More about the two officially released versions of the Get Back album

Arno Guzek is the editor of the Danish Beatles fanzine “Beatles Again”, which started in 1991.

Arno Guzek, long time Beatles fan, editor of the Danish “Beatles Again” fanzine since 1991, author of the global Beatles discography “Across The Universe” (1980) and “Beatles Again 1991-2021” chimes in on the discussion.

Hey! You are all wrong in stating that Japan has the correct version of For You Blue as Glyn Johns Mix on CD4 in Japan’s SHM Box version and that the rest of the world made a mistake. Read along…

Last April 2020, Universal Music mentioned the upcoming 4th of September 2020 box for Let it Be in a mail to their subsidiaries around the world.

The planned release number was 602507138691 for a 5 disc deluxe boxed set:

CD1: Giles Martin remix
CD 2: Glyn Johns Mix
CD 3: Full rooftop concert
CD 4: Outtakes
Blu-ray: 5 High resolution versions of CD 1

Like any other record released in the world each song in the set gets a so called ISRC number:

The International Standard Recording Code
ISRC enables sound recordings and music videos to be uniquely and permanently identified. ISRC helps to avoid ambiguity among recordings and simplifies the management of rights when recordings are used across different formats, distribution channels or products. The ISRC for a recording remains a fixed point of reference when the recording is used across different services, across borders, or under different licensing deals.

Each ISRC number has an associated master tape number, e.g. GBAYE6400579, with letters and numbers indicating a country, an archive, a year and a serial number.

In this case GB is Great Britain, AYE is letters used by Abbey Road Parlophone archive in the EMI days and thus all Beatles products.

The next 2 digits 64 is the year of production of the master and then 5 digits for a serial number.

The master in our example is “Things We Said Today” and has been used for the releases e.g. 077774430623, 077774430647 and 5099920477226 used for respectively “A Hard Day’s Night” CD-single, “A Hard Day’s Night” cassette single and CD EP collection. The master has of course been used on a lot of other versions.

And these days we have seen a lot of interest for the “Let It Be” boxed set.

So in the ISRC archive we will find this master: GBUM71907001.

The master is Great Britain (GB) and the archive is Universal Music (UM7, they have many other archives), 2019 is the year the master was done (19) and 07001 is the serial number.

This is the Glyn Johns mix of “For You Blue” as used in Japan for the SHM version box.

Please notice that Covid-19 made Apple, Universal Music and Disney change their plans.

And then the world changed. Apple dropped the theatrical version of “Get Back” and turned it into a 3×2 hours Disney+ streaming documentary series.

Apple dropped the 5 discs set and made it into a 6 disc set in 2021 by Universal, that also lost the right to include the rooftop concert in their boxset.

Of course a big selling point having the concert only in the film format by Disney+.

However, Universal Music re-used the release numbers assigned in 2020 for the 1 CD, 2CD, CD/
BR boxed set, 1 LP and 4 LP sets when making the 2021 version even the new release got an extra CD in the CD/BR box and an extra 12-inch in the vinyl box.

The Spotify playlist
To secure copyrights, Apple/Universal Music uploaded for a split second the so called Spotify list of at that time the unreleased “Let It Be” songs, in total 49 songs (as previously reported here on the Daily Beatle). Please notice that this also included the rooftop songs, minus those already found on the 1970 “Let It Be” album.

The Beatles: 1969 Recordings (Spotify Playlist)
Total Time: 2 Hours 37 Minutes
1. One After 909 – Get Back LP May 1969 (3:06).
2. I’m Ready – Get Back LP May 1969 (0:45)
3. Save The Last Dance For Me / Don’t Let Me Down – Get Back LP May 1969 (1:16)
4. Don’t Let Me Down – Get Back LP May 1969 (4:09)
5. Dig A Pony – Get Back LP May 1969 (4:04)
6. I’ve Got A Feeling – Get Back LP May 1969 (2:53)
7. Get Back – Get Back LP May 1969 (3:14)
8. For You Blue – Get Back LP May 1969 (2:46)
9. Teddy Boy – Get Back LP May 1969 (3:41)
10. Two Of Us – Get Back LP May 1969 (3:29)
11. Maggie May – Get Back LP May 1969 (0:38)
12. Dig It – Get Back LP May 1969 (4:24)
13. Let It Be – Get Back LP May 1969 (3:53)
14. The Long And Winding Road – Get Back LP May 1969 (3:43)
15. Get Back – Reprise – Get Back LP May 1969 (0:41)
16. All Things Must Pass – Rehearsal 3 January 1969 (3:58)
17. I Me Mine – 8 January 1969 (1:37)
18. Suzy Parker (aka Suzys Parlour) – 9 January 1969 (2:07)
19. Oh! Darling – Pauls Solo Performance (4:18)
20. Don’t Let Me Down – 22 January 1969 (3:30)
21. Two Of Us – 24 January 1969 (3:19)
22. I Lost My Little Girl – 24 January 1969 (2:14)
23. For You Blue – Take 1 / 25 January 1969 (2:23)
24. For You Blue – Take 3 / 25 January 1969 (2:30)
25. For You Blue – Take 4 / 25 January 1969 (2:49)
26. For You Blue – Take 11 / 25 January 1969 (2:36)
27. For You Blue – Take 13 / 25 January 1969 (2:34)
28. Let It Be – 26 January 1969 (3:43)
29. Medley: Rip It Up / Shake, Rattle And Roll – 26 January 1969 (2:10)
30. Medley: Kansas City / Miss Ann / Lawdy Miss Clawdy – 26 January 1969 (3:56)
31. Blue Suede Shoes – 26 January 1969 (2:12)
32. I Told You Before – 26 January 1969 (5:48)
33. The Walk – 27 January 1969 (0:53)
34. I’ve Got A Feeling – 27 January 1969 (3:36)
35. Get Back – 27 January 1969 (3:49)
36. Dig A Pony – 28 January 1969 (3:58)
37. Something – 28 January 1969 (8:59)
38. One After 909 – 29 January 1969 (3:25)
39. Medley: Cannonball / Not Fade Away / Hey Little Girl / Bo Diddley – 29 January 1969 (4:25)
40. Mailman, Bring Me No More Blues – 29 January 1969 (1:31)
41. Get Back – First Roof Performance 30 January 1969 (4:24)
42. Get Back – Second Roof Performance 30 January 1969 (3:34)
43. Don’t Let Me Down – First Roof Performance 30 January 1969 (3:30)
44. God Save The Queen – Roof Performance 30 January 1969 (0:25)
45. I’ve Got A Feeling – Second Roof Performance 30 January 1969 (5:31)
46. Don’t Let Me Down – Second Roof Performance 30 January 1969 (3:33)
47. The Long And Winding Road – 31 January 1969 (3:53)
48. All Things Must Pass – Georges Demo (3:50)
49. Something – Take 37 (3:01)
The first 15 songs equal the Glyn Johns Get Back album mix.

“Suzy Parker” is already in the “Let It Be” film, just like “Rip It Up”/”Shake Rattle And Roll” and “Kansas City”/”Miss Ann”/”Lawdy Miss Clawdy”. Those last 2 are also found on “Anthology 3” and thus already protected.

“Mailman, Bring Me No More Blues” is also found on “Anthology 3” and thus also protected.

If you subtract Glyn Johns and the above named as well as the rooftop songs, you will end up with 24 songs on the Spotify list, which is impossible to fit onto 80 minutes of 1 CD of the planned 2020 releases.

Besides there are too many “For You Blue” versions to include them all, so I believe that these are the versions that were used by Glyn Johns for the final mix of the song. But there’s still too many to fit on 1 CD.

From Glyn Johns’ point of view. © Apple Corps Ltd.

Covid cancellation
So far we had the planned 4 CD’s in 2020 that came with 2019 Glyn Johns masters.

This project got cancelled, and now we have 5 CD’s in 2021, with 2020 Glyn Johns masters.
In the ISRC database we thus have both versions of “For You Blue” registered, however only the 2020 master has a release number 60250713869 for the CD/BR box.

So if you had been looking into the ISRC a year and a a half ago you would have found the masters used for all the songs planned for 2020 releases and their release numbers for each product.

But the 2020 versions are registered in the database with release numbers originally planned for 2020 box.

More documentation is found in how a new release is handled.

I presume all the bigger record companies have a server with their masters. When a subsidiary is going to produce a CD/DVD/BR/vinyl/streaming, they have a colleague with rights to download this master from Universal Music’s main server and then use it. Universal never mail the masters along.

In this case with the wrong Glyn Johns master, Universal Music may have given the download rights last year in April to the various pressing plants around the world to download the masters in preparation of the upcoming release.

But very soon they stopped the process because of the Covid, and Universal Music then cancelled the release from being put into production and all subsidiaries were informed. Maybe they forgot to inform Japan, since they used the wrong master in 2021?

Maybe Japan has downloaded the 2020 master and then have forgotten that they should delete this?

Maybe Japan kept the downloaded Glyn Johns master.

Another explanation is that this year, Universal Music made the wrong permission for Japan.

Label Information Sheet
Before going into production Universal make a so called Label Information Sheet to all the factories, instructing facts like these to be used on the label, etc. This goes for any format single or box products and the single units in the box.

Regarding “For You Blue” 2021 you have this information in the sheet:

For You Blue – 1969 Glyn Johns Mix 0:02:54
Artist: The Beatles
ISRC: GB-Universal Music7-21-01905 Notice that the Japan version is GB-UM7-19-7001
Resource Type: Audio
Audio Channel Config: Stereo
Genre: Pop
Parental Advisory: Non-Applicable
Language: English
Work Title: For You Blue
Written by George Harrison
Published By: Harrisongs Ltd
Vocal: George Harrison
Acoustic Guitar: George Harrison
Electric Lap Steel Slide Guitar: John Lennon
Piano: Paul McCartney
Drums: Ringo Starr
Original Recording Session Produced by The Beatles and George Martin
Engineered and Mixed by Glyn Johns
Stereo Mastering Engineer: Miles Showell (2021)
(P) 2021 Calderstone Productions Limited (a division of Universal Music Group)

You’ll notice that the master was done in 2021 as found in the ISRC number.
All the other tracks on the Japanese CD Glyn Johns go from GBMU7-19-2 GBUM71906992 to GBUM71197008 with no titles for 6996 and 6999.

And in the rest of the world versions have GBUM72101899 to GBUM72101912 with Medley: “I’m Ready” (“aka Rocker”) / “Save The Last Dance For Me” / “Don’t Let Me Down” being GBUM72006946.

At this time the subsidiaries are given permission to download the package of songs needed for these releases.

If each factory should decide to download themselves, for sure a lot of mistakes would be done using the wrong masters. So all is done from the Universal Music master library to the factories.

The serial number masters for Giles Martin are higher in 2021 compared to 2020 release, which indicates that his work was done late in 2020 for the 2021 release after the cancellation of product due to Covid.

The outtakes also come with a higher serial number in late 2021 compared to the April 2020 version, that also mentions Outtakes but as TBC product (To be confirmed). I believe the masters was done from the Spotify list to this cd, as some of these all have an ISRC number but no release number.

These numbers are higher than on CD1 but in sequence.

Regarding the Rehearsals on a new CD. The numbers are higher than on CD2, but all in sequence.

The Glyn Johns mixes are all in 2021 with a low 2021 serial number except the medley of “I’m Ready”/”Save The Last Dance For Me”/”Don’t Let Me Down”, which has an even higher master number than all the other three CD’s.

CD5/12-inch has two further Glyn Johns’ mixes on 2021 release and the last two songs are in sequence after the medley in 2020.

All masters are done by Miles Showell.

So who did the mistake? Japan or the rest of the world?
The rest of the world used the document called FINAL which was ready in April this year for their production, so they included the package for CD4 Glyn Johns 1969 mix CD.
Japan, at least, did not use this FINAL document for their production.

• They used the wrong masters and did not follow the FINAL document
• They knew that Glyn Johns in 2021 was CD4 compared to CD2 in the 2020 version
• They knew that there is an extra CD/12” vinyl in the box in 2021 compared to 2020
• They knew that the Rooftop Concert was gone in 2021
• They knew that the 1 CD/LP Outtakes in 2020 was expanded to 2 discs with an extra Rehearsal in 2021
• They used 4 CD’s and the Blu-ray as found on the FINAL Label Information Sheet, but used the Glyn Johns from the 2020 preliminary version.

So to summarize: Japan did the mistake, but how was it possible?

Arno Guzek’s privately published book, Beatles Again 1991-2021

17 Responses

  1. DukeViking says:

    Excellent post! This is Beatles calculus.

  2. tulirepo says:

    Thank you for this article! Really enlightening. It also sheds a light on the mechanisms that determine what the fans eventually get to hear for their money. And what not. And why. (Rooftop concert ..)

  3. Ronald says:

    I presume the 4 songs now on the “EP” would have been split between CDs 1 and 2 of the original box set, if the rooftop concert had been CD3. That would have meant a mixture of Glyn Johns’s mixes on CD2. Apart from confirming the story of “1969 Recordings”, I can’t see much more has been revealed.

  4. Arno Guzek says:

    2020 version was Giles, Glyn, Rooftop and Outtakes
    2021 version is Giles, Apple sessions, Rehearsals, Glyn, Ep
    2021 Giles mastered late in 2020 after the 2020 project was cancelled followed by Apple sessions & Rehearsals and last 2 songs from EP and thus not planned for 2020 at all.
    2021 Glyn Japan mix mastered in late 2019
    2021 Giles HD versions mastered early 2021 followed by 2021 Glyn rest of world mix followed by 2 first songs from EP and not planned for 2020 at all.
    2019 Rooftop and Outakes/Rehearsals mastered late in the year

    So far I haven’t found the masternumbers for Giles 2020, but they were ready in april 2020!

    • Dean says:

      HiArno, where did the image for the book above come from? as I have an original cardboard cutout of that image that was in a shop selling cassettes and 8 tracks in 1974, that a friend was given. He’s had it ever since.

  5. Arthur Barry says:

    Hi Arno…..Arthur

  6. Louis Bova says:

    After giving a hard listen to the “Rest of the World” compared to the Japanese SHM CD and using Arno Guzek’s references as a guide to difference, I’m coming to a conclusion that maybe Miles Showell used the time between the original 2019 master and what was marked FINAL 2020 master to reassess the quality. To my ears all I’m really hearing is that maybe Miles reconsidered the use of compression that is referred to as “opaque” on the Japanese (2019 master) version. The European (2020 master) version is brighter but what is referred to as “hiss” is really just the recording atmosphere and not tape hiss thus resulting in a cleaner sound.

    In short, the Japanese version sounds like a “No Noise” effect compared to the Rest of The World’s better presence effect.

  7. Chuck Heisenberg says:

    Personally, I always felt illogical what Mike Carrera assured, I never saw (in Steve Hoffman’s forums) or in any other cyber place that his theory caused much noise. Great and accurate item and I’m sorry for everyone who impulsively bought the Japanese box.

  8. Brian Hunt says:

    Why do you feel sorry for people lucky enough to have Japanese version, Chuck? They have the unadulterated 1969 mix, whereas the ROW version is a mish-mash of the 1969 and 1970 mixes, albeit in slightly better sound quality. Serious collectors will want to own both versions!

    • Andreas E. says:

      I checked all the details of the article to which you refer, but came to the conclusion that the author was not right in many aspects. For example: one version, which was called a 1969 mix had a glitch at the beginning, which was removed for the 1970 mix. The mixes of the songs itself were always the same, because the Beatles did not give any advice to Johns or did not tell him that they did not like anything. Hence, the songs were mixed all in 1969 except Across The Universe and I Me Mine. In a 2021 release no one would be happy to have glitches there. They would have been removed anyway…

  9. Steve says:

    I checked the listings in the ISRC database and found to sets of tracks for the Let It Be LP For example Two Of Us GBUM72101668 and GBUM72101669
    Only the Let It Be track has one listing GBUM72101691

  10. David Fisher says:

    Hi folks! I bought the CD and vinyl boxes here in the UK and then muggins was compelled to pick up the Japanese SHM CD box from eBay as well after reading about the alternative mixes, etc. My question to anyone in the know is: Does the Japanese VINYL box also have the different Glyn Johns mixes on it? I’m assuming not (I seem to remember that the Japanese 2009 remixes were actually pressed in Europe and they just added an Obi?) which would be a relief because this whole project is making me very poor! Thanks in advance for any info x

  11. Dennis McHaney says:

    Too many “presumes” and “maybe” to make this anything more than just “authoritative” fan speculation. “Maybe” the 2020 version was better. I am not shelling out money for the Phil Spector version from any country. This is a disappointing release, and that is as kind a comment as I can make.

  12. José Luis Carrillo says:

    The Rest of the World version of the Get Back album in the Let it Be box set is no the correct one because it was whar Universal Music Group dictated for the release. Apple Corporation announced the 1969 Glyn Jihn’s mixes of the planned (in 1969) Get Bacl album, but what came in the disc were the 1970 mixes. What I, as a beatle fan want are the 1969 mixes because they are the nearest to the original concept for the album, which was one wth no polish or overdubs. Speciffically the “For You Blue” mix without the 1970 overdubs. Dor that matter, the Japan edition of the Get Back album is the correct one in spite of have been released by mistake. Rember that in 1970, the projected album was no longer names Get Back, but Let it Be, so, if Apple decided to releas the 1970

  13. TDK says:

    Sorry but this article is not answering the key questions.

    These are
    1. Is disc 4 in the Japanese release different to the ROW?
    2. Is it the original Glyn Johns release or something else?

    A long ramble explaining how Universal got to their release is interesting to some but doesn’t begin to tackle the important questions above. The wrong mix was used many times in the Beatles history but that didn’t stop the variations being of interest to certain fans. Ask yourself why is the Rarities (Capitol 1980) album of interest?

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