Apple Studios, Savile Row, London
Producer: George Martin
Engineer: Glyn Johns
This was the 13th day of the Get Back/Let It Be sessions, and the second to take place at The Beatles’ Apple Studios in London.
At this stage The Beatles were considering live performances on London’s Primrose Hill, with the proposed shoot lasting two days.
It was also the first to feature Billy Preston, who had been invited to Apple by George Harrison. Preston had first met The Beatles in Hamburg in the early 1960s, and was in London to take part in a BBC television show.
His presence on piano and keyboards helped flesh out the sound considerably, which was helpful given the ‘no overdubs’ rule of the sessions. The mood within the sessions was greatly improved, with greater focus on the songs they intended to perform in the live special, and fewer displacement activities such as cover versions and improvisations.
Three songs in particular received the bulk of The Beatles’ attentions on this day: ‘Don’t Let Me Down’, ‘I’ve Got A Feeling’, and ‘Dig A Pony’. Versions of ‘I’ve Got A Feeling’ and ‘Dig A Pony’ from the session were included on 1996’s Anthology 3.
This version of ‘I’ve Got A Feeling’, plus different ones of ‘Dig A Pony’ and ‘Don’t Let Me Down’, were selected for Glyn Johns’ Get Back album, which was rejected for release by The Beatles. Also included in Johns’ second, third, and fourth iterations were cover versions of ‘I’m Ready’ by Fats Domino – sometimes known as ‘Rocker’ – and The Drifters’ ‘Save The Last Dance For Me’. Get Back was released in October 2021 as part of the super deluxe 50th anniversary reissue of Let It Be.
The only other notable attempt at a cover version from this day was ‘A Taste Of Honey’, first recorded by The Beatles in early 1963 for the Please Please Me album. On this day, however, it was a throwaway which broke down almost before it even got going.
Performances of ‘Some Other Guy’, ‘The Long And Winding Road’, ‘Going Up The Country’, ‘Dig A Pony’, ‘I’ve Got A Feeling’, ‘A Taste Of Honey’, ‘Don’t Let Me Down’, ‘Save The Last Dance For Me’, and ‘Cupcake Baby’ from this day appeared in part two 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The full list of songs recorded on this day, including fragments and off-the-cuff, unpublished songs with presumed titles (plus primary composer/best-known performer):
- ‘I Shall Be Released’ (Bob Dylan; two versions)
- ‘Let It Down’ (Harrison)
- ‘Don’t Let Me Down’ (18 versions)
- ‘I’ve Got A Feeling’ (29 versions)
- ‘Some Other Guy’ (Richard Barrett)
- ‘Johnny B Goode’ (Chuck Berry)
- ‘Dig A Pony’ (24 versions)
- ‘Going Up The Country’ (Canned Heat)
- ‘The Long And Winding Road’ (three versions)
- ‘A Taste Of Honey’
- ‘Oh! Darling’
- ‘I’m Ready’ (Fats Domino)
- ‘Save The Last Dance For Me’ (The Drifters)
- ‘Cupcake Baby’ (Lennon-McCartney)
- ‘Freakout Jam’ ft Yoko Ono (Lennon-McCartney-Ono)
- ‘Carol’ (Chuck Berry)
View the complete list of songs played during the January 1969 Get Back/Let It Be sessions.
Also on this day...
- 1968: Apple opens offices at 95 Wigmore Street, London
- 1966: George and Pattie Harrison hold a press conference
- 1964: Live: Olympia Theatre, Paris
- 1963: Radio: The Talent Spot
- 1963: Radio: Saturday Club
- 1963: Radio: Pop Inn
- 1962: Live: Kingsway Club, Southport
- 1962: Live: Cavern Club, Liverpool (lunchtime)
Want more? Visit the Beatles history section.
I just want to tell you that this running documentary on the Get Back/Let It Be sessions, is outstanding. I was a teenager in the US during this time, I remember reading about the recording session in the papers from time to time. And when the first bootlegs came out we were astounded at how bad they sounded.
A really great insight you give in this series is that they were still exhausted from the White Album sessions. I had never really considered that.
I have done studio recording myself with a band doing all original material of full album length (and please know I am now way comparing my experience to the Fab), I can tell you it is grueling work. It’s fun for the first couple of days but after awhile it becomes a labor of love.
Playing the same songs over and over, pressing your creative abilities to their max and putting up with everyone’s ego just wears a person out.
When I look at the output of music per day, day after day, and add to that the cameras and as they themselves have said, they were all fed up with each other by this time, the miserable Let It Be sessions are no mystery.
The fact that they regrouped for Abbey Road is a testimony to how much they really loved each other.