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The Best Songs: Don’t let me down – The Beatles

Released 11th of April in 1969 (UK) excactly 43 years ago today! (it was released 5th of May in the states)

Written by: John Lennon 100% , but credited to Lennon-McCartney as usual

We recorded it in the basement of Apple for Let It Be and later did it up on the roof for the film. We went through it quite a lot for this one. I sang harmony on it, which makes me wonder if I helped with a couple of words, but I don’t think so. It was John’s song.

– Paul McCartney, Many Years From Now (book)

Recorded: 22, 28, 30 January 1969
Producer: George Martin
Engineer: Glyn Johns

In addition to The Beatles it featured Billy Preston on electric piano.

It was released as a B-side to the single Get Back, but The Beatles’ B-sides are better than almost all other artists A-sides. It was not a part of the originial Let it be album, but the fuck-up was corrected in 2003 when a remixed and edited verison of the album was released as “Let it be…naked”.

From the movie, Let it be, “The Rooftop” version:

It’s a slow blues dedicated to the love of his life, Yoko. One of my favourite songs and one of the most powerful lovesongs recorded.

Lennon screams out his passion accompanied by the playful almost sensual music.


I cannot single out a musician on this track, all do an incredible job. George’s guitar is toying around the melody and the beginning is stroke of genius. Ringo’s drums are incredibly inventive, much more than he’s ever given credit for. Paul does what he does better than anyone, his baselines are not just part of the rhythm session, they are small melodies in their own right, just unbelievable.

Billy Preston is fantastic, his electric piano is very prominent and he even gets a little solo near the end (with John howling in the back!)

But the best is John Lennon. He sings like he’s never experienced love before, it is sexual passion transformed into words and sound. On a bootleg he says to Ringo: ” give me a big cymbal crash before my entrance, to give me the courrage to scream”.

He tells us there’s no past, there’s just Yoko and him.

Here’s a hometaped version done in Ringo’s apartment in Montagu Square, December 1968(?). It is very different from the official releases, but already we can hear John’s passion running through the song!
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I’ve also included some snippets from the Getback/Let it be sessions to show how the tempo of the song changed as they progressed:

Some song facts from Wikipedia:

Multiple versions of “Don’t Let Me Down” were recorded during the tumultuous Get Back (Let It Be) recording sessions. The version recorded on 28 January 1969 was released as a B-side to the single “Get Back“, recorded the same day. “Get Back” reached number one and “Don’t Let Me Down” reached number thirty five on the US Billboard Hot 100.

The Beatles performed “Don’t Let Me Down” twice during their rooftop concert of 30 January 1969, one of which was included in the Let It Be film, directed by Michael Lindsay-Hogg. When the “Get Back” project was revisited, Phil Spector dropped “Don’t Let Me Down” from the Let It Be album.

The B-side version of the song was included on the Beatles’ compilations Hey Jude1967-1970 and Past Masters Volume 2. The same version was also used on the soundtrack to the 1988 documentary, Imagine: John Lennon.

In November 2003, an edit of the two rooftop versions was included on Let It Be… Naked.

Don’ Let Me Down Lyrics:

Don’t let me down
Hey, don’t let me down
Don’t let me down
Don’t let me down

Nobody ever loved me like she does
Oo she does, yes she does
And if somebody loved me like she do me
Oo she do me, you she does

Don’t let me down
Hey, don’t let me down
Don’t let me down
Don’t let me down

I’m in love for the first time
Don’t you know it’s gonna last
It’s a love that lasts forever
It’s a love that had no past

Don’t let me down
Hey, don’t let me down
Don’t let me down
Don’t let me down

And from the first time that she really done me
Oo she done me, she done me good
I guess nobody ever really done me
Oo she done me, she done me good

Don’t let me down
Hey, don’t let me down
Don’t let me down
Don’t let me down

I’m in love for the first time
Don’t you know it’s gonna last
It’s a love that lasts forever
It’s a love that had no past

Don’t let me down
Hey, don’t let me down
Don’t let me down
Don’t let me down
Hey hey ah
Don’t let me down

– Hallgeir

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