Sunday, September 10, 2017

The "Get Back/Let It Be" Project January 30 1969

And so it was that on this day of January 30 1969 that The Beatles performed live on the rooftop of the Apple building at 3 Savile Row in London.This would mark the last time The Beatles performed live although the audience was very limited. The lucky few who were on the roof or who happened to be on the adjacent roofs got to see them live. Most people would only hear the songs reverberating on the street below.
All four Beatles and Billy Preston on Rhodes piano warmed up with a rehearsal of "Get Back" which also allowed the sound technician (in the basement of the building) to adjust the sound faders and EQ. Once this was completed, a few bars of "I Want You (She's So Heavy) was played and then a second take of "Get Back" was performed. A stereo mix of this second take with the count-in from the first rehearsal is available in the film "Let It Be". Up next is a take of "Don't Let Me Down" which was also used in the film "Let It Be" and this take was used in the documentary "Imagine: John Lennon" although it has been edited for the documentary.
The next song performed is "I've Got A Feeling" which ends up on both the film and the Apple LP "Let It Be". After this, the next tune is "One After 909" with a snippet of "Danny Boy" (only one version is performed on the roof) and this tune appears on the official Apple "Let It Be" LP/CD, the film of the same name and the Glyn Johns "Get Back" LP tapes as well.  An alternate mix of this tune can be found on the Apple/EMI LP/CD "Let It Be...Naked". A request comes in for "Dig a Pony"; this performance can be seen unedited in the film including the false start and ended up on the official "Let It Be" LP with edits but the false start remains on the Phil Spector version. An alternate mix of "Dig A Pony" was released on the Apple/EMI LP/CD "Let It Be...Naked"The reels are changed at this point and The Beatles play a loose rendition of "God Save The Queen"!
A second performance of both "I've Got A Feeling" and fragments of "A Pretty Girl Is Like A Melody"/ a snippet of "Get Back" and "Don't Let Me Down" are performed but these two songs only appear on bootlegs and not used commercially. Both "I've Got A Feeling" and "Don't Let Me Down" are edited from the first and second performances and end up on the Apple/EMI LP/CD "Let It Be...Naked" with cleaner mixes.
A final take of "Get Back" is attempted although by this time the London Police have made their way up to the roof to try and shut down the concert. Mal Evans (the Beatles' roadie) starts to shut off some amps to no avail as the band continues trying to get a proper take. This fails when the last chorus goes off time but the band continues until the end. John Lennon steps up to the microphone and does his famous "I hope we passed the audition" quote which is used at the end of the Apple LP/CD "Let It Be" and also used on the Glyn Johns "Get Back" tapes at the end of "One After 909". This final take of "Get Back" can be found on the Apple 3LP/2CD "Anthology 3" project.
Most of the rooftop concert can be heard on the vinyl bootleg from "Swinging Pig" entitled "The Rooftop Concert" as well as a CD bootleg containing the same material from Yellow Dog "The Complete Rooftop Session".
It is also interesting to note that the first version of the Glyn Johns "Get Back" LP mixing was completed at Olympic Studios during the evening and later released on bootlegs such as "WBCN recordings" and "Kum Back" and finally "Posters, Incense and Strobe Candles" all from vinyl.

Friday, September 1, 2017

The "Get Back/Let it Be" Project January 29 1969

January 29 1969 was the big day before the big (and last) Beatles' concert. In the end, everyone agreed to have the musical equipment moved from the basement Apple studios onto the roof of the Apple building at 3 Savile Row, London and get set up for a free lunchtime show and entertain the surrounding buildings. At first it seems that both Paul and George were a little reluctant but history shows that they all agreed in the end.
So the first order of the day was to rehearse the songs to be performed. The first part of the rehearsal consisted of tunes to be played on the roof such as "I've Got A Feeling", "One After 909", "Don't Let Me Down", "Dig A Pony", "Get Back" and "She Came In Through The Bathroom Window"( the latter of which was never played). A couple of George Harrison composed songs were also rehearsed but never played on the roof or recorded in the Studio the day after the show: "Let It Down", "All Things Must Pass" and "For Your Blue".
After being joined by Billy Preston, the discussion of having some of the acoustic guitar/piano songs recorded the day after the live concert back in the studio included the rehearsal of "Let It Be" and "The Long And Winding Road".
Now that the original and self-penned numbers had been rehearsed, The Beatles decided to do a bit of jamming on some oldies but moldies including a version of "Besame Mucho" which appears in the "Let It Be" film as well as "Not Fade Away" (appearing on the bootleg vinyl "File Under: the Beatles" as well as the bootleg CD "Turn Me On Deadman: The John Barrett Tapes").
Another song that was contemplated for the 1984 compilation of unreleased material entitled "Sessions" was a cover of "Mailman, Bring Me No More Blues" originally recorded by Buddy Holly. John takes the vocal on this one. The song was remixed and heavily edited due to the fact that when it was recorded, Glyn Johns delayed in pressing the "record" button on the eight track machine -and it has appeared on various "Sessions" bootlegs and was ultimately released on the Apple 3LP-2CD "Anthology 3". Both the bootleg version and the commercial version have the same mix and edits applied back in the early 80s.

Saturday, August 26, 2017

The "Get Back/Let It Be" project January 28 1969

The day started with The Beatles having a go at "I've Got A Feeling" until Paul has to leave for a meeting (probably to discuss the upcoming release of the Mary Hopkin LP "Postcard") while John, George , Ringo and Billy Preston continue on with the latter song for a while.
The Lennon tune "Dig A Pony" or "I Dig A Pony" (depending in which country you bought your "Let It Be" album) is recorded but none of the takes are released. The next song being recorded on this day was the ending or the reprise for "Get Back". The reprise was added on to the previous day's take and released on the commercial single for Apple as well as used on the first two Glyn Johns LP reels.
The Beatles ( and Billy Preston) also recorded the B-side "Don't Let Me Down" with addition overdubs completed during a February recording session which unfortunately remains undocumented. Other songs rehearsed and recorded on this day at Apple Studios include more of "I've Got A Feeling", "One After 909" and "Teddy Boy". One of the takes of "Teddy Boy" was used for the Apple 3LP/2CD "Anthology 3" with an edit of segments from this day's session paired with segments from the January 24 1969 session.
The "Get Back" take with coda was mixed for mono on March 26 1969 at Abbey Road and then again at Olympic Studios on April 07 1969. The stereo mix for "Get Back" (with coda) and "Don't Let Me Down" (with overdubs) was completed three days earlier on April 04 1969....et viola....the "new" Beatles' single was ready. As nature intended.


Saturday, August 19, 2017

The "Get Back/Let It Be" Project January 27 1969

The Beatles gathered into Apple Studios on this day to continue their work on the project, all four Beatles; Billy Preston as well as George Martin and Glyn Johns were all present.
The day started with a bit of work on an untitled composition written by George Harrison which would evolve into "Old Brown Shoe". The song would remain un-revisited for the time being and the piano songs "Let It Be" and "The Long and Winding Road" are rehearsed.
The main focus of the day was the rehearsal and recording of the upcoming single "Get Back". There were various reels of recording tape used this day to record the song and one of the takes (27.63) was used for the commercial Apple 45 single - without the coda at this point. It was produced by George Martin and the credit was "The Beatles with Billy Preston" on the label once it was released.
Also on this day, a nice take of "Oh! Darling" with Billy Preston on Fender Rhodes Electric piano surfaced on the Apple 3LP/2CD "Anthology 3" which also features John Lennon's comment the Yoko getting her divorce from Tony Cox !!
During the afternoon, an improvisation of a Blues type number was played by The Beatles and eventually molded itself into the Jimmy McCracklin hit "The Walk" - this was recorded on tape and used on some vinyl bootlegs including the "Beatles: On File" bootleg.


Saturday, August 5, 2017

The "Get Back/Let It Be" Project January 26 1969

The Beatles were back at the Apple Studios on 3 Savile Row in London. George and Ringo were the first two Beatles to arrive and with George on acoustic and Ringo on piano, a bit of composing work was undertaken for the Ringo penned song "Octopus's Garden" which would feature later in the year. Paul, John and George Martin arrived as well as Billy Preston.
The rehearsals start with "Let it Be"- Paul on piano, John on bass, George on guitar, Billy on keys and Ringo on drums. The song leads into some jamming for the morning with a lot of improvisations and some oldies thrown in for good measure. The tape is rolling as the Beatles jam on the song "Dig It" with the longest version of the song at twelve and a half minutes and in mono captured on the vinyl bootleg "Dig it!". An edit of the performance down to four minutes was used for one of Glyn Johns "Get Back" LP tracklists. Finally, slightly less than a minute of this performance was used on the official Apple LP/CD "Let It Be" shortened by Phil Spector.
The Beatles continued to jam on oldies after this point which included a performance of "Rip It Up" and going into "Shake, Rattle and Roll". These performances can be heard in mono on such bootleg LPs such as "Singing the Blues" and "Celluloid Rock". They have been released commercially on the Apple 3-LP/2-CD "Anthology 3" project with the addition of another oldies performance from this day: "Blue Suede Shoes". The latter can also be found in mono on the bootleg LP: "File Under: The Beatles".
Another set of oldies from this day consists of the medley "Miss Ann/Kansas City/ Lawdy Miss Clawdy" and this can also be found on the bootleg LP: "File Under: The Beatles" as well as on the bootleg CD: "Turn Me on Dead Man: The John Barrett Tapes".
Finally, the song "You Really Got A Hold On Me" is attempted in a higher key than they originally played it, with John Lennon struggling on the lead vocal. This can be seen in the film "Let It Be". It can also be found on the bootleg LP "Singing The Blues" although the ending is faded out.
In the afternoon, there are attempts at both "Let It Be" and "The Long And Winding Road" (which is new to Billy Preston and he learns it on this day). The basic track for the commercial single comes from one of the performances of "Let It Be" and also appears on an early version of the Glyn Johns "Get Back" LP. It can be heard pre-overdub on the "WBCN" acetate and bootleg of the same name.
Finally, a version of "The Long And Winding Road" also appears on an early version of the Glyn Johns "Get Back" LP, the "WBCN" acetate and on the commercial Apple 3-LP/2-CD "Anthology 2" project.

Saturday, July 29, 2017

The "Get Back/Let It Be" Project January 25 1969

The Beatles entered Apple Studios with out Billy Preston on this day. Billy was busy taping a television show with Lulu so he was away for this day's session. The morning consisted of some acoustic work including the rehearsal of "Two Of Us" with some skiffle thrown in as well as a version of "Bye Bye Love" originally done by the Everly Brothers. Another interesting tune played on acoustics this particular morning was the McCartney original "I Lost My Little Girl" performed by John Lennon of all people !!
The afternoon consisted on rehearsals and taping for George Harrison's composition "For Your Blue". George is on acoustic, Paul on piano, John on slide and Ringo on drums. Take seven (with later vocal overdubs by George in January 1970) was used on both the bootleg of the second edition of Glyn John's "Get Back" LP ( pre-overdubbed vocals) and on the Apple LP/CD "Let It Be" and B-side to the "Long And Winding Road" (post-overdubbed vocals). The Apple 3-LP/2-CD would include the first take of "For You Blue" and finally the "Let It Be" film uses an edit of takes nine and six (pre-overdub)!!
Later in the afternoon and before the end of the session, The Beatles go through some takes of  "Let it Be" with Paul on piano, John on bass, George on electric guitar and Ringo on drums.One of the takes (without Billy Preston) was eventually released on the Apple 3-LP/2-CD "Anthology 3".
At the very end of the day, George plays a version of "Isn't It A Pity" for John. Unfortunately, no interest is shown for the song. It would eventually be released commercially on George's triple album "All Things Must Pass" in November 1970.

Friday, July 21, 2017

The "Get Back/Let It Be" Project January 24 1969

This day being mainly an acoustic session for the Beatles at Apple Studios in London with the absence of Billy Preston who was busy at a BBC television session for most of the morning. Both John and Paul took out the acoustic guitars and George would be playing the bass notes on electric Fender guitar. Take one of "Two Of Us" can be heard on the commercial recording of Apple's 3-LP/2-CD "Anthology 3". The take is marred by a bit of feedback from the open-holed guitars as well as a mistake going into the second middle eight part of the song. Another song recorded on the eight track tape this morning would be a McCartney tune entitled "Teddy Boy" which would end up on his first solo album but was considered for the "Get Back/Let It Be" project and played through on this day. There are amazingly three different mixes of this tune with one of them mixed by Glyn Johns lasting over five minutes, later in the evening at Olympic Studios in London, an edited mix for the "Let it Be" LP (never released) by Phil Spector at four and a half minutes, as well as the commercial release on the "Anthology" which includes segment from January 28 - to be discussed under that day.
The skiffle classic "Maggie May" was recorded in the morning as well with versions from the Glyn Johns proposed LP and ending up on the commercial Apple LP/CD "Let It Be" as well. The Spector mix has a wider stereo range and ends side one on the vinyl version.
In the afternoon after a break, The Beatles once again pick up the acoustics and another take of "Two of Us" can be heard on some bootlegs including the "WBCN acetate" vinyl and the CD "Celluloid Rock" with a false start added. At this point, a bit of a jam occurs with The Beatles jamming on the lyrics "Can You Dig It" for a while and concluded with the words: "Ark The Angels Come" which was used on all versions of the Glyn Johns proposed LP line ups as well as using the quote on the commercial Apple "Let It Be" LP/CD. Billy Preston arrived later in the afternoon and run throughs of "Get Back" are performed with some takes put down on eight track; unreleased.