Get Back/Let It Be sessions: day 18

Apple Studios, Savile Row, London
Producer: George Martin
Engineer: Glyn Johns

The 18th day of the Get Back/Let It Be sessions was primarily devoted to the song ‘Get Back’, although The Beatles also performed a number of other songs.

Glyn Johns, Yoko Ono, John Lennon, Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr, George Harrison – Apple Studios, 27 January 1969

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:

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

Last updated: 24 January 2022
Get Back/Let It Be sessions: day 17
Get Back/Let It Be sessions: day 19
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Latest Comments

  1. David Harvey Thursday 14 July 2022

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