Even after his eventual return and the resumption of those sessions at Apple's Savile Row basement studio, only one of his songs was given serious consideration. For You Blue had been auditioned on a few occasions at Twickenham, and the band actually returned to it with gusto on January 25th. Though this would be the final time that they would work on the tune, it appears to have been one of the most enjoyable days of the entire project. (Note: While keyboard player Billy Preston had joined the proceedings by this date, he was somehow not present for this number.)
The song itself is a simple 12-bar blues except, as George himself has pointed out in interviews, the lyrics are upbeat, running contrary to what a listener should expect of a traditional blues number. The lineup features Ringo on drums, George on acoustic guitar, Paul on piano and John playing a lap steel guitar and, as can be seen in the film Let It Be, using what appears to be a shotgun shell as a slide.
Anthology 3 allows us to hear an early take of the song from February 25th, possibly the very first (none of the takes at these sessions were properly numbered). Paul plays an intro on piano (which sounds normal at this juncture) before the others join in. There are some slight variations in the lyrics and John plays a solo during the instrumental break but Paul does not.
George wanted the piano to have more of a hontytonk sound, and so, at some point, Paul ran strips of paper through the strings to accomplish the desired effect. In fact, every other version of the song that I have heard has this distinctive piano sound. George also seems to have been disappointed in his vocal performance for some reason. Thus, a full year later, on January 8th, 1970, he re-recorded his vocal part as Glyn Johns was assembling his second attempt at a Get Back album. This new vocal line includes the silly ad libs during the instrumental section of the song.
The first of three versions of the best take comes from that unreleased Get Back album. Johns uses George's new vocal initially, but opts for the original live one after the instrumental break and completely omits the ad libs. The Phil Spector version from the Let It Be album sticks with the new vocal line throughout, but oddly buries George's acoustic guitar part for most of the song. The 2003 Let It Be...Naked version nicely brings everything to the forefront in a fresh mix.
In addition to its appearance on the Let It Be album, For You Blue was chosen by Capitol Records to be the B-side of the single The Long and Winding Road, released a week before the album in the US. And, of course, we briefly see the group working on the song in the film Let It Be.