Beatles on January 29, 1969 podcast

Today is the last day before the famous Apple rooftop concert.  Apart from some complaining from Paul in the morning, there isn’t a whole lot of action today.  This will give us a little time to compare the Beatles productivity in January 1969 to other periods of their career.   George presents another new song.  Paul adds some cool vocals that make me wish the Beatles had recorded more of George’s good songs. 

Check it out and come back soon for the rooftop concert.

5 Responses

  1. I had never heard George’s speech about how he should do a solo album to “preserve the Beatles bit” before; I’ve long known that he’d said that, but I hadn’t realized it had come so late into the “Get Back” sessions.

    You look at the catalog of songs George had by this time — he’s already brought forward “Isn’t It A Pity?” (which goes back to the Revolver sessions), he writes “Wah-Wah,” and now he trots out “Let It Down” (and Paul sounds happy and excitable on the backing vocals), and it’s “For You Blue” we end up getting for the album? (Remembering that “I Me Mine” was a late addition, necessitating the last sessions in January 1970.)

    Now I find myself wondering — what if Paul, George, and Ringo decided to make an album together without John in late ’69 or early ’70. (Inspired by Stephen Baxter’s short story “The Twelfth Album,” I put together an “imaginary” post-Abbey Road album I called “Hot As Sun,” but this new idea is almost more entertaining.)

    Bring on the rooftop concert. 🙂

  2. Hello again Allyn and thanks for another very interesting comment.

    It seems as though George’s comment should have come earlier in the sessions. Then again, they are somewhat reconciled this week, so I guess that talking about preserving the band is more appropriate than all the talk about the inevitability of breaking up from the past couple of weeks.

    I don’t have the right books in front of me right now, but I think that For You Blue might be the only song that was recorded on the multitracks. That was the only song they had to work with. To further your point, don’t you think it is strange that they recorded Old Brown Shoe instead of the better songs that you mention?

    Think of how badly they performed All Things Must Pass. Maybe George decided that he didn’t want John’s poor musicianship to ruin one of his songs. John could play the simple slide guitar parts on For You Blue, but he just could not figure out what to do on All Things Must Pass and I Me Mine. It’s not like John wanted to play well anyway, but he wasn’t flexible enough to do it. John might not have even known how to play the 9th chords in Isn’t It A Plty.

    Obviously, I love John’s playing, but he couldn’t have been a session guy.

    I love your Hot As Sun post and a non-John 1969 album would have been very interesting. On 1/13 or 1/14, John said that either he or Paul could front the Beatles alone.

  3. You make a good point about John’s poor musicianship during these sessions; Ian McDonald justified Phil Spector’s strings on “The Long and Winding Road” in Revolution in the Head as about the only way of covering for John’s poor bass playing on the recording. (This is one place where the no-overdubs policy hurt; on another album, Paul simply would have recorded it later.)

    As for John’s musicianship, jump ahead a few months and his guitar solo is my least favorite part of “The End; this was, of course, the period where John was convinced, thanks in no small part to Yoko, that every little sound he made was worthwhile. (Witness Two Virgins and Life with the Lyons as exhibits A and B.) Truth is, I never really think of John in terms of his guitar playing. As a vocalist, as a lyricist and composer, John’s attributes are obvious. Rhythm guitar, though? Not so much.

    As for your question on my blog — who would have produced “Hot as Sun” — I’ve never really given it any thought. It’s not like the Beatles needed a producer by this point. I can’t really imagine McCartney wanting to work with Spector, though. And, it now occurs to me, to get to an album after Abbey Road, one of the Glyn Johns Get Back albums needs to go out, not Spector’s Let It Be.

  4. Rock Dad, that one was by me, by the way. 🙂

  5. I’ll have to pull out Let It Be…Naked. I wonder if Paul fixed the bass parts. I noticed that they edited out the piano error in “Let It Be.” It’s right around “I wake up to the sound of music.” I always enjoyed the irony of it happening right there.

    Didn’t John admit somewhere that he wasn’t much of a guitar player? Maybe in the Rolling Stone interview.

    No, maybe Paul wouldn’t have wanted Spector. I can see that now that you point it out. The biggest difference between the Get Backs and Let It Be is that Glynn followed the “warts and all” dictum and presented scrappy tracks. Teddy Boy with feedback? No wonder the Beatles shelved it. Spector obviously tried to make something commercial and at least found the best versions of those songs. [I love the “I’m so ashmed” version of I’ve Got A Feeling, but it’s necessary to hear the song played correctly 100 times before you should hear the version with such a serious mistake.]

    If Glynn had tried a different approach and produced something in between Get Back and Let It Be, perhaps he could have satisfied The Beatles.

    By that point, George and Paul had proven that they could produce (Jackie Lomax, Billy Preston, Mary Hopkins, “Come and Get It”). They might have preferred to focus on the music however. It’s something to think about.

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