Jan. 3, 1969: Hearing things

There wasn’t a heck of a lot of John on the second day of rehearsals at Twickenham.

Nagra has about 13 minutes of Don’t Let Me Down, 30 minutes of I’ve Got a Feeling (which is half-John, at least),  and he led some covers.

But about halfway through the day otherwise dominated by Paul (Two of Us, Maxwell’s Silver Hammer) and George (All Things Must Pass), John pops in to give us a very special minute or so.

“Gimme Some Truth.” A future classic.  Now, still pretty rough. But, certainly recognizable as a tease to what we’d see two years later on Imagine.

The band jumps right in, little preparation for the rehearsal. Indeed, the song dates back to ’68 in India, so there’s at least some familiarity.

Lyrically, it’s certainly not to its final form. Or even if it is, we don’t hear it here. Paul repeatedly makes reference to “son of Gary Cooper” — Richard Nixon, at this point the president-elect — wasn’t yet part of the lyric.

Prior to the brief foray into the song — the lone attempt at it on Jan. 3 — there’s a bit of back and forth as to what to play next. During part of the discussion, Paul (presumably) is playing the bass line to “Money (That’s What I Want).” There’s shuffling of papers as they ask which song to play next.

Paul: If you will all now turn to page 33.

George: “She Came in through the Bathroom Window?”

Paul: “All Things Must Pass?”

George: “Bang Bang, Maxwell’s Hammer?”

John: Is this a Harrisong? … I’ve got one, “Gimme Some Truth,” or something.”

It was, in fact, “Gimme Some Truth.” Not “Something.”

As we hear on vocals, curiously enough, it’s Paul. John sings along harmony and then takes over the lead when singing what would ultimately be the song’s first verse as the rehearsal concludes (the clip above pretty much is all we’d get). Why does Paul lead? Could just be Paul being Paul, taking over and singing while John gets himself acclimated or is otherwise occupied. Interesting, regardless.

However it happened, it’s the last we’d hear of the song for the day (we’d hear it again in a few days).

As quickly as it was introduced, they returned to “All Things Must Pass.”  It was John’s last notable contribution the rest of the day.

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6 Comments

Filed under Day by day

6 responses to “Jan. 3, 1969: Hearing things

  1. Craig

    Interesting. GST is definitely one of John’s better efforts on imagine. I really enjoy it but I feel like it could’ve been a great song if it was released by the Beatles. That’s kind of a dumb/naiive/obvious thing to say, but what I mean is that if for whatever reason they took it more seriously during these sessions and fleshed it out, it might’ve become something truly great. Instead they chose to practice Maxwell for 47 hours. However, I’m getting into an area with which I’m not comfortable: it’s unfair to compare post Beatles work to Beatle work. Tricky Dicky always brings a smile when I hear the chorus. Thanks for the post.

    • Dan

      Part of the reason I’ve been eager to listen to the entire tapes is to really get down to why they chose what they chose to focus on come the actual recording sessions at Apple. Certainly, much of the decisions going into what appeared on the Let it Be LP wasn’t necessarily theirs, having ceded things to Spector (and Johns before that ). But seems they could have chosen the direction differently when they were actually recording things.

      Like I wrote in the first post — we’re lucky, we have the perspective of time. Gimme Some Truth and All Things Must Pass exist in the same world as Get Back and Dig It and Maggie Mae. It’s been a fun exercise to try to dig and see just why those decisions were made, knowing today how strange those decisions were.

      Who leaves All Things Must Pass (or Gimme Some Truth) on the cutting room floor?? Somehow the Beatles did for years.

  2. Pingback: Jan. 3: Fifteen minutes of fame | They May Be Parted

  3. Pingback: TMBP Extra: Jan. 3, 1969 recap | They May Be Parted

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