Watch and listen to a special live All Songs Considered interview with author Bruce Spizer, featuring rare tracks from the Let It Be sessions.
Cover for the book The Beatles on Apple Records (Dimensions, 2003)
The hit song "Hey Jude" was a first for The Beatles. At 7 minutes, 11 seconds, it was the longest number-one single ever. The song was also the first record on the group's own new label, Apple Records.
A generation later, Apple continues to be in the news. This week, record label executives announced that a new version of The Beatles album Let It Be will be released in November.
The new version will be closer to the intent of the original project — to move away from the studio techniques the group had pioneered, and get back to their rock 'n' roll roots. That means an album shorn of the strings and choirs added by producer Phil Spector.
The history of Apple Records is — to borrow a phrase — a long and winding road. A new book by Bruce Spizer, The Beatles on Apple Records, documents this history in exacting detail — including discographies, recording session details and a history of the label itself, which the group began more as a tax shelter than a creative outlet.
NPR's Michele Norris talks with Spizer about his book and about the other artists signed to the Apple label — some of whom went on to fame and fortune, and others who became one-hit wonders.