- Album Songs recorded during this session officially appear on the Let It Be LP.
- Timeline More from year 1969
- Apple Studios, 3 Savile Row, London
Some songs from this session appear on:
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This was the tenth day of rehearsals for the “Get Back” project and the first one at Apple Studios, 3 Savile Row.
On January 10, 1969, George Harrison had walked out from the “Get Back” sessions at Twickenham Studios. On January 15, the three other Beatles had convinced him to come back. One of the conditions imposed by George was that the sessions would have to move to the basement studio at Apple’s headquarters, being built by Alexis Mardas, nicknamed “Magic Alex”. On January 20, The Beatles entered the studios but quickly realized it was unusable. George Martin came to the rescue and borrowed two portable four-track recorders from EMI, and long-time Beatles’ engineer Geoff Emerick was given the task of building and setting up a recording studio with the loaned equipment. So on this day, January 21, The Beatles formally restarted the “Get Back” sessions after a one-week break.
First group rehearsal of “Dig A Pony”
From DSSI Book:
What a difference a week makes! Having moved to their new London studio in the Apple’s basement, The Beatles exhibit none of the disharmony that had plagued the group at Twickenham. Indeed, John and George arrive before Paul and seem to be getting along fine, to the point of singing “You Are My Sunshine” to each other as the cameras roll.
This appears to have been an abbreviated session, which didn’t begin until after lunch – perhaps because the recording equipment was not ready, or maybe because the group was simply tired of getting up earlier than usual to film a documentary no one was particularly enthusiastic about anymore.
If Paul’s psychological withdrawal on the 14th signified the collapse of The Beatles’ spiritual center, the morning of the 21st represents a new musical low. The performances are so bad that the tapes are barely listenable and, even though their personal issues have been worked out (or put aside) there are still some serious musical problems plaguing the group. Nonetheless, they have Glyn Johns record a few numbers on multi-track tape and, for the first time, they’re able to listen back to professional recordings of their new material. They couldn’t have been pleased with the results.
Harrison had agreed to rejoin The Beatles on 15 January 1969, though not without certain conditions being met. It was at his insistence that they work at Apple Studios, and made it clear that he would leave for good unless the notion of a live show before an audience was abandoned. He did, however, agree to be filmed making an album, and for a potential live performance in some form.
The Beatles had actually assembled at Apple Studios the previous day, to test the equipment installed by Alexis ‘Magic Alex’ Mardas. It was found to be unsatisfactory, and new kit was borrowed from EMI. This day’s session didn’t start until the afternoon, perhaps due to installation issues.
In terms of repertoire, The Beatles had barely moved on following their week off. They still spent much time working on ‘Dig A Pony’, ‘I’ve Got A Feeling’, and ‘Don’t Let Me Down’, but their playing was often sloppy and aimless.
One of the takes of ‘Dig A Pony’ was introduced by Lennon as “I Dig A Pigmy by Charles Hawtrey and the Deaf Aids. Phase one, in which Doris gets her oats.” This was later used as the opening for the Let It Be album, immediately before ‘Two Of Us’.
A song by Harrison, titled ‘Window, Window’, was introduced on this day and took shape on 24, 25 and 26 January. However, despite recording a solo demo over a year later, it was never released in his lifetime.
The only song from this day to have been officially released was a version of ‘She Came In Through The Bathroom Window’, which appeared on 1996’s Anthology 3 (the date was incorrectly listed as 22 January in the album booklet), featuring Lennon on Fender Rhodes electric piano.
Last updated on October 17, 2021
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Drugs, Divorce and a Slipping Image - The Complete, Unauthorized Story of The Beatles' 'Get Back' Sessions
The definitive guide to the Get Back sessions, released in 1994 and updated in 2007. In the author's own words:
New, completely revised edition! This new volume isn t just a compilation of material from the 1994 book Drugs, Divorce and a Slipping Image (also later published as 'Get Back') and 'The 910's Guide To The Beatles Outtakes Part Two: The Complete Get Back Sessions' (2001). I've re-listened to the entire canon of available Get Back session tapes, come up with a bunch of new conclusions (and even a handful of new identifications!), and pretty much re-written half the book from scratch. In addition, great effort has been made to improve readability of the book. Songs have now been put into groups (generally by Nagra reel, or series of them), rather than describing each performance separately, as was done in the original. In every way, this is the book we wished we could have written in 1994.
As the paperback version is out of print, you can buy a PDF version on the author's website
The Beatles Bible
If we like to think, in all modesty, that the Paul McCartney Project is the best online ressource for everything Paul McCartney, The Beatles Bible is for sure the definitive online site focused on the Beatles. There are obviously some overlap in terms of content between the two sites, but also some major differences in terms of approach.
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