To begin with, “One After 909” is a very early Beatles’ song. Indeed, the exact date of the song eludes everyone. In fact, it could even date back as early as 1957. Be that as it may, they did record it originally in 1963 with some of these early takes being on their 1995 album, Anthology 1.
However, most information on this dedicated page refers to the live “Let It Be” album version. Just to point out that the remix version on the “Let It Be… Naked” album has the John Lennon “Danny Boy” ad-lib taken off.
Release Date: 8th May, 1970 (UK), 18th May, 1970 (US)
Recorded: 5th March, 1963 (Anthology tapes), 30th January, 1969 (Rooftop concert)
Genre: Roots rock
Track Duration: 2:52 (Original ‘Let It Be’ album)
Record Label: Apple
Producer: Phil Spector
Engineer: Glyn Johns
Billy Preston: electric piano
** Let It Be album
The last public performance from The Beatles incorporated this song on the 30th January, 1969. The impromptu concert took place on the roof of the headquarters of the band’s multimedia corporation Apple Corps at 3, Savile Row in London.
Writing One After 909
There is a slight conflict as to who actually wrote the song but it’s probably mostly John Lennon’s work.
“That was something I wrote when I was about seventeen. I lived at 9, Newcastle Road. I was born on the ninth of October. It’s just a number that follows me around, but, numerologically, apparently I’m a number six or a three or something, but it’s all part of nine”.
Playboy Magazine (Interview, 1980)
“It’s not a great song but it’s a great favourite of mine because it has great memories for me of John and I trying to write a bluesy freight-train song. There were a lot of those songs at the time, like Midnight Special, Freight Train, Rock Island Line, so this was the One After 909; she didn’t get the 909, she got the one after it! It was a tribute to British Rail, actually. No, at the time we weren’t thinking British, it was much more the Super Chief from Omaha”.
Many Years From Now, Barry Miles
The recording of “One After 909” took place on the 30th January, 1969 on the Apple Corps’ rooftop. However, they were jamming to the song for a few days leading up to the impromptu concert. This same version appears in the “Let It Be” film, of course.
As per usual with The Beatles, the rooftop concert also had some humour thrown in the mix as well. After the song finishes, we hear John Lennon burst into a variant on the opening line of “Danny Boy”. We also get to hear this on the album too.
The version of “One After 909” which appears on the 1995 album, Anthology 1, is their recording of the song from March 1963. In fact, there are a couple of takes on this album.
Due to The Beatles breaking up in 1970, Phil Spector took the job of helping to produce the “Let It Be” album. Both Paul McCartney and George Martin were not happy at this arrangement. However, over 30 years later, the original album needed an overhaul because of this.
During 2003, Paul McCartney set about repairing the “Let It Be” album to what he thought it should sound like. Although they didn’t alter this song too much during the remastering, they did cut out John Lennon’s “Danny Boy” ad-lib at the end of the song. Because of this, the track fades out quickly.