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Let It Be
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Guitar tablature songbook
Let It Be

First released: 1970, May 8

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Guitar tablature songbook at Sheetmusicplus.com
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Additional information
Label Apple / Parlophone
Catalogue No.

PCS 7096
PXS 1 (Box set)
CDP 746 447 2 (CD)

Release date 6th November 1970
8th May 1970 (Box set only)
19th October 1987 (CD)
Total time 34:44
U.K. Album Chart Detail Entry Date: 23rd May 1970
Highest Position: 1 ... for 3 weeks from 23rd May 1970
Weeks in Chart: 59 + 1 (31st October 1987 - CD release, reached no. 50)

Songs recording date and information:

  1. Two of Us - Recorded 31st January 1969 - 3 takes (10-12) Final mix - take 11
  2. Dig a Pony - Rooftop recording - 30th January 1969
  3. Across the Universe - Recorded 4th February 1968 - 8 takes. Overdubs 8th February 1968 onto take 8. Overdubs 1st April 1970 onto take 8 creating take 9. Final mix - take 9
  4. I Me Mine - Recorded 3rd January 1970 - 16 takes. Overdubs 1st April 1970 onto take 16 creating takes 17 & 18. Final mix - take 18
  5. Dig It - Recorded 26th January 1969
  6. Let It Be - Recorded 31st January 1969 8 (or more) takes (20-27). Overdubs 30th April 1969 onto take 27. Overdubs 4th January 1970 onto take 27 creating takes 28-30. Final mix - take 30
  7. Maggie Mae - Recorded 24th January 1969
  8. I've Got a Feeling - Rooftop recording - 30th January 1969
  9. One After 909 - Rooftop recording - 30th January 1969
  10. The Long and Winding Road - Recorded 31st January 1969 7 takes (13-19) Overdubs 1st April 1970 using takes 17-19 onto take 18. Final mix - take 18
  11. For You Blue - Recorded 25th January 1969 - 6 takes
  12. Get Back - Recorded 27th January 1969 - 3 takes

 

The Beatles thirteenth and FINAL official album release, which was the "soundtrack" to their fourth film.

In the U.K. the Let It Be album was first issued as a Box Set ONLY - six months BEFORE being released as a single album with a catalogue number of PXS 1, although this number does NOT appear on the package anywhere. The box set contained the L.P. plus a paperback book called "The Beatles Get Back", which contained stills and dialogue from the film (some of it unused in the final print). The paperback is large and glossy at 11 inches by 8 and a half with 164 pages, but is quite delicate and is prone to fall apart if one is not careful. The photographs are by Ethan A. Russell, and the text is by Jonathan Cott and David Dalton.
The book is NOT available separately, and the box set is no longer available, making it quite collectable and currently worth about 200.
Of course, the way this release was put out, initially affected advance orders which were nowhere near as high as previous releases, but still it went straight to number 1.
In the U.S. though, this release had the highest advance orders for any album in the history of the American recording industry (at that time) with 3,700,000 orders !!
With a cost of $7 this represented a gross retail sale of over 25,000,000 dollars !!
(U.K. price was 2:19s:11d)
Worldwide sales are now estimated at a little over 5 million.

The story behind the conception and recording of "Let It Be" is long and complex.

But basically, The Beatles intended to be filmed practising, rehearsing, recording and finally performing new songs. With the project starting at the end of 1968, and this album not being released until mid-1970, the songs recorded went through many changes and also became the most bootlegged songs in history !
But, the project did give us The Beatles last ever live performance on 30th January 1969 on top of the Apple building in Saville Row which was captured on film, and some of those tracks also appear here.

The original L.P. was "finished" at the end of May 1969 and entitled "Get Back - with Let It Be and 11 other songs", this version was rejected by the Beatles, even though they even prepared the cover. This included recreating the "Please Please Me" pose on the E.M.I. balcony, which wasn't a wasted shoot, as this was eventually used on the 1973 compilation "Red" and "Blue" albums.
Seven months later, on 5th January 1970, Glyn Johns prepared a a second version of the album "Get Back", but this too was rejected and remains unreleased officially, but it can be seen and heard on the Vigotone bootleg Get Back - The Glyn Johns Final Compilation.
By March 1970 Phil Spector was brought in, and it was he who produced the final official release, "Let It Be".

The rear of the cover has the following note:
This is a new phase BEATLES album ... essential to the content of the film, LET IT BE was that they performed live for many of the tracks; in comes the warmth and the freshness of a live performance; as reproduced for disc by PHIL SPECTOR
Of course, this is far from the truth ! The original Glyn Johns production, although rough and raw, did have that live feel, but the Spector version added orchestration and a female choir which altered (and ruined ?) the whole concept, and makes the grammatically incorrect sleeve note totally out of step !

The package was designed by John Kosh, and with hindsight is a fitting epitaph with it's black and sombre feel for the last Beatles album.


Everyone has a view about Let It Be . Most critics and fans feel the album to be a shoddy work, patchy in quality and well, well over-produced by Phil Spector. George Martin was reportedly shocked and stunned when he heard what Spector had done to the Get Back tapes. Glyn Johns has poured nothing but scorn and vitriol on Spector's production. Most importantly of all, Paul McCartney was highly aggrieved with Let It Be , and not just with Spector's production techniques. He disliked the whole package, which included a lavish book [no longer sold] which added 33% to the retail price, and what he viewed as the "blatant hype" on the back cover of the LP, the like of which he felt had never before been qmployed to sell a Beatles record.

But Paul McCartney's main grouse was with The Long And Winding Road - indeed he even quoted this song in his High Court action to dissolve the Beatles' legal partnership, using it as an example if how the other Beatles were trying to ruin his personal reputation. Spector's extensive layering of a heavenly choir, strings and brass had taken a simple piano ballad into the world of Mantovani. While Paul was by no means averse to employing orchestras he always used them "dry" and with subtlety. Paul claims, still, that he was not given the opportunity to approve or disapprove of Spector's work, and that the first time he heard the album was after its release. John Lennon abd Phil Spector both deined this, and Specotr claimed to hold a telegram from Paul approving of the mixes.

In fairness to Spector, he did precisely what John Lennon and George Harrison had commissioned him to do: make a package suitable for public release and to accompany the film [world premiere in New York, 13 May 1970]. The best producer in the world or not, he couldn't re-write or re-record the songs, which were mostly if second-class of Beatles standard, recorded at a times of boredom, arguments and intense bad feeling within the group, recorded on borrowed sound equipment, deliberately devoid of the superior studio polish so characteristic of the Beatles' post-1965 output. True, everyone felt that Let It Be was shoddy, but had either of the two Glyn Johns albums been issued public reaction may have been even more hostile. John Lennon thought that Spector did the best possible job, that he "worked wonders" with Across The Universe , gernerally tightened up the LP and make it listenable to. "He was given the shittiest load of badly recorded shit with a lousy feeling to it ever, and he made something out of it." [ Roling Ston 1970, published 1971.]

Those who accuse Spector of destroying the original Get Back premise - a simple, straightforward album, no overdubs, no edits, no orchestras - should also consider that it was the Beatles themselves who first betrayed the concept, recording overdubs on 30 April 1969 and 3-4 January 1970, and that the second Glyn Johns album in particular, compiled at the Beatles' request on 5 January 1970, included overdubs too.

It was just this very type of non-creative bickering which brought the Beatles era to a sad and bitter close.

But the Beatles' recordings of the years 1962-1970, the greatest, most memorable and most remarkable song catalogue in the history of popular music, will live on forever.

- Mark Lewishon "The Beatles Recording Sessions"