Get Back sessions - January 7, 1969

Tuesday, January 7, 1969 • For The Beatles
Timeline More from year 1969
Twickenham Film Studios, London, UK

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From A Moral To This Song:

January 7th, 1969 (Twickenham Film Studios, London): A despairing Paul avows his own resolve to continue working and taking whatever challenge is offered (such as this prospective television concert/documentary project) for as long as it keeps the band going, and is baffled and dismayed by the others’ seeming ambivalence (if not outright aversion) to their current circumstances. He calls John out on his obtuseness and incapability to talk with him openly and honestly, and upon receiving no response, relents and admits that this criticism applies to himself as well.

PAUL: ’Cause you know, that’s what I was telling you on the phone, that… I’ll do it. Just because it is so silly of us now, at this point in our lives, to crack up. It’s just so silly. Because there’s no point! We’re not going to get anywhere that we wanna get by doing that. The only possible direction is the other way from that, you know. [pause] You know. That is the only possible direction. But the thing is we’re all just theoretically agreeing with it and not doing it. [to John] You’re doing your bit through you and Yoko, you know, but it’s silly, you know, to sort of, uh, coming and talking down to us. Well, actually your way out is not to talk, rather than talk down to us, which you’d have to do, you’d think, but you wouldn’t be. And remember, I think I’m talking down to you, too. [pause] But, you know, we’re not! [laughs bleakly] You know me. We’re all – we’re all alike, here, us four. But we just don’t sort of get to talk it out with each other.

From A Moral To This Song:

January 7th, 1969 (Twickenham Film Studios, London): An increasingly exasperated Paul despairs about everyone’s commitment to this project and to making music together in general, bemoans their seeming inability to communicate openly and honestly with one another (and resorting to using Neil Aspinall and others as a conduit), and fears the worst about the Beatles’ future if this continues. Mal Evans and filmmaker Michael Lindsay-Hogg insist that staying together would be good not just for the band itself but for the world at large.

MICHAEL: ’Cause otherwise, there isn’t any point in doing it. I don’t mean – I don’t mean us copping out in any way. I just mean, we oughta make – if we’re gonna do it, we oughta make it… very good. Stop me when – stop me when I’m— [inaudible]

PAUL: It’s like Mal said last night. “If you’re gonna do the show here, you’ve got to decide today.” And he sort of said it, almost frightened to say it, you know, to the lads. Didn’t really want to sort of shout at us. Didn’t want – but he had to say it, because if you do the show, you’re gonna have to decide today, you know, and it’s like that. And it’s like if you’re gonna do these songs, you’ve got to learn the chords. And we all know them. And we’ve got to learn the words. It’s just certain basic things that we’ve got to do, if we’re gonna do it. See, and as far as I can see there’s only two ways, and that’s what I was shouting about the last meeting we had. There’s only two things, you know. We’re gonna do it, or we’re not gonna do it. And I want a decision. Because I’m – I’m not interested enough to come to spend so many days farting around here while everyone makes up their minds about whether they want to do it or not, you know. I’ll do it. If everyone else will, and everyone wants to do it, then alright. [laughs bleakly] But it’s just a bit – a bit soft, you know? It’s—

MICHAEL: The point is—

PAUL: It’s like a school, you know, you’ve got to be here! And I haven’t. I haven’t, you know, I’ve… see, I’ve left school. We’ve all left school, and we don’t have to go. But it gets into a scene where you do have to go there.

MICHAEL: No, you see the first thing to get together is yourselves, totally. And then we all follow with our kit bags and our campers.

PAUL: So it’s like if we’re doing the show right now, we’re gonna have to work hard, and we’re gonna have to even think about how many songs that we’ll today have to have rehearsed, in order to by five days before it, to know ’em all. Now, five days before it is a week from now. And that means by the time a week from now comes, all these songs we’ve got, we’ve gotta know perfectly, and then [for] five days we’ll really, really get us to know it. You know, but I mean, there’s no – there’s no use to sort of waiting for the players themselves until we’ve got to put off the date and [inaudible] it to the cameras and say, “Don’t, we can’t have the cameras now.” [pause] It’s not like that, is it? [long pause] See, apathy’s alright, if— [inaudible; drowned out by George’s and George Martin’s voices]

MICHAEL: [inaudible] —anyway.

PAUL: That’s alright, it’s allowed.

MICHAEL: Yeah, sure.

PAUL: [inaudlble] —if it’s supposed to be opposite then you shouldn’t— [inaudible]

MICHAEL: So it’s, “Everybody, pull your socks up”?

PAUL: Sure it is, you know. Yeah I—

MICHAEL: The first day was the best musical day, for me it was a musical day, yeah. Because you routined about four numbers. [long pause]

PAUL: But I must say I’ll get, uh, put down, ’cause you know. Like if certain people aren’t interested, then I do… I lose interest. [long pause] And we can’t blame our tours or anything, or so on and so on and so on. [long pause] You see this one, that we’ve been having, this year, makes me really want to—

GEORGE: Last year. Last year.

PAUL: —snap out of it. Or snap into it. De-plastic it. But the past couple of months, you know, it’s been this, but the [White] album was like this, you see. The album was worse than this. This just seems sort of—

MICHAEL: What, agony?

PAUL: Well, just the whole idea of, do you want to do it? Do we want to do it? And that’s the joke, you see. After it all came about, Neil was saying to me we’d all phoned him individually, saying things like, you know, “Can you get ‘em together?” “Can you get it – oh, can you get it together?” “I want to know, what’re we doing?” You know. But like, instead of asking each other, we’ve all gone to Neil and asked him, “What’re the lads doing?” But you know, we should just have it out.

GEORGE: But we keep coming up again, that one. And like you were saying, “Yeah well I’d like to do this, this, and that, yeah, and I’d like to do this, and I’d like to do that, and I’d like to do that,” and we end up doing something again that nobody really wants to do. [laughs]

PAUL: Well then, you know, I think if this one—

GEORGE: Make it public, at that.

PAUL: Maybe it should definitely be the last for all of us. Because there just isn’t any point [inaudible]—

GEORGE: Yeah, that’s it. [long pause]

MICHAEL: I think I’d be sad. I mean, as an audience member, I’d be sad.

PAUL: Of course it is! It’s stupid, you know! It is just stupid. But, it’s even more stupid the other way. To go through it. Because – you know.

MICHAEL: I agree, but it’s—

GEORGE: ’Cause this time we could be using for what you want to be doing—

PAUL: You see, the thing is the people who are being stupid are the four of us. There’s nobody else. There’s only the four of us. You can’t actually, you know just sort of blame it on – ’cause there’s no other band, you know!

GEORGE: —and being creative, instead of being like in the doldrums, which it always is now…

MICHAEL: I wrote in my book, because I kind of keep a diary about what’s going on so I can cut it, and “doldrums” was the word I used. Because the doldrums have been coming, like – like to a ship on a [inaudible]—

GEORGE: Oh, The Beatles have been in doldrums for at least a year.

MICHAEL: You see, that is – that is terrible to say.

PAUL: [desperate] We – we haven’t played together, you see! That’s the fucking thing. But when we do come together to play together, we all just sort of talk about the fleeting past! We’re like old-age pensioners! “Remember the days when we used to rock?” You know, but we’re here now! We can do it, you know. But I mean, I’m – all I hoping for is enthusiasm from you so—

MICHAEL: That was – that was the idea—

MAL: [earnest] I’d just like to say that you are needed, you know. The Beatles are needed. To so many people, you know.

MICHAEL: Yeah, you’re right.

MAL: Whatever you do.

PAUL: You see the thing is also I – I get to a bit where I just sort of push all my ideas and I know that my ideas aren’t the best, you know. They are [mechanical voice] good, good, but they’re not the best, you know. But we can improve on it. Because we write songs together, and we improve on it. You know. [to Ringo] And you can improve on your drumming like it is, if you get into it. If you don’t, you know, okay, then I have better ideas, but if you get into it, you’re better! You know. It’s like that.

GEORGE: And after all that, it’s like, you know, what do they say? It comes from a – and the eaves springs out of an E—

MICHAEL: An ear.

GEORGE: And that’s, you know, all that existentialist crap. [laughs]

MICHAEL: Just like Jean-Paul, yeah, exactly.

GEORGE: You know, it’s like…

MICHAEL: You can call him John-Paul George, as opposed to Jean-Paul Sartre, you know. [laughs] We have a joke over here. You heard that, did you hear? Call him John-Paul George, as opposed to Jean-Paul Sartre, as a weird existentialism. [pause] Um, yeah. Like, it’s communication. And I think – I mean, see corny’s great, and like Mal said, it’s so corny that such a – I mean, he didn’t put it [as] corny, but it’s – you are terribly corny. [pause; scattered laughter] And that is what the world… [George starts singing ‘What The World Needs Now Is Love’] I mean really, ’cause – everyone in the world can say what they think except for you. We all need you. And you know, it’s the tears coming in the eyes of the little boy sitting in London as opposed to the little girl in America. And it’s communication. And it iss communication. And if you all can’t get it together, that’s really very sad. So, I feel what we should do now is let you play a little, and then you’ll have lunch together, and I can give you some more film, maybe. [pause]

PAUL: Yes.

MICHAEL: So, should we leave you for a while? I mean, if you—

PAUL: Yes, yeah.

From Facebook – 7 January 1969 Ethan A. Russell © Apple Corps Ltd. (
From Facebook – 7 January 1969 Photo by Ethan A. Russell © Apple Corps Ltd. (

Last updated on June 4, 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


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