Day 251: “Two of Us”

When was it recorded?   Jan. 24 & 31, 1969

When was it first released, and on which album?   May 8, 1970 on “Let It Be”

Who wrote it?   McCartney

Have I heard this song before?   No

What my research dug up:

Quoth Alan Pollack, “‘Two Of Us’ is an idyllic love song in which uneven phrase lengths, changes of meter, and novel chord changes liven up and add bite to an acoustic pseudo-folk song that might otherwise be a bit too sweet and blandly charming for its own good.” Originally titled “On Our Way Home,” Paul wrote “Two of Us” for Linda.

“As a kid I loved getting lost. I would say to my father – let’s get lost. But you could never seem to be able to get really lost. All signs would eventually lead back to New York or wherever we were staying! Then, when I moved to England to be with Paul, we would put Martha in the back of the car and drive out of London. As soon as we were on the open road I’d say, ‘Let’s get lost’ and we’d keep driving without looking at any signs. Hence the line in the song, ‘Two of us going nowhere’. Paul wrote ‘Two Of Us’ on one of those days out… We just pulled off in a wood somewhere and parked the car. I went off walking while Paul sat in the car and started writing. He also mentions the postcards because we used to send a lot of postcards to each other.” — Linda McCartney (Steve Turner, A Hard Day’s Write)

Beatles biographer Ian MacDonald claimed some of the lyrics (notably, “you and I have memories/longer than the road that stretches out ahead”) were about John instead. The Beatles Bible also noted the line “you and me chasing paper, getting nowhere” was a reference to the Beatles’ current business problems with Apple Corps. Quoth the Beatles Bible, “The song displays the relief felt by McCartney at being able to leave these troubles behind and enjoy uncomplicated moments with Linda.”

According to Pollack, “This song is a unique example of where the ‘Let It Be’ album track is arguably the definitive ‘best’ version. It’s a later take of the song, more carefully arranged and more crisply performed than the one on the ‘Get Back’ album. And to give the devil his due, it’s one of the only songs on the album for which Spector delivers a mix whose ‘finish’… feels appropriate to the style and mood of the music.”

As with most “Let It Be” numbers, though, there are multiple versions of this song. Early on, “Two of Us” was faster, and the arrangement used more electric instruments. This version appeared in the film, “Let It Be.”

The Beatles took “Two of Us” to the studio on Jan. 24, 1969. The number of takes wasn’t recorded, but one take appeared on “Anthology 3.”

According to the Beatles Bible, one of these takes was chosen and gussied up for the ill-fated “Get Back” album. However, Paul was unhappy with this session. The Beatles Bible wrote the band “returned to the song for almost all the remaining January 1969 sessions, but it wasn’t until the 31st that The Beatles taped the version which ended up on ‘Let It Be. ‘” John’ spoken introduction was lifted from a Jan. 21 session.

According to Wikipedia, “The Beatles [also] performed a finished version of the song live at Apple Studios on 31 January 1969.” I believe this ‘music video’ was the result.

“Two of Us” was also remixed for 2003’s album “Let It Be… Naked.”

Doesn’t sound that much different – then again, I’m fighting against a head cold. I might not be the best at perceiving variances in sound at the moment.

Again, maybe it’s because I have a cold, but this song seems like it should end once or twice (or three times) before it finally does end. It’s not that long, but it certainly feels like it. I love that sped-up version, though. That was fun.




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