Following a weekend break, The Beatles’ rehearsals for the Get Back/Let It Be project resumed on 6 January 1969.
This was the third day for the project, and was made up of various jams, cover versions, improvisations, and attempts at recording the more complete songs. There was also a great deal of conversation and bickering between the group members.
George Harrison’s 8-track recording console arrived in an Apple Corps-branded van. “Here comes my recording studio,” he said to the others. “Who’s gonna look after all this equipment? ’Cause the only thing is, it is, like, ten thousand quid.”
The songs which received the most attention were ‘Don’t Let Me Down’ and ‘Two Of Us’. Various arrangements of the former were tested, including a Latin-style rhythm and some harmony vocals by Paul McCartney in the middle section.
‘Two Of Us’ was, at this stage, more of a straightforward rock song than in its final incarnation. During rehearsals for it, a terse exchange took place between McCartney and Harrison which was included in the Let It Be film, and which seemed to encapsulate the strained relations within the group at the time.
I don’t mind. I’ll play, you know, whatever you want me to play, or I won’t play at all if you don’t want me to play. Whatever it is that will please you, I’ll do it. But I don’t think you really know what that one is.
The Beatles evidently lacked enthusiasm for a new Harrison song, ‘Hear Me Lord’, which its composer first performed acoustically, then on an electric guitar with a wah-wah pedal. He also attempted to enthuse the group in his ‘All Things Must Pass’, but to little effect.
‘Carry That Weight’, later to feature on Abbey Road, made its debut on this day, and featured a bridge which was omitted in the final version. Also making first appearances were ‘Octopus’s Garden’ and ‘For You Blue’, both of which were brief, incomplete performances.
John Lennon, doubtless aware that his songwriting rate had slowed dramatically since the completion of the White Album, revived ‘Across The Universe’ – a song the group had recorded early in 1968 but which remained unreleased.
Notable among the improvisations and jams were ‘The Castle Of The King Of The Birds’, a McCartney instrumental recorded years later for the unreleased Rupert The Bear album. It featured blues-style guitar and a flowing organ part. He also sang a blues improvisation, ‘You Wear Your Women Out’, and did a bit of Primal Therapy-style screaming on ‘My Imagination’.
George Harrison sang a song known as ‘Maureen’, accompanied just with wah-wah guitar. He is heard to claim that Bob Dylan wrote the song, but it is otherwise unknown and may in fact have been an original composition. Harrison also suggests that it might be a suitable single for Ringo Starr.
The day ended with some lengthy rehearsals of McCartney’s new song ‘She Came In Through The Bathroom Window’.
Performances of ‘You Wear Your Women Out’, ‘My Imagination’, ‘Don’t Let Me Down’, and ‘Two Of Us’ from this day appeared in part one of the 2021 documentary Get Back.
The full list of songs played on this day, including fragments and off-the-cuff, unpublished songs with presumed titles (plus primary composer/best-known performer):
- ‘Oh! Darling’
- ‘C’mon Marianne’ (The Four Seasons)
- ‘I’ve Got A Feeling’ (three versions)
- ‘High School Confidential’ (Jerry Lee Lewis)
- ‘Hear Me Lord’ (Harrison; eight versions)
- ‘For You Blue’ (two versions)
- ‘All Things Must Pass’ (nine versions)
- ‘Carry That Weight’ (four versions)
- ‘Octopus’s Garden’
- ‘The Castle Of The King Of The Birds’ (Lennon-McCartney-Harrison-Starkey)
- ‘Across The Universe’ (two versions)
- ‘I Want You’ (Bob Dylan)
- ‘Don’t Let Me Down’ (28 versions)
- ‘One After 909’ (three versions)
- ‘That’s All Right (Mama)’ (Elvis Presley)
- ‘Thirty Days’ (Chuck Berry)
- ‘Leaning On A Lamppost’ (George Formby)
- ‘Annie’ (Lennon)
- ‘I’m Talking About You’ (Chuck Berry)
- ‘The Tracks Of My Tears’ (The Miracles)
- ‘Dizzy Miss Lizzy’
- ‘Money (That’s What I Want)’
- ‘Fools Like Me’ (Hank Williams)
- ‘Sure To Fall (In Love With You)’ (Carl Perkins)
- ‘Right String, Wrong Yo-Yo’ (Carl Perkins)
- ‘Send Me Some Loving’ (Little Richard)
- ‘Two Of Us’ (20 versions)
- ‘Frère Jacques’ (trad)
- ‘It Ain’t Me Babe’ (Bob Dylan)
- ‘When The Saints Go Marching In’ (trad)
- ‘Loop De Loop’ (Johnny Thunder)
- ‘Let’s Dance’ (Chris Montez)
- ‘She Came In Through The Bathroom Window’ (seven versions)
- ‘You Wear Your Women Out’ (Lennon-McCartney-Harrison-Starkey)
- ‘My Imagination’ (Lennon-McCartney-Harrison-Starkey)
- ‘I’m Gonna Pay For His Ride’* (McCartney)
- ‘They Call Me Fuzz Face’* (McCartney)
- ‘Maureen’* (Bob Dylan/Harrison)
Also on this day...
- 1967: Recording: Penny Lane
- 1967: UK album release: The Family Way
- 1965: Live: Another Beatles Christmas Show
- 1964: Live: The Beatles’ Christmas Show
- 1963: Live: Beach Ballroom, Aberdeen, Scotland
- 1962: Live: Cavern Club, Liverpool (evening)
- 1961: Live: St John’s Hall, Bootle
Want more? Visit the Beatles history section.