Get Back/Let It Be sessions: day six

The sixth day of the Get Back/Let It Be sessions began with Paul McCartney working alone on a number of songs.

The Beatles – Twickenham Film Studios, 9 January 1969

McCartney was the first of The Beatles to arrive at Twickenham Film Studios, and he used the time to perform several songs at the piano. Making their debuts on this day were ‘Her Majesty’ and ‘Another Day’, the latter becoming his first solo single in 1971.

Also performed was another version of ‘The Castle Of The King Of The Birds’, an instrumental McCartney recorded years later for the unreleased Rupert The Bear album which he had first played on 6 and 7 January.

Once the other Beatles arrived, work continued on several key songs, among them ‘I’ve Got A Feeling’, ‘One After 909’ and ‘Two Of Us’.

George Harrison’s ‘For You Blue’ had also been played on 6 and 7 January, but on this day it became more of a beefier rocker than in its initial incarnations. Less serious were performances of ‘She Came In Through The Bathroom Window’ and ‘Across The Universe’, which featured The Beatles trying various non-serious arrangements and making several jokey lyrical changes and asides.

The Beatles, Yoko Ono – Twickenham Film Studios, 9 January 1969

‘Let It Be’ was given more focused attention, and was played a total of 16 times. These performances were led by McCartney, who called out suggestions as the others played. John Lennon was on bass guitar for this part of the day, as the group were intending to record no overdubs and McCartney was at the piano.

At this stage of the Twickenham rehearsals, ‘Get Back’ was a driving rock song with half-written lyrics about Theresa and Joe. At one point McCartney improvised some words (“Don’t dig no Pakistanis taking all the people’s jobs”; “Don’t need no Puerto Ricans living in the USA”) which later led to accusations of racism after the tapes were bootlegged. It is clear, however, that he was parodying right-wing attitudes held by many in Britain in the late 1960s, including the Conservative Party politician Enoch Powell.

Another song, ‘Commonwealth’, was a 1950s-style rock ‘n’ roll performance with McCartney singing in an Elvis Presley style. This, too, touched upon the themes of immigration and racism expressed earlier in the day. Another rocker, ‘Suzy Parker’, was included in the Let It Be film.

‘Teddy Boy’, ‘Junk’, and ‘Penina’ were all McCartney compositions, and were given brief outings on this day. The latter was recorded separately by Carlos Mendes and Jotta Herra for 1969 singles in Portugal, and only ‘Teddy Boy’ was returned to during the Get Back/Let It Be sessions.

As was customary, numerous 1950s and ’60s oldies were performed, most of which were throwaway efforts. ‘Honey Hush’ was perhaps the most cohesive, but ‘Good Rockin’ Tonight’ and ‘Tennessee’ suffered from misremembered vocals and hillbilly-style vocals respectively.

Harrison performed solo acoustic versions of Bob Dylan’s ‘Mama, You Been On My Mind’ and the as-yet-unreleased ‘I Threw It All Away’, although his vocals were barely audible due to bad microphone placement. He also played a Dylanesque new composition, which was never developed further but was titled ‘Ramblin’ Woman’ by bootleggers.

Performances of ‘Another Day’, ‘The Long And Winding Road’, ‘Golden Slumbers’, ‘Carry That Weight’, ‘The Castle Of The King Of The Birds’, ‘For You Blue’, ‘Get Back’, ‘Commonwealth’, ‘Enoch Powell’, ‘She Came In Through The Bathroom Window’, ‘Honey Hush’, ‘Baa Baa Black Sheep’, ‘Suzy Parker’, ‘Move It’, ‘House Of The Rising Sun’, ‘Mama, You Been On My Mind’, ‘Across The Universe’, ‘Shakin’ In The Sixties’, and ‘Let It Be’ from this day appeared in part one of the 2021 documentary Get Back.

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):

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

Last updated: 15 September 2023
Get Back/Let It Be sessions: day five
Get Back/Let It Be sessions: day seven – George Harrison quits The Beatles
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