Apple Studios, Savile Row, London
Producer: George Martin
Engineer: Glyn Johns
Although the group still hadn’t decided whether to perform live at the end of the sessions, they knew a resolution was needed for the project as Ringo Starr was due to start filming The Magic Christian in early February 1969. Therefore they focused on the few songs on which had the most chance of being presentable in either a live situation or on celluloid.
The Beatles recorded a total of 32 takes of ‘Get Back’ on this day, experimenting with different tempos and styles – including one sung in mock German and another featuring Japanese characters. One of John Lennon’s ad-libs – “Sweet Loretta Fart, she thought she was a cleaner, but she was a frying pan” – was included in the warm-up to the song on the Let It Be album.
The version of ‘Get Back’ which followed Lennon’s comments was selected by Glyn Johns for the unreleased Get Back album. Another take was eventually judged good enough for release on vinyl, on both the single and album, with a coda recorded on 28 January used to end the former.
‘Let It Be’, ‘The Long And Winding Road’, ‘Don’t Let Me Down’, and ‘I’ve Got A Feeling’ were all performed numerous times. Apart from ‘Don’t Let Me Down’, they were included on the Let It Be album, although not recordings made on this day. All the arrangements were mostly in place, although some takes involved slight lyrical or musical variations.
‘Oh! Darling’ was also performed four times, one of which lasted nearly seven minutes and featured Lennon and Paul McCartney bantering in high spirits. An edited version of this take was included on Anthology 3, complete with Lennon’s announcement that Yoko Ono’s divorce had been finalised.
One new song to be introduced on this day was George Harrison’s ‘Old Brown Shoe’, which would become the b-side to ‘The Ballad Of John And Yoko’ later in 1969. The first version on this day featured just vocals and piano, but a second saw the rest of the band join in. Work on ‘Old Brown Shoe’ continued the following day, although the released version was recorded at Abbey Road.
Other original songs included McCartney singing a version of ‘Strawberry Fields Forever’, and more performances of ‘I Told You Before’, a Beatles jam first played the previous day, featuring Billy Preston to the fore.
Performances of ‘Old Brown Shoe’, ‘Let It Be’, ‘The Long And Winding Road’, ‘Oh! Darling’, ‘Don’t Let Me Down’, ‘Strawberry Fields Forever’, ‘Get Back’, ‘Take These Chains From My Heart’, ‘Water! Water!’, and ‘I’ve Got A Feeling’ from this day appeared in part three of the 2021 documentary Get Back.
All songs performed on this day:
- ‘Strawberry Fields Forever’
- ‘Old Brown Shoe’ (two versions)
- ‘Baby, Let’s Play House’ (Elvis Presley)
- ‘Oh! Darling’ (four versions)
- ‘Let It Be’ (12 versions)
- ‘The Long And Winding Road’ (six versions)
- ‘Little Demon’ (Screamin’ Jay Hawkins)
- ‘Save The Last Dance For Me’ (The Drifters)
- ‘Hi Heel Sneakers’ (Tommy Tucker)
- ‘Get Back’ (32 versions)
- ‘Don’t Let Me Down’ (five versions)
- ‘Hava Nagilah’ (trad)
- ‘I’ve Got A Feeling’ (nine versions)
- ‘You Are My Sunshine’ (Jimmie Davis/Charles Mitchell)
- ‘Bring It On Home To Me’ (Sam Cooke)
- ‘Take These Chains From My Heart’ (Ray Charles)
- ‘The Walk’ (Jimmy McCracklin)
- ‘I Told You Before’* (Lennon-McCartney-Harrison-Starkey)
- ‘Water! Water!’ (Lennon-McCartney)
- ‘You Won’t Get Me That Way’* (McCartney)
Also on this day...
- 2014: Grammy Awards celebrate The Beatles in The Night That Changed America
- 1970: Recording: Instant Karma! by Plastic Ono Band
- 1970: Ringo Starr appears on Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-In
- 1970: Mixing: The Inner Light
- 1968: Radio: The Kenny Everett Show
- 1964: Live: Olympia Theatre, Paris
- 1964: The Beatles at the George V Hotel, Paris
- 1964: US single release: My Bonnie/The Saints
- 1963: Live: Three Coins Club, Manchester
- 1962: Live: Aintree Institute, Liverpool
- 1961: Live: Aintree Institute, Liverpool
Want more? Visit the Beatles history section.