Saturday, September 12, 2009

"A Hard Day's Night"

"A Hard Day's Night" is a song written by John Lennon, with help from Paul McCartney, and credited to Lennon/McCartney; it was released on the movie soundtrack of the same name in 1964. It was later released as a single, with "I Should Have Known Better" as its B-side.

The song featured prominently on the soundtrack to The Beatles' first feature film, A Hard Day's Night, and was on their album of the same name. The song topped the charts in both the United Kingdom and United States when it was released as a single. Featuring a prominent and unique opening chord, the song's success demonstrated that The Beatles were not a one-hit wonder in the United States.

The American and British singles of "A Hard Day's Night" as well as both the American and British albums of the same title all held the top position in their respective charts for a couple of weeks in August 1964, the first time any artist had done this.


The song's title originated from something said by Ringo Starr, the Beatles' drummer. Starr described it this way in an interview with disc jockey Dave Hull in 1964: "We went to do a job, and we'd worked all day and we happened to work all night. I came up still thinking it was day I suppose, and I said, 'It's been a hard day... and I looked around and saw it was dark so I said, '...night!' So we came to 'A Hard Day's Night.'"

Starr's statement was the inspiration for the title of the movie, which in turn inspired the composition of the song. According to John Lennon in a 1980 interview with Playboy magazine: "I was going home in the car and Dick Lester [director of the movie] suggested the title, 'Hard Day's Night' from something Ringo had said. I had used it in In His Own Write [a book Lennon was writing then], but it was an off-the-cuff remark by Ringo. You know, one of those malapropisms. A Ringo-ism, where he said it not to be funny... just said it. So Dick Lester said, 'We are going to use that title.'"

In a 1994 interview for The Beatles Anthology, however, Paul McCartney disagreed with Lennon's recollections, basically stating that it was the Beatles, and not Lester, who had come up with the idea of using Starr's verbal misstep: "The title was Ringo's. We'd almost finished making the film, and this fun bit arrived that we'd not known about before, which was naming the film. So we were sitting around at Twickenham studios having a little brain-storming session... and we said, 'Well, there was something Ringo said the other day.' Ringo would do these little malapropisms, he would say things slightly wrong, like people do, but his were always wonderful, very lyrical... they were sort of magic even though he was just getting it wrong. And he said after a concert, 'Phew, it's been a hard day's night.'"

In 1996, yet another version of events cropped up; in an Associated Press report, the producer of the film A Hard Day's Night, Walter Shenson, stated that Lennon described to Shenson some of Starr's funnier gaffes, including "a hard day's night," whereupon Shenson immediately decided that that was going to be the title of the movie (the originally planned title was Beatlemania). Shenson then told Lennon that he needed a theme song for the film.


Regardless of who decided on the title, Lennon immediately made up his mind that he would compose the movie's title track. He dashed off the song in one night, and brought it in for comments the following morning (the original manuscript lyrics may be seen in the British Library, scribbled in ballpoint on the back of an old birthday card). As he described in his 1980 Playboy interview, "...the next morning I brought in the song... 'cuz there was a little competition between Paul and I as to who got the A-side — who got the hits. If you notice, in the early days the majority of singles, in the movies and everything, were mine... in the early period I'm dominating the group.... The reason Paul sang on A Hard Day's Night (in the bridge) is because I couldn't reach the notes."

In the Associated Press report, Shenson described his recollection of what happened. At 8:30 in the morning, "There were John and Paul with guitars at the ready and all the lyrics scribbled on matchbook covers. They played it and the next night recorded it." Shenson declared, "It had the right beat and the arrangement was brilliant. These guys were geniuses."

On 16 April 1964, the Beatles gathered at Studio 2 of the Abbey Road Studios and recorded "A Hard Day's Night". It took them less than three hours to polish the song for its final release, eventually selecting the ninth take as the one to be released.

Release and Reception

"A Hard Day's Night" was first released to the United States, coming out on 13 June 1964 on the album A Hard Day's Night, the soundtrack to the film, and released by United Artists. The album was a hit, selling over two million copies.

"A Hard Day's Night" was the first Beatles single released in the UK not to use a pronoun in its title. On all of their previous British singles ("Love Me Do," "Please Please Me," "From Me to You." "She Loves You," "I Want to Hold Your Hand," and "Can't Buy Me Love"), the group had intentionally relied on the use of a pronoun to make a song "very direct and personal," so that, according to McCartney, "people can identify...with it."

The United Kingdom first heard "A Hard Day's Night" when it was released there on 10 July 1964, both on the album A Hard Day's Night, and as a single, backed with "Things We Said Today" on the B-side. Both the album and single were released by Parlophone Records. The album proceeded to sell 1.5 million copies within a fortnight of its release. The single began charting on 18 July 1964, a week later ousting the Rolling Stones' "It's All Over Now" from the top spot on the British charts on 25 July 1964, coincidentally the day when both the American and British albums too hit the peak of their respective charts. The single stayed on top for three weeks, and lasted another nine weeks in the charts afterwards.

America first saw the single of "A Hard Day's Night" on 13 July 1964, featuring "I Should Have Known Better" on the B-side, and released by Capitol Records. Capitol had been in a quandary about cashing in on the success of the movie A Hard Day's Night, as United Artists held the publishing rights for the soundtrack (thus owning the rights to release the album of the same title). However, there was nothing preventing Capitol from releasing the songs in other forms, leading to six out of the seven songs from the movie's soundtrack coming out on singles.

The American single began its 13-week chart run on five days after release, and on 1 August started a two-week long run at the top, setting a new record—nobody before had ever held the number one position on both the album and singles charts in the United Kingdom and the United States at the same time. The Beatles were the first to do so, and continued to be the only ones who had done this until 1970 when Simon and Garfunkel achieved the same feat with their album Bridge Over Troubled Water and its title track. "A Hard Day's Night" went on to sell one million copies in America within just over five weeks.

After the Beatles had performed on The Ed Sullivan Show when they first came to America in early 1964, some American critics had dismissed them as one-hit wonders. "A Hard Day's Night" proved them wrong, as it only strengthened The Beatles' dominance of the world music scene in 1964. They would continue to feature prominently for the next six years until their disbanding in 1970.

In 1965, "A Hard Day's Night" won the Beatles the Grammy Award for Best Performance by a Vocal Group. In 2004, this song was ranked number 153 on Rolling Stone magazine's list of the 500 greatest songs of all time.

Opening chord

"A Hard Day's Night" is immediately identifiable before the vocals even begin, thanks to George Harrison's unmistakable Rickenbacker 360/12 12-string guitar's "mighty opening chord". According to George Martin, "We knew it would open both the film and the soundtrack LP, so we wanted a particularly strong and effective beginning. The strident guitar chord was the perfect launch" having what Ian MacDonald calls "'a significance in Beatles lore matched only by the concluding E major of "A Day in the Life", the two opening and closing the group's middle period of peak creativity.'" "That sound you just associate with those early 1960s Beatles records."

Analysis of the chord has been the subject of considerable debate, with it being described as G7add9sus4, G7sus4, or G11sus4 and others below.

The exact chord is an Fadd9 confirmed by Harrison during an online chat on 15 February 2001:

Q: Mr Harrison, what is the opening chord you used for "A Hard Day's Night"?
A: It is F with a G on top, but you'll have to ask Paul about the bass note to get the proper story.

According to Walter Everett, the opening chord has an introductory dominant function because McCartney plays D in the bass; Harrison and Martin play F A C G in twelve-string guitar and piano, over the bass D, giving the chord a mixture-colored neighbor, F; two diatonic neighbors, A and C; plus an anticipation of the tonic, G — the major subtonic as played on guitar being a borrowed chord commonly used by the Beatles, first in "P.S. I Love You" (see mode mixture), and later in "Every Little Thing", "Tomorrow Never Knows" and "Got to Get You into My Life" (in the latter two against a tonic pedal).

Film of the Beatles performing "A Hard Day's Night", shows both John and George gripping a Gm11 in 3rd position, not an Fadd9. The Fadd9 is used during the chorus and is the chord form used for the outro fade out.

In contrast, Alan W. Pollack interprets the chord as a surrogate dominant (surrogate V, the dominant preparing or leading to the tonic chord), in G major the dominant being D, with the G being an anticipation that resolves in the G major chord that opens the verse. He also suggests it is a mixture of d minor, F major, and G major (missing the B). Tony Bacon calls it a Dm7sus4 (D F G A C), which is the dominant seventh (plus the fourth, G).

Everett points out that the chord relates to the Beatles' interest in pandiatonic harmony.

Dominic Pedler has also provided an interpretation of the famous chord, with the Beatles and George Martin playing the following:

* George Harrison: Fadd9 in 1st position on Rickenbacker 360/12 12-string electric guitar
* John Lennon: Fadd9 in 1st position on a Gibson J-160E 6-string acoustic guitar
* Paul McCartney: high D played on the D-string, 12th fret on Hofner 500/1 electric bass
* George Martin: D2-G2-D3 played on a Steinway Grand Piano
* Ringo Starr: Subtle snare drum and ride cymbal

This gives the notes: G-B-D-F-A-C (the B is a harmonic). One of the interesting things about this chord (as described by Pedler) is how McCartney's high bass note reverberates inside the soundbox of Lennon's acoustic guitar and begins to be picked up on Lennon's microphone or pick-up during the sounding of the chord. This gives the chord its special "wavy" and unstable quality. Pedler describes the effect as a "virtual pull-off."

Jason Brown, Professor for the Faculty of Computer Science at Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada, whose research interests include graph theory, combinatorics, and combinatorial algorithms, announced in October 2004 that after six months of research he succeeded in analyzing the opening chord by de-composing the sound into original frequencies using a mathematical technique known as the Fourier transform. According to Brown, the Rickenbacker guitar wasn't the only instrument used. "It wasn't just George Harrison playing it and it wasn't just the Beatles playing on it... There was a piano in the mix." Specifically, he claims that Harrison was playing the following notes on his 12 string guitar: a2, a3, d3, d4, g3, g4, c4, and another c4; McCartney played a d3 on his bass; producer George Martin was playing d3, f3, d5, g5, and e6 on the piano, while Lennon played a loud c5 on his six-string guitar.

A repeated arpeggio outlining the notes of the opening chord ends the song in a circular fashion, fading out with the sound of helicopter blades. This provides "a sonic confirmation that the thirty-six hours we have just seen [in the movie] will go on and on and on." The song contains 12 other chords.

Music and lyrics

The song is composed in the key of G major and in a 4/4 time signature. The verse features the ♭VII or major subtonic chord that was a part of the opening chord as an ornament or embellishment below the tonic. Transposed down a perfect fifth, the modal frame of the song though pentatonic features a ladder of thirds axially centered on G with a ceiling note of B♭ and floor note of E♭ (the low C being a passing tone).

A Hard Day's Night Melody

According to Middleton, the song, "at first glance major-key-with-modal-touches," reveals through its "Line of Latent Mode" "a deep kinship with typical blues melodic structures: it is centered on three of the notes of the minor-pentatonic mode (E♭-G-B♭), with the contradictory major seventh (B♮) set against that. Moreover, the shape assumed by these notes - the modal frame - as well as the abstract scale they represent, is revealed, too; and this - an initial, repeated circling round the dominant (G), with an excursion to its minor third (B♭), 'answered' by a fall to the 'symmetrical' minor third of the tonic (E♭) - is a common pattern in blues."

Lennon opens the twelve measure-long verse and carries it along, suddenly joined at the end by McCartney, who then sings the bridge.

The instrumental break, is often credited to George Harrison on a 12-string guitar. This is not entirely accurate. The break was played by George Harrison on 12-string guitar with George Martin doubling the solo on a piano.

According to the book 'Recording the Beatles', Martin plays a piano not harpsichord at half speed, speeded back up (see note at bottom).

The song closes with Harrison playing the arpeggio during the fade-out, the first time the Beatles had used such a technique — most, if not all, of their earlier work had closed with a final chord (and cadence), such as "She Loves You" and "I Want to Hold Your Hand".

The lyrics speak about the singer's undying devotion to his lover, and how he toils so she can purchase the items she fancies. The singer sings about his tiredness when he comes home from work, but how the things that his lover does perk him up.

On the day the song was written, Lennon is purported to have shown reporter Maureen Cleave of London's Evening Standard the lyrics, and she said that word "tiredness" sounded weak in the line "I find my tiredness is through/And I feel alright." Lennon subsequently replaced the lines in question with "I find the things that you do/They make me feel all right."

The solo and outro features Harrison on his Rickenbacker 12 and George Martin simultaneously playing the same notes at half speed then speeding them backup to include on track 4 based on a detailed description of this recording in the book 'Recording the Beatles' by Brain Kehew and Kevin Ryan.

During the recording of Hard Days Night, John and Paul double track their vocals throughout including the chorus. John sings the main lead vocal and Paul sings the middle eight. During the chorus Paul handles the high harmony and John the low harmony. Take 7 reveals that the lyrics were still not set with John singing "you make me feel all right"and Paul still unsteady with his bass line during the middle eight which ends with John chiding him with the line "I heard a funny chord".

Other recordings

Many artists besides the Beatles have recorded "A Hard Day's Night."

Peter Sellers recorded a comedy version of the song "A Hard Day's Night", in which he recited the lyrics in the style of Laurence Olivier in Olivier's film version of Shakespeare's play Richard III. Sellers' version was a UK Top 20 hit in 1965.

Billy Joel recorded the song which was released on his Complete Hits album and My Lives, his ultimate collection.

Sugarcult recorded the song for a EP titled A Hard Day's Night.

The Punkles did a Punk cover of this song on their first album.

Beatallica recorded a thrash version of this song called "A Garage Dayz Nite", with some references to Metallica's songs (coz when I see you, it's nice to play you "Trapped Under Ice" or wherever I may roam, the road becomes my bride), and other bands like Scorpions (and it kicks ass just to hear you say, when you don't want Love at First Sting).

Swedish band Mando Diao recorded a version and released it as a B-side to "TV & Me".

The Bosnian band Indexi covered this song in 1965, with the title Učini jednom bar.

Brazilian rock singer and composer Rita Lee recorded the song in 2001 for a Beatles bossa nova album named "Aqui, Ali, em Qualquer Lugar", Portuguese for "Here, There and Everywhere".

The Cirque Du Soleil production Love uses the opening chord of "A Hard Day's Night" to introduce "Get Back". The chord is played forward, and while the drum solo from "The End" is playing, the chord is reversed to the beginning.


John Lennon: Lead Vocals & Rhythm Guitar
Paul McCartney: Lead Vocals (Bridge) & Bass
George Harrison: 12-String Guitar
Ringo Starr: Drums
George Martin: Piano

B-side: "Things We Said Today" (UK), "I Should Have Known Better" (US)
Released: 10 July 1964
Format: 7"
Recorded: Abbey Road Studios, 16 April 1964
Genre: Rock
Length: 2:32
Label: Parlophone R5160 (UK), Capitol 5222 (US)
Writer(s): Lennon/McCartney
Producer: George Martin


"Not Guilty" Lyrics

by George Harrison

Original Manuscript on Dark Horse Records Stationery (May 1978)

N.G. of getting in your way - while you're trying to
steal the Day
N.G. and I'm not here for the rest - I'm not trying to steal
your vest - (do-do-do)
I am not trying to be smart I only want what I can get.
I'm really sorry for your aging head, but like you heard
me said - I'm not guilty

N.G. for being on your street - getting underneath your feet
N.G. no use handing me a writ - while I'm trying to do my bit
I don't expect to take your heart - I only want what I can get
I'm really sorry that you're underfed - but like you
heard me said - I'm not guilty

N.G. for looking like a freak - making friends with every Sikh
N.G. for leading you astray - on the road to Mandalay
I won't upset the Apple-Cart - I only want what I can get
I'm really sorry that you've been misled - but like you heard
me said - I'm not guilty

As Recorded by the Beatles (1968)

Not guilty of getting your way
While you're trying to steal the day
Not guilty and I'm not here for the rest
I'm not trying to steal your vest
I'm not trying to be smart
I only want what I can get

I'm really sorry for your aging head
But like you heard me said, I'm not guilty

Do do do

Not guilty for being on your street
Getting underneath your feet
Not guilty, no use handing me a writ
While I'm trying to do my bit
I don't expect to take your heart
I only want what I can get
I'm really sorry that you're underfed
But like you heard me said, not guilty

Not guilty for looking like a freak
Making friends with every Sikh
Not guilty for leading you astray
On the road to Mandalay
I won't upset the apple cart
I only want what I can get

I'm really sorry that you've been misled
But like you heard me said, I'm not guilty

As Released by George Harrison (1979)

Not guilty of getting your way
While you're trying to steal the day
Not guilty and I'm not here for the rest
I'm not trying to steal your vest, do do do
I'm not trying to be smart
I only want what I can get

I'm really sorry for your aging head
But like you heard me said, I'm not guilty

Ooh ooh ooh

Not guilty for being on your street
Getting underneath your feet
Not guilty, no use handing me a writ
While I'm trying to do my bit
I don't expect to take your heart
I only want what I can get
I'm really sorry that you're underfed
But like you heard me said, I'm not guilty

Not guilty for looking like a freak
Making friends with every Sikh
Not guilty for leading you astray
On the road to Mandalay
I won't upset the apple cart
I only want what I can get

I'm really sorry that you've been misled
But like you heard me said, I'm not guilty

Friday, September 11, 2009


"Be-Bop-A-Lula" is a rock 'n' roll song first recorded in 1956 by Gene Vincent and His Blue Caps. The Beatles performed the song live from 1957-1962. The first time John Lennon played the song on stage was on July 6, 1957 at the Woolton Fete (the day that he met Paul McCartney).

Origins of the song

The writing of the song is credited to Gene Vincent and his manager, Bill "Sheriff Tex" Davis. There is evidence that the song was started in 1955, when Vincent was recuperating from a motorcycle accident at the US Navy hospital in Norfolk, Virginia. There, he met Donald Graves, who supposedly wrote the words to the song while Vincent wrote the tune. The song came to the attention of Davis, who allegedly bought out Graves' rights to the song for some $50 (sources vary as to the exact amount), and had himself credited as the lyric writer. Davis claimed that he wrote the song with Gene Vincent after listening to the song "Don't Bring Lulu", and Vincent himself sometimes claimed that he wrote the words inspired by a comic strip, "Little Lulu".

The phrase "Be-Bop-A-Lula" is almost identical to "Be-Baba-Leba", the title of a # 3 R&B chart hit for Helen Humes in 1945, which became a bigger hit when recorded by Lionel Hampton as "Hey! Ba-Ba-Re-Bop". This phrase, or something very similar, was widely used in jazz circles in the 1940s, giving its name to the bebop style, and possibly being ultimately derived from the shout of "Arriba! Arriba!" used by Latin American bandleaders to encourage band members.

Recording by Gene Vincent

In early 1956, Gene Vincent performed the song on a radio show in Norfolk, Virginia, and recorded a demo version which was passed to Capitol Records, who were looking for a young singer to rival Elvis Presley. Capitol invited Gene Vincent to record the song, and it was recorded at Owen Bradley's studio in Nashville, Tennessee on May 4, 1956. The band comprised Cliff Gallup (lead guitar), "Wee" Willie Williams (rhythm guitar), "Jumpin'" Jack Neal (string bass), and Dickie "Be Bop" Harrell (drums). When the song was being recorded, Harrell screamed in the background, he said because he wanted to be sure his family could hear it was him on the record.

The song was released in June 1956 on Capital Records' single F3450, and immediately sold well. In April 1957, the record company announced that over 2 million copies had been sold to date. The song peaked at # 7 on the US Billboard pop music chart, and also made the top ten on the R&B chart. In the UK, it peaked at # 16 in August 1956.

Gene Vincent also sang "Be Bop A Lula" in the movie The Girl Can't Help It.

Later versions

The song's popularity steadily grew over the years, and it became a rock standard, with live and recorded cover versions by artists including Elvis Presley, Jerry Lee Lewis, The Beatles, Suicide, David Cassidy, The Everly Brothers, Foghat, John Lennon, Paul McCartney, Gene Summers, Carl Perkins, Raul Seixas, Demented Are Go, Stray Cats, Queen and 77. Eric Burdon also performed it at some of his concerts from 1982 and 1983.


"I'm Happy Just to Dance with You" Lyrics

by John Lennon and Paul McCartney

As Released by the Beatles (1964)

Before this dance is through
I think I'll love you too
I'm so happy when you dance with me.

I don't wanna kiss or hold your hand
If it's funny try and understand.
There is really nothing else I'd rather do
'cos I'm happy just to dance with you.

I don't need to hug or hold you tight
I just wanna dance with you all night
In this world there's nothing I would rather do
'cos I'm happy just to dance with you.

Just to dance with you is everything I need (oh)
Before this dance is through ((aah))
I think I'll love you too ((oh))
I'm so happy when you dance with me ((oh - oh)).

If somebody tries to make my place
Let's pretend we just can't see his face.
In this world there's nothing I would rather do
'cos I'm happy just to dance with you.

Just to dance with you (oh) is everything I need (oh)
Before this dance is through ((aah))
I think I'll love you too ((oh))
I'm so happy when you dance with me ((oh - oh)).

If somebody tries to take my place
Let's pretend we just can't see his face.
In this world there's nothing I would rather do
I've discovered I'm in love with you (oh - oh).

'cos I'm happy just to dance with you (oh -oh).
Oh - oh, oh.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

John Lennon's Record Collection: Gene Vincent - Woman Love

"Mother" Lyrics

by John Lennon

Original Manuscript (1970)

(1) Mother, you had me
but I never had you
oh I want you - but you didn't want me,
So I got to tell you
Goodbye - Goodbye

(2) Father you left me
but I never left you
oh I needed you, but you didn't need me,
so I just got to tell you
Goodbye - Goodbye.

Mama don't go
Daddy come home - repeat

(3) Children don't do what I have done
oh I couldn't walk and I tried to run
So I got to tell you
goodbye - goodbye.

As Released by John Lennon (1970)

Mother, you had me, but I never had you
I wanted you, you didn't want me
So I, I just got to tell you
Goodbye, goodbye

Father, you left me, but I never left you
I needed you, you didn't need me
So I, I just got to tell you
Goodbye, goodbye

Children, don't do what I have done
I couldn't walk and I tried to run
So I, I just got to tell you
Goodbye, goodbye

Mama don't go
Daddy come home
Mama don't go
Daddy come home
Mama don't go
Daddy come home
Mama don't go
Daddy come home
Mama don't go
Daddy come home
Mama don't go
Daddy come home
Mama don't go
Daddy come home
Mama don't go
Daddy come home
Mama don't go
Daddy come home
Mama don't go
Daddy come home

Beatle People: Peter and Gordon

Peter and Gordon were a British Invasion-era performing duo, formed by Peter Asher and Gordon Waller, that rocketed to fame in 1964 with "A World Without Love" and had several subsequent hits in that era. Gordon passed away on July 17, 2009 at the age of 64.


Peter Asher's sister (the actress Jane Asher) was dating Paul McCartney (of The Beatles), and so Peter and Gordon recorded several songs written by McCartney, without John Lennon (though still credited, as all compositions by either were at the time, as Lennon/McCartney). Those hits included "A World Without Love" (U.S. #1), "Nobody I Know", "I Don't Want To See You Again" and "Woman." The writing credit for "Woman" is given to "Bernard Webb," which was in fact an alias for Paul McCartney. McCartney used the pseudonym to see if he could have a hit song even without his famous name attached to it. The song reached number 14 in the US and number 28 on the British charts. Peter and Gordon also recorded the John Lennon penned Lennon/McCartney song, "If I Fell".

Other hits for the group included "I Go to Pieces" (U.S. #7), which was written by Del Shannon and given to the duo after the two acts toured together, and remakes of "True Love Ways" by Buddy Holly and "To Know Him Is To Love Him" by the Teddy Bears, retitled "To Know You Is To Love You." Peter and Gordon had their last hits in 1967 with "Lady Godiva" (U.S. #6), "Knight In Rusty Armour" and "Sunday for Tea."

Asher became head of A&R for Apple Records. Asher has continued his career as a recording executive in California and has managed and produced Linda Ronstadt, James Taylor, Cher, Diana Ross and more.

In August 2005, Peter and Gordon reunited onstage for the first time in over 30 years, as part of two tribute concerts for Mike Smith of the Dave Clark Five in New York City. This was followed by more complete concerts at The Festival for Beatles Fans (formerly Beatlefest) conventions beginning the following year. Paul McCartney heard about the reunion shows, and sent a message to them congratulating them for deciding to reunite. They have since performed at the Chicago, New Jersey and most recently two shows at the Festival for Beatles Fans convention in Las Vegas July 1 and 2 where according to a report by Journalist Peter Palmiere for Beatlefan magazine, the pair was the performing highlight of the convention. Peter and Gordon both told Palmiere at the Las Vegas Festival for Beatles Fans that they were to perform at the 2006 Adopt-A-Minefield show with Paul McCartney until it was canceled by Paul himself due to his impending divorce from Heather Mills. On August 21, 2008, they performed a free concert on the pier in Santa Monica, California.


Singles (Columbia, UK)

* A World Without Love/If I Were You

Released February 28, '64 in UK Columbia #DB7255 & April 27, '64 US Capitol #5175

* Nobody I Know/You Don't Have To Tell Me

Released May 29, '64 in UK on Columbia #DB7292 & June 15, '64 on US Capitol #5211

* I Don't Want To See You Again/I Would Buy You Presents

Released September 9, '64 UK Columbia #DB 7356 & September 21, '64 on US Capitol #5272

* I Go To Pieces/Love Me Baby

Released November 20, '64 on UK Columbia #DB 7407 & December '64 on US Capitol #5335

* True Love Ways/IF You Wish

Released March 23, '65 UK Columbia #DB 7524 & March '65 on US Capitol #5406

* To Know You Is To Love You/I Told You So

Released June 11, '65 UK Columbia #DB 7617 & June '65 on US Capitol #5461

* Baby I'm Yours/When The Black Of Your Eyes Turn To Grey

Released October 15, '65 on UK Columbia #DB 7729

* Don't Pity Me/Crying In The Rain

Released in October 1965 on US Capitol #5532

* Woman/Wrong From The Start

Released January 10, '66 on US Capitol #5579 & Feb. 11, '66 on UK Columbia #DB 7834

* To Show I Love You/Don't Pity Me

Released in June 1966 on UK Columbia #DB 7951

* Lady Godiva/Morning's Calling

Released September 9, '66 on UK Columbia #DB 8003 & September '66 US Capitol #5740

* The Knight In Rusty Armour/The Flower Lady

Released November 1966 on UK Columbia #DB 8075 & US Capitol #5808

* Sunday For Tea/Start Trying Someone Else

Released February 1967 on UK Columbia #DB 8159 & German Columbia #C 23 481

* The Jokers/Red, Cream And Velvet (Version One)

Released in May 1967 on UK Columbia #DB 8198 & US Capitol #5919

* I Feel Like Going Out/The Quest For The Holy Grail

Released in April 1968 on UK Columbia #DB 8398

* You've Had Better Times/Sipping My Wine

Released July 12, '68 UK Columbia #DB 8451 & July '68 on US Capitol #2214

* I Can Remember (Not Too Long Ago)/Hard Time, Rainy Day

Released in May 1969 UK Columbia #DB 8585 & US Capitol #2544


* A World Without Love (1964)
* I Don't Want to See You Again (1964)
* I Go to Pieces (1965)
* True Love Ways (1965)
* Sing and Play Hits of Nashville (1966)
* Woman (1966)
* Best of (1966)
* Lady Godiva (1967)
* Knight in Rusty Armor (1967)
* In London for Tea (1967)
* Hot, Cold & Custard (1967)

Albums (Capitol-EMI, Canada)

* A World Without Love (S)T 2115
* I Don't Want To Be Around You Again (S)T 2230
* I Go To Pieces (S)T 2334
* True Love Ways (S)T 2368
* Sing and Play the Hits of Nashville (S)T 2430
* Woman (S)T 2477
* The Best Of Peter And Gordon (S)T 2549
* Lady Godiva (S)T 2664
* Knights In Rusty Armour (S)T 2729
* In London For Tea (S)T-2747 (1967)


One Guy Standing There Shouting "I'm Leaving"

By Jann S. Wenner / May 14, 1970

There is almost no attempt in this new set to be anything but what the Beatles actually are: John, Paul, George and Ringo. Four different people, each with songs and styles and abilities. They are no longer Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band and it is possible that they are no longer the Beatles.
- From the review of the White Album (The Beatles)
Rolling Stone, December 21, 1968

The status of the Beatles hasn't changed much since then. Only now bitterness and mistrust have begun to set in. For if they have indeed "broken up," the break took place well before Paul McCartney released his new album and announced he was leaving.

In words of John Lennon, "We were long gone, a long time ago."

What has happened in the last few weeks is the public result of the bitter fight over Beatle business manager Allen Klein and the formal end of the Lennon-McCartney songwriting team.

And underlying that is the passage of time, in which boys turn into men, in which they marry, in which they grow up, in which they grow apart.

"The Beatles haven't had a future, for me, for the last two years," John said after all this hit the papers. "All of us are laboring under this delusion about Beatles and McCartney and Lennon and Harrison and Starr. But, you know, we all have to get over it, us and the public. It's a joke. What we did was what we did, but what we are is something different."

If there is a "reason" the Beatles broke up, it goes back to a series of events that center around the formation of Apple. After Brian Epstein's death and the release of Sgt. Pepper, the Beatles were set adrift to find their own direction without guidance. They started Apple, set up to be "run" by the Beatles as a collective, and in it they installed their longtime friends and associates to take care of the business.

They found out, however, that four musicians and their road managers do not a successful record company make, no matter who they are. John, George and Ringo, bored with the daily meetings over minor business hassles, soon drifted away from it, and it quickly became Paul's trip.

Paul - who in the meantime had married Linda Eastman, whose father and brother are music-business lawyers - couldn't run it either. And it was a mess. Apple turned into a huge financial loss, draining like a sieve, under incompetent management replete with freeloaders, hangers-on, loyal and loving Beatle workers, and all of it bogged down by bickering, with the Beatles unable to resolve it.

John soon let it slip to the papers that the operation had bled the Beatles nearly dry. Then he brought in Allen Klein.

And the fight began. John and Yoko Lennon in one corner, Paul and Linda McCartney in the other. John, with his clothes off and other weird trips, drifting further and further away from Paul, the "nice Beatle" repulsed by John's carryings-on. And John, with George and Ringo, wanting Allen Klein in to bring order to the chaos, versus Paul, whose new in-laws wanted to take over the Beatles.

So it went. And so, they "broke up."

When did the Beatles break up?

John: "The Beatles' White Album. Listen - all you experts listen, none of you can hear. Every track is an individual track - there isn't any Beatle music on it. I just say, listen to the White Album. It was John and the Band, Paul and the Band, George and the Band, like that. Paul and the Band. What I did was sort of say, 'Fuck the Band. I'll make John - I'll do it with Yoko,' or whatever. I put four albums out last year and I didn't say a fucking word about quitting."

The current reports of the breakup were the result of a story released to wire services by McCartney's brother-in-law, New York attorney John Eastman, in which the new album was announced along with statements that Paul had formed his own production company and was planning to do more things on his own.

This was quickly followed by the release of a startling four-page question-and-answer interview in which Paul said he was not planning to make more records with the Beatles, disavowed Allen Klein, made a few "anti" remarks about John and Ringo, said he didn't foresee a time when he and John would write songs again and announced that he had broken with the Beatles.

"I'm telling you," said John, "that's what going on. It's John, George and Ringo as individuals. We're not even communicating with or making plans about Paul. We're just reacting to everything he does. It's a simple fact that he can't have his own way so he's causing chaos. I don't care what you think of Klein - call Klein something else, call him Epstein for now - and just consider the fact that three of us chose Epstein. Paul was the same with Brian in the beginning, if you must know. He used to sulk and God knows what. Wouldn't turn up for the dates or the bookings. It's always been the same, only now it's bigger because we're all bigger. It's the same old game.

"You know, it's like this," John said, "when we read all this shit in the paper, Yoko and I were laughing because the cartoon is this: four guys on a stage with a spotlight on them; second picture, three guys onstage, breezing out of the spotlight; third picture, one guy standing there, shouting, "I'm leaving.' We were all out of it."

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

"A Day in the Life"

“A Day in the Life” is a song by the British rock band The Beatles written by John Lennon and Paul McCartney, based on an original idea by Lennon. It is the final track on the group's 1967 album Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band. Since its original album release, "A Day in the Life" has been released as a B-side, and also on various compilation albums. It has been covered by other artists including Bobby Darin, Sting, Neil Young, Jeff Beck, The Bee Gees, and since 2008, by Paul McCartney in his live performances. Rolling Stone magazine ranked it the 22nd greatest song of all time.

Lyrical inspiration and collaboration

There is some dispute about the inspiration for the first verse. Many believe that it was written with regard to the death of Tara Browne, the 21-year-old heir to the Guinness fortune and close friend of Lennon and McCartney, who had crashed his Lotus Elan on 18 December 1966 when a Volkswagen pulled out of a side street into his path in Redcliffe Gardens, Earls Court. In numerous interviews, Lennon claimed this was the verse's prime inspiration. However, George Martin adamantly claims that it is a drug reference (as is the line "I'd love to turn you on" and other passages from the song) and while writing the lyrics John and Paul were imagining a stoned politician who had stopped at a set of traffic lights.

The final verse was inspired by an article in the Daily Mail in January 1967 regarding a substantial amount of potholes in Blackburn, a town in Lancashire. However, he had a problem with the words of the final verse, not being able to think of how to connect "Now they know how many holes it takes to" and "the Albert Hall." His friend Terry Doran suggested that they would "fill" the Albert Hall.

The description of the accident in "A Day in the Life" was not a literal description of Browne's fatal accident. Lennon said, "I didn't copy the accident. Tara didn't blow his mind out, but it was in my mind when I was writing that verse. The details of the accident in the song — not noticing traffic lights and a crowd forming at the scene — were similarly part of the fiction."

McCartney provided the middle section of the song, a short piano piece he had been working on independently, with lyrics about a commuter whose uneventful morning routine leads him to drift off into a reverie. He had written the piece as a wistful recollection of his younger years, which included riding the bus to school, smoking and going to class. The line "I'd love to turn you on," which concludes both verse sections, was, according to Lennon, also contributed by McCartney; Lennon said "I had the bulk of the song and the words, but he contributed this little lick floating around in his head that he couldn't use for anything."


The Beatles began recording the song, with a working title "In the Life of...", on 19 January 1967, in the innovative and creative studio atmosphere ushered in by the recording of Strawberry Fields Forever and Penny Lane over the preceding weeks. The two sections of the song are separated by a 24-bar bridge. At first, The Beatles were not sure how to fill this transition. Thus, at the conclusion of the recording session for the basic tracks, this section solely consisted of a simple repeated piano chord and the voice of assistant Mal Evans counting the bars. Evans's guide vocal was treated with gradually increasing amounts of echo.

The 24-bar bridge section ended with the sound of an alarm clock triggered by Evans. The original intent was to edit out the ringing alarm clock when the missing section was filled in; however it complemented McCartney's piece well; the first line of McCartney's song began "Woke up, fell out of bed", so the decision was made to keep the sound. Martin later said that editing it out would have been unfeasible in any case.

The basic track for the song was refined with remixing and additional parts added at recording sessions on 20 January and 3 February. Still, there was no solution for the missing 24-bar middle section of the song, when McCartney had the idea of bringing in a full orchestra to fill the gap. To allay concerns that classically-trained musicians would not be able to improvise the section, producer George Martin wrote a loose score for the section. It was an extended, atonal crescendo that encouraged the musicians to improvise within the defined framework.

The orchestral part was recorded on 10 February 1967, with McCartney and Martin conducting a 40-piece orchestra. The recording session was completed at a total cost of £367 for the players, an extravagance at the time. Martin later described explaining his improvised score to the puzzled orchestra:

What I did there was to write ... the lowest possible note for each of the instruments in the orchestra. At the end of the twenty-four bars, I wrote the highest note...near a chord of E major. Then I put a squiggly line right through the twenty-four bars, with reference points to tell them roughly what note they should have reached during each bar ... Of course, they all looked at me as though I were completely mad.

McCartney noted that the strings were able to keep themselves in the designated time, while the trumpets were "much wilder."

McCartney had originally wanted a 90-piece orchestra, but this proved impossible; the difference was made up, as the semi-improvised segment was recorded multiple times and eventually four different recordings were overdubbed into a single massive crescendo. The results were successful; in the final edit of the song, the orchestral bridge is reprised after the final verse.

It was arranged for the orchestral session to be filmed by NEMS Enterprises for use in a planned television special. The film was never released in its entirety, although portions of it can be seen in the "A Day in the Life" promotional film, which includes shots of studio guests Mick Jagger, Marianne Faithfull, Keith Richards, Donovan, Pattie Boyd and Michael Nesmith.

Reflecting The Beatles' taste for experimentation and the avant garde at this point in their careers, the orchestra players were asked to wear or were given a costume piece on top of their formal dress. This resulted in different players wearing anything from red noses to fake stick-on nipples. Martin recalled that the lead violinist performed wearing a gorilla paw, while a bassoon player placed a balloon on the end of his instrument.

Due to the multiple takes required to perfect the orchestral cacophony and the final chord, as well as their considerable procrastination in composing the song, the total duration of time spent recording "A Day in the Life" was 34 hours. In contrast, the Beatles' earliest work, their first album Please Please Me, was recorded in its entirety in only 10 hours.

Song structure

The song comprises portions originally authored independently by Lennon and McCartney, two cacophonous, part-improvised, orchestra crescendos, and a sustained final piano chord. While Lennon’s lyrics were inspired by contemporary newspaper articles, McCartney’s were reminiscent of his youth. The decisions to link sections of the song with orchestral crescendos and to end the song with a sustained piano chord were made only after the rest of the song had been recorded.
A waveform view of “A Day in the Life” showing its characteristic crescendos and sudden instrumental changes.

"A Day in the Life" is in the key of G major, but, as Alan W. Pollack explains, "its true center of gravity is in the parallel minor [of G Major] and the Major keys of E." The verses are in G-major/E-minor and the bridge is in E-major. A 4/4 meter is used throughout. The song is laid out with an instrumental beginning, followed by three verses (0:13), an orchestral crescendo (1:45), a middle section (2:16), an orchestral bridge (2:49), the final verse (3:19), a second orchestral crescendo (3:50), and a final piano chord (4:21–5:05).

Each verse is sung by Lennon and follows the same basic layout, but each has a different way of ending. The first verse, which is twenty measures, ends with a repetition of the F major chord progression before returning to the home key. The second verse, two measures shorter than the first, ends on the C major chord rather than repeating the F major progression. The third verse is the same as the second, except that there is one more measure (to accommodate the "I'd love to"), and the verse does not return to the home key. Instead it leads to a bridge, a 24-measure long glissando-like crescendo starting from low E to an E several octaves higher. Random cymbal crashes are interspersed near the end to "challenge your sense of meter."

An alarm clock rings, beginning McCartney's middle section. While the pulse of this section remains the same, the accents suggest a tempo twice as fast as that of the verses before. The three chords in this nineteen measures long section are the I, flat VII, and V chords (E, D, and B). This is followed by an orchestral bridge: a repeated circle of fifths (from C to E) over twenty measures. The bridge is accompanied by a wordless vocal ("Ahhhh...") and leads to the fourth and final verse.

The final verse has the same layout as the third verse. Starr's drumming, however, retains its double-time feel from McCartney's section. This verse leads to the second crescendo. However, after the orchestra hits its highest note, there is a measure of silence, which leads to the final E-major piano chord.

The final chord

Following the final orchestral crescendo, the song ends with one of the most famous final chords in music history. Lennon, McCartney, Starr, and Evans shared three different pianos and played an E-major chord simultaneously. The final chord was made to ring out for over forty seconds by increasing the recording sound level as the vibration faded out. Towards the end of the chord the recording level was so high that listeners can hear the sounds of the studio, including rustling papers and a squeaking chair.

The piano chord was a replacement for a failed vocal experiment: on the evening following the orchestra recording session, the four Beatles had originally recorded an ending of their voices humming the chord, but after multiple overdubs they found that they wanted something with more impact.


On the Sgt. Pepper album, the start of “A Day in the Life” is cross-faded with the applause at the end of the previous track “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band (Reprise)”. On the The Beatles 1967–1970 LP, “A Day in the Life” fades in through the Sgt. Pepper cross-fade, but on the CD version of 1967–1970, the song starts cleanly, without any fade or cross-fade.

Following “A Day in the Life” on the Sgt. Pepper album is a high frequency tone and a few seconds of gibberish. Recorded two months after the mono and stereo masters for “A Day in the Life” had been finalized, the gibberish (entitled in the session notes “Edit for LP End”) was added to the run-out groove of the initial British pressing.

The Anthology 3 version of "The End" concludes with the final chord of "A Day in the Life," played backwards and then forwards, to bring closure to the Anthology CD series.

Supposed drug references

The song became controversial for its supposed references to drugs. On 1 June 1967, the day the Sgt. Pepper LP was released, the BBC announced it was banning "A Day in the Life" from British stations due to the line "I'd love to turn you on," which, according to the corporation, advocated drug use. Other lyrics allegedly referring to drugs include "found my way upstairs and had a smoke / and somebody spoke and I went into a dream." A spokesman for the BBC stated, "We have listened to this song over and over again. And we have decided that it appears to go just a little too far, and could encourage a permissive attitude to drug-taking."

Lennon and McCartney denied that there were drug references and publicly complained about the ban at a dinner party celebrating their new album to their manager, Brian Epstein. Lennon said that the song was simply about "a crash and its victim," and called the line in question "the most innocent of phrases." McCartney later flatly denied the drug allegations, saying that "what we want to do is to turn you on to the truth rather than ...pot." However, George Martin later commented that he had always suspected that the line "found my way upstairs and had a smoke" was a drug reference, recalling how the Beatles would "disappear and have a little puff," presumably of cannabis, but not in front of him.

When Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band was released in South Asia, Malaysia and Hong Kong, "A Day in the Life" was excluded along with "With a Little Help from My Friends" and "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds" because of supposed drug references.


"A Day in the Life" is one of The Beatles' most influential songs. Paul Grushkin in his book Rockin' Down the Highway: The Cars and People That Made Rock Roll, called the song "one of the most ambitious, influential, and groundbreaking works in pop music history." In "From Craft to Art: Formal Structure in the Music of the Beatles", the song is described thus: "A Day in the Life" is perhaps one of the most important single tracks in the history of rock music; clocking in at only four minutes and forty-five seconds, it must surely be among the shortest epic pieces in rock.

The song appears on many top songs lists. It placed twelfth on CBC's 50 Tracks, the second highest Beatles song on the list after "In My Life." It placed first in Q Magazine's list of the 50 greatest British songs of all time, and was at the top of Mojo Magazine's 101 Greatest Beatles Songs, as decided by a panel of musicians and journalists. "A Day in the Life" was also nominated for a Grammy in 1967 for Best Arrangement Accompanying Vocalist Or Instrumentalist.

On 27 August 1992 Lennon's original handwritten lyrics were sold by the estate of Mal Evans in an auction at Sotheby's London for $100,000 (£56,600). The lyrics were put up for sale again in March 2006 by Bonhams in New York. Sealed bids were opened on 7 March 2006 and offers started at about $2 million.

In 2004, Rolling Stone ranked "A Day in the Life" at number 26 on the magazine's list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.

Cover versions and references

"A Day in the Life" has been covered and referenced numerous times by other artists. Jazz guitarist Wes Montgomery covered the song and used it as the title track to his instrumental album "A Day in the Life" (arranged and conducted by Don Sebesky). Phish have covered the song several times throughout their career. The Cat's Miaow version of "A Day in the Life" omitted the orchestral and middle sections, and appeared on their 1996 A Kiss and a Cuddle album. Alternative rock band Mae recorded a version of the song for their album The Everglow EP in 2006. Jazz guitarist Grant Green covered the song on his 1970 album Green is Beautiful (Blue Note Records). The Libertines' Carl Barat and Pete Doherty covered "A Day in the Life" for BBC Radio 2's 40-year-anniversary celebration of Sgt. Pepper, broadcast 16 June 2007. Sting recorded a version of the song on MTV Unplugged. Brie Larson recorded an acoustic version exclusively for her MySpace page. Type O Negative (who have been highly influenced by the Beatles) referenced the song at the closing of their song "Kill You Tonight (Reprise)" with the famous extended E-major chord.

In 2008, Yoko Ono toured with a 100-piece collection of Lennon’s artwork drawn between 1968 and 1980 under the title, "A Day in the Life." The tour presented non-original limited edition copies, with many having color added later on Ono’s orders.

Neil Young played a version of the song during both his 2008 European summer tour, his 2008 North American winter tour, and his 2009 Australia and New Zealand tour.

Paul McCartney played "A Day in the Life" during The Liverpool Sound Festival at Anfield Stadium in Liverpool together with Give Peace A Chance.

Eric Burdon & War recorded this song in an early session in 1969. The incomplete version with 11 minutes was released on their 1976 compilation album, Love Is All Around.

The Devo song "Some Things Never Change" from the 1988 album Total Devo paid homage to the song, starting each verse with the nearly identical, "I saw the news today oh boy", and following similar structure. Soundhog produced a remix version of the song called "A Day in Tracy's Life," incorporating Mogwai's song "Tracy" and bits of work by Kid Loco. Zack de la Rocha & DJ Shadow' track "March of death" contains verse "I read the news today oh boy". Mark Z. Danielewski quotes part of the song's lyrics ("I saw a film today, oh boy") in the beginning of his book House of Leaves. David Bowie's "Young Americans from the album of the same name features chorus singers singing the line "I saw the news today, oh boy".

The Dream Theater song Six Degrees of Inner Turbulence ends with a sustained E major chord played on synthesizer that fades out for approximately 2 minutes, much like the ending chord of A day in the life.

Cover versions

Cover artist Release date Album title Additional information
Wes Montgomery 1967 A Day In The Life
Brian Auger and the Trinity 1968 Definitely What
Grant Green Jan 30, 1970 Green Is Beautiful
Lighthouse 1971 One Fine Light
Eric Burdon & War 1976 Love is All Around
London Symphony Orchestra 1978 Classic Rock: Second Movement
Sting 1993 Demolition Man
London Starlight Orchestra Apr 23, 1996 20 Beatles Greatest Hits Instrumental
Mae Nov 21, 2006 The Everglow EP
Jeff Beck Nov 24, 2008 Performing This Week: Live at Ronnie Scott's Jazz Club


Words and Music by John Lennon and Paul McCartney
Published by Northern Songs


* John Lennon: double tracked lead vocals (on all the verses),
acoustic guitar, maracas and piano (final E chord).
* Paul McCartney: piano, lead vocals (on the middle eight), and bass guitar.
* George Harrison: maracas
* Ringo Starr: drums, congas and piano (final E chord).
* George Martin: harmonium (final E chord) and producer.
* Mal Evans: alarm clock, counting, piano (final E chord)
* Geoff Emerick: engineering and mixing.
* Orchestrated by George Martin, Paul McCartney and John Lennon.
* Conducted by George Martin and Paul McCartney
* John Marston: harp
* Eric Gruenberg, Granville Jones, Bill Monro, Jurgen Hess,
Hans Geiger, D. Bradley, Lionel Bentley, David McCallum, Donald Weekes, Henry Datyner,
Sidney Sax, Ernest Scott: violin
* John Underwood, Gwynne Edwards, Bernard Davis, John Meek: viola
* Francisco Gabarro, Dennis Vigay, Alan Delziel, Alex Nifosi: cello
* Cyril Mac Arther, Gordon Pearce: double bass
* Roger Lord: oboe
* Basil Tschaikov, Jack Brymer: clarinet
* N. Fawcett, Alfred Waters: bassoon
* Clifford Seville, David Sandeman: flute
* Alvin Civil, Neil Sanders: french horn
* David Mason, Monty Montgomery, Harold Jackson: trumpet
* Raymond Brown, Raymond Premru, T. Moore: trombone
* Michael Barnes: tuba
* Tristan Fry: timpani.

Album: Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band
Released: 1 June 1967
Recorded: Abbey Road Studios, 19, 20 January, 3, 10 February 1967
Genre: Rock
Length: 5:05
Label: Parlophone, Capitol, EMI
Writer: Lennon/McCartney
Producer: George Martin


Let It Be

Let It Be is the twelfth and final studio album by the English rock band The Beatles. It was released on 8 May 1970 by the band's Apple Records label shortly after the group's announced breakup.

Most of Let It Be was recorded in January 1969, before the recording and release of the album Abbey Road. For this reason, some critics and fans, such as Mark Lewisohn, argue that Abbey Road should really be considered the group's final album and Let It Be the penultimate. Let It Be was originally intended to be released prior to Abbey Road at some point during mid-1969 under the title Get Back but the Beatles were unhappy with this version of the album, which was mixed and compiled by Glyn Johns, and it was temporarily shelved. A new version of the album was created from the studio tapes by Phil Spector in 1970 and then finally released as Let It Be. The album acts as a soundtrack album for the 1970 motion picture of the same name, which is a documentary film of the band rehearsing and recording the album. While two songs from the sessions were released as singles prior to this album's release, "Get Back" and "Let It Be", the songs were remixed by Spector for release on this album.

The rehearsals and recording sessions for the album did not run smoothly due to the increasing level of acrimony between the four Beatles. The group bickered and argued throughout the album's production. George Harrison, at one point during the rehearsals, walked out and quit the group after severely arguing with both Paul McCartney and John Lennon, only to be coaxed back some days later. The film version is famous for showcasing a number of conflicts between the group members and has frequently been referred to as a documentary intended to show the making of an album but instead showing "the break-up of a band."

Critical and fan reaction to the album on its release was fairly negative. Opinion on the album today is largely divided, though most critics appear to regard Let it Be as weaker than most of the Beatles' previous works. Despite receiving a largely negative review from Rolling Stone magazine at the time of its release, the album was later ranked number 86 in the magazine's list of the 500 greatest albums of all time in 2003.

McCartney oversaw the release of Let it Be...Naked in 2003, an alternative version of the album where McCartney's personal vision replaces that of Spector.

Recording sessions

By late 1968, Paul McCartney was eager for the Beatles to perform live again, more than two years after they gave up touring. At the time, there was a great deal of tension among the Beatles, who had been pursuing a number of personal projects over the course of the previous six months. The sessions for the previous year's White Album had been badly affected by a number of serious arguments and a decline in relations between the group members.

McCartney believed that years of not touring and using the studio not to record ensemble performances but to make increasingly multi-layered and complex recordings (made up of numerous instrumental parts played individually by each Beatle as overdubs rather than as a group) had resulted in the Beatles growing apart and no longer having the same collective group spirit that they had once had—this, he felt, was one of the root causes of their problems. McCartney believed that the best way to improve band relations and revive enthusiasm was to get the group back into rehearsal as quickly as possible (the White Album sessions having only been concluded in October 1968) and begin work on a new album that made little or no use of studio artifice or multiple overdubbing, allowing the group to 'get back' to their roots by playing as a true ensemble, or even go as far as recording some or all of the new album during a one-off live concert or full concert tour.

This idea mirrored the 'back to basics' attitude being taken by a number of rock musicians at this time, particularly in the U.S., as a reaction against the psychedelic and progressive music dominant in the previous two years which made extensive use of studio trickery and complexity, and McCartney could well have been influenced by this development (McCartney at this time was a big fan of Canned Heat, a group which was associated with this emerging philosophy). McCartney believed that a return to live performance would reinstall the same sort of ensemble spirit and sense of togetherness that they had in their early years together.

Additionally, McCartney suggested that the new project could be turned into a multimedia extravaganza, comprising a live concert (or tour), album and motion picture, the latter to take the form of a documentary film recording the making of the album right from the first rehearsals to the proposed live performances (this aspect of the project would also have the handy side effect of fulfilling the group's contractual obligation to United Artists to produce a third motion picture, dating back to the original deal signed with the company in 1963 which had thus far produced A Hard Day's Night and Help! - the original third Beatles feature film, which should have been filmed in 1966, was abandoned and Yellow Submarine did not fulfill the obligation as it was an animation feature). McCartney proposed that Michael Lindsay-Hogg, who had recently worked with the Rolling Stones, direct the film.

McCartney also decided to invite renowned producer/engineer Glyn Johns to contribute to the recording. However his proposed role was apparently not clearly defined and McCartney also wished to retain the services of George Martin, meaning that Johns was not entirely sure as to whether he was supposed to be producing (or co-producing) the album or merely engineering it, with Martin having no clear idea of where he stood either.

The other three Beatles were however less than wholly enthusiastic about McCartney's proposals – not only had they only just completed work on their previous album, but they were sceptical about the realistic prospects of returning to live performance. Harrison in particular was very opposed to the idea of touring, having taken the strongest dislike of any of the group members to the grueling tours of the Beatlemania era. However he had recently enjoyed a series of jam sessions with Bob Dylan and Delaney and Bonnie in the U.S., rediscovering his liking for straightforward ensemble playing, and he was attracted to the idea of the 'back to basics' approach. The same approach greatly appealed to Lennon, who had grown increasingly wary of what he regarded as the excessive technical artifice used on their recordings since Revolver and had also made a recent return to no-frills ensemble playing in the shape of an appearance on the Rolling Stones' Rock and Roll Circus. In addition, all the group members had greatly enjoyed the recording of the song 'Happiness is a Warm Gun' during the recent White Album sessions which, due to its multiple sections and myriad time signature changes, had required all four members of the group to sharply focus and revive their ensemble playing skills to lay down a coherent basic rhythm track before any overdubbing could be applied. In the end, the group agreed to convene for rehearsals immediately following New Years Day to begin work, even though no suitable conclusion or even firm direction for the new project had been agreed.

Since all the rehearsals were to be filmed by Lindsay-Hogg and his film crew, the decision was made to use a film studio for rehearsals and the sound stage at Twickenham Studios was chosen. The group began rehearsals there on 2 January 1969. This transpired to be a mistake since Twickenham was quickly discovered to be a fairly uninspiring environment (coloured lighting was set up by the film crew to try and improve the aesthetic appeal of the studio but the lights simply succeeding in annoying Lennon) and worse, the large studio proved to be freezing cold in the winter mornings. Additionally, due to the requirements of the film crew, sessions could not take place during the evenings as the group preferred, but had to be booked to start at 8 a.m. in the morning. As Lennon later observed, "no one wants to make music at that hour". Lennon also found the continuous presence of the film crew to be highly intrusive and the other Beatles had similar feelings about the attendance of Lennon's girlfriend Yoko Ono.

No professional multi-track recordings were made of these sessions at Twickenham, as the Beatles were simply rehearsing for a proposed live performance rather than attempting to record releasable versions of any songs, although Phil Spector later used a snippet of dialogue from one of these rehearsals (Lennon announcing "Queen says no to pot-smoking FBI members") to introduce 'For You Blue' on the finished album, sourced from the film crew's monophonic soundtrack recordings. Numerous bootleg records taken from the many hours of these soundtrack recordings are in wide circulation and various bits of music and dialogue from the same source was eventually used on the second disc of the 2003 release Let It Be...Naked.

The group spent their time at Twickenham running through a number of new original compositions by Lennon, McCartney and Harrison as well as jamming various covers of rock 'n' roll numbers and standards from other genres, as well as some instrumentals and even versions of some old Beatles songs. A number of possible locations for the proposed live show were discussed during the rehearsals, with the leading candidates being The Roundhouse in London, a Roman amphitheatre in North Africa (where the Beatles would allow the audience to slowly fill the amphitheatre during the day before eventually performing either at dusk or dawn) or a cruise ship. McCartney also proposed a unusual concert tour in which the Beatles would turn up unannounced at university halls and small clubs around England to perform, an idea that Lennon apparently regarded as preposterous but was later carried out by McCartney with his post-Beatles band Wings. At one point, John Lennon jokingly suggested that he was "warming to the idea of doing it (the concert) in an asylum."

Unsurprisingly given the conditions at Twickenham and the group members' personal differences, the rehearsals quickly disintegrated into acrimony. By the third day, the group openly discussed whether they should simply break up. Lennon was in the throes of heroin addiction and had all but withdrawn creatively from the Beatles, seldom contributing even to the arrangements of his own songs. George Harrison was increasingly resentful — while he was treated respectfully by musical colleagues such as Bob Dylan and Eric Clapton, within the Beatles he felt that his songs were either derided or ignored (at one point during the rehearsals, Lennon responded to Harrison demonstrating his new song 'I Me Mine' to him by stating "We're a rock and roll band – run along, boy" and later chose to waltz with Ono, behaviour possibly intended to be a form of mockery, rather than contribute while the other three Beatles attempted to arrange and rehearse the song). With the band seemingly unable to generate much enthusiasm or focus their attention, their playing was largely ragged and unprofessional, not helped by the fact that they were severely out of practice at playing as a live ensemble. McCartney tried to impose some form of order and encourage his bandmates, but his attempts to hold the band together and rally spirits were seen by the others as controlling and patronizing. The constant presence of Lennon's companion and artistic partner Yoko Ono—who often spoke in Lennon's place as he sat silently by and frequently distracted him by whispering in his ear when he was trying to concentrate on playing—was a major source of tension. The intrusive film cameras and the uncomfortable settings of Twickenham Studios also contributed to ill feelings.

Finally, matters came to a head on January 10 when Harrison had a heated argument with McCartney over what he perceived to be the bassist's patronizing and bossy instructions on how to play his lead guitar part on 'I've Got a Feeling', which later became one of the most famous sequences in the Let It Be movie. What is not shown in the film is another, allegedly much more severe argument Harrison had with Lennon immediately following his argument with McCartney. Harrison had become fed up with Lennon's creative and communicative disengagement from the band and the two had a blazing row which, according to some sources, descended into violence with Harrison and Lennon allegedly throwing punches at each other (if true, this would apparently be the sole occasion in their adult lives that any members of the Beatles are known to have resorted to violence against each other). After lunch, Harrison announced that he was "leaving the band now" and told the others "see you round the clubs". He promptly walked out, getting in his car and instead of returning home to his wife Pattie at his Esher home Kinfauns, he drove several hundred miles north straight to his parents home in Speke, Liverpool.

After Harrison's departure that afternoon, the three remaining Beatles attempted to continue with their rehearsal. A smiling Yoko, seemingly oblivious to how her behaviour might be perceived by McCartney and Starr, responded to the situation by sitting herself down on Harrison's empty chair, an action which appeared highly symbolic even if it were highly unlikely to be intended as such. Yoko promptly took over the rehearsal, leading an avant-garde jam featuring her trademark wailing vocalizations, while Lennon and McCartney derived shrieking feedback from their amplifiers and Starr thrashed about on his drum kit. As a practical solution to the problem of Harrison's absence, Lennon suggested hiring Eric Clapton to replace Harrison, possibly as a full time member of the Beatles if Harrison stuck with his decision to quit the band permanently. McCartney and Starr vetoed this suggestion, with the former arguing that the group could not truly be considered as the Beatles without all four traditional members of the band.

A week later the band agreed to Harrison's terms for returning to the group, which included abandoning the cold and cavernous soundstage at Twickenham. Sessions resumed on 22 January when the group moved to Apple Studios and multi-track recording began which continued until 31 January. Harrison brought in keyboardist Billy Preston to ease tensions and supplement the band for the live performances. Preston worked with the Beatles throughout their stay at Apple Studios.

The live concert idea culminated with the Beatles and Preston performing 30 January on the rooftop of the Beatles' Apple Building at 3 Savile Row before a small audience of friends and employees. The performance was cut short by the police after complaints about noise. The complete concert has circulated among bootleg collectors for many years. Three numbers recorded at the rooftop concert, namely "Dig a Pony", "I've Got a Feeling", and "One After 909", do appear on the album, while several spoken parts of the concert appear between tracks that were recorded in studio.

The band played hundreds of songs during the Get Back/Let It Be sessions. Aside from original songs ultimately released on the Let It Be album were early versions of almost all of the songs that appeared on Abbey Road, including "Mean Mr. Mustard", "She Came in Through the Bathroom Window", "Sun King", "Polythene Pam", "Golden Slumbers", "Carry That Weight", "Something", "Maxwell's Silver Hammer", "Oh! Darling", "Octopus's Garden", and "I Want You (She's So Heavy)". Still others would eventually end up on Beatles solo albums, including Lennon's "Jealous Guy" (called "Child of Nature" at the time and originally written and rehearsed for the White Album) and "Gimme Some Truth", Harrison's "All Things Must Pass" and "Hear Me Lord", and McCartney's "Teddy Boy" and "Junk" (originally written for the White Album). Much of the band's attention was focused on extended jams on 12-bar blues as well as a broad range of covers. These included classical pieces such as Samuel Barber's "Adagio for Strings", jazz standards such as "Ain't She Sweet", and an encyclopaedic array of songs from the early rock and roll era such as "Stand By Me", "Words of Love", "Lonely Sea", "Bésame Mucho" by Mexican composer Consuelo Velázquez (a song that was part of The Beatles repertoire in the early days) and "Blue Suede Shoes". Only a handful of these were complete performances; the vast majority were fragmentary renditions with a verse or two of misremembered lyrics. The rehearsals and recording sessions were filmed and formed the basis of the Beatles' film of the same name.

The Get Back albums

After increasing use of overdubs and multi-layered recordings on recent albums, there was at first a consensus to record the new album live. In keeping with the back-to-roots concept, the cover artwork was planned to be an update of the cover of their first album, Please Please Me, with the band looking down the stairwell of EMI's headquarters office block in Manchester Square, London. The photograph was later used on the compilation album 1967–1970 (aka The Blue Album).

Engineer Glyn Johns put together a rough version of Get Back on acetate in March 1969, which included many of the same songs that made the final cut, plus McCartney's "Teddy Boy". Johns played the acetate for the Beatles, who were not really interested in the project any longer. At least one copy of the acetate made its way to America and was aired on local radio stations in Buffalo, New York, and Boston in September.

In March 1969, Lennon and McCartney called Glyn Johns to EMI and offered him free rein to produce an album from the Get Back recordings. Johns booked time at Olympic Studios between 3 April and 28 May to mix the album and presented the final banded master tape to the group on 28 May. Only one track, "One After 909", was taken from the rooftop concert, with "I've Got a Feeling" and "Dig a Pony" being studio recordings instead. Johns also favored earlier, rougher versions of "Two of Us" and "Let It Be" over the more polished performances from the final 31 January session (which were eventually chosen for the Let It Be album). It also included a jam called "Rocker", and a brief rendition of The Drifters' "Save The Last Dance For Me."

The Get Back album was intended for release in July 1969, but its release was pushed back to September to coincide with the planned television special and the theatrical film about the making of the album. In September, the album's release was pushed back to December because the Beatles had just recorded Abbey Road and wanted to release that album instead. By December the album had been shelved.

On 15 December, The Beatles again approached Glyn Johns to produce an album from the 'Get Back' tapes but this time with the instruction that the songs must match those included in the as yet unreleased Get Back film. Between 15 December 1969 and 8 January 1970, new mixes were prepared. Johns' new mix omitted "Teddy Boy" as the song did not appear in the film (and possibly because McCartney had indicated to Johns that he had re-recorded the song for his upcoming McCartney album). It also added "Across the Universe" (a remix of the 1968 studio version, as the January 1969 rehearsals of the song were judged unsatisfactory) and "I Me Mine," on which only McCartney, Harrison and Ringo Starr performed (Lennon had left the band by that time). "I Me Mine" was newly recorded, as it appeared in the film and no multi-track recording had yet been made. The Beatles once again rejected the album.

Completion and release

In March 1970 the session tapes were given to American producer Phil Spector. Spector worked on the tracks and compiled the eventually released album—by now entitled Let It Be. The album and the film with the same name were released on 8 May 1970; the Beatles had already broken up by that time. The movie captured on film the critical tensions within the band, and also included footage from the rooftop concert. The rooftop performance closed with the song "Get Back", and afterwards Lennon said, "I'd like to say 'thank you' on behalf of the group and ourselves, and I hope we passed the audition." The joke was added to the studio version of the song that appeared on the album.

Several songs from the recording sessions have been released officially in versions different from those on the Let It Be album. "Get Back"/"Don't Let Me Down" and "Let It Be" were released as singles in 1969 and 1970, respectively. "Across the Universe", a Lennon composition recorded in February 1968, was added to pad out his sparse contributions to the album, having previously been released as part of the World Wildlife Fund charity album No One's Gonna Change Our World. Neither version was at the originally recorded speed (the No One's Gonna Change Our World version being sped up and the Let It Be version being slowed down). The track appeared for the first time at its original speed on the Let It Be… Naked album in 2003. The Glyn Johns version of "The Long and Winding Road" was released in 1996 on The Beatles Anthology 3.

Six tracks were live performances, in accordance with the original album concept: "I've Got a Feeling", "One After 909", and "Dig a Pony" from the rooftop performance, and "Two of Us", "Dig It" and "Maggie Mae" from studio sessions. However, the album versions of "For You Blue", "I Me Mine", "Let It Be", "The Long and Winding Road" and "Get Back" featured editing, splicing, and overdubs. The twelfth track on the album was a slowed-down version of the original 1968 recording of "Across the Universe", which had only been rehearsed at Twickenham and not professionally recorded on multi-track tape during the January 1969 sessions.

McCartney was deeply dissatisfied with Spector's treatment of some songs, particularly "The Long and Winding Road". McCartney had conceived of the song as a simple piano ballad, but Spector dubbed in orchestral and choral accompaniment. McCartney unsuccessfully attempted to halt release of Spector's version of the song. He was fine with the orchestra, but the choir and harp he wanted to be removed. Despite the criticisms levelled at Spector over the years for his handling of the material, Lennon defended him in his famous Playboy interview 10 years later, saying, "He was given the shittiest load of badly-recorded shit with a lousy feeling to it ever, and he made something of it."
The original box set packaging of Let It Be. It contained a 160 page booklet with photos and quotes from the film.

In the UK, the album was originally issued by Apple (and distributed by EMI) in a lavish boxed set that also included a book featuring stills from the Let It Be film. Several months later, the album was reissued in Great Britain in a standard LP jacket, sans book. In the United States, the Let It Be album was issued in a standard jacket, without the book. The American release was also originally issued by Apple Records, but because United Artists distributed the film, United Artists also held the rights to distribute the record in America. (EMI subsidiary Capitol, which held the Beatles' US contract, had simultaneous rights to the music on the album, and could distribute the songs on various singles and compilation albums. Capitol, however, did not have the rights to release or distribute the actual album.) To indicate that Let It Be was not distributed by Capitol, the original record label in America sported a red apple, rather than the Beatles' usual green Granny Smith apple. In early 1976, when the Beatles' Apple Record contract expired, most of the group's catalogue in the United States transferred from Apple to Capitol; Let It Be, however, went out-of-print in America for three years. Then in 1979, Capitol/EMI acquired United Artists Records. With this acquisition, Capitol acquired the rights to two Beatles albums previously distributed in the United States by United Artists, Let It Be and the soundtrack album A Hard Day's Night. (As A Hard Day's Night had never been issued by Apple in the United States, it remained in print in America under the United Artists label when the Apple contract expired in 1976.) Shortly after acquiring United Artists Records, Capitol re-issued both UA distributed Beatles albums on the Capitol label.

The Beatles would ultimately win the Academy Award for the Best Original Song Score in 1970 for the songs in the movie.

Let It Be... Naked

At the same time the film's re-release was announced, McCartney announced plans to release a new version of the album that is closer to what he had originally intended for the project. The new collection, Let It Be... Naked, was released on 17 November 2003 in a two-disc format—the second disc contained fly-on-the-wall recordings of the band chit-chatting during the Get Back Sessions. As of 2009, the film had not yet been re-released.


The album was met with mixed reviews at the time of its release. NME critic Alan Smith wrote "If the new Beatles soundtrack is to be their last then it will stand as a cheapskate epitaph, a cardboard tombstone, a sad and tatty end to a musical fusion which wiped clean and drew again the face of pop". Rolling Stone magazine was also critical of the album, citing Spector's production embellishments as a sore point: "Musically, boys, you passed the audition. In terms of having the judgment to avoid either over-producing yourselves or casting the fate of your get-back statement to the most notorious of all over-producers, you didn't...".

Track listing

All songs written and composed by Lennon/McCartney, except where noted.
Side one
# Title Lead vocals Length
1. "Two of Us" McCartney and Lennon 3:33
2. "Dig a Pony" Lennon 3:52
3. "Across the Universe" Lennon 3:47
4. "I Me Mine" (George Harrison) Harrison 2:25
5. "Dig It" (Lennon/McCartney/Harrison/Starkey) Lennon 0:49
6. "Let It Be" McCartney 4:01
7. "Maggie Mae" (traditional, arr. by Lennon/McCartney/Harrison/Starkey) Lennon and McCartney 0:41
Side two
# Title Lead vocals Length
1. "I've Got a Feeling" McCartney and Lennon 3:37
2. "One After 909" Lennon and McCartney 2:52
3. "The Long and Winding Road" McCartney 3:37
4. "For You Blue" (Harrison) Harrison 2:32
5. "Get Back" McCartney 3:07


The Beatles

* John Lennon – vocals, rhythm guitar, lead guitar ("Get Back"), lap steel guitar ("For You Blue"), acoustic guitar ("Two of Us", "Across the Universe" and "Maggie Mae"), six-string bass guitar ("Dig It", "Let It Be" and "The Long and Winding Road")
* Paul McCartney – vocals, bass guitar, piano ("For You Blue", "Dig It", "Let It Be" and "The Long and Winding Road"), acoustic guitar ("Two of Us" and "Maggie Mae"), Hammond organ ("I Me Mine"), electric piano ("I Me Mine")
* George Harrison – vocals, lead and rhythm guitars, acoustic guitar ("For You Blue" and "I Me Mine"), tamboura ("Across the Universe"), six-string bass guitar ("Two of Us" and "Maggie Mae")
* Ringo Starr – drums and maracas

Additional musicians

* Richard Anthony Hewson – string, choir and brass arrangements ("Across the Universe", "I Me Mine" and "The Long and Winding Road")
* George Martin – producer, string and brass arrangements ("Let It Be"), maracas ("Dig It")
* Linda McCartney – backing vocals ("Let It Be" - uncredited on album sleeve)
* Billy Preston – electric piano ("I've Got a Feeling", "One After 909", "Get Back") and Hammond organ ("Dig It", "Let It Be", "The Long and Winding Road").


* Glyn Johns – engineer, mixing
* Phil Spector – producer (final overdubs), final mixing

Released: 8 May 1970
Recorded: February 1968, January 1970, and March–April 1970; Abbey Road Studios, London, United Kingdom; January 1969, Apple Studios, Savile Row
Genre: Rock
Length: 35:13
Language: English
Label: Apple
Producer: Phil Spector

Singles from Let It Be

1. "Get Back"
Released: 11 April 1969
2. "Let It Be"
Released: 6 March 1970
3. "The Long and Winding Road"
Released: 11 May 1970