There was a point in time when “Don’t Let Me Down” might have been my favorite Beatles song. I was addicted to that 1967-1970 compilation for quite some time after it got remastered/rereleased in early ‘94, played it religiously.
“Don’t Let Me Down” has a soulful/bluesy streak that’s not present in a lot of Beatles work. My guess is that having Billy Preston join them on keyboards had a lot to do with it. Before scoring a string of hit singles in the ‘70s, Preston worked for everyone from James Cleveland (his mentor) and Aretha to Little Richard and The Beatles. Apparently, Paul McCartney vetoed letting Preston become the (literal and official) fifth Beatle. Paul’s loss. Well, also their loss. And ultimately, our loss.
Anyway, aside from the R&B element, a thing I love about “Don’t Let Me Down” is the harmony vocalizing. I think about this song and “Two Of Us” (a song that was recorded around the same time) and wonder what would’ve happened if Paul and John had ever gotten around to making a duo album. Had John lived, couldn’t you see that happening at some point in the mid ‘90s a la Page and Plant?