US album release: Let It Be

9.00am, Monday 18 May 1970 (43 years ago)

Ten days after its United Kingdom release, The Beatles’ final LP, Let It Be, was issued in the United States.

The catalogue number was Apple AR 34001, and the tracklisting was the same as the UK version.

Unlike in the UK, the US edition of Let It Be didn’t come with the box set and glossy paperback book. Its cheaper price, together with the absence of any new Beatles long-players since Abbey Road in October 1969, meant it was an enticing prospect for record buyers.

At the time, Let It Be had the highest number of advance orders for any album in the US record industry, with an astonishing 3,700,000 orders placed. The album retailed at $7, creating a gross sales figure of $25,900,000 before it was even released.

As United Artists was the distributor of the Let It Be film, it also had the rights to distribute the soundtrack album in America. Capitol, meanwhile, retained the rights to release songs from Let It Be as singles and on compilation albums.

To indicate that Let It Be was not distributed by Capitol, as was the convention for The Beatles’ other Apple releases, the original label for the US edition sported a red apple rather than the usual green Granny Smith logo.

In 1976, when The Beatles’ contract with Apple Records expired, Let It Be went out of print in America for three years, until Capitol/EMI acquired United Artists in 1979. As part of the deal they also gained the rights to the US edition of the A Hard Day’s Night LP.

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