Let It Be

From Academic Kids

"Let it be" may also refer to a translation of the French phrase Laissez-faire, or the Hebrew word amen.
Let It Be is also the name of an album by The Replacements.

Template:Album infobox The album Let It Be, released by The Beatles on May 8, 1970, was actually recorded in early 1969, before the Abbey Road album, but was the last album released before the group broke up. It comprised songs originally produced by George Martin; the final version of the album was "re-produced" (some critics have said overproduced) by Phil Spector for EMI.


The Get Back sessions

The album, originally titled Get Back, was planned to be the Beatles coming full circle. After increasing use of overdubs and multi-layered recordings on recent albums, the group wanted to record the new album live in the studio, just as they had done for their first few albums in the early 1960s. In keeping with the concept, the cover artwork was going to be an update of the cover of their first album, Please Please Me, with the band looking down the stairwell of EMI's headquarters office block in Manchester Square, London.

There were discussions during the January 1969 rehearsals at Twickenham Studios about possibly recording the album completely live during a surprise concert performance - possibly in a dance hall or on top of a submarine. The actual live performance was on the rooftop of The Beatles' Apple Studios at 3 Savile Row; this concert was cut short by the police after local complaints about the noise, though several of the songs recorded during the rooftop concert did eventually wind up on the album.

Hundreds of songs were rehearsed during the Get Back sessions, including covers "Stand By Me", "Ain't She Sweet", "Maggie Mae", "Words Of Love", "Blue Suede Shoes", and songs that would eventually end up on Abbey Road including "Mean Mister Mustard", "Maxwell's Silver Hammer", "Oh! Darling", "She Came In Through The Bathroom Window" and "Golden Slumbers". A number of early versions of songs that would eventually end up on Beatles solo albums were also rehearsed, including Lennon's "Jealous Guy" (which was called "Child Of Nature" at the time), Harrison's "All Things Must Pass", and McCartney's "Teddy Boy" and "Junk" (which was originally written for the White Album).

Apple Electronics Magic Alex had promised the band the world's first 72-track studio for the recording of this album, but unfortunately, the results of his efforts were pathetic and unusable. The band instead had to borrow two 4-track machines from EMI.

The Get Back album

Engineer Glyn Johns put together a rough version of Get Back in March of 1969, which included many of the same songs that made the final cut, plus McCartney's "Teddy Boy". Johns played the acetate for the Beatles, who were not really interested in the project anymore. At least one copy of the acetate made its way to America and was aired on local radio stations in Buffalo, New York and Boston in September.

In May of 1969, Johns and producer George Martin, made a new rough version of the Get Back album. This was the first serious attempt to put the album together for release. The track list was "One After 909", "Rocker (Instrumental)", "Save The Last Dance For Me"/"Don't Let Me Down", "Don't Let Me Down", "Dig A Pony", "I've Got A Feeling", "Get Back", "For You Blue", "Teddy Boy", "Two Of Us", "Maggie Mae", "Dig It", "Let It Be", "The Long And Winding Road", and "Get Back (Reprise)".

The Get Back album was intended for release in July of 1969, but the album was pushed back to September, to coincide with the planned television special and theatrical film about the making of the album. In September the album's release was pushed back to December, because The Beatles had just recorded Abbey Road and wanted to release that album instead. When December rolled around, the album was shelved until a third mix was made by Glyn Johns in early 1970. The Beatles once again rejected it.

The released album

In March and April of 1970, the project was given to producer Phil Spector, who compiled the eventually released album - now entitled Let It Be. The album and the movie with the same name were released on May 8, 1970; the Beatles had already broken up by that time. The movie captured on film some of the tensions within the band, and also included footage from the rooftop concert. The rooftop performance closed with the song "Get Back", and afterwards John Lennon remarked, "I'd like to say 'thank you' on behalf of the group and ourselves, and I hope we passed the audition." The joke was added to the studio version of the song that appeared on the album.

Several songs from the recording sessions had official releases other than the Let It Be album. The original versions of "Get Back" and "Let It Be" were released as singles, while the original version of "The Long And Winding Road" was released in 1996 on The Beatles Anthology 3, and "Across the Universe" was released in alternate form for a charity compilation.

Track listing

  1. "Two of Us" (Lennon-McCartney)
  2. "Dig a Pony" (Lennon-McCartney)
  3. "Across the Universe" (Lennon-McCartney)
  4. "I Me Mine" (Harrison)
  5. "Dig It" (Harrison-Lennon-McCartney-Starkey)
  6. "Let It Be" (Lennon-McCartney)
  7. "Maggie Mae" (Traditional)
  8. "I've Got a Feeling" (Lennon-McCartney)
  9. "One After 909" (Lennon-McCartney)
  10. "The Long and Winding Road" (Lennon-McCartney)
  11. "For You Blue" (Harrison)
  12. "Get Back" (Lennon-McCartney)


Let It Be... Naked

At the same time the film's re-release was announced, McCartney announced plans to release a new version of the album that is closer to what the band had originally intended for the project. (McCartney was particularly upset about the "Wall of Sound" treatment Spector had given to "The Long and Winding Road", and had previously rerecorded it on the solo album Give My Regards to Broad Street.) That collection, entitled Let It Be... Naked was released in November of 2003. (see Let It Be... Naked)

The film

Let It Be is the title of a 1970 film, released by United Artists and directed by Michael Lindsay-Hogg, documenting The Beatles' recording of the album as well as the interpersonal conflicts which eventually split the group apart. The film has been out of circulation since shortly after its initial release, but in 2002 it was announced that the film was being prepared for release on DVD. However, due to legal issues, its reissue has been delayed for some years, and is now projected for release in 2005. It is expected that the DVD will include additional footage not seen in the original film.

External links

  John Lennon Missing image
Paul McCartney

The Beatles George Harrison Ringo Starr  

History of the Beatles | Long-term influence | British Invasion | Classic rock era | Paul is Dead rumours | Apple Records | George Martin | Geoff Emerick | Brian Epstein | Beatlesque | Discography | Bootlegs | Beatlemania

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