“All Those Years Ago” is a George Harrison song that was a tribute to the then recently assassinated John Lennon. It was released May 11, 1981, five months after Lennon’s death. The recording of the song featured all three remaining former Beattles (Harrison, Ringo Starr and Paul McCartney). It is one of only a few non-Beatles songs to feature those three in the lineup. Paul, with his wife Linda and their Wings bandmate Denny Laine, contributed backing vocals on the recording.
The writing and recording of the song actually began before Lennon’s death. George originally wrote the song with different lyrics for Ringo to record. Starr recorded it but felt the vocal range was too high for him to sing and he didn’t care for the lyrics. Harrison kept the track, and after John’s death, he rewrote the words to pay tribute to his friend and former bandmate. The song makes reference to a couple of Lennon compositions, “All You Need is Love” and “Imagine”.
The song went to #1 on the American adult contemporary chart. This was Harrison’s first #1 on this chart as a solo artist.
“All Those Years Ago” is available on the new CD compilation Let It Roll: Songs by George Harrison.