Beatles 50th Blog

The Beatles 50 Years Ago Today: January 6, 1969

Get It Back/Let It Be Sessions - Today was made up of various jams, cover versions, improvisations, and attempts at recording the more complete songs. And this came with lots of tension within the group.

The songs rehearsed were Don't Let Me Down and Two Of Us. Various arrangements of the former were tested, including a Latin-style rhythm and some harmony vocals by Paul McCartney in the middle section.

Two Of Us was, at this stage, more of a straightforward rock song than in its final incarnation. During rehearsals for it, a terse exchange took place between McCartney and George Harrison which was included in the Let It Be film, and which seemed to encapsulate the strained relations within the group at the time.

The Beatles evidently lacked enthusiasm for a new Harrison song, Hear Me Lord, which its composer first performed acoustically, then on an electric guitar with a wah-wah pedal. He also attempted to enthuse the group in his All Things Must Pass, but to little effect.

Carry That Weight, later to feature on Abbey Road, made its debut on this day, and featured a bridge which was omitted in the final version. Also making first appearances were Octopus's Garden and For You Blue, both of which were brief, incomplete performances.

John Lennon, doubtless aware that his songwriting rate had slowed dramatically since the completion of the White Album, revived Across The Universe – a song the group had recorded early in 1968 but which remained unreleased.

Notable among the improvisations and jams were The Palace Of The King Of The Birds, a McCartney instrumental recorded years later for the unreleased Rupert The Bear album. It featured blues-style guitar and a flowing organ part. He also sang a blues improvisation, You Wear Your Women Out, and did a bit of Primal Therapy-style screaming on My Imagination.

George Harrison sang a song known as Maureen, accompanied just with wah-wah guitar. He is heard to claim that Bob Dylan wrote the song, but it is otherwise unknown and may in fact have been an original composition. Harrison also suggests that it might be a suitable single for Ringo Starr.

The day ended with some lengthy rehearsals of McCartney's new song She Came In Through The Bathroom Window.

The Beatles 50 Years Ago Today: January 5, 1969

The Beatles working at Abbey Road Studios "Get Back" sessions.

The Beatles 50 Years Ago Today: January 4, 1969

The Beatles working on "Get Back" Sessions.

The Beatles 50 Years Ago Today: January 3, 1969

The Get Back/Let It Be rehearsals had The Beatles playingy a number of songs, many of which were rough versions of rock 'n' roll oldies, improvisations and numbers from the Lennon-McCartney back catalogue.

John Lennon arrived late at Twickenham Film Studios, Paul McCartney was on piano the first part of the day. He worked through a number of works-in-progress, including several songs which ended up on Let It Be and Abbey Road.

Ringo Starr played brief versions of songs he had written. After Lennon arrived most of the day was spent playing rock 'n' roll classics, including several from The Beatles' Cavern Club and Hamburg years. They also played a version of I'm So Tired with McCartney on lead vocals, and a swift rendition of Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da.

The Beatles 50 Years Ago Today: January 2, 1969

The Beatles have their first sessions of Get Back/Let It Be.

THIS DAY IN ROCK HISTORY: January 2, 1969: The Beatles go into the studio to begin recording the LP "Get Back" which was renamed "Let It Be.

The Beatles recording of "Get Back" was not a good time for the group. With the exception of Paul McCartney, there was little enthusiasm for to do a live appearance or record songs for a television appearance. The group were still exhausted after the lengthy sessions for the White Album, and the presence of film cameras during the rehearsals created a further strain.

During the January 1969 sessions, the atmosphere was tense, The Beatles were often at odds with one another. George Harrison found McCartney bossy and domineering, John Lennon was addicted to heroin and unwilling to be parted from Yoko Ono, and Ringo Starr was largely subdued throughout the month.

Only Paul wanted to make the effort – George Harrison walked out of the group on on January 10, 1969, and the plans for the television special were abandoned. He agreed to rejoin The Beatles only if they moved from Twickenham Film Studios to their new recording studio in the basement of their Apple HQ in London's Savile Row. This they did from January 21st, in the process dropping plans for a live concert.

The Get Back sessions followed a Monday to Friday schedule, and each day started between 11am and 1pm. On this first day the group arrived at Twickenham at 11am, apart from Paul McCartney who was delayed on public transport, and arrived at 12.30pm.

This first day officially began at around 9.30am, however, with director Michael Lindsay-Hogg filming as Mal Evans and Kevin Harrington set up The Beatles' equipment onto stage one before the group began playing. The shots would eventually be used for the opening sequence of the Let It Be film.

The Beatles spent much of their time working on three songs: Don't Let Me Down, I've Got A Feeling and Two Of Us.

The Beatles 50 Years Ago Today: January 1, 1969

The Beatles - 1969 - The Beginning of the End 

The Beatles 50 Years Ago Today: December 31, 1968


The Beatles 50 Years Ago Today: December 30, 1968

The Beatles ending the year happy with the release of the "White Album".


The Beatles 50 Years Ago Today: December 29, 1968

At some point early this year, somebody in authority decided that it would be a good idea to kick John Lennon and Yoko Ono out of the country. John Lennon, of course, was one of the Beatles, the four Liverpool boys who dominated the popular music of Britain and the United States for most of the nineteen-sixties. In addition to winning great popular success as a singer and composer, both with the Beatles and since their dissolution, in 1970, he has been a film actor (in “A Hard Day’s Night,” “Help,” and “How I Won the War”) and an author (of “In His Own Write” and “A Spaniard in the Works,” two collections of idiosyncratic, pun-laden short stories and verse). He is now thirty-two years old. Yoko Ono, who will be forty years old in February, was an established conceptual artist and avant-garde composer when she married John Lennon, in 1969; since then she, too, has become a rock singer and songwriter (and, incidentally, the most famous person of Japanese origin in the Western world). In the controversy over whether or not the Lennons should be allowed to stay in the United States, the Immigration and Naturalization Service has taken the position that it is merely enforcing the law, and that because John Lennon was convicted in a British court in 1968 of possessing cannabis resin, one of the drugs derived from the Indian hemp plant, he and his wife must be deported. The Immigration Service is a branch of the Department of Justice. Under President Nixon and his Attorneys General, John Mitchell and Richard Kleindienst, the Department of Justice has made a practice of bringing charges against people, usually in clumps (the Chicago Seven, the Seattle Seven, and the Catonsville Nine, to name twenty-three), for what many civil libertarians regard as political reasons. The Lennons believe that their own frequently expressed political views—unorthodox from the Justice Department’s point of view, though quite ordinary in Greenwich Village, where they live—are the real reason for the government’s desire to show them the golden door.


The Beatles 50 Years Ago Today: December 28, 1968

The Beatles taking a break today