- 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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We should do the show in a place we’re not allowed to do it. You know, like, we should trespass, go in, set up and then get moved and that should be the showPaul McCartney
Aside from the various improvisations and some randomly chosen cover versions, they spent much of their time rehearsing “I’ve Got A Feeling” and “Maxwell’s Silver Hammer“, and also worked on “One After 909“, “Across The Universe“, “Don’t Let Me Down” and “She Came In Through The Bathroom Window“.
The Long And Winding Road
Paul started writing “The Long And Winding Road” in September 1968 and, at that time, reportedly recorded a demo of it, given to Alistair Taylor, the general manager of Apple Corps. He brought back that song on the second day of the “Get Back” sessions, on January 3, and played a brief segment of it.
At the beginning of this day, January 7, before the other Beatles arrived, he once again played it on the piano, this time running through it for nearly five minutes. At this stage, the lyrics only contained the first verse and the line “Many times I’ve been alone / and many times I’ve cried“.
Paul would play “The Long And Winding Road” to the other Beatles on the next day, January 8.
Paul first played “Golden Slumbers” on this day. The lyrics come from an old poem by dramatist Thomas Dekker, and the version he played on this day was quite close to the version released on the album “Abbey Road“. He also attached “Carry That Weight“, a song he first introduced on the previous day, to it, as it would appear on “Abbey Road“.
He would play “Golden Slumbers” again on January 9.
When “Get Back” was released as a single, the press release quoted Paul McCartney saying:
We were sitting in the studio and we made it up out of thin air… we started to write words there and then… when we finished it, we recorded it at Apple Studios and made it into a song to roller-coast by.Paul McCartney
“Get Back” was indeed conceived on this day, in the studio. The song’s melody grew out of some unstructured jamming:
While Paul ad libbed vocalizations and chord changes, George strummed some open chords on electric guitar in solidarity with what was occuring at the time. The song started developing in Paul’s mind while the cameras were rolling, three more versions of this embryonic version of “Get Back” being worked out with George and Ringo on this day.
The second runthrough featured Paul on bass and mumbled vocals, George on electric guitar, and Ringo singing with Paul on the newly invented chorus that comprised the words, “Get back, get back, get back to where you once belonged.” Apparently, Jackie Lomax‘s recently released single “Sour Milk Sea” was on Paul’s mind, resulting in these lyrics popping into his mind on this day. Paul also began adding lyrics about someone being “a woman, but she was another man,” and someone having “it coming, but she gets it while she can,” all of this eventually becoming part of the finished song.
With George moving to electric guitar with wah-wah pedal and Ringo on drums, the song started to be developed a little further. Ringo played a standard rock beat while Paul acknowledged Jackie Lomax’s inspiration by exclaiming “C’mon Jackie” and attempting to imitate this English vocalist during the second chorus of this rough rehearsal. The “she was another man” and “gets it while she can” lyrics are retained here, these words now being solidified in Paul’s mind. Surprisingly, although inspiration was high with this new composition and rehearsal, they instead worked extensively on songs like “I’ve Got A Feeling” and “Maxwell’s Silver Hammer” once John arrived on that day.From beatlesebooks.com
Work on “Get Back” would continue on January 9.
I’ve Got A Feeling
“We should start off by doing everything we’re gonna do on the thing (concert),” Paul suggested, adding: “like, the ‘oh yeahs’ in it, you’ve gotta do ’em how you’re gonna do it, because there’s no use singing ’em quiet now and planning to do ’em loud on the night.” Having solidified the arrangement already, emphasis was placed on refining the vocals, while Paul instructed Ringo to keep to a 4/4 drum pattern during the ascending and descending triplet chords instead of instinctively switching to a swing beat.From beatlesebooks.com
They would continue rehearsing it on the following day, January 8.
Maxwell’s Silver Hammer
The Beatles had spent time on Paul’s “Maxwell’s Silver Hammer” on January 3. On this day, they returned to it and performed it eighteen times. Paul had asked Mal Evans to bring in an anvil and hammer, and Mal contributed to some of those rehearsals, trying to hit the anvil on the proper beats.
They went through the song eighteen times, working on the arrangement as they went along. They came up with an idea to whistle during certain segments of the song, such as just before the verses, and George worked out a vocal harmony for the choruses. A portion of one of these rehearsals, with Mal struggling to hit the anvil on the proper beats, appears in the “Let It Be” movie as well.From beatlesebooks.com
They would continue rehearsing it on the following day, January 8.
One After 909
On January 7th, 1969, four performances of the song show it becoming the fun rocker that would eventually grace the “Let It Be” album, Paul and Ringo providing a solid backing while George provided guitar passages that filled the gaps in-between lyrical phrases.From beatlesebooks.com
Across The Universe
On January 6, John Lennon had re-introduced “Across The Universe” to the band. On this day, they performed the song twelve times.
Concerning perfecting the song for the “Let It Be” project, John is heard saying, “I think we can do it almost the same way, just better. Anyway, just even to do it because I think it’s just a waste banishing it. I’d sooner stick it in here.” Preferring to contribute more rockers to their song list, John bemoans the fact that “Across The Universe” is “another slow one – I know we’ll knock off a couple of fast ones. If I just wasn’t so tired when I got in.” George then assures him that it’s alright to contribute some slower songs.
Since John wasn’t sure of the lyrics the day before, he had requested a set of lyrics to be sent to him from the Apple office. “What’s the first line?” he asked before the lyric sheet arrives. When he receives them from Apple employee Eric Brown, he reviews the lyrics and questions his own poetry, dumbfoundedly asking “tumble blindly??”
When discussing the earlier recording of the song and why John was dissatisfied with those results, he explains: “When we were doing it last time, we did it alright in the end. The thing I don’t like about the version we did, is we didn’t dig it the time we did it. All that tamboura was great…Got your taboura, then?” George replies: “I liked those girls singing as well, which you didn’t like. The whole record is great, really. It’s just another idea, another way of doing it.” John then adds: “I haven’t heard it in a long time.”
The extensive rehearsals on this day show the song becoming somewhat tighter, although attention did wane after awhile as these renditions started to sound lethargic. John plays electric guitar once again, performing the guitar intro himself on the earlier runthroughs as he had done on the original recording. He sings all of the words perfectly on this day, thanks to the lyric sheet being sent over. Paul continues to play bass and harmonize throughout the verses while singing in unison with John during the “nothing’s gonna change my world” section of each chorus. John counters this with “I wish it f*cking would” on one version, this possibly being his response to the disagreements they were having earlier in the day. George continues his use of electric guitar using a wah-wah pedal, sometimes playing the guitar introduction instead of John. Ringo plays a steady full drum pattern in the verses, sometimes losing the beat with the changes in the time signatures, stops at the beginning of the chorus to highlight the “nothing’s gonna change” vocals, and then focuses on his toms for the remainder of each chorus.From beatlesebooks.com
They would continue rehearsing it on January 9.
Don’t Let Me Down
After extensive rehearsals of “Don’t Let Me Down” the previous day, they continued refining the arrangement of the song and rehearsed twelve more versions. They would continue the next day, January 8.
She Came In Through The Bathroom Window
Paul had introduced “She Came In Through The Bathroom Window” to the other Beatles on the previous day.
The group became more and more familiar with the song in the rehearsals that followed, four versions of it being done on January 7th, introduced by Paul by saying, “We know this one, don’t we?’ The rehearsal recorded on this day was at a similar tempo as what was eventually recorded six months later as released on the “Abbey Road” album.From beatlesebooks.com
They would continue rehearsing it on the following day, January 8.
In the morning, The Beatles extensively talked about their own problems, with Paul McCartney and George Harrison being the most vocal, and John Lennon and Ringo Starr listening.
In the following sequence, Michael Lindsay-Hogg brought again the idea of playing abroad, then they brainstormed about some potential locations. Paul then complained about the lack of support he felt from the other Beatles on this project and mentioned that the dynamic within the group has changed since Brian Epstein died in 1967. George suggested that the band should split (an idea John also suggested on January 3).
Paul McCartney: I mean, at the moment, we’re just rehearsing the numbers for the show. None of us has had the idea of what the show is gonna be yet.
Michael Lindsay-Hogg: One of the things wrong about doing the show here is it’s too easy. Denis said, “Come on, let’s do it at Twickenham” and I think that’s wrong. If we are doing it in the backyard, I think that’s too easy. And that’s why, I think, if you all have decided to do a show, then it should be the best show. Because you are The Beatles, you aren’t four jerks.
Paul McCartney: The only thing about that though is that we don’t want to go away.
Michael Lindsay-Hogg: Think of the lights in the water. Torch-lit. 2,000 Arabs. I mean, visually, it is fantastic.
Paul McCartney: But we’re not going away.
Michael Lindsay-Hogg: My trouble is… I usually get talked over a good idea. I will, every day, say Tripoli and every day I get closer to the left fist.
George Harrison: We could make it like requests.
Paul McCartney: We should do the show in a place we’re not allowed to do it. You know, like, we should trespass, go in, set up and then get moved and that should be the show. I mean, if you put us in the Houses of Parliament, playing in the main gallery at the Houses of Parliament, and getting forcibly ejected, still trying to play numbers and the police lifting you…
Michael Lindsay-Hogg: I think that’s too much of an obstacle.
Paul McCartney: (Singing) She came in through the bathroom window
Paul McCartney: Scuffling with the coppers, boots and truncheons and all that. You have to take a bit of violence.
Michael Lindsay-Hogg: I think that’s too dangerous… That is an interesting thought of you all being beaten up. You could go to Manila again.
[George] Manila or Memphis.
Michael Lindsay-Hogg: What about a hospital? But I don’t mean for really sick kids. I mean for kids with broken legs. I mean, really, kind of, 1944 Hollywood musical Bing Crosby kids.
Paul McCartney: Or in a hospital, they can’t all get up and walk. [laughs] Except for the finale.
Michael Lindsay-Hogg: Oh, yes!
Paul McCartney: When John walks up to the little girl and says, “Come here.” And she gets up and walks.
Michael Lindsay-Hogg: Or maybe an orphans’ home? An orphans’ home. Children are the hope of the future department. What about an orphanage? How does that grab you guys? It’s like, “Going once, going twice, going three times and that’s it.”
Paul McCartney: No.
Michael Lindsay-Hogg: Orphanage… Orphanage going downhill.
[John] I don’t think that orphanages and police balls are gonna do it.
Michael Lindsay-Hogg: What’s the biggest charity in the world? I don’t mean in terms of polio, but what’s the most charitable thing anybody could do?
George Harrison: They say… Don’t they say, “Charity begins at home”? [all laugh]
Paul McCartney: So we’ll do it at George’s house. [all laugh]
John Lennon: I think we are just repeating all the dullness.
Paul McCartney: We gotta have some serious reason for doing this or else we won’t. What’s it for? Can’t be for the money.
John Lennon: I’ve decided the whole point of it is communication. And to be on TV is communication. We’ve got a chance to smile at people, like “All You Need Is Love.” So that’s my incentive for doing it.
Michael Lindsay-Hogg: If this comes off, we’ve got a great entertainment package. We’ve got an album, a documentary never seen before, and a performance. It’s a great package.
John Lennon: The worst that we have is a documentary of us making an LP, if we don’t get into a show.
Paul McCartney: But we haven’t played together, you see. That’s the fucking thing. But when we do come together to play, we all just sort of talk about the fucking past! We’re like old age pensioners. “Remember the days when we used to rock?” You know, but we’re here now, and we can do it, you know? But, I mean, all I want to see is enthusiasm! See, the thing is also I get to a bit where I just sort of push all my ideas. You know, I mean, a lot will come out of it if we could get the enthusiasm. I mean, why are you here? I’m here ’cause I wanna do a show. But I really don’t feel an awful lot of support.
George Harrison: We keep coming up against that one and I keep saying, “Yeah well, I’d like to do this, this and that.” And we end up doing something again that nobody really wants to do.
Paul McCartney: If this one turns into that, it should definitely be the last for all of us. Because there just isn’t any point.
Michael Lindsay-Hogg: I think that’d be sad. I mean, as an audience. That’d be sad.
Paul McCartney: Course it is! It’s stupid. It is just stupid. You see, the people who are being stupid are the four of us.
George Harrison: We need to be creative instead of being the doldrums, which it always is. The Beatles have been in doldrums for at least a year.
Paul McCartney: Ever since Mr. Epstein passed away, it’s never been the same. I mean, we’ve been very negative since Mr. Epstein passed away. And that’s why all of us, in turn, have been sick of the group. It’s discipline we lack. We’ve never had discipline. We had a sort of slight, symbolic discipline. Like Mr. Epstein. You know, and he sort of said, “Get suits on,” and we did. You know, and so we were always fighting that discipline a bit. There really is no one there now to say, “Do it.” Whereas there always used to be. Daddy’s gone away now, and we’re on our own at the holiday camp. I think we either go home or we do it.
Michael Lindsay-Hogg: Do you still wanna perform in front of an audience, or do you just see yourselves as a recording group?
Paul McCartney: I think we’ve got a bit shy, I think I’ve got a bit shy of certain things, you know. ‘Cause you know how often, like, on albums we sometimes blow one of your songs [talking to John], ’cause we come in in the wrong mood. And you say, “This is how it goes. I’ll be back.” And we’re all just, “Oh, well you…”
Michael Lindsay-Hogg: That’s why we’re wrong to throw away the show. Because there’s no desire.
Paul McCartney: So it’s like, if we’re doing the show, we’re gonna have to work hard. And that means by the time a week from now comes all these songs we’ve got, we’ve gotta know perfectly.
George Harrison: I don’t wanna do any of my songs on the show. Because they just turn out shitty…
Paul McCartney: No, but this… Thinking it’s not gonna come out great won’t help. If we cancel the show now, we’ll be throwing it away.
Michael Lindsay-Hogg: But equally, at the moment we haven’t got a show and so none of us really want to do it.
Paul McCartney: I’ll do it. I’m not interested, you know, to spend my fucking days farting around here, while everyone makes up their minds whether they want to do it or not. It’s like Mal said last night, “If you’re gonna do the show here, you’ve gotta decide today.” And as far as I can see,
there’s only two ways. We’re gonna do it, or we’re not gonna do it. And I want a decision!
George Harrison: Maybe we should have a divorce.
Paul McCartney: Well, I said that at the last meeting. But it’s getting nearer, you know?
John Lennon: Who’d have the children?
Paul McCartney: Dick James.
John Lennon: Oh, yeah.
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.
Recording • DDSI.7.07 • 0:47
Recording • DDSI.7.09 • 1:18
Recording • DDSI.7.10 • 1:26
Recording • DDSI.7.11 • 4:50
Recording • DDSI.7.12 • 1:29
My Back Pages
Recording • DDSI.7.21 • 10:01
- Performed by :
- George Harrison
Stuck Inside Of Mobile w/ The Memphis Blues Again
Recording • DDSI.7.24 • 1:41
To Kingdom Come
Recording • DDSI.7.27 • 0:44
- Performed by :
- George Harrison
Recording • DDSI.7.31 • 3:18
Recording • DDSI.7.32 • 6:41
What The World Needs Now Is Love
Recording • DDSI.7.33 • 0:55
Recording • DDSI.7.34 • 1:29
Recording • DDSI.7.35 • 1:10
Recording • DDSI.7.49 • 0:41 • Jan.07 - D2-24 - Improvisation 7.48
Recording • DDSI.7.61 • 0:21 • Jan.07 - D2-36 - Rule, Britannia 7.60
Recording • DDSI.7.62 • 0:34 • Jan.07 - D2-37 - Improvisation 7.61
Recording • DDSI.7.63 • 0:46 • Jan.07 - D2-38 - Improvisation 7.62
Recording • DDSI.7.084 • 0:32 • Jan.07 - D3-18 - Improvisation 7.80
Recording • DDSI.7.091 • 2:05 • Jan.07 - D3-25 - Improvisation 7.87
Recording • DDSI.7.095 • 0:42 • Jan.07 - D4-03 - Improvisation 7.91
Recording • DDSI.7.098 • 0:05 • Jan.07 - D4-06 - Cuddle Up 7.94
Recording • DDSI.7.118 • 2:25 • Jan.07 - D4-26 - Improvisation 7.114
Recording • DDSI.7.132 • 0:40 • Jan.07 - D4-40 - Revolution 7.128
Lotta Lovin' - Somethin' Else
Recording • DDSI.7.135 • 1:12 • Jan.07 - D4-43 - Lotta Lovin' - Somethin' Else 7.131
Recording • DDSI.7.136 • 0:22 • Jan.07 - D4-44 - Improvisation 7.132
Recording • DDSI.7.137 • 4:48 • Jan.07 - D4-45 - Improvisation 7.133
Recording • DDSI.7.138 • 1:39 • Jan.07 - D4-46 - Improvisation 7.134
Recording • DDSI.7.140 • 0:43 • Jan.07 - D4-48 - School Day 7.136
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.