Thursday, May 13, 2010

"Let It Be" 40 years later

Rolling Stone assesses the album four decades after its release (hat tip to Steve Marinucci).

Despite the album's status in rock history, Paul McCartney was never a fan of Phil Spector's production flourishes on Let It Be. In Rolling Stone's original review of the album, writer John Mendelsohn also criticized Spector's superfluous additions, saying the famed Wall of Sound producer rendered "The Long and Winding Road" "virtually unlistenable with hideously cloying strings and a ridiculous choir" when compared to the version that appeared on the Get Back bootlegs in May, 1969. (Sign up for All Access to read the original Let It Be review from 1970.) After years of dissatisfaction with the released version, McCartney announced plans to put out Let It Be… Naked in November 2003, which stripped the Let It Be songs of Spector's ornate production. (All Access members can read the 2003 review of Let It Be...Naked now.)

P.S. Isn't it a bit ridiculous that, on its list of the 500 greatest albums of all time, RS put Let It Be at number 86? I suppose it's what The Beatles' prestigious brand and legacy can do for an album that's uneven, overproduced, and short on really strong songs ("Two of Us" is flawless, but the other standouts - "Across the Universe," "I've Got a Feeling," and "Get Back" - aren't total successes).

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