Jan. 3: Et cetera

With Maxwell’s Silver Hammer, the band wrapped the second day of the sessions at Twickenham. This blog is ready to move onto Jan. 6, the next day the band assembled after the weekend, but first, I wanted to tie up a few loose ends and address a few items that didn’t quite merit their own separate posts.

•  After being introduced the day before, the band continued to work on “Two of Us” in a matter that totally didn’t distinguish itself. The song had the familiar architecture and same lyrics as would be eventually released, while the tune was a little bit quicker than we’d hear. Just ordinary runthroughs churned with nothing groundbreaking and no remarkable dialogue or discussion.

•  With the exception of his introduction of a pair of never-to-be-released originals, Ringo was the real quiet Beatle on Jan. 3. Totally invisible except for his drumming, which was characteristically steady.

•  As they famously did throughout the sessions, the band covered “oldies” (by this point, we’re talking some songs that in 1969 were less than a decade old, of course).  George, Paul and John each led the way at different points. And while they seemed happy — or at least not bored — they weren’t necessarily very good.

To me, this is a hallmark of what these sessions were about prior to beginning to listening to the complete tapes, when I all would see/hear were compilation bootlegs of the sessions. “The Beatles cover all these songs!” OK, great, but they’re not particularly listenable. Or at least re-listenable.




Interesting to note just how many of these songs would eventually see release by these guys on solo records (John and Paul, at least).

This environment of the oldies, however, did at least bring to the forefront their oldies, like “One After 909.”

•  Plus they touched upon a number of contemporary  songs, but “touching” is even too strong a term. Often it was just for a few seconds, and often it was mere mockery. And even then, it’s completely disingenuous to call it covering. In some cases, like “I’m a Tiger” by Lulu, Paul sings the chorus while George tunes up  (That song, incidentally, appeared on No One’s Gonna Change Our World, the record that first debuted “Across the Universe.”).

Dylan got his due with “All Along the Watchtower,” “Blowin’ in the Wind” and “Please Mrs. Henry.”


Paul shows his love for Canned Heat at one point in a hilarious exchange with George.

“That Canned Heat number, I love that new one. It’s cornier than the last one, not quite as good. ‘Up the Country‘ is it?”

Paul proceeds to sing the first verse before continuing.

“It’s just got flutes playing. It’s a bit of a fruity thing they do. … Almost no soul.”

“Almost no what?” George asks.

“Soul,” says Paul. “They don’t bend the flutes or anything. But it’s great because they don’t. It’s sort of a … “

Paul offers the flute part in falsetto “doo-doo-doos” and continues..

“The end is great. They do, like, a false end.”

More “doo-doo-doos.”

“They keep going with the flute!”

After some laughs, George does a few-second quote of Canned Heat’s other hit, “On the Road Again,” before the band completely changes course and reintroduces “One After 909”.

As the band departed the session, the last point of discussion caught on tape was George and Mal picking up the discussion they had about equipment earlier in the day, during the “All Things Must Pass” rehearsals. Then with the goodbyes, the day’s tapes are done.

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7 Comments

Filed under Day by day

7 responses to “Jan. 3: Et cetera

  1. Craig

    I agree, hearing that they played a whole bunch of ‘oldies’ was exciting at first. But listening to them can be depressing. There are a few exceptions though:

    1. You’ve Really Got a Hold On Me – I am a bit biased bc this is one of my all time favorite songs, but their slow, soulful rendition of this Smokey tune is just awesome. There are a few times when they are singing the wrong words and the guitars can be sketchy at points, but it doesn’t matter to me, this is a great rendition.

    Run For Your Life – Only about a 30 second clip with John doing his baritone voice and Paul chipping in falsetto, but it’s fantastic!

    Help! – Not a great rendition, just fun to see John and Paul having fun together and messing around. It quickly trails off into Paul shouting random words, but th first 15 seconds are fun!

    I’m So Tired – Paul singing this one is really good. He ad libs about keeping off the booze and it’s all good.

    • Dan

      Always great when they do Smokey, their love shines through. I too think the Help! clip is fun, as is the I’m So Tired. When the touch on their own stuff, I generally do think it’s good fun.

      • Craig

        Yes, wouldn’t you just loved it if they had done a 20 track album in 1970 with covers of their OWN songs? There’s also about a minute audio clip of John on the piano doing a real slow version of Help! There’s some debate about the year but I believe it’s early 1970’s. It’s on YouTube, it’s absolutely terrific and you don’t want him to stop! I know he said that’s how he originally wanted the group to record it but was out-voted for the more pop oriented faster tune we’re all familiar with. Oh man the possibilities for greatness were endless.

        Thanks again for the great work, Dan. I always look forward to your next post.

  2. Dan

    Craig, first, more than anything, thanks again for the comment (and apolgies for the awfully belated reply.

    I have a post for down the road (once I finish with the day-by-day) written in my head about what I think a Get Back/Let it Be show could have/should have been, and it’s not much different than what you suggest (there are a few different routes I think they could have gone, actually, this being one of them).

    And yes, that take of Help! is great! (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WXSjWGwbq1I for those who never heard). Missed opportunity, for sure, for them to never have reinterpreted their own works. But of course, could you imagine all the writers who would have slammed them for running out of ideas to have to redo their own stuff, just five years later? Tough line to have to walk (but of course if anyone could pull it off, would be them..)

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

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