Monday 25 June 2012

The Best Of The Best Of Let It Be

One of the decisions I made when starting this blogging odyssey (blogdyssey?!?) was to limit myself to official recordings release during the Beatles lifetime. That way I might have some chance of retaining my sanity, finishing during my natural lifetime and avoiding wading through a sea of substandard bootlegs and outtakes. But which version of Let It Be is the best? The Spectorised version which abandoned the original concept and which Paul so despised he cited it in his 1970 court case? Or the stripped down reissue - 'Naked' as God (or at least Paul) intended? You would expect the latter album to be simply be remixes, but many tracks are completely different versions. After a detailed survey (click on the titles for more info) here is my ideal Let It Be mix tape.

LIBN Two Of Us
LIBN Dig A Pony
LIB   Across The Universe               
LIBN I Me Mine
LIB   Dig It     
LIBN Let It Be                   (see also The Many Guitar Solos Of Let It Be)
LIB   Maggie Mae           
LIBN I've Got A Feeling     
LIBN Don't Let Me Down     
A1    The One After 909         
LIBN The Long And Winding Road 
A3    For You Blue                         
LIB   Get Back                  (see also Get Back To The Drawing Board)

LIBN wins hands down though LIB has two superior versions (not counting Dig It and Maggie Mae which don't appear on LIBN at all) and the Anthologies manage a couple. But a word of warning. LIBN wasn't a restoration job on a masterpiece obscured by years of neglect and audio grime. It merely made a bad album slightly nicer to listen too. Some of that grime was there for a reason. A pristine digital mix displays substandard writing and poor performances that you can't pin on Phil Spector. The album remains, as John Lennon famously said

the s**tiest load of badly recorded s**t
with a lousy feeling to it


LIB – Let It Be
LIBN – Let It Be Naked
A1 – Anthology 1
A3 – Anthology 3


  1. That's one of the things I admire about Lennon; he spoke his mind, no matter what the consequences.

    I actually really like Let It Be (despite the Spector hatchet job on "Long & Winding Road"). I find it interesting to hear The Beatles sounding more "natural" and without the studio trickery.

  2. I will have to have a listen again because, in truth, I haven't listened to any version of the Let It Be album for a long while now.

    From what I remember of Naked, there are obvious oops moments, but it is still in line with the "natural" sound that they were supposedly going for.

    I can see why Spector did what he did with some of the songs. His big famed "Wall of Sound" could easily hide a multitude of sins playing wise, but occasionally it wasn't necessary.

    It's almost as if they had got fed up and thought sod it, and then someone thought "we need a soundtrack album to this promised film", so they cobbled it all together as best they could. Unfortunately for them Pro-Tools didn't exist at that time.

    Perhaps that's the project that Giles Martin is working on - a Pro-Tools version of it with everything perfect?

    Sorry, waffling on there without thinking before I type.

  3. Waffle away dear boy!

    I hope Giles isn't working on LIB - is just more turd polishing in my opinion.

    What would be really special is new stereo mixes of the mid/later albums, using all the pre bounced four tracks to get separation. They did this in part for the songtrack CD which I suspect was beacuse it would have made up for the new Yellow Sub film that has now been shelved..

    You heard it here first!

  4. I would absolutely love new stereo mixes like that.

    I do agree about the analogy regarding another LIB variation as well.

    Wow, shelved hey? Can't say I'm that surprised.