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 of the new Beatles album, Let It Be... Naked
When the Beatles broke up in 1970, the group had one final album in the can, ready for release. It wasn't the last record the Beatles made — that had been Abbey Road, which had been released the previous fall. Instead, Let It Be was a collection of "live in the studio" performances from a year and a half earlier. The performances were marinated with orchestra, chorus and overdubs by the reclusive and legendary producer Phil Spector.
At the time, Let It Be was greeted with more generosity than it deserved, says Washington Post music critic Tim Page, in part due to some excellent songs and in part due to residual Beatlemaniac nostalgia. In recent years, Let It Be has generally been judged one of the group's worst albums, a disappointing embarrassment along the lines of The Beach Boys' 15 Big Ones or Bob Dylan's Self Portrait.
But now EMI has issued a "back to the roots" version of this final album, stripping away the strings, the chorus, and most of the overdubs. The result, titled Let It Be... Naked, was issued earlier this week and is climbing the charts. For All Things Considered, Page offers a review of the CD.