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Beatles Rarity Of The Week – “One After 909″ (loose rehearsals, 1969)

Posted by on April 29, 2013 at 6:00 am.

Welcome to The Beatles Rarity of the Week. It was in the afternoon on January 28th, 1969 when this weeks feature was recorded and only one more full day left before The Beatles would culminate the Get Back sessions with their legendary unexpected lunch hour performance on the roof of Apple Headquarters in downtown London.

In the past half hour the band had successfully recorded the take of “Don’t Let Me Down” that would ultimately be out on a single in two and a half months as the b-side to “Get Back.” Now some wine was being passed around and the band was in high spirits and trying to figure out what to rehearse next.

John Lennon at the Get Back sessions, January 1969

John Lennon at the Get Back sessions, January 1969


As you hit the play button below you’ll hear some tuning and fooling around as the band and Billy Preston (on the keys) grasp for an idea on a song to do. As it starts to turn into “One After 909″ John Lennon, always a Chuck Berry Berry fan, decides to introduce a variation by instead singing a few misremembered lines from Chuck’s 1958 song “Jo Jo Gunne.”

As this winds down, Paul McCartney suggests they run through a proper take of “One After 909.” After a false start Paul vocalizes the guitar intro before they count it in. The tempo is a little slow, but the wine is flowing so John and Paul seem to be having a great time. When John forgets the lyrics during the second middle eight, he doesn’t let that stop him but presses on, making fun of his own error the rest of the way through.


The Beatles - One After 909


Extra info:

  1. The version of “One After 909″ used on the Let It Be album was actually recorded from the rooftop show two days later, as was “I’ve Got A Feeling” and “Dig A Pony.”
  2. “One After 909″ was written by John and Paul when they first started writing together in the late fifties. The Beatles used the song in their early repertoire at the Cavern Club in Liverpool and originally recorded it in an EMI studio session on March 5, 1963 which was the same day they recorded their third single “From Me To You” and it’s b-side “Thank You Girl.” An early account of the song from this session appears on the CD set The Beatles Anthology 1. The very first release of the song was not until 1970 with the Let It Be album.
  3. A thorough run-down of the officially released music from the Get Back sessions is available here.

Here are some Amazon links to read more on, or purchase, some music related to this post:

1) Let It Be – 2009 remastered CD version of original 1970 L including rooftop performance of “One After 909.”

2) Let It Be… Naked – 2003 stripped down mixes of tracks from the Let It Be album. Includes a special mix of “One After 909.”

3) The Beatles Anthology 1 – 1995 2-CD compilation of out-takes and extras by The Beatles from the earliest recordings through early 1965. Includes 1963 session material of The Beatles recording “One After 909″ in the studio.

4) More Amazon links for any of your favorite Beatles-related music: The Beatles, John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr.

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  • carol says:

    Really cool footage of One After 909! The text explaining the song is also great.

  • Michael Whelan says:

    Thanks for this rehearsal piece, Nat. I think One After 909 was THE highlight of the rooftop concert. The group came a long way even from this good take…best solo George ever did and in extremely cold conditions!

    One thing that always frustrated me about the Let It Be Movie was the way it pans away from the group to the street below as the Beatles are playing One After 909. It’s funny, but would have been better on one of the songs they did twice. Nat, do you know if there is any footage of a complete video take of the Beatles performing One After 909 on the rooftop?

    Love your site… Michael

  • Happy Nat says:

    Thanks Michael! As far as your question goes though – no idea! I certainly wouldn’t doubt the footage exists as it would’ve had to at one time. Hopefully when “Let It Be” finally gets released on BluRay we’ll see some additional footage that may cover this (fingers crossed).

  • Miguel Planas says:

    Hey this is great. Nice to hear the guys good & loose:-)

  • Chip says:

    I always thought that Let It Be was a hard movie to watch because of the feeling in the air, but I really hope it gets re-released. The quality would be better, the sound would be better, and there would be all the “extra” stuff added. I still wouldn’t like all the bickering but I do like seeing them together making good music.

    Nice post, Nat.

    • Happy Nat says:

      Thanks Chip. Is there really that much bickering though? I don’t recall much other than that “one scene” everybody remembers between Paul and George. For lots of it they actually look like they are having fun. John looks a bit bored at one part where Paul is talking about the stigma of live shows again but that is a really small part too (and there was no bickering there either). The rooftop concert looked like they were having a blast. As did the scenes where they were doing “Suzy Parker” (aka “Suzy’s Parlour”) and all the rock and roll standards…oh yeah! and “Dig It.” All of these were good “bicker-less” moments. I’m looking forward to seeing it again restored and looking good the way many of the already restored pieces from it were seen in the Anthology doc.

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