Spin #73 : The Beatles : Let It Be
SUNDAY DROP - SPIN #73
Welcome to our 73rd Sunday drop from the R'nR with Rylo collection! I want to wish our little girl a very Happy 2nd Birthday for yesterday and we got to celebrate with a big party that she absolutely loved. We didn't get to celebrate last year, so it was good to see her having an absolute blast. Her brother has been so excited for the last month, anticipating all the birthday party games and was very thoughtful with his gift. Also selected because he wanted to read it too but he picked it because he knew Q would love it. Good to be back home after a long week of travel and hope you all are ready for this #sundaydrop! This week I have chosen the last album to be released from the Fab Four, 'Let It Be'. I have given myself a quest to eventually get the 5 LP edition of this one because it comes with the Glyn Johns vision of the album before Phil Spector got his hands on it. I will explain more in the spin below.
Initially researched and listened to this one during my travels this week, seeing as I had a lot of driving to do. Now that I am back home I have chosen the front room set up to make the most of the warmth. My dream of a listening room won't ever leave me and even if I achieve it when I'm 80, I will be happy. My wife has had a tough week this week with the added stress of me being away and I wanted her to know that I thought about her and our children every minute I was away. She is such a strong person and her only weakness is that she doesn't know or realise just how strong she truly is. Have a look at the list of albums below that were released in 1970! If you were buying all of these today you would be broke, but back in 1970 I think you'd be able to get a lot more of these with your weekly paycheck.
ALBUMS OF NOTE (1970): All Things Must Pass - George Harrison, Plastic Ono Band - John Lennon, Moondance - Van Morrison, Paranoid - Black Sabbath, Led Zeppelin III - Led Zeppelin, American Beauty - Grateful Dead, Loaded - The Velvet Underground, Workingman's Dead - Grateful Dead, In Rock - Deep Purple, Black Sabbath - Black Sabbath, Tea for the Tillerman - Cat Stevens, The Man Who Sold The World - David Bowie, Atom Heart Mother - Pink Floyd, Bridge Over Troubled Water - Simon & Garfunkel, After The Gold Rush - Neil Young, Cosmo's Factory - Creedence Clearwater Revival, Bitches Brew - Miles Davis, Morrison Hotel - The Doors, McCartney - Paul McCartney, Deja Vu - Crosby, Stills Nash & Young, New Morning - Bob Dylan
Image: John Lennon, George Harrison, Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr
I think out of all the records that I've featured, a lot of you would have this one in your collection. If you do, put the LP on the turntable and Sit back and relax and get ready as we #dropthestylus on this '70s classic!
From my favourite modern band last week to my favourite band of all time this week, I think you have all been spoiled. A few months ago I started watching The Beatles documentary on Disney, whilst we had it, but never got to finish it. It's the series restored and pieced together by Peter Jackson from hours and hours of film that was shot for the 'Get Back' sessions. Yes, originally the album and the film were to be titled 'Get Back' instead of 'Let It Be'. It was put forward as a fly on the wall style experience of the band creating, writing, rehearsing and eventually performing on stage a live show. The album was to capture all of that, no matter how unpolished it ended up, to show that the band was getting back to their roots.
I've streamed some of the rough takes from 1968 and 1969 and you do have a different feeling of what this album could have sounded like. Glyn Johns was brought in to remix the album and he left a lot of the chatter in the studio at the start of songs to make you feel as though you were in the room or watching them in concert. If you have spotify, track down that version on 'Let It Be' Super Deluxe and compare it to the album you remember. There are quite a few changes and although the released album sounds great, they lost the direction they were going for when Phil Spector was brought in (unknown to Paul, Ringo and George at the time). I will talk more about that later but the stylus has worked its way onto first track, 'TWO OF US'. This song was either written about Paul and his wife to be at the time - Linda or a combination of his friendship with John over the years. I like that they sang together on the same microphone like they did in the band's early days. Whilst driving this week, I really connected to the lyrics of, "Two of us riding nowhere, spending someone's hard earned pay. You and me Sunday driving, not arriving, on our way back home. We're on our way home, We're on our way home, We're going home". For me, I was thinking of Night Kat Kiz and I before we had our children and how we would go for drives anywhere for an adventure - "You and I have memories, longer than the road that stretches out ahead". I love the simplicity of how this song sounds and the bass work coming through sounds so clear through the Marshall Woburn II speaker.
The whistling of Lennon makes way for the sounds of 'DIG A PONY'. I remember when our son was in the bath and having fun listening to music being streamed from my phone. He would have been either three or four at the time and this song came on and without hesitation he says, "Dad, that's The Beatles". Now I know that he has NEVER heard this song at home and I doubt that it would have been played or stated to be The Beatles at his daycare. To this day, I have no idea how he knew that. John sounds like he is having fun with this song and although he just put a bunch of nonsense lyrics together, it works.
In comparison is the third song, 'ACROSS THE UNIVERSE' in which Lennon felt possessed as the words came to him in the middle of the night. He got up out of bed and just had to write the lyrics down and once he had, the sense of awakeness was gone. Lennon would later refer to this song as his greatest piece of songwriting and poetry he would write. I didn't notice originally in my version but on the 1968 Glyn Johns mix, the Tambura is so much louder and I really like George Harrison's playing. Sadly, Phil Spector pretty much got rid of it by turning it down so much in the mix. This song of sadness, love and energy has been covered by countless admirers over the years and is a song that I could listen to on repeat. I think the moment when Lennon is singing, "Jai guru deva, om, Nothing's gonna change my world", will give you goosebumps. Of course everything changes your world if you let it and sometimes there is nothing you can do. But to have a mindset of, "Nothing's gonna change my world" is, I feel very uplifting yet sad at the same time.
'I ME MINE' was originally not going to be on the album but Harrison managed to get this one on the record. It was recorded last and sadly whilst Lennon wasn't in the studio anymore. I found a quote from Harrison about this song, "The truth within us has to be realised. When you realise that, everything else that you see and do and touch and smell isn’t real, then you may know what reality is, and can answer the question ‘Who am I?’". I like the tempo changes on this track and easily get into it by tapping my feet (or fingers on the steering wheel whilst I was away travelling for work). Can you believe that Harrison brought the classic song, 'All Things Must Pass' to the sessions and was regarded as not good enough to appear on a Beatles record. It would later be the title of his debut album and would be regarded as the most successful debut out of all the members of the band.
Up next is a song, well can I really call it a song? 'DIG IT' was originally a song of over 4:00 minutes of jamming and experimenting cut down to about 50 seconds by Spector. The only thing that works well is the final line of, "And now we'd like to do "Hark, the Angels Come", as it makes 'LET IT BE' sound like a hymn. We now move into Paul McCartney on the piano and taking command. I know that the original cover artwork had the boys looking over the railing again, replicating their stances from their first album, 'Please, Please Me'. It was also meant to be called 'Get Back' but seeing as the band had broken up prior to the release of this album, it was all changed. I couldn't find out in my limited time researching but you can see the imagery on the front cover of boxes separating the members of the band. The black background and the words 'Let It Be' make it feel more like a goodbye album or eulogy. This one also has Billy Preston play the organ and would provide some much needed energy and positivity to the group during this time. I think the media made more out of the break up or bad blood between The Beatles in order to get a story. This probably put a lot of pressure on the band and being filmed every minute of the sessions wouldn't have helped. Having so much pressure and success in the space of the decade had taken its toll on their lives and is very sad to think that if the media had of backed off, just where they would have ended up as a band. Would they have taken a break and returned refreshed after this album? Well, they felt during the recording of this album that they had a few more ideas for what would be their album, 'Abbey Road'. A bit of trivia that you might not know is 'Abbey Road' was recorded after 'Let It Be' but released before it.
I think our children are all exhausted from the weekend and running around to really get into any more of this album. Next song is another short one and more of way to show you they were proud Liverpudlian's. 'MAGGIE MAE' is a traditional folk song from Liverpool and finishes Side A. Time to go to the toilet and boil the ketta (the word our children say instead of kettle). I'll flip over the LP and drop the stylus on Side B whilst you think about what you've just heard.
Side B starts with the gruff vocals of McCartney singing 'I'VE GOT A FEELING'. You can hear them having so much fun on this one and the energy is positive. I didn't realise but it is a combination of a couple of Lennon and McCartney songs that weren't finished. That's why you hear Lennon singing, "Everybody had a good year, Everybody let their hair down, Everybody pulled their socks up, Everybody put their foot down". It leads nicely into the country twang of next song, 'ONE AFTER 909'. Plucked straight from their bag of tricks (songs written back in the late 50s) and feel was a nice touch to include on what would be the last album. I like the frantic pace on this song and it seemed to go nicely in the car whilst driving. Especially when there was a slow car in front and I was singing the lyrics of, "I said move over once, move over twice...". I know our son and daughter would love this song to dance along to and we have been playing statues some nights before bed to shake all the silly's out. Whilst this one is playing, I'm picturing them wearing cowboy hats and playing at a roadhouse somewhere in the states. I think it was strange to then have such a ballad follow these last two songs to be honest. Tell me how you would have changed the tracklisting to make it flow better in the comments below or on our social pages.
Incredibly emotive song is up next and one that McCartney wasn't happy with the remix version. Originally was supposed to be just the piano but they added the orchestral background to give the song padding. 'THE LONG AND WINDING ROAD' is a standout track in The Beatles canon and would be their last number one song. I dare you to listen to this one without feeling the emotion in McCartney's vocals and piano playing. I've included the lyrics as favourite lyrics but there is just too much choice on this album and I couldn't decide which song was my favourite. Maybe would have been better to have put this one last on Side B and leave it as a farewell song to show just how far they had come as a band and the impact they had on the world.
The second of Harrisons songs is up next and called, 'FOR YOU BLUE'. Written by Harrison for his wife and picking up the mood with traditional 12 bar blues style. You could hear his style growing and confidence in his abilities which would go on to be shown with the Traveling Wilburys and his solo albums. I enjoy this song and the talking throughout the track, providing encouragement and laughs. It's nice to hear them enjoying this moment during some trying times. "Because you're sweet and lovely, girl, I love you. Because you're sweet and lovely, girl, it's true. I love you more than ever, girl, I do. I'm livin' the blues".
Last track on the last album released by The Beatles is called 'GET BACK' and as I stated previously, was the working title and inspiration for this album. If only the world let them get back to their roots and enjoy their craft again. The original idea was lost when Spector came in and cleaned up all the rawness and added his signature touch to the album. I wish I knew someone who attended the rooftop concert or heard it from the streets of London below. Now that would have been something to be apart of and be able to tell the kids about. The song ends with Lennon saying, "I'd like to say thank you on behalf of the group and ourselves, and I hope we passed the audition". Then there is silence. Just like that it has now been 53 years since this album was released - which sounds crazy. If you enjoy this album or you are just getting into their music, do yourself a favour and purchase this LP (if you can afford, buy the Super Deluxe) and a decent pair of headphones.
Thanks for taking time out of your Sunday and spending it with me (Rylo) and our little family. A couple of you guessed the MWSP this week and thank you for getting involved each and every week. Join us next week for something homegrown that I feel is a must add to everyone's collection! Below I have included a quote from Alice Cooper because I believe he is right. If you have 20 minutes to spare, do yourself a favour and watch the last ever concert by the Fab Four by clicking here.
“Everybody was influenced by somebody, but I think everybody was influenced by The Beatles" - Alice Cooper
Until our next Spin, be Kind to the person who makes your coffee and be Kind to your Wax!
SPEED PLAYED AT
ABBEY ROAD (1969)
SUPER DELUXE 2021 VERSION OF 'LET IT BE'
I'VE GOT A FEELING, ONE AFTER 909, THE LONG AND WINDING ROAD, FOR YOU BLUE OR GET BACK - COULDN'T DECIDE!
RATING OUT OF 5
WHAT'S INSIDE THE RECORD SLEEVE
1 x BLACK LP, APPLE LABEL ON LP AND REMASTERED 2009 VERSION
"The long and winding road that leads to your door. Will never disappear, I've seen that road before. It always leads me here, lead me to your door" ~ The Long and Winding Road - Side B
LP / SIDE
TWO OF US
DIG A PONY
ACROSS THE UNIVERSE
I ME MINE
LET IT BE
I'VE GOT A FEELING
ONE AFTER 909
THE LONG AND WINDING ROAD
FOR YOU BLUE
The last ever concert performed by The Beatles - rooftop of 3 Saville Row