Don't Let Me Down

Album: Past Masters (1969)
Charted: 35

Songfacts®:

  • John Lennon dedicated this song to Yoko Ono. It was the first song he wrote for Yoko, whom he married on March 20, 1969.
  • Released as the B-side of "Get Back," "Don't Let Me Down" was slated for the Let It Be album, but when the tapes from the sessions were turned over to Phil Spector to produce, he removed it. The song later appeared on the Past Masters compilation.
  • This was one of the songs The Beatles played at their impromptu rooftop concert in 1969. The concept of the album was The Beatles performing new songs for a live audience, with film footage of their rehearsals used to make a documentary TV special. George Harrison didn't like the idea, and when things got tense during recording, he left the sessions and returned only after they agreed to cancel the live performance. The Beatles were still under contract to make another movie, so they decided to use the rehearsal footage as their last movie, Let It Be. In order to end the film, they needed a big scene, so they went to the roof of Apple Records and started playing. John Lennon forgot some of the words to this song while the Beatles were playing their rooftop concert. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Jonathon - Clermont, FL
  • Billy Preston, who The Beatles met when he was on tour with Little Richard in 1962, played keyboards on this track. Preston was one of the few outside musicians (excluding members of orchestras) to play on any Beatles song. George Harrison brought him in to smooth tensions in the studio and provide fresh energy; Harrison did the same thing during The White Album sessions when he brought in Eric Clapton, who played on "While My Guitar Gently Weeps." The presence of a musician The Beatles respected had a way of making them put aside their differences.
  • When Apple Records remixed the album Let It Be and released it in 2003 as Let It Be... Naked, an alternate take of "Don't Let Me Down" was included. It was the only song on the new album that did not appear on the original.
  • Lennon asked Ringo to crash his cymbals loudly on this track to "give me the courage to come in screaming."
  • Billy Corgan's band Zwan covered this live starting in 2001, rearranging the entire song so only the melody was left intact. Others artists to cover the song include Randy Crawford, Crown of Thorns, Dylan & Clark, Garbage, Gene, Marcia Griffiths, Taylor Hicks, Julian Lennon, Annie Lennox, Maroon 5, Matchbox Twenty, The Persuasions, Phoebe Snow, Stereophonics and Paul Weller. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    SJ - Skalj, Denmark
  • Garbage lead singer Shirley Manson is from Edinburgh and in 1999 her band played this song at the opening of the newly elected Scottish Parliament, which was celebrating autonomy after 300 years of British rule. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Bertrand - Paris, France

Comments: 41

  • Uncle Pete from ChicagoI know that they were having a lot of tension (Yoko), but it was brilliant to see John & Paul give each other a smile to kind of say, yea this is why we do this and we do it better than anyone else when they were jamming out this song.
  • Jesse from Winnipeg, Mbthis song is about him singing to his little buddy, he has met the woman of his dreams, she has pleased him in a way no one else ever has, and now hes praying him and the little soldier can return the favor.....
  • Austin from Mcalester, OkThis is the most relatable song to me that I've ever heard, and I love it so much. (:
  • Andre from Rio De Janeiro, BrazilIn the PLAYBOY MAGAZINE interview Lennon said that Rod Stewart copied this song to write "Maggie May." I could never hear any resemblance between the two songs but there is another Rod Stewart song " The Killing of Georgie part I and II." that goes:"Oh georgie stay, don't go away.." And that part sounds a lot like
    "Dont let me Down"
  • Rick from Belfast, MeThe radio stations never play the original studio recording of Dont Let Me down....from "The Beatles Again" album(Hey Jude)....near the end of the song, John lets out a "from the gut" animal scream that you never hear in the other versions of the song.....anyone remember what I mean?
  • Andre from Rio De Janeiro, BrazilGreat, fantastic song.
  • Breanna from Henderson, NvThis song sounds so dirty! I mean really John, it was bad enough in Happiness is a Warm Gun, but this is really bad!
  • Tom from Mcloud, OkWho cares if John forgot the words or not. I've done it myself. They're clearly having a blast playing live again. A lot of songs are supposed to be open to interpretation... I love it! Tom
  • Adrian from Gettysburg, PaDespite how simple of a song this is, it's one of my all time favorites. John is in top form here and it's just got a great feel, thanks in no small part to Billy Preston's influence.
  • Chloe from St. Louis, Moi dont want to think about what the 'she really done me' lines are *partially* about....great song though. is it just my imagination, or are paul and george laughing at him in the video? lol. and as much as i hate to be the one who brings up the movie reference, this has a great scene in across the universe- they're, of course, playing this on the roof of a record company. i didnt get the connection the first time i saw it, but now i do. :-)
  • Linc from Beaumont, TxThis song reminds me of when I first moved out on my own. I didn't have a TV and I played my CDs over and over so I wouldn't feel lonely by myself.
  • Clay Parker from Houston, TxIsnt this song so amazing? This by far is my favorite Beatles Tune. Then theres "Dear Prudence". But this song takes the cake. I think everyone can relate to this. Everyone has that someone in their lives that we are desperate for. "Dont Let Me Down" is a plea, a cry, in my opinion. John is screaming it, saying, 'look, Im in pain and I need you guys or I need you Yoko, so dont let me down now'....Then he says "Im in love for the first time. Dont you know its gonna last? It's a love that lasts forever, its a love that has no past". He's in love and stating that he's vulnerable, IN MY OPINION. Nonetheless, a fantastic song.
  • Roy from Granbania, MaJust to clear something up... What I meant to say was that the quality of The Beatles's work never suffered even at this fragile time in their *lives* (and I guess careers makes sense as well but it could be misinterpreted). Also, Nessie from Japan, I hate to break it to you but this song was never on Abbey Road...
  • Peter Griffin from Quahog, RiRight after the line "It's a love that has no past", I can hear somebody (sounds like John) say quietly something like "Good evening" or "Believe it".
  • Roy from Granbania, MaThis is one of my favorite songs of all time! I love everything about it from the lyrics to the intrumentation. It is amazing how the Beatles' work never suffered in quality during these fragile times in their careers.
  • Clubber Lange from Ocean Gate, NjThis should have been put on Let It Be, in place of possibly "Dig It" or "Maggie Mae"....
  • Susan from Toronto, CanadaJohn Lennon told PLAYBOY MAGAZINE that Rod Stewart turned this song into "Maggie May." I don't hear the connection myself.
  • Suzy from Sacramento, United StatesOk, my interpretation of this song, and I could be wrong, is about how naive young love is. Being in love for the first time, you think its going to last forever and a love that has no past lacks the experience to know better. The part that goes:
    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.
    I think is talking about how it (sex?) was a wonderful experience but he doesn't really have anything to compare it to either but none the less its made him crazy in love.
    The don't let me down part I imagine is about him putting all his stock in this first love and doesn't want her to let it end or in other words let him down. Thats just what I made of it.

  • Forrest from Rochester, MnDon't Let Me Down was not on Abbey Road, for the record.
  • Ryan from Middlesex, Njmike...this song has absoutly nothing to do with a baby in his motheres arms and if it did it would be sick...unless you have a link of type of document saying otherwise, this song is purely about sex. great song
  • Mike from Edmonds, WaThis song is about a baby who is in his mommy's arms and doesn't want her to put him down. Look it up.
  • Joey from Nowhere Land, Caoh yeah, Taylor Hicks performed this song a few days ago..he made it like a dance beat type of song.
  • Fyodor from Denver, CoMargaret, well y'know, that's what married folk do! :-) We can only hope all folks' marital relations are as enjoyable as John's apparently were! Seriously though, I don't think it *just* means sex or else he wouldn't have said nobody else had ever "really done" him before. But I agree it sounds very sensual!
  • Christina from Chandler, Azlove the let it be... naked version with all the "pleeease"'s at the end. awesome.
  • Margaret from Cullman, AlWhat exactly does Lennon mean by "she really done me" ? Is it ... ?
  • Dani from Nyc, Nyhow about talking about the actual song? which is absolutely fabulous. when the beat changes after the first or second verse (when it starts "i'm in love for the first time") it reminds me of being on a merry-go-round going up and down slowly. maybe a couple lines can be construed as being about sex, but get your mind out of the gutter and appreciate the song for what it is, because the rest is about love.
  • Zach from Philly, Ksi know what you mean ash this song is about sex
  • Kara from Nyc, NyMaroon 5 covered this song for "ReAct Now: Music & Relief" Hurricane Relief Benefit Concert.
  • Henry from Victoria, CanadaHe does the gibberish because he forgot the words.
  • Niki from Chicago, IlI like Let It Be better than Let It Be Naked, but come on..Don't Let Me Down is one of the best songs on the album!! How do you leave a song like that off?? And on the rooftop, that is classic John who would come up with the gibberish..Love the song!
  • Evan Blom from Coos Bay, OrI love the gibberish that he says on the roof during the 2nd or 3rd verse, because the people on the street really couldn't hear the words anyways. Classic John!
  • Ash from Cary, NcThis song is about one thing only. Sex, sex and even more sex. I am serious listen to the song.
  • Nessie from Sapporo, Japan"Phil Spector made a big mistake dropping it from Let It Be." That loss was our gain, for Abbey Road. One of the jazzier Beatles songs, particularly the lead guitar. The Stereophonics cover is good.
  • Nicholas from Kalamazoo, MiPhil Spector's birth was a mistake. that album would have been great without him!
  • Kenny from Baltimore, MdProbably my favorite song(Especially on the rooftop). Phil Spector made a big mistake dropping it from Let It Be.
  • Nick from Buffalo, NyI use to listen and to sing this song to my then girlfriend jewel. I've been heartbroke so many times in my life and use to tell her listen close to the words cause of corse i can't write or sing like John...I miss her so much i guess she didn't listen close enough...
  • Charles from New York, NyI'm not a Matchbox Twenty fan, but they cover this song really nicely. It is a live cover, from a concert in Australia, on the "Bent" single.
  • Mike from London, EnglandIf you wanna see a classic cover version of this song, download Tripple Nipple performing it on WinMX, taken from the St.John's rock concert, 1st July 2004. Classic track, really chilled if you have the slow version and really heart rending with the fast version
  • Randall from Greensboro, NcSuch a great song, truly. Lennon could just open his heart and pour out pure emotion. A simple song, beautiful.
  • Amy from Baton Rouge, LaThe Stereophonics sang this song for the movie, I Am Sam
  • Michael from Minneapolis, MnIn the movie "Let it Be", John forgets the words to the 2nd verse. Ringo, sitting directly behind John, starts laughing.
see more comments

Editor's Picks

The End Of The Rock Era

The End Of The Rock EraSong Writing

There are no more rock stars - the last one died in 1994.

Dar Williams

Dar WilliamsSongwriter Interviews

A popular contemporary folk singer, Williams still remembers the sticky note that changed her life in college.

70s Music Quiz 1

70s Music Quiz 1Music Quiz

The '70s gave us Muppets, disco and Van Halen, all which show up in this groovy quiz.

James Bond Theme Songs

James Bond Theme SongsMusic Quiz

How well do you know the 007 theme songs?

Country Song Titles

Country Song TitlesFact or Fiction

Country songs with titles so bizarre they can't possibly be real... or can they?

Mike Love of The Beach Boys

Mike Love of The Beach BoysSongwriter Interviews

The lead singer/lyricist of The Beach Boys talks about coming up with the words for "Good Vibrations," "Fun, Fun, Fun," "Kokomo" and other classic songs.