The Beatles’ stripped-back, Phil Spector-free version of “Let It Be” has finally made its debut on the iTunes store – a decade after its physical release.
The 11-track “Let It Be…Naked” album arrived today on Apple’s digital music service carrying some bonus content, EMI has announced. The iTunes LP features all of the original booklet art and liner notes, plus some 20 minutes of extra bonus audio of “studio banter” captured during the 1969 recording sessions for “Let It Be.” Also, Apple is exclusively offering music videos for the “Naked” versions of “Get Back” and “Don’t Let Me Down” for download purchase and free streaming.
The original version of “Let It Be” was released in 1970 and proved to the Beatles’ swansong. Although it was the last Beatles studio album to be released, “Let It Be” was actually recorded prior to “Abbey Road,” which came out first.
After years of speculation, the Beatles re-released “Let It Be” in November 2003 – with some big-time changes. The set had been thoroughly remixed to remove the post-recording orchestral overdubs which had been added by Spector in the absence of the band. The new version also replaces “Dig It” and “Maggie Mae” with “Don’t Let Me Down”, originally the b-side to the “Get Back” single. Some background studio chatter was also cut.
At the time of the release of “Let It Be…Naked,” Paul McCartney had remarked that the newer version was closer to capturing the band in its essence. “If we’d had today’s technology back then, it would sound like this because this is the noise we made in the studio,” he said. It’s all exactly as it was in the room. You’re right there now.”
McCartney and Ringo Starr had no creative input on the project, nor did Beatles producer Sir George Martin. Instead, engineers Allan Rouse, Guy Massey and Paul Hicks, of Abbey Road Studios in London, were given complete freedom to craft the new edition.
Following its release, “Let It Be…Naked” peaked at No. 5 on The Billboard 200 and at No. 7 on the Official U.K. Albums Chart.
The release on iTunes of “Let It Be…Naked” comes just days after the HBO debut of the “Phil Spector” biopic, staring Al Pacino in the role as the controversial producer.