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The Beatles - Let It Be CD (album) cover

LET IT BE

The Beatles

 

Proto-Prog

3.30 | 585 ratings

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patrickq
Prog Reviewer
3 stars They are still the best rock band ever, and to their credit, they broke up before they became irrelevant. But the Beatles didn't exactly go out with a bang. Some forgive the relative lack of quality of Let It Be, citing a web of circumstances: nearly all of the recordings had been "in the can" for sixteen months prior the the album's release in May 1970; band had already publicly broken up in April; Phil Spector was brought in at the last minute to entirely remix the album - - you get the idea. But to me the fact remains that most songs on Let It Be were either previously released or filler material - - or both.

To wit: "Get Back" was released as a single in April 1969; "Across the Universe" appeared on a compilation album in December. "Let It Be" was released as a single in March 1969 and "The Long and Winding Road" and "For You Blue" were released on a single in the US (but not in the UK) a week before with the album. All three a-sides were #1 hits in the US. So the best material - - by far - - on Let It Be had been previously issued, albeit in different mixes.

The original versions of "Let it Be," "Get Back," and "Across the Universe" all appear on the Past Masters compilation, which I would argue is an essential purchase, even for casual Beatles fans. Without them, what's left on Let It Be? Well, "The Long and Winding Road" is pretty good, strings and all. And then there are the fun throw-always like "Two of Us," "I Me Mine," and the Chuck Berry homage "One after 909." But that's really about it. In retrospect, that's not really surprising, I suppose; why would George Harrison, for example, contribute his best work, when it could have otherwise appeared on All Things Must Pass? The same argument could be applied to any of the Beatles; each released a gold-or platinum-selling album in 1970.

To me Let It Be is an unexceptional album, especially by Beatles standards. Nonetheless, time and money permitting, pick it up, but perhaps wait until after you've picked up the rest of their incredible catalog.

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P.S. Surprisingly, Let It Be... Naked, the 2003 alternate version of Let It Be, is actually better than the original.

patrickq | 3/5 |

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