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January 3

Abbey Road. Paul, George and Ringo worked on overdubs to George's 'I Me Mine' for use on the Let It Be soundtrack album (as the Get Back film and soundtrack were now called). John was invited to attend the session, but decided instead to remain with Yoko in Denmark.

January 4

Abbey Road. Further overdubs to 'Let It Be'.

January 8

Olympic Sound Studios, Barnes, London. George added a vocal overdub to the Glyn Johns production of 'For You Blue'.

January 12

The single 'Come And Get It' by Badfinger and produced by Paul McCartney was released in the US as Apple 1815.

January 14

Olympic Sound Studios, Barnes, London. Ringo's Sentimental Journey sessions. Ringo added his vocals to 'Love Is A Many Splendoured Thing' and 'Sentimental Journey'.

January 15

A two-week exhibition of John Lennon's "Bag One" lithographs opened at the London Arts Gallery in New Bond Street.

January 16

Police detectives raided the London Arts Gallery and confiscated the eight erotic lithographs. The exhibition continued with just six exhibits. On April 27, the gallery got the prints back, having argued in court that Picasso's erotic lithographs had been shown in Britain and not deemed obscene.

January 17

'Come And Get It' by Badfinger entered the New Musical Express charts.

January 20

John and Yoko had their hair cropped short in Denmark, described by the Daily Mirror as "the most sensational scalpings since the Red Indians went out of business". The couple preserved their shorn locks in a bag for future use.

January 22

John's "Bag One" lithographs were exhibited at the London Gallery in Detroit, Michigan. There were no confiscations.

January 25

John and Yoko flew back to London from Denmark.

January 26

Ringo and Maureen flew to Los Angeles.

January 27

Abbey Road. John and The Plastic Ono Band cut a new single: 'Instant Karma!', which had been written that morning. The song was produced by Phil Spector, working with John for the first time. John took the vocals and played acoustic guitar, with Alan White on drums, Klaus Voormann on bass, Billy Preston on electric piano and George playing lead guitar. By 4am it was finished and mixed.

The session was effectively an audition for Spector, who had requested the opportunity to produce The Beatles from their joint manager, Allen Klein. Delighted with the finished version of 'Instant Karma!', John quickly gave his approval for Spector to be allowed access to the tapes of their January 1969 sessions, in a last effort to complete the Get Back project. But Spector had to wait for approval from all four Beatles, which delayed his involvement until late March.

In Los Angeles, Ringo taped an appearance before a live audience for the NBC-TV show, Rowan and Martin's Laugh In.

January 28

The London Arts Gallery exhibition of John's "Bag One" lithographs closed.

January 29

Ringo and Maureen attended the American premiere of The Magic Christian in Los Angeles. Allen Klein was convicted of ten tax offences in the New York Federal District Court.

January 30

Ringo and Maureen went to Las Vegas to see Elvis Presley in concert.

The single 'All That I've Got I'm Gonna Give It To You' by Billy Preston, produced by George Harrison, was released in the UK as Apple 21.

January 30

Rolling Stone read between the lines in various John Lennon interviews and published a story under the headline "Beatles Splitting? Maybe, Says John".

January 31

Ringo and Maureen returned to Los Angeles from Las Vegas.

February 1

Ringo and Maureen flew to New York from Los Angeles.

February 2

Ringo and Maureen returned to London from New York.

February 3

Abbey Road. Ringo's Sentimental Journey sessions. A 16-piece orchestra recorded the backing track for a remake of 'Love Is A Many Splendoured Thing' and Ringo added his vocal track.

February 4

In another rooftop ceremony, this time with London Black Power leader Michael X (Michael Abdul Malik), John and Yoko swapped their shorn hair - brought back in a bag from Denmark - for a pair of Muhammad Ali's blood stained boxing shorts at the Black House in north London. John and Yoko said they intended to auction the boxing trunks to raise money for peace. The proceeds from their hair were to go to "the Black community". The event was virtually ignored by the UK press.

February 5

Abbey Road. Ringo's Sentimental Journey sessions. Ringo recorded a new vocal for 'Love Is A Many Splendoured Thing'.

February 6

John and Yoko were interviewed at Apple by John Bellan for BBC Radio 1's Scene And Heard.

The single 'How The Web Was Woven'/'Thumbin' A Ride' by Jackie Lomax produced by George Harrison (A side) and Paul McCartney (B side) was released in the UK as Apple 23.

The single 'Instant Karma! (We All Shine On)' by The Plastic Ono Band/'Who Has Seen The Wind?' by Yoko Ono Lennon (side B produced by John Lennon) was released in the UK as Apple 1003.

February 7

Short-haired John and Yoko were interviewed for London Weekend Television's The Simon Dee Show. They brought with them Michael Abdul Malik - Michael X, the Black community leader to whom they had given their hair the previous week.

February 8

The Simon Dee Show transmitted its interview with John, Yoko and Michael X.

February 9

Abbey Road. Ringo's Sentimental Journey sessions. Ringo added vocals to 'Have I Told You Lately That I Love You?'

February 11

John and The Plastic Ono Band taped two different live appearances before an audience for BBC 1's Top Of The Pops to promote 'Instant Karma!'. The line-up consisted of John on vocals and electric piano, Klaus Voormann on bass, Alan White on drums, Mal Evans on tambourine, and Yoko either holding cards or knitting while blindfolded. In fact John's vocal was the only thing performed live, as the entire backing track was the one from the actual single, which had been specially mixed at Abbey Road the day before for the occasion. This was John's second time on TOTP - The Beatles had only appeared on the show once, back in June 1966.

John paid outstanding fines amounting to £1,344 imposed on 96 anti-Apartheid protesters demonstrating against a South African rugby team which played a match in Scotland in December 1969.

Abbey Road. Ringo's Sentimental Journey sessions. Klaus Voormann conducted a 15-piece orchestra in his own arrangement of 'I'm A Fool To Care', then Ringo added his vocal track.

The album The Magic Christian (Original Soundtrack Album) by Ken Thorne & Orchestra (additional tracks by Badfinger) and produced by Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr and Peter Sellers was released in the US as Commonwealth United CU 6004.

February 12

Abbey Road. Ringo's Sentimental Journey sessions. A 31-piece orchestra plus nine singers recorded an arrangement of 'Let The Rest Of The World Go By', then Ringo added his vocal track.

Paul had been working on his own solo album since the end of 1969, using a Studer four-track at his home in Cavendish Avenue. He tested the machine by recording 'The Lovely Linda', then recorded 'That Would Be Something', 'Valentine Day', 'Momma Miss America (Rock'n'Roll Springtime)', 'Glasses', 'Oo You', 'Teddy Boy', 'Junk' and an instrumental of the same tune called 'Singalong Junk'. He had to make guesses about the levels because the machine had no properly functioning VU meters so he continued work at Morgan Studios, booking himself in under the name Billy Martin. There he cut 'Hot As Sun' and, on this day, 'Kreen-Akore'. He went on to make eight-track copies of his four-track masters so that he could overdub onto them.

Top Of The Pops screened one of their films of The Plastic Ono Band playing 'Instant Karma!'.

February 13

The single 'Ain't That Cute' (Harrison/Troy), produced by George Harrison/'Vaya Con Dios' (Russell/Starkey/James/Hoff - with George Harrison on guitar) by Doris Troy was released in the UK as Apple 24.

February 15

John and Yoko's interview was broadcast by BBC Radio 1's Scene And Heard.

February 16

John and Yoko began editing a film of their Montreal bed-in for peace.

February 18

Abbey Road. Ringo's Sentimental Journey sessions. Ringo recorded new vocals for 'Have I Told You Lately That I Love You' and 'Let The Rest Of The World Go By'. This was followed by a midnight recording session for Ringo's composition 'It Don't Come Easy'. George Martin produced the track, George Harrison conducted the musicians: George on acoustic guitar, Klaus Voormann on bass, Ringo on drums and Stephen Stills on piano. Ringo added his vocals to the best take and by 4.40am it was mixed.

February 19

Abbey Road. Ringo recorded another vocal track for 'It Don't Come Easy'.

BBC TV's Top Of The Pops broadcast the second 'Instant Karma!' film.

February 20

The single 'Instant Karma! (We All Shine On)' by The Plastic Ono Band/Who Has Seen The Wind?' by Yoko Ono Lennon (side B produced by John) was released in the US as Apple 1818. The version of 'Instant Karma!' was suitably different to the one on the UK release, having been subtly remixed by Phil Spector without John's knowledge.

February 21

Abbey Road. Paul's McCartney sessions. Once again booked in as Billy Martin, Paul began mixing his eight-track masters.

February 22

Abbey Road. Paul's McCartney sessions. More mixing, then Paul recorded 'Every Night' and 'Maybe I'm Amazed'.

February 23

NBC broadcast the edition of Rowan And Martin's Laugh In in which Ringo appeared.

February 24

Abbey Road. Paul's McCartney sessions. Paul had a mixing session in studio two.

Abbey Road. Ringo's Sentimental Journey sessions. In studio one, Ringo added a new vocal to 'Blue Turning Grey Over You'.

February 25

Abbey Road. Paul's McCartney sessions. Paul recorded 'Man We Was Lonely', completing it and mixing it into stereo. As on all the tracks on the album, Paul played all the instruments.

Ringo switched his sessions to De Lane Lee's new studio in Soho, where Johnny Dankworth conducted a 20-piece orchestra playing 'You Always Hurt The One You Love' and Ringo added his vocals.

John and Yoko disassociated themselves from the Toronto Peace Festival, planned for July 3-5, when they found out that there was to be an admission charge. The festival didn't happen.

February 26

The album Hey Jude was released in the US as Apple (Capitol) SW 385 (stereo only). Side A: 'Can't Buy Me Love', 'I Should Have Known Better', 'Paperback Writer', 'Rain', 'Lady Madonna', 'Revolution'; Side B: 'Hey Jude', 'Old Brown Shoe', 'Don't Let Me Down', 'The Ballad Of John And Yoko'. The record was the handiwork of Allen Klein, who had convinced John, George and Ringo that repackaging The Beatles' back catalogue in the US would bring them additional income without any effort on their part.

March 5

Yoko once more entered the London Clinic for observation, after discovering that once again she was pregnant. John stayed at her bedside throughout.

On Paul's recommendation, Ringo tried out Morgan Sound Studios, where he completed Sentimental Journey. On this day he recorded 'Whispering Grass' and 'Bye Bye Blackbird' with a 36-piece orchestra.

BBC1's Top Of The Pops showed a January 1969 film of The Beatles recording 'Let It Be'.

March 6

Ringo completed his Sentimental Journey album at Morgan: drums, piano and sax, played by Johnny Dankworth were added to 'You Always Hurt The One You Love' and four other tracks were mixed. The album was now ready for release.

The single 'Let It Be'/'You Know My Name (Look Up The Number)' was released in the UK as Apple (Parlophone) R 5833.

The single 'Govinda'/'Govinda Jai Jai' by Radha Krishna Temple and produced by George Harrison was released in the UK as Apple 25.


The Beatles' final single, 'Let It Be' was a rare piece of spiritually inspired writing from Paul McCartney. The 'Mother Mary' in the lyric was universally assumed to be his own mother, the late Mary McCartney, while the conciliatory tone of the song might have been an overt message of peace to the other Beatles.

Originally taped in front of the cameras in January 1969, the song was overdubbed with a lead guitar solo in April; then again with another in January 1970, at the same session in which a George Martin-scored brass section was overdubbed,

The first guitar solo appeared on the single; for the album mix, Phil Spector selected the rawer second effort, and also heightened the sound of Ringo and Paul's percussion, to the point where it threatened to become intrusive.


The Beatles' career as Britain's greatest singles band ended with this off-the-wall track, issued on the flipside of 'Let It Be'. It began life during the sessions for Magical Mystery Tour, with Brian Jones of The Rolling Stones playing saxophone, was left to one side for two years, then overdubbed during the recording o/Abbey Road. Once The Beatles' split was confirmed, towards the end of 1969, Lennon decided to rescue the track, and planned to issue it as a Plastic Ono Band single, alongside another Beatles off-cut, 'What's The News Mary Jane'. That plan was stymied, and so the song ended up as a Beatles recording after all.

"It's probably my favourite Beatles track," said Paul McCartney, "just because it's so insane. It was just so hilarious to put that record together." And the humour survives, from the deliberately over-the-top repetition of the title, to the Goons-like parade of vocal imitations that Lennon and McCartney unveiled for the last three minutes of the song. More than any other Beatles recording, it captures the sheer pleasure that was their lasting legacy to the world.

John penned an open letter to the readers of Rolling Stone magazine about the debacle of the Toronto Peace Festival, printed in the April 16th issue under the title, "Have We All Forgotten What Vibes Are?"

John: "We need help! It is out of our control. All we have is our name. We are sorry for the confusion. It is bigger than both of us. We are doing our best for all our sakes - we still believe. Pray for us."

March 7

An interview with Ringo, done while he was in the States, was screened by American ABC TV's show Get It Together.

March 8

Trident Studios, Soho. Ringo did another remake of 'It Don't Come Easy' with George helping in the studio.

March 9

George was interviewed by Johnny Moran for a BBC Radio 1 Easter Monday special called The Beatles Today, which they recorded at the BBC's Aeolian Hall in New Bond Street.

That evening, George assisted Ringo in the studio for more work on 'It Don't Come Easy' which for some reason was not released until April 1971.

The single 'How The Web Was Woven'/'I Fall Inside Your Eyes' by Jackie Lomax, produced by George Harrison, was released in the US as Apple 1819.

Yoko, with John, was discharged from the London Clinic.

March 11

The single 'Let It Be'/'You Know My Name (Look Up The Number)' was released in the US as Apple (Capitol) 2764.

March 12

George and Patti moved out of "Kinfauns", their bungalow in Esher, Surrey, and moved to Friar Park, a huge Victorian mansion in Henley-on-Thames, Oxfordshire, which had turrets, an underground boating lake and a scaled down reconstruction of Mont Blanc in its extensive gardens.

March 14

John's "Bag One" lithographs opened at the Denise Rene Hans Mayer Gallery in Dusseldorf. No pictures were seized. The show also opened without problems at the Lee Nordness Gallery in New York.

March 15

At Talk Of The Town, Ringo shot a promotional film of himself singing the title song from Sentimental Journey to promote the album. The shoot was directed by Neil Aspinall before an invited audience and featured the Talk Of The Town Orchestra, conducted by George Martin.

BBC Radio 1's Scene And Heard, broadcast part of Johnny Moran's interview with George.

March 16

Abbey Road. Paul's McCartney sessions. Paul attended a playback session of his tapes.

The single 'Ain't That Cute' (Harrison/Troy), produced by George Harrison with 'Vaya Con Dios' (Russell/Starkey/James/Hoff - with George Harrison on guitar) by Doris Troy was released in the US as Apple 1820.

March 17

Ringo and Maureen attend Patti's birthday party at Friar Park.

March 19

BBC1's Top Of The Pops showed a January 1969 film clip of The Beatles recording 'Let It Be'.

March 22

The French magazine L'Express carried an interview with John in which he claimed that The Beatles smoked marijuana in the toilets at Buckingham Palace before receiving their MBEs on October 26,1965. He was exaggerating: what really happened was that they slipped away for a cigarette.

March 23

Abbey Road. Paul's McCartney sessions. Paul finished off the master tapes of McCartney to his satisfaction and took them away.

In room four at Abbey Road, at John and Allen Klein's request, Phil Spector was just beginning his remixing of the Let It Be tapes. Paul didn't know about this.

The album Leon Russell by Leon Russell with George Harrison on guitar and Ringo Starr on drums was released in the US as Shelter SHE 1001.

March 24

The single 'Govinda'/'Govinda Jai Jai' by Radha Krishna Temple, produced by George Harrison was released in the US as Apple 1821.

March 25

Abbey Road. Phil Spector remixed 'Two Of Us' and Paul's 'Teddy Boy'.

Ringo was interviewed at Apple by David Wigg for BBC Radio 1's Scene And Heard. Around this date, psychologist Dr. Arthur Janov, the advocate of Primal Scream Therapy, arrived at Tittenhurst Park at John's invitation to treat the Lennons for their neuroses. Janov had earlier sent John a copy of his book, The Primal Scream. The course of treatment, involving isolation from each other and complete freedom from chemical stimulants, soon moved to the Inn On The Park hotel in London, and then in April to Janov's Primal Institute in Los Angeles.

March 26

Abbey Road. Phil Spector continued his remix of Let It Be.

March 27

Abbey Road. Phil Spector continued his remix oiLet It Be.

The album Sentimental Journey by Ringo Starr was released in the UK as Apple PCS 7101. Side One: 'Sentimental Journey', 'Night And Day', 'Whispering Grass (Don't Tell The Trees)', 'Bye Bye Blackbird', 'I'm A Fool To Care', 'Star Dust'; Side Two: 'Blue Turning Grey Over You', 'Love Is A Many Splendoured Thing', 'Dream', 'You Always Hurt The One You Love', 'Have I Told You Lately That I Love You', 'Let The Rest Of The World Go By'.

March 28

Five of John's "Bag One" lithographs were confiscated by police from the Merrill Chase Gallery in Oak Brook, near Chicago, Ill.

March 29

Ringo appeared live on David Frost's London Weekend Television show Frost On Sunday to promote his new album and show the film clip made at the Talk Of The Town.

John telephoned a message of support to a CND gathering in east London. In it he revealed that Yoko was pregnant again, but in mid-August she miscarried for the third time.

Ringo's interview with David Wigg was broadcast on BBC Radio 1's Scene And Heard.

March 30

Abbey Road. Phil Spector continued his remix of Let It Be, adding fragments of dialogue from the film footage, none of which made it onto the finished album.

March 31

Ringo appeared live on the BBC Radio Two programme Open House, where he was interviewed by Pete Murray.

April 1

Abbey Road. Ringo becomes the last Beatle to play at a Beatles recording session when, working with Phil Spector in studio one, he overdubbed his drum parts on the tracks 'Across The Universe', 'The Long And Winding Road' and 'I Me Mine'.

Spector recorded a 50-piece orchestra and choms to create a "wall of sound" backing track for 'Across The Universe', 'The Long And Winding Road' and 'I Me Mine'. Spector was his usual temperamental self, and managed to anger and upset everyone involved with the session: the musicians downed instruments - but eventually picked them up again - the conductors and technical staff were all annoyed and Pete Brown, the balance engineer, stormed out of the building and went home. Spector had to call him and apologise before he would return. Ringo - the only Beatle there - had to order Spector to calm down and eventually the session was completed.

John and Yoko issued a hoax press release for April Fool's Day stating they had both entered the London Clinic for a dual sex-change operation.

In the London Arts Gallery prosecution, defence lawyers compared John's lithographs with the later work of Picasso.

April 2

Abbey Road. Spector mixed the three orchestral tracks from the previous day and the Let It Be album was finished - at least as far as he was concerned. Acetates were submitted to all four Beatles for their approval. Initially, they all gave the OK for the album to be released.

Ringo: "I spoke to Paul on the phone and said, 'Did you like it?', and he said, 'Yeah, it's OK.' He didn't put it down. And then suddenly he didn't want it to go out. Two weeks after that, he wanted to cancel it."

April 10

Paul had his solo album, McCartney, ready for release on April 17, but did not want to do any interviews for it.


Paul asked Peter Brown at Apple to write a questionnaire with the usual sort of things that journalists would want to know and he would answer it. Naturally Peter Brown slipped in the question that journalists had been clamouring to ask for six months: Brown opened up with fairly standard press questions but at question 28 he asked:

Is this album a rest away from Beatles or start of solo career?

Paul: Time will tell. Being a solo album means "the start of a solo career" . . . and not being done with The Beatles means ifs a rest. So ifs both.

Peter Brown: Have you any plans for live appearances?

Paul: No.

Peter Brown: Is your break with The Beatles temporary or permanent, due to personal differences or musical ones?

Paul: Personal differences, business differences, but most of all because I have a better time with my family. Temporary or permanent? I don't know.

Peter Brown: Do you foresee a time when Lennon-McCartney becomes an active songwriting partnership again?

Paul: No.

The press release was printed and enclosed with advance copies of the album. The media went wild: "The Beatles Break Up!" was headline news around the world.

The final press release for The Beatles, written by Derek Taylor, typed by Mavis Smith,

read as folows:

April 10,1970

Spring is here and Leeds play Chelsea tomorrow and Ringo and John and George and Paul are alive and well and full of hope.

The world is still spinning and so are we and so are you.

When the spinning stops - that'll be the time to worry. Not before.

Until then, The Beatles are alive and well and the Beat goes on, the Beat goes on.

May 8

The album Let It Be was released in the U.K. as Apple (Parlophone) PCS 7096 (stereo only). Side A: 'Two Of Us', 'Dig A Pony', 'Across The Universe', 'I Me Mine', 'Dig It', 'Let It Be', 'Maggie May'; Side B: 'I've Got A Feeling', 'The One After 909', 'The Long And Winding Road', 'For You Blue', 'Get Back'.

George Martin: "It was always understood that the album would be like nothing the Beatles had done before. It would be honest, no overdubbing, no editing, truly live ... almost amateurish. When John brought in Phil Spector he contradicted everything he had said before. When I heard the final sounds I was shaken. They were so uncharacteristic of the clean sounds The Beatles had always used. At the time Spector was John's buddy, mate and pal... still is, I don't know. I was astonished because I knew Paul would never have agreed to it. In fact I contacted him and he said nobody was more surprised than he was."

Glyn Johns had edited and mixed a completed album on January 5 but none of The Beatles were entirely happy with it, nor could John understand why Glyn Johns wanted credit as producer, even though he produced most of it.

John: "Phil Spector came in and listened to every take. He changed the takes originally used. He listened to about one thousand million miles of tape, none of which had been marked or catalogued. Which is why The Beatles couldn't face the album, because there was too much shit and nobody was interested enough to pull it together. And Phil pulled it together, remixed it, added a string or two here and there. I couldn't be bothered because it was such a tough one making it. We were really miserable then. Spector has redone the whole thing and it's beautiful."

In an interview published in the London Evening Standard on April 21 and 22 Paul said: "The album was finished a year ago, but a few months ago American record producer Phil Spector was called in by John Lennon to tidy up some of the tracks. But a few weeks ago, I was sent a re-mixed version of my song 'The Long And Winding Road', with harps, horns, an orchestra and women's choir added. No one had asked me what I thought. I couldn't believe it. I would never have female voices on a Beatles record. The record came with a note from Allen Klein saying he thought the changes were necessary. I don't blame Phil Spector for doing it but it just goes to show that it's no good me sitting here thinking I'm in control because obviously I'm not. Anyway I've sent Klein a letter asking for some of the things to be altered, but I haven't received an answer yet."


In November 1968, Paul McCartney finally realised that The Beatles were on the verge of internal collapse. Faced with the alternative of letting the group slip away, or fighting for their future, he made a decisive move. John Lennon and George Harrison had made their opposition to performing live with The Beatles very clear; Ringo Starr, meanwhile, was happy to go with the flow. But for one last time, McCartney persuaded the group to think again - to regain contact with their core audience by performing one, or at most two, live concerts, which would be filmed for a TV special. Maybe there'd be two TV shows in the deal, one covering the rehearsals, the other the concert. And the live performance would in turn become The Beatles' next album - a deliberate opposite to the months-long sessions for Sgt. Pepper and The Beatles.

Dates were booked at the Albert Hall, then the Roundhouse, for December; but the plans fell through. Harrison's opposition proved to be the crucial factor, but he did agree to film cameras documenting the band at work, with the possibility of a live show if the rehearsals went well enough.

So on January 2, 1969, The Beatles assembled at Twickenham Film Studios for the first of three weeks' of fraught 'private' rehearsals. "It was a dreadful feeling in Twickenham Studio being filmed all the time," said John Lennon after the trauma was over. "I just wanted them to go away. We'd be there at eight in the morning and you couldn't make music at that time. It was in a strange place with people filming and coloured lights."

Towards the end of the month, the venue moved to the group's own, newly opened Apple Studios, where they were joined by Beatle-for-a-fortnight Billy Preston, whose presence helped calm the group's internal friction. There they attempted to record a 'live-in-the-studio' LP, taping hour after hour of ramshackle recordings. On January 30, they played their concert - on the roof of the Apple building, a couple of hundred feet above any possible audience. The next day, they performed several more songs live in front of the cameras, within the safety of the Apple studios. Then they dumped the tapes on engineer Glyn Johns, and told him to go away and come up with an album. Three weeks into February, they had already begun work on Abbey Road. "We didn't want to know," Lennon admitted. 'We just left it to Glyn and said, here, do it. Ifs the first time since the first album that we didn't have anything to do with it. None of us could be bothered going in. We were going to let it out with a really shitty condition, to show people what had happened to us."

Johns completed work on one version of the album, provisionally titled Get Back, in May; The Beatles rejected it. Abbey Road concentrated their attention for a while; then John Lennon told the others he was quitting the group. In January 1970, the remaining three Beatles taped one more song, and a final batch of overdubs, and Glyn Johns prepared a second Get Back LP. It too was turned down by all the group.

Enter legendary American producer Phil Spector, who'd been touting for work with The Beatles. In March 1970, he began an intensive week of remixing and overdubbing. In the first week of May, the LP - retitled Let It Be, and packaged with a Get Back photo book that had been intended for the original album - was in the shops.

"When Spector came, it was 'go and do your audition'," Lennon explained. "And he worked like a pig on it. He'd always wanted to work with The Beatles and he was given the shittiest load of badly recorded shit with a lousy feeling to it ever, and he made something out of it. He did a great job. When I heard it, I didn't puke."

Paul McCartney did, though, appalled by the orchestral and choral overdubs added to his song, 'The Long And Winding Road'. Critics slated the album, and by the time the documentary film of the original sessions was released, McCartney had announced that he was leaving the group. Lennon's prior decision having been kept out of the media, he was promptly blamed for the break-up. By the end of 1970, Paul was suing the rest of the band in the High Court. As John Lennon put it, the dream was over.


As the movie demonstrated, 'Two Of Us' began its life as a playful rocker, but quickly mutated into a gentle McCartney acoustic song - its title and duet format a final gesture of affection from Paul to John. The live-in-the-studio recording from January 1969 was brilliantly enhanced by Phil Spector's post-production, which gave the acoustic instruments a richness missing from any previous Beatles recording.


Edited down slightly from the rooftop recording, this was a typically obscure Lennon song, full of lines which promised much and never quite delivered. In the early years of the group, he'd concocted fictional love songs at will; in their closing months, he was equally capable of manufacturing lyrics that hinted at a spiritual depth they didn't possess. Understandably, Lennon was sniffy about the song in later years.


John was anything but sniffy about 'Across The Universe', however. "It's one of the best lyrics I've written," he said proudly in 1970, "in fact it could be the best. It's good poetry, or whatever you call it. The ones I like are the ones that stand as words without melody." Composed in a stream-of-consciousness, early-hours lyrical torrent, it belongs in the category of poetry that describes its own creation, standing as a hymn of praise to whatever muse gave it birth. But Lennon never matched that sense of freedom in the recording studio. Originally taped in the same batch of sessions that produced 'Lady Madonna', the song was left to one side while the group decided what to do with it. First it was going to be a single, then a flipside, then an EP cut. It was revived unsuccessfully during the film sessions, but without a hint of inspiration. Finally, it was given away to the World Wildlife Fund for a charity album.

Phil Spector took the original tape, slowed it down a fraction, deleted the overdubbed bird sounds, and added an orchestra and a choir. The result was one of the highlights of The Beatles' career, justification in itself for Spector's involvement in the creative process.


For the last time, The Beatles gathered together in one place early in January 1970. Only one thing was wrong: The Beatles were now a three-piece, without John Lennon, who was having his hair cut and discovering the secret of how flying saucers worked in Denmark.

Cutting Harrison's tune - half waltz, half rocker - without Lennon wasn't a problem: the three other Beatles had performed it that way in the Let It Be movie, while John and Yoko danced around the studio floor. McCartney, Harrison and Starr ended up with a song barely 90 seconds long: Phil Spector simply copied chunks of the tape and nearly doubled its length.


A brief extract from an improvised three-chord jam session that ran to more than 12 minutes on tape, 'Dig It' was included on the album to boost its verite credentials. The original Get Back LP would have included a longer chunk of the song, to no one's great benefit. Check the hours of session tapes that have emerged from movie off-cuts, and you'll find that The Beatles were infatuated by the phrase 'dig it' in January 1969. They could have assembled a full album of their jams around the phrase, but thankfully resisted the temptation.


See March 6.


Recorded between takes of 'Two Of Us', this was a 30-second, Lennon-led revival of a popular Liverpool folksong - rescued from the session tapes by George Martin and producer/engineer Glyn Johns.


Mix an unfinished McCartney blues called 'I've Got A Feeling' with an unfinished Lennon acoustic ballad called 'Everybody Had A Hard Year', and you had one of the roughest and most impressive songs on the Let It Be album - taped during the Apple rooftop concert. This was the last song that Lennon and McCartney actively wrote as a songwriting partnership.


'The One After 909' joined 'What Goes On', 'When I'm Sixty-Four' and 'I'll Follow The Sun' on the list of pre-1960 Beatles songs released on official albums. Originally composed by John Lennon as an American-style rocker in 1959, the song was revived as a possible single in March 1963, though that version remains unreleased. Six years later, something reminded Lennon of the song, and he re-introduced it to the group's repertoire in time for the Let It Be film, and the rooftop concert at Apple in particular. Maybe not coincidentally, The Beatles sounded more relaxed playing this oldie in semi-satirical style than anywhere else in the movie.


One of the two great McCartney ballads premiered during these ill-fated sessions, 'The Long And Winding Road'began life as a gentle, piano-based performance, with mild accompaniment from the rest of The Beatles. In the hands of producer Phil Spector, however, it became a production extravaganza, with 50 musicians and vocalists overdubbed onto the basic track. McCartney hated the results, complaining that Spector had swamped his work with a Mantovani-style arrangement; Spector's defenders said that Phil had simply responded to the natural romanticism of the song. Paul also moaned about the presence of female vocalists on the track, which was somewhat ironic in view of his subsequent recording career.


Harrison's slide-guitar blues - with John 'Elmore' Lennon on slide - was a slight but appealing song that fitted in well with the album's original, live-in-the-studio concept. It was one of the few tracks on the album taken from the early days of recording at Apple, rather than the rooftop concert or the subsequent 'before-the-cameras' session.


'Get Back' ended the Let It Be film, and the album, in 1970; and the same charming piece of Lennon dialogue ("I hope we passed the audition") followed it on both occasions. But the two versions of 'Get Back' were entirely different, the rooftop performance appearing in the film, while the LP ended with an Apple studios take that was recorded three days earlier. A longer version of the song had already been issued as a single in April 1969.

May 11

The single 'The Long And Winding Road'/'For You Blue' was released in the USA as Apple (Capitol) 2832.

May 13

The film Let It Be premiered in New York.

May 18

The album Let It Be was released in the USA as Apple (Capitol) AR 34001 with the same tracks as the UK release.

May 20

The film Let It Be was premiered in Liverpool and London, but none of the Beatles turned up to see it.


The press release that Paul issued in April attracted headlines around the world. The greatest group in history was no more. Even Derek Taylor's whimsical optimism failed to disguise the awful truth: The Beatles had split into two camps with John, George and Ringo on one side and Paul on the other. The rift was irreversible and The Beatles would not work together again.

Not much was heard from them for the rest of the year. John, Paul and George all worked on solo albums, while Ringo's second solo ffort Beaucoups Of Blues, was issued in October. In September George appeared at a press conference at the Royal Festival Hall, welcoming a group of Indian musicians to a celebration of Indian art. Like Paul, he'd grown a scruffy beard and like all his former colleagues he looked desperately tired, as if the trials and tribulations of the past 12 months had aged them prematurely.

In America a single of 'The Long And Winding Road" (Apple 2832) topped the charts in June, as did Let It Be, the album from which it was taken. Paul was horrified at the way in which Phil Spector had added lush strings to his ballad and would cite this interference with his work as a key element in his forthcoming lawsuit to formally disband the group.

There were, of course, plenty of speculative newspaper stories suggesting Beatle activity and, it has to be said, these were not discouraged by those who worked at Apple and whose jobs were on the line in the event of a total meltdown. One tradition that Apple did maintain was The Beatles' annual Christmas album, and on December 18 The Beatles' US Fan Club album, The Beatles' Christmas Album, was released in the US as Apple SBC 100 consisting of a compilation of their previous Christmas flexi-discs. Side One: 'The Beatles' Christmas Record' (Dec. 1963), 'Another Beatles' Christmas Record' (Dec. 1964), 'The Beatles' Third Christmas Record' (Dec, 1965), 'The Beatles' Fourth Christmas Record' (Dec. 1966); Side Two: Christmas Time Is Here Again!' (Dec. 1967), 'The Beatles' 1968 Christmas Record' (Dec. 1968), 'The Beatles' Seventh Christmas Record' (Dec. 1969). The Beatles' UK Fan Club album From Them To Us, was released in the UK as Apple LYN 2154 featuring the same tracks as the US The Beatles' Christmas Album.

On December 31 Paul began proceedings in the High Court of Justice in London to wind up The Beatles. Paul: "I for one am very proud of the Beatle thing. It was great and I can go along with all the people you meet on the street who say you gave so much happiness to many people. I don't think that's corny . . . I believe that we did bring a real lot of happiness to the times."

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