Let It Be
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Let It Be by The Beatles ranked # 86 on Rolling Stone Magazine's 500 Greatest Albums list.
Let It Be is the twelfth and final album by The Beatles, released on May 8, 1970 by the band's own Apple Records label.
Much of what became Let It Be was recorded in early 1969, with production by George Martin, before the recording and release of the album Abbey Road. However, The Beatles were unhappy with the album and it was temporarily shelved. Let It Be was later 're-produced' (some critics have said overproduced) by Phil Spector and, in 1970, it became The Beatles' final release.
The album which became Let It Be was originally titled Get Back, and was planned to be a return to The Beatles' roots. Paul McCartney in particular was eager for The Beatles to perform in public again, over two years after they abandoned touring. The other band members, especially John Lennon, were resistant to this idea. After increasing use of overdubs and multi-layered recordings on recent albums, there was a general consensus to record the new album live in the studio, just as they had done for their first albums in the early 1960s.
In keeping with the concept, the cover artwork was planned 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. The photograph was later used on the compilation album The Beatles 1967-1970 (aka "The Blue Album").
Keyboardist Billy Preston was brought in to supplement the band for the live performances; Preston worked with the Beatles for two weeks and played with them in the rooftop concert. The sessions as a whole lasted from 2 January to 31 January 1969.
There were discussions during the January 1969 rehearsals at Twickenham Studios about recording the album completely live during a televised concert performance - in fact the music press excitedly announced that The Beatles had booked the Roundhouse in London for the show. In the end, the live performance took place on the rooftop of The Beatles' Apple Building at 3 Savile Row in front of a small audience of friends and employees. The performance was cut short by the police after complaints about noise. Several of the songs recorded during the rooftop concert made it onto the final album, and the complete concert has circulated amongst bootleg collectors for many years.
Everyone involved in the sessions considered them to be disastrous, and it is clear that the band was disintegrating. Lennon's growing two-year dissatisfaction with being in The Beatles was coming to a head, and at the time he was engulfed in a heroin addiction. He was eager to explore his career outside the band, and the constant presence of his companion and artistic partner Yoko Ono at the sessions was a source of major tension.
McCartney's attempts to hold the band together and rally spirits came across as controlling. This escalated tensions, especially with Harrison, who walked out at one point. The presence of film cameras, and the cold, unfamiliar settings of Twickenham Studios and the new Apple Studios also contributed to the ill feelings. Things were so bad the producer George Martin was reluctant to work with the band on their next album Abbey Road, until assured it would be a better experience.
- One After 909
- Rocker (Instrumental)
- Save the Last Dance for Me
- 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
- Get Back (Reprise)
100 Greatest Albums of All Time
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