- Album Songs recorded during this session officially appear on the Let It Be (Limited Edition) LP.
- Apple Studios, 3 Savile Row, London
More from year 1969
Some songs from this session appear on:
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Jan 26: Work is done on Dig It and The Long And Winding Road, plus Harrison’s Isn’t It A Pity which will eventually appear on his 1970 triple album All Things Must Pass. During the day it is also decided that they will record a live performance on the roof of the Apple building.Quoted in Classic Rock, May 2020
From Doug Sulpy:
For the first time in almost a year, The Beatles spent both days of a weekend
recording, inspired more by pragmatic than artistic reasons (Ringo’s work on “The Magic
Christian” would begin in eight days and only a handful of songs were up to par). Paul’s
girlfriend Linda Eastman and her six year old daughter Heather attend the session, and
Billy Preston rejoins the others after a few days absence.
On this lazy Sunday, their work is almost totally focused on the two McCartney ballads
“Let It Be” and “The Long And Winding Road.” This is fine with John, because, as on
the 23rd, he doesn’t really want to sing in order to save his voice.
In between rehearsals and the recording of these two songs, a number of energetic
oldies are recorded, as well as a unique pass at “Dig It.” While neither of two ballads is
finished, the day’s final pass at “The Long And Winding Road” is good enough to ultimately
make it onto the “Let It Be” album.
This Sunday session marked the first time in almost a year that The Beatles had worked on both days of a weekend. They were joined in the studio by Linda McCartney and her daughter Heather.
George Harrison and Ringo Starr were the first to arrive, and the session began with Harrison performing some of his own songs alone on an acoustic guitar: ‘Isn’t It A Pity’, ‘Let It Down’ and the unreleased ‘Window, Window’. He also helped Starr with the composition of ‘Octopus’s Garden’, part of which was included in the Let It Be film.
Billy Preston was back in the studio, following an absence on the previous day, and helped to shape the song’s arrangement. ‘Let It Be’, in particular, benefited from Preston’s organ playing, and by the end of the day they almost had a version suitable for release.
The session closed with more than an hour spent on ‘The Long And Winding Road’, with Paul McCartney on piano and John Lennon playing bass guitar. Although the playing was often amateurish in the beginning, towards the end the arrangement came together, and by the end of the day they had a satisfactory take. This was included on Anthology 3, and was adorned with orchestral and choral overdubs by Phil Spector for the Let It Be album.
Also on that album was a snippet of ‘Dig It’, which was part of a 12-minute take recorded on this day, and cover versions of ‘Rip It Up’, ‘Shake, Rattle And Roll’ and ‘Blue Suede Shoes’ were issued as a medley on Anthology 3.
Of the other songs, ‘Suicide’ was written by McCartney as a teenager, and a snippet was later included on his debut album. ‘I Told You Before’ was an improvised jam led by Harrison and Preston, which The Beatles returned to on the following day.
There were also cover versions of ‘You Really Got A Hold On Me’ and ‘Kansas City’, the latter based on Wilbert Harrison’s 1959 arrangement rather than Little Richard’s. Versions of Jerry Lee Lewis’ ‘Great Balls Of Fire’ and ‘High School Confidential’ were marred by McCartney being unable to remember the lyrics.
January 26th, 1969: Paul arrives at the studio accompanied by Linda and Heather just as George and Ringo are working out the melody for ‘Octopus’s Garden’ on the piano. John, who has been playing around on drums, chimes in none too discreetly with a question he’s been eager to ask Paul.
JOHN: Hey! Did you dream about me last night?
PAUL: [long pause] I can’t remember.
JOHN: Very strong dream. We both dreamt about it. It was amazing! Different dreams, you know, but I thought you must’ve been there. [inaudible] I was touching you. [inaudible]
PAUL: Nothing to worry about, though?
JOHN: Nothing to worry about, no.
January 26th, 1969 (Apple Studio): While Paul, George, and Ringo work on the arrangement for ‘Octopus’s Garden’, John teases Paul and Linda’s daughter Heather about her new pets.
HEATHER: We’ve got some baby kittens only about that big—
JOHN: Are you going to eat them?
JOHN: Lots of people do, you know. I don’t, I mean.
HEATHER: Kittens that have just been born yesterday, or a few days—
PAUL: On toast? On toast?
JOHN: You put pastry around them, and then you have cat pie.
HEATHER: A few days they were just born, weren’t they?
JOHN: Oh, you’d better wait a week or two before you eat them.
HEATHER: No, I’m never going to eat them!
JOHN: Aren’t you? Well, that’s very good.
HEATHER: And then we took the grown-ups, and one of them’s beautiful, like this Daddy cat. It’s got a big black spot there—
JOHN: Oh, you don’t eat them if they have black spots.
HEATHER: The other one’s like a tiger.
JOHN: You don’t eat them if they’re like tigers, either. [laughter]
HEATHER: You don’t eat any cats! They don’t taste good. [general laughter] And anyway, I’m just a pussycat who was just born.
JOHN: Are you?
PAUL: Okay, pussycat.
JOHN: There’s a good dog. Puss.
HEATHER: Stop keep – stop keep calling me “dog”, I’m a cat.
JOHN: Okay, cat.
Last updated on January 26, 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.
Isn't It A Pity
Recording • DDSI.26.02 • 2:34 • Jan.26 - D1-03 - Isn't It A Pity 26.01
Recording • DDSI.26.03 • 2:26 • Jan.26 - D1-04 - Windows, Windows 26.02
Recording • DDSI.26.10 • 0:37 • Jan.26 - D1-11 - unknown 26.09
Little Piece Of Leather
Recording • DDSI.26.12 • 0:31 • Jan.26 - D1-13 - Little Piece Of Leather 26.11
It Was So Blue
Recording • DDSI.26.20 • 0:41 • Jan.26 - D2-03 - It Was So Blue 26.19
High School Confidential
Recording • DDSI.26.21 • 1:20 • Jan.26 - D2-04 - High School Confidential 26.20
Great Balls Of Fire
Recording • DDSI.26.22 • 2:23 • Jan.26 - D2-05 - Great Balls Of Fire 26.21
I Left My Home In The World
Recording • DDSI.26.25 • 0:30 • Jan.26 - D2-08 - I Left My Home In The World 26.24
I Left My Home In The World
Recording • DDSI.26.26 • 1:18 • Jan.26 - D2-09 - I Left My Home In The World 26.25
Recording • DDSI.26.28 • 0:30 • Jan.26 - D2-11 - Improvisation 26.27
Recording • DDSI.26.43 • 1:04 • Jan.26 - D2-28 - Improvisation 26.42
Do Not Forsake Me Oh My Darling
Recording • DDSI.26.51 • 1:23 • Jan.26 - D3-03 - Do Not Forsake Me Oh My Darling 26.49
Like A Rolling Stone
Recording • DDSI.26.56 • 1:57 • Jan.26 - D3-08 - Like A Rolling Stone 26.54
Rip It Up
Recording • DDSI.26.59 • 2:47 • Jan.26 - D3-11 - Rip It Up 26.57
The Tracks Of My Tears
Recording • DDSI.26.64 • 2:40 • Jan.26 - D3-16 - The Tracks Of My Tears 26.62
Recording • DDSI.26.65 • 2:23 • Jan.26 - D3-17 - Agent Double-O-Soul 26.63
Recording • DDSI.26.66 • 1:54 • Jan.26 - D3-18 - S.O.S. 26.64
I'm Movin On
Recording • DDSI.26.68 • 2:48 • Jan.26 - D3-20 - I'm Movin On 26.66
Recording • DDSI.26.69 • 1:21 • Jan.26 - D3-21 - Improvisation 26.67
Recording • DDSI.26.70 • 16:48 • Jan.26 - D3-22 - Improvisation 26.68
Recording • DDSI.26.71 • 3:52 • Jan.26 - D3-23 - Improvisation 26.69
Recording • DDSI.26.72 • 3:44 • Jan.26 - D3-24 - Improvisation 26.70
Dialogue and jamming
Recording • DDSI.26.73 • 1:42 • Jan.26 - D4-01 - Dialogue and jamming
Little Pillow Pills
Recording • DDSI.26.80 • 3:29 • Jan.26 - D4-08 - Little Pillow Pills 26.77
I Told You Before
Recording • DDSI.26.81 • 11:36 • Jan.26 - D4-10 - I Told You Before 26.78
I Told You Before
Recording • DDSI.26.82 • 2:12 • Jan.26 - D4-11 - I Told You Before 26.79
I Told You Before
Recording • DDSI.26.83 • 12:37 • Jan.26 - D4-12 - I Told You Before 26.80
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.