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Posts Tagged ‘Phil Spector’

At number 8 in Rolling Stone Magazine’s list of the 100 greatest Beatles songs is “Let it Be”. This Paul McCartney ballad is possibly one of the band’s best known songs, and is also the title of the last album which they released (although the songs were recorded before Abbey Road). The song’s lyrics were inspired by McCartney’s mother Mary, who died of cancer when he was 14 years old. The lines “When I find myself in times of trouble / mother Mary comes to me” speak of his longing for her, and of her coming to him in his dreams.

The Beatles released two versions of “Let it Be”, the single version was released in March of 1970, just before Paul McCartney announced that he had left the band. The album version, released in May of the same year, is slightly different. The album version has an additional guitar solo (played by George Harrison), some differences in the lyrics, and some additional orchestrations added by Phil Spector. The album version runs about 10 seconds longer than the single version. Surprisingly, the single only reached number 2 in the Disunited Kingdom, but in the USA and many other countries it reached number 1. “Let it Be” entered the US charts at number 6, which at the time was the highest chart-entry position for any song.

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At number 8 in Rolling Stone Magazine’s list of the 100 greatest Beatles songs is “Let It Be”

McCartney chose “Let it Be” as his contribution to the 1985 Live Aid concert for famine relief in Ethiopia. He was the closing act of the London concert (the USA one, in Philadelphia, started and finished later because of the time difference). I was lucky enough to be at the London concert, but unfortunately his microphone did not work for about the first half of the song. A few years later I saw McCartney perform in Birmingham, but I do not recall that he performed “Let it Be” on that occasion.

The B-side of the “Let it Be” single release was “You Know My Name (Look Up the Number)” which, if you haven’t heard it, is well worth a listen. It is possibly the strangest and most humorous song recorded by The Beatles, and pretty much unlike anything else you are likely to have heard by them.

When I find myself in times of trouble
Mother Mary comes to me
Speaking words of wisdom, let it be
And in my hour of darkness
She is standing right in front of me
Speaking words of wisdom, let it be

Let it be, let it be
Let it be, let it be
Whisper words of wisdom, let it be

And when the broken-hearted people
Living in the world agree
There will be an 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

Let it be, let it be
Let it be, let it be
Yeah, there will be an answer, let it be
Let it be, let it be
Let it be, let it be
Whisper words of wisdom, let it be

Let it be, let it be
Ah, let it be, yeah, let it be
Whisper words of wisdom, let it be

And when the night is cloudy
There is still a light that shines on me
Shine on until tomorrow, let it be
I wake up to the sound of music,
Mother Mary comes to me
Speaking words of wisdom, let it be

Let it be, let it be
Let it be, yeah, let it be
Oh, there will be an answer, let it be
Let it be, let it be
Let it be, yeah, let it be
Whisper words of wisdom, let it be

Here is a YouTube video of “Let it Be”, although I suspect that it will be removed fairly soon as Apple seems to be exercising an aggressive policy in getting Beatles songs removed from YouTube.

If/when this video is taken down, you can listen to “Let it Be” via one of the streaming services, for example here is a link to Let it Be  on Spotify. Or, you can listen to Paul McCartney singing it live in concert in New York city.

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At number 22 in Rolling Stone Magazine’s 500 greatest songs of all time is “Be My Baby” by The Ronettes. This song, released in 1963, was written by Jeff Barry, Ellie Greenwich, and Phil Spector, and produced by Spector. The song is considered one of the most influential pop songs of the early 1960s, with Spector’s elaborate recording sound, his “wall of sound”, influencing artists like The Beatles and The Beach Boys.



At number 30 in Rolling Stone Magazine's '500 Greatest Songs of all Time' is "I Walk the Line" by Johnny Cash.

At number 22 in Rolling Stone Magazine’s ‘500 Greatest Songs of all Time’ is “Be My Baby” by The Ronettes.



The night we met I knew I needed you so
And if I had the chance I’d never let you go
So won’t you say you love me? I’ll make you so proud of me
We’ll make ’em turn their heads every place we go

So won’t you, please?
(Be my, be my baby)
Be my little baby
(My one and only baby)
Say you’ll be my darlin’
(Be my, be my baby)
Be my baby now
(My one and only baby)
Whoa oh oh oh

I’ll make you happy, baby, just wait and see
For every kiss you give me, I’ll give you three
Oh, since the day I saw you, I have been waiting for you
You know I will adore you ’til eternity

So won’t you, please?
(Be my, be my baby)
Be my little baby
(My one and only baby)
Say you’ll be my darlin’
(Be my, be my baby)
Be my baby now
(My one and only baby)
Whoa oh oh oh

So come on and please
(Be my, be my baby)
Be my little baby
(My one and only baby)
Say you’ll be my darlin’
(Be my, be my baby)
Be my baby now
(My one and only baby)
Whoa oh oh oh

Be my, be my baby
(Be my little baby)
My one and only baby
Be my, be my baby
My one and only baby

Be my, be my baby
My one and only baby
Be my, be my baby


Here is a video of the song. Enjoy!





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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.



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At number 392 in Rolling Stone Magazine’s 500 greatest albums is “Let it Be” by The Beatles.



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.

Track listing

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?

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