The Mixed-Up Beatles Album

Let It Be cover

It was the last Beatles album released, but not the last Beatles album recorded -except that it did have the last recordings by members of the Beatles for the split. It has three producers and was meant to reflect a “back to basics” -yet it has probably the most produced tracks in the Beatles catalogue. It sounds incohesive and rough -and yet it is Brian Wilson’s favorite Beatles album, and is ranked number 86 in Rolling Stones 500 all-time great albums.

Of course, only the Beatles could make an album with the messy history of Let It Be into a classic. The cover (iconic as with all those of the Beatles) rightfully shows individual pictures of the group, who had already split by the time of release of the album, but there is an opportunity for one last John/Paul colloboration (I’ve Got A Feeling) and a blast from their distant past (One After 909).  George seemed to be saving his best for later, but still manages two memorable tunes. John, going through a tough personal patch, is hardly prolific, but still resurrects his memorable Across The Universe from a year back, and provided a new basic rocker, Dig A Pony, that still resonates with some fun Lennon word-play.

But it is Paul’s work that takes this album to greatness with his two classic ballads that are now pop standards, Let It Be and The Long And Winding Road. The former is a plea for serenity in an increasingly mad world -the latter a reflection on a physical long journey and metaphorical long road to love. Both resonate hugely at a personal and musical level. Add the ode to friendship,  Two Of Us , one of the great “unknown” Beatles songs, as well as Get Back, that last great rocker, and one can see this was one of Paul’s most prolific periods (he did a fair bit on Abbey Road as well.

Much of the material was released in different forms on Anthology III as well as Let It Be…Naked, but even although the tracks were tampered with in ways the Beatles weren’t happy themselves with, the original album remains the one that fans are familiar with and probably love the most. It will be interesting to see the publicity this album gets when the ITunes release happens. And can we please have the movie on DVD…..

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