The Beatles’ diary -- January 1969

January 1969

Sometime in January (date unknown) the FBI started investigating John, looking into his ‘subversive activities’.

Thursday, 2nd January

This was the first day’s filming for the oft-delayed Get Back project. The ever-changing live-show had now been punted back to the end of January, which gave them a whole month to rehearse.

Friday, 3rd January

Most of this day was wasted aimlessly jamming cover versions and old Quarrymen numbers – but as soon as they tried getting down to some serious rehearsals they just pissed each other off. An amusing episode occurred when George got an electric shock from his microphone.

Saturday, 4th January

Clearly afraid to mess with a winning formula, John’s diary stuck to a tried-and-tested sentence: “Got up. Went to work. Got Home. Went to bed.”

Sunday, 5th January

In what was fast becoming the most boring book in history, John’s diary read: “Got up. Went to work. Got Home. Went to bed.”

Monday, 6th January

Recording session at Twickenham Studios during which they recorded Right String, Wrong Yo-Yo, Hear Me Lord and Let’s Dance.

The Beatles spent the whole morning jamming aimlessly, before wasting another couple of hours on a lousy ‘Don’t Let Me Down’ rehearsal. With the live-show creeping up on them day-by-day, Paul was starting to sweat.

Tuesday, 7th January

Recording session at Twickenham Studios during which they recorded Gone, Gone, Gone.

This proved to be a very trying day for George, and he had to sit and simmer while his new song, ‘For You Blue’, was studiously ignored by the others. He had suffered this exact same humiliation back on the 6th, after ‘Hear My Lord’ was rudely dismissed in a few takes.

Wednesday, 8th January

Recording session at Twickenham Studios during which they recorded Fools Like Me, Almost Grown and Stand By Me.

Today’s rehearsals proved to be a small step forward, with major work on both ‘Let It Be’ and ‘The Long And Winding Road’. But as soon as George debuted ‘I Me Mine’, it met a predictable flurry of barbs from John.

Thursday, 9th January

Recording session at Twickenham Studios during which they recorded Another Day and Suzy Parker.

Friday, 10th January

Recording session at Twickenham Studios during which they recorded A Quick One While He’s Away and High-Heeled Sneakers.

George stormed out. It is not known what tipped the whole thing off, but rumours started circulating about him thumping John at lunch. Whilst this story is probably false, it does at least demonstrate that George had a problem with John as much as he did Paul.

Sunday, 12th January

George held a meeting with the others round Ringo’s house. But he stormed off again when he realised that John would rather let Yoko speak for him than add anything constructive himself. Paul recalled: “She was saying, ‘This is my opinion of how the Beatles should be…’”

This was also the day that ‘Wonderwall’ received it’s UK premiere. George supplied the soundtrack.

Monday, 13th January

‘Yellow Submarine’ album – front cover ReleasedUSA album. Yellow Submarine Peak position: Billboard – #2; Cashbox – #3; Record World – #2

Paul shared an illuminating conversation with Neil, Mal, Linda and Ringo, in which he laid the blame squarely with Yoko. But he said that if they confronted John about it, then he’d just quit the group and devote his life to Yoko.

Tuesday, 14th January

Recording session at Twickenham Studios during which they recorded Madman, Watching Rainbows and Woman.

John and Yoko rolled in late, and spent the morning being interviewed by Canadian TV. Paul spent the whole time climbing up the chains at the back of the set (showing just how bored he was). Peter Sellers also dropped by for an uncomfortable chat. But other than that, not a lot happened.

Wednesday, 15th January

George returned from Liverpool and attended a five-hour meeting at Savile Row. He told them that he would only re-join the band if they dropped the big gig idea, and started doing a studio album at Apple. They agreed to reconvene on the 20th.

Friday, 17th January

‘Yellow Submarine’ album – front cover ReleasedUK album. Yellow Submarine Peak position: Melody Maker – #4; NME – #3; Record Retailer – #3

Saturday, 18th January

The music paper ‘Disc And Music Echo’ quoted John as saying: “Apple is losing money every week. If it carries on like this, then we’ll all be broke in six months.” This was exactly the kind of good news that Allen Klein had been waiting for.

Monday, 20th January

Work was held up for a few days because Magic Alex still hadn’t finished the studio in the basement. He’d been working on it since June ’68, and had been promising them a 72-track desk for weeks. But when they tested it all out they found that it was a load of old junk!

Tuesday, 21st January

Recording session for the radio show ‘Scene And Heard’ This show was transmitted on 25th January (BBC Radio 1) and featured an interview with Ringo Starr.

Wednesday, 22nd January

Recording session at Apple Studios during which they recorded Dig A Pony, I’ve Got A Feeling, Don’t Let Me Down, Rocker, She Came In Through The Bathroom Window, Save The Last Dance For Me, Going Up The Country, Madman and Every Night.

Work resumed at Apple with Billy Preston on the keyboards. George had been to see him play at the London Palladium the previous night, and as soon as he walked through the door “I just grabbed him,” he said, “and brought him down to the studio to play.”

Thursday, 23rd January

Recording session at Apple Studios during which they recorded Get Back.

The only song they played today was ‘Get Back’, and Ringo happily recalled: “Whenever we worked on something good, the bullshit went out the window.”

Friday, 24th January

Things were going so sweet that John suggested making Billy a permanent member of the band – an honorary ‘fifth Beatle’, if you like, and Paul replied: “It’s bad enough with four!”

Saturday, 25th January

Recording session at Apple Studios during which they recorded Another Day, Bye Bye Love, Let It Be and For You Blue.

With the live-show now only five days away, the Beatles were forced to work through the weekend (for the first time in over a year!).

Sunday, 26th January

Monday, 27th January

Recording session at Apple Studios during which they recorded Get Back, Oh! Darling, I’ve Got A Feeling and The Walk.

During an early-morning performance of ‘Oh! Darling’ John excitedly announced that Yoko’s divorce had just come through, freeing her up for yet ‘more’ nuptials. (You can hear this happy snippet on ‘Anthology 3’). And with the rehearsals now coasting along very nicely indeed, ‘Get Back’ was treated to a master take.

Tuesday, 28th January

Recording session at Apple Studios during which they recorded Get Back, Don’t Let Me Down, One After 909, Dig A Pony, I’ve Got A Feeling and Teddy Boy.

George offered up another song for rehearsal – ‘Old Brown Shoe’, only to see it sink with the rest. This led him into an interesting on-air discussion with John, in which they argued the merits of a solo LP.

Wednesday, 29th January

Recording session at Apple Studios during which they recorded Teddy Boy, One After 909, I Want You (She’s So Heavy), Not Fade Away, Mailman, Bring Me No More Blues and Maybe Baby.

John marched into Apple HQ and said: “I don’t give a bugger what anybody else wants, but I’m having Allen Klein for me!” This put the other three Beatles in a bit of a bind, because you couldn’t really split the management of a single group.

Thursday, 30th January

Playing on the roof of Apple HQThe ‘Rooftop Concert’ – 30 Jan ’69Photo: Apple Corps Ltd.
Playing on the roof of Apple HQThe ‘Rooftop Concert’ – 30 Jan ’69Photo: Apple Corps Ltd.

Performance at the Apple Studios in Mayfair, London. They played Get Back, Get Back, Don’t Let Me Down, I’ve Got A Feeling, One After 909, Dig A Pony, God Save The Queen, I’ve Got A Feeling, Don’t Let Me Down and Get Back.

The rooftop concert. They’d already scrapped the big concert idea, and finally decided to go up on the roof and give a free show.

Friday, 31st January

Recording session at Apple Studios during which they recorded The Long And Winding Road, Let It Be and Two Of Us.

The Beatles returned to the studio to record the songs that were unsuitable for use on the roof: ‘Two Of Us’; ‘The Long And Winding Road’, and ‘Let It Be’. This marked the end of the ‘Get Back’ project.


 
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