- Album Songs recorded during this session officially appear on the Anthology 3 Official album.
- Apple Studios, 3 Savile Row, London
More from year 1969
Some songs from this session appear on:
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This was the eleventh day of rehearsals for the “Get Back” project and the second one at Apple Studios, 3 Savile Row.
On this day, Billy Preston joined those sessions, having been invited by George Harrison. Billy had met with The Beatles in Hamburg in the early 1960s and was in London playing with Ray Charles.
I was on tour with Ray Charles and we were in London. George was at the concert and thought: “Hey, that looks like Billy Preston.” So he called around and found out that it was me. He called me at the hotel and invited me over to see the guys. Before I got there, Mal Evans had told me that they had been going through a lot of depression, and that he was glad that I came around because it gave them a lot of life. It made them happy a little bit.Billy Preston – Quoted in Classic Rock, May 2020
When I got there, they were filming Let It Be and recording and all. We started reminiscing and playing old rock’n’roll songs. They said: “Sit in. You want to stay and help us finish the album? Take a solo…” They just made me a member of the band.Billy Preston – Quoted in Classic Rock, May 2020
Billy came down and I said, ‘Remember Billy? Here he is – he can play the piano’. He got on the electric piano, and straight away there was 100% improvement in the vibe in the room. Having this fifth person was just enough to cut the ice that we’d created among ourselves. Billy didn’t know all the politics and the games that had been going on, so in his innocence he got stuck in and gave an extra little kick to the band. Everybody was happier to have somebody else playing and it made what we were doing more enjoyable. We all played better and that was a great session. It was more or less just as it is on the record.George Harrison – From The Beatles Anthology
It was still very strained, the atmosphere, and then Billy Preston walked into the office. I just grabbed him and brought him down to the studio, and said, ‘How would you like to play piano?’ And it put everything more at ease, because, having a fifth person there, it sort of off-set the vibes.George Harrison – From “The Beatles: Off the Record” by Keith Badman
I pulled in Billy Preston. It helped because the others would have to control themselves a bit more. John and Paul mainly, because they had to, you know, act more handsomely. It’s interesting to see how people behave nicely when you bring a guest in because they don’t want everyone to know that they’re so bitchy.”George Harrison – From “Recording The Beatles” by Ryan and Kehew
It’s interesting to see how people behave nicely when you bring a guest in, because they don’t really want everybody to know they’re so bitchy… Suddenly everybody’s on their best behaviour.George Harrison – Quoted in Classic Rock, May 2020
Billy was really special to the band at that time. I think George was very wise for bringing him in, because Billy was a calming effect. They were all really big fans of Billy. He was really important to the whole thing. When they were in the studio, they would play something and Billy would look over at me with his eyes just as big as saucers and go: “Wow, did you hear that?” And they’d turn to Billy and say: “Hey, why don’t you do this here?” and Billy would go: “Wow, that’s great.”Ken Mansfield, US manager at Apple Records – Quoted in Classic Rock, May 2020
Billy was brilliant – a little young whizz-kid. We’d always got on very well with him. He showed up in London and we all said, ‘Oh Bill! Great – let’s have him play on a few things.’ So he started sitting in on the sessions, because he was an old mate really.
It might have helped us all behave better with one another on the sessions. I think it also created problems, because as The Beatles we’d always just been four people in the band. We were very much a unit — the Four-Headed Monster, I’ve heard us referred to.
So when Billy came in, I think that though we did have to behave ourselves a bit – because it was like having a guest in the house, someone you put your best manners on for – there was a slight worry in the background also that maybe he was joining the group. That kind of thing was happening. So we couldn’t tell whether it was a crack in the whole thing, or whether it was going to be good. It was a little bit puzzling.
But he played great and we all had a great time, so it worked out fine in the end.Paul McCartney – From The Beatles Anthology
This version of ‘I’ve Got A Feeling’, plus different ones of ‘Dig A Pony’ and ‘Don’t Let Me Down’, were selected for Glyn Johns’ Get Back album, which was rejected for release by The Beatles. Also included in Johns’ second, third, and fourth iterations were cover versions of ‘I’m Ready’ by Fats Domino – sometimes known as ‘Rocker’ – and The Drifters’ ‘Save The Last Dance For Me’. Get Back was released in October 2021 as part of the super deluxe 50th anniversary reissue of Let It Be.
The only other notable attempt at a cover version from this day was ‘A Taste Of Honey’, first recorded by The Beatles in early 1963 for the Please Please Me album. On this day, however, the performance broke down almost before it even got going.
I’m Ready (Rocker) / Save The Last Dance For Me, included in Glyn John’s compilation
Last updated on January 15, 2022
The performances are sequentially numbered using the nomenclature from the book "Drugs, Divorce and a Slipping Image" by Doug Sulpy. DDSI 2.01 is, for example, the first performance from January 2nd, while DDSI 31.65 is the sixty-fifth performance from January 31st. This numbering is at times different from the DDSI numbers used on the bootleg collection "A/B Road Complete Get Back Sessions", likely because "Drugs, Divorce and a Slipping Image" was updated since the release of this collection.
I Shall Be Released
Recording • DDSI.22.01 • 2:14
Recording • DDSI.22.02 • 4:49
Recording • DDSI.22.03 • 2:01
Recording • DDSI.22.05 • 1:58
Some Other Guy
Recording • DDSI.22.06 • 1:13
Recording • DDSI.22.07 • 1:25
Johnny B Goode
Recording • DDSI.22.08 • 2:48
Don't Let Me Down
Recording • DDSI.22.09 • 4:21
I Shall Be Released
Recording • DDSI.22.10 • 3:37
Recording • DDSI.22.11 • 1:29
Recording • DDSI.22.12 • 1:55
Recording • DDSI.22.22 • 0:22
Recording • DDSI.22.40 • 1:03
A Taste of Honey
Recording • DDSI.22.49 • 0:14
Recording • DDSI.22.50 • 1:05
Recording • DDSI.22.61 • 1:58
Recording • DDSI.22.75 • 0:27
Recording • DDSI.22.94 • 2:28
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
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.