Get Back/Let It Be sessions: day 20

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

The 20th day of the Get Back/Let It Be sessions saw The Beatles finally decide to perform a concert the following day on the roof of their Apple headquarters.

Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr, George Harrison – Apple Studios, 29 January 1969

A considerable time was spent discussing the live performance, with only George Harrison resistant to the idea. The other Beatles were all on board with the plans, with arrangement put in place by the film crew and studio staff.

Each of the five key songs played on the rooftop – ‘Get Back’, ‘Don’t Let Me Down’, ‘I’ve Got A Feeling’, ‘One After 909’ and ‘Dig A Pony’ – was performed once during this session.

Instead, they spent most of the day working on other songs. These included versions of ‘Two Of Us’, ‘The Long And Winding Road’ and ‘Let It Be’, plus others which didn’t make it to the Let It Be album.

The Beatles tackled a number of Harrison’s songs, perhaps hoping that one would be suitable for inclusion in the film. The album version of ‘For You Blue’ had been taped on 25 January, but three more takes were performed on this day. Also played were ‘Something’, ‘All Things Must Pass’, ‘Let It Down’, and ‘Old Brown Shoe’, although none sounded like polished versions ready for release.

Requiring work was ‘I Want You (She’s So Heavy)’, destined for inclusion on Abbey Road. The Beatles and Billy Preston had first jammed the song on the previous day, and evidently thought it worth continuing with.

Also returned to was ‘Dig It’, although the album recording was from 26 January. This day’s version had Lennon singing a list of some of the key songs played during the sessions, most of which made it to the Let It Be album.

Come on and dig it… dig it every night and day… dig it any time of day. You can dig it for breakfast, dig it for your tea. You can dig it in the morning, dig it for dinner, any day… ‘Don’t Let Me Down’, ‘Get Back’, ‘I’ve Got A Feeling’, ‘Two Of Us’, ‘All I Want Is You’, ‘Teddy Boy’, ‘One After 909’, ‘All Things Must Pass’, ‘Dig It’, ‘Let It Be’, ‘The Long And Winding Road’, ‘For You Blue’, ‘Maxwell’s Silver Hammer’…
‘Dig It’

Paul McCartney, George Harrison – Apple Studios, 29 January 1969

The final part of the session was mostly devoted to cover versions. Among them was Buddy Holly’s ‘Mailman, Bring Me No More Blues’, which was heavily edited and included on Anthology 3. The Beatles also played ‘Besame Mucho’, as seen in the Let It Be film.

The day ended, however, with a return to ‘Teddy Boy’ and ‘Two Of Us’. Paul McCartney aside, the group’s enthusiasm for playing the songs was noticeably waning by this stage.

Performances of ‘Dig It’, ‘I Want You (She’s So Heavy)’, and ‘Two Of Us’ from this day appeared in part three of the 2021 documentary Get Back.

Ringo Starr – Apple Studios, 29 January 1969

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):

* presumed title.

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

Last updated: 21 January 2022
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