The “Get Back” LP rumours – June to July 1969

June - July 1969

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After having recorded the “Get Back” sessions in January 1969, engineer/producer Glyn Johns completed his version of the “Get Back” LP on May 28, 1969. On May 13, The Beatles recreated the cover photo from the “Please Please Me” LP, with photograph Angus McBean, to serve as the cover photo of the new LP.

Early June, the “Get Back” LP was announced in the press, for a release in July. In the July edition of The Beatles Monthly Book, Mal Evans wrote an article announcing the release of “Get Back” for August 1969, including a track-by-track detail. And on July 19, 1969, a Melody Maker article announced a further delay to late September.


BEATLES’ NEW LP: LATEST

At press-time Apple Records executive Tony Bramwell was hopeful that everything would be ready in time to set a mid-July release date, although this cannot be confirmed until all four Beatles have expressed full satisfaction with the re-mixed tapes.

From the Beatles Monthly Book, N°71, June 1969
From the Beatles Monthly Book, N°71, June 1969

BEATLES’ LP IN JULY, LENNON PEACE DISC

The Beatles’ next album is now due for release in July and – according the John Lennon speaking in Toronto – will be titled “Get Back, Don’t Let Me Down, And 12 Other Tracks”. One of the titles from the LP, “On Our Way Home”, has been recorded for singles release by a new Apple signing – a group named Mortimer. The Beatles have a further album half-completed. […]

Lennon told NME Toronto correspondent Ritchie Yorke: “The Beatles’ new LP will have a cover just like ‘Please Please Me’. We had our picture taken in the same positions as on that early album, but looking like we do now. It looks great. We also have another album half-done”.

From New Musical Express, June 7, 1969
From New Musical Express, June 7, 1969

BEATLES NEW ALBUM DUE OUT NEXT MONTH

The Beatles’ new album, scheduled for release next month, will probably be titled “Get Back, Don’t Let Me Down And 12 Other Titles”.

This is the present working title and an Apple spokesman told MM at presstime: “This will probably remain the title”.

The Beatles are considering whether to make a promotional film for TV for the album.

From Melody Maker – June 14, 1969
From Melody Maker – June 14, 1969

BEATLES ALBUM

The Beatles’ long-awaited new album, tentatively titled “Get Back, Don’t Let Me Down, And 12 Other Titles”, will be released at the end of August or early in September. And they break with their usual policy by including non-original material among the 14 tracks.

The titles on the album are Side One: “One After 909”, “Save The Last Dance For”, “Don’t Let Me Down”, “Dig A Pony”, “I’ve Got A Feeling”, “Get Back”.

Side Two. “For Your Blue”, “Teddy Boy”, “Two Of Us”, “Maggy May”, “Dig It”, “Let It Be”, “Long And Winding Road”, “Get Back”.

From Melody Maker, July 12, 1969
From Melody Maker, July 12, 1969

BEATLES NEW LP – FULL DETAILS

Old rock classics recorded for second album

Full details of the Beatles’ eagerly-awaited new LP were disclosed to the NME this week. It is tentatively set for September release by Apple, to coincide with the screening of the group’s TV special which is built around the album – but the date of issue will remain flexible until the TV transmission has been finalised. If the TV show is delayed until later in the autumn, it is possible that an alternative album – comprising mainly rock’n’roll material, including the Beatles’ versions of several rock classics – will be released first. From all the many reels of film shot during their recording sessions, the Beatles are hoping to produce a three-hour cinema film, from which the two-hour TV special would then be extracted. It is also planned to publish a book of photographs from the disc sessions.

The TV album is, as previously reported, titled “Get Back, Don’t Let Me Down and 9 Other Titles”. Apart from occasional Billy Preston organ interludes, the backing consists only of the group’s own three guitars and drums – without orchestral augmentation. Casual background chatter and studio noises provide an atmosphere of informality.

Present plan is for the LP to open with “One After 909”, a Lennon-McCartney track penned in 1959 and subsequently re-discovered in an exercise book. This leads into a brief linking track – a revival of the Drifters’ hit “Save The Last Dance For Me.” Side One is completed by “Don’t Let Me Down”, specially re-recorded for the LP, “Dig A Pony” soloed by John, “I’ve Got A Feeling”, a John-Paul duet, and the original version of “Get Back”.

Side Two opens with George Harrison’s self-penned showcase “For You Blue”, followed by Paul’s “Teddy Boy” and the John-Paul collaboration “Two Of Us On Our Way Home”. The linking track “Maggie May” leads into another John-Paul duet “Dig It” and the LP is completed by two Paul items “Let It Be” and “The Long And Winding Road”. As a fade-out there is a brief return to “Get Back”.

There is no Ringo Starr solo on this album, but it is understood that two Ringo numbers are in the can and available for inclusion on a subsequent LP – there are “Octopus Garden” and “I Should Like To Live Up A Tree”.

Titles for the rock’n’roll LP have not yet been selected from the wealth of material already recorded by the Beatles – even though it could conceivably be issued before the TV album. However, if everything goes according to plan and negotiations for the TV screening are successfully completed, the TV album will be released in September – with the rock collection following soon afterwards.

The Beatles have waxed their version of “Shake, Rattle And Roll” and “Blue Suede Shoes” and these are likely to be included on the rock LP – together with a brand new recording of the group’s first-ever hit “Love Me Do”. Among other tracks available for consideration are “Polythene Pam”, “Maxwell’s Silver Hammer”, “Not Guilty” and “What’s The New Mary Jane”.

From New Musical Express, July 12, 1969
From New Musical Express, July 12, 1969

In the July 1969 edition of The Beatles Monthly Book, Mal Evans wrote an article announcing the release of the “Get Back” LP for August 1969, including a track-by-track detail.

The Beatles’ next LP album was finished at the end of May – with George the only Beatle remaining in Britain at the time, supervising the last of the re-mixing and re-balancing sessions to produce the final tapes from which the LP record will be made.

Release of the album is being held back until August so that it can coincide with the publication of a special book full of recording session pictures.

Apart from the LP and the book, there’s the film which was made while the new numbers were being rehearsed at Twickenham and recorded in Apple‘s own new studio in the basement beneath 3, Savile Row, our London headquarters.

The fe!lows would like the film to go on television in August so that everything comes together at the same time.
Before I go into the new LP in track-by-track detail let me set down some of the background information. The title of the album is The Beatles; Get Back. And indeed John, Paul, George and Ringo do get back with these recordings – all the way back to the simplicity of their earliest stuff.

Remember the fellows’ first Parlophone album Please, Please Me, issued in May 1963? Well, the photograph for the new LP cover was taken in exactly the same place by the same photographer, Angus McBean. With the four fellows grouped over the staircase at the offices of EMI Records in London’s Manchester Square, just as they had done six years earlier.

The Beatles; Get Back is by far the most informal set of records The Beatles have ever put out. Everything was rehearsed, as you know, down at Twickenham – both those sessions were really to get together the new songs and decide how each one would be treated. Once we moved from Twickenham to Apple all the recording we did was “live” with no “over-dubbing” of extra voices or instruments, no orchestras brought in boost the accompaniments, no special electronic happenings whatsoever. Just three guitars plus Ringo’s drums – with piano and occasional organ contributions from Paul and from Billy Preston who was the only non-Beatle to work with us throughout the series of sessions.

The stereo version of the LP is particularly great – thanks to sound expert Glyn Johns who was the studio engineer for all the recordings.

Gradually since Please Please Me The Beatles have been going for greater and greater studio perfection, using every possible audio and electronic technique to add to and improve the finished productions. This time the policy has been entirely different. The Beatles; Get Back is The Beatles with their socks off, human Beatles kicking out their jams, getting rid of their inhibitions, facing their problems and working them out with their music. During and in between most of the tracks you will hear lots of studiofloor conversation, each of the fellows chatting, preparing for the next number, shouting comments up to the control room. On other albums all this type of ad-lib stuff has been cut from the tapes befare putting the tracks on disc.

This time everything is left for you to hear-just as it happened. You even hear a clapper board banging down and a yelled instruction from one of the filming crew people who were making the separate visual recording of everything which took place.

In all there are nine entirely new numbers on The Beatles; Get Back-plus both sides of the recent single, Get Back and Don’t Let Me Down. At the very end of the second side they get back to Get Back again for a brief encore version of that number. And between a couple of other items are brief “link” tracks featuring Save The Last Dance For Me and Maggie May the only non-Beatle compositions the fellows have put out on record since they made Act Naturally and Dizzy Miss Lizzy for their Help! album in 1965.

There is only one George Harrison composition – For You Blue – and it hasn’t a trace of sitar or anything else Eastern about it.

Ringo stays with his drums all the way through this new programme and he doesn’t have a solo vocal track of his own on this occasion.

Although this LP has only 11 main numbers on it, far more tracks have been recorded. The Beatles didn’t want to repeat the “double disc” idea and make everyone buy a pair of LP records together. lnstead all the other tracks are held “in the can” so that they can be used later.

Amongst the stuff that “stays on file” so to speak is enough material for a special rock ‘n’ roll LP – including famous American rock hits like Shake Rattle And Roll and Blue Suede Shoes.

What’s more we even did a re-make of Love Me Do, The Beatles first single from October 1962! But one of the recordings which you WILL find on the new album goes back even further than that. It’s a number called One After 909 which John and Paul wrote as long ago as 1959 ! Oh yes, Ringo DID put down one vocal item, his own composition called Octopussy’s Garden, but along with at least another 15 others by George, John and Paul, it’s “in the can” for future release unless now that all the Beatles are back they decide to make last minute additions to the August LP.

On the LP the version you will hear of Get Back is the same one which went on the single but we did a special LP version of the single’s other side, Don’t Let Me Down. Everything you hear on The Beatles; Get Back was recorded at Apple and the starting dates for all recordings were during the last fortnight of January. The first one to get under way was Dig A Pony on January 20 and the last one we started work on was One After 909 (May 28).

As you may remember if you saw all the newspaper stories at the time or read what I had to say about it several Beatles Monthly issues ago, we recorded five numbers in the open air on the roof of the Apple HQ building. The five were One After 909, I’ve Got A Feeling, Don’t Let Me Down, Get Back and Dig A Pony BUT only ONE roof-top version is included on the LP-and that’s One After 909. We did fresh versions of the other items way down below in the basement.

O.K.-it’s time to get back. Here’s my run-down on all the LP recordings, the ones The Beatles have made just to please, please you :

SIDE ONE

I. ONE AFTER 909

One After 909 was written by John and Paul ten years ago when they were not Beatles at all but The Nurk Twins or something like that. Like I said a little earlier, this is the album’s only Apple roof-top recording. It makes a punchy kick-off to the Get Back programme with Paul’s raw voice ravin’ all the way. It opens with a piano run and a guitar chord echoing out around the January sky – but that’s just a false start. Then straight into the heavy rocking. Ringo on drums, John playing rhythm guitar, George on lead guitar, Paul playing bass guitar and good old Billy Preston adding his electric piano work. The vocal is shared by Paul and John. You won’t catch all the words at first hearing—except, perhaps, the line about ”she said she was travelling on the one after 909″ which tells you a missing bird and a train are involved in the story. Make up the rest for yourself. Sounds to me as if this fellow really knows how to mess things up. His bird isn’t coming on the next train either. He’s a right loser!

LINK TRACK: SAVE THE LAST DANCE

At the end of the first track there’s a bit of applause and you’ll hear Paul saying “Thanks Mo” to Ringo’s Mo because she was clapping hardest! Then you’ll hear a fragment of freaky vamping, just a nice bit of guitar stuff, and Paul saying ”Just a minute boys”. Then John and Paul go into the familiar old Drifters’ hit Save The Last Dance – not much of it because this wasn’t meant to be on the new LP at all but we left this bit to maintain the fun atmosphere of the whole session. Then:

Paul: “Do your thing man.”

John: “I can’t keep off it.”

John again: “Give me the courage to come screaming in”.

2. DON’T LET ME DOWN

Nobody ever loved me like she does. You know that – and you know this track unless you’ve just never played the ”B”-side of the Get Back single. For this LP version of Don’ t Let Me Down John sings with the guitar and drums line-up just as it was for One After 909 but Billy didn’t play this time.

Paul sings too but it’s mostly John. I love this slow, bluesy one with its banging beat and great wailing guitar from the fingers of G.H. At the end of the track you’ll hear this:

John: “We’ll do Dig A Pony straight into I’ve Got A Feeling.”

And, friends, that’s what they do.

3. DIG A PONY

Mostly John this one, with occasional Paul again. Billy’s back on electric piano, Paul on bass and lots of metal coming from Ringo’s department. A bit of blues this, nicely heavy, with emphasis on the tune rather than the words.

In gist the line is that you can do anything you want to do so long as you set your mind to it. Overcome everything if you really try to work it out. You can even dig a pony. Lots of ad lib comments flung around, a crash of the cymbal and we’re straight on into …

4. I’VE GOT A FEELING

Paul and John sharing the vocal. Paul coming in with that great screamy style of his. John replying to Paul’s lines and, later, coming in to take over the lead singing for a verse. And you’ll just about hear him mutter to himself “I cocked it up trying to get loud.”

Story comes in the middle with the tag-line “All that I was looking for was somebody who looked like you.”

Between I’ve Got A Feeling and the last track of the first side you’ll hear Ringo thump his tomtoms and ask: “What does that sound like?”

5. GET BACK

Get back to where you once belonged-obviously the main theme not only of this terrific track but of the whole album, The Beatles’ whole frame of mind for 1969. Paul does a great job of the vocal. Again it’s George on rhythm, John on lead, Paul on bass, Ringo drumming and Billy doing his bit on the electric piano.

SIDE TWO

1. FOR YOU BLUE

George’s composition, George as vocalist. You’ll hear him say “O.K.”? and give a bit of a false start on his guitar. Then he gets into this beautiful love song about the girl you’re always dreaming of, the one who haunts you, the one you never quite meet up with. The grass is always greener on the other side of the hill.

No bass here or on the next couple of tracks. Instead we had George playing acoustic guitar, John on steel guitar, Paul on piano-plus Ringo’s drumming. Interesting middle with 12 bars guitar and 12 bars piano. Almost like a South Sea Beat Ballad with the “island” effect of John’s Fender running through here. “You’re a sweet and lovely girl, I love you”. Nice words, neat tune. When you hear this one you’ll agree that George’s songwriting is better than ever these days. I’d say this is one of the most pleasing things he’s ever done. Thank you George and now for …

2. TEDDY BOY

George switches to electric guitar here, John plays acoustic and Paul sings a simple story about a mother comforting her boy. Mama’s going to see you through. We all need someone to turn to-that’s the message. We need people. No man is an island. Later on the whole session gets a bit like a square dance with genuine (genuine?) calls. And we didn’t cut out the electronic squeal that came halfway through this recording. The result of feed-back from one of the amps. All through the making of the LP we used portable equipment fetched over from EMI because the stuff being built into the Apple Studio wasn’t ready for action.

3. TWO OF US ON OUR WAY HOME

Two of us riding nowhere. You and I have memories longer than the road that stretches out ahead. We’re on our way back home. We’re getting back. John and Paul share the vocal on this pleasant mediumpaced lazy Sunday afternoon sort of number. The two of them with their voices in good harmony. Still not using a bass here but George reaching his fingers down low to the bass lines of his electric guitar. All fades away . . . “So we leave the little town of London, England….” (Paul).

LINK TRACK: MAGGIE MAY

This is a riot. All the fellows getting together for a brief reminder that we’re all Mersey Beat Boys at heart. Yes, this is THE Maggie May, dirty Maggie May who’ll never walk down Lime Street anymore. Sung with much Liverpool gusto.

4. DIG IT

Fast and very rhythmic. A great big free-for-all. John takes over the bass guitar playing for this and the next two tracks with Paul playing piano and George on acoustic again. Paul singing here with John shouting enthusiastic remarks like “I can hardly keep my hands still.” Scatty vocal vamping above the piano and rhythm laid down as a solid base. “I want it, I want it” (George). “You’re gonna get it all right, get it good” (John). The words are saying you can’t really knock anything – BBC, Doris Day, anything because SOMEBODY digs it even if you don’t.

John: ‘That was Can You Dig It. Now we’d like to do Hark The Angels Come.” Yes the voice you’ll hear at this point belongs to J. Lennon and not G. Fields.

Then you’ll hear a voice say ‘Take 27″ which is nothing to do with 27 different recording “‘takes” – just the filming people readying themselves to roll their cameras on the day’s 27th bit of shooting.

“Take 27” (clap) “Sync the second clap” (clap).

5. LET IT BE

This is the track I like best of the Get Back LP bunch. It’s Paul using his soulful voice, sounding so very sincere, backing himself on piano. When all the broken-hearted people living in the world agree, there’ll be an answer Let it be. Behind Paul we had John and George doing the harmoney. There’s a lot of flowing piano above and around the vocal. George plays his Lesley guitar-which can sound like organ and does here. Light metallic beat from Ringo with his foot right down to close up the hi-hat.

6. THE LONG AND WINDING ROAD

Paul again here on another slow, sentimental piece with much piano surrounding his plaintive balladeering. About the girl who teft him standing there all alone and the many times he’s cried. But “you’ll never know the ways I’ve tried.” Don’t leave him there lead him down the long and winding road to your door.

GET BACK (REPRISE)

Back to the beginning to remind you what the album’s all about. What else can I say in July about a recording which has sold a few million singles and was still at the top of the charts in Britain and America when we came out with The Ballad Of John And Yoko at the beginning of June?

So that’s The Beatles; Get Back – the record, the book that’s coming out with it and the film we’ve made to show people what LP making is really like. In fact that’s the real intention of the album itself. All the off-the-record bits left ON the record for you to hear. None of the loose ends tied up. Just a friendly album that invites you to join in what happens in The Beatles’ recording studio. Certainly something different. Quite unlike the carefully prepared, expertly edited LP productions the fellows have spent so many months on in the past. In just a few weeks from now you’ll have the chance of hearing it all for yourselves. I hope you’ll agree that The Beatles; Get Back is a very interesting addition to your collection and that you’ll enjoy the come-and-join-us informality of the whole thing.

Mal Evans – From the Beatles Monthly Book, N°72, July 1969
From the Beatles Monthly Book, N°72, July 1969
From the Beatles Monthly Book, N°72, July 1969
From the Beatles Monthly Book, N°72, July 1969
From the Beatles Monthly Book, N°72, July 1969

NEW ALBUM IN AUGUST

Latest report from Apple Records suggests a late August release for the Beatles next album – and there is a chance that several additional tracks will be added to the finished production.

John and Ringo were awaiting the return of the other two Beatles before deciding whether to include extra numbers of hold these surplus recordings for use on a later LP release.

At press time, Apple’s managing director, Neil Aspinall, confirmed that the album had been given the tentative title of “The Beatles: Get Back”. He added: “Even this title might change within the next week or two before we are ready to announce the official release date. The fellows would like to use wording rather like that which appeared on their very first Please, Please Me album. So this new one may finish up being called something like “The Beatles: Get Back, Don’t Let Me Down, And Nine Others.

From the Beatles Monthly Book, N°72, July 1969
From the Beatles Monthly Book, N°72, July 1969

Beatles’ album switch

The Beatles’ next album release will NOT be “Get Back”, the 14 track LP which is finished and ready for release. Apple press officer Derek Taylor told MM at presstime: “It has been decided that ‘Get Back’ will not be released until December. Although it is finished and ready to go, the company have decided to hold it to coincide with the film”. This is the film documentary of the Beatles at work which is in the editing stage.

The album was to have been released next month but an album of new Beatles material will be released instead – probably “at the back end of September”.

John Lennon resumes work next week and the album is expected to be completed in about eight days.

From Melody Maker – July 19, 1969
From Melody Maker – July 19, 1969


The “Get Back” timeline

Last updated on February 26, 2022

Going further


The Beatles Diary Volume 1: The Beatles Years

"With greatly expanded text, this is the most revealing and frank personal 30-year chronicle of the group ever written. Insider Barry Miles covers the Beatles story from childhood to the break-up of the group."

We owe a lot to Barry Miles for the creation of those pages, but you really have to buy this book to get all the details - a day to day chronology of what happened to the four Beatles during the Beatles years!

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