Get Back/Let It Be sessions: day two

The second day of rehearsals for the Get Back/Let It Be sessions saw them play a number of songs, many of which were rough versions of rock ‘n’ roll oldies, improvisations and numbers from the Lennon-McCartney back catalogue.

John Lennon was late arriving at Twickenham Film Studios, and the first part of the day featured just Paul McCartney on piano. He worked through a number of works-in-progress, including several songs which ended up on Let It Be and Abbey Road.

Ringo Starr played brief versions of songs he had written titled Taking A Trip To Carolina and Picasso; the former was included on the Fly On The Wall disc that came with early copies of Let It Be… Naked. George Harrison, meanwhile, played a number of half-written songs including the Dylanesque Ramblin’ Woman.

After Lennon’s arrival, much of the day was spent playing rock ‘n’ roll classics, including several from The Beatles’ Cavern Club and Hamburg years. They also played a version of I’m So Tired with McCartney on lead vocals, and a swift rendition of Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da.

The Beatles became more disciplined when working on Don’t Let Me Down, which was by this time close to its final arrangement. During the day’s first attempt, however, Lennon inserted a segment from Happiness Is A Warm Gun.

Don't Let Me Down single - United Kingdom

I’ve Got A Feeling and Two Of Us were other Let It Be songs which were worked on during this day, and the group resurrected One After 909 for the first time since 1963. They also played several other early Lennon-McCartney compositions, including Won’t You Please Say Goodbye, Thinking Of Linking, I’ll Wait Till Tomorrow and Because I Know You Love Me So.

George Harrison led the group through Marvin Gaye’s Hitch Hike and Larry Williams’ Short Fat Fannie, and Lennon and McCartney sang a version of Midnight Special. Lennon also played two original songs, Sun King and Gimme Some Truth, both of which would receive further work during January 1969.

The Beatles played a total of 37 versions of All Things Must Pass on this day, although they struggled to find a satisfactory arrangement. It was worked on again in January and February, but remained unreleased until Harrison re-recorded it for 1970’s triple album of the same name.

The day ended with a number of attempts at Maxwell’s Silver Hammer. A sequence of McCartney calling out the chords while teaching the song to the others was included in the Let It Be film. The Beatles spent considerable time working on the song during these sessions, although it was later remade for 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):

  • The Long And Winding Road
  • Oh! Darling (two versions)
  • Maxwell’s Silver Hammer (11 versions)
  • Adagio For Strings (Samuel Barber; two versions)
  • Tea For Two Cha-Cha (Tommy Dorsey; two versions)
  • Chopsticks (Euphemia Allen)
  • Torchy, The Battery Boy (McCartney)
  • Whole Lotta Shakin’ Goin’ On (Jerry Lee Lewis)
  • Let It Be
  • Taking A Trip To Carolina (Starr; two versions)
  • Please Mrs Henry (Bob Dylan)
  • Picasso (Starr)
  • Hey Jude
  • All Things Must Pass (37 versions)
  • Don’t Let Me Down (10 versions)
  • Crackin’ Up (Bo Diddley; two versions)
  • All Shook Up (Elvis Presley)
  • Your True Love (Carl Perkins)
  • Blue Suede Shoes (Carl Perkins)
  • Three Cool Cats (The Coasters)
  • Blowin’ In The Wind (Bob Dylan)
  • Lucille (Little Richard)
  • I’m So Tired
  • Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da (three versions)
  • Third Man Theme (Anton Karas)
  • Sun King (four versions)
  • I’ve Got A Feeling (six versions)
  • Going Up The Country (Canned Heat)
  • On The Road Again (Canned Heat)
  • One After 909 (three versions)
  • A Pretty Girl Is Like A Melody (Irving Berlin)
  • Thinking Of Linking (Lennon-McCartney)
  • Bring It On Home To Me (Sam Cooke)
  • Hitch Hike (Marvin Gaye)
  • You Can’t Do That
  • The Hippy Hippy Shake (Chan Romero)
  • All Along The Watchtower (Bob Dylan)
  • Short Fat Fannie (Larry Williams)
  • Midnight Special (Lonnie Donegan)
  • Two Of Us
  • When You’re Drunk You Think Of Me (trad)
  • What’s The Use Of Getting Sober (When You’re Gonna Get Drunk Again) (Louis Jordan)
  • What Do You Want To Make Those Eyes At Me For? (Emile Ford And The Checkmates)
  • Money (That’s What I Want)
  • Gimme Some Truth (Lennon)
  • The Weight (The Band)
  • I’m A Tiger (Lulu)
  • Back In The USSR
  • Every Little Thing
  • Piece Of My Heart (Erma Franklin; two versions)
  • Sabre Dance (Love Sculpture)
  • I’ve Been Good To You (The Miracles)
  • Ramblin’ Woman* (Harrison)
  • Is It Discovered* (Harrison)
  • Your Name Is Ted* (Beatles jam)
  • Get On The Phone* (Lennon-McCartney)
  • My Words Are In My Heart* (McCartney)
  • Negro In Reserve* (Lennon-McCartney)
  • Because I Know You Love Me So* (Lennon-McCartney)
  • I’ll Wait Till Tomorrow* (Lennon-McCartney)
  • Won’t You Please Say Goodbye* (Lennon-McCartney)
  • Over And Over Again* (McCartney)

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

Get Back/Let It Be sessions: day one
Get Back/Let It Be sessions: day three
Also on this day...

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