Recording "For You Blue" for the Get Back album (4th compilation), Mixing "Let It Be"

Thursday, January 8, 1970 • For The Beatles

Album Songs recorded during this session officially appear on the Let It Be / You Know My Name (Look Up The Number) 7" Single.
Studio:
Olympic Sound Studios, London

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On this day, in a session with engineer/producer Glyn Johns at Olympic Studios, George Harrison re-recorded his lead vocals for the song “For You Blue“.

He also recorded some ad-lib comments over the guitar and piano solos. In reference to Chuck Berry’s “Johnny B. Goode“, “Bop, cat, hop” and “Go, Johnny, go” were added over John Lennon’s guitar solos. “Elmore James got nothin’ on this, baby, heh” was added over Paul’s piano and is a reference to Elmore James, a bluesman known as the “King Of The Slide Guitar“.

Those new vocals by George appear on the 4th compilation of the “Get Back” LP, created by Glyn Johns. But there’s a bit of a mystery timing-wise. From beatlesource.com:

Also, probably sometime during early January 1970, George recorded a new vocal for “For You Blue”. Mark Lewisohn indicates that this was probably 8 January (and subsequently, John Winn does, too). However, a mix including both vocals is featured on this fourth compilation (see details below). The tape box for this compilation clearly dates it as 5 January. Either, Glyn spliced an 8 January mix onto the 5 January reel or, since the new vocal was recorded at Olympic Studios (for which documentation is more sketchy than E.M.I.), perhaps the vocal was recorded prior to 5 January.


In the accompanying book of the “Let It Be (50th anniversary boxset)” released in 2021, we can see a page of Paul’s diary, dated January 8, where it is noted Paul attended a mixing session at Olympic Studios for “Let It Be“, with a mention “great mix“.

It seems likely that the mix of the “Let It Be” version released as a single in March 1970 was done on this day by Glyn Johns, and not on January 4 as previously thought.

Glyn Johns however decided that he would not use this mix of “Let It Be” for his “Get Back” LP, likely because he considered the overdubs done on January 4 didn’t match the intended raw nature of the “Get Back” project.


This session was the last day Glyn Johns spent on the “Get Back” LP. Despite all the efforts he put into this project since January 1969, The Beatles remained unsatisfied.

We walked away from that LP. We didn’t really want to know. The best version of the album was before anyone got hold of it. Glyn Johns’s early mixes were great but they were very bare, very Spartan. It would be one of the hippest records going if they brought it out. That was one of the best Beatles albums because it was a bit avant-garde. I loved it. It was purely as we recorded it, down there in Apple or up on the roof. It had a good sound on it, from Glyn Johns, just a couple of mikes over the drums, it was very basic and I loved it.

Paul McCartney – From “The Beatles: Off the Record” by Keith Badman

Late January or early February 1970, American producer Phil Spector would be asked by Allen Klein to revisit the project and on March 23, 1970, he would start reworking the entire album, which would be released as “Let It Be” in May 1970.


(This session is not documented in ​”The Complete Beatles Recording Sessions” by Mark Lewisohn, but is mentioned in “The Complete Beatles Chronicle” by the same author).

Paul McCartney’s diary for January 8, 1970 – From the “Let It Be (50th anniversary boxset)” book

About Glyn Johns’ “Get Back” compilations

A few months after the end of the “Get Back” sessions, engineer/producer Glyn Johns was given the task of compiling an actual album. Glyn made four different variants of the album, two of them having been considered for release at some point.

Compilation 1 – January 1969Compilation 2 – Early May 1969Compilation 3 – Late May 1969Compilation 4 – January 1970
Mixed:
Late January 1969
Mixed:
February 5, 1969
March-May, 1969
March 4, 1969
April 3, 1969
April 4, 1969
April 7, 1969
May 2, 1969
May 7, 1969
May 9, 1969
Mixed:
May 15, 1969
May 28, 1969
Additional recording:
January 3, 1970
January 8, 1970

Mixed:
December 15, 1969
December 21, 1969
January 5, 1970
Side one

1. Get Back
2. The Walk
3. Let It Be
4. Teddy Boy
5. Two Of Us

Side two

6. Don’t Let Me Down
7. I’ve Got A Feeling
8. The Long And Winding Road
9. For You Blue
10. Dig A Pony
11. Get Back
Side one

1. One After 909
2. Rocker
3. Save the Last Dance for Me
4. Don’t Let Me Down
5. Dig a Pony
6. I’ve Got a Feeling
7. Get Back

Side two

8. For You Blue
9. Teddy Boy
10. Two of Us
11. Maggie Mae
12. Dig It
13. Let It Be
14. The Long and Winding Road
15. Get Back (reprise)
Side one

1. One After 909
2. Rocker
3. Save the Last Dance for Me
4. Don’t Let Me Down
5. Dig a Pony
6. I’ve Got a Feeling
7. Get Back

Side two

8. For You Blue
9. Teddy Boy
10. Two of Us
11. Maggie Mae
12. Dig It
13. Let It Be
14. The Long and Winding Road
15. Get Back (reprise)
Side one

1. One After 909
2. Rocker
3. Save the Last Dance for Me
4. Don’t Let Me Down
5. Dig a Pony
6. I’ve Got a Feeling
7. Get Back
8. Let It Be

Side two

9. For You Blue
10. Two of Us
11. Maggie Mae
12. Dig It
13. The Long and Winding Road
14. I Me Mine
15. Across the Universe
16. Get Back (reprise)

Last updated on January 4, 2022

Songs recorded


1.

For You Blue

Written by George Harrison

Recording • Vocal overdubs


2.

Let It Be

Written by Lennon - McCartney

Mixing


3.

For You Blue

Written by George Harrison

Mixing

Staff

Musicians on "For You Blue"

Production staff

Glyn Johns:
Engineer, Producer

Going further


The Complete Beatles Recording Sessions • Mark Lewisohn

The definitive guide for every Beatles recording sessions from 1962 to 1970.

We owe a lot to Mark Lewisohn for the creation of those session pages, but you really have to buy this book to get all the details - the number of takes for each song, who contributed what, a description of the context and how each session went, various photographies... And an introductory interview with Paul McCartney!

Shop on Amazon


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.

Read more on The Beatles Bible

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