Room four, EMI Studios, Abbey Road
Producer: Phil Spector
Engineer: Peter Bown
The final day’s work on The Beatles’ last album Let It Be was a stereo mixing and edit session for three songs.
Phil Spector worked in room four of EMI Studios, with balance engineer Peter Bown and tape operator Roger Ferris. The three songs worked on were ‘The Long And Winding Road’, ‘Across The Universe’, and ‘I Me Mine’.
Some further work was also required on the latter two tracks. Spector edited then slowed ‘Across The Universe’, changing the key from D to C#, and combined two stereo mixes of ‘The Long And Winding Road’ – the edit can be heard at 1’26”.
After the session acetates of the completed album were sent to each of The Beatles for approval. Although he later expressed bitter resentment at Spector’s work, Paul McCartney is said to have initially been happy with the treatment of the recordings.
I spoke to Paul on the phone and said, ‘Did you like it?’, and he said, ‘Yeah, it’s OK.’ He didn’t put it down. And then suddenly he didn’t want it to go out. Two weeks after that, he wanted to cancel it.
In the Anthology book, McCartney explained the feeling of ambivalence that characterised The Beatles’ final days.
Allen Klein decided – possibly having consulted the others, but certainly not me – that Let It Be would be re-produced for disc by Phil Spector.
So now we were getting a ‘re-producer’ instead of just a producer, and he added on all sorts of stuff – singing ladies on ‘The Long And Winding Road’ – backing that I perhaps wouldn’t have put on. I mean, I don’t think it made it the worst record ever, but the fact that now people were putting stuff on our records that certainly one of us didn’t know about was wrong. I’m not sure whether the others knew about it. It was just, ‘Oh, get it finished up. Go on – do whatever you want.’ We were all getting fed up.
Also on this day...
- 1973: US album release: 1967-1970 (Blue Album)
- 1973: John Lennon and Yoko Ono announce the conceptual country Nutopia
- 1973: US album release: 1962-1966 (Red Album)
- 1965: Mixing: You’re Going To Lose That Girl
- 1965: Filming: Help!
- 1964: Filming: A Hard Day’s Night
- 1963: Live: Azena Ballroom, Sheffield
- 1962: Live: Pavilion Theatre, Liverpool
- 1962: Live: Cavern Club, Liverpool (lunchtime)
- 1961: Live: Top Ten Club, Hamburg
Want more? Visit the Beatles history section.