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Unheard collaboration between Jeff Beck and Paul McCartney unearthed

The 1994 team-up has emerged from McCartney's personal archives

By Joe Goggins

Split of Paul McCartney, 2010, and Jeff Beck, 2018
The duo bonded over their environmental concerns in 1994. (Photos: Wikimedia Commons)

A never-before-heard collaboration between Paul McCartney and the late Jeff Beck has been unearthed – you can hear it below.

McCartney plucked the track, recorded in 1994, from his personal archives in response to the news earlier this month of Beck’s sudden passing. The pair worked together on a 13-part radio series, Oobu Joobu, that aired in the US. The series was a deep dive into McCartney’s world that featured rehearsals, demos, unreleased recordings, conversations and cameos from famous friends, and that also highlighted causes close to his heart, including his vegetarianism, a trait he shared with Beck.

Another of those was environmentalism, and Beck can be heard on Oobu Joobu delivering a message that begins, “why are they cutting down the rainforest?” When Beck died on January 10, aged 78, after contacting bacterial meningitis, McCartney revisited his recordings of the 1994 session and found a previously unreleased piece of music.

Now, McCartney has shared it, with the accompanying visualiser the first instalment in what we will be an ongoing series of videos from Meat Free Monday, the campaign that he launched in 2009 with daughters Mary and Stella. “With the sad passing of Jeff Beck – a good friend of mine, and a great, great guitar player – it reminded me of the time we worked together many years ago on a campaign for vegetarianism,” said McCartney in a press release. “It’s great guitar playing, cause it’s Jeff!”

Future clips in the series will also feature prominent friends of McCartney’s. The campaign comes with the intention to highlight the environmental benefits of switching to a plant-based diet, after recent reports from the World Resources institute and the UN Environmental Programme stressed the crucial role a global shift in dietary habits has to play in combatting climate change.

Beck’s unexpected death earlier this month led to an outpouring of tributes from across the musical world, including from contemporaries including McCartney, Rod Stewart, Eric Clapton and Keith Richards. He had continued to tour until shortly before his passing, having taken close friend Johnny Depp on the road with him in the UK last summer.

The collaboration, meanwhile, is the latest find from McCartney’s archives, following hot on the heels of last week’s (January 25) announcement that a collection of black-and-white photographs he took of The Beatles in 1963 and 1964, previously thought lost, will feature in a new exhibition at the soon-to-reopen National Portrait Gallery in London from June.