Beatles 50th Blog

The Beatles 50 Years Ago Today: April 23, 1969

The song was originally recorded to be included on the aborted album “Get Back”.

“Get Back” becomes The Beatles 16th UK No.1 in 1969

Originally released as a single on 11 April 1969 and credited to “The Beatles with Billy Preston, “Get Back” was the first and only single by The Beatles to credit another artist, Preston played the organ on the song and was by then one of the few people that were privileged to be called a “5th Beatle”. The song was initially thought to be included on their aborted 1969 album “Get Back” that would become “Let It Be” in 1970. The Beatles performed “Get Back” (along with other songs from the album) as part of the Beatles’ rooftop performance, which took place on the roof of Apple Studios in Savile Row, London on 30 January 1969, an edited version of which was included in the “Let It Be” film. During the famous rooftop appearance, “Get Back” was performed in full three times. Due to the increasing popularity of the Stereo formats over Mono, “Get Back” also became the first single release in true stereo in the US by the band. On April 23, 1969, “Get Back” was No.1 at the UK Singles charts, their 16th single to achieve the top position in their home country.


The Beatles 50 Years Ago Today: April 22, 1969


John Lennon and Yoko Ono in Studio Two, EMI Studios, London. The couple spends five hours in the studio today. First, John and Yoko record their heartbeats. They also record the track John and Yoko (John repeating "Yoko" and Yoko repeating "John" for 22 minutes), which will be included on their 3rd LP, The Wedding Album.

On another note, John Lennon formally changed his middle name from Winston to Ono, during a brief ceremony held on the roof of the Apple building at 3 Savile Row, London. The ceremony was carried out before Bueno de Mesquita, Commissioner of Oaths. Lennon had never liked his middle name, which had been given to him during a bout of wartime patriotism.

John - "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."


The Beatles 50 Years Ago Today: April 21, 1969

John Lennon and Yoko Ono form Bag Productions, a film production company, that would function separately from Apple for their personal projects. They appoint Anthony Fawcett as their assistant.

The Beatles 50 Years Ago Today: April 20, 1969

-The Beatles in the recording studio (Studio Three, EMI Studios, London). Recording organ and conga overdubs for I Want You (She's So Heavy). Then 26 takes of Oh! Darling, plus an organ overdub.


The Beatles 50 Years Ago Today: April 19, 1969

The April 19-25, 1969 issue of TV Guide featured a two-page article entitled “Four cats on a London roof” which got many American Beatles fans very excited.  The magazine made mention of a “TV documentary” that The Beatles had filmed, the contents of which was “to let the world – all over which The Beatles hope to sell the documentary in a few months – know just how The Beatles go about their work.”

The Beatles 50 Years Ago Today: April 18, 1969

The Beatles finished "Old Brown Shoe" today (George Harrison's song), then worked on the Abbey Road song I Want You (She's So Heavy).

Harrison worked alone on the song, recording a guitar solo onto track seven. The instrument was fed through a Leslie speaker. He then erased John Lennon's rhythm guitar by overdubbing a Hammond organ part.

The recording session was in Studio Three and quite long. Harrison and producer Chris Thomas then mixed Old Brown Shoe in stereo in 19 attempts, which were numbered 5-23, in the studio control room. They completed the work at 1am.

Studio Two had also been booked for work on I Want You (She's So Heavy). Harrison, Lennon, Thomas, balance engineer Jeff Jarratt and tape operator John Kurlander were present for the overdubbing of guitars, in a late session lasting from 1-4.30am.

Source: Jeff Jarratt - The Complete Beatles Recording Sessions, Mark Lewisohn



The Beatles 50 Years Ago Today: April 17, 1969

There was nothing newsworthy today to report.

The Beatles 50 Years Ago Today: April 16, 1969

After recording the "Ballad of John and Yoko" on April 14 1969, all four members of The Beatles met at Abbey Road to record its b-side, George Harrison's song Old Brown Shoe.

There were two separate sessions on this day. From 2.30-5pm Harrison recorded a solo demo of Old Brown Shoe in a single take.

This was the first Beatles recording session at Abbey Road to feature all four members since 8 October 1968, more than six months previously. They recorded the backing track for Old Brown Shoe in just four takes.

Track one contained Ringo Starr's drums, while the second and third featured Harrison's guide vocals and lead guitar. Paul McCartney's piano was recorded onto track four, and John Lennon added rhythm guitar onto track eight.

Lennon and McCartney then overdubbed backing vocals onto track five. Electric guitar and bass parts were added by McCartney and Harrison on six, both instruments doubling up the same riffs. Harrison's lead vocals were the last to be added, onto track eight, for which he positioned himself in a corner of the studio to give an intimate sound.

With work on Old Brown Shoe finished for the night, The Beatles began work on Harrison's most celebrated Beatles song, Something. This, too, had been demoed on 25 February, and had been played during the Get Back/Let It Be sessions on 28 and 29 January.

The Beatles taped 13 takes of the backing track for Something. McCartney's bass guitar was on track one, Starr's drums on two, Harrison's electric guitar was on the third, and George Martin's piano was on track four. The recording, however, was later abandoned in favour of a remake on 2 May 1969.

Before the session ended at 2.45am, three stereo mixes of Old Brown Shoe were made. None of them was used, and further overdubs were added on 18 April 1969.



The Beatles 50 Years Ago Today: April 15, 1969

Nothing much happening today

The Beatles 50 Years Ago Today: April 14, 1969

On this date, "The Ballad Of John And Yoko"  recounted the couple's wedding and honeymoon. Lennon wanted to make music an instant snapshot of a moment. The Ballad Of John And Yoko (They're Gonna Crucify Me) was recorded in 11 takes.

Five of the 11 takes broke down because McCartney added an extra snare drum hit prior to the line "Made a lightning trip to Vienna", and the second take ended after Lennon broke a guitar string. The master version was take 10.

The eight-track tape had Lennon's acoustic guitar on track two, McCartney's drums on three, and Lennon's vocals on four, all of which were recorded simultaneously. McCartney then overdubbed bass guitar onto the first track, after which Lennon added two electric guitar parts onto tracks five and six. The second of these also featured McCartney's piano.

McCartney recorded backing vocals onto track seven, and the pair added percussion onto eight. This featured Lennon hitting the back of his guitar, and McCartney shaking a pair of maracas.

The Ballad Of John And Yoko was The Beatles' first single to be released exclusively in stereo. Five remixes were made before work ended at 11pm. This turned out to be a very fast session.

It was a really good record too, helped by Paul's great drumming and the speed in which they did it all.

Source: The Complete Beatles Recording Sessions, Mark Lewisohn