The Beatles
Let It Be


4.0
excellent

Review

by Adam Thomas STAFF
July 28th, 2009 | 68 replies


Release Date: 1970 | Tracklist

Review Summary: All things must pass

Recorded shortly after the release of The Beatles' critically acclaimed White Album but released as their last studio work, even though Abbey Road was recorded afterwards, Let It Be marked the death of the the Fab Four. Originally planned by Paul McCartney as a backlash to the layering and overdubs that had come to dominate the whole of The Beatles catalog starting with 1966's Revolver, the stripped down approach taken on Let It Be was born out of McCartney's desire to play live and the band's enjoyment of the recording of "Happiness is a Warm Gun", where due to it's multiple sections and shifting time signatures forced the foursome to revive their skills as playing together as a band, not just as individuals. The Beatles started the rehearsals for what they planned at the time to be a series of live concerts, but would eventually become Let It Be, at the Twickenham Studios sound stage, and from the beginning it was apparent that the personal disconnect between them wasn't going away. Lennon had developed a heroin habit that saw him withdraw even further from the band, McCartney dominated the sessions with an iron fist, and Harrison, fresh off of a string of jam sessions with Bob Dylan and Eric Clapton respectfully, was resentful of his treatment by Lennon and McCartney, insomuch that after receiving patronizing instructions on how to play the lead on "I've Got a Feeling" Harrison walked out of the sessions with intentions to quit the band.

A week after Harrison's impromptu walk out, the band reunited as a four piece and moved their practice sessions to the Beatles' Apple Studios. With the focus still on playing live, keyboardist Billy Preston was invited to the sessions to supplement the live aspect of the music and to act as a buffer zone between Harrison and the rest of the band. This would lead to what would be The Beatles' final live appearance in the legendary Rooftop Concert, where the band debuted the songs "Dig a Pony", "I've Got a Feeling", and "One After 909", all of which appeared on Let It Be. As the sessions continued The Beatles wrote and jammed out not only the whole of Let It Be, but the ideas for almost all of the songs on Abbey Road and even some songs that would find their release on solo albums from after the Beatles break up, such as "All Things Must Pass".

As previously stated, the sound that The Beatles were aiming for on Let It Be is a stripped down rootsy sound, firmly grounded in Rhythm and Blues. The dense recordings filled with a cornucopia of overdubs, tape loops, and eastern instrumentation that are associated with the band's middle period are abandoned in their entirety. Let It Be begins with "The Two of Us". "The Two of Us" is as back to basics as the Beatles could get. The mainly acoustic number is an updated version of the lovey-dovey attitude presented on the Beatles earliest of works, but instead of the insipid and straightforward teenie bopper anthems that brought about Beatlemania, "The Two of Us" shines with a mature understanding of want and shared memories that is far deeper and, while not as sonically abrupt, outshines those early recordings in the same vein. "Across the Universe" is the first track on Let It Be that showcases Phil Spector's "Wall of Sound" production technique, with its lush string arrangements that weave in an out of the background and foreground spaces along with the psychedelic flair of the effects driven lead guitar work, making the whole song sound like it was recorded in a Leslie cab. "The Long and Winding Road" also sees Spector's use of orchestral arrangements in full force. The strings and brass beautifully swell to accentuate the emotional depth and longing of McCartney's tender love ballad with the sections of choral work to push it to the top.

Let it Be also contains some of the Beatles most "rocking" numbers. The most famous of these is the album's last song "Get Back". "Get Back" is rooted in the rhythm section. Ringo's fast shuffle, and Paul's bluesy bass lines allow George and John to add that classic British take to American Delta blues. Even Paul's vocals take on the necessary grit required to make the song work. "One After 909" further brings out the Beatles blues influence. George and keyboardist Billy Preston steal the show as George basically free-solos over the Preston's jangly Rhodes for two minutes and forty five seconds of the song's two minute and fifty one second run time. Not all of Let It Be's rock-oriented moments are upbeat takes of British style Rhythm and Blues. "I Me Mine" and "Dig a Pony" are a bit more subdued yet drive just as hard with Paul's walking bass-lines, and the powerful guitar work of both John and George. Both also hint at (or hearken back to, depending on your stance on which came first) the guitar tone and style of Abbey Road, sounding like Abbey Road offerings "She's So Heavy" and the medleys respectively.

The highlight of Let It Be is its moving center piece, the title track. The track is introduced by Lennon in a high pitched voice saying "That was 'Can You Dig It' by Georgie Wood, and now we'd like to do 'Hark The Angels Come'," before the melancholy cadences of the piano of the main verse welcome in Paul's voice. Soon the piano is met by drums and Spector's trademark orchestral production with some light brass before it bursts into George Harrison's beautifully uplifting guitar work. McCartney's lyrics perfectly complement the somber instrumentation, weaving strong Catholic imagery with the bubbling spirit of hope ingrained in the times. "Let It Be" reaches its moving peak at the final verse when Paul sings "And when the night is cloudy, there is still a light, that shines on me/shine 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".

A month before Let It Be was set to be released, Paul McCartney announced his split from the Beatles, marking an end to the one of Rock and Roll's most iconic acts. Following the demise of the Beatles, all of the fab four went on to more than successful solo careers. John Lennon released the iconic albums John Lennon and the Plastic Ono Band and Imagine, Paul McCartney went on to join Wings, George Harrison released the classic All Things Must Pass, organized the Concert for Bangladesh and founded Dark Horse records, and Ringo Starr went on to release a slew of charting albums, the most notable being his 1973 self titled album that contained the single "It Don't Come Easy", and also did some television work, including a role as the narrator to the childrens show Thomas the Tank Engine. Even with all of the former member's post-Beatle material, none would see the same amount as adoration and influence as the albums they released while together.



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Chart.
3.9
excellent
other reviews of this album
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Comments:Add a Comment 
Athom
Staff Reviewer
July 28th 2009


17222 Comments


Woooo #60!

Kiran
Emeritus
July 28th 2009


6001 Comments


60, well done, and another good one at that. The title track just might be my favourite Beatles song.

thebbqshrimp
July 28th 2009


1207 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

The title track just might be my favourite Beatles song.

I'll go a step further. Possibly the greatest song of all-time. Period.


Excellent review. Congrats on #60! POS'd.

Athom
Staff Reviewer
July 28th 2009


17222 Comments


WHO THE FUCK NEGGED?!?!?!

thebbqshrimp
July 28th 2009


1207 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Yeah... dats whack.

Athom
Staff Reviewer
July 28th 2009


17222 Comments


it's buggin the fuck out of me.

CelestialDust
July 28th 2009


3155 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

oh no, i pos'd
i heard the title track is pretty fucking sick guys i might check it out


darthbarf
July 28th 2009


445 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Great review dude I learned some new stuff

Athom
Staff Reviewer
July 28th 2009


17222 Comments


for those who havent seen it you can find the movie Let It Be (which documented the recording of the album) at http://www.youtube.com/profile?user=rockchick2112&view=videos&start=20

It's split into 9 parts.

ninjuice
July 28th 2009


6760 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I've listened to this either once or twice so far, and it's pretty meh for The Beatles. Either in or pretty close to the bottom 3. Not to mention the "Naked" version of Across the Universe sounds soooooooo much better.

thebbqshrimp
July 28th 2009


1207 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

That ghost neg is gone.

Athom
Staff Reviewer
July 28th 2009


17222 Comments


"Not to mention the "Naked" version of Across the Universe sounds soooooooo much better."
I agree with you on that, it worked better without the strings (and spector's making it sound all tinny). This is still better than most of the material that came out of the first half of their pre-Revolver career (exceptions being Help and Rubber Soul) and gets too much shit just because it was released after The White Album and Abbey Road, which are classics. And imo a run of the mill beatles album is still a pretty damn good album.

WarAllTheTime988
July 28th 2009


360 Comments


Agreed that this is a damn good album. Hard to follow anything such as Abbey Road/White Album but this is definitely still a superb release. I scored some McCartney tickets for next Thursday so that should be a sweet damn time. Another key review Adam!

Athom
Staff Reviewer
July 28th 2009


17222 Comments


Thanks. hot damn, that should be a good show.

alachlahol
July 28th 2009


7501 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

how can you not love the music this band made

ninjuice
July 28th 2009


6760 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

This is still better than most of the material that came out of the first half of their pre-Revolver career

At this point, I'll say that this album is better than Please Please Me, With the Beatles and maybe A Hard Day's Night. I'm getting the Naked version of this from the library soon ("lol library" right), I'm thinking I'll wait and compare the two side by side.

WarAllTheTime988
July 28th 2009


360 Comments


I think this is better than Naked but I think that's different for a lot of people.

Gyromania
July 29th 2009


15941 Comments


The Long and Winding Road is sooooo boring.

Digging: Lantlos - .neon

thatguy84
July 29th 2009


214 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I love how a lot of the songs on this album feel as though they're meant to be played live, which I'm sure is what they were going for.

And I prefer Naked, it flows better and most of the songs sound better, not to mention that there is no good reason not to include Don't Let Me Down on the album. The only thing I don't like on Naked is the solo on Let It Be, which I think is much more epic on the original (although a bit too loud compared to the rest of the song).

Also the Across the Universe on Past Master Vol 2 is totally the best version of that song.

WarAllTheTime988
July 29th 2009


360 Comments


"The Long And Winding Road" is AMAZING!!



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