- Published on 1970
- Author: Lennon/McCartney
- Track 1 on “Let It Be“
PAUL: “It’s complicated now. We can get it simpler, and then complicate it where it needs complications.”
GEORGE: “It’s not complicated.”
PAUL: “This one is like, shall we play guitars through ‘Hey Jude’ …well, I don’t think we should.”
GEORGE: “Ok well I don’t mind… I’ll play, you know, whatever you want me to play, or I wont play at all if you don’t want to me to play. Whatever it is that will please you… I’ll do it!”PAUL AND GEORGE 1969:
(arguing during the recording of the song ‘Two Of Us’)
JOHN: “I wish that we could start hearing the tapes now. Like– Do it, and then hear what it is. Is it just ‘cuz we don’t feel like it, or is it ‘Does the guitar sound alright, really.’”
JOHN 1969: (ad-libbing during the recording sessions) “‘Two of us wearing postcards.’”
About “Two of Us”
“Two of Us” was originally released as the opening track on Let It Be (1970) and a remix of that recording was later included on Let It Be… Naked (2003). An outtake of the song, recorded on 24 January 1969, was released on Anthology 3 (1996). The song was recorded by the Beatles on 31 January 1969. The song’s title was used for the 2000 TV movie Two of Us, which depicts a fictionalized version of a 1976 reunion between McCartney and Lennon.
The song was originally titled “On Our Way Home”. Ian MacDonald claimed the lyrics (e.g.: “you and I have memories/longer than the road that stretches out ahead” or “you and me chasing paper/getting nowhere”) sounded like McCartney was probably addressing Lennon and contractual troubles. “You Never Give Me Your Money“, a different composition by McCartney from the previously released album, but recorded after Let It Be, Abbey Road, also refers to the Beatles’ contract with Allen Klein as “funny paper”. The song is also an ode to one of Lennon and McCartney’s influences, the harmonies of the Everly Brothers.
An early performance of the song, in a guitar-driven rock style, can be seen in the Let It Be film and later in the documentary series The Beatles: Get Back. Unsatisfied with this style, which McCartney described as “chunky”, the band reworked the song around acoustic guitars. The Beatles performed a finished version of the song live at Apple Studios on 31 January 1969; this performance was included in both the Let It Be film and album. The clip was also broadcast on The Ed Sullivan Show on 1 March 1970 as the final appearance by the Beatles on the program.
In between several takes of the song on 24 January 1969, the band spontaneously started playing a hammed-up version of traditional Liverpudlian song “Maggie Mae“. The 38-second song would also end up on the Let It Be album, but is omitted in Let It Be… Naked. A version of Two of Us on the same day is released on Anthology 3.
In May 1969, McCartney produced a recording of the song using this title by the group Mortimer, a New York City trio that briefly recorded for Apple, but this recording was never released.
Meaning of “Two of Us”
“Two of Us” was primarily written by Paul McCartney, with input from John Lennon. The song is widely interpreted as a reflection on the close friendship and camaraderie between McCartney and Lennon during their time together as members of The Beatles.
The lyrics convey a sense of unity and companionship, depicting two individuals who share a deep bond and understanding. They are portrayed as being together through various experiences, facing life’s ups and downs as a team.
One of the notable aspects of the song is its acoustic, folksy sound, which is in contrast to some of the more elaborate and orchestrated pieces in The Beatles’ repertoire. This simplicity contributes to the intimate and personal feel of the song.
“Two of Us” is often seen as a testament to the enduring friendship between McCartney and Lennon, despite the tensions and conflicts that eventually led to the dissolution of The Beatles. It’s a poignant reminder of the profound creative partnership that defined one of the most influential bands in music history.
- Paul McCartney – lead vocal, acoustic guitar
- John Lennon – co-lead vocal, acoustic guitar
- George Harrison – lead guitar (bass part on a six-string Fender Telecaster)
- Ringo Starr – drums