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Old Dec 27, 2010, 06:54 PM   #1
John Cee
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Default Is the Spectorized LET IT BE really all that bad?

I doubt any of The Beatles' original albums was criticized more than the original LET IT BE, as "reproduced for disc by Phil Spector". And I think a lot of that has to do with all the acrimony that went on within the band during its recording, and the negative reactions from key members of the recording team when the album was finally released.

And it's not hard to understand why some of them were so upset. George Martin had to listen to all of Spector's orchestrations after John had initially told him "we don't want any of your production rubbish" on the record. Engineer Glyn Johns, who had assembled earlier rejected versions of the album, was even more bitter, saying Spector "puked all over" the album. And Paul McCartney was furious with the gushing orchestra and choir added to "Long and Winding Road", claiming it was the first time female voices were heard on Beatles' records (guess he forgot about the Mike Sammes Singers on "Walrus" and "Good Night"). So we got to hear it their way when LET IT BE (NAKED) was released a few years ago.

However, as a listener, I've always thought the original Spectorized LET IT BE was a pretty darn good album -- so over the past few days, I've sat down and listened to both "Spector" and "Naked" -- and while both versions have their charms, I still think the original is the better of the two. I like the order of the songs better, and I like the adlibs and studio chatter Spector sandwiched in between the songs (on "Naked", these effects are placed on a "Fly on the Wall" disc that most of us will likely only listen to about once every five years -- about as often as we might listen to George's "Apple Jam").

And "Naked" also borrows a couple of Phil's ideas, such as trimming "all I want is" from the beginning and end of "Dig a Pony" and lengthening "I Me Mine" by repeating the chorus and second verse (although the edit is different).

Here's how I compare them, track by track (I'll use the Spector version order, since that's the one I'm used to):

"Two of Us" -- same version on both albums, although it's crisper in the remixed "Naked" version (in fairness, I don't have the remastered version of "Spector"). But I prefer the placing of it on "Spector", as opening track of the album. I also enjoy John's "I Dig a Pygmy" intro spliced onto the beginning. I think "Charles Hawtry and the Deaf Aids" do a pretty darn good job on this number.

"Dig A Pony" -- same version on both albums, but again, I like the false start on "Spector", giving it more of a live performance feel (as indeed it was, performed on the Apple rooftop).

"Across the Universe" -- the guitar is clearer on "Naked", but Spector's orchestration and choir overdub fills out the sound and gives the song sound a dreamlike quality that fit the lyric. So both are good, but I give the nod to "Spector".

"I Me Mine" -- I like Spector's edit better; his orchestration here is probably the best on the album -- it definitely enhances the song, especially the way it builds toward the end.

"Dig It" -- shortened and moved to the "Fly on the Wall" disc on "Naked" -- but I like it the way it, and John's high-pitched "Ark the Angels Come" ad-lib, lead into "Let It Be" on "Spector".

"Let It Be" -- I definitely prefer the "Spector" version, with the stinging guitar solo from George and the more stately drumming from Ringo, to the "Naked" version.

"Maggie Mae" -- moved to the "Fly on the Wall" disc on "Naked" -- and I don't really care one way or the other

"I've Got a Feeling" -- I prefer the version on "Spector" -- Billy Preston's keyboard on the "Naked" version is pretty repetitive

"One After 909" -- same version on both -- the mixing is a bit better on "Naked", although I miss the "Danny Boy" ad-lib at the end of the "Spector" version

"Long and Winding Road" -- okay okay, Spector went overboard on this one, and the version on "Naked" is less cloying -- the best version of all is probably the one on ANTHOLOGY 3, which is the orginal LET IT BE take without all the "schlock" Spector put on it (to use Glyn Johns' words). Then again, I'm not all that crazy about this song in any form.

"For You Blue" -- this one I'll give to "Naked" -- George's guitar-picking is a lot clearer than on "Spector"

"Get Back" -- Spector hands down -- I love the way he mixed in the band tuning up and John's "Sweet Loretta Fart" send-up at the beginning, to make it sound as if this studio performance was actually from the Rooftop gig -- it also makes more sense to have this song, along with Maureen Starkey's cheering and John Lennon's "hope we passed the audition" ad-lib, close out the album than its placement on "Naked" (opening track).

"Don't Let Me Down" -- not included on Spector's version, and I've always wondered why, since it was in the movie... I suppose it was because Capitol in the USA was releasing a HEY JUDE compilation album at around that time which included "Don't Let Me Down"... but I think the original single version (now on PAST MASTERS) is better than the one on "Naked".

So am I the only one who thinks the original LET IT BE is fine just as it is? I'd be interested in seeing what other Beatle people think. We probably have a thread like this already somewhere here, but I'm too lazy to go look. lol
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Last edited by John Cee : Dec 27, 2010 at 06:58 PM.
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Old Dec 27, 2010, 07:14 PM   #2
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i will say this, the spectorized "wall of sound" let it be and let it be naked are worlds apart. the spectorized take of let it be the song, had a special place in my heart, but after hearing the naked version, there is just no comparison. the naked version has so much more depth and warmth to it, it's beyond silly to even compare the two versions. i will say however that the spectorized i me mine isn't that bad, but having said that, is still not nearly as good as the naked product. across the universe is vastly better on let it be naked.

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Old Dec 28, 2010, 05:18 AM   #3
mariposa
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John Cee View Post
"Long and Winding Road" -- okay okay, Spector went overboard on this one
...

Then again, I'm not all that crazy about this song in any form.
It's a great song ... for someone else. I've always thought the Beatles could perform any musical genre and make it their own, but ok maybe not the "over-produced schlock" genre.

Barry Manilow would be great with this song (or has he already done it? I don't follow Barry Manilow, so I don't know).
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Old Dec 28, 2010, 10:30 AM   #4
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I think the Spector Let It Be is very good. I think the naked Let It Be is better. That said, if Phil Spector didn't do the production back in 1970, we may never have had let it Be until maybe 1995 Anthology.
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Old Dec 28, 2010, 07:45 PM   #5
Maia 66
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Excellent analysis... thanks for it.

As a long-time fan, I have to say that it has always been The Long and Winding Road and Across the Universe that are so irksome. Such stunning songs... and such schmaltzy production! That angel choir... I think that is what so many of us truly object to when we talk of the Spectorized Let It Be.

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It's a great song ... for someone else. I've always thought the Beatles could perform any musical genre and make it their own, but ok maybe not the "over-produced schlock" genre.
It would have been a much better song (and more appreciated by Beatles fans) had George Martin produced it!
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Old Dec 28, 2010, 08:40 PM   #6
AeolianCadence
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Originally Posted by John Cee View Post
So am I the only one who thinks the original LET IT BE is fine just as it is? I'd be interested in seeing what other Beatle people think. We probably have a thread like this already somewhere here, but I'm too lazy to go look. lol
I need to listen to "Naked" so I can make an educated judgment. But I do like the Spector version for the reasons you mentioned, especially George's guitar solo on the title track and all the chatter from John. Really the big sticking point is the gooey, schlocky arrangement of "The Long and Winding Road," and you know really the thing that puts me off that one the most is Paul's performance. It seriously sets my teeth on edge. Sorry, Paul.
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Old Dec 29, 2010, 09:02 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AeolianCadence View Post
I need to listen to "Naked" so I can make an educated judgment. But I do like the Spector version for the reasons you mentioned, especially George's guitar solo on the title track and all the chatter from John. Really the big sticking point is the gooey, schlocky arrangement of "The Long and Winding Road," and you know really the thing that puts me off that one the most is Paul's performance. It seriously sets my teeth on edge. Sorry, Paul.
like you said, wait until you hear the naked version. the spectorized version is gooey, syrupy, overblown, the orchestra overdubs just plain ruin the song; the naked version is warm, inviting and has rhythm, you can now hear the words, they no longer stand out like some schmaltzy, saccharine foreign language. no comparison.

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Old Dec 29, 2010, 12:55 PM   #8
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I like the guitar in LIB…N more than in the original, but that's just my
opinion.
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