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The Beatles "Let It Be" Album Release

Updated: May 10, 2020

Fifty years ago, on May 8th, 1970, Let It Be, the twelfth and final studio album by the The Beatles was released. The album came out almost a month after the group's break-up, in tandem with the motion picture of the same name. Like most of the band's previous releases, the album topped record charts in many countries, including both the US and the UK. However, the initial critical response was generally unfavorable, and Let It Be came to be regarded as one of the most controversial rock albums ever. A short clip with voiceover from Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr on the making of the album:

Here is a short clip of "Long and Winding Road", was the final single and number one hit by the Beatles. The main recording of the song featured a sparse musical arrangement. When preparing the tapes from these sessions for release in April 1970, producer Phil Spector added orchestral and choral overdubs. Spector's modifications angered McCartney to the point that when the latter made his case in the British High Court for the Beatles' disbandment, he cited the treatment of "The Long and Winding Road" as one of six reasons for doing so. New versions of the song with simpler instrumentation were subsequently released by McCartney and by the Beatles:

The Twickenham rehearsals quickly disintegrated into what was characterized as a "hostile lethargy".  Disagreements between Harrison and Lennon descended into violence with them allegedly throwing punches at each other. Harrison denied this in a January 16th interview for the Daily Express, saying: "There was no punch-up. We just fell out." Harrison announced that he was "leaving the band now" and told the others "see you round the clubs".

Paul McCartney discusses the growing tension in the studio with Yoko Ono being there. The other Beatles were having issues, but George Harrison particular, and by not outright confronting John about Yoko, the tension only escalated further. In this clip, Paul jokingly comments that "the comical thing is that in fifty years time, they will look back that (the Beatles) broke up because Yoko sat on an amp and that John kept bringing this girl around":

A week later the band agreed to Harrison's terms for returning to the group, which included abandoning the cold and cavernous soundstage at Twickenham. Sessions resumed on January 21st when the Beatles moved to Apple Studio, in the basement of their Apple Corps building at 3 Savile Row, central London. Multi-track recording began on that date and continued until January 31st. Here is rare actual footage of the rooftop concert at the Apple Corps. Building:

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