Apple Studios, Savile Row, London
Producer: George Martin
Engineer: Glyn Johns
The 19th day of the Get Back/Let It Be sessions saw The Beatles further refine most of the songs which would end up on the Let It Be album.
The first song to receive significant attention was ‘I’ve Got A Feeling’, one take of which featured a three-chord coda lasting a full 15 minutes, and others which had John Lennon on lead vocals.
The single version of ‘Don’t Let Me Down’ was recorded on this day, although further backing vocals were later added at Abbey Road prior to its release. Also taped during this session were seven versions of ‘Get Back’, the coda from one of which was used on the single.
George Harrison had introduced ‘Old Brown Shoe’ during the previous day’s session. It had further work on this day, and after one of the takes The Beatles and Preston began experimenting with a Stylophone. This is The Beatles’ only known use of the instrument popularised by Rolf Harris, which was brought to the session by Lennon.
Another Harrisong, the future chart-topping single ‘Something’, made its debut during this session. Five versions were taped of the song, which still lacked some lyrics and final chords, and Harrison can be heard on the tapes asking for help finishing it off. “Just say what comes into your head each time,” Lennon tells him. “‘Attracts me like a cauliflower’. Until you get the word.”
Although Lennon and Paul McCartney seemed willing to help Harrison with the song, there was less enthusiasm for ‘All Things Must Pass’, which had last been played on 8 January. The Beatles performed it one more time the following day, before giving up on it completely.
John Lennon introduced a new song, ‘I Want You (She’s So Heavy)’, which would eventually be recorded for Abbey Road. The first of four versions from this day was instrumental, and featured the main guitar riffs that made it to the final recording, although it was little more than a jam at this stage.
Two versions of ‘Teddy Boy’ were performed, one of which was combined with a take from 24 January and released on 1996’s Anthology 3. Similarly, Lennon revived ‘Child Of Nature’ – here known as ‘On The Road To Marrakesh’ – although it was clear that the song wasn’t working for The Beatles.
The group also delved back into their old songbooks, with mixed results. A version of ‘The Inner Light’ lasted for less than a minute, while a slow arrangement of ‘Love Me Do’ failed to ignite any sparks. More successful was ‘One After 909’, which was performed on the Apple rooftop on 30 January.
Performances of ‘Something’, ‘Love Me Do’, ‘I’ve Got A Feeling’, ‘Old Brown Shoe’, ‘Don’t Let Me Down’, ‘I Want You (She’s So Heavy)’, and ‘Half A Pound Of Greasepaint’ from this day appeared in part three 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):
- ‘Shazam’ (Duane Eddy)
- ‘The Long And Winding Road’
- ‘I’ve Got A Feeling’ (17 versions)
- ‘Rainy Day Women #12 & 35’ (Bob Dylan)
- ‘The Inner Light’
- ‘Blue Yodel No. 1 (T For Texas)’ (Jimmie Rodgers)
- ‘Tea For Two Cha-Cha’ (Tommy Dorsey)
- ‘Dig It’
- ‘Child Of Nature’ (Lennon; two versions)
- ‘Dig A Pony’ (12 versions)
- ‘Get Back’ (seven versions)
- ‘Love Me Do’
- ‘Teddy Boy’ (McCartney; two versions)
- ‘Don’t Let Me Down’ (four versions)
- ‘One After 909’ (four versions)
- ‘Old Brown Shoe’ (eight versions)
- ‘I Want You (She’s So Heavy)’ (four versions)
- ‘Sticks And Stones’ (Ray Charles)
- ‘Something’ (five versions)
- ‘Bo Diddley’ (Bo Diddley)
- ‘Two Of Us’ (five versions)
- ‘All Things Must Pass’ (Harrison; four versions)
- ‘Positively 4th Street’ (Bob Dylan; two versions)
- ‘The River Rhine’* (McCartney)
- ‘I Will Always Look For You’* (McCartney)
- ‘Without A Song’ (Youmans-Rose-Eliscu)
- ‘How Do You Tell Someone?’* (Harrison)
- ‘Half A Pound Of Greasepaint’ (Lennon-McCartney)
* presumed title.
View the complete list of songs played during the January 1969 Get Back/Let It Be sessions.
Also on this day...
- 2010: Ringo to get Hollywood Walk of Fame star in February
- 2010: First official Beatles iPhone app is released
- 1974: US single release: Jet by Paul McCartney and Wings
- 1969: Allen Klein meets The Beatles
- 1964: Travel: Lennon and Harrison fly from Paris to London
- 1963: Live: Majestic Ballroom, Newcastle
- 1962: Live: Casbah Coffee Club, Liverpool
- 1961: Live: Aintree Institute, Liverpool
- 1961: Live: Lathom Hall, Liverpool
Want more? Visit the Beatles history section.
According to Ray Schweighardt and Doug Sulpy’s 1997 book “Get Back: The Unauthorized Chronicle of The Beatles’ Let it Be Disaster” and Mark Hertsgaard’s 1996 book, it was on this date that George told John and Yoko that he wanted to make a solo album as a result of a) his usual allocation of two songs per Beatles album and b) he had stockpiled so many unrecorded and unreleased songs that he had written.
John offered to give George his support for the idea of a potential solo project, knowing that he and Yoko could continue their own collaborative projects without putting The Beatles’ future in jeopardy, so again, this does not match the description of a musician who was unsupportive of or indifferent to their junior bandmate’s talents.