Saturday, May 8, 2010

Let It Be is 40 years old

The Beatles - Let It Be
The Beatles
Let It Be
Rating: ****

The beginning of 1969 was hard for the Beatles. The band was growing apart during their next project, which would be documented on film. In the end, this product became what we know as Let It Be.

It was January 1969. The Beatles began work on their next album, Get Back. The album got its title come the idea that the band would “get back” to their roots. Paul McCartney had the idea of the band being filmed while they were recording and rehearsing in Twickenham Studio. This turned out to be a very bad idea. The cameras caught tensions in the band. As the band recalled later, they hated being filmed 24/7. This later ended up in the 1970 Let It Be documentary. There’s one scene where Paul and George are having a row about how to play a certain part in a song. Also, Yoko Ono was there beside John. Tensions were very high. Things got bad when one day, Twickenham Studios had been taken over by John’s friend Magic Alex. The cameras followed the band to the new rehearsal spot, Abbey Road Studios. George Martin brought in keyboardist Billy Preston, which eased the tensions in the band. On January 30, the band performed the now famous rooftop concert. Eventually, the album was shelved and the band made Abbey Road instead. However when Allen Klien became the band’s business manager one of the first goals was to get Get Back, now called Let It Be, released. George Martin would not be producing the album but instead, Phil Spector would. Spector had the hard job of choosing from 100 tapes the perfect album. In May 1970, Let It Be was released. By that time, the Beatles had broken up. When the album was released, not all the Beatles were happy with the final results. In 2003 Paul, Ringo, and George Martin oversaw the Let It Be…Naked project. This project was made so that the intended original album could be released.

Let It Be starts with the warm and beautiful “Two of Us”, which tells the story of two lovers headed out for nowhere. “Dig A Pony” isn’t lyrically one of Lennon’s best songs (John said so himself years later) but “Across the Universe” is a real winner with its chant “Nothing’s gonna change my world”. “I Me Mine” is perhaps the most rocking song on the album and easily one of George’s most underrated songs. “Dig It” is short (uncut versions have it at eight minutes) but the self-titled track is probably the best song off the album. When I met Paul in 2002, he told me the song was written after he had a dream about his mother, who said “It’s okay. Let it be”. “Maggie Mae” is not related to the Rod Stewart hit but “I’ve Got A Feeling” has to be one of the most funky Beatles songs. “One After 909” dates back to the early days while “The Long and Winding Road” is simply one of the most beautiful Beatles songs ever made. “For You Blue” is a great bluesy George song and the album ends with “Get Back”. Yes, John. You’ve passed the audition along with Paul, George, and Ringo.

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