This was a time of great confusion in the Beatles camp. For all intents and purposes, the band was finished — John had quit and the other three were barely on speaking terms. But by this point the Beatles Industrial Complex had begun to take on a life of its own, and its primary imperative, then as now, was the generation of New Product. With that in mind, the effort to turn the archived material from the abandoned January 1969 sessions into a new album and a movie took on great urgency, and this was what brought Paul, George, and Ringo to EMI Studios today.

According to Mark Lewisohn’s The Complete Beatles Recording Sessions,

The Beatles had not previously recorded “I Me Mine.” It is assumed that they had, for in a part of [what eventually became] the Let It Be film shot at Twickenham in the first half of January 1969, there is a charming sequence in which George plays the song to Ringo on acoustic guitar, having composed it in five minutes flat just the night before. But it is perhaps worth stressing once again that nothing from Twickenham was truly recorded: taping did not begin until January 22 at Savile Row and, there, “I Me Mine” never re-surfaced.

One year on, in January 1970, with neither the Get Back film nor its associated album released, rough cuts of the former showed that George’s acoustic strumming of “I Me Mine” was to be included in the finished print, prompting this EMI recording session. It was in the film, so it had to be on the LP too.

16 takes of “I Me Mine” were laid down that day by the Three-Quarter Beatles. The last take was included on Anthology 3:

Though George’s commentary at the beginning was actually made a little earlier, prior to take 15:

You all will have read that Dave Dee is no longer with us. But Mickey and Tich and I would just like to carry on the good work that’s always gone down in number two.

This is obviously an allusion to John’s absence, but the reference is to the awkwardly named Wiltshire group Dave Dee, Dozy, Beaky, Mick & Tich. They had a number one British hit in 1968 with “The Legend of Xanadu,” but for my money their best song is “Bend It,” which was immortalized in a wonderfully bizarre short film by the groundbreaking performance artists Gilbert and George. I saw this in a museum once, and stood there watching it three or four times, completely hypnotized. It is annoyingly hard to find online due to someone’s being very stingy with the copyright; this is the best version I could find:

And that is neither here nor there with regard to The Beatles, but I am in an indulgent mood in these waning days of the blog. I will leave you for today with the finished “I Me Mine” sequence from the Let It Be movie, which is indeed charming. (You will note that this version of the song is 51 seconds longer. Phil Spector had judged that the original 1:34 version was too short, and repeated a chorus to pad it out a bit.)

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