I wake up to the sound of music...Let It Be
is the thirteenth and final studio album by The Beatles
, released in 1970. However, it was mostly recorded before Abbey Road
, which got a release in 1969. It is also the only Beatles album not produced by George Martin, instead being produced by Phil Spector
. For a long time this was seen as the least good Beatles album, mostly because of Spector adding rather schmaltzy choirs to several of the songs and because a lot of the material were Throw It In
songs, all recorded when the unity in the band was basically gone. The Critical Backlash
and passing of time have actually vindicated
the album as being not that bad after all, even perfectly able to stand next to the other Beatles albums.
Still Paul McCartney
always hated what Spector did to their final album. On The Beatles Anthology
(1995/1996) he let the audience hear some of the unaltered tracks, which have a more simple and raw sound. Later, in 2002, a total new version of the album was released, named Let It Be... Naked
, where Paul's original vision could finally be heard. All the material on this album was devoid of Spector's production and showcased a simple rock sound. As a bonus CD a Leave the Camera Running
recording from the Beatles in their studio was released too, which is more chatting and clowning about than actual recording.
The making of the album was documented in a film, also titled Let It Be
, also released in 1970.
Tracklist: Side One
- "Two Of Us" (3:37)
- "Dig A Pony" (3:55)
- "Across The Universe" (3:48)
- "I Me Mine" (2:26)
- "Dig It" (0:50)
- "Let It Be" (4:03)
- "Maggie Mae" (0:40)
- "I've Got A Feeling" (3:38)
- "One After 909" (2:54)
- "The Long And Winding Road" (3:38)
- "For Your Blue" (2:32)
- "Get Back" (3:09)
- George Harrison - guitar, backing and lead vocals, tambura
- John Lennon - lead vocals, guitar, bass
- Paul McCartney - lead vocals, bass, guitar, piano, organ, keyboard, maracas
- Ringo Starr - drums, percussion, maracas
The Long And Troping Road:
- Added Alliterative Appeal:
- "Maggie Mae".
- "I Me Mine"
- "Mother Mary" and "Whisper words of wisdom, let it be...".
- Album Filler:
- The inclusion of "Across The Universe" and "One After 909" couldn't be anything but filler. The former was recorded in early 1968, long before Let It Be was released, and the latter was one of the first songs Lennon and McCartney had ever written; they recorded a version of it in 1963, which was never included on an album because they were never satisfied with it. "One After 909" at least is the 1969 version, recorded live during the famous Rooftop Concert. The band ran through several rehearsals of "Across the Universe", but never managed to record a releaseable track. Consequently, the album version is actually the original 1968 track, just slowed down and re-mixed.
- "Dig It" and "Maggie Mae" too. When the album was remixed as Let It Be... Naked in 2002, both were dropped from the track list, replace by Lennon's "Don't Let Me Down".
- And Starring: Billy Preston on piano. The "Get Back"/"Don't Let Me Down" single was attributed to "The Beatles with Billy Preston". This was the only time the band shared billing with another artist. Preston played keyboards and piano for all ten days of recording after the band reconvened at Abbey Road studios, and can be seen in Let It Be film.
- Book Ends: The original Get Back album was supposed to have a 1969 photo of the Beatles in the exact same pose that they used for their breakout 1963 Please Please Me album. This idea was abandoned when the Get Back album was reworked into Let It Be, but the photo was eventually used for the cover of the 1967-1970 compilation album.
- Broken Record: The word "everybody" in "I've Got A Feeling".
- Cover Version: "Maggie Mae". This was an old Public Domain traditional song that Julia Lennon taught her teenaged son John as she was teaching him how to play banjo.
- Cult Soundtrack: Subverted. The film Let It Be was actually intended to be a companion piece to the album. However, seeing that the movie has rarely been seen on TV ever since and is not available on DVD yet, this may be one example where the CD is better known than the movie.
- Dreaming of Things to Come: "Let It Be" was inspired by a dream Paul had about his mother, who passed away when he was young.
- Face on the Cover: Four individual photos of the band members.
- Grief Song: It's difficult to listen to "The Long And Winding Road", without interpreting it as a goodbye song to the individual Beatles and each one of them parting to go their own way.
- In Harmony with Nature: "Across The Universe" where the protagonist is in harmony with the universe, despite it never changing, but accepts it for what it is.
- It's All About Me: "I Me Mine".
All I can hear
I Me Mine
- Live Album: Let It Be was supposed to be this, with the band rehearsing and recording their new songs live. The sniping and tension within the band (as well as the creative funk John Lennon was mired in at this time) led to several songs being dubbed or altered in the studio, most infamously Paul's "The Long And Winding Road". However, despite all the band's problems seven tracks were still laid down live: "I've Got A Feeling", "One After 909" and "I Dig A Pony" from the Apple rooftop performance, and "Get Back", "Two Of Us", "Dig It" and "Maggie Mae" from studio performances. ("Don't Let Me Down", left off the album after being released as the B-side of the "Get Back" single, was also recorded live).
- Lyrical Cold Open: "The Long And Winding Road".
- New Sound Album: In a way. It's certainly not like any other Beatles album.
- Numerological Motif: "One After 909", a reference to the fact that Lennon considered nine his lucky number.
- One Woman Song: "Maggie Mae".
- Pep Talk Song: "Let It Be"
And when the broken hearted people
Living in the world agree
There will be answer, let it be
For though, they may be parted
There is still a chance that they will see
There will be an answer, let it be
- Protest Song: "Get Back" was written in reaction to the anti-immigration laws in the UK.
- Real Life Writes the Plot: "Get Back" was written as a Take That against the then recent anti-immigration laws in the UK.
- Record Producer: Phil Spector. This was the only Beatles album which wasn't produced by George Martin.
- Refrain from Assuming: The Rolling Stones album Let It Bleed was released in 1969, so their title was not a Pun-Based Title on Let It Be. Theirs appeared first.
- Revisiting the Roots: The album was originally going to be called Get Back because this was precisely the idea (and that of course is also the reason the song was called "Get Back"). This was an attempt to return to the sort of spontaneous, energetic rock and roll they'd played at the beginning of their career, as opposed to the sophisticated and intricately produced music they'd moved on to. This is also why they recorded "One After 909", a song that sounds like the early Beatles sound because it was the early Beatles sound, having been written and first recorded in 1963 but then shelved. The recording sessions were a disaster, and they largely abandoned the "back to basics" approach for their last recorded album, Abbey Road.
- Rooftop Concert: "Dig A Pony", "One After 909", and "I've Got a Feeling" were recorded on the roof top of the Abbey Road Studios, January 30, 1969. This also makes them the Trope Namer.
- Sixth Ranger: Or Fifth Beatle, in the case of Billy Preston after he joined the band for this album. The piano solo in "Get Back" was composed by Preston.
- Elmore James ain't got nothing on this, baby!
- Lennon namedrops Bob Dylan's "Like A Rolling Stone", the FBI, the CIA, the BBC, BB King, Doris Day and Scottish soccer player Matt Busby during Dig It.
- "Across The Universe" uses the Sanskrit phrase "Jai Guru Deva". The Sanskrit phrase is a sentence fragment whose words could have many meanings. Literally it approximates as "glory to the shining remover of darkness," and can be paraphrased as "Victory to God divine", "Hail to the divine guru", or the phrase commonly invoked by the late Maharishi Mahesh Yogi in referring to his spiritual teacher "All Glory to Guru Dev".
- Something Blues: "For You Blue" was originally titled "George's Blues (Because You're Sweet And Lovely)".
- Step Up to the Microphone: George Harrison sings lead on "I Me Mine" and "For Your Blue". It is one of the few Beatles albums not to have Ringo Starr on any vocals.
- Studio Chatter: Bits of nonsensical babbling from Lennon between several tracks, as well as the outro which features cheering and clapping, Paul's "Thanks Mo" (directed at Ringo's wife Maureen), and Lennon's famous "I hope we passed the audition" bit of snark. That Studio Chatter was actually recorded at the end of the Rooftop Concert (the actual track on the album was recorded in the studio three days earlier, on 27 January).
- Three Chords and the Truth: The album was intended as a back to basics to their original, simpler sound.
- Title Track: "Let It Be"
Let it be... let it be... let it be... whisper words of wisdom, let it be
- Train Song: "One After 909".
I got my bag, run to the station
Railman says you've got the the wrong location
I got my bag, run right home
Then I find I've got the number wrong
- What the Hell, Hero?: John's bass playing on "The Long And Winding Road" is terrible, and the fact that he not only let it stay in the finished track but also hired Phil Spector to dub strings and a choir over the top in the hope that it would distract attention from its terribleness, together invoke this trope.