At number 392 in Rolling Stone Magazine’s 500 greatest albums of all time is “Let It Be” by The Beatles. The list from 400 to 391 is as follows:
- 400 – “Anthology” by The Temptations (1995)
- 399 – “Rain Dogs” by Tom Waits (1985)
- 398 – “Eliminator” by ZZ Top (1983)
- 397 – “Blue Lines” by Massive Attack (1991)
- 396 – “For Your Pleasure” by Roxy Music (1973)
- 395 – “Sound of Silver” by LCD Soundsystem (2007)
- 394 – “Good Old Boys” by Randy Newman (1974)
- 393 – “Kala” by M.I.A. (2007)
- 392 – “Let It Be” by The Beatles (1970)
- 391 – “The Pretender” by Jackson Browne (1976)
The only one of these albums which I own is “Let it Be”, although I do have albums by Tom Waits and Roxy Music. I also own songs by The Temptations, ZZ Top, and Jackson Browne. I have heard of Massive Attack, but have no idea who LCD Soundsystem or M.I.A are.
“Let it Be” was the last album that The Beatles released, although it was actually recorded before “Abbey Road”. The album was released as the soundtrack to the film of the same name. Paul McCartney had the idea in late 1968 of filming The Beatles in the studio, and putting together a “fly on the wall” documentary of the band which would include live recordings of their performing new songs. The band started filming in Twickenham film studios in January 1969, but the sessions there soon degenerated into bickering and fighting.
The movie ended up being a documentary about the disintegration of The Beatles, rather than a celebration of their music. Here is the official trailer for the film.
This short clip here is typical of the sort of fighting the cameras were witness to – George Harrison getting fed up of having Paul McCartney dictate his guitar playing to him and saying “I’ll play whatever you want me to play, or I won’t play at all if you don’t want to me to play. Whatever it is that will please you, I’ll do it.”
The film itself has not been available since the 1980s, and so far has not been re-released on DVD. Apparently The Beatles would prefer it not to be re-released as it casts the band in such a negative light. But, despite the unhappy circumstances surrounding the film and the accompanying album, there is some very fine music on this album.
It is the only Beatles album not produced by George Martin. The film and album were abandoned as The Beatles relationship with each other deteriorated. Then American producer Phil Spector was brought in to put an album together. He added his trademark orchestral embellishments on many of the songs, so on songs like John Lennon’s “Across the Universe” for example, the orchestral arrangements were added by Spector.
Side 1 :
1. “Two of Us”
2. “Dig a Pony”
3. “Across the Universe”
4. “I Me Mine”
5. “Dig It”
6. “Let It Be”
7. “Maggie Mae”
Side 2 :
1. “I’ve Got a Feeling”
2. “One After 909”
3. “The Long and Winding Road”
4. “For You Blue”
5. “Get Back”
In 2003 The Beatles released a new version of this album, entitled “Let it Be… Naked”. Overseen by McCartney, it features stripped down versions of the songs, so for example one can hear the original “acoustic” version of “Across the Universe”. In general I like the stripped down versions of the songs more than the Phil Spector versions, but both albums are great albums in my opinion. I am surprised the album is so low in the 500 greatest albums list, and below some of the other Beatles albums.
I have already blogged about their live performance of “Get Back” on the roof of the Apple building in London. So, today I thought I would include the title track. Although it is one of The Beatles’ most well known songs, “Let it Be” it is still one of their best and a fitting swan-song to the greatest band in history.
Which is your favourite song on this album?