There was one last recording session today at Apple Studios, which I don’t think were ever used again; all subsequent Beatles sessions were at Trident, Olympic, or EMI/Abbey Road. It may be that after this EMI took back its mobile recording equipment, rendering the studio unusable.

The main goal of this session was to get down on tape and camera performances of songs that had been omitted from the rooftop concert. To that end, the band did 7 takes of “Two of Us,” 19 of “The Long and Winding Road,” and 22 of “Let It Be.” Says The Beatles Bible,

Patience began to wear thin during this part of the session, with Lennon audibly bored and interjecting mischievous lines such as “And in my hour of darkness she is standing left in front of me, squeaking turds of whisky over me.” McCartney, too, changed some of the lyrics, including a reference to “Brother Malcolm” (presumably Mal Evans), and changing “times of trouble” to “times of heartache.”

Having listened to all 14 versions of “The Long and Winding Road” included on the CD I have of this session, I can attest to the fact that it was indeed monotonous. To alleviate the boredom they toyed with Beatles songs including “Run for Your Life,” “Step Inside Love,” “Lady Madonna,” “I Want You,” and “Oh! Darling,” as well as an unrecorded Lennon/McCartney original called “Tales of Frankie Rabbit.” There was also the usual brace of covers:

  • Hey Good Lookin’ (Hank Williams)
  • Take This Hammer/Lost John (Lonnie Donegan)
  • Five Feet High and Rising (Johnny Cash)
  • Bear Cat Mama (Jimmie Davis)
  • Black Dog (Koerner, Ray & Glover)
  • Right String, Wrong Yo-Yo (Carl Perkins)
  • Friendship (Cole Porter)
  • Turkey in the Straw (trad)
  • ’Deed I Do (Fred Rose/Walter Hirsch)
  • I Got Stung (Elvis)
  • Build Me Up Buttercup (The Foundations)
  • Twelfth Street Rag (Euday L Bowman)

Here are ten minutes of random footage from today’s session. If you keep an eye out, you’ll spot a young Alan Parsons among the engineers.

Notably but rather predictably, none of George’s songs got any attention today, though “I Me Mine” and “For You Blue” would end up on Let It Be. Today also marked the end of Billy Preston’s tenure as a full-time Beatle, though he will pop up now and again during the Abbey Road sessions.

One quick 2019 note: It has just been announced that film director Peter Jackson, of Lord of the Rings fame, has signed on for the difficult task of turning all the unused archival material from the Get Back/Let It Be sessions into a movie. In a press release he says:

The 55 hours of never-before-seen footage and 140 hours of audio made available to us, ensures this movie will be the ultimate “fly on the wall” experience that Beatles fans have long dreamt about — it’s like a time machine transports us back to 1969, and we get to sit in the studio watching these four friends make great music together…. I’m thrilled and honoured to have been entrusted with this remarkable footage – making the movie will be a sheer joy.

Well, we’ll see what he says after sifting through 195 hours of that mess. I don’t necessarily envy him, but I guess it’s good that someone’s doing it, and anyone who can turn The Hobbit into 10 hours of screen time ought to have the gumption to see it through. They’re also saying that the Let It Be movie will be rereleased in conjunction with the new product, so that should be fun.

Back in 1969, the Apple Studios sessions drew to a close, appropriately enough, with take 27-B of “Let It Be.” There was still the matter of turning that 55 hours of film and 140 hours of audio into a movie and an album. But that was a worry for another time. For now everyone could go home feeling that they’d accomplished something, even if they weren’t quite sure what it was yet.