The sixth day of the Get Back/Let It Be sessions began with Paul McCartney working alone on a number of songs.
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 Palace 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.
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.
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 style. This, too, touched upon the themes of immigration and racism expressed earlier in the day. Another rocker, Suzy’s Parlour, was included in the Let It Be film, although it was mistitled as Suzy Parker when copyrighted.
Teddy Boy, Junk and Penina were all McCartney compositions, and were given brief outings on this day. The latter was recorded by Carlos Mendes for a 1969 single, 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.
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):
- Another Day (McCartney)
- The Palace Of The King Of The Birds (McCartney)
- Let It Be (16 versions)
- The Long And Winding Road (five versions)
- Her Majesty
- Golden Slumbers
- Carry That Weight
- Oh! Darling
- For You Blue (15 versions)
- Two Of Us (eight versions)
- Baa, Baa, Black Sheep (trad)
- Don’t Let Me Down
- Suzy’s Parlour (Lennon)
- I’ve Got A Feeling (five versions)
- One After 909 (four versions)
- Norwegian Wood (This Bird Has Flown)
- She Came In Through The Bathroom Window (seven versions)
- Be-Bop-A-Lula (Gene Vincent)
- Get Back (six versions)
- Penina (McCartney)
- Across The Universe (12 versions)
- Teddy Boy (McCartney)
- Junk (McCartney)
- Move It (Cliff Richard and The Drifters)
- Good Rockin’ Tonight (Elvis Presley)
- Tennessee (Carl Perkins)
- House Of The Rising Sun (The Animals)
- Honey Hush (The Johnny Burnette Trio)
- Hitch Hike (Marvin Gaye)
- All Together Now
- I Threw It All Away (Bob Dylan)
- Mama, You Been On My Mind (Bob Dylan)
- That’ll Be The Day (Buddy Holly)
- Jenny, Jenny (Little Richard)
- Slippin’ And Slidin’ (Little Richard)
- Shakin’ In The Sixties* (Lennon)
- Commonwealth* (Lennon-McCartney)
- Enoch Powell* (McCartney)
- Get Off* (Lennon-McCartney)
- Quit Your Messing Around* (Lennon)
- Ramblin’ Woman* (Harrison)
* presumed title.
View the complete list of songs played during the January 1969 Get Back/Let It Be sessions.
Also on this day...
- 1968: Recording: Wonderwall Music by George Harrison
- 1967: Recording, mixing: Penny Lane
- 1965: Live: Another Beatles Christmas Show
- 1964: Live: The Beatles’ Christmas Show
- 1962: Live: Cavern Club, Liverpool (lunchtime)
Want more? Visit the Beatles history section.