Get Back/Let It Be sessions: day five

On the fifth day of rehearsals for The Beatles' Get Back/Let It Be project, the group continued work on the stronger songs performed thus far, and tested out arrangements on a number of others.

The early part of the day saw run-throughs of Two Of Us, Don't Let Me Down, I've Got A Feeling and One After 909, all songs which made it onto vinyl. The Beatles were in reasonably high spirits at this point, playing through the songs with enthusiasm which was sadly lacking elsewhere for much of January 1969.

The momentum noticeably flagged when the group performed George Harrison's All Things Must Pass, which the other Beatles had remained unenthusiastic towards. Equally aimless were versions of She Came In Through The Bathroom Window and Maxwell's Silver Hammer, songs which The Beatles would return to with greater focus later in 1969.

Another Abbey Road song making its debut on this day was Mean Mr Mustard. John Lennon had recorded a demo of the song in May 1968, but it was not considered for the White Album. On this day The Beatles performed a rough version which wasn't much different from the final release, although in the lyrics Pam was known as Shirley.

Another Harrisong, I Me Mine, received more attention, with the group playing a total of 41 versions, although more often than not these were incomplete. This was the only day in January 1969 that The Beatles played it; although it was discussed in subsequent days, there was little inclination to return to it after this.

George Harrison had written I Me Mine the night before, and it began as a plain acoustic song. The Let It Be film showed some footage of The Beatles working on the song on this day, but the album version was a re-recording made in January 1970.

Two songs by Paul McCartney, Let It Be and The Long And Winding Road, had by this stage been established as proper contenders deserving sustained work. McCartney had by now completed writing both songs, so much of his efforts were devoted to helping the rest of the group learn the chord changes and arrangements.

Of the cover versions and improvisations, there was little from this day that was noteworthy, most of them being brief renditions in between proper rehearsals. Two early Lennon-McCartney compositions - Too Bad About Sorrows and Just Fun - were performed, but each lasted just seconds.

After Two Bad About Sorrows, however, Lennon made the remark: "Queen says no to pot-smoking FBI members". This was included on the Let It Be album prior to For You Blue, and was the only piece of audio recorded at Twickenham to be used on the record; everything else was recorded either at Apple Studios or Abbey Road.

The full list of songs recorded on this day, including fragments and off-the-cuff, unpublished songs with presumed titles (plus primary composer/best-known performer):

  • I Me Mine (41 versions)
  • I've Got A Feeling (two versions)
  • Honey Hush (The Johnny Burnette Trio)
  • Stand By Me (Ben E King)
  • Hare Krishna Mantra (Hindu chant; two versions)
  • Two Of Us
  • You Got Me Going (McCartney)
  • Twist And Shout
  • Don't Let Me Down (two versions)
  • St Louis Blues (WC Handy)
  • One After 909
  • Too Bad About Sorrows (Lennon-McCartney)
  • Just Fun (Lennon-McCartney)
  • She Said She Said
  • She Came In Through The Bathroom Window
  • One Way Out (Elmore James)
  • MacArthur Park (Richard Harris)
  • All Things Must Pass (11 versions)
  • Mean Mr Mustard
  • Fools Like Me (Jerry Lee Lewis)
  • You Win Again (Jerry Lee Lewis)
  • Right String, Wrong Yo-Yo (Carl Perkins)
  • Boogie Woogie (Lennon)
  • Baa, Baa, Black Sheep (trad)
  • Mr Bassman (Johnny Cymbal)
  • Maxwell's Silver Hammer (13 versions)
  • How Do You Think I Feel (Elvis Presley)
  • The Ballad Of Bonnie And Clyde (Georgie Fame)
  • Hello Mudduh, Hello Fadduh! (A Letter From Camp) (Allan Sherman)
  • I Me Mine
  • FBI (The Shadows)
  • Oh! Darling
  • Let It Be (three versions)
  • The Fool (Sanford Clark)
  • Domino (Doris Day/Andy Williams)
  • The Long And Winding Road (six versions)
  • Adagio For Strings (Samuel Barber)
  • True Love (Elvis Presley)
  • Shout (The Isley Brothers)
  • Sweet Little Sixteen (Chuck Berry)
  • Malagueña (trad)
  • Almost Grown (Chuck Berry)
  • What Am I Living For (Chuck Willis)
  • Rock And Roll Music
  • To Kingdom Come (The Band)
  • Get Your Rocks Off* (Harrison)
  • Well, If You're Ready* (McCartney)
  • Life Is What You Make It* (Beatles jam)
  • I'm Going To Knock Him Down Dead* (Lennon)
  • Tell All The Folks Back Home* (McCartney)

* presumed title.
View the complete list of songs played during the January 1969 Get Back/Let It Be sessions.

Also on this day...

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