Get Back / Don't Let Me Down (UK - Mono)

By The Beatles7" Single • Part of the collection “The Beatles • Singles

UK release date:
Apr 11, 1969
Publisher:
Apple / Parlophone
Reference:
R 5777

Master release


Related sessions

This album has been recorded during the following studio sessions





Mixing "Get Back"

Apr 07, 1969

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Track list

Side 1


1.

Get Back

Written by Lennon - McCartney

3:14 • Studio versionA • Mono

Paul McCartney :
Bass, Lead vocal
Ringo Starr :
Drums
John Lennon :
Backing vocal, Lead guitar
George Harrison :
Rhythm guitar
George Martin :
Producer
Glyn Johns :
Engineer
Billy Preston :
Electric piano
Jerry Boys :
Second engineer

Session Recording:
Jan 27, 1969
Studio :
Apple Studios, 3 Savile Row, London

Session Recording:
Jan 28, 1969
Studio :
Apple Studios, 3 Savile Row, London

Session Mixing:
Apr 07, 1969
Studio :
Olympic Sound Studios, London

Side 2


1.

Don't Let Me Down

Written by Lennon - McCartney

3:30 • Studio versionA • Mono

Paul McCartney :
Bass, Harmony vocals
Ringo Starr :
Drums
John Lennon :
Rhythm guitar, Vocals
George Harrison :
Harmony vocals, Lead guitar
George Martin :
Producer
Glyn Johns :
Recording engineer
Billy Preston :
Electric piano

Session Recording:
Jan 28, 1969
Studio :
Apple Studios, 3 Savile Row, London

Session Mixing:
Apr 03, 1969
Studio :
Olympic Sound Studios, London

About

Why did we spring “Get Back” on the public so suddenly? Well, we’d been talking about it since we recorded it, and we kept saying “that’s a single”. Eventually we got so fed up talking about it, we suddenly said: “O.K. That’s it. Get it out tomorrow”.

John Lennon – From New Musical Express, March 3, 1969

The single was attributed to “The Beatles with Billy Preston”.

I couldn’t believe it when I saw my name out there. It was such an honour. I thought it was a good solo and I was just happy that they liked it. I wasn’t looking for any kind of validation, but I knew they liked it.’

Billy Preston – From “And In The End” by Ken McNab

From Wikipedia:

On 11 April 1969, Apple Records released “Get Back” as a single in the UK, paired with “Don’t Let Me Down” on the B-side. The single began its 17-week stay in the charts on 26 April at No. 1, a position it held for six weeks. It was the first Beatles single to enter the official UK singles chart at the top. In the US, “Get Back” began its first of 12 weeks on the Billboard Hot 100 chart the week ending 10 May. Two weeks after the song’s chart debut it hit No. 1, where it stayed for five weeks. “Get Back” became the band’s 17th No. 1 song in Billboard, matching Elvis Presley’s previous record of 17 number ones.

In both the UK and US, the single was released by Apple, although EMI retained the rights to the song as part of their contract. It was the only Beatles’ single to include an accompanying artist’s name, crediting “Get Back/Don’t Let Me Down” to “The Beatles with Billy Preston”. Neither Apple nor Capitol Records created a picture sleeve for the single—it was simply packaged in a sleeve stating “The Beatles on Apple”. Apple launched a print ad campaign for the song concurrent with its release showing a photo of the band with the slogan The Beatles as Nature Intended, indicating that the sound of “Get Back” harked to the group’s earlier days.

The single version of the song contains a chamber reverb effect throughout and a coda after a false ending, with the lyrics “Get back Loretta / Your mommy’s waiting for you / Wearing her high-heel shoes / And her low-neck sweater / Get back home, Loretta.” This does not appear on the album version; the single version’s first LP appearance would come three years later on the 1967–1970 compilation. This version also appeared in the albums 20 Greatest HitsPast Masters and 1. It was also included in the original line-up of the proposed Get Back album that was scheduled to be released during the fall of 1969.

In the UK and Europe “Get Back/Don’t Let Me Down” was the Beatles’ last single to be released in mono, but in the US the single was released in stereo. It was the Beatles’ first single to be released in true stereo instead of mono as part of the “stereo only” movement gaining force in 1969. In both versions the lead guitar played by Lennon is in the left channel, and the rhythm guitar played by Harrison is in the right channel. The single was also released in the experimental PocketDisc format by Americom in conjunction with Apple and Capitol in the late 1960s.


Press advertisements for the “Get Back / Don’t Let Me Down” single came with the following text written by Paul McCartney:

“Get Back” is the Beatles new single. It’s the first Beatles record which is as live as can be, in this electronic age.

‘Get Back’ is The Beatles’ new single. It’s the first Beatles record which is as live as live can be, in this electronic age. There’s no electronic whatchamacallit. ‘Get Back’ is pure spring-time rock number. On the other side there’s an equally live number called ‘Don’t Let Me Down’.

Paul’s got this to say about ‘Get Back’: ‘We were sitting in the studio and we made it up out of thin air… we started to write words there and then… when we finished it, we recorded it at Apple Studios and made it into a song to roller-coast by.

P.S. John adds, it’s John playing the fab live guitar solo. And now John on ‘Don’t Let Me Down’: John says don’t let me down about ‘Don’t Let Me Down’.

In ‘Get Back’ and ‘Don’t Let Me Down’, you’ll find The Beatles, as nature intended.

Paul McCartney – From “Get Back” single ad – From New Musical Express, April 19, 1969
“Get Back” single ad – From New Musical Express, April 19, 1969

The Beatles’ next single is now almost certain to be “Get Back” featuring Paul McCartney as lead vocalist, and with US organist Billy Preston included in the backing. And contrary to previous reports it will be issued before the group’s next album – although a definite release date has not yet been announced.

The group’s new single LP will be issued to coincide with the screening of its TV show, which was filmed during recording sessions for the album. The TV special has now been edited, and will soon be offered to interested parties.

From New Musical Express, March 29, 1969
From New Musical Express, March 29, 1969

The Beatles’ next British and American single is to be “Get Back”, a song which features American organist Billy Preston. It has been rumoured that this track was to be the group’s new single, but an Apple spokesman confirmed this at presstime. No release data has been fixed, but it will be released before June.

The group want to release it by then as they are planning to release their new album then,” said the spokesman.

No firm release data has been decided upon and no B side for the single has been fixed. […]

From Melody Maker, April 5, 1969
From Melody Maker, April 5, 1969

An unexpected Easter holiday decision by the Beatles means that the group’s follow-up single is rush-released by Apple today (Friday). As previously reported in NME, the number is an up-tempo raver called “Get Back” and featuring America’s Billy Preston on organ. Paul McCartney takes lead vocal.

The record was made at Apple’s basement recording studios in Savile Row, London, and the original plan was to release it in late April or May. EMI factories are now working overtime on production of the single, but it may be the middle of next week before copies are available in many parts of the country.

After the Beatles’ holiday decision to rush-release the disc, copies were taken to d-j’s John Peel and Alan Freeman who broadcast them at the weekend. However, the group decided on a final re-mixing on Monday night and this is the version that will be available to the public.

B side of “Get Back” single is another Lennon-McCartney composition, a slower number called “Don’t Let Me Down”‘ and this time showcasing John Lennon on vocal.

Both Lennon and McCartney returned from their respective honeymoons last week, and are now songwriting and finalising – with George Harrison and Ringo Starr – details of the Beatles’ next album.

From New Musical Express, April 12, 1968
From New Musical Express, April 12, 1968

“Get back to where you once belonged” beseeches the lyric. And the Beatles have taken their own advice, by getting back to their 1964-5 approach. Here we have the group knuckling down to bare essentials, in what is now termed as its “pre-Sergeant Pepper” style.

This is sheer unadulterated rock’n’roll – admittedly rather more polished and clean-cut than emerged in the “Twist And Shout” days, but still dependent almost entirely upon the beat, and without any orchestral clutterings or lengthy fade-outs.

Paul sings with vehemence and spirit, urged on by some frantic Ringo drumming and George’s guitar at its scintillating best – plus, for good measure, a swinging Billy Preston organ break. There’s nothing adventurous or experimental about this track. Just honest-to-goodness pop-rock, stamped with the unmistakable hallmark of the masters.

FLIP: A powerful blues item, reminiscent of the group’s “Yer Blues”. John wails the lyric with a burning intensity, supported by an effectively pungent backing.

From New Musical Express, April 19, 1968
From New Musical Express, April 19, 1968

The Beatles took a quarter-page advertisement at a cost of £2,000 in the Daily Mirror on Tuesday, April 15, to announce the release of their new single Get Back. The advertisement was headed ‘The Beatles as Nature Intended” and Get Back was described as “‘It’s the first Beatles’ record which is as live as can be in this electronic age”.

The rest of the copy was equally tongue in cheek. “Get Back is the Beatles new single. It’s the first Beatles record which is as live as can be, in this electronic age. There’s no electronic “watchamacaltit’. Get Back is a pure Spring-time rock number. On the other side there’s an equally live number called Don’t Let Me Down. Paul’s got this to say about Get Back . . . “‘We were sitting in the studio and we made it up out of thin air… we started to write words there and then… when we finished it, we recorded it at Apple Studios and made it into a song to roller-coast by’’. P.S.—John adds: It’s John playing the fab live guitar solo. And now John on Don’t Let Me Down. John says don’t let me down about Don’t Let Me Down. In Get Back and Don’t Let Me Down, you’ll find the Beatles, as nature intended.”

From the Beatles Monthly Book, N°70, May 1969
From the Beatles Monthly Book, N°70, May 1969

SURPRISE EASTER SINGLE

Telephone switchboards at the Beatles’ Fan Club and Apple offices were jammed with fan calls immediately after Easter weekend following the surprise holiday period radio plays of the new single.

Without advance warning the two Beatles tracks — Paul’s Get Back and John’s Don’t Let Me Down — were rushed to Radio 1 deejays in time for first Easter broadcasts. Apple instantly set an April 12 rush-release date on the single although in most areas first copies reached record stores between five and seven days later.

Explanation of the hasty decision from Apple: “The fellows decided they wanted to have a Spring single so they pulled out two titles which had been intended for the next album. Organist Billy Preston is featured on these recordings for the first time with the Beatles. Otherwise, both tracks are instrumentally like the group’s earliest recordings—in other words, they are the only instrumentalists who play on them.

From the Beatles Monthly Book, N°70, May 1969
From the Beatles Monthly Book, N°70, May 1969

Last updated on January 13, 2022

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