McCartney Times



October 15
12:22 2021

This week marked the release of two new exciting Beatles releases covering the January 1969 rehearsals and recording sessions known as the Get Back/Let It Be Sessions.

Apple and Callaway Arts & Entertainment have released a 240-page Get Back book that serves as a companion piece to the Peter Jackson film, The Beatles: Get Back. The 10″ x 12″ hardcover book is not a reprint or an expanded edition of the Get Back book that was packaged with the 1970 Let It Be album in the U.K. and several other markets (excluding the U.S.). The difference between the 2021 book and the 1970 book is comparable to the contrast between the upcoming bright and colorful Peter Jackson film and the dreary and dark 1970 Let It Be film. While the 1970 book came with a black cover and contained several black background pages, the new book’s cover is a colorful explosion of the Beatles rehearsing at Twickenham Film Studios. The majority of the interior pages have a white background. In addition, the 2021 book has more dialog from the film and more pictures and adds historical perspectives. It is an essential addition to your Beatles book library. The book can be purchased from Amazon and other retailers.

Apple and Universal Music Group have issued a 50th Anniversary release of the Let It Be album. The album is available in multiple editions, but the one that will get the most attention is the 6-disc super deluxe edition.

As detailed in Bruce’s book The Beatles Finally Let It Be, The Beatles Get Back/Let It Be sessions and the resulting unreleased and released albums and bootlegged recordings are among the most interesting and confusing aspects of the group’s recorded legacy. From these January 1969 sessions came the April 1969 “Get Back”/“Don’t Let Me Down” single, the March 1970 “Let It Be” single, the May 1970 Let It Be album reproduced for disc by Phil Spector, a dozen recordings on Anthology 3 (1996) and the no-strings-attached Let It Be…Naked LP (2003). Bootleg recordings first surfaced in the fall of 1969. Later releases featured songs recorded on mono tape recorders for the film soundtrack and the unreleased Get Back album. For the truly obsessive, there is an 83-disc collection of the sessions!

With so much available material, Apple and Universal Music Group faced quite a challenge in assembling their super deluxe set for Let It Be. How did they do? Well, first and foremost, the set is an entertaining and wonderful listening experience. It contains a remix by Giles Martin of the original 1970 album, two discs of rehearsals, jams and outtakes, the previously unissued Glyn Johns “Get Back” LP, a bonus EP with four tracks that Apple felt were worthy of release but didn’t belong on the other discs, and a Blu-ray disc with Giles’ remix in stereo, 5.1 Surround and Dolby Atmos.

The box set comes with a hardback book containing a forward by Paul McCartney, an introduction by Giles Martin and memories from balance engineer Glyn Johns, followed by histories of the sessions by John Harris and Kevin Howlett and Howlett’s track-by-track descriptions of the recording of the songs. The attractive book is in the form of a scrap-book, full of pictures of the band and some very cool images of lyrics, letters, memos, drawings and tape boxes.

The collection’s first disc is Giles Martin’s remix of the original Let It Be album, which was “reproduced for disc by Phil Spector.” Those hoping for a totally de-Spectorized mix will be disappointed with some of Giles’ work, which does not remove Spector’s embellishments. But bear in mind that Giles’ mission was not to totally rework the 1970 LP to create another Let It Be…Naked, but rather to remix the existing Let It Be album to give it a more contemporary sound. In the album’s notes, Giles acknowledged that “[Spector’s] approach, while lacking, perhaps, the sensitivity of the arrangements my dad provided for the other albums, did create a timeless sound of its own that had to be respected in the new mix.” To that extent, Giles has successfully cut back on some of Spector’s excesses, while leaving the album recognizable to those who have repeatedly listened to the five-decade-old LP.

The second and third discs contain rehearsals, jams and outtakes along with some dialog tracks and studio banter. The selections are not in chronological order, but rather are programmed to create an enjoyable listening experience.

The fourth disc contains the unissued “Get Back” LP compiled by Glyn Johns in 1969. Although many collectors already have this on a high-quality bootleg CD, its inclusion will be welcomed by all. It was Johns’ idea to present the Beatles “with a lot of chat and humor.” He thought it would “make the most incredible Beatles album ever, because it was so real.” It was described by Beatles road manager Mal Evans as “The Beatles with their socks off, human Beatles kicking out their jams, getting rid of their inhibitions, facing their problems and working them out with their music.”

One should not lose sight of what the super deluxe “Let It Be” box set is–another high-quality product from Apple that is a welcome addition to the Beatles recorded legacy. There is also a vinyl edition of the super deluxe box set, a 2-CD version, a single CD, a single vinyl disc of the remix, a picture disc and, of course, digital downloads. These editions are available from Amazon and other retailers.

And if you haven’t already purchased Bruce’s The Beatles Finally Let It Be, now’s the time for you to finally add this book to your Beatles library!

About Author

Martin Nethercutt

Martin Nethercutt

Martin A Nethercutt is a writer, singer, producer and loves music. Creative Director at McCartney Studios Editor-in-Chief at McCartney Times Creator-in-Chief at Geist Musik President (title) at McCartney Multimedia, Inc. Went to Albert-Schweitzer-Schule Kassel Lives in Playa del Rey From Kassel, Germany Married to Ruth McCartney

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