By this point, the fourth day of the Twickenham sessions, a sort of routine had developed. Paul always arrived first and played a few songs solo on the piano while waiting for the others to arrive. Today he performed nascent versions of three songs that would end up on Let It Be or Abbey Road: “The Long and Winding Road,” “Golden Slumbers,” and “Carry That Weight.”

All of these are pretty sad numbers, and my new friends at They May Be Parted suggest that Paul’s mood on this morning (a Tuesday in 1969) was colored by the conflict and difficulty of the previous day’s session. At this time Paul was by far the most enthusiastic, not just about this particular project, but about the very idea of continuing The Beatles at all. But he may have been starting to sense that he was fighting a losing battle. What’s surprising, if you think about it, is just how long they lasted from here.

George was the second Beatle to arrive — also surprising, given his gently fuming meltdown of the previous day. He and Paul ran through takes of “What’d I Say” and “Shout” — both old faves dating back to Hamburg — before having a go at an entirely new song of Paul’s. See if you recognize it:

Maybe a little? How about now?

By the third run-through, Ringo has joined in.

And as TMBP so astutely points out, it is a measure of how catchy “Get Back” is that Ringo is almost immediately singing along. You may note here a reference to “Jackie,” who was Apple artist and George H. producee Jackie Lomax. Says TMBP:

“Sounds like Jackie,” Paul says a few moments before deliberately warbling “get back” and “get back to where you once belonged” a number of times in Lomax’s trademark voice. It didn’t sound like Paul was asking if he sounded like Lomax, or had any concern that he did. It was a simple acknowledgment….

The voice isn’t the only inspiration from Lomax or the experience on “Sour Milk Sea.” Give the song a listen in full, and it’s easy to hear how Lomax’s “Get out of Sour Milk Sea/You don’t belong there/Get back to where you should be” — as written by George — would give Paul a good jump-off point for his new song.

And so it’s fair to say that both Jackie Lomax and George Harrison deserve some credit for “Get Back,” which would end up providing these sessions with not just a name but also a guiding philosophy. The idea was that The Beatles would “get back” to being the fun-loving rock band that they used to be.

Unfortunately, as Uncle Bill so wisely told us,

The one way you cannot go is back … it’s the law.

And so it is absolutely clear in retrospect that this enterprise was doomed. Nonetheless it continued for many more hours today — with The Beatles performing everything from songs by Bo Diddley, Elvis, and the Shadows to “Stuck Inside of Mobile with the Memphis Blues Again,” “Maxwell’s Silver Hammer,” and even “Gimme Some Truth”1 — and for several days after before finally grinding to a halt.

With that in mind, it seems futile to dive any deeper just now. I once again commend you to The Beatles Bible for a song listing and overview, and They May Be Parted for mind-bogglingly in-depth coverage. This is TMBP’s moment — they have spent an awful lot of time spelunking into these sessions, and are worth spending some time with if that’s your jam. For now I shall tip my hat to all involved and quietly step aside.

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