Song Facts: The Beatles — "Let It Be" (Both Versions)

by Christopher Scapelliti
Posted May 8, 2014 at 4:50pm

Attentive Beatles fans who purchased Let It Be when it came out in May 1970 noticed something very different about the album version of the title track: The guitar solo was markedly changed from what they'd heard on the "Let It Be" single released two months earlier.

The reason was down to the producers: the 45-rpm version was produced by George Martin; the album version was produced by Phil Spector. The track began life at Apple Studios on January 31, 1969, the last day of the Get Back sessions.

It originally featured McCartney on piano and lead vocals, Harrison playing his Stratocaster through his Leslie cabinet, Lennon on Fender Bass VI, Billy Preston on organ and Ringo on drums. Lennon and Harrison provided backing vocals. On April 30, Harrison wiped his Stratocaster part, recording over it using his rosewood Telecaster, also played through his Leslie.

Nothing more was done with the track until January 4, 1970. With Let It Be finally slated for release, McCartney, Harrison and Starr began to select tracks and fix numerous problems with the performances. On this day, George Martin had McCartney replace Lennon's clumsy bass work with a new bass track. He also added new harmony vocals from Harrison and McCartney, brass, cellos, additional drums and percussion, and a new and cutting guitar solo from Harrison, played on his Les Paul, nicknamed Lucy.

This new solo and the solo from April 30, 1969, existed side by side on the eight-track master tape. When Martin mixed the song for the single, he favored the April 30 solo (although the original Strat solo from January 31, while erased on April 30, can be heard buried in the mix, perhaps from having leaked onto the track of another instrument).

Martin also placed the cello and brass overdubs lower in his mix. His version of the song clocked in at 3:52. Phil Spector did precisely the opposite for the album version, raising the cello and brass in his mix and placing Harrison's Les Paul solo from January 4, 1970, in the spotlight. (The original Strat solo can again be heard, as on the Martin mix.) Spector also extended the song's length by splicing in a third chorus of the "Let it be, let it be ... " refrain, bringing his version of the song to 4:03.

RECORDED: January 31,1969, Apple Studios; April 30, 1969, Abbey Road Studio Three; January 4, 1970, Abbey Road Studio Two

SINGLE VERSION:

ALBUM VERSION:


Add a Comment
0 Comments

Similar Guitar News

Shred Guitar Version of The Beatles' "I Want You (She's So Heavy)" — Video (4/28/2015)
While the Beatles' 1969 track "I Want You (She's So Heavy)" is, indeed, "heavy," it's not exactly a shred masterpiece. There is a guitar solo on the Beatles' recording, but it's a simple pentatonic take on the song's melody line, as played by J...
Listen to Kurt Cobain’s Unreleased Cover of The Beatles’ “And I Love Her” (4/21/2015)
A previously unheard recording of Kurt Cobain covering The Beatles’ “And I Love Her” acoustically has appeared online. The rough-sounding (but nonetheless magical!) recording was found during the making of the new documentary, Kurt Cobain: Mont...
George Martin Hears George Harrison's Lost Guitar Solo from The Beatles' "Here Comes the Sun" — Video (3/10/2015)
No, my fellow obsessed followers of Beatles news. This video is not new—but it wound up in my inbox today, and it's certainly worth a share. It's actually from 2012. That's when George Harrison's son, Dhani Harrison, left (in the video), Beatles...
The Beatles' Secret Weapon: George Harrison’s 1963 Rickenbacker 360/12 (2/25/2015)
Although the last thing the red-hot Beatles needed in early 1964 was a “secret weapon,” that’s exactly what they got when George Harrison received his first Rickenbacker 12-string, in a beautiful Fireglo finish, in February of that year, during ...
Micky Dolenz Talks Music, Monkees, Jimi Hendrix and The Beatles (2/6/2015)
Fifty years ago, Micky Dolenz’s agent called him about an audition for a new pilot about music and comedy. It was the beginning of a journey that would take Dolenz, Davy Jones, Michael Nesmith and Peter Tork to the world of super-stardom. ...
Guide to the Songs and Instruments Featured on The Beatles' 'A Hard Day's Night' Album (1/29/2015)
There was no mania quite as manic as Beatlemania, and it was at its undisputed height in 1964. In February, the Beatles had conquered the United States, the birthplace of their rock and roll idols, appearing twice on the Ed Sullivan Show and pe...
Guide to The Beatles' White Album: the Recording Equipment, the Songs, the Conflicts (11/22/2014)
Having opened a Pandora's box with their critically acclaimed and commercially successful album Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, the Beatles faced serious competition from a variety of open-minded artists who were expanding rock music's ba...
Guide to the Recording Equipment and Instruments Featured on The Beatles' 'Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band' (6/2/2014)
The studio experimentation that had begun with Revolver advanced to the next level on Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. In many ways, 1966 had been a watershed for the Beatles. They had broken from the two-albums-per-year formula that had ...
Dear Guitar Hero: Donovan Recalls Working with The Beatles, Jeff Beck, Jimmy Page — and Welcoming Jimi Hendrix to England (5/21/2014)
He’s a famous Sixties folk-pop troubadour who worked with Jimmy Page and played with the Beatles. But what Guitar World readers really want to know is… What do you call your unique picking technique, and which artists inspired it? — Dingy Bell I...
Tribute to The Beatles: Virtuoso Al Di Meola Puts His Signature Style on 14 Fab Tunes (2/18/2014)
Whether he’s racing with devils on Spanish highways or chasing aliens in Arabian deserts, Al Di Meola has enjoyed a career highlighted by new musical adventures in exotic locales. His latest call of duty? Recording a tribute to one of his favor...
Album Review: The Beatles — 'The U.S. Albums' (2/18/2014)
Unless you’ve been under a rock, missed the Grammys and close your eyes while you’re at the grocery store checkout, you’ve probably noticed it’s the 50th anniversary of the Beatles’ arrival in the U.S. To mark the occasion, there’s a new box s...
Lesson: The Acoustic Artistry of The Beatles' George Harrison (2/11/2014)
Of the four Beatles, George Harrison brought to the group an assortment of electric and acoustic guitar approaches, flavors influenced by everyone from Chet Atkins and Carl Perkins to the Byrds and Bob Dylan. Harrison’s pioneering use of the Ri...
The Fab 50: The Beatles' 50 Greatest Guitar Moments (2/7/2014)
On the 50th anniversary of the Beatles' arrival in the United States (and legendary February 1964 appearance on the Ed Sullivan Show), Guitar World celebrates the 50 best guitar moments from the band's hit-making history. The Beatles were such t...
The Beatles US Albums: a disc-by-disc guide (2/6/2014)
Read more about The Beatles US Albums: a disc-by-disc guide at MusicRadar.com Between January of 1964 and February of 1970, Cap
David Crosby on the impact of The Beatles: "They changed my life" (2/4/2014)
Read more about David Crosby on the impact of The Beatles: "They changed my life" at MusicRadar.com THE BEATLES IN THE USA: "A friend of mine brought home the record Meet The Beatles. We were living in Chicago at the time, over a grocery store, ...