- 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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One version of the latter was included on Anthology 3, and another had been selected for Glyn Johns’ unreleased Get Back album. The Beatles played a total of 28 versions of it on this day, during the course of which ‘For You Blue’ was worked into an assured studio recording. Indeed, one of the takes was included on the Let It Be album.
‘Two Of Us’ had been rehearsed extensively on the previous day, and this session’s versions were more relaxed, almost playful at times. John Lennon and Paul McCartney both added exaggerated German, French, Scottish and Jamaican accents to some of the takes, as well as daft sound effects and a Bob Dylan impression from Lennon.
‘Let It Be’ had McCartney on piano and Lennon on bass guitar, the latter played with characteristic uncertainty. One of the day’s takes featured on Anthology 3, complete with McCartney’s ad-libbed vocals and alternative lyrics.
Of the other songs, perhaps the most notable was ‘I Lost My Little Girl’, one of the first songs McCartney ever wrote. This version, however, had Lennon on lead vocals, and lasted almost 10 minutes with a two-chord rock arrangement.
As well as ‘For You Blue’, two songs by George Harrison were played. ‘Isn’t It A Pity’ made its debut on this day, and was performed again the following day, but was eventually held over for his All Things Must Pass album. ‘Window, Window’, meanwhile, had previously been performed on two earlier sessions, but here was led mostly by McCartney. The song was never released in Harrison’s lifetime.
Also on this day, McCartney and members of the film crew did a recce on the Apple rooftop ahead of the concert which took place five days later. McCartney was joined by director Michael Lindsay-Hogg, The Beatles’ assistant Mal Evans, and production runner Kevin Harrington.
January 25th, 1969 (Apple Studios, London): After a protracted discussion about the prospective production value of (what will eventually be) the Let It Be documentary, George tries to allay Paul’s underlying (overriding) concerns about the still-unstructured production and tells him that the group’s best efforts have tended to be spontaneous anyway, and John points out that Paul’s retainment of his original intentions for this project, in spite of its changes over the past three weeks, is what is causing him anxiety. Paul responds in a possible intimation of his own investment in the band in comparison to John’s, and John, in possible acknowledgment of it, contends that he would dig playing onstage as The Beatles again, if not for the inertia they would inevitably labour under as a touring group.
As Paul bleakly compares their present monotony in the studio precisely to the monotony they felt while on tour performing the same songs over and over again night after night, George reasons (not unkindly) that it’s an emotional cycle that everyone goes through, no matter the state of affairs they’re in, and in this case, feels the familiarity of Apple Studios (attendant film crew non-withstanding) would be better for the group’s musical finesse than having to involve themselves with the hassle of touring again. Paul, however, remains uncertain of his own feelings and wonders aloud about why he feels them at all. Producer Glyn Johns, who has been listening in, sincerely vouches for the buoyant studio atmosphere and heartening improvement the band has made in the past couple of days, and Yoko, likewise, encourages Paul to ride on the upswing and not tie himself down with the variables.
GEORGE: The things that’ve worked out best ever for us haven’t really been planned any more than this has. It’s just, you know, it’s like you just go into something and then it does it itself, you know. Whatever it’s gonna be, it becomes that, you know.
JOHN: See, it’s turned out – that, for that, but it’s not what Paul wants. Like, you know, it was – it’s like if – say it’s his number, this whole show. Well it’s turned – it’s a compromise. So now it’s actually turned into our number more than his number. That’s all.
PAUL: Yeah, and that’s—
JOHN: And uh—
PAUL: —and that’s alright, you know. It’s—
JOHN: It’s alright, but I mean that’s what’s bugging you, really. Because it’s a different number, you know. It’s turned into a rock number as opposed to a choir number or something, you know, like that. And uh… [quiet] it’s just that, really. [silence]
But it’s just funny to sort of realise that after this is all over, you’ll be off in a black bag somewhere – on the Albert Hall, you know.
PAUL: And sort of doing shows and stuff, and you know, digging—
JOHN: Yeah, but I—
PAUL: —digging that thing of it.
JOHN: But I don’t – I would dig to play on stage, you know.
JOHN: I mean, if it was – if everything was alright and there was no messing, and we were just going to play onstage… you know.
PAUL: Yeah. But it’s only that. It’s only that. I’d like to see Ringo and us – [inaudible] you know, and all that. But I mean—
JOHN: That’s why I said yes to the TV show. I didn’t want the – the hell of doing it.
PAUL: —and I’d like that. I’d like that, see, so that’s—
JOHN: Well, I like playing – ‘cause that’s why I went on the Stones show [Rock and Roll Circus], you know?
JOHN: [faltering] And that’s why I’ll – I’ll do – things, but I mean if – if we all don’t want to do that…
PAUL: [reserved] Yeah, I know, it is that. It’s like the majority decision to – yeah.
JOHN: [wary] But I don’t want to sort of, uh, go on the road again. [silence; guitar playing]
PAUL: Yeah. I just feel as though we are on the road again. I mean, we are, but we’re in the studio. Like, and we just keep to the same environment, totally. Always. We don’t ever attempt to break out of that.
JOHN: Well, we did, though! We did.
PAUL: And that’s – you know. So I mean—
GEORGE: Yeah. It’s just, you break out of one into another and then you want to break out of that.
PAUL: Yeah, but I mean – you know.
YOKO: Maybe next week—
PAUL: [preoccupied] It is like the reason it’s nice to live on the country, you know. Just because it’s nice out there. It’s nice in a warm environment, you know.
YOKO: [to Paul referring to the other Beatles?] Maybe next week they might change their minds, though.
JOHN: [to Yoko] [inaudible]
GEORGE: In my opinion this is the nicest place I’ve been for a long time, this studio.
PAUL: Yeah, it is.
GEORGE: No, really, you know. I mean, and also we’ve played – this is the most I’ve ever played, by playing everyday. And I can just, you know, feel myself getting – me fingers getting loose, a bit. Because we don’t get a chance for that. But if we go out on the road, then – or whatever – it falls, it gets back into that one. But really I just want to play, and you can play better without having to, you know, do all those things.
PAUL: [preoccupied] Yeah.
GEORGE: I mean, it’s not so bad now – but it is, really, it would be easier to play without all these mics and without all the cameras and things like that. But uh…
PAUL: Yeah, it’s alright. [silence; George starts playing Bob Dylan’s ‘All I Really Want To Do’]
PAUL: I don’t know what it is, you know, that I’m moaning about, but it’s just sort of—
GLYN: I must admit, I can’t really see it like – [laughs; optimistic] because it’s – it’s just seeing the last two days, everything’s gone so ridiculously well.
PAUL: It is, it’s going great, really good.
YOKO: It’s going great.
GLYN: We still need—
YOKO: [to Paul; encouraging] And maybe next week it might change, you don’t know.
PAUL: Yeah, sure, I mean…
YOKO: I mean, it might be great… and everyone might feel like going outside, you know.
Last updated on October 16, 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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