on 28 April 2000
Reviewing the Beatles may seem like a waste of time as everything that could have been written about them has been - but the continuing interest with the anthologies, the tribute bands and the consistent sales still make them probably the most listened to band that will ever be. LET IT BE was first released in 1970, a patchwork album of material originally scheduled to be released as GET BACK a year earlier and recorded before the more famous ABBEY ROAD. Rejected by a disillusioned band and producer George Martin - it was put together by Phil Spector who under the circumstances does a pretty fair job. Although far from their finest, LET IT BE contains a few gems for fans and for the casual listener, after all any album that contains 3 (USA) number ones, Get Back, The Long And Winding Road and the title track can't be all bad. Add to that the simple "Two of Us", the irritatingly catchy "Dig A Pony", the basic "One After 909" - one of the first Lennon-McCartney compositions ever. The CD quality sounds better than the earlier albums like PLEASE PLEASE ME and this is an interesting historical document. Hard to believe that these guys could still make good music even when they were in turmoil. Rediscover this one now. Well worth a listen
on 1 November 2009
Listen to Let it Be on L.P if you can. I remember the first time I did, hunched up in the loft watching the apple slowly begin to revolve on the turntable.
I had heard lots of Beatles before. By some happy accident, my parent's had been big fans in the sixties and already had a small store of records which they kept in the loft, but rarely played. My experience of the band was from cassette tapes of Rubber Soul, Help! and Sgt. Pepper.
So, when I first placed Let it Be on to listen to, I was shocked. This sounded nothing like the Beatles. The production (though I was too young to know what this was) sounded really different, their voices sounded strange and as I stared at the beardy faces on the cover I almost felt that the Beatles had recorded the whole record in a loft themselves (Without, maybe, considering where the orchestra came from!).
I'm now 29, and it's been pretty hard to NOT know the real story of how Let it Be came to light, and why it sounds like such a hotchpotch. For a long time I have regarded it as a record that maybe I like only because it is by the Beatles, but not as one to take to my desert island.
And then I listened to the new remaster, on a night drive in my car. Where my head was at, I just don't know, but for some reason I was taken back all the way to being a 9 year old, listening to the record in the loft. I forgot all the history. Forgot all I knew about the squabbles, and forgot even that this was a Beatles record. I just listened to it.
You know what? I really, really liked it. Really! Two of Us sounded relaxed, ushering me in to the album in a covert way, much as it had done on my very first listen. Dig a Pony sounded more than just the filler it had been in my mind, it sounded raw, edgy. I started to tap along to the guitars, I forgot to listen to the lyrics. I loved it.
Then Across the Universe swept and swirled it's way over my mind like a tropical storm and blew I Me Mine with it. Again, it was the music, the guitar sound and drumming which really seemed to infect me. Dig It, a track which seems like a throwaway if you listen to it on an Ipod, was just good fun and with Let It Be to follow it I was almost blown away. Even Maggie May reminded me of what I felt when listening to the record - another weird snippet of something which stopped the album feeling too serious or conventional. I began to love that wilful unconventionality.
I've Got a Feeling assaulted me. That's all I can say. It sounded amazing and by the last songs I was a gonner. One After 909 finally sounded as wacky and trivial as it had on first listen, The Long and Winding Road made me cry (!), For You Blue sounded like the grooviest thing I have ever heard and by the time the thing was finished with Get Back I was thinking that Let it Be might well be my favourite Beatles Album.
Now, either it was because the spirits of Halloween had got the better of me, or because I completely lost my marbles last night, but I think it was just brilliant.
Try it yourself. Listen with a clear head. Let the spikey guitars and the devil-may-care attitude take you for a ride. You might just love it.
on 8 September 2014
well here we are with the Beatles final release ( although not the last studio album recorded...i.e. Abbey Road)
there has been so many mixed reviews of this album, mainly because of all the arguments and one or two of the Beatles
taking a huff about being given advice, and of course the infamous McCartney /Spector issues ( I"M with Paul on this one)
all that aside ,it is an excellent album full of dominating differences of all four Beatles doing what they do best , MAKING GREAT MUSIC, o.k. maybe we could do without DIG IT, MAGGIE MAE ...?
the rest of the songs are first class the boys sound like they are having fun and enjoying playing together , even if they are not
but you don"t hear that side of it, Paul is most definitely in command and taken the role as gaffer ...who knows maybe if they rest of the Beatles listened to what he had to say they may have went on for another couple of years.
anyway ...great album , great songs (mostly) and great vocals....BUY IT
on 8 January 2011
I have never ever understood why this album took the bashing it did do. It was brilliant in 1970, it is still brilliant in 2011. For those who (like Mr McCartney), don't like Spectre's tinkerings, get Let it Be Naked instead (brilliant too, by the way), but there's nowt wrong with this, nothing. The songs are great, the live ones are great because they are live, such thumping raw energy. 'Two of Us' has real fans hiding from their wives while they cry in a cupboard, imagining a young J and P roaming around Allerton or Speke in short kecks and with grey scuffed shirt collars and ruined shoes. It never happened of course but that is what the song evokes. George's guitar playing makes us think he must have made a short trip down below and come back rather demonic. His licks, in fact the overall sound show how much he and the technology had advanced in 6 short years, and again, much of it live on that blessed roof. I am 51 and from Liverpool; how I (at times!) wish I was 61 and had been in Saville Rowe, London in January 1969. Those lucky lucky people you see on the film, apart from the City squares of course. Ok, it isn't their best album, but this is purely going by the Beatles ' own exceptionally high standards, it still knocked the socks off its main rivals from the time, it still blows away the young pretenders from now. Five stars aint enough. Love it. Always will.
The original packaging of this LP described it is a 'new phase' Beatles album. It wasn't: it's just that they used Phil Spector to produce something - anything - out of the hours and hours of recordings from the troubled 'Get Back' sessions. There was fury in some quarters that George Martin had been supplanted.
In all honesty, Spector did a 'not bad' job. He used ten complete tracks and a couple of snippets and also left in some of the comments from the recording sessions, presumably to give it the 'live' feel that was the original intention. Paul McCartney wanted the Beatles to perform on stage again. The others still nursed horrified memories of the screaming fans. In the end they did the final concert on the roof of the Apple building, which stopped the traffic and wasn't at all bad, given the conditions.
The material here is commonly regarded as not as strong as other LPs. But hold on - it contains tracks that have gone on to become well-loved standards in 'Get Back', 'Across the Universe', 'The Long and Winding Road' and 'Let it Be' itself. Not bad for one album. Fact is, people had come to expect each Beatles release to be better and more innovative than the previous: it couldn't last like that.
Paul McCartney hated the Phil Spector arrangements (and the fact that the task of producing it was handed to Spector without him knowing). Eventually, Paul McCartney had 'Let it Be ... Naked' released: this album remixed without Phil Spector's lush arrangements, especially on 'The Long and Winding Road'. That one had 'Don't Let Me Down' on it - an inexplicable absentee from this album.
It's an album born of controversy from a group that was fracturing. Nevertheless, it is an excellent album: not their best but well worth owning. Following the 'Get Back' sessions the Beatles got together for one final fling, and the result was 'Abbey Road'. Now that really was something special.
on 10 February 2014
If you are a Beatles fan then this is a must as they must be considered a part of our cultural history and looking back this must be the most historic album they made.... amazing that it was made at all. This is their 12th and last album although some would argue that 'Abbey Road' was their last as most of 'Let It Be' was recorded before. Strangely they moved away from George Martin as producer and used Glynn Johns (in 1969 - to be released as 'Get Back'). Not satisfied with this version (and let's be fair, they probably could not really agree with must at this stage of the band's history as they were going through the beginnings of a particularly acrimonious break up) it was shelved. It was resuscitated and bought back to life in 1970 by Phil Spector (and to my mind a very non-Beatles producer) as the soundtrack album to the eponymous film 'Let It Be'. He remixed the tracks (too heavily overlaid with strings for my liking) leaving out 4 songs from the 'Get Back' sessions (Lennon's 'Don't Let Me Down', the B side to the single 'Get Back, McCartney's beautiful 'Teddy Boy' which ended up on his 1st solo album 'McCartney', The Drifter's 'Save The Last Dance For Me' and an improvisation called 'The Rocker'). It's a bit treacly - 'The Long And Winding Road' for instance, but hey, this is a Beatles album and so has an inbuilt quality about it.
Cited as the Beatles' final album, Let it Be is actually nothing of the sort - creatively at least. Largely compiled from the Get Back sessions, the bulk of the album was recorded prior to George Martin pulling the band in the same direction for one last time on the vastly superior Abbey Road, whose closing medley is a much more fitting swansong for this great band.
The Get Back sessions were intended to produce raw rock'n'roll and give rebirth to The Beatles as a live band, but by and large they just confirmed what the band already knew - that the end was nigh. The recordings were left to one side and only dusted down after Abbey Road, famously passed to Phil Spector by John Lennon without the knowledge of the other group members, to be heavily overdubbed with choirs, orchestras and the ilk.
In reality, the album is held together by McCartney's tracks - Harrison was holding much of his material back for his solo career, and Lennon was at a creative low-tide as drug abuse took hold. McCartney, however, was peaking - as his Abbey Road tracks and the McCartney and Ram albums show.
So Two of Us recalls brighter Beatles days, Let it Be and The Long & Winding Road are beautiful ballads worthy of a place on any Beatles album (regardless of their over-production here) and Get Back is one of Macca's best rock'n'roll songs ever. Harrison's I Me Mine and For You Blue are both strong as well, but Lennon's songs are largely forgettable shapeless blues - pale shadows of his work on the white album. Only Across the Universe has any quality to it, and that is often drowned in Spector's over-production.
In truth, the only 3 essential tracks here are the McCartney singles - all available on compilations. Beatles completists will buy the record but, as a musical statement, and even as a record of a band at the end of it's days, there are far better recordings out there. It's not bad, it's not good, and it isn't really The Beatles.
on 11 March 2012
What can I say really! The Beatles despite having their problems with each other,arguments over money and management issues they still pulled it off and produced another brilliant album. Great tracks like " Long and winding road" "Ive got a feeling" and " One after909" demonstrate the passion and relentless energy these four guys who had been through so much together still had. A great album that I would recommend 100%.
on 11 February 2012
This definitive version of 'Let it Be', now remastered, has been unfairly criticised over the years for the Phil Spector production. However, when you see the film or listen to the numerous other versions of this material, it's a small miracle that such an enduring and enjoyable album could have been conjured from these sessions.
Spector's orchestrations may be a bit syrupy but they're not so far removed from 'Good Night' on the White Album. Ironically, some themes from the orchestral arrangement of 'The Long and Winding Road' seem to have been retained by Paul in his superb 'Broad Street' and subsequent live arrangements of the song. The un-orchestrated version of this song on 'Let it Be - Naked' does sound slightly unfinished, especially given John's tentative bass-playing. Spector shows the scale and majesty of this powerful song although I'm sure Paul and George Martin could have done it even better at another time.
The album also gives us a superior remixed recording of 'Across the Universe' which is a timeless song that could so easily have got lost in the chaos. Had its reputation depended only on the 'World Wildlife Fund' version it would not be so highly regarded as it is now.
The humour of the original 'Let it Be' album has always been part of its warmth. It also gives us that blistering guitar solo on 'Let it Be' itself which is perversely mixed out on all the other commercial releases of the track. Finally, unlike the two earlier Glyn Johns track-lists which were prepared for release, this, the album we've all grown up with or grown older with, gives us the best of the rooftop concert and the genuine feel of that occasion (even if 'Get Back' is an edit and 'Don't Let Me Down' should have been on the album).
It would be great to have the film released on DVD/Blu-Ray perhaps in a replica of the original LP box with a deluxe package of extras, but that seems unlikely. It's a real shame. The cleaned-up clips included on 'Anthology' look and sound great.
At least the album we've had since 1970, together with the 'Get Back'/'Don't Let Me Down' single, are already the best of the recordings of these wonderful songs.
Perhaps at lunchtime on 30th January 2019 the full rooftop session can be played loud from the roof of 3 Savile Row, with a suitable police presence, to celebrate the 50th Anniversary.
Recorded before Abbey Road but released as the final Beatles album, there is certainly an inevitability about Let It Be. Arguments rage over the value of Phil Spector's contribution making some of these songs have an overblown feel but it is a closer inspection of the divisions within the band that somehow become apparent. It's certainly not a bad album in any way, shape or form but it does lack the feeling of togetherness of albums such as Sergeant Pepper and Rubber Soul.
Having said that I prefer it to the more clinical feel of Rubber Soul. Lennon in particular seems to be getting tired of the whole Beatles thing and his disillusionment comes over as aggressive rather than fun with his verbal asides not helping the album to gel. In spite of that or may because of that there are still four classic Beatles songs here with Lennon coming up trumps with Across the Universe and McCartney weighing in with one of their greatest songs The Long and Winding Road along with Let it Be and Get Back