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.

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