Get Back/Let It Be sessions: day 22

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

This was the 22nd and final day of the Get Back/Let It Be sessions, and saw The Beatles perform the songs which had been judged unsuitable for the previous day’s rooftop concert.

The Beatles – Apple Studios, 31 January 1969

The main purpose was to allow the film crew to capture satisfactory versions of the songs. Primary among them were ‘Let It Be’, ‘The Long And Winding Road’ and ‘Two Of Us’.

A performance of ‘Two Of Us’ was included as the opening track on the Let It Be album. The Beatles completed the song early on in the session, leaving them with time to mess around in the studio. Among the performances were numerous golden oldies, and a version of ‘Step Inside Love’, which Paul McCartney had given to Cilla Black the year before.

Various other songs were also performed during the day, including a version of ‘Lady Madonna’ featuring the lines “Lord and lady docker, in your private yacht/All the people wonder why you have such a lot”. McCartney also sang on ‘I Want You (She’s So Heavy)’, which The Beatles had played earlier in week and were clearly keen to work on further.

Most of the takes of ‘The Long And Winding Road’ were recorded after a lunchtime break. Among them was the version included on the 2003 album Let It Be… Naked. The song ‘Let It Be’ proved slightly more troublesome, with The Beatles recording a total of 22 takes, beginning with a skiffle-style one with John Lennon on lead vocals, singing the words to a different melody.

Patience began to wear thin during this part of the session, with Lennon audibly bored and interjecting mischievous lines such as “And in my hour of darkness she is standing left in front of me, squeaking turds of whisky over me”. McCartney, too, changed some of the lyrics, including a reference to “Brother Malcolm” (presumably Mal Evans), and changing “times of trouble” to “times of heartache”.

The group did eventually record a take which – with overdubs recorded at a later date – was used on both the single and album. This was the penultimate take of the day; an edit of this and the final take was used in the Let It Be film.

Performances of ‘Take This Hammer’, ‘Two Of Us’, ‘Five Feet High And Rising’, ‘Run For Your Life’, ‘The Long And Winding Road’, ‘Let It Be’, and ‘Party’ from this day appeared in part three of the 2021 documentary Get Back.

Paul McCartney's handwritten lyrics for Two Of Us

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):

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

Last updated: 27 June 2023
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