Label: Vigotone, VT-182
"Vigotone is proud to present the final Glyn Johns compilation of the legendary unissued Get Back LP. Uncirculated before now, and assembled just one day after the last official Beatles recording session in January 1970, this lineup features notable differences from the more common Spring 1969 compilation on As Nature Intended and is an important addition to the unreleased Beatles canon. Also included are two bonus, previously unheard versions of Teddy Boy, and informative liner notes and relevant photos.
"I cannot bring myself to listen to the Phil Spector version of the album - I heard a few bars of it once, and was totally disgusted, and think it's an absolute load of garbage."
-- Glyn Johns.
Tr Title CD notes
1 The One After 909 Lennon-McCartney
2 Rocker Lennon-McCartney
3 Save The Last Dance For Me
4 Don't Let Me Down Lennon-McCartney
5 Dig A Pony Lennon-McCartney
6 I've Got A Feeling Lennon-McCartney
7 Get Back Lennon-McCartney
8 Let It Be Lennon-McCartney
9 For You Blue Harrison
10 Two Of Us Lennon-McCartney
11 Maggie Mae Traditional
12 Dig It Lennon-McCartney-Harrison-Starr
13 Long And Winding Road Lennon-McCartney
14 I Me Mine Harrison
15 Across The Universe Lennon-McCartney
16 Teddy Boy McCartney
17 Teddy Boy McCartney
"We had a meeting in Apple, and I said I think it's time we did something. And everybody at that time was very happy to not really work, because they were enjoying the rewards of their success. The guys were all rich, living in nice country homes out in Weybridge and Esher, They were all married. I wasn't. So it was like, Hey guys! C'mon! We can't sit around, we've got to do something, we're The Beatles!"
Paul McCartney 1989
Get Back - The Glyn Johns Final Compilation
Beatles collectors are quite familiar with The Beatles' Get Back album and film project. The unreleased album culled from the very tense, uncomfortable sessions in January, 1969 was assembled in the spring of 1969, but was ultimately shelved in favor of the overblown Phil Spector-produced version issued as Let It Be in May, 1970. The original Get Back album has been an unauthorized perennial since 1969, and can be heard in its best quality as part of Vigotone's CD The Beatles: As Nature Intended (VT-122). Also, an otherwise undocumented-by-studio-paperwork assembly was played on several U.S. radio stations in late 1969, which included a track, "The Walk", that didn't appear in the earlier sequence. This lineup was featured, along with contemporary commercials and DJ commentary from a WBCN-FM/Boston broadcast in September, 1969, on Vigotone's Posters, Incense and Strobe Candles (VT-109). What many collectors may not be familiar with, and certainly have not heard, is the final version of Get Back, compiled (as was the original) in 1970 by noted British recording engineer Glyn Johns.
By early January 1970, a full year after the initial recording sessions for the project, no album had yet been issued from the chaotic mess of tapes that had been laid down at the Beatles' new Apple studios. In fact, The Beatles issued another album in the interim, Abbey Road, in September 1969 while deciding the fate of the Get Back album. Earlier that year, in March, Glyn Johns had been given the piles of eight-track tapes from the January 1969 recording sessions at 3 Savile Row, and was told by John and Paul, "Remember that idea you had about putting together an album? There are the tapes, go and do it." A finished master tape of Get Back was assembled and completed by Johns in May of 1969. However, delays in the preparation of the packaging for the LP (which was to include a book of pictures and text), and in the completion of what now was to be a feature film instead of a television special were cited as reasons for the lack of any forthcoming album. In truth, the reasons were a little more involved and the album was still in limbo at the end of 1969.
At this stage of the much-delayed project, the Beatles couldn't quite reach an agreement on what they wanted where Get Back was concerned, particularly whether or not they liked Glyn Johns' album. Having at this point no real love for the project or each other, yet finding themselves contractually bound with film and album commitments, they instructed Glyn Johns to yet again come up with an album. The stipulation, however, was that it must now tie in musically with the as-yet unreleased film's tune lineup. Essentially Johns kept the majority of the already assembled album, altering it only in order to more accurately reflect the songs soon to be seen performed in the Let It Be film. He dropped "Teddy Boy" because it would not be seen in the film and possibly because Paul had told Johns that he was going to re-record it for his first solo album. But he added the songs "I Me Mine" and "Across The Universe" for the opposite reason: they WOULD be seen in the film (in rough versions filmed at Twickenham Studios). However, these additions to the LP were not actually recorded during the Get Back sessions (see accompanying track information for details).
In the end, it was all for naught. After all the effort and work put into the project, even this second version of the Get Back album would not see official release, as the Beatles still couldn't decide if they liked it. In the end, famed producer Phil Spector, who had just worked with John on "Instant Karma" was given the ball to run with. Spector turned the once raw, unadorned performances into the album Let It Be, which has been criticized for his heavy treatment of many of the songs, particularly the lushly orchestrated "The Long And Winding Road", which to this day causes Paul McCartney an itchy bum.
While it can't be argued that this version of the "Get Back" album is a lost treasure, this final Glyn Johns assembly does have some importance in the annals of Fabs history. It exclusively features a couple of tracks in forms that would be soon altered considerably ("I Me Mine", "Across The Universe"). Also this was the last time the original "warts and all" concept if "Get Back" was adhered to, which in the end was (ironically) perhaps its downfall in the eyes of the Beatles. It has never seen circulation amongst the vast regions of Beatles' fandom and we at Vigotone are pleased to have had the opportunity of presenting this last version of "Get Back". Now you have to decide for yourself which "Get Back" album is the one for you. But you really have to have them all, don't you ?
GET BACK (Version Two): Final tape banding and compilation performed by Glyn Johns at Olympic Sound Studios, Studio One, 117 Church Road, Barnes, London SW13, on January 5, 1970.
The One After 909 (Recorded 30 Jan 69)
The only track from the Get Back album which used a recording from the famed "rooftop concert", the last live performance of The Beatles. This version is a different mix than the one Phil Spector produced from the same recording for the Let It Be album.
Rocker (Recorded 22 Jan 69)
A rock and roll jam instrumental, this was used on both versions of Get Back in identical form. Paul McCartney bestowed the title on this tune after plowing through a number of tapes in order to catalog the large number of unlabeled tape boxes.
Save The Last Dance For Me (Recorded 22 Jan 69)
A short rendition ("because it wasn't meant to be on the new LP" according to Mal Evans) of the old Drifters hit. It was left on the album to maintain the "fun atmosphere of the whole session". A close comparison reveals some minor differences in the patter between this and the next rack on this version of Get Back.
Don't Let Me Down (Recorded 22 Jan 69)
Once again, using the same version from his previous edition of Get Back, this version of the song comes from the first day of recordings after the Get Back film project switched from Twickenham Film Studios to Apple Studios.
Dig A Pony (Recorded 24 Jan 69)
I've Got A Feeling (Recorded 24 Jan 69)
Recorded one after the other, Johns utilized the recordings from this date, but incorporated a spoken intro from January 22 that he edited onto the beginning. This would become standard practice for the album, extracting bits here and there from different sessions and editing them in to create the appearance of spontaneity.
Get Back (Recorded 28 Jan 69)
This song was the first material from this project to see commercial release, having been issued as a single in Britain on April 11, 1969, backed with a different version of "Don't Let Me Down" from the one selected for Get Back. It was the last Beatles single to be issued in mono in the UK, and this stereo single mix was done on April 7, 1969 for initial use in the US. Hence its inclusion on the album, for by the time the Get Back album would have come out, the song and the single version would have been too familiar to warrant any noticeable variations. However, this was something someone DIDN'T tell Phil Spector about when he was assembling the Let It Be album. He took this recording, remixed it, chopped off the extended code, and edited spoken chatter at the beginning and end to give the appearance that it was from the live rooftop performance seen in the film which it certainly wasn't.
Let It Be (Recorded 30 Jan 69 with 30 April 69 overdub)
This track was the one exception that Glyn Johns allowed on either version of Get Back to the original no frills, no overdub concept that the Beatles and George Martin had started out with originally. It included a lead guitar overdub that was laid down after the actual Get Back sessions, in April 1969. The day before compiling the final album master, January 4, 1970, he oversaw yet another overdub of guitar, backing vocals, drums, maracas and cellos. Interestingly, Johns refused to consider these for the Get Back album, remaining as faithful as possible to the no overdub edict. He did however move the track to the end of side one of the revised Get Back LP from its former position on side two of the first.
For You Blue (Recorded 25 Jan 69)
Originally recorded under the working title of "George's Blues", this was take six from the only time this song was worked on by the group. On this version of Get Back, Glyn Johns chopped the first (lasting seven seconds) of two false starts this song has on the earlier version of the album. A new vocal was taped for this song on January 8, 1970, after the Get Back album had seen its final compilation, so obviously it wasn't used on this version. The new vocal is most likely the one used by Phil Spector on Let It Be, although as with most recordings from these sessions detailed take information is either lacking or very incomplete.
Two Of Us (Recorded 24 Jan 69)
Another take selected from the January 24 session, "Two Of Us", was recorded under the working title "On Our Way Home". It's also seen in the Let It Be film in the song's original guise as an electrified rocking number before being rendered in its final acoustic form in both the film and on the album. This is an alternate take from the Let It Be LP track.
Maggie Mae (Recorded 24 Jan 69)
Recorded between takes of "Two Of Us" on January 24, this spontaneous rendition of an old Liverpool ode to an infamous lass is curiously the only recording to see inclusion on both Get Back and Let It Be in identical form. The lack of any discernible differences in the mixes suggests that Phil Spector merely used the same mix for his version or at the very least made his identical to Johns' version (which is suggested by Mark Lewisohn in The Beatles Recording Sessions).
Dig It (Recorded 26 Jan 69)
This is the second version of "Dig It", the first being recorded two days earlier in a heavier, electrified version which included slide guitar. The version included here is more keyboard oriented featuring Paul on piano and Billy Preston on his prominent organ (so to speak). Included both on Get Back and Let It Be, here much longer - the Get Back version being nearly four minutes long, and the Let It Be version only forty seconds. The Get Back version is mixed quite differently than the shorter excerpt, featuring audible Paul backing vocals. Interestingly, though, both use John's childlike spoken at the end of the song that actually comes from the end of the first version mentioned earlier.
I Me Mine (Recorded 3 Jan 70)
Following his brief tie to the Get Back album to the yet-to-be released film (still thought at this point to be called Get Back), Johns introduced the song "I Me Mine" in the LP line-up. However, even though this song is seen being performed in the film at Twickenham, it never resurfaced for proper studio recording once the project moved to Apple's recording studios. Therefore, on January 3, 1970, the Threetles (Paul, George and Ringo) assembled at Abbey Road Studios to record a version for inclusion on the LP (John was then on vacation in Denmark). This was actually somehow appropriate for even in the Twickenham film version John did not participate; instead he is seen dancing with Yoko as The Other Three seemingly serenade the two of them. The finished take is included on Get Back in its true length of 1:34, whereas the Phil Spector version on Let It Be, including overdubs and edits, was extended another 51 seconds to 2:25. There is also a bit of dialogue left in between George and Ringo prior to the track to continue the illusion of the "informal" nature of the record.
Across The Universe (Recorded 4/8 Feb 68)
As with "I Me Mine", "Across The Universe" was seen in the forthcoming film, and therefore was required to appear on the album. Once again, although the Beatles are seen plowing through a fairly horrible rendition of the song in the film, it was not attempted later at Apple. Instead, it was decided to use the recording of the track from the original Abbey Road studio session from February 1968, nearly a full year before the start of the Get Back project. The problem was the song had just seen release in December 1969 on the World Wildlife Fund charity album No One's Gonna Change Our World. Any inclusion on the current album would require using the same recording but somehow making it seem different from the WWF release and more like a Get Back recording. To do this, Johns mixed out the Beatles' own backing vocals, and all but mixed out the Gayleen Pease and Lizzie Bravo backing vocals (these were the two fans who had been recruited for the original recording sessions). These vocals are audible, but are kept in the background. By tacking on several seconds of chatter from John at the beginning and crossfading into the reprise of "Get Back", Johns was able to create the illusion that this was a different recording. (It should be noted that Phil Spector had to the same sort of thing with the song for Let It Be, but his efforts took a different direction.)
Get Back (reprise)
Heard over the closing credits of the Let It Be film and here at the end of the Get Back album, this brief reprise comes from the extended code of the recording that produced the "Get Back" single. A very close listen to the mono single mix of "Get Back" will reveal the first notes of this reprise section as the single fades out.
While it can't be argued that this version of the Get Back album is a lost treasure, this final Glyn Johns assembly does have some importance in the annals of Fabs history. It exclusively features a couple of tracks in forms that would be soon altered considerably ("I Me Mine", "Across The Universe"). Also this was the last time the original "warts and all" concept if Get Back was adhered to, which in the end was (ironically) perhaps its downfall in the eyes of the Beatles. It has never seen circulation amongst the vast regions of Beatles' fandom and we at Vigotone are pleased to have had the opportunity of presenting this last version of Get Back. Now you have to decide for yourself which Get Back album is the one for you. But you really have to have them all, don't you ?
Teddy Boy (Recorded 24 Jan 69)
"Remix from eight-track by Johns/Martin Jan 69", according to annotations on reference tape which were made during later archival cataloging. The reference to Jan '69 is probably related to the recording date, not mixing, as this song was not given its first mix until March 1969 during Glyn Johns' first studio sessions after being given his assignment by John and Paul. This is a mix of the song in its full length. For his first Get Back compilation, Johns edited down this track from over five minutes to just over three minutes.
Teddy Boy (Recorded 24 Jan 69)
"Remix Stereo 1 from 8-track by Brown/Spector 25 Mar 70", again according to the annotation on reference tape notations. Producer Phil Spector working with engineer Peter Brown, remixed "Teddy Boy" for possible inclusion on the Let It Be album (that would really have pissed Paul off!), even though in the end it was not included. Spector did two mixes of the song, one full length and the other an edit. It is the first full-length version which is included here. It differs noticeably from Johns' with Spector placing the vocal and electric guitars more prominently in the mix and giving the track additional separation.