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Question(s) About The Song Get Back - PLEASE READ!
19 September 2011
9.27pm
Budgie79
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19 September 2011
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Hello Everyone!

My name's Warren and I'm a Beatles fan from the U.S. (Virginia). I "discovered" the Fab Four through Anthology (which was released when I was a junior in high school) and they've been my favorite band ever since (that's a VERY condensed version of my Beatles story. More later… perhaps). Although I appreciate every phase of the Beatles' fantastic career, I've always had a fascination with the Get Back sessions, and as such, I have a few technical questions (well… actually one for now I suppose) for anyone who feels they can *correctly* provide an answer. I apologize if I've posted this in the wrong forum. Here goes:

One would assume that "The Complete Beatles Recording Sessions" by Mark Lewisohn is an accurate account of when the Beatles recorded what. However, in this book, it clearly states that the version of Get Back which appears on the album Let It Be was recorded on January 27th (with obvious dialogue from the rooftop concert tacked onto to the end), and is an entirely different take than the single version, whose master was supposedly recorded on January the 28th. This is what Lewisohn clearly says… and it's not a type-o. He states multiple times that there were two entirely different and seperate takes of Get Back released - again, the one from the 28th as the single, and the one from the the 27th that appears on Let It Be. Folks, I've listened to every version of Get Back that was commercialy released: Mono Masters, Past Masters, Let It Be, The Beatles: 1967-1970, 20 Greatest Hits, 1 and Let It Be …Naked ("LOVE" was not necessary for the purpose of this task), and ALL OF THEM appear to be the same take (some with the coda at the end, some without). 

So my question is, what's the deal with Get Back? Was there really another entirely seperate take released?

In 2003, Paul Hicks (one of the guys who worked on "Naked") gave a track-by-track breakdown of which takes were used for the new Let It Be album. In it, he clearly states that the reason the coda isn't included in the 'Naked' version (again, it sounds like the same take) is because it wasn't a part of that performance and was therefore nixed because it wouldn't have reflected what actually happened live, thus, not keeping with the original idea of the Get back sessions. So it definitely came from another take… Would I be wrong in assuming that what ACTUALLY happened is that the coda from the 28th was selected and tacked onto the end of the version from the 27th for single release and somehow Lewisohn mistakenly thought that it was the whole take that got released and not just the ending? But if that's the case… I mean, how could such an oversight happen? Everything else in his account of the Get Back sessions *seems* accurate enough.

 

Your thoughts PLEASE!

Warren

19 September 2011
9.43pm
mr. Sun king coming together
Nowhere Land
Apple rooftop
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19 September 2010
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Some thoughts:

  • Sessions is 25 years old (almost). The research is also old. 
  • As much as I respect Lewisohn, he is human.

He botched it. It's The majority Jan. 27, with the 28th yielding the coda. They weren't happy with the coda recorded on the best take of the 27th, so they tried the whole song again the next day. When they heard the original single mix, they didn't like it, and Paul and Glyn Johns remixed it for single release, editing the two best takes and creating the effect they desired, but could never achieve, in the basement of Apple.

I tried to think of something powerful and moving… and failed.  "You were given a choice between war and dishonor - you chose dishonor, and you shall have war" - Winston Churchill
19 September 2011
11.36pm
Budgie79
A Beginning
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19 September 2011
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Thanks, Mr. Sun King… I appreciate the prompt response! I was wondering, just out of curiosity, where you got that information? Not that you're incorrect, but as I had said in my original post, Paul Hicks claims that the reason there is no coda on "Naked" (or on the original Let It Be album) is because there never was a coda on the 27th, and adding it to that version from whichever other take it originated would have defeated the purpose of the "live" album.

Not trying to be difficult, just curious.

20 September 2011
12.36am
mr. Sun king coming together
Nowhere Land
Apple rooftop
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Budgie79 said:

Thanks, Mr. Sun King… I appreciate the prompt response! I was wondering, just out of curiosity, where you got that information? {…} Not trying to be difficult, just curious.

Actually, on the most takes of January 27 (27 from here on), they missed the ending.  They didn't have it on the "master" on 27 (Take 11), but it was in the song at that time. They then tried to get the song great with a coda, but none of the recordings matched the best of 27.

I tried to think of something powerful and moving… and failed.  "You were given a choice between war and dishonor - you chose dishonor, and you shall have war" - Winston Churchill
20 September 2011
2.35am
Budgie79
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19 September 2011
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OK. Thank you for taking the time to respond! :)

20 September 2011
2.50am
mr. Sun king coming together
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Apple rooftop
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No problem – I like to help. This is an area where Lewisohn is even wrong. I don't have Sessions (came out before my birth and is currently OP), but I don't care much for his entries about the Get Back sessions in Chronicle.

I tried to think of something powerful and moving… and failed.  "You were given a choice between war and dishonor - you chose dishonor, and you shall have war" - Winston Churchill
20 September 2011
12.54pm
meanmistermustard
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If i Remember correctly the take on the 27th broke down during the coda so the one from the 28th was used (my laptop is knackered so i cannot check).

Books like Drugs, Divorce and a Slipping Image (Ray Schweighardt and Doug Suply) and 'the 910's guide to the beatles outtakes part 2, the complete get back sessions' (Doug Sulpy) exhaustively detail the Get Back Sessions (the 910 detailing material that had been unavailable for 'Drugs Divorce…' and correcting details that were incorrect due to nagra tapes not being available earlier). For a complete insight into the sessions you would need both.

Mark Lewinsohn has admitted that there are errors in his books, one reason being pressure to meet deadline dates set by the publishers, meaning he couldnt do as much research as he would have wanted. However they are essential reading for any beatles fan due to the wealth of material.

 

A/B Road released by Purple Chick is a Get Back bootleg suitcase (ie far bigger than a normal boxset) that has every available minute from the sessions. If that sounds like a headache Thirty Days from Vigotone omits a heck of a lot of the chatter and monotonous jams, but even that might be too much for even a massive Get Back Sessions lover. Both are available for download online.

 

As for Let It Be Naked the premise of it being 'as live' as stated by Paul Hicks is nonsense due to the edits/overdubs on Don't Let Me Down, Let It Be and I Me Mine.     

"Well, probably we'll sell less records, less people'll go to see the film, we'll write less songs, and we'll all die of failure" (John Lennon 8/64)
23 September 2011
4.53pm
meanmistermustard
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For anyone who wants to listen to the complete Get Back performances that were edited together for the single.

 

On the Vigotone Boxset Thirty Days boxset: Disc 10 Track 20 (numbered 27.06 in the sleeve notes) and Disc 11 Track 16  

(28.01)

On the Purple Chick 'A/B Road' bootleg: Monday 27th January 1969: Disc 5 Track 9 (numbered 27.63) and Tuesday 28th January 1969 Disc 3 Track 20 (28.43). (27.63 is simply the 63rd performance on the 27th January and 28.43 the 43rd performace on the 28th.)    

 

(The reason for the different numbers are that the Vigotone release has the old reference system numbers as allocated by Doug Sulpy and Ray Swhweighardt in 'Drugs, Divorce and a Slipping Image'. The Puple Chick bootleg used the updated renumbered reference system in 'The 910's Guide to the Beatles Outakes Part 2: The Complete Get Back Sessions' following the discovery of previously unreleased Nagra reels that werent available when Thirty Days was issued.) 

"Well, probably we'll sell less records, less people'll go to see the film, we'll write less songs, and we'll all die of failure" (John Lennon 8/64)
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