Let It Be… Naked

Let It Be... Naked album artworkRecorded: 3, 4 February 1968; 2-31 January 1969; 3, 4 January 1970
Producers: George Martin
Engineers: Paul Hicks, Guy Massey, Allan Rouse, Glyn Johns, Ken Scott, Martin Benge, Peter Bown, Phil McDonald

Released: 17 November 2003

John Lennon: vocals, acoustic guitar, electric guitar, lap steel guitar, bass guitar, organ, whistling
Paul McCartney: vocals, acoustic guitar, bass guitar, piano, electric piano, Hammond organ, whistling
George Harrison: vocals, acoustic guitar, electric guitar, tambura
Ringo Starr: drums, percussion
George Martin: Hammond organ, shaker
Billy Preston: Hammond organ, electric piano

Download on iTunes
Fly On The Wall bonus disc:
Sun King
Don't Let Me Down
One After 909
Because I Know You Love Me So
Don't Pass Me By
Taking A Trip To Carolina
John's Piano Piece
Child Of Nature
Back In The USSR
Every Little Thing
Don't Let Me Down
All Things Must Pass
John's Jam
She Came In Through The Bathroom Window
Paul's Bass Jam
Paul's Piano Piece
Get Back
Two Of Us
Maggie Mae
Fancy My Chances With You
Dig It
Get Back

An extensively remixed and reworked version of songs first released in 1970, Let It Be... Naked stripped away the studio chatter and Phil Spector post-production from The Beatles' swansong Let It Be, presenting a release closer to the group's original vision.

The project came about following a chance meeting between Paul McCartney and the Let It Be film director Michael Lindsay-Hogg. They discussed the lack of availability of the film on VHS and DVD, and spoke about the possibility of remixing the soundtrack to accompany such a release.

McCartney had long been aggrieved by the Let It Be album, particularly the Spector's 1970 post-production work which added his Wall of Sound signature to several songs. Chief among McCartney's objections was The Long And Winding Road, which he felt had been transformed from a simple piano ballad to a full-blown orchestral epic without his consent.

In February 2002 Apple's Neil Aspinall called Abbey Road Studios' Allan Rouse to ask him to remix the Let It Be recordings. Rouse recruited fellow in-house engineers Paul Hicks and Guy Massey, and the trio began assembling a new album from the 30 reels of tape, referring to the albums assembled by Spector and Glyn Johns for comparison.

We mainly listened to identify the takes they used. As it turns out, Glyn and Phil had done most of the legwork. We ended up using the vast majority of their takes.
Allan Rouse
Mix Online

The tapes were transferred into Pro Tools 5.2. Each individual track of every song was digitally cleaned up before remixing work began.

Once we had the building blocks in the digital domain, we'd delve into a bit more detail. If there were fluffed lines or pops, etc, if there was another take without the errors, we'd try inserting that part from the other take.
Guy Massey
Mix Online

Key differences

Rather than being a straightforward remixing project, Let It Be... Naked contained a number of significant differences from the original 1970 release. The songs' running order was changed, with the album opening with Get Back and closing with the title track.

A composite edit of two versions of Don't Let Me Down was included, rather than the original Get Back b-side recording. A composite version of two rooftop performances of I've Got A Feeling was also used.

The improvised songs Dig It and Maggie Mae were left off after being judged to be ill-fitting on a conventional Beatles album.

They just didn't really fit in with an album of 11 songs and neither did the dialogue. Those little bits were fine for a soundtrack album, which Glyn's was, but they didn't fit comfortably with the concept of a straight album.
Allan Rouse
Mix Online
Get Back
Dialogue removed from introduction; song is the single version recorded on 27 January 1969, without the coda recorded the following day.
Dig A Pony
Remix of the same recording from the Apple rooftop used on Let It Be, without the false start and closing dialogue.
For You Blue
Remix of the Let It Be version recorded on 25 January 1969; includes an acoustic guitar part by George Harrison originally omitted.
The Long And Winding Road
The final take recorded on 31 January 1969; includes guitar and electric piano left off the Let It Be version; omits orchestral and choral overdubs.
Two Of Us
Remix of the original album version, recorded on 31 January 1969.
I've Got A Feeling
Edit of both versions from the Apple rooftop.
One After 909
Remix of Let It Be version from the Apple rooftop; omits the version of Danny Boy at the end.
Don't Let Me Down
Edit of both versions from the Apple rooftop.
I Me Mine
Re-creation of Phil Spector's edit from 23 March 1970, which increased the length of the song; remixed to omit Spector's orchestral and choral overdubs.
Across The Universe
Remix of the February 1968 recording at the original speed, without maracas and keyboards, backing vocals, orchestral overdubs and sound effects; tape delay added.
Let It Be
Remix of take 27a, the version used on the original album and single, without orchestral and choral overdubs but including two edit pieces from take 27b: Harrison's guitar solo from the film, and a brief section to mask a mis-played piano chord during the final verse.

A 22-minute bonus disc, titled Fly On The Wall, was included with original CD and vinyl copies. It featured song snippets and dialogue from the Let It Be sessions, and was compiled and edited by writer and radio producer Kevin Howlett.

I had expected to hear the kind of disagreements and arguing we've all heard about. Instead, I heard the bandmembers actually having a good time. By the end, they were, in fact, quite excited about what they were doing.
Kevin Howlett
Mix Online

The release

Let It Be... Naked was issued worldwide on 17 November 2003, two days before Phil Spector was charged with the murder of actress Lana Clarkson.

The album was issued with a silver cover, featuring monochrome images of The Beatles. The photograph of Harrison originally used on Let It Be was swapped for one featuring him in performance.

Although the album sold well, and topped the charts in Chile and Mexico, fan reactions were mixed. A widely held response was that Apple should have focused on the reissue of the Let It Be film or the remastered albums, rather than remixing songs to settle a 30-year grudge held by Paul McCartney.

Let It Be... Naked was re-released on the iTunes Music Store on 2 April 2013.

82 responses on “Let It Be… Naked

  1. Keith

    I think that Let It Be… Naked has the best ending combination of separate songs (Don’t Let Me Down, I Me Mine, Across The Universe, and Let It Be). The only other Beatles’ album with a comparable four-song span of perfection (well, all of their songs are perfect…) is on 1, with I Feel Fine, Eight Days A Week, Ticket To Ride, and Help!

  2. George Leroy Tirebiter

    As far as I’m concerned, this should be the standard version of the album. At the very least, these versions of the tracks should be the standard.

    You can’t listen to this and say Phil Spector didn’t screw up royal.

    I’d include Maggie May, the fragment Dig It and the full Can You Dig It? as bonus tracks.

    1. Michael K

      Totally agree. Although I have very fond memories of the original ‘Let It Be’ when I received it as an xmas present in the late 70’s, hearing ‘Naked’ for the first time on the day of its release was something else and I definitely prefer it as it ‘fits the brief’ in which the ‘Get Back’ project was begun. A lot of people have criticised Paul McCartney for pushing to get this version done and out but the fact that George and Ringo signed this album off so enthusiastically shows he was right to push.

      But in the end, as Paul has said, ‘it’s nice to have both’ and anyway, ‘Let It Be Naked’ managed, on release, to sound like a contemporary album so it’s well and good that it sits apart in the ‘new’ canon.

  3. Tony Winston

    Let It Be.. Naked is by far the best album, better than Phil Spector’s Let It Be, he did it well, but the remaining beatles just made it better, plus its remixed, I would of added Dig It and Maggie Mae, I love those tracks

  4. Ian

    I think “Let It Be…Naked” is an excellent album, but I do prefer the original “Let It Be” – just as I believe John Lennon would have, were he still alive.

    1. Bradley

      Actually, John has called Let it Be the “shitiest piece of shit” he’s ever heard. Though he admits he felt Phil Spector did the best he could with what he was given. I don’t know what John would have preferred, or for what reason, but I consider this the definitive version of Let it Be.

      1. Lars-Olof Ström

        Dear Bradley: No, what he said was that the TAPES that was given to Phil Spector was “…shit.., etc…”, not the final result, which actually all 4 members of the band, including George Martin approved on to be the final release and where quite satisfied with (including the song “The long and winding road” WITH the orchestration, was approved by all members). There’s lots of negative rumours around the Get Back/Let it Be project, many of them exaggerating towards the negative, as things too often tends to do. Note that by the time the tapes was given to Phil, Glyn Johns had already made two attempts to make an album of the material (of which the second, from January 1970, is the best, IMO) but they were rejected as not good enough for a Beatles release. Also, the two Glyn Johns mixes was not 100% final, they were suggestions, but the band didn’t think Glyn was up to a third try, that’s why Glyn, to this very day, refuses to talk about the subject. As both John and George already had started to work with Phil Spector as producer by then, it was decided that Phil should mix the album and although Paul perhaps wasn’t 100% satisfied with that, he agreed and went along with it. Of course not everything I write here is 100% correct since no one has the facts about all this, merely different points of views and memories. Anyhow, Paul never were as satisfied as the others about the final mix, so of course, he finally mixed it and cleaned it up by himself, after all, it was his idea and project to start with. I think the result is very good, but I wish he wouldn’t have cleaned it up as much as he did, but leave a bit more of the “live” feel from the recordings. Saying that, I’m sure he did the best he could, with all those messy tapes and huge amounts of takes of which few songs got recorded 100% proper, if anyone.

  5. James

    Of course Lennon hated Let It Be (though I had not heard of the “shittiest piece of shit” comment). He checked out of The Beatles after The White Album. The Ballad of John and Yoko brought him back for a bit, back enough to at least go through the motions on Abbey Road (“Because” notwithstanding).

    After The WHite Album, his solo stuff was better than what he contributed to The Beatles.

  6. Joseph Brush

    Songs like Don’t Let Me Down, Across The Universe, Come Together, I Want You (She’s So Heavy), Dig A Pony and Because
    (and the other 3 songs from Abbey Road’s B side),all from John indicate he hadn’t quite left the Beatles.
    Cold Turkey was rejected by Paul for inclusion on Abbey Road and Instant Karma came out months after Abbey Road was released.
    John worked very hard on contributing to the Abbey Road album.

    1. mr. Sun king coming together

      Across the Universe was A feb.68 recording
      He released (in 69) or after only 4 songs he later stated he didn’t hate; Don’t let me down, Come together, Because, and The Ballad of John and Yoko

      1. Joseph Brush

        Yes we all know ATU was a Feb 1968 recording!
        BUT it had not been released on a Beatles record.
        Therefore, it still counts as part of Lennon’s TOTAL song contribution after the White Album.

    1. Joseph Brush

      No I don’t have George confused with John.
      According to Peter Brown’s book, The Love You Make (2002), Cold Turkey was rejected by McCartney as the next Beatle single.
      Anyway, do you think Paul would have allowed John’s song about heroin withdrawal to be placed on a Beatle album?

      1. Jake

        Peter Browns book was nothing but a gossip rag, And he obviously had an axe to grind regarding Paul. If Paul didn’t like Cold Turkey, then George & Ringo also played an equal part in keeping it off the Album. Paul stopped getting his own way when the rest of the beatles finally started to pay attention to business.

        1. Gregory Orme

          I believe the other Beatles were united in not wanting “Cold Turkey” as a Beatles single. What is the evidence they voted it off Abbey Road? John had written songs about drugs before and delivered tracks that were far more questionable musically (Revolution No. 9), and these were not kept off Beatles albums. I believe it is far more likely that John, having had “Cold Turkey” rejected as a single, chose to keep it off the album, credit it to “Lennon,” and release it as a single. After that, it was obviously out of contention for any future group releases, which, by this time, was only going to be Let It Be. By including the reworked World Wildlife Fund anthem “Across the Universe” to help beef up the Lennon contribution to Let It Be, the Beatles proved they were not going to be pure to the Get Back concept. It was, therefore, Lennon’s choice to keep it from the Beatles.

          1. Jake

            I would agree with this. Although I can’t see how in hell Cold Turkey would have fit on Abbey Road. Perfect fit for the White Album. The original idea and the final product are rarely if ever the same. Pauls original idea for Get Back” was a 4 piece band playing together, Live. Yet he brought to the project Let it Be & The Long & Winding Road. They are ballads. Concept out the window!

            1. Gregory Orme

              I respect your opinion, but it may not be fair to judge “Cold Turkey” solely on the released version. I expect that, had “Come Together” been released by John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band, it would have had a different sound than the Abbey Road version, and had “Cold Turkey” been turned over to George Martin and the other Beatles, a quite different product would have emerged. George Harrison commented that listening to Abbey Road was like “listening to someone else.” Abbey Road has a bit of a range musically and thematically. There is perhaps nothing as jarring as “Revolution No. 9” followed by “Good Night,” but “Octopus’s Garden” followed by “I Want You (She’s So Heavy)” indicates to me that “Cold Turkey” would not have seemed completely out of place.

  7. Jack

    In my opinion Cold Turkey should have been a Beatle song. The lyrics weren’t so explicit or graphic unless the word hell counts as being too explicit when John sings, “get me out of this hell.” This song could have been a classic rock ballad for The Beatles like Revolution, Yer Blues, and Helter Skelter.

    1. Joseph Brush

      Cold Turkey was banned by many radio stations in North America and only reached number 30 on Billboard.
      Lyrics such as (“I’m in at the deep freeze”) and the actual song title itself, would have been a public relations disaster for the Beatles in America (especially in the Bible Belt).
      Many people blamed the Beatles for the ever increasing drug scene in 1969.

      1. thomas

        Interesting comments. But I remember Cold Turkey being played a lot. Then again knee-jerk owned radio stations would ban most anything, including Melanie’s BRAND NEW KEY because they claimed it contained sexual overtones (a simple song about roller skating.) It nevertheless shot to No. 1.

        “Many people blamed the Beatles for the ever increasing drug scene in 1969”

        What I mainly remember was a political campaign by Nixon, with Spiro Agnew attacking the Beatles for “spreading drugs.” It was nonsense, of course and likely meant to counter John’s anti war influence. The Beatles never promoted drug use even though some of Lennon’s song may have been so influenced. Agnew though cited unsubstantiated rumors encircling “intentional drug songs” like Lucy in the Sky, etc., which of course wasn’t. Lying hypocrite that he was, Agnew was later charged with extortion, tax fraud, bribery and conspiracy, and was disbarred and resigned in disgrace. Far as I know it never affected Beatle record sales. If anything sales increased (Abbey road and Let It Be out sold earlier albums.)

        1. Vonbontee

          Actually, there undoubtedly WERE people who began doing drugs mostly because of the Beatles, just as surely as there were people who took up the guitar because they loved George Harrison’s playing. The stupidity involved is the assumption that people don’t have free will or the ability to make such decisions on their own, and that the Beatles are therefore somehow to “blame”.

          (But yeah, Agnew was a world-class all-around crook – he & Nixon really deserved each other)

  8. Elsewhere Man

    OK, here are my preferred versions for each Let It Be track.

    Get Back – Original A-Side “Hi-heel shoes & Low Neck Sweater” version

    Dig A Pony – Naked

    For You Blue – Naked (I’ll never understand why Spector cut the acoustic guitar completely out after the intro on the original Let It Be version – bizzarre).

    The Long And Winding Road – Anthology 3 (same take as LIB & single but without all the added syruppy crap – The Naked version is very nice, too, though).

    Two Of Us – Naked (same as the original but way better sounding – crisper)

    I’ve Got A Feeling – LIB (the original is simply more spirited and energetic than the Naked version. I don’t get why they felt they needed a different take here.)

    One After 909 – Naked (very nice remix)

    Don’t Let Me Down – original B-side (the vocal interplay at the end is better here between J&P)

    I Me Mine – LIB (I like it better with the horns – definitely the best of the “Spectorized” tracks)

    Across The Universe – Naked (though I really love the Athology 2 version as well)

    Let It Be – Naked (George’s solo is best here – plus the mix is very nice)

      1. JBird7986

        I have to disagree with the choice of I’ve Got a Feeling from LIB over Naked. I like the cleaner sound of the Naked version over the LIB version. IMHO, I don’t feel like any of the energy is missing from the Naked version.

    1. Jake

      I agree with everything you say except for Let it Be – Naked version. I think Georges guitar solo is awful! I feel it’s much better (and re-done) on LIB.
      My 2 cents…If it was so important to try to erease Phil Spector from History, then they should’ve called it; GET BACK! THE BOOTLEG. Lastly I’ll never understand why Dont Let me Down was left off the original album???

    2. Simon

      I agree with most of that except I personally much prefer the Naked version of I Me Mine.
      Also, as a whole album I think Naked is awesome. I never listen to the original album anymore it’s only Naked – even bought it on vinyl too … how it should’ve always been.

  9. Von Bontee

    Why didn’t “Naked” retain “Dig It” and “Maggie Mae” and John’s ad-libs about pygmies and pot-smoking FBI agents? I liked that stuff!

    (Nice to be living in the CD-R age when anybody can assemble their own ideal version of LIB/GB)

    1. Matt

      Because they were trying to make Let It Be… Naked sound like a real album so they cut out the talking and didn’t include Dig It and Maggie Mae which were just jams and were considered “too weak” for inclusion.

      1. Von Bontee

        OK, I can see your point. But if that’s Paul McCartney’s reasoning (which I assume it is), it’s still not necessarily logical. I mean, The White Album included bits of studio chatter and unfinished song-scraps, and that’s certainly a “real album”! And LIB was INTENDED to have a documentary aspect.

        1. Loretta Najarian

          I’ll be honest… The White Album is my least favorite. There are songs that I love but many I really hate. I don’t have the original Let It Be but I do love the Naked version. From everything I had read about the original, I hadn’t planned on buying it, thinking it would be a waste of money. But naked is really good, though I agree that Get Back sounded really clipped. I think the added Fly on the Wall was intended to bridge the the gap between a cleaner album and one with studio chatter. Just my opinion….

  10. alberto

    I liked LIBN. We needed to hear that original-untouched songs. But I always wondered why McCartney didn’t think in reissuing the original “Get Back” album, which was the first idea and contained simmilar tracklist. The LIB concept was to show The Beatles creating music, and that´s why Spector’s version is so frustrating. Instead of NAKED, i would have loved to, finally, get the Get Back album…

    1. Joseph Brush

      I bought a bootleg of Get Back entitled Kum Back in 1970 or 1971 which features Teddy Boy.
      Individual tracks were played on the radio around Xmas 1969 and some of the tracks received an unfavourable response.
      As for myself, I prefer LIBN.

      1. thomas

        I remember Teddy Boy being played on radio as a Beatle song, then being confused when it later showed up on McCartney’s solo album.

        Get Back though was Beatle project, and as it was never completed it would seem (to me anyway) inappropriate for Paul to rewrite history and release such an album minus collaboration from the now deceased John and George. Let it be is what it is: the raw and unfinished Get Back recordings.

  11. LOMAN

    I wish the album would have been released as originaly intended! Produced by Glyn Johns and titled Get Back with an album cover that mimiced their first release Please Please me it featured the songs “Teddy Boy”, a jam called “Rocker”, “Save the Last Dance” (by the Drifters), a 5 min. version of “Dig It” and “Don’t Let Me Down”. The best part about LITN is that it includes “Don’t Let Me Down” which was Lennon’s best composition for the sessions!

    I also wish that The Beatles themselves would have included more of George’s songs on ever album possible. I mean for this one we missed out on hearing “Hear Me Lord” and “All Things Must Pass” as done by The Beatles…
    (two tracks off of another fine album over-produced by Spector!)

  12. Vonbontee

    Again, I say: How lucky are we to be living in the MP3/CD-R age, where we can all easily assemble our own ideal version of “Get Back”/”Let It Be” as we wish it existed all along!

  13. Robert

    I think it’s clear the Let It Be Naked is far superior to LIB. Forgetting the Spector junk, the LIBN mix is way better.

    And although I’ve complained about it on other pages, In LIBN the mix does not separate the singer from his instrument – for instance on many of the LIB trax Lennon’s voice is on one side and his guitar is panned onto the other – which kills the sense of a live performance.

    Paul’s mix puts the vocals in the middle – which is closer to how a live performance actually sounds – guitars coming out of the amps – voices centered from a main PA.

    Some disagree that this matters – but apparently it meant enough to Paul to change it.

    LIBN actually sounds like the Beatles just playing their songs. Which I think was part of the intent overall.

  14. Richard

    I’ve been comparing the songs on LIB with the Naked versions and the rumors of the superiority of Naked are greatly exaggerated. The albums are just different.

    The clean version of “Across the Universe” is lovely, a gem. But the heavily processed AtU is emotionally powerful in a different way. Lennon’s voice mixed with those strings, maybe run through a synth, is other-worldy and beautiful.

    It’s nice to hear Paul’s vocals out front on “Let it Be”, but they took out the best part of the song – Harrison’s edgy guitar break in the middle. Plus the gospel organ is mostly gone.

    I don’t like “The Long and Winding Road” sung by anybody, but I don’t find the Naked version at all pleasing. Again, it’s nice to hear the vocal more distinct. But listen to some of those cheesy electric piano fills. Give me back the strings. Naked “Long and Winding” sounds like an early demo.

    If you listen to “Two of Us” side by side, they are both pleasing. The old version with the vocals mixed more in the back gives the song a more haunting quality. Both versions are beautiful in slightly different ways.

    1. JA Jacobson

      You’re the only one whose made any sense. The Long and Winding Road sounds terrible, John sings off key on Don’t Let me Down. George’s guitar playing on Let it Be is… lousy! It is far superior on the Spector version.

  15. robert

    Not to be argumentative, but for purposes of discussion, by my count Phil Spector made huge changes to four songs

    Let It Be
    The Long and Winding Road
    Across the Universe
    I, Me, Mine

    But what he really altered, to me, was the whole concept of the album – which was that it represent The Beatles playing live and together.

    While admittedly they strayed from that themselves (somewhat), to me Let It Be Naked comes much closer to capturing that original concept.

    1. Kelvin

      Spector retained the live feeling by keeping the Danny Boy ending to One after 909, cutting the coda off Get Back, and including two jams
      Also Robert I did forget Let it Be in the list of Super Spectored songs

    2. Richard

      Perhaps you are right about the “original concept.” Yet Phil Spector’s concept is just as effective to my ears. If I had to choose, I would take the original LIB to the desert island. The idea of including the chatter and throw-away ditties gave the orignal album life and spontanaity.

      Its great to have both mixes. I am nerdy and had to splice my own “Let it Be” song together. The first half of the Naked version is clearly superior to my ears. But then the Spector instrumental mix starting halfway through the song gives the song its punch.

  16. BeatleBum

    I adore LIBN. It’s not just the sound quality or the simpler song arrangements, it’s also the song sequence which makes it far superior to LIB, in my opinion. It’s a complete album, whereas LIB sounds overdone, yet unfinished.

    I agree with the suggestion the songs left off LIBN could have been included as bonus tracks, but we have what we have, and I love it.

  17. Joel A Jacobson

    I’m a Paul fan. I thought it was unnecessary. Phil Spector only really over indulged with 1 song, The Long and Winding Road. And, it was well done. So what it had a harp and a choir singers. Also, he was very democratic about the job. 1 George, 1 John & 2 Paul. Let It Be, TLWR & Don’t Let Me Down sound “AWFUL” on LIBN. Those are the 3 biggest songs on the album.

    1. Michael K

      Yes and in fairness to Phil Spector, here’s what Peter Doggett, author of the excellent ‘You Never Give Me Your Money’ biog had to say about Spector and ‘Let It Be’:

      “It was Klein who suggested that Phil Spector, who had just produced John Lennon’s ‘Instant Karma’ single in magnificent style, should be asked to go back through the January 1969 tapes, and assemble a suitable soundtrack album for the movie. Despite what you’ve read elsewhere, all four Beatles authorised that decision.

      Spector set to work, mixing here, snipping tape there, and ultimately recruiting both Ringo Starr and an orchestra to work on several tracks – including McCartney’s song, ‘The Long And Winding Road’. Why wasn’t Paul there at the session? Because both he and John were so sick of the project that they had agreed to let George and Ringo supervise what Spector was doing. So it’s true that Paul McCartney didn’t know what Phil Spector was planning to do to ‘The Long And Winding Road’ (i.e. add an orchestra and choir); but only because he had chosen not to get involved.

      When Spector’s work was done, he rapidly assembled his mix of the Let It Be album, cut four acetate copies of the LP, and sent one apiece to each of the Beatles for their approval. The four musicians liaised with each other, and approved Spector’s work. Only two weeks later, when the presses were already rolling, did Paul suddenly wake up and think, “Hang on a minute, I want to make some changes”. But by then it was too late.

      During the research for my book, I came across the original letter that Spector sent to the four Beatles. Rather than the authoritarian rant I was expecting, his note turned out to be extremely friendly. “If there is anything you’d like done to the album, let me know and I’ll be glad to help”, he wrote. “Naturally little things are easy to change, big things might be a problem. If you wish, please call me about anything regarding the album tonight.” That’s definitely the voice of compromise, rather than a control freak.

      The schedule was tight because the film was imminent – and at that point we enter another saga, about the scheduling of Let It Be and the McCartney solo album, which aroused an argument that in turn provoked Paul to send out his famous ‘interview’ to the press suggesting that he was leaving the Beatles. But that’s another issue. My point here is that far from acting like a tyrant, and refusing to communicate with Paul McCartney, Phil Spector did everything he could to ensure that all four Beatles approved of his work.”

      See more of this at his blog:

      Also, Phil has gone on record (after McCartney walked out of the Q Awards a long time back when Phil won an award) as pointing out (and I’m paraphrasing cos I can’t find his original quote online) that ‘If Paul thought my version was so bad, why has he been using my arrangment for the last 30 years when he plays it live?’

      Touche, Phil.

      I think the real story is that Paul left it a bit late to listen to the approval acetate and that when he sent his famous letter to Klein with instructions for changes, the sides by then had been drawn, with Lennon, Ono, Klein, Harrison and a reluctant Ringo against him.
      Phil’s part in proceedings IS innocent and Paul’s upset with him, even to this day, is a proxy upset with Lennon’s betrayal. You can also tell from letters sent to Paul during the period by both John and George that they were enjoying Paul’s suffering, which was, really, centred on the fact that he’s been abandoned by them.

    1. Jake

      I agree with you. The Spector version is far superior that the “Naked” version.
      I read somewhere that the idea for “naked” was it would be released along with a re-edited Let it Be Movie. But that fell through for what ever reason. I’m guessing the remaining principals, Paul, Ringo, Yoko & Olivia don’t really like each other much.

    1. Michael K

      The “Let It Be” version of this song was the first song ever to make me cry as a kid (I think I was about 7 and was overwhelmed when I first heard the line ‘crying for the day’, which still makes me well up even to type it!)

      But when I heard the ‘Naked’ version I was surprised that this effect didn’t occur and I think it may have been a composite of the line and Phil Spector’s histrionics.

      For this reason, I prefer ‘Naked’. It has a melancholy quietness that probably accurately represents McCartney’s when writing it. The overwrought emotionality of the Spector version is very impressive and produced their last US Number One, but it’s not ‘art’.

  18. Jammy_jim

    While I enjoy the sonic improvements of Naked, I agree with this review: it “stripped the original album of both John’s sense of humor and Phil Spector’s wacky, and at least slightly tongue-in-cheek, grandiosity.”

  19. GeorgeTSimpson

    I like the Naked much more than Let It Be BUT I don’t understand why the cut out the coda of Get Back. And I don’t like the booklet very much, I think it would be better if we could see what especially was done to the songs and fro which day the songs and dialogues ofnthe booklet are

  20. Gronk

    No one on any Beatles forum or in any article I’ve seen has commented on the screw-up the LIBN engineers made of the I Me Mine edit. It is NOT a recreation of Spector’s idea: Spector placed the edit before the final line of the second verse, meaning that each verse had different lyrics and that the final line, “All through your life …” only occurred once, at the song’s close. The engineers made the cut directly after this line, meaning that on LIBN the lyric appears twice and that verses 2 & 3 have identical lyrics.

    George Harrison thoroughly approved of Spector’s work on this song, and the LIBN project was only begun after Harrison’s death. It seems churlish to suppose that Paul was so busy trying to rewrite history concerning his own songs that he didn’t pay due care and attention to his friend’s legacy; but given that he had final approval, and can’t have been listening properly not to have noticed such a glaring error, that is what I supposed at the time. Years later, though, I’m still puzzled as to why I’ve not seen this error pointed out by anyone else.

    Disregarding the fact that I far prefer Spector’s mix (listen to the rising snare drum in Two Of Us, or the sonic boom of guitars in I’ve Got A Feeling – artistic touches absent from what amounts to no more than highly competent engineers’ mixes on LIBN), the error in recreating I Me Mine killed the “new” album for me instantly, as soon as I heard it. You have to ask, why recreate a Spector edit in the first place? You can’t present something as “de-Spectorised” if you’re happy to cherry-pick the ideas you agree with.

    1. Michael K

      The project may have been realised after his death George Harrison was the first one to mention a new ‘Let it Be’ project back in 1996 (see DVD 5 of ‘Anthology’) and he does so in the same breath as mentioning a ‘Magical Mystery Tour’ project so Apple clearly had a long term schedule organised and Derek Taylor around the same time said that he’d seen a restored ‘Let It Be’ movie. Although everyone likes to follow witless tabloids and other journalist fantasies, Apple is a complex web of rights issues and agreement issues that was still thawing out from total deep freeze up to the early 90’s. If George hadn’t liked this idea, it wouldn’t have got done. The real McCartney pet projects like issuing ‘Carnival of Light’ were vetoed before his death and remain vetoed so any ‘Bastard McCartney’ fantasies are, as ever, entirely the property of their proposers.

  21. vectisfabber

    Exactly so. The LIBN version of Road is an intimate and understated song about regret, while the Spector version is an overblown and bombastic thing which mainlines overwrought tragedy. It’s a bit like the demo version of While My Guitar Gently Weeps vs the white album version. Or the book of The Hobbit vs the movies. In all cases, I prefer the understated versions.

  22. Doug Pitts

    I feel that better than LIB or LIB Naked, George’s solo on the song Let It Be is definitely best on the SINGLE version. More reverential than the LIB version, thus more fitting to the song (and more fitting to the gentler production than the overblown one on LIB). Also a much prettier melody. This version is also produced by George Martin, not Spector. It is available on the Past Masters album.

  23. salviandres

    I don´t know what difference Two Of Us with LIB version. The version of Long And Winding Road is from the film where Paul mistakes the verse of “you never know” and has a great organ solo.

  24. Vincent

    Both versions showcase moments of the Beates “as nature intended”, an organic bare-bones solid rock band with great front line vocalists who can deliver the goods live. I wish they did more of this on Abbey Road. John obviously kept the stripped down approach for his solo lp later.
    George wanted the Beatles to be more like The Band and it was his idea to use Billy Preston and I think listening to the lighter moments of fun in their chatter on the fly on the wall bonus cd, they were diggin’ it for awhile. Great sound on the LIBN thanks to pro tools huh?

    1. Jack

      I agree , when I heard LIBN it came across as having a very 1970 ‘Band’ type vibe which is completely absent from the original. For this reason LIBN is my preferred version.

  25. Julie

    I always wondered why nobody ever seems to notice or comment how out of tune Johns guitar is for a few of the songs on this record. Dig A Pony, I’ve Got A Feeling, One After 909 and Don’t Let Me Down.

    It just occurred to me. It’s basically everything he used the casino on too,… “Get Back” sounded so nice cause he didn’t play any full chords on that one. Just lead bits and power chords. George’s tele played the rhythm and George bothered to tune. hehe

    I’ve never played my casino in the wind and cold outside. lol I bet that’ll do it. But “Let It Be… Naked’ was a golden opportunity to improve it. They managed to use George Harrisons solo for “Let It Be” from a totally different take. And they admitted to pitch shifting a few off vocal notes. The Anthology saw that happening a few times where stuff from one take was mixed with another.. It can be done.. So why not fix that outta tune casino a bit and maybe lower it in volume? Or find a different take ya know.. I feel like Johns guitar ruins some of those performances. They’re still awesome, but its irritating. lol Don’t Let Me Down it’s especially terrible.

    John’s guitar was a huge factor for making half the record seem so sloppy.

    That’s what happens when you kick George Martin out lol. He probably woulda caught it and be like.. “wtf John, tune your damn guitar”. lol But ya know.. in a classy Londoner way. hehe

    1. Julian

      That’s fine with me! In terms of things being out of tune, have you heard Paul’s bass? That high A that he plays constantly in “Get Back” is sharper than the open A string. But that was a thing with Hofner basses; if you played high up the neck, it would go out of tune (for some reason). Not that I particularly care, either.

    2. jnoble

      John was so out to lunch with his heroin and Yoko addiction at that point in time he really didn’t care anymore about the band or making quality music and it shows

  26. ewe2

    I’m going to be an old curmudgeon here and state that of all the versions of Let It Be (the song) the best Harrison solo is the single version. I really don’t like the others. I’m also going to vote for the Anthology 3 version of TLAWR despite Paul clearly deciding he wasn’t going to keep the vocal.

    Something no one has mentioned here is Ian MacDonald’s claim (pp 339) that Lennon sabotaged TLAWR by playing bass badly on it. LIBN version is clearly better bass-wise, but MacDonald suggests that there was a collaboration to “cover-up” the “bad bits”. He refers to the Anthology 3 version, which is a bit more than a “demo” but hardly the backing-track.

  27. Mark S. Cartier

    Love reading all of these comments. They clearly prove that we’ll never come to a consensus on our favorite takes, but we will continue to argue about them because we are all so passionate about the Beatles – even from this period when they were going through their death throes.

  28. Michael K

    I just listened to LIBN again, had to break off to check Glyn Johns 1 and 2 and LIB and am moved to recomment that LIBN is the fab one, just as George, Ringo and Paul (and presumably Yoko or it wouldn’t have happened) said of it prior to and after release.

  29. seedeelist1

    Even though Paul’s hands were not totally clean (recording an album down the hall under a fake name…),that gave Phil Spector no right to screw up (yes,screw up) TLAWR. Naked sounds ALOT better than the original.The demo version of “Across The Universe” is still one of JL’s best.

  30. jtrauscht

    The Naked version of Long and Winding Road, in my opinion, is superior because the bridge finally makes sense musically. I’ve never really cared for the Spector version because every time it came to the bridge I thought the bridge fell flat, and I’d long blamed McCartney for being a lazy songwriter toward the end. I was wrong. Spector took something that made sense in its original form and shoe-horned it into his own vision, where it really felt crammed in there. Across the Universe is also finally listenable on the Naked version.

  31. Michael

    I remember being so excited upon hearing the news that LIBN was coming out — at last, I thought — it will be the way they wanted it. But, basically, it’s the way Paul wanted it — with a few decades worth of hindsight thrown into the mix. Bottom line, I didn’t care for it. For all its flaws, I’ll always love the Spector version. There’s history and emotion coloring that reaction for sure, but there you go.

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