The Beatles: Let It Be
Today on Beatles Wednesday, Q105 will feature the Beatles’ 12th and final album. Listen for a different track each hour, all day!
About The Album
Let It Be was released on May 8, 1970, about 1 month after The Beatles announced their break-up. Most of the recording for the album was actually done over a year prior, in January of 1969, even before the recording and release of Abbey Road. Let It Be was intended to be released BEFORE Abbey Road in mid 1969 under the title, Get Back, but the Fab Four were unhappy with that version and shelved it. A new version was created by American producer, Phil Spector, in 1970, as the Let It Be album, which also served as a soundtrack for the movie. John Lennon was happy with the Spector contribution, Paul hated it. In fact, Let It Be…Naked was released in 2003 with much of Phil Spector’s production work not included along with different versions of the songs. While Rolling Stone Magazine didn’t exactly give the album a rave review, it was listed as #86 on The Top 500 Albums of All Time. However, that was notched down to #392 in the 2012 update. OUCH!
The Beatles Break Up
There were several reasons why the Beatles called it quits which built up over a long period of time. Each group member was developing his own artistic vision, leading to conflicts and animosity both personally and in the studio. George and Ringo had both quit the band at different times during 1968-1969 and all 4 members had begun solo work by 1970, anticipating the eventual split and end of the band. Paul McCartney went public with news of the group’s demise during a press release for his new album, McCartney, on April 10, 1970. When asked about bailing out from the Beatles, Paul said, “Personal differences, business differences, musical differences, but most of all because I have a better time with my family.”
“Two Of Us” – Originally titled, ‘On Our Way Home,’ Paul said this was about his future wife, Linda Eastman.
“Dig A Pony” – From the rooftop concert at Apple Studios in January ’69. Originally called, “All I Want Is You,” it was written for John’s future wife, Yoko Ono. Lennon called this song a “piece of garbage.” Keep in mind John has said this about many of his and Paul’s songs as well.
“Across The Universe” – This song came into John’s mind one night in 1967 after listening to his ex-wife, Cynthia, ‘go on and on about something.’ He got out of bed, went downstairs and brought it to life. Afterward, he went to sleep and forgot about it.
“I Me Mine” – Also the title of George Harrison’s autobiography. This song is based on concepts George learned while in India during 1967. He said, “I Me Mine is the ego problem. There are two ‘I’s: the little ‘i’ when people say ‘I am this’; and the big ‘I’ – is duality and ego. There is nothing that isn’t part of the complete whole. When the little ‘i’ merges into the big ‘I’ then you are really smiling!
“Dig It” – One of the few songs with writing credit given to all 4 Beatles. According to John, it’s based on a ‘Bob Dylan’ style jam session in ’69.
“Let It Be” – Paul got the idea for this song after having a dream about his mother, Mary, who died from cancer when he was 14. It happened during the recording sessions for the Beatles White Album, which were tense and difficult. He said, “It was great to visit with her again. I felt very blessed to have that dream. So that got me writing ‘Let It Be.’ He also said in a later interview that his mother had told him “It will be all right, just let it be.”
“Maggie Mae” – A traditional Liverpool Folk song that was very popular with seamen all over the world. It’s about a prostitute who was a thief and robbed a sailor.
“I’ve Got A Feeling” – Another one (of 3) from the rooftop concert. This is a combo of Paul’s song of the same title and a song from John called, “Everybody Had A Hard Year.” Paul would go on to marry Linda, a girl he said was the ‘one I have been looking for.’ Lennon did have a hard year: He and Cynthia divorced, Yoko had a miscarriage and he got busted for drug possession.
“One After 909″ – From the rooftop concert and one of the earliest Lennon-McCartney compositions going back to the late ’50s. John said in his 1980 interview with Playboy, “That was something I wrote when I was about seventeen. I lived at 9 Newcastle Road. I was born on the ninth of October, the ninth month. It’s just a number that follows me around.” Paul said, “It’s not a great song but it’s a great favorite of mine because it has great memories for me of John and I trying to write a bluesy freight-train song. There were a lot of those songs at the time, like ‘Midnight Special.’”
“The Long And Winding Road” – The 20th and last number one song for the Beatles and the last single released while all 4 members were still alive. Paul wrote the song while at his farm in Scotland, the idea coming from the bad vibes among the Beatles. ”I just sat down at my piano in Scotland, started playing and came up with that song, imagining it was going to be done by someone like Ray Charles.”
“For You Blue” – Written by George and also called, ‘George’s Blues.’ Each section follows a classic 12 bar blues run and you can hear George speaking lyrics from American Rock and Roll songs like, ‘Go Johnny Go’ and ‘Bop Cat Bop.’ The song features John playing a slide guitar with a shotgun shell.
“Get Back” – Originally released as a single in April, 1969, with a different version included as the closing track for Let It Be. The writing credit is given to the Beatles and Billy Preston, making it the only Beatles single ever released which gave credit to another artist at their request. Get Back was also the first single released in stereo (US version).
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