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"Get Back"

Categories: Beatles songs

"Get Back" — the song — was a perfect example of the back-to-basics intentions of the Get Back project: a lean, mean, McCartney-penned rocker. And yet, with the myriad versions and adaptations which it underwent, including a parody of Enoch Powell's infamous anti-immigration speech, it simultaneously became the soundtrack to the lack of direction which resulted in Let It Be.

As a single, issued in April '69 , the production credit went to George Martin. Wearing high heeled-shoes and a low-necked sweater, this is the version to be found on Past Masters, The Blue and 1. Billy Preston's electric piano (and probably his role as mediator) earned him a full credit on the label: the only Beatles collaborator ever to attain such status.

Despite the claims in the accompanying press release that 'there's no electronic watchamacallit', there was a delay echo on Macca's mighty vocal, and the coda was cut in from a different take. Jo-Jo Lennon was at pains to point out that the 'fab live guitar solo' was his (though he didn't mention the fact that he'd only done it 'cos George had quit...) Bootleg sources also reveal him having a crack at the vocal.

"Get Back" (backed with "Don't Let Me Down") became the band's only 45 to enter the charts at number one in the UK and, in the States, it was their first stereo 7".

It did, of course, get to be performed live, as part of the legendary Apple roof-show on January 30th, John still getting to solo. The movie version, with the bumbling British Bobbies wondering how to break it up, is the best-known take — and was finally released (officially, at least) on Anthology 3. In fact, including the soundcheck, there were three renditions of it that day: no wonder the neighbours complained! Ringo still expresses his disappointment that the cops didn't try to forcibly remove him from his drumstool.

Get (up and go) back home!

For the album, Spector tried to get back to the live feel of the song, splicing in the 'Sweet Loretta fart' intro from a studio run-through, and the final coda from the movie soundtrack, complete with Paul's "Thanks Mo" and John's "I hope we've passed the audition". And, in a rare case of less-is-more from Mr Soundwall, he removed the vocal delay.

To strip it Naked, Paul had both the chit-chat and the false ending removed, making for a somewhat brusque finish. Not to worry: George Martin (Sweet Loretta's uncle?) cross-dressed him/her again very nicely for LOVE.

Get back to where you once belonged!
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