. It's so touching and well written and very natural sounding. I don't know a ton about Jeff Lynne, so I'm not the expert on his POV but the story is wonderful. I have always loved that moment between Paul and George in Real Love and I'm adoring it as you've written it. G/P was the first ship I ever wrote actually, and it's been a while, but they are lovely to come back to.
Apr. 17th, 2008 07:25 pm (UTC)
Thanks for your comment. Well, when I first noticed the moment in Real Love, I couldn't resist writing something about.

I think I've read some of your G/P, stuff actually. I recall one called Jealous Guy that I read when I discovered the "Oh! Darling" archive. I really liked that one.
Apr. 15th, 2008 11:36 am (UTC)
I loved this story. Perfect light touch that feels just right. You've captured something of the mystery of G/P that intrigues me without deflating the delicate possibilities.

Great job!
Apr. 17th, 2008 07:36 pm (UTC)
Thanks, it's always good to know when I've got it right. :-)
Apr. 16th, 2008 10:18 am (UTC)
That was absolutely lovely:-)
I do think they made their peace.
Apr. 17th, 2008 07:44 pm (UTC)
Apr. 16th, 2008 06:50 pm (UTC)
This was well written, but i think you would have done better to have left the actual quotes out. I recognized the quotes from the Real Love documentary, and the Traveling Wilburies documentary, an it sort of took me out of the story, and into those videos i had watched....

But maybe thats not a problem. Maybe im the only other person who has watched these things extensively. On the other hand, having watched those extensively, i would like to commend you on how nicely you've captured Lynne's voice!
Apr. 17th, 2008 07:56 pm (UTC)
Yeah, I see what you mean about the direct quotes being a bit distracting when you notice them. I guess I wanted to use them to sort of anchor me into his way of talking. I think if I write from Jeff Lynne's POV again, I'll be able to get his voice more naturally, without needing the actual quotes.

Anyway, cheers for your comment. :-)
( 8 comments — Leave a comment )