UK album release: Let It Be

The Beatles' final album was released in the UK on this day. Ostensibly the soundtrack to their fifth film, Let It Be was issued only in stereo, initially as Apple PXS 1.

The album divided critics and fans upon its release, although attitudes towards it have mellowed somewhat in the years since. People were generally disappointed that The Beatles' legacy should end in such a way, and yearned for the magic that had been a hallmark of their 1960s releases.

Another reason for disappointment was the box set and book which accompanied the vinyl disc. This added 33% to the retail price, raising it to £2 19s 11d, and was considered an unnecessary step by many - including Paul McCartney, who also took exception to Phil Spector's production work.

The book was titled The Beatles Get Back, and included photographic stills and dialogue from the Let It Be sessions. It contained 164 pages, but the binding was of poor quality and copies with pages still intact are today sought after by collectors.

The extra price affected advance orders of the album, although inevitably it topped the UK charts. Let It Be spent three weeks at number one from 23 May 1970, and spent a total of 59 weeks in the charts.

Within six months production of the box and book had been ceased, and the album was made available as Apple PCS 7096.

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