08
May
08

The Beatles – Let it Be

So, I’m up in Northern California visiting my folks and I’m driving them to Costco.  Of what music I have in my car at the time, The Beatles “Let It Be” is as close to something they’ll like as I can find, so I pop it in for the drive.  A few blocks from Costco, my dad asks what we’re listening to.

“The Beatles!” I cheerily reply.

“Which album?”

“Let It Be.”

There is a short silence be fore my father says:

“Must’ve been the album they made after they got bad.”

I stopped the car in the middle of the street and pointed at my Dad.

“I’m going to pretend you never said that.” I declared.  Five years later, we still haven’t spoken.  True story! (except for the not talking part…but you can see how I was tempted)

What’s funny about “Let It Be” is that it wasn’t even The Beatles final recording, “Abbey Road” was, it was just released last. Originally titled “Get Back,” the album went through more than a few incarnations before being released in 1970.  Made up of tracks recorded from as far back as “The White Album” and a lot of material from the “Abbey Road” sessions, the tracks began to come together in 1968 when the band was tinkering with the idea of playing a reunion show, two years after abandoning the idea of ever touring again.

The concept also included a film to be made about the recording of the album. Rehearsals were disastrous as the band was already beginning to split over creative and artistic differences…something that really comes across in the film if you’ve gotten a chance to see it (it’s been out of print since the seventies…the print I saw was a VHS copy off video disk- no shit!) The group recorded hundreds of songs during the sessions, and many like ‘Mr Mustard’ and ‘Sun King’ ended up on “Abbey Road” while others were kept by individual members for future solo projects.

The first batch for “Let It Be” was given to Glyn Johns who produced a rough draft in 1968. By the time the Beatles heard it though, they had mostly lost interest in the project and it was shelved. In 1969, they tried again in order to release the album and film together with a TV special, but ended up releasing “Abbey Road” instead. The album was given a third chance again in December of that year, after Lennon had left the band…but had little success and was pushed back for a third time.

Finally in 1970, McCartney reluctantly gave the tacks to Phil Spector who produced them into the final product.

REVISION: “Paul didn’t even give the tracks to Spector – Klein brought him in and Paul was sent an acetate of the LP about a month before the release date. Paul sent back a series of requests (including the stripping of many of the instruments in “The Long and Winding Road” ;) but they were ignored.” – Thanks Peter!

The album did get the Oscar for Best Song Score for the Film that was released, who knew?

McCartney hated what Spector did to a few of his songs, but even Lennon admitted that Spector took what he considered to be a pile of rubbish and “made something out of it.” McCartney would have to wait until Spector was in court for the shooting of Lana Clarkson until he grew a pair big enough to try and undo Spector’s work.  And while this isn’t the greatest album The Beatles ever released, it’s a fitting end piece to a glorious career.

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2 Responses to “The Beatles – Let it Be”


  1. May 31, 2008 at 2:19 am

    What’s interesting is that Paul didn’t even give the tracks to Spector – Klein brought him in and Paul was sent an acetate of the LP about a month before the release date. Paul sent back a series of requests (including the stripping of many of the instruments in “The Long and Winding Road”) but they were ignored.

  2. June 2, 2008 at 3:33 pm

    Good to know! Thanks Peter!


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