The Mystery Session

Photos by Ethan Russell

The photo above recently provoked a lengthy discussion on Yahoo's Beatlegs Group. I found it quite interesting, as is evident in the following text. So, I felt it might be appropriate here. (NOTE: Some of the pics take a while to load.)

Yahoo's Beatlegs Group - Message #31148 - December 6, 2003

From: "Claudio Dirani"
Date: Sat Dec 6, 2003 12:46 pm
Subject: Beatles Picture doubt

This question goes for those who got a copy of Mojo December 2003 magazine featuring the Beatles Let it Be...Naked great article. If you haven't bought it, got for it, by the way.

My doubt is the following one: on page 86 we have a quarter page colour picture of the Fabs along Yoko and Heather. I presume this picture was taken by Linda hence the presence of her daughter in the session. The thing is: Mojo says it was taken inside Apple Studios, Saville Row. But I don't think that's the studio location mentioned. I may be wrong, but if the latest day of Get Back sessions project was January, 31st, the last known image of Paul McCartney, for instance, is fully bearded. On this picture, he's already shaved. No beard at all.

My betting is that this pic was taken around April-May. But where? I can't identify it as Abbey Road studios also. But again I may be mistaken the studio is a bit "in a mess".


From: "aldwark2000"
Date: Sat Dec 6, 2003 4:09 pm
Subject: Re: Beatles Picture doubt

I'm quite sure that this is taken at Apple Studios. But as you point out Claudio, there are a couple of anomolies : Did Heather start coming to the sessions on the 26th? If so that leaves 5 days for Paul to grow a beard .. but on the 25th john exhorts Paul to get a shave & a "fu*king haircut" - Paul is bearded on the rooftop at least. So do we think, like the Cigarette on the Abbey Rd cover, do we think Apple are running scared of Beards now? Should Ringo be afraid? I think we should be told ..



From: "Claudio Dirani"
Date: Sat Dec 6, 2003 6:59 pm
Subject: Re: Beatles Picture doubt

The thing is Paul started letting his beard grow by November 1968. Two months later, he appeared full bearded at Twickenham. The way his beard is it takes about around 40 days at least to grow. Heather is reported to be at Apple on the 26th. Paul is still bearded. The rooftop gig happened on the 30th. Beard and hair still long. So the pic on Mojo was absolutely taken after this period. If that's Apple studio as you can guarantee, I find it hard to know when this picture was taken. The reason: I'm not sure if the 4 Beatles got back to play together in Seville Row after the Get Back project. Any clues?


From: burne
Date: Sun Dec 7, 2003 10:36 am
Subject: Re: Beatles Picture doubt

Somebody explained this picture once to me: it`s taken on the last day of the Apple-sessions and this was the first day Paul appeared shaved. The problem I got with that is that if I recall correctly the last day was the one after the rooftop concert and provided the clips/recordings for the "piano songs" - well those clips include Two of us, right? And Paul still got a beard there. Was there another last day after this one? Also Paul then must`ve grown his beard back, cause the "McCartney" photos show him with beard again - sure that was later and during Abbey Road he had none (but often sported a white T-shirt - didn`t he have a white T-shirt on on this picture too?). Maybe Abbey Road sessions in one of the smaller EMI studios?

In general I must say I am often a bit confused trying to sort pictures the right way between the White Album sessions and Abbey Road... for example there are those pictures of Linda of John and Paul at the mixing room - I saw them both dated as "compiling the final lineup of the White Album" and "during the recording of Abbey Road". OK, before confusing matters even more I better stop.



From: "Claudio Dirani"
Date: Sun Dec 7, 2003 12:16 pm
Subject: Re: Beatles Picture doubt

That was the January 31st. But as you can see on the pic, John's beard is beggining to grow, and George's hair is a bit longer than on the rooftop. I'd say that at least we've got two weeks from the last Get Back recording date.

Was there another last day after this one? Also Paul then must`ve grown his beard back, cause the "McCartney" photos show him with beard again - sure that was later and during Abbey Road he had none (but often sported a white T-shirt - didn`t he have a white T-shirt on on this picture too?). Maybe Abbey Road sessions in one of the smaller EMI studios?

Paul started letting his beard grow again around late October or Early November, 1969.

If you recall, the shoeless pic for Abbey Road cover was taken in August 8th. The last Fab pic session was August 22nd, still completely shaved.

You are right! There are lots of pics where they got mistaken about the dates. Even the editing Anthology they messed about that. If you check Disc 4, they included pics from the MAd Day Out on the Abbey Road songs segment...



From: "lfsdoc"
Date: Sun Dec 7, 2003 7:33 pm
Subject: Re: Beatles Picture doubt

this pic is from Trident studios, late February 1969, during the recording of I Want You (She's So heavy). which explains John's longer hair, and a beardless Paul.


From: "chazzavery"
Date: Sun Dec 7, 2003 4:24 am
Subject: Re: Beatles Picture doubt

This photo has always puzzled me as well. It's definetly Saville Row. Obviously 1969. With the exception of a beardless Paul, the hair lengths are consistant with early 1969. Everyone is dressed for cooler weather (early 1969 again - Heather even has her same coat as in the LIB movie).

George is playing a Les Paul instead of the Telecaster he used during the LIB sessions.

There are several other photographs from this session used in the original "Get Back" book (which credits Ethan Russell not Linda). They are placed at the back of the book after the rooftop photos which, to me at least, implies AFTER the LIB sessions.

In all the photos, John is wearing the same turtle-neck sweater. Ringo appears to be wearing the same attire in all the photos of him. George has two different sets of attire (one a dark blue shirt and the other a light blue shirt with white pin stripes and white sweater). However, Paul has three different shirts (one blue denim, one tan and the other white with blue pin stripes). Also of note, Paul does have long sideburns and John is unshaven as if he's growing his 1969 beard. [NOTE: after originally writing this, it made sence that not all of the Paul and George photos were from this session. For the pics of a beardless Paul at Apple, see the bottom of this psge.]

One photo has John reaching for a mic and one has him actually singing into one. But in most of the photos, because none of them are actually in front of a microphone, it's difficult to discern who might be doing a lead vocal.

The largest photo, taken from behind Ringo, shows a music stand with a lyric sheet on it but the photo is not clear enough to read the lyrics. The title appears to be long. The lyrics appear to be 3 verses, then a bridge or chorus, then another verse.

This photo is also used in Lewisohn's "Chronicle" pg. 315 during February 1969 with the possible implication that it is February 22, 1969 at Trident Studios during the recording of "I Want You (She's So Heavy). But the photo's location is definetly Saville Row (unless Trident looks a lot like Apple).

Lewisohn also implies that there was no Beatles musical activity for most of February for various reasons -- Glyn was away, George had his tonsils out and Apple was being upgraded. Likewise, Lewisohn does not chronicle any Apple sessions after January 1969.

My was simply a rehearsal session. But, with all the microphones set up, they must have been recording it for one reason or another.



From: "Claudio Dirani"
Date: Sun Dec 7, 2003 12:08 pm
Subject: Re: Beatles Picture doubt

Thanks for the incredible description of this. I checked out the sheet music too. And, as you described the text being very long, I don't think I Want You fits with that, as the lyrics are jut "I want you, I want you so bad, she's driving me mad", right? I haven't got the Get Back book unfortunately and in this very moment I regret about this very much! :) I wish I had that for a better study.

Anyway, I'll get my Complete Chronicle to analyze the other activities after Get Back.

In my opinion, it can be Apple, and they might be rehearsing for some Abbey Road stuff.

PS; you can still be investigating it too! :)


From: "chazzavery"
Date: Sun Dec 7, 2003 7:45 pm
Subject: Re: Beatles Picture doubt

As I previously stated, this photo has always sparked my curiosity. I have not seen the Dec 2003 issue of Mojo but, based on Claudio's description, I assume the photo is the same as the last photo in the "Get Back" book.

I first saw the photo in a book titled "The Beatles:In Their Own Words" (1978). The photo was cropped and its location would be difficult to determine. I assumed it was at Abbey Road but I really thought little about it.

Later, I got the "Get Back" book and was surprised to see a series of photos from this 'session'. This time the photo in question was cropped larger (complete?) and it clearly showed that it was taken at Saville Row. See my previous post for an analysis of the photo series.

Obviously, these photos were not taken during the period from Jan. 2- 31, 1969.
See for an
excellent example.

Likewise, the hair styles (head, beard, moustache) did not match later 1969 photos (Paul is clean shaven, George has a moustache, John is growing about a week's worth beard and Ringo has a moustache)...

April 9 The Voyage Of The Fritz photo shoot -(George has no moustache and John has a full beard) late April 1969 "Ballad Of John & Yoko" photo shoot
mid 1969 "Abbey Road" sessions photos August 8, 1969 "Abbey Road" cover photo shoot August 22, 1969 Tittenhurst final photo shoot

I've done some research to analyze the situation...

-In "Chronicles", pg. 315 under the Saturday 22 February heading
(where the photo in question is also included), Lewisohn states...
"...filming certainly ended on 31 January..."
"...early February visits to the USA by Glyn and Billy Preston..."
"...7-15 February hospitalization of George for removal of tonsils..."
"...Apple Studios was undergoing a re-build and technological re-think..." (implied as during the "...three week gap since 31 January...")
"...The Beatles remained keen to work in an independant studio (referring to Trident Studios)..."

March 12, 1969
-a beardless Paul was married
-a moustacheless George was charged for drugs

March 25, 1969
-a fully bearded John conducted his Amsterdam Bed-In

My theory is that these photos were taken somewhere between February
15-March 12, 1969. Likely between February 15-22. Here's the basis
for my theory...

February 1-7 - With the grueling schedule and tensions during the LIB sessions, The Beatles were likely keen to take a break while Glyn tied up lose ends.

February 7-15 - George hospitalized and the Apple "re-build".

February 15-22 - Probably the time these photos were taken. Back to rehearsing and/or recording and testing Apple's equipment. New equipment in the photos (microphones and an upright piano) might indicate after the 're-build'. Maybe The Beatles decided that Apple technology was still lacking and moved to Trident.

February 22-23 - Recording "I Want You (She's So Heavy)" at Trident.

late February-early March - Ringo was busy filming "Magic Christian".

March 12 - George's moustache is gone.

March 25 - John's beard is full and remained full throughout 1969.

Later 1969 sessions were at Abbey Road so The Beatles and George Martin could make records like they used to (i.e. with the proper technology).

Additionally, as stated in my previous post, their clothes in the photos indicate colder weather.

Whew...did ya get all that? Anyway, that's my theory. February 15-22 seems to be the only time they could have been at Savile Row with the hair styles featured in the photos. Unless someone has actual facts regarding these photos, I would have to regard their hair as the determining factor as to when these photos were taken.

I suppose it's possible that the photos were taken late 1968 but I believe the hair factor debunks that theory.

Finally, since this board is about recordings, what do you suppose it is that they are rehearsing and/or recording? Apparently, it is not documented since Lewisohn does not mention anything about it.

I'd love to hear other opinions, theories or facts. I hope further posts follow.



From: DONZ5
Date: Sun Dec 7, 2003 2:37 pm
Subject: Re: Beatles Picture doubt

In a message dated 12/7/03 10:36:08 AM, "Claudio Dirani" writes:
...My betting is that this pic was taken around April-May. But where? I can't identify it as Abbey Road studios also. But again I may be mistaken as the studio is a bit "in a mess". >>

It's not from April-May; in this photo John is just beginning to grow _his_ beard, and by March 20 (day of his wedding, fully documented with photos), his
was fully-grown.

This photo was included in the original "Get Back" book that was part of the UK edition of the "Let It Be" album; it was the last in the book, and it's around 3x larger than the image published in "MOJO." The preceding 8 pages in the "GB" book include other photos from this same session (everyone's wearing the same clothes), and you can see both Paul's newly-shaven face and John's 5- to 6-day facial progress. (The page immediately before these photos is John on the rooftop, clean-shaven.)

The photos in the book were all taken by Ethan Russell, and they're arranged in chronological sections: first, Twickenham, second, Apple, third, rooftop (Paul: beard; John: clean-shaven), and fourth, this new batch (Paul: no beard; John: growing one).

The GB film sessions had to end by the end of January because Ringo was due to begin filming "The Magic Christian" February 3. But filming at this stage was confined to Twickenham and "London-area locations" until May 2 (Mondays to
Fridays only). (Source: Lewisohn Chronicles)

But Lewisohn has no documentation on precise dates Ringo was involved with day-to-day shooting.

However, Lewisohn does document a February 5 mixing session at Apple of the rooftop concert. The date corresponds nicely with the stage of John's newly-growing beard that's evident in the fourth batch of photos from the GB book, assuming he had stopped shaving after the 1/30 rooftop.

So it's conceivable that the band returned to Apple and resumed recording sessions on this day (February 5), even though Lewisohn's notes includes only a mixing session (his published notes are deficient throughout the GB sessions, and it's most likely he was completely dependent in this instance on Barrett's notes, reproduced in the Mythology set, Vol. 3, "Personal Notes, Part 3," p. 53. Barrett is likewise deficient in cataloguing the GB sessions).

But it's definitely Apple studios -- the cabinets above George correspond with the cabinets seen in the same area in an earlier photo in the GB book, also at Apple.

The most tantalizing clue is a sheet of typewritten notes on a clipboard by Ringo's music stand to his left. I can't make it out, the text is out of focus. It might contain text to lyrics, it might be a page from "The Magic Christian" script, it might be a recipe for all I can tell. If anyone can decipher any of the words, that might contain the answer to this session.

But I can say with certainty that:

1) the photo was at Apple
2) it was before John's wedding (March 20)

I can guess that

3) it's a photo from early February, perhaps even the date of the rooftop concert mixing session, February 5


From: dinsdalep.
Date: Sun Dec 7, 2003 11:56 pm
Subject:Re: Beatles Picture doubt

Nice sleuthing by Don and Chazz! I'd always assumed this photo was from the Trident sessions, but you've both convinced me it's Apple.

One other guess: could this be from that mysterious "vocal overdub" session for the "Don't Let Me Down" single?

- John


From: "donz1951"
Date: Mon Dec 8, 2003 1:43 am
Subject: Re: Beatles Picture doubt

Thanks! What Chazz and I both agree on is that the photo was Sometime in February at Apple. On further review, I'm inclined to go with Chazz's time-span: February 15-22, or, because George leaves the hospital on the 15th, and Trident sessions begin on the 22nd, perhaps it can be narrowed down further to February 16-21. Two reasons: the Apple refurbishing in early February of which Chazz reminded us, and that growth on John's face I had earlier estimated at 5-6 days. Having grown a number of beards in my time, I have a fair idea of what they look like in their early stages, and John's facial hair seems more likely to be around 1.5 to 2 weeks old -- full enough to be recognized as a beard and mustache but not yet full enough to cover the skin completely. (There are closer shots of John's face in the GB book during this day's session.)

As for that piece of paper by Ringo: I now doubt it contains lyrics. There are underlined heads followed by a list of 4 lines, or a pair of 4 lines. I suspect it's completely unrelated to what the fabs are doing at that time.

As for this perhaps being the "vocal overdub" session for "Don't Let Me Down": who knows; this photo certainly doesn't reflect that, though, as everyone's playing an instrument (as opposed to John and/or Paul only standing or sitting in front of a mic). George and John have their hands at the ready, playing their respective guitars; Paul is sipping from his drinking cup, but you can spot the end of the bass strapped onto him (Ringo's right cymbal blocks the rest of Paul). So everyone's got their instruments in position to play, hardly a circumstance for a vocal overdub. That certainly doesn't prove that a vocal overdub didn't occur on this day, only that it's not suggested in not only this photo but in all of the photos of this session that are in the GB book.

As to what they're playing, the only clue is an Em7 chord played by George in one of the other GB photos. That's all I got; it's not a chord used in "I Want You (She's So Heavy)" and "Don't Let Me Down," but that means zip here.


From: "James Wyant"
Date: Mon Dec 8, 2003 3:46 am
Subject: Re: Beatles Picture doubt

I just gotta tell you, I LOVE IT when you guys talk like that! I'm sure all your readers out here can relate, that passionate discourse delving into the minutia is most often something that is better left said undone, at least within one's general public relations. I've got a "Speak If You're Spoken To" agreement with most of my old long time ones (at least those that might still have me around- ; - )> ), although most of them are actually interested in the story so far (especially the kids! Many quite well schooled, I must say - Good Job Parents & Teachers!!) For me, then, its just knowing I can hear from other like-minded, perhaps-overly-ponderous-but-more-likely-seriously-addicted BeatleFREAKs right here in my own home is, well, beautiful.

Cocoa and Cookies for All,



From: "foolonthepill2001"
Date: Mon Dec 8, 2003 6:42 am
Subject: The mysterious "vocal overdub" session for 'Don't Let Me Down'

I saw in a previous post that a 'mysterious "vocal overdub" session for the "Don't Let Me Down" single' was mentioned. The double-tracked vocal from John has also puzzled me which is the reason for my post.

However, were there ever such a session ? Lewisohn doesn't mention it and I dare to doubt it ever took place.

The version of 'Don't Let Me Down' which was released on the single was recorded on 28th January 1969. However, the Beatles did several attempts and one is found on roll 535A and another on roll 1123B. To me it sounds as if the best parts of the version on roll 535A has been edited together with the best parts of the version on roll 1123B. For the middle eight where John sings 'I'm in love for the first time ...' it sounds as if the vocal track from one of the takes have been added onto the vocal track of the other take and that is what creates the 'vocal overdub' effect.

Unfortunately I don't have any DDSI nbrs. of the two versions I'm referring to but roll 535A is found on 'Day By Day' vol. 34, disc 2 and roll 1123B is found on 'Complete Camera B Rolls' vol. 7, disc 2. Furthermore, the two tracks are also found on 'Thirty Days', disc 11, track 17 & 19.

Opinions, anyone ?

Thanks in advance.

Brgds Jens


From: "djjames21777"
Date: Mon Dec 8, 2003 7:11 am
Subject: Re: Beatles Picture doubt

This has been a very interesting thread, one of the best in a long time.


From: "chazzavery"
Date: Mon Dec 8, 2003 3:39 pm
Subject: Re: Beatles Picture doubt

I know this thread has run a little thin but these pics ARE taken at Apple.

The set-up and size of the room is the same. The cabinets behind George are the same. John is using the same chair. The control room window and door are the same. And, most notably, the ceiling and lighting is the same. I suppose it is possible that Trident is identical but I find that unlikely.

As I previously mentioned, Lewisohn used this photo in "Chronicle" under the heading 'Saturday 22 February' which has probably misled some people. Perhaps even Lewisohn thought it was Trident. But this series of photos IS shot at Apple.

Perhaps the person providing you the info only had the main photo in question but the rest of the photos in the series absolutely illustrate Apple.

Does anyone know of any verified photos from Trident to compare?



From: "chazzavery"
Date: Tue Dec 9, 2003 3:38 am
Subject: (more) Beatles Picture doubt

Yeah, yeah, I know I said this thread was running thin but I just did some exploration of and discovered that they use some of these photos for the LIB sessions. Both for "LIBN" as well as "1".

I REALLY find this very curious since it is obvious these pics were not taken between January 2-31, 1969. But is this session somehow associated with the LIB sessions?

I'm still going with my earlier theory the the pics are from late February. I suspect that The Beatles themselves have very little, if any, input into the web site. So my guess is, who ever creates the site assumed that, since the pics were taken by Ethan Russell and appear in the "Get Back" book, they were taken during January.

I've uploaded some of the pics into the photos section of the board for anyone not familiar with them.

Pic 1 - This is the main one in question [shown at the top of this page]. This is a scan from the "Get Back" book which was provided by djjames. Notice George's left hand is not visible. More on that later.

Pic 2 - This and the rest are screen captures from They are also included in the GB book. In this shot George appears to be playing some chord at the 5th fret but I can't make it out. Additionally, John does not appear involved but perhaps he had just sat down from getting some tea.

Pic 3 - This shows George playing an Em7 chord. John appears to be getting ready to sing. Which, by the way, John is the only one shown at a vocal mic in this series.

Pic 4 - Well...Ringo

Pic 5 - John at the mic. Note this is not the type of mic they used during the LIB session. Again, after Apple's tech upgrade?

Pic 6 - A zoomed shot of Ringo's music stand which, to my dismay, provides no additional info.

Pic 7 - This is a screen shot composite pic from the "1" 'Let It Be tour' on This is the same as Pic 1 except...note George's left hand which is playing a D major chord. Due to the 3-D effect the web site uses, this obviously had to be fabricated some how. His sleeve looks natural. Was this 'arm' created from an unpublished photo from the same camera angle? I would assume the 'arm' is from this session because the sleeve matches and the neck and head of the guitar are that of a Les Paul.

click the pic to see it full size further my theory...

I still stand by my dates (after February 15 and before February 22). Location...absolutely Apple. But I now think they were rehearsing (which is what it looks like) and probably recording (for reference or otherwise) "I Want You (She's So Heavy)".

My basis...

1. The dates surely have to be accurate and "IWY(SSH)" was the next song they began.

2. Lewisohn's presumed association of Pic 1 to the February 22 Trident date could associate it with "IWY(SSH)".

3. In the latter days of January, John seemed quite keen on jamming on his new riff. Likewise, he is the one seen on mic in these pics.

4. The band obviously wanted to have their own studio but were never completely satisfied with Apple's technology in January. Perhaps, after the refurbish, they tried recording John's new composition but still found it unacceptable. Thus they moved to Trident.

5. I feel that the chords George is seen playing could be associated with "IWY(SSH)". I learned to play the song from a vintage (September 1969) "Abbey Road" sheet music book that I believe was (at least) semi-official. This is shown in Pic 8. The book illustrates the song including an Em7 chord (Pic 3). It does not show the chord in
Pic 2.
But maybe they were rehearsing various chords for some of the progressions featured in the song. Likewise, the book does not show a D major chord. However, it does illustrate many variences of a Dm chord. Again, in the photos, perhaps they were rehearsing various chords progressions.

Finally, is it possible that some of the Trident tapes (or at least some of the tracks) are actually from Apple?


Why have we seen no reference to rehearsal and/or recording at Apple neither before nor after January 1969? With the exception of February 5th, Glyn did his mixing at Olympic. Is it possible this photo session occured on or around the 5th? And why do two 'official' sources (the GB book and associate it with the LIB sessions? But with the mood of the LIB sessions, would the band want to get back at it so soon?

Likewise, does the "Don't Let Me Down" vocal overdub theory bear some influence here? It could very well have been done at this session, too.

EXACTLY when did the Apple upgrade occur? It appears to be after the 5th.

Additionally, upon closer inspection of Pic 5 (John), it appears his beard might not actually be as old/long as DONZ and I had speculated. This pic is not as dark as its appearance in the GB book. If John had last shaved on January 31st, his beard could very likely appear this way on February 5th.

I suppose the mystery continues......................


From: dinsdalep
Date: Tue Dec 9, 2003 12:35 pm
Subject: Re: (more) Beatles Picture doubt

In a message dated 12/9/03 1:25:47 PM, chazzavery@y... writes:

<< 4. The band obviously wanted to have their own studio but were never completely satisfied with Apple's technology in January. Perhaps, after the refurbish, they tried recording John's new composition but still found it unacceptable. Thus they moved to Trident. >>

This seems like the most plausible scenario to me.

There's also a reel of 4-track tape in the Barrett log (E65786) labelled "NEW MIXER TAPE (90% TEST TONE - A LITTLE OF "I WANT YOU")", which may be from this session. The tape is dated 2/24/69 but that could be off by a few days (the 2/22/69 tapes are mis-dated 2/26).

I doubt they would be wasting time testing mixers at Trident, and that would be an
8-track tape in any case. Remember that the 8-track equipment used at
Apple in January was borrowed from EMI, so perhaps they were only able to get a 4-track machine and board in by February.

- John


From: "chazzavery"
Date: Tue Dec 9, 2003 1:58 pm
Subject: Re: (more) Beatles Picture doubt

Makes logical sense to me


From: "donz1951"
Date: Tue Dec 9, 2003 1:52 pm
Subject: Re: (more) Beatles Picture doubt

Naw -- I don't think 5 days is enough to grow that much hair on one's face, even though I had initially thought so before looking at the close-up shots. As I wrote, 5 days and your face is just fuzzy, but not as full as John's is at this stage.

I still lean toward your earlier estimate of middle of the month.


From: dinsdalep
Date: Tue Dec 9, 2003 2:38 pm
Subject: Re: (more) Beatles Picture doubt

More evidence:

There is a photo in the book "Unseen Archives" (P. 261) which shows Paul and Linda leaving Apple in Paul's Mini Cooper.

The caption reads "Paul has jettisoned the Castro-style beard which he sported for the celebrated Apple rooftop session a week earlier." This suggests it could be Paul and Linda leaving the February 5th mixing session. Paul's sideburns do seem similar to their length in the Russell photos. There's no sign of Heather in the car, though.

- John


From: "donz1951"
Date: Tue Dec 9, 2003 4:55 pm
Subject: Re: (more) Beatles Picture doubt

Perhaps, except, for all we know, Paul was at the Apple building every day throughout the month of February. There's no indication of what he was doing there. It might be February 5, it might be February 6, if we take "a week earlier" literally." Or even the 7th. There's just not enough evidence in both the photo(s) and the caption to tell us much, I don't think.

In fact, the two photos on p. 261 look like they were shot on two different days, the bottom one later than the top, since on the bottom, Paul looks like he hasn't shaven in the past 2-3 days, while on the top (in the car), he's freshly-shaved. Also compare the part and bangs in his hair.


From: "donz1951"
Date: Tue Dec 9, 2003 8:29 am
Subject: Re: Beatles Picture doubt

I just e-mailed the photographer, Ethan Russell, and asked if he could shed any light on this photo (as well as the entire last batch in the GB book). Will keep everyone posted if he responds.


From: "donz1951"
Date: Tue Dec 9, 2003 1:25 pm
Subject: Re: Beatles Picture doubt/Ethan Russell replies

He responded:

"Definitely Apple basement. Good guess re Don't Let Me Down. Don't have a copy of picture of Ringo so can't answer that one...."

Whoa -- if his memory is correct about DLMD, we need another A/B comparison of the backing tracks to the single and DDSI.28.45 and/or 28.48. Could the single (and the likely vocal overdubs) come from this session?

I e-mailed him again and asked him why he thought it was this song. Awaiting his reply.


From: "Claudio Dirani"
Date: Tue Dec 9, 2003 2:33 pm
Subject: Re: Beatles Picture doubt

OK, but one thing is certain: this session is past January, and it's not listed on any book. At least the ones I have!


Posting this page sparked further discussion on Bootleg Zone Forums so I thought I'd add what those folks had to say.

Apr 03, 2004

Nice page, I remember that discussion. Didn't they have film footage of this session in the LIBN promos? They were doing Don't Let Me Down.


Apr 04, 2004

The picture above is of course taken from the book "Get Back" included with the original box set of "Let It Be" in 1970.

A number of other photographs from this session appear in the book and they are placed after the photographs of the Rooftop concert so the chronology is certainly correct.

I have always thought that these photographs were taken at Trident studios during sessions for "I Want You (She's So Heavy)" (22-23 February 1969). My reasons:

1. They are the only RECORDING (not mixing) sessions in Lewisohns book prior to Pauls wedding on 12 March and Johns on 20 March. Paul looks almost like he does on his wedding day, John has a week or so worth of stubble which would be a beard by his Wedding.

2. It is clear from the Day By Day tapes that Paul was unsure of his beard but presumably kept it for as long as the filming took place for continuity purposes (It probably came off in very early February).

3. Trident studios - I assumed it was Trident because a) Lewisohn says thats where the next session took place after 31 January and b)Lewisohn also says as soon as filming completed at Apple the basement studio was rebuilt - remember, the Apple sessions were recorded on borrowed equipment.

However, I am now convinced after 15 or so years that these photographs actually do show an undocumented session at Apple. I have compared shots of the ceiling (black framed ceiling tiles with rows of spot lights) in these photographs with earlier January photos in the Get Back book and they are identical.

The song this mysterious session was for is i believe "Dont Let Me Down".

It is clear when listening to the single version that there are two different Lennon vocals, especially noticeable at the end ("As Nature Intended" - my arse!). I had presumed this was to cover the errors present on the original take - the original undubbed take (DDSI 28.45) appears on "Thirty Days". I thought Glyn Johns or George Martin had simply synched another take of the song over the original take to cover the errros but John Winn's book "That Magic Feeling" suggests (on page 281) that an extra vocal track was overdubbed, perhaps during February sessions at Trident. Both John and Paul corrected parts of their vocal, with John doubling his on the middle eight and ending.

I agree with this theory now but place the session at Apple. Lewisohns book notes a MIXING session at Apple on 5 February. Could this be the session in question? (it was also the very next session after filming concluded).

The only question I would ask now is why the Beatles need their guitars (and George and Ringo for that matter) if they are only overdubbing vocals. Perhaps the session for "I Want You" actually started at Apple?


watching rainbows
Apr 04, 2004

A highly interesting topic! That picture has always bothered me, since I saw it in Lewsohn´s "Cronicle", because of its Apple Studio-surrounding. For me, the recording sheet to Ringo´s left is the most interesting thing (which is commented on Chazz´ site). Is it possible to get a clearer picture of this sheet and find out if it is the lyrics of the song the Beatles recorded/overdubbed etc., although it may turn out to have other information on it (e.g. "Magic Christian"-papers as one person suggested)? I think it would be possible to talk to the police or the military, for example, if somebody as a private person doesn´t have that kind of equipment. I will try with my work first and then talk with some persons I know in the "authorities". Even if it turns out to be misleading or not substantial, we could at least rule that trace out.


Final note from Chazz

I stick by my theory that this session (sometime between Feb. 15-21, 1969) was for rehearsing and some recording of "I Want You (She's So Heavy)". I also believe that E.M.I. reel E65786 4T New Mixer Tape (90% TEST TONE - A LITTLE OF "I WANT YOU") is from this session.

Likewise, it seems probable that the mysterious "Don't Let Me Down" vocal overdub also occurred at this session. Which is probably the reason these photos are associated with the "Get Back" sessions

Trident Studios (ca. late 1960s)

NOTE: This pic might be from a Badfinger session.