The Beatles' 'Let It Be...Naked' Released on iTunes

The Beatles Let It Be Naked P

On Tuesday The Beatles’ 2003 album, Let It Be… Naked made its digital debut on iTunes. The album is an attempt to undo the work of producer Phil Spector, who remixed the 1970 Let It Be behind Paul McCartney's back (though the other Beatles were complicit). Spector dubbed in kitschy strings, horns and female voices, while screaming, "I must have more echo! I must have more reverb!" according to engineer Geoff Emerick, who was in the studio on Apr. 1, 1970. Emerick says Spector butchered "The Long and Winding Road," reducing the Beatles' performance down to one or two tracks to make room for five or six tracks of orchestra and choir overdubs. Spector actually erased one of McCartney's vocals forever. "I hope Paul likes this," Emerick recalled Spector saying, "because I've changed the chords." McCartney, shocked and enraged, called Spector's work "crap" and the Let It Be experience "the worst time of my life."

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The Naked album goes back to the much less ornate original 1969 Beatles performances, which were intended to "get back" to the innocent simplicity of the band's early days. The 1970 album's tunes "Dig It" and "Maggie Mae" are missing, replaced by the superior "Don't Let Me Down." The iTunes version features the original booklet art and liner notes and about 20 minutes of 1969 Beatles studio banter. Music videos for the Naked versions of “Get Back” and “Don’t Let Me Down” are also exclusively available on iTunes for download purchase and free streaming.

The album is suffused with nostalgic, melancholy yearning and the bitterness of an imminent breakup. Lennon claimed McCartney looked resentfully at Yoko Ono (who had invaded the Beatles studio) while singing, "Get back to where you once belonged!" Lennon once dismissed the sessions as "the shittiest load of badly recorded shit with a lousy feeling to it ever." But Lennon was wrong. It sounds raw, emotionally and technically, and hard feelings are part of what makes Let It Be affecting, particularly in its naked state.

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The Beatles:  Let It Be… Naked [iTunes LP]
1.  Get Back
2.  Dig A Pony
3.  For You Blue
4.  The Long And Winding Road
5.  Two Of Us
6.  I’ve Got A Feeling
7.  One After 909
8.  Don’t Let Me Down
9.  I Me Mine
10. Across The Universe
11. Let It Be