- 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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From Doug Sulpy:
The 29th begins slowly, as The Beatles arrive one-by-one and their conversations
progress from the banal to the future of the current project and, indeed, the future of
At the start of the day, the plan is to go up on Apple’s rooftop the following day and
perform a half dozen numbers. Surprisingly, Paul is no longer interested, and thinks the
idea is too far out. John and Ringo are enthusiastic about the idea, however, and George
is willing enough to play.
As they break out a list that George Martin has been keeping of the songs they’ve
been rehearsing, Paul realizes that they already have enough songs for an album, and that
they don’t need to rehearse any new ones. Instead, it’s decided to spend the day running
through the new numbers one-by-one. Consequently, this day serves as a kind of recap
of the entire month’s sessions, as they play virtually their entire repertoire of new songs
(which is not to say that they play them particularly well).
At the end of the day, spirits are high and even Paul seems to be looking forward to
the “big event” that will occur the next day.
Instead, they spent much of the day working on other songs. These included versions of ‘Two Of Us’, ‘The Long And Winding Road’ and ‘Let It Be’, plus others which didn’t make it to the Let It Be album.
The Beatles tackled a number of George Harrison’s songs, perhaps hoping that one would be suitable for inclusion in the film. The album version of ‘For You Blue’ had been taped on 25 January, but three more takes were performed on this day. Also played were ‘Something’, ‘All Things Must Pass’, ‘Let It Down’, and ‘Old Brown Shoe’, although none sounded like polished versions ready for release.
Also needing work was ‘I Want You (She’s So Heavy)’, destined for inclusion on Abbey Road. The Beatles and Billy Preston had first jammed the song on the previous day, and evidently thought it worth continuing with.
Also returned to was ‘Dig It’, although the album version was taken from 26 January. This had Lennon singing a list of some of the key songs played during the sessions, most of which made it to the Let It Be album.
The final part of the session was mostly devoted to cover versions. Among them was Buddy Holly’s ‘Mailman, Bring Me No More Blues’, which was heavily edited and included on Anthology 3. The Beatles also played ‘Besame Mucho’, as seen in the Let It Be film.
January 29th, 1969 (Apple Studios, London): A scattered morning discussion with Michael Lindsay-Hogg, Glyn Johns, and George Martin on the advent of having the group perform on the Apple Studios rooftop leads Paul into a circular conversation with John about the multiple media ventures they’re trying to pursue with this one recording session, and the persisting concern that the Beatles’ apparent lack of restriction (and lack of tolerance for having others impose restrictions upon them) is actually counterproductive to their efforts to complete the recording of the album. At a loss for articulating in concrete terms what may be obstructing the group from performing as well as they could, Paul wonders if they can only be cured of their repression and/or indecision if they are thrust unexpectedly into a foreign situation and forced by circumstance to adapt and improve unquestioningly, as they experienced in the early days of the band. […]
JOHN: I can’t wait to work, here, you know.
JOHN: Either… Anyway, you know. I just can’t wait to just—
PAUL: Do it.
JOHN: —have it, you know.
PAUL: Yeah, but so… Hmm. But I’m just talking about this thing, like this thing we’ve entered upon now, we still haven’t got any aim for it, except another album, again. Our only aim, ever, is an album. Which is like a very non-visual thing, it’s very sort of… But it’s great, isn’t it, and we do albums, then. But—
JOHN: But albums is what we’re doing, at the moment.
PAUL: [uneasy] Yeah, but I don’t know. Like—
JOHN: I mean, that’s what we [inaudible] talk about.
PAUL: —like I was saying the other day, is that you – is that you – you— [hesitating] We’re into albums as the four of us, but I really think we could be into other things. But every time I talk about it, I really sound like I’m the showbiz correspondent, trying to hustle us to do a Judy Garland comeback, you know. But really, all I mean is – well, look, let’s get – let’s change, or let’s go into a studio, like a vision studio, after we’ve learnt all of these, that’s just as good as this for sound, that’s got the same sort of thinking…
JOHN: I think it’s daft to move from this one, you know, I mean—
PAUL: But it’s like we got much better takes after we moved from Twickenham to here.
JOHN: Oh, yeah, but I mean here, in our life it’s like home, you know.
PAUL: Yeah, sure, but our takes are getting not as good. So I’m just trying to think of a remedy.
JOHN:Yes, but it’s up to Glyn to take it.
PAUL: Which he has been doing all yesterday, now, and ‘Get Back’, like you said, you know, we’re not in it.
JOHN: Yeah, but that depends on the day.
PAUL: But the thing that puts us in it are the things – the only ever thing that has put us in it is a novelty. We’re, you know—
JOHN: Yes, yes.
PAUL: We’re ve– we work on novelty. If there’s a new approach, if he says, “Take”, we take for the first time.
PAUL: Oh, you know, I mean, we’re gonna be great in the rough dubs, these, because we don’t care, you know, and it’s great. And now it’s gonna be very hard to better those – that dub we’ve got. There’s just so much in it, even ‘Teddy Boy’, not having words. It’s just, there’s so much in all of that.
JOHN: Yeah. Yeah, I have to agree—
PAUL: And it’s like, it’s gonna be hard to better it.
JOHN: —but I don’t think another move is gonna be the answer. It’s just like every—[inaudible]
PAUL: You see, I said to Michael that he should really just—just black this, just make this black one day, so that when we come in in the morning, it’s – “What is it?” I mean, you know. You’ve got to be sneaky with the Beatles, or else we’ll just go on forever in a circle. We really won’t get out of it. ‘Cause whenever we talk about it, we have certain rules – like George was saying. “What do you want to do?” And he says, “No films.” But it’s wrong, that. It’s very wrong, though, because you don’t know. He says – what he means is, “No Help! or Hard Day’s,” and I agree, you know. But like, films – ‘cause this is a film – and he now doesn’t mind this.
PAUL: But it’s like – it’s that kind of thing, like no TV shows, no audience. But, I mean – see, it’s like when we came back from Hamburg and did Leicester Du Montfort Hall, or wherever it was, Coventry – we played the ballroom, and we had the worst first night then, and we were all nervous, and it was terrible. Then we played another the next night, and we got a little bit better; the next night, hmm; and then the next! [vocalising] It was just too much, and we got into the playing because we got over the hang-up of the audience, and it was just like there was no one there, but it was a ner– a new sort of thing, and there was some fella in the front watching how you were playing… you know? And you just – we were just right into it. And those would have been – if we could have recorded those things, they will have been the greatest, because it is. It’s like Mal was saying, he said, “It’s the bounce thing,” you know. And we’re good at that, you know, once we get over the nervousness. But it’s like, it’s the hurdle of that nervousness is there, now. So that… you know. [hesitating] We’re – we can’t get over it now, unless – well, unless we really sort of, like, go to the Albert Hall and get in a black bag, you know.
PAUL: There’s no other way. We can’t think ourselves out of it. And we can’t sort of say, well, it will be alright. See, and then the only other alternative to that is to say, well, we don’t – we will never do it to an audience again. But if we intend to – to keep any sort of contact on that scene… [pause] Yeah. I do understand George’s just saying, “There’s no point,” you know, because it is like we’re Stravinsky, and it’s in the music. And he doesn’t sort of get up and play his ‘Joanna’ for them anymore. He just writes it, and just sort of maybe occasionally conducts it.
JOHN: But as long as there’s a good reason – like George wants to do a heavy show, like Dylan and Presley, all that.
JOHN: And that’ll be a large – I don’t know, like, I mean, that – that’s all this.
PAUL: Mm, yeah, I know, yeah. that’s always – that’s always just—
JOHN: Okay, yeah.
PAUL: That’s us again, you know.
JOHN: Yes, I know.
PAUL: It’s us going silly again.
JOHN: It is, and I think – I think we might do it.
PAUL: Yeah, sure, but I mean the thing is they could do that one after you’ve done your own one, you know.
JOHN: Yes, yeah. But I think that—
PAUL: It’s like, it’s like this thing, man. There is a show to be had out of what we’ve got here, which is just so incredible. It’s unbelievable. And you don’t have to go on the roof, you don’t have to go anywhere. You really only have to sing ‘em. And combined with the documentary material leading up to it, it’s just like an unbelievable thing. Because you’ll have the two elements and you’ve got it there, and there’s no – we don’t need any need to move from here. But somehow we need to get us for the – see, it’s like we’ve got all the lead-up, and the only thing we haven’t got for every song is the – the song, yet.
January 29th, 1969 (Apple Studios, London): With some reservation (and/or hesitation), George expresses his desire to record and release an album of solo material after the sessions for Get Back/Let It Be are concluded, in mind of all the songs he’s written and accumulated over the years. John and Yoko support the idea, but George (perhaps sensing that John’s perception of “going solo” and what it symbolises is more absolute than his own) elaborates that he thinks it’d be a good thing not just for each member of the band, but for the Beatles as a band proper – they would be able to both free themselves creatively in their own personal outlets as well as play and record as a group without feeling stifled, innately in tune with one another.
(In other words, the band doesn’t have to sever all ties to go their own way. Ultimately, it’s difficult to determine if George is merely expressing, in a carefully unassuming way, his own intentions for individuation in light of John’s recent solo output with Yoko and growing estrangement from the Beatles family, or if he is making a discrete appeal to John of making up instead of breaking up, and is still, despite all of the Beatles’ overlapping troubles over the past two years, not least the past two weeks, genuinely attuned to the idea of the band staying together. Your mileage may vary.)
GEORGE: I tell you what I’d like to do. After this—
PAUL: After this TV—?
GEORGE: —after this show. Um, you know, I’ve got so many songs that I’ve got, like, my quota of tunes for the next ten – you know, years, or albums.
GEORGE: And I’d just like to maybe do an album, of songs.
JOHN: Of – on your own?
GEORGE: But I mean, I’d like it so that if… uh… [long pause] ‘Cause it would be nice, it would be nice to mainly get them all out of the way—
JOHN: Yeah. It’d be nice anyway.
GEORGE: And secondly, just to hear what I – what all mine are like all together.
JOHN: Yeah, as long – you see, it’s good. If we put [out] an LP and it’s all safe that will be ‘cause it’s together, but George is doing an album and—
GEORGE: Oh yeah, but I mean it’d be nice to, uh—
JOHN: It’d be the same as me doing an album.
GEORGE: —if any of us can do the separate things, like, as well.
Well, I mean—
GEORGE: That way, it also preserves this, the Beatle bit of it, more. ‘Cause then—
JOHN: This – there’s an outlet for every note you want.
GEORGE: You know, ‘cause all these songs of mine, I can give them to people who could do them good, but I suddenly realised – fuck all that. I’m just gonna do me for a bit. [laughs] You know?
YOKO: That’s great. That’s a good idea.
GEORGE: And uh, you know. [pause] With all these tunes I could do ‘em like – I could them in a week, at the most. I could have it all, just record ‘em all, remixed and everything, ‘cause they’re all very simple, you know. I mean, I don’t think they need much. I mean with a Leslie it’s too much, just one guitar. [starts playing ‘Let It Down’] Looking like I don’t care / but I do, I do… / Hiding it all behind anything I see / Should someone be looking at me… [laughs]
JOHN: “She won’t be looking at me”?
GEORGE: “Should someone be looking at me.”
GEORGE: While I occupy my mind / I can feel you here / Love to us is so well-timed / But I do, I do… / Wasting away these moments so heavenly / Should someone be looking at me…
Last updated on December 21, 2021
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.
Recording • DDSI.29.03 • 3:45
I Walk The Line
Recording • DDSI.29.04 • 0:54
Recording • DDSI.29.16 • 3:09
She Gets Heavy
Recording • DDSI.29.38 • 0:20
Sorry Miss Molly
Recording • DDSI.29.42 • 0:11
Recording • DDSI.29.56 • 1:02
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.