- Album Songs recorded during this session officially appear on the Let It Be (50th anniversary boxset) Official album.
- Twickenham Film Studios, London, UK
More from year 1969
Some songs from this session appear on:
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I’m scared of me being the boss. And I have been for a couple of years. I always feel as though I’m trying to put you down and stop you playing. But I’m not. I’m trying to stop us all playing, until we know what we’re playing.Paul McCartney to George Harrison
This was the third day of rehearsals at Twickenham Film Studios. Most of the morning was spent on jams, improvisations, and going through oldies. Notable were:
- “The Palace Of The King Of The Birds“, a Paul McCartney instrumental which would be recorded years later for the unreleased Ruper The Bear soundtrack,
- “You Wear Your Women Out“, a blues improvisation led by Paul,
- “My Imagination“, another improvisation where Paul performed some Primal Therapy-style screaming.
Some original compositions were also introduced – George Harrison’s “Hear Me Lord” and “For You Blue“, Paul’s “Carry That Weight” and Ringo Starr’s “Octopus’s Garden“. Also, John Lennon decided to re-introduce “Across The Universe“, recorded in 1968.
Aside from the production crew and The Beatles, George Martin was present, as well as Mal Evans and Yoko Ono.
Hear Me Lord
George Harrison: I wrote a gospel song over the weekend, lads.
John Lennon: According to Saint Who?
George Harrison: According to the Lord. ‘Hear Me Lord’.
Early in the session, George performed “Hear Me Lord” for the first time. Throughout the day, he would get back to this tune, playing it on acoustic guitar and then on an electric guitar with a wah-wah pedal. But the rest of the band was not interested, and George would not bring it back during the rest of the “Get Back” sessions. The song would ultimately be released on his first solo album, “All Things Must Pass” in 1970.
For You Blue
Carry That Weight
Paul then introduced “Carry That Weight” explaining:
I have a bit that I might finish. It might interest him. I was thinking it was a song for Ringo.Paul McCartney
Paul’s concept for the song at this point was for it to become a country-and-western-style song for Ringo to sing, George being briefly instructed as to what the chords were. Four attempts at playing the song were made, with Paul on organ and vocals, John on electric guitar and periodic backing vocals, and George making attemps at joining in on piano.From beatlesebooks.com
Ringo also brought a new composition of his, “Octopus’ Garden“, but only a brief incomplete version of the song was performed. The Beatles would come back to it on January 23.
Across The Universe
John didn’t bring any new tune but decided to re-introduce “Across The Universe” to the band, a track recorded in February 1968 but never released.
They ran through two rough rehearsals of the song with John on electric guitar and lead vocals (flubbing the lyrics here and there), Paul on bass and harmony vocals (sung throughout some of the verses as well as the choruses), George on electric guitar through a wah-wah pedal, and Ringo tapping out the beat on tom toms as he had done on the original recording. The song was then dropped for the time being, much attention being given to “Don’t Let Me Down” and “Two Of Us” before the rehearsal ended.From beatlesebooks.com
The Beatles would return to “Across The Universe” on the following day, January 7.
Don’t Let Me Down
The Beatles then started the afternoon focused on “Don’t Let Me Down“:
They worked extensively on “Don’t Let Me Down,” performing 28 versions of the song, nailing down the guitar introduction John was to eventually perform on the finished recording. They attempted many harmonies, lyrical changes, falsetto voices and call and response vocals on this day, some of which are heard on the “Fly On The Wall” disc on the “Let It Be…Naked” release. Much of this was dropped, but discussion ensued as to the presense of a keyboard on the finished song. George said he would move to bass to allow for Paul to play keyboard if necessary, but John insisted that he wanted two guitars in the arrangement. Keeping to the agreed-upon “no overdubs” policy for this project, a keyboardist needed to be enlisted to fulfill Lennon’s desire. To differentiate the two guitarists, George used a wah-wah effect on many of the rehearsals of the song on this day.From beatlesebooks.com
They would continue working on “Don’t Let Me Down” the day after, January 7.
Two Of Us
After “Don’t Let Me Down“, they decided to switch to “Two Of Us“.
After a weekend off, however, they met again at Twickenham for their January 6th session which saw the group work extensively on the song once again, playing it with the rhythmic feel that they would eventually use on the song “Get Back,” although this song hadn’t been written yet. They ran through twenty rehearsals of “Two Of Us” which, at this point, was arranged as a straight ahead rocker with electric guitars, as can be witnessed early in the “Let It Be” movie as filmed on this day. It was during the rehearsals of this song that tempers flared between George and Paul, the guitarist being told that his complicated guitar riffs need to be simplifiedFrom beatlesebooks.com
They would work on it again briefly on January 8.
She Came In Through The Bathroom Window
To end the day, Paul introduced “She Came In Through The Bathroom Window” to the band. Considering he brought it on the third day of those rehearsals, he must have thought this was a contender for the live show. The Beatles did seven run-throughs of the song on this day and would do another four rehearsals of it on January 7.
Overall, this day of rehearsals was quite unproductive. Aside from rehearsing, The Beatles spent a great deal of time discussing and bickering. For instance, George Harrison, shortly after his arrival, suggested that they should drop the idea of a live show:
Michael Lindsay-Hogg: We ought to think this week sometime about the show.
Paul McCartney: But we are thinking about the show.
John Lennon: We never stop thinking about it. […]
Michael Lindsay-Hogg: Wouldn’t it be nice if we did this show with a big audience?
Paul McCartney: Yes
George Harrison: I think we should forget the whole idea of this show.
Paul McCartney: Yeah, just, that’s it. Okay… I’ll go along with that.
Michael Lindsay-Hogg: We’re back…
Paul McCartney: We’re back to square one.From Peter Jackson’s film “The Beatles: Get Back“, 2021
The lowlight of the day was a fraught and tense exchange between Paul and George about the responsibilities and relationships in the band, during the rehearsals on “Two Of Us“. It was included in Michael Lindsay-Hogg’s film “Let It Be”:
Paul McCartney: See, look. Listen, now. We’re gonna have to sort of bring it together, ’cause we’re all at odds. We’re doing that thing we did on “The Beatles”. Like, in this verse, it’s two harmonies singing, trying to say some words, right?
John Lennon: I’m not that bothered. I’m just trying to sing it.
Paul McCartney: It’s not sounding together.
George Harrison: And so we can only play until we find the bit.
Paul McCartney: Or we can stop and say it’s not together.
George Harrison: Yes, then you’ve got to carry on until it gets together.
John Lennon: These are the hard ones to do, aren’t they?
Paul McCartney: No, not really, it’s just… We’ve got to be imaginative. You know, it’s complicated now. See, if we can get it simpler and then complicate it where it needs complication, but it’s complicated in the bit…
George Harrison: It’s not complicated. I’ll play just the chords, if you like.
Paul McCartney: No, no, come on. You always get annoyed when I say that. I’m trying to help, you know. But I always hear myself annoying you, and I’m trying…
George Harrison: No, you’re not annoying me. You don’t annoy me anymore.
Paul McCartney: But you see what I mean. We do this then… Then I don’t know. […]
Paul McCartney: I’m scared of me being the boss. And I have been for a couple of years. I always feel as though I’m trying to put you down and stop you playing. But I’m not. I’m trying to stop us all playing, until we know what we’re playing.
George Harrison: But you’ve got to play in order to find which fits and which doesn’t. You see that’s all we can do.
Paul McCartney: I don’t wanna say it, ’cause I really just hear myself as being the only one saying it, always. And like, the three of you just sort of sit there, like “Oh, he’s saying that one again, is he?” And I never get any support, or anything. So I just think, “Oh, well. Fuck it”. And I know it’s right, and you know it’s right.
George Harrison: Yes, all right. I just don’t know what to do about it.
Paul McCartney: But doesn’t everyone agree that it’s confused at the moment. So, all I’m trying to say is, we’ve only got 12 more days, so we’ve really got to do this methodically, this one.
George Harrison: I’ll wait until you get all your bits and then work my part out, if you like. It’s like a matter of working it out with you, while you’re working your bit out. You know, have you got your bass bit?
Paul McCartney: You’re doing it again as though I’m trying to say that. And what we said the other day, you know, I’m not trying to get you. What I really am trying to just say, “Look lads, the band, shall we try it like this, you know?”
George Harrison: It’s funny how it only occurs when the…
Paul McCartney: It’s like “shall we play guitar all through Hey Jude? Well, I don’t think we should”.
George Harrison: Okay, well, I don’t mind. I’ll play whatever you want me to play. Or I won’t play at all if you don’t want me to play. Now, whatever it is that will please you, I’ll do it. But I don’t think you really know what that one is. […]From Peter Jackson’s film “The Beatles: Get Back“, 2021
PAUL: Look, you know, the… [sighs] No, it’s not like that. You see, that’s it, it’s like, we can’t do this. We’ve really got to sort out this, ’cause we’re – this is – we’re like – this is the one, you know. Now we’re rehearsing, and we’re trying to like get it together for a TV show, so we really – like you said, we’ve only been through four numbers, you know.
PAUL: So we’ve probably got to get some system to get through like twenty, or thirty, and no more, and have learnt them. And it’s probably going to be like sculpture. So that we get all the chords. So we can all vamp and all. Then we can all play, like, every solo we need. But like… You know what I mean? It’s got to sound as though it’s improving.
GEORGE: [careful] Yeah, well, it actually – it sounded to me, that for me, it was a waste of me time playing, when we started it today. I mean, I just started remembering then what it could get into the other day, after playing for around an hour, an hour and a half. And suddenly, you know, I just don’t find that my – that what I’m doing is starting to have something, you know. Have some structure to it. [pause] You know, that’s the thing.
PAUL: Yeah, I know, I know what you mean, you know. ’Cause it’s like—
GEORGE: You know, I mean—
PAUL: It’s just that that way of doing it, you know, puts me off the way I’m trying to do it, and—
GEORGE: [resigned] Well, that’s – you know. That’s all, then. I can only do me, in that one way, however I do it, you know. [long pause]
PAUL: [resigned] Let’s do another song.
GEORGE: [commiserating] No, come on, we just have to learn this—
PAUL: No, no, it’s – let’s just do something else.
GEORGE: Do you want to do… ‘Maxwell Silver Hammer’?
JOHN: [encouraging] Well, let’s do this, ’cause then we – we’re gonna come to this, or whatever it is. And the thing is just try and think what – the stage we’ve got to be in then.
PAUL: You just have to know that. I think we’ve wasted a lot of time, I think. I think we do like waste, physically waste a heck of a lot of time, you know, when the four of us are together.From a moral to this song
Last updated on December 17, 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.
High School Confidential
Recording • DDSI.6.05 • 0:28 • George Harrison only
Hear Me Lord
Recording • DDSI.6.07 • 0:49 • George Harrison only
Hear Me Lord
Recording • DDSI.6.08 • 2:26 • George Harrison only
Recording • DDSI.6.16 • 0:06
Recording • DDSI.6.17 • 9:02
Recording • DDSI.6.20 • 1:54
Recording • DDSI.6.21 • 0:35
Recording • DDSI.6.22 • 1:40
Recording • DDSI.6.27 • 5:55
I'm Gonna Pay For His Ride (Improvisation)
Recording • DDSI.6.28 • 4:40 • Jan.06 - D2-07 - I'm Gonna Pay For His Ride 6.28
They Call Me Fuzz Face (Improvisation)
Recording • DDSI.6.33 • 1:19
Recording • DDSI.6.35 • 1:38
Recording • DDSI.6.37 • 0:25 • John Lennon only
Recording • DDSI.6.38 • 2:42
Hear Me Lord
Recording • DDSI.6.39 • 4:36 • George Harrison only
Hear Me Lord
Recording • DDSI.6.40 • 3:20 • George Harrison only
Hear Me Lord
Recording • DDSI.6.41 • 7:12 • George Harrison only
Recording • DDSI.6.42 • 0:26
Hear Me Lord
Recording • DDSI.6.43 • 0:41 • George Harrison only
Recording • DDSI.6.44 • 0:04
Recording • DDSI.6.45 • 0:23
Recording • DDSI.6.48 • 2:18
Recording • DDSI.6.50 • 5:37
Recording • DDSI.6.51 • 0:39
Recording • DDSI.6.53 • 0:25
Recording • DDSI.6.54 • 0:09
Recording • DDSI.6.55 • 0:06
Recording • DDSI.6.56 • 0:16
Send Me Some Loving
Recording • DDSI.6.87 • 0:41 • John Lennon only
Loop De Loop
Recording • DDSI.6.115 • 0:27 • George only
Hear Me Lord
Recording • DDSI.6.117 • 0:09
Hear Me Lord
Recording • DDSI.6.119 • 2:39 • George only
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.