Wednesday, January 2, 2019

The Beatles "Get Back"

Even before "The Beatles" double-LP was released, the seeds of the group's next project were planted.  (In fact, before the new LP was even finished and as early as the October 1968 Issue of The Beatles Monthly Book, it was printed "...the Beatles are keen on the idea of filming or videotaping a full-length television show.." as in "...the filming of actual live performances given in front of an invited audience..." to "...what might amount to a Beatles concert..." that would " made available for screening throughout the world.")

Amazingly, it was announced on November 7, 1968 that The Beatles would 'give three live concerts in London next month... a one-hour TV spectacular may be built around the shows.'

Yes, it would be Paul McCartney to whom the 'blame' can be pointed to for where The Beatles would go next, but all of them had been aware, especially after Ringo's departure, that they'd come to a point in their lives where the future was now very important to each one individually, more so probably now than the future of The Beatles.  

Yet, no matter what their personal uncertainties would ever be, whenever they worked together creating music, it brought them together, so it wasn't a far reach for Paul to figure that if they got back solely to making music together again and performing together again, everything would be all right.  

In his defense, no one really complained that much about the idea, perhaps believing somewhere down deep that everything would work out fine, or maybe sometimes no one had the guts to speak up about calling it a day.  As far back as "Help!" John first saw that predicament.  Back then he'd already known that he was on a runaway train he didn't know how to stop and get off.  He might have been the first to see it, but now all of them, with possibly the exception of Paul, could see the end might be near, but didn't have a clue as to how to get to that end, and start the new future.  

The Head of Variety and Light Entertainment, Bill Cotton Jr., jumped at the opportunity for being involved with a Beatles' show and wrote directly to Paul McCartney enquiring how the BBC could get together with The Beatles 'in the production of this programme'.  

Neil Aspinall replied on November 12, 1968 that plans were already in place and Apple Films Limited would produce the color video 'end product'.  Concerts were promised at London's Chalk Farm Roundhouse for three nights beginning around December 15th or the 16th.  

Letter from Bill Cotton Jr. to Paul McCartney (above) and Neil Aspinall's reply (below).

As we know, of course, the plans were put on hold the closer those dates got.  The idea of broadcasting live or via video-tape remained, however.  There was the idea for at least a one-hour show featuring at least eight songs, a bit perhaps like how the "Hey Jude" and "Revolution" videos were produced, which everyone agreed they enjoyed so much.

Many wild ideas began to emerge:  Playing in a disused Thames-side flour mill, on board a ship, on a stage in the middle of the Sahara desert.  According to Mark Lewisohn the most seriously considered suggestion (at least initially) was performing in a Roman amphitheatre in North Africa, beginning at dawn in an empty venue and finishing with the arena filled with people of all races, colors and creeds...again a bit like their earlier promotional videos, except on a much grander scale.

As ideas were tossed about, Ringo had to remind them that they would need to act soon because he was contracted to be involved in the shooting of another film, "The Magic Christian" starting in February and lasting through the springtime.   The producer of that film, Denis O' Dell, suggested they, at the very least, begin some kind of rehearsals at Twickenham Film Studios, which they would have access to until February 3rd when "The Magic Christian" would begin production.  While they were doing that, they could also be filmed on 16mm for perhaps a "Beatles At Work" Television documentary that could accompany any concert performance.  

One could argue that working so soon together after the rough waters they'd already experienced was not a good idea and only hastened a downhill spiral.  I believe, however, that there is a very strong possibility that had The Beatles not got together as soon as they did, we might have not seen it happen again at all.  They were so very clearly busy individually, they were finding it increasingly difficult to 'fit in' that which could be called a 'Beatles' project...and more importantly, they were losing interest in doing so.  Again, however, no one was stepping up to the plate, besides Ringo's departure earlier, in really addressing the situation.  Deep down, they were still tied to each other, and as time has shown, they always would be.  

2 January 1969 - Michael Lindsay-Hogg, who had worked with The Beatles previously on several of their promotional clips, along with the recent Rolling Stones "Rock and Roll Circus" would oversee the direction of capturing The Beatles on film for their "Beatles At Work" project. 

Glyn Johns became their sound engineer.  George Martin was initially going to work only with the multi-track tapes of the live broadcast, so his presence at this time was not too technically deep.  

Tony Richmond and Ethan Russell, who had also worked on "Rock and Roll Circus" were head cameraman and still photographer.  

It all started out well enough with, amazingly, John & Yoko and George being the first of the group to arrive.  (This seems to counter the idea they were the two least interested in the project.) Then Ringo arrives.   Strangely a member of the "Hare Krishna" movement is also present.  Finally Paul arrives.

The inhospitable environment of such a large stage as Twickenham becomes the subject of discussion by all at one time or another.  The studio is almost immediately recognized as not the best location to make music.

During one discussion between Paul, Glyn Johns and Michael Lindsay-Hogg any idea of playing overseas becomes out of the question when Paul lets it be known that Ringo has refused to participate in any traveling.   In fact, Ringo is under the impression that not very much time will be spent on rehearsals believing his work on "The Magic Christian" is to begin January 17th.  Producer Denis O'Dell informs him that has been pushed back to the 24th, and apparently in part to accommodate the need for more time for the "Beatles At Work" project.  Ringo doesn't believe that much time will be needed, maybe only two weeks, but Denis is not convinced.  

Listening to these tapes is like mining for gold, and much of it just as maddening.  When you read about what they were doing and you see the list of all of the many different songs The Beatles touched upon, it naturally makes one wish they'd been that fly on the wall listening in.  What they were prepared for musically, they do only touch upon as most everything they do during these sessions is incomplete, or off-the-cuff, or ruined for listening because the source tape cuts out or someone on staff begins speaking technical jargon for production purposes during the performance, or mainly by the fact no one is really trying to even make it a performance.  So much of it is simply noodling around on an instrument by one or more Beatles.

You have to really be into The Beatles to make it through all of the audio that remains from these rehearsals and sessions.  To say it can be tedious is an understatement.  I won't try to be too deep into the workings of each day, as you can get that information elsewhere, rather I'll take a step back and report on what seems the most interesting from each gathering.

For example, on this day it appears they touched upon 20 completely different tunes.  That doesn't mean 20 completed performances and most were not of a quality I'd want to waste anyone's time with listening to.  

For me, the most interesting parts of today were the moments John was interacting with George, and they did covers of music ranging from Bob Dylan to Buddy Holly.  John noodled about with his tune "Sun King" and had a crack at "Child of Nature", one of the few titles that wasn't officially tackled for the "White Album" (which is also known as "On The Road to Marrakesh") and George showed he'd already written "Let It Down", a song he wouldn't get to formerly record with The Beatles, but would share with the world on his first solo LP in late 1970.

3 January 1969 - On this day Paul and then Ringo were the first to arrive at Twickenham, and then George, apologizing for being late, but no one is concerned as John & Yoko hadn't arrived yet.  Early footage from this day of Paul on piano would make it to the "Let It Be" film in 1970.

Ringo eventually takes to the piano as well and previews some song ideas he had, one being called "Taking a Trip to Carolina" and the other known as "Picasso".  These are unfinished and probably remained so as neither was ever officially recorded by him.

When John & Yoko arrive, the four eventually begin to get warmed up as a band by playing classic favorites, like "Crackin' Up", "All Shook Up", "Your True Love", "Blue Suede Shoes", a bluesy "Three Cool Cats", "Lucille", "Bring It on Home To Me", "Hitch Hike", "Hippy Hippy Shake", "Short Fat Fanny", "Midnight Special", "Money (That's What I Want)", and then some old Beatles tunes, "You Can't Do That", which leads George into suggesting they use some of these in their upcoming performance.   They drift into The Beatles' own "Every Little Thing" and this also lends to the question of playing unpublished Beatles' tunes from way back in the beginning of the John and Paul writing team.  The most 'complete' of these which they attempt are "Because I Know You Love Me So" which is still either unfinished, or Paul can't remember all of the lyrics.  They touch upon another old Lennon/McCartney tune called "I'll Wait Until Tomorrow" and spend only seconds on "Thinking of Linking".  One song which would survive because of this idea is "One After 909", but not much became of it yet on this day.

Paul takes on John's "I'm So Tired" and they have a few laughs together with "Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da" but one of the better performances of the day is their attempt at "The Third Man Theme".

The most interesting, for me anyway, was a very short look at John's "Give Me Some Truth" which wouldn't be recorded properly until his "Imagine" LP sessions.  This is just fleeting however, but an even better attempt is a serious try at George's "All Things Must Pass".  First time listeners may find it extraordinary that this song was really considered a contender as a Beatles' recording early on.  Even later, it would remain such although no proper recording attempt of it would ever be made by the Fab Four.

Another interesting aspect of this day is that some of it was captured in a 'stereo' effect.  While the crew filmed The Beatles, the audio was recorded via two Nagra mono reel-to-reel tape machines.  Each machine was 'assigned' to a camera.   When the camera would start filming a beep could be heard on the tape to assist later in the synchronization of sound-to-film.  The tape reels lasted for only about 16 minutes for each roll.  For the Twickenham studios portion of "The Beatles At Work" a total of 223 rolls were recorded.  Much of it, however, is not unique because much of the time two recorders would be running simultaneously, so when one reel had run out and needed to be changed, the other machine was still recording and capturing whatever might have been missed during the set-up for the next reel on the first machine.

Even though there were two machines recording the microphone source to both was the same, so almost all of these recordings would be considered mono, with one exception.  On January 3rd, for whatever reason, separate audio feeds from different locations on the set were used which created a 'stereo' effect.  The downside to this all is that not much picked up is a revelation, with the exception (for me) of their attempt to play "All Things Must Pass" which is still mainly George trying to teach the song to the other three.  Still, it's pretty cool.

I've uploaded 7 tracks from this day and they are as follows:
"Crackin' Up" (Bo Diddley)
"Because I Know You Love Me So" (early Lennon/McCartney)
"Hitch Hike" (Marvin Gaye)
"I'm So Tired" Paul sings John's tune in partial Stereo
"Hippy Hippy Shake" (Romero) - Stereo
"Improvisation" (Partial Stereo)
"All Things Must Pass" (Harrison) - Stereo

Here is the link:  Beatles 3 Jan 1969

After I uploaded the above file, I created some late additions you can find from the following link:
"The Third Man Theme" sandwiched in between the 1920s "Whispering" and "I'm Beginning to See The Light", both actually recorded on the 21st of January.
"Short Fat Fanny" (Williams) with a short bit at the end from Jackie Lomax's "Speak To Me" which was recorded on the 7th of January.

 George working out the details of "All Things Must Pass" with John.

6 January 1969 - It's Monday, the start of a new week and the working of 'regular business hours' for The Beatles, presumably to coincide with the camera crew's schedule.  It doesn't sit so well, however, with at least Ringo and John, who both didn't feel quite up-to-par this day along with George who admits he didn't sleep well the night before.  

It's not the most productive day.  Paul arrives first once more and premieres a snippet of "Oh! Darling", which is unfinished, but as we would see eventually was recorded by The Beatles later in the year.  He would also touch upon "Carry That Weight" as Ringo would debut his unfinished "Octopus's Garden" and George would introduce "Hear Me Lord" (which admittedly probably suited him best when he included it as the closing track to his solo LP late in 1970).  John recommends they try working on his "All Things Must Pass" again instead. 

The objective of the group coming together was discussed.  They were practicing for a live show but how they were going to pull it off was not resolved.  Yoko presented the idea of performing in front of an empty arena of around 20,000 seats.  Paul jokingly suggests they play completely in the nude, while George says he'd prefer the audience attending the show be naked.  

George Martin wishes to discuss the configuration of the recording equipment for the live show.  He's particularly interested in whether or not the show will be recorded in Twickenham, so he can get a control room put in place with two four-track tape machines linked together to get the eight-track recording benefits.  It would be George's job to produce the LP which they expect to get out of the live performance/television show.

This was also the day of the infamous exchange between Paul McCartney and George Harrison, which would be included in the "Let It Be" film where George tells Paul, "I'll play whatever you want me to play, or I won't play at all if you don't want me to play.  Whatever it is that'll please you, I'll do it."  

Once more they ran through a series of oldies, not much that was noteworthy of recorded excellence, however.  John, realizing he's lacking his own set of new tunes is mulling over the idea to resurrect "Across The Universe", but sadly they never perform their attempts at it well.  

Beatles tracks from this day are included in the link below:
"Improvisation One" (Free form jamming)
"Kansas City (Instrumental)" Larry Williams
"Improvisation Two" (Free form jamming)

7 January 1969 - This day marks the 'debut' of "Get Back", "The Long and Winding Road", "Golden Slumbers", George's "For You Blue" along with a few others.   It should be noted that many were made up of very limited performances, ie, the writer of the song may be the only person 'noodling' around with the tune at the time and it may not even get introduced to the others.

Paul, once again, was the first to arrive and he took advantage of his time to again play solo piano, touching upon some of his new tunes while doing so.

Once more, after everyone arrives, The Beatles perform a few 'standards'.  The best, for me anyway, is "Gone Gone Gone" written by Carl Perkins.  There is a short improvisational piece that I find interesting which is played by just John and Ringo.  One song that will only be performed during these Twickenham days is Paul's "Maxwell's Silver Hammer" and it is an interesting early 'take' on the number with the best attempts at it being made today and the next, with neither being 'complete', at least as far as the lyrics go anyway.

During the day they discuss once more the live show, for which they are supposedly rehearsing for.  The idea is that they've invested money now, what are they going to do with it?  Paul points out if the live show doesn't work they can just scrap it, with director Michael Lindsay-Hogg adding they can still have a documentary if all else fails.  John seems to back this idea.

I've personally found evidence here showing how Paul has gotten a bad rap for trying to hold things together for The Beatles, erroneously known as 'forcing' them to continue and do things when they really didn't want to.  Here, George points out that things for the group haven't gone well since Brian Epstein died, to which Paul not only agrees, adding that they either work to improve things, or call it a day.  George indicates that he doesn't want to see the group end on a bad note, with inferior product.  John points out that if they need an incentive to continue, it can be communication, which winds up an ironic thing for him to say as John becomes the most uncommunicative during these days.  George admits he's running out of energy for The Beatles, while Paul doesn't understand why they still can't create together and make great music.

Director Michael believes they need a challenge, and that would be to play a concert away from Twickenham studio and even perhaps abroad.  This, however, is as far as he can take it and it's not helpful because the group have already indicated they don't want to go abroad.

Later, Paul once more asks that if they can't come to a decision about what it is they actually want to do, then why are they all showing up at Twickenham in the first place?  He gets no response.

Despite getting nowhere in discussing their future, The Beatles do make a slight effort at a few of their numbers, (touching once again, very slightly on John's "Gimme Some Truth" for example, and his "Across The Universe" even though he can't remember the words) and ending up with what I feel is the best take on "She Came In Through The Bathroom Window".  Although they would come back to this tune later, I always felt today's version was the least plodding and lethargic from the other attempts.

Beatles tracks from this day are included in the link below:
"Maxwell's Silver Hammer" (There really wasn't a complete performance of this least Paul couldn't remember the words, so I combined two separate 'takes into one, and I failed because they don't match.  Oh well, it's my hobby so I'm presenting it anyway.)
"She Came In Through The Bathroom Window"
"Gone, Gone, Gone/Good Rockin' Tonight" (Carl Perkins/Roy Brown) The second song is actually from January 9th, but I tacked it on at the end of "Gone, Gone, Gone" to fill things out a bit.
"Improvisation" (Free form jamming)

8 January 1969 - Today it is George and Ringo who are first to arrive at Twickenham.  George introduces a new song, "I Me Mine".  When the rest arrive they begin to work on it and at this stage it is quite interesting as George uses a 'flamenco' type guitar solo which he claims to have got from the influence of Bob Dylan.

They also work on George's "All Things Must Pass" on this day.  They wouldn't make any more attempts at this song until a half-hearted swipe at it on the 29th of January leaving this day's try at it the best I've heard of all of them.  "I Me Mine" would not be revisited, but as footage of them rehearsing it on this day would make it onto the released film, it would be professionally recorded later in 1970 for inclusion on the 'soundtrack' LP.  

John would re-introduce "Mean Mr. Mustard" but it remained an unfinished piece of work.  They would make another attempt at Paul's "Maxwell's Silver Hammer" but their performance is incomplete.

Amazingly they entertain the idea of performing their 'upcoming' show in either Africa or Saudi Arabia.  At least John and Paul are enthusiastic about it.  George and Ringo are still not so keen on playing anywhere except in England.  An even more precarious thought has The Beatles sailing on an ocean liner loaded with fans, continuing their rehearsals as they travel towards their destination to perform at an amphitheater.  No decision is made on this day as all agree to hold off until later to resolve it.

Much of what was filmed on this day made it into the released motion picture, "Let It Be" in 1970.

Beatles tracks from this day are included in the link below:
"I Me Mine" George's tune put together from two different 'takes' which I find interesting as it shows the different approaches they took to the 'middle eight'.
"All Things Must Pass" George's other contribution showing they went pretty far with it, but eventually never used this song for a serious Beatles recording.
"Improvisation" (Free form jamming)

 Here's some more information about George's "I Me Mine" from "A Hard Day's Write" written by Steve Turner.

George himself explains "I Me Mine" in his book with the same name first published in 1980.  "I Me Mine" is interesting in Beatles history because it was worked on a bit in the early days of January, but when the energy became more focused towards a project called "Get Back" it wasn't revisited.  Yet, it was caught on film being played so it was thought it should be properly recorded for the eventual "Let It Be" soundtrack album to coincide with the "Let It Be" movie, and hence the first song that was considered by the group for their early 1969 project became the last to be seriously recorded in 1970.  "I Me Mine" was always a very short tune, so when I uploaded my January 1969 version I was keen to mimic Phil Spector's later handling of it by repeating the middle eight to lengthen the recording, but I was also happy to capture two different approaches which were being used in the earlier attempts at the song.

9 January 1969 - This day seemingly found everyone in more productive spirits.  Paul and Ringo are again the first to arrive which allows Paul to once more play some of his ideas for compositions on the piano including an incomplete "Another Day" which he would record proper in 1971 for a debut solo single.   He also touches upon "The Long and Winding Road", "Let It Be", "Her Majesty", "Golden Slumbers", "Carry That Weight" and "Oh! Darling"

As the group comes together they take a look at George's "For You Blue", and then "Two of Us", "I've Got a Feeling", "One After 909", and "Get Back", still in its early stages of creation.

Although I suppose things are coming together, I really didn't find any performances that seemed to be perfected, yet enjoy listening to standards like "Good Rockin' Tonight" and "Honey, Hush".  They also did what must have been an improvisation which seems to go by the title "Suzy's Parlour".  This 'composition' was actually copyrighted in 1971 under the title "Suzy Parker" (the name of a contemporary fashion model).

Because I love the song so much, the highlight for me is a couple of half-hearted attempts at John's "Across The Universe".  Unfortunately no performance is complete, but I was able to (on my own) cobble together what I thought was the 'best' of two attempts to make a 'track' out of the song.  This is as good as it ever gets for this number during these rehearsals.  

As mentioned earlier "Get Back" itself is still embryonic in its development, and one time warping into a satirical statement about "a movement within the British government that called for the repatriation of non-white immigrants from other member countries of the British Commonwealth".  They would return to this 'theme' during improvisations which became known as "Commonwealth", "Enoch Powell" and "Get Off!".  With this, John and Paul fall into a pattern "offering a fascinating stream-of-consciousness glimpse into their collective memories" by calling out any name that comes into their minds.  (This type of improvisation foreshadows what would become known as "Dig It" later on.) 

At the end of the day, not much is ever said about the proposed live show, except John likes the idea of having it in America, but can't understand how his current drug bust might make that difficult.  Apparently it's Neil Aspinall's task to inquire about this and how it might affect John's visa.    

Yoko is, of course, again present at John's side, but also Paul's significant other, Linda too is in attendance during this day's rehearsals and takes some of the photos shown below.

Beatles tracks from this day are included in the link below:
"Two Of Us" This is an interesting early faster version of the song.
"Across The Universe" Unfortunately a song that is never fully performed but I've edited together two separate attempts in order to make one full performance.
"Across The Universe (Studio Combo)" Since the song was never officially recorded during this period, The Beatles eventually used an older studio version, recorded in 1968, for the "Let It Be" LP released in 1970. That version was stripped of its original backing vocals and instruments for its 1970 release. At this time, in 1969, there were two versions of the recording, one which John Lennon had taken home for his own purposes. More recordings were done later resulting in a version which was eventually released in late 1969, but some have complained that it was sped up to an undesirable pace making it perhaps too fast. I've slowed it back down to a 'normal' speed and combined it with the earlier version which John had taken home putting one on the left track and one on the right, just for the fun of it, and have added it to this collection.
"Suzy's Parlour" (Free form jamming)
"Honey, Hush" (Another fun little bit of jamming)



10 January 1969 - As this work-week came to a close, so did did the curtain come down on "The Beatles at Work" project.  It started off typically, with Paul again the first to arrive.  The Beatles' music publisher, Dick James would make a visit.  Then Ringo arrived.  Light-hearted performances include a version of Tommy Tucker's "Hi Heel Sneakers" a stab at "Catch a Falling Star" and even the theme from The Beatles' Cartoon TV Series.  

The best part of the day is a lively try at Paul's "Get Back" played at a much faster pace than most of the public would ever know.  

Something happened, however.  Some say it was during a lunch break and it happened between John and George.  The long held view is that it was between Paul and George.  As George would reflect on later, it didn't really matter the specifics, but what was plain by that afternoon was that George had left The Beatles.  At some point it was caught on tape, with George calmly telling the other three, "I'm am leaving the band now," John responding, "What? When?" along with George repeating, "Now."  In any case, I think it's fair to say this had been 'brewing' for a long time and so like Ringo before him, George had finally had enough.  

As George would recall for The Beatles Anthology:  "It never came to blows, but I thought, 'What's the point of this?  I'm quite capable of being relatively happy on my own and I'm not able to be happy in this situation.  I'm getting out of here.'

"So I got my guitar and went home and that afternoon wrote 'Wah-Wah'.  It's important to state that a lot of water has gone under the bridge and that, as we talk now, everybody's good friends and we have a better understanding of the past.  But talking about what was happening at that time, you can see it was strange."

 George, not too long before he walks out on The Beatles.

Director Michael Lindsay-Hogg recalls George leaving The Beatles during lunch time:  "We'd finished the first course when George arrived to stand at the end of the table.  We looked at him as he stood silent for a moment.  'See you 'round the clubs,' he said.  That was his good-bye.  He left.  

"John, a person who reacted aggressively to provocation, immediately said, 'Let's get in Eric.  He's just as good and not such a headache.'

"Paul and Ringo would not be drawn in, and after lunch we went back to the studio where Paul, John and Ringo improvised a ferocious riff, half an hour of anger and frustration expressed with guitars and drums.  Yoko sat on the edge of the rostrum on the blue cushion which had been George's and howled into his mike."  

As the camera pans in the film (not shown to the general public) I was able to 'capture' a view which shows John, Paul & Ringo together with Yoko, improvising a wild session which bootleggers identify as a rendition of The Who's "A Quick One While He's Away".  Except for maybe fragments, I can't hear the similarities and see this as much more free-form, finally concluding with a slowed down vocal by John finishing off with Elvis's "Don't Be Cruel".

A little editorial here from myself:  I'm going out on a limb in front of Beatles fandom to make the statement that The Beatles needed Yoko to happen.  This will fly in the face of those who blame her for 'breaking up the band', but let me explain where I'm coming from.  Although many would find what became of this Beatles/Yoko jam session appalling, I can't help but find it completely fascinating.  (Note: Although George is not present here, he would eventually back up John & Yoko during a live performance that would occur at the close of 1969.)

As 'progressive' as the world will always see The Beatles, especially with their music, when it came to women, all four of them were very backwards and old-fashioned in their thinking.  It's a bit strange when four young men who all seemed to love and respect their mothers very well, would treat their own wives/partners as more like commodities than as equals.  Cynthia and Maureen were the most eager to play that part with John and Ringo, although it appears John was finally getting tired of that role even though he perpetuated it.  Jane Asher wouldn't compromise herself, and so her relationship with Paul was probably doomed from the beginning.  Of all, it appears that maybe Pattie had the most 'equal' relationship with George.  

Up until now, however, women had their place in The Beatles' lives, and it certainly was not within the group.  That space was reserved for the men only.  Yoko smashed through that with them, and of course most assuredly, with John.  ...and John seemed to like and encourage it, even though it would still take a long time even for him to get over the idea that he was really the 'one' of the two.

I believe Linda might have been initially willing to have her 'place' in Paul's life, but something must have changed in him because he would soon be taking her into all of the aspects of his musical life, much as John had with Yoko.  I put it down, the beginning of this huge shift in The Beatles' perspective towards women, as being around this period, and I don't think it could have happened without Yoko's 'intervention'.  

Paul delivering a whole lot of guitar feedback into their jamming with Yoko.

Most of the rest of the day the remaining Beatles avoided discussing what had happened, until near the end when John once more let it be known he'd be willing to continue on without George.   As everything draws to a close, Michael Lindsay-Hogg asks if there is even going to be another session come next Monday.  He doesn't really seem to get a decent answer.  

There would be a private meeting of the four Beatles held at Ringo's house on Sunday the 12th of January.  It may be they all knew of this at this time and had hoped things would be ironed out then and they would all be back together on Monday...hence the film crew would be prepared on that day to learn the outcome.

Beatles tracks from this day are included in the link below:
"Theme from The Beatles Cartoons - Catch a Star" Quickie little ditty.
"Hi Heel Sneakers" (Tucker).
"Get Back [Early Fast Version]" 
"A Quick One While He's Away - Don't Be Cruel" [Free Form Jamming with John, Paul, Ringo & Yoko)

13 January 1969 - The meeting at Ringo's home on the 12th was not only unsuccessful, it appears things deteriorated even more resulting in George's refusal to appear back 'at work' Monday morning.  John seemed to take the attitude that if George wasn't showing up, neither would he and most of the day was spent, quite non productively, trying to contact John who wouldn't arrive until late in the afternoon.

With all of this time on their hands, a discussion is held, not surprisingly with John & Yoko as the subject matter in their absence.  It's interesting to note that Paul is the most supportive of them while Neil Aspinall criticizes them for not taking Sunday's meeting seriously.  Paul, while trying to take on the concerns of others as to Yoko's supposed interference into the group's wavelength, also tries to point out that she is not the problem, but John's possible reliance upon her, which may create a distraction to him.  Yet, while still defending them both, Paul claims when John gets really serious about something you can have his full participation, adding that he and John's songwriting partnership had begun to wane well before Yoko's arrival due to them no longer sharing the physical closeness that they had in previous years.

The ultimate end of The Beatles is brought up, with an idea Paul and Neil had about having, during the live Beatles' performance, an intercut with news reports from around the world, with the final report announcing the break-up of the group.  Everyone thinks this is a good idea, but Linda points out realistically that no one really wants that kind of ending.

When John & Yoko finally arrive the three remaining work some more on "Get Back" but besides that, not much is accomplished on this day and by 5pm they wrap it up.

Paul explaining his vision for filming The Beatles' live performance.  It is interesting to note that Paul has an aversion here to quick cutting, yet I recall seeing later video clips of his performances with Wings with such quick cutting, I found them unwatchable.

Linda, being much more verbal on this day in John & Yoko and George's absence.

John & Yoko wouldn't arrive until 3pm allowing for only a couple of hours work on "Get Back" and then it was over for this rehearsal.

14 January 1969 - This day is kind of an interesting one.  For starters, it's amazing that it happened in the first place, with George gone, and John & Yoko once more showing up late.  All I can think of is that The Beatles still weren't quite ready to 'give it all up' completely.  

With Paul and Ringo being the first to arrive a seemingly spontaneous 'boogie-woogie' piano duet springs from the two as they do a short performance that would wind up in their completed film, and as such was copyrighted by Apple as "Jazz Piano Song" even going so far as to list it as a McCartney/Starkey composition.

It has been said the John & Yoko had been up into the night doing drugs the previous evening, which may have contributed to their being late arriving on this day, and I have to admit John looks a bit out of it still as he and Yoko were filmed soon after they arrived being interviewed by a 'Canadian crew'.  Later, however, he looks much better and even leads Paul on piano (who is now playing guitar in George's place) and Ringo in a few jam sessions.

Before this, however, Peter Sellers drops in with Joe McGrath, the director and co-author of "The Magic Christian", the film in which Ringo will join in as part of the supporting cast.  They exchange a rather admittedly uncomfortable, but somewhat amusing banter between mainly John & Peter along with Paul, Ringo and the rest who are really just sitting around doing nothing at that time.

As the day continues, The Beatles do actually play some music (as mentioned earlier) performing John's "Mean Mr. Mustard" along with an unpublished tune called "Madman" and another one titled "Watching Rainbows" concluding with more improvisations including one which some bootleggers give the title as "Don't Start Running".

One point of interest is John's very short crooning of the lyrics to the still unreleased "You Know My Name (Look Up The Number)" which had the backing track originally recorded in mid 1967.  I don't know if The Beatles had lyrics to the tune back then or if by 1969 some had been finally conjured up.

As the day ends, somehow someone has apparently got a hold of George Harrison by telephone and it appears that George will be returning from Liverpool the following day.  You can hear John's surprise when Paul tells him the news as he says, "Tomorrow?  So tomorrow we go and see him, you think?  Or, so we don't go here, what?  Or we come here and then go there in the afternoon?"

Paul responds, "I don't know, really.  I think we stop filming now as a matter of policy, yeah?"

With that, the day's recordings come to an end.  The next day on the 15th, it appears that Paul is the only one who spends any time at Twickenham practicing his "Oh! Darling" before heading on over to meet George with the other Beatles to discuss their current state of affairs.   (Or maybe this piece of information comes from his being there late on the 14th?)

Regardless of the particulars, The Beatles all did get together on the 15th and George did indeed agree to return to the group.  It was decided to abandon the cavernous Twickenham Studios and the idea of performing live in front of an audience.  Instead, The Beatles would continue their work in the more comfortable studios of the basement at Apple headquarters at Savile Row, London.  There, it was agreeable to continue being filmed for the making of a new Beatles LP.  Thus the TV documentary, "Beatles At Work" would now evolve into what would be known as the "Get Back" sessions.

Beatles tracks from this day are included in the link below:
"Jazz Piano Song" Paul and Ringo on piano.
"Mean Mr. Mustard - Madman" Two of John's compositions, both I believe unfinished but melded into one here.
"Watching Rainbows" Another 'improvised' piece of music lead by John.
"Improvisation" [Free Form Jamming]
"Don't Start Running" Really another improvised free form piece of jamming as far as I can tell.

13 & 17 January 1969 -  The soundtrack LP to The Beatles "Yellow Submarine" motion picture is finally released in the USA first on the 13th and then in the UK on the 17th.

As mentioned previously, The Beatles didn't have high enthusiasm for the film, a left-over project from their manager, Brian Epstein, who had initially set it in motion for them.  After seeing it, however, they came to appreciate its value and even regretted they didn't spend more time being involved with it.  Hence, up until that time, little attention was given to releasing an LP to coincide with the film and with their new double-LP ready for the Christmas season, "Yellow Submarine" had to wait until now for its release, and was indeed prevented from making the #1 spot in the charts due to "The Beatles" already in circulation, but it did top out at #2.  

I'd mentioned earlier that considering the two previously 'padded' American LPs "A Hard Day's Night" and "Help!", it's a bit weird The Beatles were mildly criticized for releasing an LP of half of their music and half of film music, again put together by George Martin.  At least this time around the kids didn't have to skip over tracks of incidental music to get to the sounds of our heroes (although admittedly only 4 of the 6 this time were really 'new' songs).   If they didn't want to, they didn't have to listen to side 2 where all of George Martin orchestrations (which were pretty good, by the way) resided.  

The UK cover is essentially the same as the US version except, most noticeably, the words "Nothing is Real" are omitted in the USA.

 These are photos of the UK version of The Beatles "Yellow Submarine" front and back covers along with the Apple UK Label.  The UK back cover serves as a literal advertisement for their then current release "The Beatles" with liner notes written by Derek Taylor.

The US back cover for "Yellow Submarine" was a bit different with another set of liner notes written by Dan Davis followed by the US Apple labels.

 This was my first true Beatles LP my parents bought for me in 1969.  I can still remember seeing it on the display shelf but not remembering which store we were in at the time.  (My first Beatles single was "Yesterday" from back in 1965, which I talked my Grandmother into buying for me at Woolworths.)

We'd obtained a copy of the first big USA single, "I Want To Hold Your Hand" which was my sister's.  For some reason we missed their first LP, but my brother got "The Beatles' Second Album" later in 1964.  Again we missed out on "A Hard Day's Night" but my brother once more got the later LP "Beatles '65" and "The Early Beatles" in 1965.  

I recall a friend of mine having a copy of "Help!" and for some reason we missed out on that ourselves along with "Rubber Soul" and "Revolver", all which I would enjoy buying for myself, along with the others we'd not obtained, later when the 1970s were upon us.  We did continue with the singles, however, my sister getting copies of "Eight Days A Week" & "Ticket To Ride" and eventually "Hey Jude".  (I still remember hearing "Yellow Submarine" on the radio and how popular it was at the time, my brother making jokes about the title substituting the word "submarine" with "septic tank"!)

My sister also got the LPs "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band" and "Magical Mystery Tour" which I listened to a lot.  I was just learning to read and would follow along with the music while looking at those lyrics on the back cover of "Sgt. Pepper".  I recall hearing "The Beatles" double-LP when a friend of my brother's brought a copy over one day.  I seem to remember being a bit frightened of them at that time as they'd evolved so much since 1964.  Although my brother did have a tape cassette for "Abbey Road", I eventually got "The Beatles Again" (aka the "Hey Jude" LP) and finally for my 10th birthday, Mom and Dad presented me with "Let It Be".

20 January 1969 - As promised, The Beatles were back together on this day in the basement of their Apple headquarters to test out the recording equipment that had been installed by 'Magic Alex' Mardas.  What they found, however, left them in a completely unsuitable state.

Dave Harries (recording engineer) recalls:  "The mixing console was made of a bit of wood and an old oscilloscope.  It looked like the control panel of a B-52 bomber.  They actually tried a session on this desk, they did a take, but when they played back the tape it was all hum and hiss.  Terrible."

Alan Parsons (tape operator at that time) concurs:  "The metal was an eighth of an inch out around the knobs and switches.  It had obviously been done with a hammer and chisel instead of being properly designed and machined.  It did pass signals but Glyn Johns said, 'I can't do anything with this.  I can't make a record with this board.'"

This forced The Beatles to aquire equipment from EMI Studios at Abbey Road.  Brought in, with the help of George Martin, were two four-track consoles to be used along with their own 3M eight-track tape machines which were all installed by the next day.  

The fate of Alex Mardas's equipment was summed up by Geoff Emerick:  "The mixing console was sold as scrape to a secondhand electronics shop in the Edgware Road for £5.  It wasn't worth any more."

It is said that The Beatles did spend time together 'performing a number of songs' this Monday but nothing appears to have been recorded.  

Mal Evans (right) with Apple assistant work to bring in needed equipment for The Beatles to record at Apple Studios.

21 January 1969 - It is apparent that The Beatles were serious about getting this job completed as they would return every single day to the Apple studio through to the end of the month.  (Some older but credible sources state that The Beatles weren't able to resume working until the 22nd, but film footage and audio sources seem to concur they were ready to roll on the 21st.)

The audio sources reveal, however, somewhat of a setback, initially anyway.  In this more secure and controlled environment, the playing is at first even more lackluster, the sound not so good and one wonders if it was wise they even tried to 'get back to where they once belonged'. 

In fact one of the more interesting things to listen to isn't the music, but a conversation between John and Paul about the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, where Paul says something to the effect of how tragic his words of peace were silenced by a crazy person to which John adds that it really wasn't a crazy person who murdered him, "It was business."  

Either things improved this day, or the audio that follows is really from the 22nd, but they do finally settle down into credible tries at "Dig a Pony", "I've Got a Feeling", "Don't Let Me Down" and a version of "She Came In Through the Bathroom Window" that was deemed good enough to be included on "The Beatles Anthology 3" in 1996.


If it was a problem between George and John that was the straw that broke The Beatles' back causing George to leave the group, it appears that John at least is doing his best to be cordial with George here upon his return.


If George was pondering whether his return to The Beatles was a good idea or not, a smile finally tries to emerge from him by the end of the day.

While on his way into London by car, Ringo is interviewed by David Wigg, the first of many Mr. Wigg would have with members of The Beatles during these closing days of their careers together.

It's short but interesting coming from the first member to leave the group the previous year, while now coming together again after George's recent departure.  Ringo also discusses his thoughts on John & Yoko's nude LP cover.

This was broadcast on the BBC radio program, "Scene and Heard" on January 25, 1969.  I've uploaded it to the following link:

22 January 1969 - Things did start to 'jell' on this day with better attempts at "Dig a Pony" (one such 'take' was included on "The Beatles Anthology 3") along with performances which would become the beginnings of the first, but unused, version of the "Get Back" LP.  Songs like "Don't Let Me Down" and "I've Got a Feeling" along with little improvisations by The Beatles and a snippet of "Save The Last Dance For Me" made the cut.   I still can't understand for the life of me, however, why they used a version of "I've Got a Feeling" that breaks down and is incomplete!  This was not only selected for the proposed LP, but when that went by the wayside, years later it was finally issued on "The Beatles Anthology 3".  There were plenty of other 'takes' of that song which were at least as good (in my opinion) and that were complete performances so this has always baffled me.

Of the dialogue which was captured today one of the more interesting bits concerned the mother of Stuart Sutcliffe, who made an impassioned plea to The Beatles for money to help support her in her time of 'need' and 'illness'.  As George read her words, John interjected, "Illness...she's alcoholic."  George continues, "I beg of you, please come if only for the sake of the boy you once knew."  John's reply was, "Fuckin' hell, what's that got to do with me?" to which Paul adds, "What does it have to do with Stu?  I mean she didn't know him."  John replies, "No, he hated her anyways.  I remember at college, he used to tell me, 'cept for she gave him 20 ciggies a day and 5 bob.  So I mean it's registered (the letter) so I gotta just write to her and say, 'What?' or something, I oughta  ..Can we count her in on the Rock and Roll show?"    

That infamous photo which shows the uninspired look on everyone concerned and seems to indicate that the magic isn't there any more as The Beatles listen to the playback of their efforts. 

By far the most important event of the day was the addition of Billy Preston to the band!  For the first time since the beginning, The Beatles would once more be a quintet.  It was George Harrison who, perhaps sensing they needed an outside professional to help them all fall 'in line', grabbed Mr. Preston from the Apple Studio reception area this day and talked him into joining the sessions.  Along with his organist skill, Mr. Preston would add a vital fifth instrument to the live sound that the group was trying to capture. Logically he fit in perfectly as backed up by some words from John Lennon, where it was felt the songs needed his participation.  John would later tell him, "You're giving us a lift, Bill!"

At one point you can hear Mr. Preston being introduced to George Martin by John, remarking how The Beatles knew him from the Star Club days of 1962 when he was backing Little Richard. 

Beatles tracks from this day are included in the link below:
"Dig A Pony" This is a combination from three different tracks recorded on this day.
"I've Got A Feeling [Extended Version]" This edit contains an 'introduction' with just George alone, strumming away on January 6, 1969 and leads into a band instrumental introduction, of sorts, which was recorded on January 23rd leading into a complete 'performance' which is an edit of two 'takes' from this day, January 22nd and finally ending with a 'coda' which was performed on January 27, 1969.

(It was my feeling that I did not want to simply present songs that are already very familiar to Beatles fans, but to come up with something, somehow, which is unique and 'new' to most listeners.  This is why these tracks have been so extensively edited, in this case.)

More information about "Dig A Pony" and "I've Got A Feeling" from "A Hard Day's Write" by Steve Turner.

23 January 1969 - A definite turning point in the history of the "Get Back" sessions, as not only were everyone seemingly happy and cooperative, but the day yielded a version of "Get Back" (although not ultimately used) that was good enough to be mixed proper and I believe acetate discs were made of it as well.  Much of the day had been spent on this one song and the results were good enough to put everyone in agreement that this number should be the next Beatles single, and it eventually was.  From now on, everything revolved around it and they had a foundation to build off of.  The Beatles were finally ready to "Get Back"!

Ringo's "Octopus's Garden" would also emerge this day, still unfinished, and not much was made of it yet.  "I've Got a Feeling" was touched upon, and so was "Oh! Darling", but that tune would never seriously be recorded by The Beatles at this time.  Finally, after a pretty cool 'blues instrumental', a fun version of "Twenty Flight Rock" was performed but unfortunately Paul (who so famously impressed John Lennon with his complete rendition of it in their youth) this time around couldn't remember the words!

Beatles tracks from this day are included in the link below:
"Blues Instrumental" A nice bit of bluesy improvisation by the group.
"Get Back [Extended Version]" This edit contains an 'introduction' with just Paul alone, strumming away on January 7, 1969 and leads into a band instrumental introduction, of sorts, which was recorded on January 24th leading into a complete 'performance' from this day the 23rd, which was at first considered the best version of the song up to that time, concluding with an extended ending which was performed on January 27, 1969.

More information about "Get Back" from the book "A Hard Day's Write" by Steve Turner.

New Fifth Beatle, Billy Preston arrives and is ready to go! 

At one time during the day, John & Yoko get to do their 'thing'! 

George, Ringo and 'producer' Glyn Johns 

Listening to an energetic playback of "Get Back" and realizing that maybe The Beatles aren't entirely 'through' yet! 

Ringo on the right, and I believe that is director Michael Lindsay-Hogg on the left.

24 January 1969 - As usual, there were a lot of tunes 'covered' on this day, but not much worthy of preservation in the annals of Beatles history.  I believe, however, it was the day for "Two of Us", titled "On Our Way Home" at this stage.  Paul can be heard at one time referring to the tune as a sort of follow-up to "Get Back", as in 'now we are "On Our Way Home"'.  Indeed a version of it from today was selected for the original "Get Back" LP, and also another one was released on "The Beatles Anthology 3".   (An earlier faster version was caught on tape January 9th, which was kind of exciting as many of the later takes played out a bit slow.)  

Paul tried earnestly to introduce a tune of his to everyone, "Teddy Boy", but it was never properly recorded by The Beatles.  Indeed they only got past a few rough tries, including one on this day where John begins to ad-lib in a way which may not have helped the song, but did come off amusing enough that Glyn Johns would work on, edit it down a bit, and put it on the running order for his original "Get Back" LP.  That's as far as it would go, however, as it was soon dropped from any planned release and Paul would later record it properly for his LP "McCartney" in 1970.  Bits of it combined with another attempt on January 28th, however, did make "The Beatles Anthology 3".  

Paul would also have a crack at "Her Majesty" which eventually found its way on the "Abbey Road" LP by a miracle, and it was what it was, never progressing past the very short little ditty that it is here.   John, in turn, threw out for the only known time during these sessions, "Polythene Pam", which is marred only by his continual halting mid-tune and then restarting, as if he couldn't remember either the lyrics or how to play it.  

Continuing on with 'short ditties' The Beatles also did a couple of tries at "Maggie Mae", one of which would not only make it onto the original "Get Back" LP, but would survive to the released "Let It Be" record in 1970.  

Perhaps the exact opposite in regards to brevity, "Dig It" made it's debut today, and although there wasn't much to the lyrics as they were as repetitive as the previous numbers, this one would go on for well over 5 minutes.  This was an early version of this 'song' as it would be redone later and it would be a snippet of that version which would be released.  (A few bits of dialogue from John at the end of this 'take', however, would be grafted onto that later attempt of "Dig It" for album release.)  This and a few more 'improvisations' made for an interesting output for this day.

Beatles tracks from this day are included in the link below:
"Improvisation" (Group jamming session)
"Dig It [Version One]" 
"Her Majesty" (Paul's short ditty makes a debut)
"Teddy Boy" A version of this song did make it on the first "Get Back" LP compilation, but what made it most interesting at that time was its failure as a song contender and Paul and (in particular) John's humor at pointing that out while playing it. I'm particularly fond of this edit I made up from this day combined with another attempt at it from January 29th, which helps it come off probably as good as it's going to get as played by first Paul and then The Beatles. Paul would, of course, release a studio version later on his first solo LP in 1970.
"Maggie Mae - I Fancy Me Chances" - "Maggie Mae" was actually played a few times during these sessions like "Dig It" but this version is a bit more up-tempo and to add more interest to it I also linked a short ditty onto the end which is something both John and Paul obviously know, but its origin is not known.  Some say it comes from an early Lennon/McCartney original.
"Polythene Pam" This tune makes it only showing on this day with John almost 'stuttering' it out with frequent stops and re-starts as if he was having trouble remembering the lyric. I'm proud of my effort to edit all of that out presenting what appears to now be a complete performance.

More information about "Dig It" from the book "A Hard Day's Write" by Steve Turner.

25 January 1969 - Billy Preston was not present on this day and I'm not certain why he was absent.

Although they would work more on "Two of Us" (and produce a take which, for me, is as good as any of the released versions) and then more earnestly on "Let It Be", the day belongs to George's "For You Blue" which would yield the version chosen for the "Get Back" LP and would survive, albeit with a newly recorded vocal by George, to the final "Let It Be" LP.  A version from today would also be released on "The Beatles Anthology 3" in 1996.

George had offered up "All Things Must Pass" and "I Me Mine", not to mention completely failed attempts at trying to introduce his "Hear Me Lord", "Let It Down" and even "Isn't It A Pity".  The group finally settled on his "For You Blue" which would be the only George Harrison effort they seriously worked on during the entire "Get Back" sessions.  The reason "I Me Mine" was included on the "Let It Be" LP was that some work on it would appear in the "Let It Be" film, so it was decided to knock it off in the studio in early 1970 for the 'soundtrack' recording.  George would continue during these final days of the current sessions to introduce songs which still wouldn't be given proper attention by the group as a whole.  Those would include "Old Brown Shoe" and "Something", but their time coming was on the horizon.

When The Beatles began real work on "Let It Be" today, Paul still hadn't finished the two final verses, and he wouldn't apparently until the very end as it appears only two 'takes' of that song seem to exist of it as completed, one which appears on the LP releases, and the other which is shown in the film.

Beatles tracks from this day are included in the link below:

"For You Blue" contains a sort of 'introduction' with just George alone taken from the earlier date of January 9th, which blends into a band intro and then the song proper from this day, January 25th.  To make it interesting, some guitar solos by George were also added from different 'takes' made this day.
"Two Of Us" A version of the song as good as any, in my opinion, from today's sessions.  

Beatles 25 Jan 1969

Here is more information about "For You Blue" and "Two of Us" from "A Hard Day's Write" by Steve Turner.

Fab photos of Ringo and Paul checking out the roof where in a matter of days they'd be 'performing' from.  It would be as far as they could go 'live' as The Beatles.

26 January 1969 - Continuing without a break during the weekend, The Beatles showed up on this Sunday (including the return of Billy Preston) to see what fruit might bear from their getting together.

All Beatles projects included something special from Ringo.  Even "Magical Mystery Tour" revolved around Ringo and his Aunt Jessie, although it contained no 'real' Ringo song in it.  (Still, his name appeared on the one instrumental track as co-writer.)   He would showcase a solo penned tune on their last double record and today as he and George were the first to arrive they began work on his next song, "Octopus's Garden".   Unfortunately it was very unfinished, and would remain that way for some time to come, but as Paul and John arrived, eventually everyone would put a little time in an attempt at making something out of it.

Ringo might not have felt too neglected as not only was George himself finding it difficult to get anyone to focus on any of his offered tunes, John had pretty much dried up and even Paul's contributions weren't seriously looked at today with the exception of "The Long and Winding Road".  It would 'come together' at the end of the day and (although they may have not been totally satisfied with it at the time) it was this version of the song that would be the one to make it to not only the "Get Back" LP but the completed "Let It Be" LP as well, adorned with a Phil Spector lead orchestra.  (The 'naked' version of "The Long and Winding Road" would finally be officially released in 1996 on "The Beatles Anthology 3".  Paul would use a later performance (from the 31st of January) of the tune for his "Let It Be: Naked" LP venture in 2003.)

Still a lot of interesting sound came from this day with The Beatles.  It was probably their most 'successful' day playing the oldies, with a rendition of "Don't Let The Sun Catch You Crying" a medley of tunes, "Rip It Up", "Shake, Rattle and Roll", "Kansas City", "Miss Ann", "Lawdy Miss Crawdy" along with "Blue Suede Shoes" and "You Really Got A Hold On Me".  There were also a few intriguing 'improvisations' and stabs at "The Tracks of My Tears", "Agent Double O Soul", "S.O.S" and "I'm Movin' On".

There were more, of course, including a rare George Harrison tune "Window, Window" but these weren't real performances and in fact I'm pushing it when I included the titles above as I lead the reader to believe these are full-take recordings.  The Beatles may still have not been concerning themselves with a schedule to output real product, but they did seem to be having a good time, maybe still thinking just the fact they were together something would come of it.  In a way, it does, because the atmosphere is relaxing and one can get the feel of what it was like to be included inside the world of these four brothers for a day, just hanging out and playing, because I'd say that's basically what they did today.

One 'jam' which came from it all was titled "Dig It" which was somewhat patterned from the January 24th 'attempt' at the 'song' but it was definitely 'arranged' differently and very long at roughly over 12 minutes of playing.  (Much of it was 'marred' with Heather Eastman, Linda's daughter, 'singing' into the microphone sounding much like Yoko's screeching.)  This version of "Dig It" would be parred down to about 4 minutes for the "Get Back" LP release, and then down to just seconds for "Let It Be" in 1970.

Beatles (cover!) tracks and jamming from this day are included in the link below:

"Don't Let The Sun Catch You Crying" Paul singing a song "based on Ray Charles' 1960 performance."
Medley: "Rip It Up - Shake, Rattle and Roll - Kansas City - Miss Ann - Lawdy Miss Crawdy" The Beatles drift from one golden oldie into another starting with "Rip It Up" which was originally recorded by Little Richard in 1956, leading into a rocking favorite covered by many, "Shake, Rattle and Roll" but first recorded by Big Joe Turner in 1954, followed by the blending of "Kansas City" and "Miss Ann", both recorded by Little Richard, however the arrangement of "Kansas City" is from the 1959 performance by Wilbert Harrison along with "Lawdy Miss Crawdy", originally recorded by Lloyd Price in 1952, but it may have been the Elvis rendition of 1956 they were thinking of. 
"Blue Suede Shoes" Carl Perkins' wonderful rocker, but performed with a nod to the Elvis Presley version.
"You Really Got a Hold On Me" by Smokey Robinson and The Miracles, performed in 1962 and covered by The Beatles on their second 1963 LP, "With The Beatles".  (Note that a portion of this performance made it in the "Let It Be" film.)
Medley: "The Tracks of My Tears - Agent Double O Soul - S.O.S. - I'm Movin' On" This group of songs begins with another by Smokey Robinson and The Miracles, "The Tracks of My Tears" released in 1965 followed by snatches of other tunes.
"Improvisation #1" (Free form jamming.)
"Improvisation #2" (Free form jamming.)

George and Ringo were the first to arrive, and consequently George began working with Ringo on his new song, "Octopus's Garden".  Unfortunately it was not completed during this time.

George Martin adding percussion to "Dig It", with The Beatles.

Billy Preston was back today and rockin' the keys!

Linda Eastman's daughter, Heather, was 'guest' civilian at today's session, and even got her voice on tape with The Beatles while enjoying visiting each one.

A very blurry image of one of the interesting 'Improvisations' of the day with Paul on drums (Ringo behind him) and Yoko keeping it down to just lending 'ambience'. 

Peace & Love!

27 January 1969 - Even though they'd had a breakthrough with "Get Back" on the 23rd of the month, with a recorded take which was at first deemed 'best' for release, it was today when they finally made a version of the song which couldn't be beat, and was to become their new single.  Even then, however, just as they came to the finish George can be heard saying, "We missed that end, didn't we?"

That 'ending' or musical 'coda' would be recorded the next day and then later tacked onto today's 'take' for release, showing from the start that when it came to presenting what The Beatles had done this month to the world, they couldn't totally rely on finding the fresh, one-take wonder they were looking for each song they recorded.  They would have to continue to work with studio 'trickery' because in many cases what they were producing, at least they felt, wasn't good enough to stand totally on its own.  (Even though it wasn't used, there was an extended 'ending' for "Get Back" which was recorded today which I found pretty cool.)

Of other interest in today, a version of "Oh! Darling" was eventually released on "The Beatles Anthology 3" in 1996, but I believe they did a better attempt on the 31st, that final day of recording.   They also worked more on "I've Got a Feeling" recording a cool sounding extended ending for that as well, in my opinion.

What would become the flip-side for their new single, "Don't Let Me Down" was attempted on this day, and it was pretty good, but a better version would be recorded later.

Some more interesting 'improvisations' would be caught on tape as well, along with a jam session that ended with Paul and John singing what they could remember from a 1958 Jimmy McCracklin tune called "The Walk" which initially was considered good enough to be included on a very early set of acetates prepared for by Glyn Johns in March.  "The Walk" wouldn't make it to the "Get Back" LP, however, or any further.

George would make an attempt to teach the others another one of his songs, "Old Brown Shoe" which they would record seriously later in the year and "Let It Be" and "The Long and Winding Road" would also be looked at, but the day belonged to "Get Back".

Beatles tracks from this day are included in the link below:

"Improvisation" which is really a combination of two separate bits of free-form jamming from today which I edited together.
"Don't Let Me Down" is actually a combination of several takes from today, the 28th, and an ending which I liked from earlier on the 22nd of January.  It came off kind of weird and not fully in sync, but I like the feeling of desperation that seems to come across with this 'version' which I made up, that you will never hear elsewhere.
"I Told You Before" is a name the bootleggers have for what is another jam session.  After I worked on this one I realized I'd already looked at it earlier, but this is a longer 'version' with less distortion.
"You Won't Get Me This Way - The Walk" is probably the best way you can hear this slice of music.  I was never much fond of "The Walk" edited and presented as an early "Get Back" LP contender, but I kind of like this loose, more 'complete' longer version.
"Get Back - Water Water" doesn't necessarily mean so much except it's interesting to hear John sing "Get Back" as Paul croons to the song "Water Water".
"I Told You Before" (Short Version)  As mentioned earlier, I'd worked on this sound previously and obviously thought it should be pruned a bit at that point, but then changed my mind later.  Nonetheless, I still couldn't delete this earlier shorter version I'd put together, so here it is.

Beatles 27 Jan 1969

Here is more information about "Don't Let Me Down" from the book "A Hard Day's Write" by Steve Turner.

The Beatles as seen from inside the control room.

John acting silly as they listen to a playback of "Dig It" in the control booth.

28 January 1969 - Another day in which the effort of this project seems to become worthwhile and bear some fruit.  There was an interesting bluesy type rendition of "The Long and Winding Road", once more they recorded "I've Got a Feeling""Dig A Pony" and an attempt at "On The Road to Marrakesh" aka "Child of Nature" but unfortunately nothing came from that.  There was a 1969 look at "Love Me Do" which wasn't too badly done, however, it certainly wasn't meant for public consumption.

The ending for their new single "Get Back" was lifted from a take this day which extended beyond the edit used.  "Don't Let Me Down" was completed for the 'B' side of that single.

"One After 909" had been played during the early days of the month, but today it was begun to be worked on more seriously with a version that was completed which sounded a bit more like the original 1963 studio version than what it would become.

George offered "Old Brown Shoe" again and they would get farther with it today, but serious recordings of it were still off into the future.   George also tried early work with the group on his "Something" today.  He hadn't finished the lyric to the song and John can be heard helping him get past that for the sake of getting the instruments worked out for it instead.  (No known full 'take' of "Something" has surfaced from this period, unfortunately.)

Another tune which would become John's "I Want You (She's So Heavy)" was begun on this day and a highlight is a short jam session led by Billy Preston!  When was the last time The Beatles backed another artist?  Quite an honor for Mr. Preston, and it sounds pretty good too!

The other point of interest on this day is that The Beatles met Allen Klein together for the first time.  The group had been thinking of buying out what was left of NEMS but Mr. Klein suggested that he look into their finances first before they made that venture.

Beatles tracks from this day are included in the link below:

"Love Me Do" The Beatles get 'way' back and dive into the memory of their first EMI single.
"One After 909" An interesting performance as this take seems to follow more the original 1963 studio version than what the delivery was to become for this tune.
"Old Brown Shoe" An edit of several takes from this day to make this 'complete' version of George's next contribution to the band.
"Unless He Has a Song - Sticks and Stones" It's Billy Preston and 'his' band, The Beatles!  The Fab Four back up another artist for the first time in many years.
"How Do You Tell Someone" A curiosity as it has been said this is from an unreleased George Harrison number.

In the control room listening to a playback with (L2R) Ringo, Paul, Michael Lindsay-Hogg & Linda.

Blurry black & white snapshots of Yoko, John and Billy Preston.

Either John changed his shirt or this is from another day.  It appears to be the same day by studying the background.

Derek Taylor, Linda and Glyn Johns

Ringo, with (I believe) Alistair Taylor, Paul & George Martin

 The two Georges.

29 January 1969 - The final day inside the Apple offices before attempting to perform 'live' while outside and on top of the roof of their building.  There are discussions about it and all seem to be in agreement to give it a go, but no formal rehearsal for the event takes place.  Billy Preston is again absent from today's work, and again I'm not certain why.

What would become a bridge of sorts from this moment to their final long-playing record project, "I Want You (She's So Heavy)", still known at this time as only "I Want You", was again worked on this day.  (They would return to it in the weeks ahead and eventually finish it off and include it on the "Abbey Road" LP.)

Other tunes they would return to on this day include George's "All Things Must Pass", "Let It Down", "Something", Paul's "Teddy Boy" (again!), "She Came In Through the Bathroom Window", John's "Dig It" got yet another and final version played, "One After 909" and the best of their oldies on this day included "Maybe Baby", "Crying, Waiting, Hoping", "Mailman, Bring Me No More Blues" (which was edited, re-arranged, and released in 1996 on "The Beatles Anthology 3"), and a 'medley' of "Cannonball", "Not Fade Away", "Hey Little Girl" & "Peggy Sue Got Married" the importance here being the focus on Buddy Holly songs which so influenced The Beatles, but were not so prominently represented on their official releases.

Here is more information about "One After 909" from the book "A Hard Day's Write" by Steve Turner.

Beatles tracks from this day are included in the link below:

"Let It Down" - George's tune which, although not properly recorded at this time, comes off pretty close to how it eventually was released.
"Dig It" gets its 3rd and final try, interesting in that this time John shouts out all of the current Beatles' tunes they potentially now have on their roster, even if some aren't completely written yet.
"Something" - I admit I was really pulling for a full Beatles take on this great George song.  As far as I can tell, it never happens during the 'Get Back' days.  Still, I'm proud of myself for culling together 5 or 6 pieces of Beatles attempts at it from this and the previous day to simulate what a 'full performance' might have sounded like had it happened during these sessions.  (Listen to a John Lennon lead vocal halfway through!)
"One After 909" is a full-on performance much closer to what they'd perform on the rooftop, but made up of two attempts from this day with and 'intro' I took from the previous day of the 28th.
"Maybe Baby" marks a the beginning of a series of Buddy Holly covers showing a rare nod to a very influential artist upon the group.
"Crying, Waiting, Hoping" - More Buddy Holly memories.
"Mailman, Bring Me No More Blues" - As the Buddy Holly 'tribute' continues, this track is included.  It was released in 1996 on "The Beatles Anthology 3" but in a rearranged and edited presentation.  This is the original sound.
Medley: "Cannonball - Not Fade Away - Hey Little Girl - Peggy Sue Got Married - Thinking of Linking" - Maybe a bit messy but still fun for me, this series of bits from Duane Eddy, Buddy Holly, Dee Clark and what is thought to be an early Lennon/McCartney composition much inspired by Buddy Holly.


30 January 1969 - An exciting day from beginning to end!  With the decision to finally play outdoors on the roof of the Apple offices, that would be as far as The Beatles could go playing what could technically be called a 'live' performance, but not an official concert.

Paul recalls:  "It was a very strange location because there was no audience...  So we were playing virtually to nothing -- to the sky, which was quite nice.  They filmed downstairs in the street -- and there were a lot of city gents looking up:  'What's that noise?'"

George adds:  "We went on the roof in order to resolve the live concert idea, because it was much simpler than going anywhere else; also nobody had ever done that, so it would be interesting to see what happened when we started playing up there.  It was a nice little social study."

Sound engineer Alan Parsons recalls:  "...nobody ever questioned The Beatles.  'They want to do it on the roof?  Fine, it will be done'.  (That) day it was very windy and early in the morning Glyn (Johns) sent me out to buy ladies stockings to put over the mikes, to prevent the wind from getting into them. I felt a right prat going into Marks and Spencer's and asking for a pair of stockings.  'What size sir?' 'Oh, it doesn't matter.' The look they gave me was very, very weird!"

Technical engineer Dave Harries adds:  "Early that morning at about five o'clock, we (he and co-engineer Keith Slaughter) were driving towards London in an EMI car, full of ropes and blocks and tackle, bits of wood, amplifiers, speakers, God knows what, and we got pulled by the law in Kings Langley.  We had these big coats and hats on and looked for all the world like a couple of burglars.  The copper asked where we were going and we said, 'If we told you you wouldn't believe us...' so he let us go!"

The roughly 42 minutes The Beatles were on that roof playing was captured by Glyn Johns down in the basement of Apple on the eight-track audio tapes broken down to as follows:  1) Paul vocal; 2) John (and George) vocal; 3) Billy Preston's organ playing; 4) Paul's bass; 5) the sync track for the film crew; 6) Ringo's drums; 7) John's guitar; 8) George's guitar.

A full 40 minutes on top of that roof can be downloaded via this link:  Beatles 30 Jan 1969

In putting together this set of performances, I opted to keep it consistent by sticking with the original mono bootleg source throughout as much of what was played here has been released in stereo and I wanted to avoid flipping back and forth between these sources, many which are so well known.

There were nine performances, but some of the songs were repeated so the 'show' goes as follows:

"Get Back" (1) - more of a 'rehearsal' and not used on any record or final film.
"Get Back" (2) - used in the "Let It Be" film edited with footage from the 'rehearsal'.
"Don't Let Me Down" (1) - used in the "Let It Be" film
"I've Got a Feeling" (1) - used in the "Let It Be" film and LP record.
"One After 909" - used in the "Let It Be" film and both the "Get Back" and "Let It Be" LP records.
"Dig a Pony" -  used in the "Let It Be" film and LP record (although slightly edited).
"I've Got a Feeling" (2) - not used in its entirety on any record or film.
"Don't Let Me Down" (2) - not used in its entirety on any record or film.
"Get Back" (3) - used in the "Let It Be" film and finally released on record with "The Beatles Anthology 3"

Dave Harries continues:  "There were people hanging off balconies and out of every office window all around.  The police were knocking on the door -- George Martin went white!  We really wanted to stop the traffic, we wanted to blast out the entire West End..."

Paul recalls:  "In the end it started to filter up from Mal that the police were complaining.  We said, 'We're not stopping.'  He said, 'The police are going to arrest you.' 'Good end to the film! Let them do it.  Great!  That's an end; 'Beatles Busted on Rooftop Gig'."

Ringo adds:  "I always feel let down about the police.  ...when they came up I was playing away and I thought, 'Oh great!  I hope they drag me off.'  I wanted the cops to drag me off -- 'Get off those drums!' -- because we were being filmed and it would have looked really great, kicking the cymbals and everything.  Well, they didn't, of course, they just came bumbling in; 'You've got to turn that sound down.'  It would have been fabulous."

John, of course, had the final word when it was all over:  "I'd like to say thank you on behalf of the group and ourselves, and I hope we've passed the audition."

Alan Parsons sums it all up:  "That was one of the greatest and most exciting days of my life.  To see The Beatles playing together and getting an instant feedback from the people around them, five cameras on the roof, cameras across the road, in the was just unbelievable."

The view from the Apple rooftop.

31 January 1969 - Back inside for the "Apple Studio Performance" as noted on the tape boxes with two piano songs "The Long and Winding Road",  "Let It Be" and one acoustic, "Two of Us".  While the outdoor performance was treated a little more loosely and relaxed, today's work was a lot more 'controlled' with The Beatles really attempting to make releasable music.   Everyone, including Billy Preston, was arranged on a platform for more filming with Ringo in his usual spot, Paul up front, George sitting throughout and John and Yoko cross-legged on the floor.

Each of the nine performances the day before had a 'take' number so today began with 'take 10A' of the first song, "Two of Us".   There were a couple of more takes and then onto "The Long and Winding Road" which more time was spent on before finally finishing up with "Let It Be".  

In between takes, as usual, they would play other tunes such as Paul's "Step Inside Love", "Lady Madonna", "Build Me Up Buttercup" and "Let's Have a Party".  They also hit on John's "I Want You (She's So Heavy)" which still didn't have the "She's So Heavy" part added to it yet.  They also did a fairly decent version of Paul's "Oh! Darling" although it wasn't considered or supposed to be a releasable recording itself. 

One take of "Two Of Us" was used on the "Let It Be" LP along with another which was featured in the film.  The same was for "Let It Be" but today's version of "The Long And Winding Road" was at first only shown in the film.  A January 31st recording of "The Long And Winding Road" wouldn't be released on record until "Let It Be...Naked" came out in 2003.

With that, all of the material needed had been committed to tape and film for The Beatles "Get Back" project.

Here is more information about "Let It Be" and "The Long and Winding Road" from the book "A Hard Day's Write" by Steve Turner.

Beatles tracks from this day are included in the link below:

"I Want You (She's So Heavy)" - Still pretty much a jam session, this is a combination of two attempts starting off with one made on the 28th (featuring John with Billy Preston on 'vocals') and ending with the one on the 31st which is interesting as it has Paul taking the 'lead vocal'.  
"Let It Be" gets an 'extended' look to make it something special beginning with an early attempt from the 9th of January leading into another from the 27th and ending with a combination of 'takes' from this day on the 31st.  This was a bit tough to put together and make it interesting since it has been represented so well already over the years but I think I pulled it off using audio not heard from officially before.
"Oh! Darling" - For me, this is the best take they did this day from all other attempts during the entire "Get Back" sessions and a worthy nod to Paul's tune on it's own.
"The Long and Winding Road" has always been a pretty straight-forward song so I was delighted to make something 'special' about this presentation by starting it off with a bluesy instrumental that was recorded on the 28th which refers to the lyrics of this tune, but with Paul on bass instead of piano that  leads into another pretty good take of it from this day, the 31st.

1-3 February 1969 - During these days meetings were held at Apple Headquarters with The Beatles and Allen Klein along with Paul's future father in-law John Eastman to further discuss The Beatles attempt at buying NEMS, Brian Epstein's former company now being run by his brother Clive.

It appears it was Mr. Eastman's idea to conduct the purchase, and Mr. Klein said he believed more time would be needed to study the details of such a purchase.  Mr. Eastman was unhappy with this and tried to expose Mr. Klein as not having good integrity, but in the end Mr. Klein impressed John strongly enough that George and Ringo agreed with him, leaving Paul out of the equation, a first in Beatles history.  Up until now if any one of the group was not happy with any situation, the other three would support him and it would go no further.  Not this time.  Paul was essentially out-voted 3 to 1 creating a very awkward energy which ultimately became the straw that broke the camel's back.

Things did not deteriorate right away, of course.  John Eastman became legal adviser to The Beatles.  Allen Klein got his wish as Clive Epstein agreed to hold off on talks to sell NEMS until Mr. Klein could investigate the financial positions of companies related to The Beatles which included United Artists Corporation (handling The Beatles films), General Artists Corporation (which had handled The Beatles American tours) and EMI along with Capitol Records, Inc.

5 February 1969 - Glyn Johns begins work on assembling an LP for The Beatles "Get Back" sessions.   He commences with the recordings from the live rooftop performances.

3 February - 2 May 1969:  Ringo would report for work on his second film project during this 13 week period. His first acting part made for him was more of a guest appearance in the film "Candy" which, although made over a year previously, still hadn't been released yet.  This role was definitely a co-starring part written specifically for him in a film called "The Magic Christian".  It was Peter Sellers who wanted him to play his adopted son in a story that originally did not have that character.  Terry Southern, who incidentally was also a writer for the original novel for "Candy" had written the novel for "The Magic Christian", and was on hand to help in revising the story to accompany the addition of Ringo's part.  The early filming began at Twickenham Film Studios.

6 December 1968 & 17 February 1969:  What about this new Apple Records venture?

The first non-Beatles LP to be released by the label would be by perhaps the most significant artist 'discovery' promoted by Apple, James Taylor.  His record, "James Taylor" was released in the UK at the beginning of December in 1968 and then finally in the USA in February.

It would be produced by Peter Asher who was now the A&R head for Apple Records and had been recorded at Trident Studios from July-October 1968.  Paul McCartney would play bass and George Harrison provided backing vocals to one track, "Carolina In My Mind".  Although a critical success, the LP was a commercial failure not helped by Mr. Taylor's drug addiction and breakdown which started during the LP's creation.  Peter Asher would stick by Mr. Taylor's side, however, and produced his next record, but it would not be with Apple Records.

One note of interest, a song from the LP, "Something in the Way She Moves" would give George his starting point for his own song, "Something".

The other release that occurred along with "James Taylor" on the same day both in the UK and in the USA was an LP titled, "Under The Jasmin Tree" which had actually been recorded by an American jazz band, the Modern Jazz Quartet, in New York two years previously in December 1967.   I can't really find much more information to report about it.

21 February 1969 & 3 March 1969:  Perhaps the most anticipated release by Apple outside of Beatles product was the first LP by Mary Hopkin, "Post Card", which would come out at the end of February, early March in the UK & US.  

It was produced by Paul McCartney, and was more successful than the previous Apple releases reaching #3 in the UK and #28 in the USA.   It differed between the two countries in that the cover version of "Someone to Watch Over Me" was replaced by the already released "Those Were The Days" in the US.

Besides some other 'standards' it was highlighted by three songs written by Donovan, one by Harry Nilsson and one by George Martin.  

The back cover of the UK version.

Paul and his protégé, Mary Hopkin
The American version of the LP appeared almost the same, but with Mary's name and the LP title switching places on the cover. 

Paul at the launch party for "Post Card" on February 13, 1969.

Mary with The Beatles.

20 - 23 February 1969 - There seems to be a little mystery as to exact recording dates and subject matter in regards to The Beatles' return to recording together again.  First, they reconvened at Trident Studios and not Apple because borrowed equipment from EMI had been returned and that studio was involved in a 'technological re-think'.  

It is certain that after the "Get Back" sessions, it wouldn't be long until the group realized that if they were going to release any material from that period, much of it just did not seem to 'live up' to their previous studio recordings.  

For example, it is believed around the 20th of February they returned to re-record portions of "Don't Let Me Down".  There is evidence the vocals on the released track differ from the earlier sessions version in January and that both John and Paul worked on their parts adding a double-tracked version of John's.  (We know "Get Back" itself is an edit of two separate performances.)

From the 7th until the 15th George was in hospital having his tonsils removed.  Of course, Ringo was busy filming "The Magic Christian" but he was able to find some free time from that to work with The Beatles.  Glyn Johns and Billy Preston were in America during mid-February so all of this combined most likely contributed to the three-week delay of their returning to work together. 

It is known that on the 22nd of February they turned to serious work on John's "I Want You (She's So Heavy)" which included 35 takes of the basic track along with John's guide vocal.  On the 23rd, still at Trident, the beginning of take 9 of "I Want You" (which had the best vocal) was edited with take 20 of the best middle eight, concluding with take 32 for the rest of the track for one full master take.   Both Glyn Johns and Billy Preston were present on this date and it is unclear what the intentions at this stage were for the song.  On the 23rd of February a rough mix was made for John Lennon and a safety copy of the edit as well. 

25 February 1969 - With only Ken Scott in the control room, George returns to Abbey Road alone on this day, his 26th birthday, and records eight-track demos of three of his latest compositions, "Old Brown Shoe" which The Beatles would record soon, "Something" which would be used on the group's next LP after "Get Back", and "All Things Must Pass" that George would use himself to launch his first true solo LP at the end of 1970.  

George alone recorded the vocals, guitar and piano.  The recordings were mixed and acetate discs were made from those mixes.  All three demos were eventually released on "The Beatles Anthology 3" in 1996.

(Note:  I believe this is George at home actually from April 1969.)

Although George's demos were represented quite well when released in 1996 for "The Beatles Anthology" I still had fun listening to the original tracks and included amongst them is a copy of an acetate of "Something" which has a piano overdub and "All Things Must Pass" also has a second vocal.  You can hear these songs including "Old Brown Shoe" by downloading the audio via this link:

1 - 2 March 1969:  It was time for a follow-up to Mary Hopkin's first single "Those Were The Days" and so today Paul & Mary headed into a new recording facility in North London called Morgan Studios where they recorded two tracks, "Goodbye" and "Sparrows" for which Paul produced.

Paul's "Goodbye" would still be credited to Lennon/McCartney although it was especially written by him for Mary.  On it Mary sang and performed acoustic guitar while Paul played bass and acoustic guitar, percussion, ukulele and drums.  Richard Hewson arranged horns and strings.

"Sparrow" was written by Apple songwriting duo (at that time) Benny Gallagher and Graham Lyle, with once more, Mary singing and playing guitar and Paul adding maracas with a session musician adding upright bass and Mr. Hewson arranging a choir part.

This session was filmed for a promotional clip by Tony Bramwell on 16mm color stock along with another film of Mary performing alone in the back garden of Paul's home in St. John's Wood, according to Mark Lewisohn, but apparently neither of these films were ever shown on British television.

2 March 1969 - John & Yoko first performed 'musically' together while appearing on The Rolling Stones special, "Rock and Roll Circus" back in mid December 1968.  They would be backed by Eric Clapton, Mitch Mitchell & Keith Richards along with Ivry Gitlis.  That performance, however, wouldn't see the light of day with the public until its release in late 1996.

Later in mid January of 1969, after George left The Beatles, John, Paul & Ringo would jam-out with Yoko in a recorded frenzy which still is yet awaiting any official release.

On this day, however, the two would once more perform together and live in front of an audience of 500, a first for any Beatle since 1966, and it would be captured on tape and released later in 1969.

It took place at Lady Michell Hall (at Cambridge University) named "Natural Music" and promoted by Anthony Barnett.  It was really Yoko's show but John came along as her backing musician.  As Yoko howled away, John remained towards the back of the stage creating feedback from his Epiphone Casino guitar, both of them eventually being joined by John Stevens on percussion and piano and saxophonist John Tchicai.

4 March 1969 - An upbeat interview from George Harrison is conducted by David Wigg for BBC Radio 1 "Scene And Heard" which was broadcast in two parts, the first on March 8 and then a second part broadcast on April 12th.

In it George talks candidly about his walking out on the group in Twickenham, the arrival on the record scene of Jackie Lomax, who should run Apple, Beatles finances, George's future and more.

(Note:  I believe this is George at home actually from April 1969.)

I've combined some of what is considered 'raw' recordings from George's interview and that which was broadcast into this bundle of audio which you can download from the link shown here:

March 1969 - It was said that Glyn Johns first began serious work on the audio from the "Get Back" sessions by mixing tracks from their live rooftop performance in early February.  Exact dates are not substantiated, but it is clear in early March he continued work on a soundtrack LP for the project utilizing the tapes that were recorded at Apple. There was no initiative to explore that which had been captured during their stay at Twickenham during the first days of 1969.

Perhaps exploring all of those hours of tapes proved too daunting a task.  It may have been that since Mr. Johns had made rough acetate mixes for The Beatles whenever they seemed enthusiastic about a certain performance that he remained closer to those discs alone.  This may have caused him to limit his perspective but one must appreciate what had been given him.  In any case work would continue, somewhat sporadically through this month, April and to the end of May by Mr. Johns at Olympic Sound Studios in London.

The Beatles outside of The Beatles.

February - March 1969:  As Ringo continued work on "The Magic Christian" motion picture, various photos have turned up of the other Beatles in the recording studio, not all fully identified.  The following photos are of John & Yoko in presumably February of 1969, but it is unclear what they were working on.  Maybe John was adding more overdubs to "I Want You (She's So Heavy)"?

Also in either February or March, depending upon whom you talk to, George Harrison went into the studios with Joe Cocker to record the first official production (or was it just a demo?) of "Something".  Again, it is unclear if this was the version that appeared on Mr. Cocker's LP released in November of that year, or maybe not, but the song recorded does appear to be "Something" which preceded The Beatles' version, but they were still first at actually releasing the song on disc.

11 March 1969 - More work at Apple would be done to support Jackie Lomax and his next single as both George and Paul would produce a recording session which was for both sides, a cover of The Coasters' "Thumbin' A Ride" and an original Lomax composition, "Going Back To Liverpool".  Paul would play drums and both he and George would play guitar, George on lead.

Eventually "Going Back To Liverpool" was dropped, another tune called "New Day" would become the 'A' side and "Thumbin' A Ride" the 'B' side.

Although I am to understand George Harrison was also producer on this session, I haven't come up with any photos from this time including George. 

Paul has always loved playing drums.  While he does look like he's having a grand time, for the record, I've never been a fan of his drumming.

12 March 1969 - John & Yoko returned to EMI on this day to give attention to a privately recorded tape called "Peace Song".  It is unclear what the fate was of this track as a copy and the original were both taken away by them at the end of the late afternoon 'session'. 

12 March 1969 - Paul marries Linda Eastman at Marylebone Register Office in an event which appears to be a bit of a last minute decision.   Sources say the registry office had been booked the previous day.  There is also a report that Paul bought a £12 ring from a shop just before it closed.

An interesting quote from Paul says:  "We were crazy.  We had a big argument the night before we got married and it was nearly called off.  We were very up and down, quite funky compared to the eventual image of 'twenty-five years of married bliss!  Aren't they lucky for people in showbiz?'  But we are.  

"You get this picture of us swanning along in a little rowboat managing to avoid the white water, but we were right in the middle of that white water, man, so it's even more miraculous that we made it.  But we did.

"She'd  been married before, so she wasn't keen to get married again.  She was unsure but I persuaded her.  I said, 'It'll be all right this time.'  She was a bit 'once bitten twice shy' - but we eventually got married in Marlyebone Registry Office."

With all of this reported uncertainty, I don't think you can blame them for not officially inviting the other three.  Paul's own brother Michael was late in arriving after his train broke down en route from Birmingham to London, but they waited for him.  Ever loyal Mal Evans acted as witness to the wedding along with brother Michael.  

Afterward they apparently went to St John's Wood Church where the marriage was blessed by Reverend Noel Perry-Gore.  

Witnessed by Malcolm Evans and Michael McCartney.

On the same day, the home of George and Pattie Harrison is raided by 'the notorious' Sgt. Norman Pilcher and the Drugs Squad.  George was at Apple during that day.  It has been said that during John's drug bust the previous year a reporter had been tipped-off earlier and as the police arrived the scene had become more chaotic because of the media.  This time, it has been said, they specifically chose the day of Paul's wedding, when the media attention would be on him, to raid George's home.

Pattie was there alone at the time and recalls:  "...I heard a lot of cars on the gravel in the drive - far too many for it to be just George.  My first thought was that maybe Paul and Linda wanted to party after the wedding.  Then the bell rang.  I opened the door to find a policewoman and a dog standing outside.  At that moment the back-doorbell rang and I thought, 'Oh, my God, this is so scary!  I'm surrounded by police.'

"The man in charge introduced himself as Detective Sergeant Pilcher, from Scotland Yard, and handed me a piece of paper.  I knew why he was there; he thought we had drugs, and he said he was going to search the house.  In they came, about eight policemen through the front, another five or six through the back and there were more in the greenhouse.  The policewoman said she would follow me while the others searched and didn't let me out of her sight.  I said, 'Why are you doing this?  We don't have any drugs.  I'm going to phone my husband.'

"I rang George at Apple.  'George, it's your worst nightmare.  Come home.'"

Derek Taylor adds:  "I was with George in the office when that call came through.  ....we knew what to do by then.  We had a routine...we all went down by limousine to Esher where the police were well ensconced by then - and I stood bail for George and Pattie."

As George was making his way to Pattie's side a large piece of hashish is revealed and claimed to be found in one of George's shoes during the raid.  During all of this a policemen requested a cup of tea, to which Pattie refused.

Pattie continues:  "So the policewoman made tea for them and then they were standing around with it, not knowing what to do.  One asked if they could watch television.  So some did that, and one of the others said, 'Have The Beatles been doing any new music?'

"'Yes,' I said, 'but you're not going to hear it...'

"Eventually George arrived and found us in the middle of the policeman's tea party.  He was still calm but he wasn't happy.  The police were obviously excited to meet him.  They stood to attention and were almost elbowing each other out of the way to get closer to him while Sergeant Pilcher went into his 'I am arresting you...' bit."

Derek Taylor recalls:  "George was calm about it.  George is always calm...and he was extremely calm that night, and very, very indignant.  He went into the house and looked around at all these men and one woman, and said something like, 'Birds have nests and animals have holes, but man hath nowhere to lay his head.'  'Oh, really sir?  Sorry to tell you we have to...' and then into the police routine."

George Harrison:  "I'm a tidy man.  I keep my socks in the sock drawer and stash in the stash box.  It's not mine.

"He came out to my house with about eight other policemen, a policewoman and a police dog, who happened to be called Yogi - because, I suppose, of the Beatle connection with Maharishi.  They thought they'd have a bit of fun.

"They took us off, fingerprinted us and we were busted.  It was written in the papers like a fashion show; 'George was wearing a yellow suit and his wife Pattie had on...'

Derek Taylor:  "That's how calm and how cross he was, because as he said, he kept his dope in the box where dope went and his joss sticks went in the joss stick box.  He was a man who ran an orderly late-Sixties household with beautiful things and some nice stuff to smoke.

"In my opinion he didn't have to be busted because he was doing nobody any harm.  I still believe what they did was an intrusion into personal life."

13 March 1969 - Ringo continues filming "The Magic Christian" with Peter Sellers a sequence known as the grouse-shooting scene, on location on Chobham Common in Surrey, south-west of London.

18 March 1969 - George and Pattie Harrison make their initial court appearance for a hearing concerning their earlier drug bust.  At Esher and Walton Magistrates' Court they were charged with the possession of cannabis and released on the surety of Derek Taylor, their Apple press officer.

Also around this time, Ringo continues work on "The Magic Christian" with Peter Sellers.  It is said that a sequence with Spike Milligan, playing a traffic warden, was filmed on the 18th of March outside the Star & Garter public house in Lower Richmond Road, Putney, on the Thames embankment.   I couldn't find un-marked photos of them with Mr. Milligan, but I do have a few photos of them wearing the same wardrobe from that day and one of them with comedy writer, John Cleese.

20 March 1969 - Around the same time that Paul & Linda would fly to America for their honeymoon, John & Yoko caught the marriage bug and decided to fly to Paris so they could get hitched in France. Yoko had finally met John's Aunt Mimi after which he and Yoko inquired about having a wedding held at sea on the cross-channel ferry to France.  The idea was to arrive in France married.  For several reasons it could not be done, mainly that the captain wasn't allowed to perform a marriage, so  they tried Paris but confidant Peter Brown learned they had not lived in France long enough to have the ceremony there.  The same problem kept them from marrying in Germany.

Since Gibraltar was a British protectorate, they could get married there, and so a chartered plane took them to Gibraltar where it was 'quiet, British and friendly.'  Here they went directly to the British Consulate Office where they were married in 10 minutes, performed by registrar Cecil Wheeler.  

John Lennon fondly remembers:  "...we went there and it was beautiful.  It's the Pillar of Hercules, and also symbolically they called it the End of the World at one period.  ...they thought the world outside was a mystery from there, so it was like a Gateway to the World.  So we liked it in the symbolic sense, and the Rock foundation of our relationship.

"It as very romantic.  It's all in the song, "The Ballad of John and Yoko."  If you want to know how it happened, it's in there.  Gibraltar was like a little sunny dream.  I couldn't find a white suit - I had off-white corduroy trousers and a white jacket.  Yoko had all white on."

21 March 1969 - The debut LP of Apple artist Jack Lomax, "Is This What You Want?" is finally released in the UK (although it wouldn't come out in the USA until May) after lengthy sessions that were made to produce it from June-August 1968 and October-January 1969 (in London and Los Angeles).  The time spent on the making of the record had support from many great musicians including Eric Clapton, Nicky Hopkins, Klaus Voorman, John Barham, Leon Russell, Billy Preston, to name only a few and not to mention three Beatles, Paul, Ringo and George, who was also producer.  

Once more, an Apple release would receive enthusiastic reviews, but the results proved another commercial failure as the LP didn't chart in the UK and it didn't even break the top 100 in the US.

The UK inner sleeve.

The UK LP  

The LP label in the USA showing the slightly different song lineup released in May 1969.

The UK and USA 'side 2' were the same songs.

Paul & Linda's 'low-key' honeymoon had them landing in New York City for a few weeks.

25-31 March 1969:  In contrast to Paul & Linda, John & Yoko's honeymoon would be anything but low-key.  In fact, as with anything they did together, their marriage would become as much an art project and event as ever.   Having been married on the 20th in Gibraltar, the couple did spend a few days "honeymooning down by the Seine" and then they would drive "from Paris to the Amsterdam Hilton" where they would check in for seven days up in the ninth-floor presidential suite, inviting all of the press journalists from radio, television and newsreel reporters to spend time with them.

The idea of watching John & Yoko in bed 'trying to get us some peace' was very enticing, after all they had no problem putting themselves naked on the cover of an LP record.  What the public got was a week-long advertisement for peace.  John &Yoko were smart enough to understand that whether the world could figure out what they were doing or not, they'd be in the papers every day promoting peace, no matter what people really thought they were up to.  If there was to be any criticism of themselves, all they had to do was let the critic understand that if they could do better, than do so.  If John & Yoko could be topped in their quest for peace, go ahead and top them, and we'd all benefit from the results.  

If there was nothing in the world you could do for it, then stay in bed.  After all, if the whole world would stay in bed just one day, there would be least for a day.  

Media saturation?  That was what this bed-in was all about.  There was no end to how much peace itself could be explored and for 18 hours a day that week, John & Yoko made themselves available.  As Mark Lewisohn would point out, this was a week-long press conference for peace, and anyone from anywhere was welcome to visit "with a tape recorder, notebook or camera."

John & Yoko themselves were able to make a 60 minute film out of the event called "Honeymoon" and some 'audio highlights' would be saved for their 3rd experimental LP that would be released later that year.  

I edited together and posted an hour's worth of audio from The Bed-In event in Amsterdam and set it to these photographs posted here from that period.  You can see it via the YouTube link above.  Hear John & Yoko talk to the press with special guest 'appearances' by Donald Zec and old Beatles' friend Larry Kane.

50 Years of Peace & Love!

31 March - 3 April 1969:  Barely finished with their full week in bed for peace, John & Yoko 'made a lighting trip to Vienna' armed with another 'gimmick' for total communication which they called 'bagism'.  They were to appear at a press conference at the Hotel Sacher completely covered within a large white sheet-bag, therefore totally obscuring their 'identity'.  The idea was that although we did know who was inside the bag this time, our senses wouldn't be 'confused' or 'mislead' by what we saw allowing us to talk more freely and uninhibited.  (Imagine if you didn't have a clue who was inside or what they looked like, that you were communicating with...  All prejudices would theoretically be gone.)

The actual promotion was for a film John & Yoko had made called "Rape" which starred the young British model Eva Majlath (later Rhodes) as the 'victim' who is 'incessantly chased by the cameraman Nic Knowland' being filmed 'regardless of her privacy' or the consequences of invading her personal space.

Catching 'the early plane back to London' on the morning of April 1, John & Yoko held another press conference at the airport which was uncharacteristically welcoming for them.

I've uploaded a bundle of audio which includes an extract from the press conference where John & Yoko introduce 'bagism' to the world.  Also, there is a response from John concerning the Donald Zec article written being critical of the "Bed-In" in Amsterdam, something John did not expect, along with a wrap-up of the event as broadcast on the radio program, "World This Weekend" and a short piece from their reception at the London Airport on April 1st.  You can download this audio bundle from the following link:

Then it was onto Television House in Kingsway where they appeared on the live local news-magazine show "Today" with host Eamonn Andrews where for April Fool's Day, John & Yoko proclaimed they were willing to be the world's clowns in order to promote peace.  Once more they appeared from within a white bag even 'tempting Mr. Andrews himself to join them' inside.

The evening of April 3rd, John & Yoko would again appear with Mr. Andrews on his own "The Eamonn Andrews Show" this time being broadcast unusually from the Café Royal restaurant in central London with other guests including Rolf Harris, Jack Benny, Yehudi Menuhin & singer Gaynor Jones.  They conducted an interview 'and general discussion' which lasted 'just under 17 minutes.'

Here is an excerpt from "The Eamonn Andrews Show" [audio only] recorded presumably on 
April 3rd, 1969

John & Yoko editing their film "Rape" ca. February 1969

Actress/model Eva Majlath (Rhodes) in the film "Rape" made by John & Yoko

"Caught the early plane back to London; Fifty acorns tied in a sack..."

 Explaining 'bagism' to Eamonn Andrews.

31 March 1969 - The trial of George & Pattie for drug possession took place on this day at Esher and Walton Magistrates' Court where, after pleading guilty, the couple were fined £250 and 10 guineas each for court costs.  Both were also put on probation for a year.

George would 'bounce back' recording an in interview with Sue MacGregor for BBC Radio 4's "The World At One" broadcast at 1pm on April 3rd, 1969.  Here he discussed his great friend, Ravi Shankar, and his work.

The following photos were taken at George's home, returning to its calming status after the police raid, presumably on April 6th, 1969 by photographer John Haynes, although I do not have more information about this day.

26 March; 4, 6-7 April 1969 - During all that was going on, The Beatles found themselves much like where they were at the beginning of 1967, with no clear path ahead on what they would do with their next major record release, but with the need to at least get their next single out to the public.  "Get Back" had been a favorite from that first 'good take' in mid January, seemingly giving light to their much needed direction and always considered the best contender for the next single.  

On this day it was mixed four times in mono by balance engineer Jeff Jarratt, presumably with George Martin by his side at Abbey Road, and a take was selected as 'best' and cut into an acetate disc.  

According to Mark Lewisohn, on April 4th another mono mixing session occurred for "Get Back" and what would be the 'B' side "Don't Let Me Down", this time at Olympic Sound Studios in Barnes, and it was done by Glyn Johns.  

Something else special was done on this day.  Stereo mixes of both tracks were made during the latter evening sessions specifically for release in America.  It has been said that there was a bit of criticism from fans when "Hey Jude" and "Revolution" were released in mono in the States the previous year.  This was at a time when stereo singles were beginning to make a breakthrough in America.  Certainly such powerhouse tracks at least deserved to be presented to the world in stereo!  For the one and only time a Beatles single would now be prepared in mono for the UK and in stereo for the USA.  It would also be the final Beatles single to be released in mono as their next single would be issued in stereo only.

Things went so far as to have BBC radio broadcast an acetate copy of "Get Back" on Sunday, April 6th, announcing a 'rush-release' date for the next Beatles' single following on April 11th.  It is unclear exactly why, but Paul McCartney stepped up and decided he didn't like any of the mono mixes made thus far so on April 7th, he had Olympic Sound Studios booked again for more work on the track.  

There is a story in which tape operator Jerry Boys relays some of the problems encountered on that day:   "They'd already done a mono mix of 'Get Back' and had acetates cut and he didn't like it.  We tried it again but it wasn't really happening any better and when we went to compare the two we hit a problem because Paul didn't have a tape of the first mix with him, just an acetate."

This sounds plausible if information is correct that the original mixing was done at Abbey Road and not Olympic Studios.  It could be they didn't bring the original taped mono mixes with them from Abbey Road.

Jerry Boys continues:  "He (Paul) and Glyn (Johns) were very concerned with what the new mix was going to sound like on a cheap record player.  Purely by chance, I happened to have a cheap record player in the back of my car, which I'd brought along to Olympic to have someone repair.  We had an acetate cut from the new mix and then, using my record player, we were able to decide which of the two mixes was better.  So the very first playing of the 'Get Back' single, which sold millions, was on my little player!"

Due to this last minute work, "Get Back" b/w "Don't Let Me Down" would not make its official release date of April 11th, but copies began to make it out to the public several days later, and the first commercial output from the Get Back Sessions were finally made available.  Once more, The Beatles and their product sailed to the top of the charts all over the world.  

Although the single did not list a producer's name, it did list the artists as "The Beatles with Billy Preston" honoring Mr. Preston's support to the group during those often troubling days.  It would prove the first and only time another musician would share the spotlight with the group in such a manner. 

It finally entered the UK charts on April 23rd spending 17 weeks there.  For reasons that are unclear, the stereo release of the single in America did not occur until May 5th, 1969.  It would begin a 12 week chart run in the US on May 10th reaching #1 two weeks after that and remaining there for another five weeks.

Once more I wish to remind the reader that studio 'trickery' was evident from the start, even when The Beatles were in full control of these recordings.  Even though the original idea was to catch 'the perfect take' here the "Get Back" of the released single consisted of two takes edited together as the coda was 'forgotten' (as pointed out by George Harrison at the end of it) on the first take labelled 'best'.  The ending of another take made the next day was tacked on.  The released version of "Don't Let Me Down" has signs of a double-tracked John Lennon vocal and a few other 'differences' from the original take made on the 28th of January.  I suppose the thing in question is at what point did changes to the original tracks from the "Get Back" sessions produce results where the charm of the original performances were lost.  Not at this point, at least.

 *The mono version of the "Get Back" single b/w "Don't Let Me Down" as released in Croatia.

 *The stereo version of the "Get Back" single b/w "Don't Let Me Down" as released in America.

9 April 1969 - They're still The Beatles!  A day that appears to be somewhat overlooked until recent years, it isn't mentioned by famed Beatles biographer Mark Lewisohn in his books, yet it's the day of another Beatles' photo shoot.  While not as 'involved' as their 'Mad Day Out' the previous July, still in this final and 'historically turbulent' year of their careers I believe it important to point out that John, Paul, George & Ringo were still very active members in 'that most exclusive club in the world'.

Precisely when or how these photos were to be used is not quite known except that it was time for another day of posing for Beatle pictures.  (I'm pretty certain that was the same motivation that they worked under for the July 1968 and the previous March 1966 photo sessions.  It simply was time for current photos of the group to be made.)

It's more difficult to piece together everything that occurred on this day, and there is less available material in decent shape to deal with, but once more I'll give it my best try.

Some say these photos were taken first that day.  The exact whereabouts is not clear to me, however, I do see Paul & Ringo have different clothes on so, for me these were either taken at the beginning of the day or at the end of it.  (There was another series of photos taken, all of The Beatles in the same clothes, but around a mirror which I've put at the end of this day's selection.)

From what is reported, there were two major locations where the photo 'sessions' would take place.   The first was at the Madingley Club on Willoughby Road in East Twickenham, London.  John Lennon's (now white) Rolls-Royce was one of the vehicles used to get the group to their location.  Apparently there were three photographers with the group.  According to The Beatles Bible the first photos taken were of The Beatles leaning up against John's car with the river Thames behind them. 

This is the best photo of the lot from this location that I have found.

This is the 'best' color photo from the same pose.

 This is a map which illustrates the London area where The Beatles took their photos on this day, April 9, 1969.  From Madingley Club they would re-locate to Ducks Walk for more photographs.

These were the last of the photos that I located in which John is wearing his white coat.

I really like this photo, but unfortunately haven't been able to find a nice higher resolution file of it yet.  The one above it is better, but sadly cropped.

Unfortunately almost all of these photos taken on the bigger boat are either very tiny and therefore don't lend themselves to good detail, or are not in very good condition or badly cropped, but this is all I can find so far to illustrate this portion of the photo shoot.


From the bigger boat now to a smaller one.

Definitely now located at Ducks Walk and aboard the row boat "Fritz Otto Maria Anna" on their way to a small island in the middle of the Thames


John takes his tie off which may be the signal that this was 'it' for today as far as photos were concerned.  In any case, I'll end this with one more shoot session around 'the mirror'.


14 April 1969 - During the Spring/Easter Holidays of April 1960, John and Paul had taken off together to visit the south of England where, through Paul's cousin and her husband, they managed to 'get a gig' at a 'public house in Cavernsham, Berkshire' calling themselves The Nerk Twins.  Nine years later John, having the need to record right away, set about with Paul only and producer George Martin along with the return of engineer Geoff Emerick to record his "The Ballad of John and Yoko" which was the account of the recent 'days in the life of the newly married Lennons'. 

Back at Abbey Road, which now was equipped with eight track recording, the session began around 2:30 in the afternoon with eleven takes made and then in two hours, ending at 11pm, the song was mixed in stereo and ready for release with The Beatles' current single still barely out-of-the-door.  

Ringo was most likely not available, away still filming his role in "The Magic Christian" and it was said that George was out of the country at the time.  (According to The Beatles Bible, George was busy out looking for a new house to buy.)  Interestingly, however, it has also been said that both were unaware of the recording session taking place until after it was completed.  It could be that John recognized this song may not actually 'fit in' as a Beatles' track and didn't want to go through the process of trying to introduce it to all four, yet also it is telling that he felt comfortable enough that he could rely on his old friend Paul to help him make it a reality, and quickly.

They first worked on perfecting the basic rhythm track with John on acoustic guitar and lead vocal and Paul on drums.  Five of the eleven takes would break down, all at the same spot with Paul mistakenly adding an extra 'snare drum fill' before the lines, "Made a lightening trip to Vienna".  John's guitar string broke on take two.  Before take four, John called out to Paul on drums, "Go a bit faster, Ringo!" to which Paul replied back to John on guitar, "OK, George!"

Take eleven was recorded at a higher pitch, but it was take ten which was deemed "best" and the overdubbing began with Paul on bass guitar, then piano, backing vocal and finally maracas.  John provided lead guitar, second lead guitar and 'percussive thumps on the back of an acoustic guitar'.  The track would not be mixed for mono and this proved to be The Beatles first stereo only release.

Here's some more information about John's "The Ballad of John and Yoko" from "A Hard Day's Write" written by Steve Turner.

April 1969 - Meanwhile, Ringo would continue to work with Peter Sellers on "The Magic Christian" with scenes filmed early in the month of a boat race which took place at the Barclays Bank rowing club on The Embankment and more filming to be done throughout April including scenes in Hyde Park, outside Buckingham Palace, in the Quadrangle and in an office at Westminster School, in a field near Elstree, in the car park at Barnes railway station and at Sotheby's auction room in New Bond Street. 

Shown with Peter Sellers' son, Michael.

Raquel Welch was just one of the many famous actors to have cameos in "The Magic Christian".  The list include:  Richard Attenborough, Yul Brynner, Roman Polanski, Laurence Harvey, Christopher Lee, Spike Milligan and more.


16 April 1969 - If George and Ringo were unaware of the making of "The Ballad of John and Yoko" two days prior, they not only did know about it now but convened together with John and Paul (and George Martin) to record again, in proper Beatles fashion another track, this one being George's "Old Brown Shoe".  The four had begun some work on this tune back in January and George not only had a completed demo made in February, he made another one today (probably as a reference for the others before they arrived) but that was wiped when recording with the four began with their take 1.  (Note:  This was the first full Beatles recording session at Abbey Road in over six months.   The last time all four were present here being October 8, 1968.)

Take 2 was the first complete run-through with John on rhythm guitar, Paul on jangle piano, George on lead guitar and vocals and Ringo on drums.  Take 4 was chosen as 'best' and overdubbing took place of bass and lead guitars with backing vocals by John and Paul.  

According to Mark Lewisohn, "George also re-taped his lead vocal, huddled into a small corner of the studio to lend a tight but natural echo.  The song's highly distinctive and impressive bass sound was actually a fine combination of matching lead and bass guitar notes played by George and Paul."

There were three stereo mixes of "Old Brown Shoe" with remix 3 labeled 'best', but two days later on April 18th, a Hammond organ overdub (replacing John's rhythm guitar track) was made with more lead guitar (put through Leslie speaker) all done by George with a lot of more remixing numbered 5-23 (there was no remix #4) all again done from take 4.  George Martin was not present this day but Chris Thomas filled in as producer and the record was completed.

Early Beatles work was also done on George's "Something" on the 16th of April after "Old Brown Shoe" was initially thought to be completed.  There were 13 takes of the basic track with Paul on bass, George on guitar, Ringo on drums and George Martin on piano.  Although John was still present he did not participate at this stage.

Two days later when "Old Brown Shoe" was completed, John did work with George and the Abbey Road team of Chris Thomas, Jeff Jarratt and John Kurlander to overdub multi-tracked guitars played by John and George onto the February 23rd Trident Studio master of John's "I Want You (She's So Heavy)".  There would be a reduction mixdown (called take 1) of that so more guitar overdubbing could be made and then a rough stereo mix completed.

Jeff Jarratt recalls:  "John and George went into the far left-hand corner of number two (studio) to overdub those guitars.  They wanted a massive sound so they kept tracking and tracking, over and over."

Here's some more information about George's "Old Brown Shoe" from "A Hard Day's Write" written by Steve Turner.

20 April 1969 - At this point it is a little unclear where The Beatles may have been thinking they were heading with the following work.  For example, they all reconvened at Abbey Road today in Studio Three to commence proper recordings of Paul's "Oh! Darling".  Some rehearsing of the tune had been done at the end of January during the "Get Back" sessions, but today 26 takes of the basic track were performed with Paul on bass and guide vocal, John on piano, George on guitar 'via a Leslie' and Ringo on drums.   A Hammond organ was overdubbed onto take 26 and a stereo mix was made at the end of the session.  

Paul with his new step-daughter, Heather.

Here's some more information about Paul's "Oh! Darling" from "A Hard Day's Write" written by Steve Turner.

Also on this day more overdubs were done to John's "I Want You (She's So Heavy)" with that Hammond organ and some conga drums (brought in special by Mal Evans.)

As Mark Lewisohn would point out, the sessions at this time were carried out like well-planned rehearsals with The Beatles still breaking on occasion into a jam session.  Today, John Lennon led the group with "Games People Play" which was a Joe South hit. 

22 April 1969 - Back on the roof of the Apple office building on this day, John formally changes his middle name of Winston to Ono with a ceremony carried out before Bueno de Mesquita, Commissioner of Oaths. 

As John stated at the time:  "Yoko changed her name for me.  I've changed mine for her.  One for both, both for each other.  She has a ring.  I have a ring.  It gives us nine 'O's between us, which is good luck.  Ten would not be good luck."

John & Yoko with John's new name, John Ono Lennon.

To 'celebrate' the new John Ono Lennon, both he and Yoko Ono Lennon returned to Abbey Road on this day to record their track "John and Yoko" which would become one full side of their third experimental LP to be made together.  This would consist of their recorded heartbeats along with the two of them calling out, and sometimes shouting out, each other's names.  

Jeff Jarratt, who was the balance engineer for this session remembers:  "The nice thing about working with John and Yoko was seeing just how much in love they were.  They had a fantastic relationship, even though they took a lot of 'stick' for it.  The John and Yoko recording was fantastic, though quite unpleasant.  John managed to get hold of a highly sensitive microphone from a local hospital and we recorded their heart beats.  The mike was so good that you heard all the gurgly noises and everything going on inside the stomach!"

More remixing work would be done on the track on April 26 and the heartbeats recording would be re-made on the 27th.  Yet another stereo mix session would be held utilizing the original and re-made material on May 1st, 1969.

25 April 1969 - A rough mono mix of Paul's "Two of Us" was made on this day by Peter Mew for cutting onto acetate disc especially for a new Apple act, Mortimer, a trio of young men from Hyde Park, New York.  They were made up of Guy Masson (vocals, drums & percussion), Tom Smith (vocals & guitar), and Tony Van Benschoten (vocals, bass, guitar).  Paul was going to donate the track (still titled "On Our Way Home" at this point) and indeed the song was produced for a single by Peter Asher to be released at the end of June, but it did not materialize. 

The group had a self-titled LP released in 1968 by the Phillips record company and turned up at Apple to be visited in the offices by George Harrison, who apparently liked what he heard and requested they be signed for Apple Records.  When Allen Klein took control of Apple later in 1969, however, their release was put on hold indefinitely, and wound up not seeing the light of day until 2017 when a company called RPM Records finally released "On Our Way Home" in its entirety.    

Cover of the 2017 release of the 1969 LP record, "On Our Way Home" finally seeing the light of day.

You can see a short video on this story of Mortimer and their ill-fated LP "On Our Way Home" at the link above.  The Apple Record that wasn't.

26 April 1969 - A long session lasting from 4:30pm to 4:15 am the next day mostly spent on doing a proper recording of Ringo's second composition for The Beatles, "Octopus's Garden". 

Work began after Paul first put down a lead vocal onto his "Oh! Darling".  Ringo had the beginnings of "Octopus's Garden" during the "Get Back" sessions and there was a small amount of time captured on film where the rest of the group were seen working with him and George on the tune, but no rehearsing took place, much less an attempt at recording the song at that time.

Today, however, the song had pretty much been completed and 32 takes were made with Ringo on drums simultaneously supplying his guide vocal, and George and John on guitars and Paul on bass guitar.  George's main guitar intro was recorded through a Leslie speaker.  

Although The Beatles were credited as 'producer' on this session, Chris Thomas recalls being present with Jeff Jarratt also there remembering, " I was really thrown in at the deep end.  George Martin informed me that he wouldn't be available.  I can't remember word for word what he said to me, but it was something like, 'There will be one Beatle there, fine.  Two Beatles, great.  Three Beatles, fantastic.  But the minute the four of them are there that is when the inexplicable charismatic thing happens, that special magic no one has been able to explain.  It will be very friendly between you and them but you'll be aware of this inexplicable presence.'  Sure enough, that's exactly the way it happened.  I've never felt it in any other circumstances, it was the special chemistry of the four of them which nobody since has ever had."

Ringo would do proper overdubbing of his vocal on April 29th and four stereo mixes of the song would be created also on that day with the fourth selected as 'best'.  

Take 2 of "Octopus's Garden" was represented in "The Beatles Anthology 3" in 1996, but there is also a Take 32 out there in bootleg-land which shows how it progressed to this point.  I combined the two so you can hear the differences and uploaded them at the following link.  Get them while you can as Mediafire is now blocking copyrighted material.

Here's some more information about Ringo's "Octopus's Garden" from "A Hard Day's Write" written by Steve Turner.

30 April 1969 - The interest in the "Get Back" project had not yet waned.  On this day, unquestionably, a lead guitar overdub was put down on the original January 31st recording of "Let It Be".  It was to be the only 'change' made to the presumed next Beatles' LP as all of the other tracks would for now remain untouched, retaining the 'live premise' of the total production.   

It is the assumption that George Harrison performed the guitar work today on "Let It Be" and this change would survive onto the single release of the track, but only John and Paul worked on the next track of the day, the now 22 month old "You Know My Name (Look Up The Number)" which also by chance would become the 'B' side to the "Let It Be" single.  

The complex "You Know My Name (Look Up The Number)" had a completed rhythm track which had been assembled from many parts that had been recorded through May and early June of 1967.  On this day John and Paul "sang together around one microphone" to add all of the needed vocals along with some sound effects which include (according to Mark Lewishon):  "Mal Evans running a spade through a heap of gravel, hand clapping, coughing, spluttering and slipping in the odd vocal reminiscent of Bluebottle in The Goon Show." 

Three new mono mixes were made at the end of the session and the track at at this stage clocked in at 6 minutes and 8 seconds.  When the track was released as a single, it was edited down to 4 minutes and 20 seconds and made available in mono only.  The reasoning wasn't so far off as at this point the rhythm section had already been reduced to just the one track and John and Paul would add their vocals onto that.  When a 'stereo' version was released on "The Beatles Anthology 2" in 1996, you can hear John and Paul in stereo but the rest of the track is in mono, yet it was supposed to be (I believe) the completed track.  Unfortunately, there were things noticeably missing that had already been made available on the edited mono version.  Someone had finally put it all together so you can hear the 'complete' version and I've uploaded to the link below:

Speaking of the "Get Back" project, the single "Get Back" b/w "Don't Let Me Down" at this point still had not been released in the USA.  (That would occur in early May.)  Promotional film in 16mm and also in color for both tracks had been prepared and made available.  Neither film contained footage from the actual recordings of either track but instead the "Get Back" film featured footage from the rooftop performances of the song put in synchronization (as best possible) with the studio audio of the song.  "Don't Let Me Down" also contained much footage from the rooftop performance of that song, but in addition added some of the Twickenham footage as well.  Both contained material that would not surface later in the "Let It Be" motion picture.  

Amazingly, only "Get Back" would be shown in Britain, and only in black & white, first on Top Of The Pops on April 24th and later throughout May several more times.  Both films, in color, made their debut in America on The Glen Campbell Goodtime Hour on this day, Wednesday, April 30th between 7:30-8:30pm on CBS Television.  

The "Get Back" film was officially released in 2015 on The Beatles "1+" video compilation, but not this version of "Don't Let Me Down".  For consistency, I bundled up both films and uploaded them to the following link:

The newly mixed stereo version of "Get Back" was retained on that video and I found that the bootleg version of "Don't Let Me Down", while not perfect, was still very watchable and whomever synched the stereo version of that tune held it together pretty well, so I didn't bother to touch that.  (There is some background noise, nonetheless, but I didn't find it too distracting.)  To make this little package complete, I also added the more rare mono mixes of both tracks which were released as the single in the UK only at that time in 1969.  

 Snapshots from the "Get Back" promotional film only, since they are of the best quality.

2 May 1969 - Again I wonder if The Beatles had a clear vision of what was to be the end results of their efforts as today they once more returned to recording another brand new version of George's "Something".  George Martin's role was again taken by Chris Thomas with Jeff Jarratt as engineer and Nick Webb second engineer.  They worked recording the new basic track with take 36 deemed 'best' which ended with a long 'repetitious and somewhat rambling, piano-led four note instrumental fade-out' extending the track to almost 8 minutes in length.  This long ending would remain intact for a time as they continued perfecting the track.  

The lineup was George on guitar via a Leslie speaker, John (guitar), Paul (bass) and Ringo (drums) and Billy Preston returned to play piano.  No vocal would be recorded at this time, however, and it appears none would be until mid July(!)

They would return to the track on May 5th, this time in Studio One at Olympic Sound Studios and with George Martin along with Glyn Johns where overdubs were performed, mainly Paul improving his bass track and George improving his "Leslie'd" guitar track.  

Also (and earlier) on this day, John & Yoko are interviewed on the BBC1 Television show, "How Late It Is", which was a 'new arts/sketch series'.  They discussed their film "Rape" with host Michael Wale.

I've been able to upload some audio from this broadcast which you can hear via the following link:

4 May 1969 - Ringo, John & Paul attend a private 'wrap' party in London to celebrate the completion of principal photography for the Peter Sellers' film (featuring Ringo) "The Magic Christian".  The party itself was caught on film by the producers of the movie and used in a BBC1 documentary later on called "Will The Real Mr. Sellers..." broadcast at the end of the year.

Other guests included Richard Harris, Sean Connery, Stanley Baker, George Peppard, Roger Moore and Christopher Lee.

Also on this day, John & Yoko completed their purchase of their first home together, Tittenhurst Park in Ascot, Berkshire.  The mansion was bought for £145,000 from Peter Cadbury, son of Sir Egbert Cadbury of the chocolate company Cadbury Brothers.  It was located on a 72-acre estate on London Road in Sunningdale, Ascot and John & Yoko would spend twice more of the purchase price on renovations, including the creation of a lake which they did without planning permission.  

John & Yoko wouldn't actually move into Tittenhurst Park until August of 1969 where it would become well known for the final photographs taken there of The Beatles.  A recording studio would be installed in 1970, known as Ascot Sound Studios, where John's "Imagine" and Yoko's "Fly" LPs would be recorded.  The estate would be filmed for promotional material made by John & Yoko for their records but shortly afterwards, in late 1971, the couple would move to the United States and eventually sell the property to Ringo in late 1973.

Photo and information courtesy of The Beatles Bible.

I've come across some audio of John & Yoko which the bootleggers have labeled as "Apple Corps Interview" and dated as taking place around May 5, 1969.  It does sound like it comes from that time period but I can't find any more information about it.  I still find it interesting enough to include here so you can download a copy from the following link:

6 May 1969 - Today, a brand new track was begun.  Paul's "You Never Give Me Your Money" was recorded (again at Olympic Sound Studios and with George Martin producing) in 36 takes with take 30 chosen for stereo mixing at the end of a long session which began at 3pm and went until 4:00 in the morning.  These takes ended abruptly just before the point where the 'finished' track began the vocal line "one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, all good children go to heaven".

The basic track was recorded with Paul on piano and guide vocal, John on distorted electric guitar, George on chiming electric guitar through a Leslie speaker and Ringo on drums.  Then, just like "Something" thus far still vocal-less, recordings with The Beatles came to a halt until July when their work would resume.  

8 May 1969 - John & Yoko were interviewed by David Wigg on this day at the Apple offices for inclusion on the weekly Radio 1 program "Scene And Heard", portions of which were broadcast over two Sundays starting on May 11th and ending on May 18th.  You can download some of that audio via the following link:

9 May 1969 - It's difficult to come by material that illustrates The Beatles' next company venture, but it was the launch of an Apple records subsidiary label called Zapple Records, and it was run by a friend of Paul's, Barry Miles.  This was to be considered a budget label and intended as an outlet for records that were beyond the typical commercial product which Apple was to produce.  This could include spoken word records or that of the avant-garde.  

It officially came into being in early February of 1969 and the first two records to be released took place on this day, the two followups to the first Apple record LPs by George Harrison & John Lennon that were released at the end of 1968.  These were George Harrison's "Electronic Music" and John & Yoko's "Unfinished Music #2:  Life With The Lions".

Presumably an early sketch of the Zapple Records logo, signed by its 'creator' Gene Mahon.  It has been said that Mr. Mahon had worked with The Beatles in the past as a graphic designer creating the back sleeve for the "Sgt. Pepper" LP (with the printed lyrics) and that it was his idea to have a photograph of an apple for Apple record releases used on the 'A' side of all LPs with no writing or any other information and a sliced apple that would be shown on the 'B' side (providing a white background) with all the pertinent information for the entire record, including title, artist, list of tracks and running times, publishing and copyright information for both sides of the LP.

This actually came off of a T-shirt being sold on eBay today, so it is not authentic material from its time, but I do believe the phrase "'A' is for Apple; 'Z' is for Zapple" was coined by John Lennon to be used in selling the product.  I haven't come across an original representation of that yet, however.

This does appear to be a representation of a real advertisement for Zapple Records.

Unfortunately, the Zapple Records label would be shut down very shortly in June of 1969 by The Beatles' representative, Allen Klein, and the 3rd Zapple record, a spoken word piece by Richard Brautigan wasn't ready in time for release and didn't make it.  It was eventually released as "Listening to Richard Brautigan" by EMI subsidiary label Harvest Records in the USA only, but according to Barry Miles, The Beatles never heard it at that time.

Other artists lined up and ready for a Zapple release were poet Charles Olson, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, Michael McClure, Lenny Bruce, Pablo Casals and author Ken Kesey.

Although George's LP was given the catalog number 'ZAPPLE02' (John & Yoko's effort became ZAPPLE01) I'll start first with his release, "Electronic Sound".

George's record came about after his visit in America whilst he was producing tracks for Apple Records' artist Jackie Lomax's first LP.  During that visit he met an American musician, Bernie Krause, who was demonstrating a new 'electronic instrument' called the Moog synthesizer.  These instruments were designed by Robert Moog and sold by the company Moog Music.  

George wanted one of these amazing 'machines' and ordered one to be shipped to his home in England.  It is said this Moog synthesizer cost around $8,000 at that time and George's was the 95th unit sold by the Moog company, but only the 3rd one to be shipped to Britain.  It is said that this unit 'comprised of 2 five-octave keyboards with portamento control, a ribbon controller, 10 oscillators, a white noise generator, 3 ADSR envelope generators, voltage-controlled filters and amplifiers, a spring reverberation unit and a four-channel mixer.'

George received his Moog synthesizer at home in February 1969 and proceeded to create a recording which he called "Under The Mersey Wall" which eventually came to just under 19 minutes of sound, enough to fill up one side of an LP record.  

George recalls:  "All I did was get that very first Moog synthesizer, with the big patch unit and the keyboards that you could never tune, and I put a microphone into a tape machine.  ...whatever came out when I fiddled with the knobs went on tape -- but some amazing sounds did happen."

The second side of the LP consisted of a piece called "No Time or Space" which actually is a longer recording of over 25 minutes of this electronic sound.  Bernie Krause would claim this was taken from a Moog demonstration that he had done, in a Los Angeles studio during George's 1968 visit, and without his knowledge.  Since it incorporated ideas that he was planning on including in his own forthcoming record with jazz musician Paul Beaver, he claims he would never had consented to George releasing it on his own.  

On top of that, it has been said that Mr. Krause and his wife were not happy with the treatment they received when visiting Apple Corps headquarters in February of 1969.  At that time George was having his tonsils removed and so wasn't available to make sure they were received as well as they should have been.  Although George may have tried to patch things up once he got out of the hospital, apparently it was too late.  

The LP cover states it was "Produced by George Harrison" but the words "Assisted by Bernie Krause" were covered up by silver ink, yet if you look closely you can still see the original text through the cover-up.  It is said this was done at Mr. Krause's insistence, which if "No Time Or Space" was truly a recording of his mastery of the Moog synthesizer, I suppose he'd have reason to be angry at receiving an "Assisted by" credit.  (His name still survived this credit on the inner sleeve of the LP, however.)

To further confuse the history of this record, in the United States and Canada, the two actual recorded tracks were switched sides during the pressing of the LP but the titles were not, therefore showing incorrect running times for each title on the record label, and of course, the incorrect track for that title. 

Since this was a Zapple record, and the Zapple label was soon ended by the new manager of Apple Corps, Allen Klein, the title was soon deleted as well making this and John & Yoko's Zapple record a rare collector's item for many years.  George's LP was eventually re-issued (with the tracks in the correct order) in late 1996 in the UK and Japan, and then later remastered and issued again in late 2014.

The cover of George Harrison's "Electronic Sound" LP.  If you look closely (select the image and enlarge) you can still see the covered text "Assisted by Bernie Krause" under the George Harrison "Produced by" credit.

The inner sleeve still shows the Bernie Krause credit.

In the US and Canada the tracks were reversed by mistake but the titles were not.  Side 1 was actually the 25 minute "No Time Or Space" while....

...Side 2 contained George's shorter "Under The Mersey Wall".

It was one of the first electronic music records to be released by a rock musician.  We know at least the LP artwork was by George, the cover showing a green-faced figure (Mr. Krause?) at the Moog console and the back depicting Derek Taylor in the Apple offices dealing with the company pressures that were on at that time.  

George's son Dhani would explain later that all of the artwork came from one piece and says the green man holding a green apple in one hand on the cover is controlling the Moog "in the manner of a meat grinder" assuring the correct sound is being achieved.  The blue face at the bottom is George, the green image at the bottom is George and Pattie's cat Jostick.  Derek Taylor on the back of the LP is flying "an angry kite" which represents the aggravation that was pervasive at Apple during those days.  Mr. Taylor is forced to "Grapple with it" as stated in the artwork.  The faces on Derek's chair above his head are those of Neil Aspinall (frowning) and Mal Evans (smiling).   George's friend Eric Clapton is the the guy holding the guitar.   There are four portraits of all four Beatles, but above those, an Indian yogi and the Om symbol are shown to be upside down, as is one of the views through the office windows.  

The LP did not chart in the UK.  It did reach number 191 in the US during its two weeks on the charts there.  

George's interest in the Moog synthesizer led him to introducing the instrument to The Beatles, who in turn would utilize it on their next Beatles release.

The other LP to be released on this day via Zapple Records was John & Yoko's "Unfinished Music No. 2:  Life With The Lions".  (It is said this was a play on the title "Life With The Lyons" which had been a British radio program and a British Television series in the 1950s.  There were also two motion pictures made based off of the Lyons family, Americans Ben Lyon and Bebe Daniels and their children, who had first settled in London during the Second World War.)  

As with "Two Virgins", their previous recorded effort, this was to be considered "Unfinished Music" which would as John described say "whatever you want it to say.  It is just us expressing ourselves like a child does....however he feels like then.  What we're saying is make your own music.  This is Unfinished Music."  

The main portion of the LP was side one, titled "Cambridge 1969" and is a recording of Yoko (with John on guitar providing feedback to her performance) at Lady Michell Hall at Cambridge University from the previous March 2nd.  Near the end of the recording, saxophonist John Tchicai and percussionist John Stevens can be heard joining in. 

While the couple were at Queen Charlotte's Hospital in London, dealing with Yoko's eventual miscarriage in late 1968, they recorded "No Bed For Beatle John" consisting of the two singing the text of press clippings about themselves.  This became the beginning of 'Side 2' of the LP which went on with "Baby's Heartbeat" utilizing a Nagra microphone to capture the ill-fated palpitations of John Ono Lennon II, the baby that soon would be lost.  This was followed by "Two Minutes Silence" which is exactly that and ending up with a track called "Radio Play" that combines the sound of someone 'fiddling about' with a radio tuning knob along with John & Yoko having some kind of conversation in the background and then John making a phone call.  

As with George's "Electronic Sound", "Unfinished Music No. 2: Life With The Lions" did not chart in the UK but reached 174 in the United States.  While Ed Ward wrote in Rolling Stone magazine that the LP was "utter bullshit" and "in poor taste", Douglas Oliver from the Cambridge Evening News stated that the Cambridge concert was "strange and chilling.  Not in a bad sense, but because there was so much unusual texture.  At no time did the music become comforting.  It was an extraordinary experience."  

Another photo taken while John & Yoko were in Queen Charlotte's Hospital not released with the LP.

I believe that even for any hard-core Beatles/John Lennon fan, this LP can be a trying experience, at least the main portion from "Cambridge 1969".  Still it is difficult to reason that John & Yoko at any time would want to release anything that would be considered "utter bullshit".  A joke, maybe.  Something to laugh at, possibly, but bullshit is a difficult one to accept.  Yet, how does one understand what was valued by John & Yoko in some of these recordings?  

I would conjecture that while "Two Virgins" allowed Yoko into the 'inner (recording) sanctum' of John Lennon's home to create sounds together, culminating in a love making session as the sun arose the next day, with "Life With The Lions" and in particular "Cambridge 1969", this was now John on Yoko's turf, supporting her in the best way he knew how, with his guitar.  I would guess that was what made it special with him and he enjoyed sharing what made him happy with the world.  No bullshit there.  

There are a couple of interviews that were conducted with John & Yoko that information about them is hard to come by.  The first one is for BBC Radio 1 and the host is Pete Drummond talking with John & Yoko possibly in the Apple offices discussing "Life With The Lions" and is most likely a recording that was done on or about May 8, 1969.  The second interview is presumed to be likely the same location and date with host Tony Macarthur, but for an unknown program on Radio Luxembourg.  You can hear them both via downloading from this link:

Note:  Both LPs, "Unfinished Music No. 2:  Life With The Lions" and "Electronic Sound" would be released in America on May 26, 1969.

-- A Turning Point --

Also on this day, May 9th, there was a 3rd record to be reckoned with, and that was The Beatles' own "Get Back" LP.  For the most part the creation of a "Get Back" LP had been left up to engineer Glyn Johns, without participation by any of the group.  By May, almost everything had been assembled for what was thought to be a releasable product.  One particular aspect of the presentation was that certain bits of "chatter and jokes" from the original sessions, something that would normally be mixed out of the master tapes, in this case were not only left in but in some circumstances they were put in place, such as on May 7th and then on the 9th.  

During mixing sessions for some of these bits and pieces, taking place at Olympic Sound Studios, The Beatles did attend to listen to a playback of the completed tracks thus far.  On this occasion, Allen Klein was also present and it was brought up that a contract needed to be signed to finally and officially appoint Mr. Klein as Apple's new financial manager.  John, George & Ringo all backed this approach and wanted Paul to go along as well, and immediately, as Mr. Klein claimed he needed to report the following day (a Saturday) to his company ABKCO's board of directors in New York and therefore required the signature of all four Beatles on a contract.

Paul recalls:  "The other three said, 'You've got to sign a contract -- he's got to take it to his board.'  I said, 'It's Friday night.  He doesn't work on a Saturday, and anyway Allen Klein is a law unto himself.  He hasn't got a board he has to report to.  Don't worry -- we could easily do this on Monday.  Let's do our session instead.  You're not going to push me into this.

"They said, 'Oh, are you stalling?  He wants 20%.'  I said, 'Tell him he can have 15%.'  They said, 'You're stalling.' I replied, 'No, I'm working for us; we're a big act.'  I remember the exact words, 'We're a big act -- The Beatles.  He'll take 15%.'  But for some strange reason (I think they were so intoxicated with him) they said, 'No, he's got to have 20%, and he's got to report to his board.  You've got to sign now or never.' So I said, 'Right, that's it. I'm not signing now.'

"John was going with Klein, and George and Ringo said, 'OK, we're going with John.'  I realized I was expected to go along with it, but I didn't think it was a good idea -- simple as that, really. there it was -- and then there was the three-to-one situation.

"In The Beatles, if anyone didn't agree with a plan, it was always vetoed.  It was very democratic that way, so the three-to-one situation was very awkward and as a result 'things' would happen."

The only other time I can recall this happening was when George refused to go on tour while Ringo was having his tonsils out back in 1964.  George objected to Jimmy Nichol replacing Ringo, but was pretty much the minority voice on the subject at that time.  It was still early in their rise to world domination, and it had been said the loss of money in breaking performance dates, along with a bad image, derailed any attempt to halt their upcoming concerts.  In that case, however, it was only a temporary situation. What Paul was facing would shape the rest of their careers financially.  

When the other three walked out, leaving Paul alone at Olympic Studios, by chance Steve Miller arrived.  Glyn Johns had also been producing an album for The Steve Miller Band.  In Steve, Paul found a sympathetic ear as he described the argument he had just had with 'the guys'.  

Paul remembers:  "I explained it to him, took ten minutes to get it off my chest.  So I did a track, he and I stayed that night and did a track of his called 'My Dark Hour'.  I thrashed everything out on the drums.  There's a surfeit of aggressive drum fills, that's all I can say about that.  We stayed up until late.  I played bass, guitar and drums and sang backing vocals.  It's actually a pretty good track.

"It was a very strange time in my life and I swear I got my first grey hairs that month.  I saw them appearing.  I looked in the mirror, I thought, I can see you.  You're all coming now.  Welcome."

"My Dark Hour" was released as a single in the US on June 16th and on the Steve Miller LP "Brave New World" with Paul receiving a performance credit as Paul Ramon.  He did not receive composer credit.  

Steve Miller consoled Paul McCartney in his dark hour with "My Dark Hour".

You can hear the track by downloading it via this link:

11 May 1969 - George Harrison is invited to perform on Jack Bruce's debut solo LP in Morgan Studios, London.  George was not only friends with Eric Clapton, who was a member of Cream, but also friends with other members of the band.  The song he recorded rhythm guitar on was "Never Tell Your Mother She's Out of Tune" and appeared on the LP "Songs For A Tailor" which was released later in 1969.  George was credited with the pseudonym "L'Angelo Misterioso", the name used when he had recorded an earlier song, "Badge" with Cream in 1968.

This photo is unrelated but it's a rare look at George on drums.

You can hear the track by downloading a copy of it via this link:

15 May 1969 - Paul McCartney gives an interview with Roy Corlett for the BBC Radio Merseyside program "Light and Local" from his father's home in Cheshire.  Some interesting topics are covered, including the business at Apple, Beatlemania, Magical Mystery Tour, John & Yoko, drugs, songwriting and family life.  It's a very good, positive interview.

You can hear this interview via the above YouTube link.  Paul McCartney with Roy Corlett "Light and Local" interview for BBC 1 Merseyside Radio.

16 May 1969 -  As a 'thank you' for the production coming in on time and under budget, Ringo, Peter Sellers, Joe McGrath, Denis O' Dell and their wives were treated by Commonwealth United, the company that funded "The Magic Christian", to a free trip to New York on the Queen Elizabeth II, leaving Southampton on this day and arriving in New York on the 22nd.  Afterwards, everyone flew to the Bahamas for a two-week holiday.

John & Yoko had hoped to be a part of this affair, but John was denied a visa by the US immigration authorities due to his drug conviction the previous November 1968.  

There is a very short clip of Ringo discussing the John & Yoko situation that can be found via this link:  


16 May 1969 - 17 June 1969:  Paul & Linda begin this extended holiday in the Greek Island of Corfu with daughter Heather, where they stayed in the village of Benitses.

24 May 1969 - Ringo and the crew of "The Magic Christian" landed in New York on May 22nd, and shortly afterwards flew to the Bahamas for an additional two week holiday.  John & Yoko, it is said, wanted to go along on the cruise to New York to stage another bed-in once they landed in the States but were denied visas because of John's drug conviction.  Now it was their turn to try the Bahamas as well and took off from London heading that way on this day, along with Yoko's daughter, Kyoko.

This time they were 'armed' with Apple publicist and friend Derek Taylor, and a two-man film crew of Nic Knowland and Mike Lax.

John said at that time:  "The Bahamas is the nearest we can get to America without a visa.  We'll beam broadcasts from there, and hope they change their minds about us.  We want to go to the States to give acorns to Nixon for peace.  We want to give them to representatives of the United Nations."

However for reasons that are unclear, after flying from Bermuda to Nassau and then onto Freeport, they decided to not stay at the Sheraton-Oceanus South Hotel and left the next day for Toronto, Canada instead.  Mark Lewisohn said it was due to the extreme heat that they left the Bahamas.  Other reasons may include that they realized they were further from the States than they thought, and that being in the Bahamas would not attract the attention they desired for their advertisement for Peace.  Derek Taylor said it was because they found the conditions at the hotel unsuitable for staging a bed-in for one week.

There is a bit of audio available where John & Yoko discuss their upcoming 2nd Bed-In for Peace.  It's presumed recorded at the Apple Offices just before their venture to The Bahamas.  You can hear it by downloading a copy via the following link:

John & Yoko discuss the 2nd Bed-In

25 May 1969 - After flying direct from Freeport, The Bahamas to Toronto, Canada, John & Yoko spent a couple of hours with the immigration authorities but were allowed to enter the country.  They would stay the night at the King Edward Sheraton Hotel, Toronto but the next day would fly once more to another destination.  This time it was Montreal.

Ritchie Yorke has a discussion with John & Yoko in Toronto.

I am honestly not certain if this was taken while they were still in Toronto or not.  John seems to be dressed pretty much the same but Yoko is in different attire.

I've obtained some audio from an interview that John & Yoko gave while in Toronto on May 25th, but the interviewer at this time is unidentified and I'm not certain what establishment, if any, the interview was for.  The person talking to John & Yoko sounds like a young college student.  It's got some distortion, but I've done what I could to tone that down and I still feel it's got enough good stuff in it to make it available, even in its condition.

I've combined that with other audio from The Bahamas during that moment John & Yoko learn they've got a direct flight to Toronto ready for them that day.  Both pieces have been combined in a .zip file you can download via this link:

26 May 1969 - Arriving in Montreal, John & Yoko begin their 2nd Bed-In for Peace at the Queen Elizabeth Hotel occupying corner suite rooms 1738, 1740 & 1742.

Derek Taylor remembers:  "They had the bed-in for eight days.  Hundreds of people came to the bedside.  The questions were dealt with by John & Yoko in the full spirit of Apple, because they made themselves completely available to anybody on earth who wanted to come into the bedroom -- provided they were not obviously carrying a blood-stained axe.  People could come in and ask them questions.  Maybe they came in thousands, it felt like it.

"I was sort of controlling a big 'People Theatre'.  There is some footage of that time in which you see quite a packed room.  Over a period of ten days you could process a great many people through a hotel suite, and they were doing broadcasts to the world on speaker-phones and hook-ups. It was before satellites.  

"My job was to be around day and night while they were in bed.  They were able to rest between visits.  They were able to lie down and get new pajamas, etc.  A lot of us have had dreams about running our whole life from bed, and for ten days that was what they did.

"They were having also to report -- I think every few days -- to the consul in Montreal, because they were only there on sufferance, and were in fact deported from Canada at the end of the bed-in because their appeal against not being allowed in had failed.  They'd done the whole bed-in during an appeal period.  As soon as the ten days were up, they were told to clear off.  In fact they were put on the first plane out to Frankfurt -- which is not where we were going, we were going to London.  So that, again, is something people forget!  Doing a bed-in and being deported when it was over."

There are two bits of audio I've obtained, one made of John & Yoko discussing (while in flight from Toronto to Montreal) incorrect statements made on their behalf by the press, and the other of some various clips from TV interviews during the beginning of the Bed-In in Montreal.  Both have been combined via a .zip file which you can download from the provided link:

It has been said John & Yoko spoke up to 150 journalists each day, with around 350 radio stations in the USA along reporting the event, carrying the couple's message of peace.

When asked that instead of staying in bed for peace, why not start talking to the people who make the decisions, the political elite, John responded, "Shit, talk?  Talk about what?  It doesn't happen like that.  In the U.S., the Government is too busy talking about how to keep me out.  If I'm a joke, as they say, and not important, why don't they just let me in?"

John continues:  "...if we were to issue a statement or something to the press, only a part of it would ever get in.  But this way everybody will know and understand what we want to get across."

Yoko adds:  "People take war for granted.  They are conditioned to accept it.  So you've got to change their thinking.  Like TV soap commercials, you have to keep pounding away with the message all the time.  It's a full scale campaign."

The following audio files contain a John & Yoko interview with Ken Seymour for CBC radio and another set of various audio clips including a short talk with Derek Taylor and another unidentified individual (one of the camera crew?) describing how people are screened before they get access to John & Yoko.  This audio files are combined via a .zip file which you can download via this link:


During John & Yoko's stay in Montreal, other events related to The Beatles were still occurring.  On May 28, 1969 the 'final' compilation of their next LP, "Get Back" was completed.  It was finished, or at least so it was thought finished.  This took place at Olympic Sound Studios apparently with George Martin overseeing it as Producer and Glyn Johns as engineer.  

John Lennon was quoted as saying to reporter Ritchie Yorke when he and Yoko were in Toronto just before their bed-in commenced that the group had already taken photos for the cover of the new LP and that they were starting on the next LP as well.  

It is not clear if George Harrison was present on this day in the studio to approve the final mix, but he would have been the only Beatle available as the other three were out of the country at that time.

The "Get Back" record got as far as a full article concerning it's upcoming release in The Beatles' Monthly Book for (the month of) issue.


The following gives full disclosure of the upcoming LP including the tracks on it and in what order.

John & Yoko give an interview with Howard Smith for WABC Radio New York roughly around this time.  John still sounds very enthusiastic about the upcoming Beatles' LP "Get Back" but explains it won't be able to be released until possibly August because of an accompanying book which will take time to get printed.  The book will cover the making of the LP and is proposed to be released with the record.  You can hear that interview via downloading the audio from the following link:

There is another 'followup' interview with Howard Smith in New York for WABC-FM radio and following that I've secured more audio from an additional interview with KYA- AM radio based in San Francisco.  Both have been combined via a .zip file which you can download from the provided link:

30 May 1969 - Today "The Ballad of John and Yoko" b/w "Old Brown Shoe" is released as a single by Apple Records, the first Beatles single to be released in Stereo only.  (It would be released in America a few days later in early June.)  It came out when their previous single, "Get Back" b/w "Don't Let Me Down" was still #1 in the U.K..  This record too, would become another #1 hit for the group in England where it stayed for three weeks.

America wasn't as generous towards the record.  Some radio stations wouldn't play it because of the words "Christ" and "crucify" in the chorus.  I recall myself a station 'bleeping' the word "Christ" out when it was sung.  It 'only' made it up to #8 in the U.S..  It did do well elsewhere in the world.

In my perfect Beatles' fantasy world, this single would have been the container of the two 'outstanding' songs which would compliment the next LP (but not be on it) had "Get Back" the LP been released.

There were two 16mm color promotional films assembled for "The Ballad of John and Yoko".  (HOW SIMILAR ARE THEY?)  They contained footage of John and Yoko in Paris, Amsterdam, Vienna and at London Airport with a few shots of The Beatles' January rehearsal sessions at Twickenham the day a Krishna disciple was seen 'hanging out' with the group while sitting on the floor.  

The promo film was shown first on BBC1's "Top Of The Pops" June 5th, 1969 and then again on the 12th and on the 26th.  It wouldn't be shown in America until the ABC-TV show "Music Scene" screened a copy on September 22, 1969.

Given the quick timing from creation to release date, it probably should be considered a surprise there was promotional material put together for the record.  There was, however, no promotional film for "Old Brown Shoe".

Dick Gregory visits John & Yoko.

An interview with Bill Mercer for WNEW-FM radio in New York was made with John & Yoko and it even included a small discussion with Timothy Leary and his wife, now present and hanging out at the Bed-In event.  In it, the new Beatles' single is brought up along with the fact some stations were banning the record simply because of the word "Christ" being sung on it. You can download a copy of this interview via the provided link:

Gail Renard visits with John & Yoko.

John & Yoko with Toronto Rabbi Abraham Feinberg.

Tommy Smothers with John & Yoko.

This incredible week of events was filmed for a full-length feature titled "The Way It Is".  It is unclear to me if an assembled motion picture was ever put together, but the footage would remain unused until some of it appeared in the 1988 movie, "Imagine:  John Lennon".  In 1990, home video saw the release of "John and Yoko:  The Bed-In" which was pretty much the core of this footage.  It appears in 2012 Yoko had the film uploaded to YouTube under the title "Bed Peace".  It's either the same film retitled or slightly re-edited, I haven't had the chance to compare the two yet.

In addition to this I've come across audio that has been labeled by the bootleggers as from "The Way It Is".  Whether that is true or not, the audio does contain some more interesting talks with John & Yoko so I've uploaded it to the provided link for your listening pleasure.  It's just under 23 minutes in length.

Tommy Smothers and his girlfriend with John & Yoko and Timothy and Rosemary Leary.

1 June 1969 - What better way to wrap up the 2nd Bed-In for Peace than in song? After an unpleasant encounter with cartoonist Al Capp, John began to fully realize a brand new peace-anthem, which had literally come out of his mouth after endless questions.  "All we are saying is give peace a chance!" John would begin to repeat, as can be heard in earlier interviews during the Bed-In event.  

As with "The Ballad of John and Yoko", John suddenly wanted his anthem put down on tape and ready for release to the world as soon as possible.  Amongst journalists and famous people, such as Allen Ginsberg, Abbie Hoffman, Tommy Smothers, Timothy Leary, Petula Clark, Dick Gregory, Murray the K, Derek Taylor, Rabbi Abraham Feinberg and members of the Radha Krishna Temple, portable recording equipment was set up and the moment was captured on tape.  

André Perry (a studio owner in Montreal as requested by EMI) set up a four-track Ampex recorder and with four microphones recorded John Lennon on acoustic guitar and Tommy Smothers on acoustic guitar with what is said to be a wardrobe door providing percussion.  The rest of the people in the room provided the chorus as John Lennon gave his lead vocal.  After a brief rehearsal a suitable take was completed.

André Perry recalls:  "There was so many people in the room and it was so noisy and the way I had to record this was with earphones because, you know, I didn't have a control room.  

"What I like about John was he must have had somewhat of a perception that I was serious and knew what I was doing because he was in full confidence.  He didn't know me but he sized me up and he gave me full confidence.  I had all this liberty in the world on this thing.  ...It's not like he said, 'Well, let's listen to it and let's do it again if it's not right.'  He just did it, he looked at me and said, 'It's Okay?' ...and that was the end of it. 

"Because of the condition of the room being bad...too much noise and in a small environment, and what was going on was the tape picking this up.  And then I decided upon myself that the background was a bit too noisy and needed a little 'sweeping.'  So we called a bunch of people in the studio that night...and since it was multi-track I dubbed the original 4-track to an 8-track machine and then used the other 4-tracks to overdub some voices.

"The next day I went back to John...they moved everybody out of the room and it was just the three of us, with Yoko, and I played it for him and he thought it was wonderful.  ...he was very generous to me and I was touched by that."

I've come across a demo of "Give Peace A Chance" done by John alone and then the completed track but with more audio from the 'session' ahead of it and after its conclusion, which I think adds to the experience of feeling as if the listener was really there to experience the moment.  Both tracks are combined via a .zip file and can be downloaded via the following link:

Near the end of the 2nd week in bed for peace, John talks with Fred Peabody, a reporter who recorded an interview with John for "Concern" magazine.  I've uploaded some audio which contains bits and pieces from that interview and you can download it via the provided link:

1-23 June 1969:  With John & Yoko wrapping up their 2nd Bed-In for Peace in Montreal, Paul & Linda now at the Greek Island of Corfu, Ringo & Maureen in the Bahamas, it was George & Pattie's turn for their vacation holiday in Sardinia.  The last of The Beatles couples were now out of England.

3 June 1969 - While still in Montreal, John & Yoko met the 21 year old University of Ottawa Student President, Allan Rock who told the couple that the students association at the campus in Ottawa were planning on having a "Seminar On World Peace" and that one of the guests was to be the Prime Minister of Canada.  It is unclear if the chance to meet the Prime Minister was an enticement for John  & Yoko or not...and if this was just a ploy from Mr. Rock to get the couple to show up to the seminar, but show up they did.  

Mr. Rock did, however, give John & Yoko a tour of the city in his car and did take them to the residence of the Prime Minister, where John wrote and left a message for Pierre Trudeau since he wasn't home at the time.  It is believed this letter helped to open up an opportunity for a future meeting.  

Audio from this 'Peace Conference' does exist and I've got an 8 minute extract from that interview with John & Yoko which you can download from the provided link:

4 June 1969 - There also exists photos of John & Yoko visiting Niagara Falls, presumably while they were awaiting a flight out of Toronto to go back to London, but I don't have a concrete established timeline.  Nonetheless, it seems to fly in the face of what Derek Taylor inferred, that they had to leave Canada very shortly after their Bed-In for Peace as they were being deported.

*Note:  I do not have an exact date for this photograph but am using it as a representation of John & Yoko's (with daughter Kyoko) return trip to London from their adventures in Toronto, Montreal & Ottawa Canada.

When John & Yoko returned home from their 2nd Bed-In for Peace, all four Beatles entered a period of quiet holiday for the most part.  John had admitted as much that the "Get Back" LP would be released to the public in the Summer of 1969, mostly being held up because of the time it would take to print up the accompanying book that would be sold with the record.  He also let it be known The Beatles had already begun their next project together, another record as yet untitled.

It is then at this point in their history, which I will finally bring to a close the story of how The Beatles did "Get Back" but of course not exactly how that project would undergo more changes later on.  In my Beatles fantasy world, I think the record could have made it (with the one exception being the truncated "I've Got a Feeling"...I still don't know how that was selected as an LP track).  Thankfully the bootleg copies of it did and we have access to that unreleased Beatles' record.

It would have been nice if things could have gone on afterwards with all four of the guys maybe continuing their lives as brothers and as individuals, but fortunately there was not only one more solid act to come of The Beatles, as we would learn with the years and as I'm sure they all really knew deep down in their hearts, they would be tied to each other for eternity.