Music Article

Fab Without Flab

Beatles release stripped-down remix of ''Let It Be.'' Fans will hear the more raw studio takes, before producer Phil Spector overpolished them

In their final weeks together as a band, when the Beatles couldn't agree on anything, John Lennon handed over hundreds of hours of session tapes to producer Phil Spector and had him turn the recordings into what would be the group's last album, 1970's ''Let It Be.'' Years later, the surviving Beatles apparently did agree (as did many fans), that Spector overproduced the album, burying the band's raw performances under layers of strings and choirs. Now, listeners will finally be able to tell for themselves with the release of an unvarnished version of the sessions, called ''Let It Be... Naked,'' which hits stores Nov. 17.

According to the Beatles' Apple Corps firm, ''Naked'' eliminates the studio chatter from the original release, as well as the mini-jams ''Dig It'' and ''Maggie Mae,'' replacing them with ''Don't Let Me Down.'' ''This is the noise we made in the studio,'' Paul McCartney announced on Thursday. ''It's exactly as it was in the room. You're right there now.''

McCartney, Ringo Starr, and George Harrison (before he died in 2001) all approved of the reissue, Starr told Rolling Stone when the project was announced back in January. ''Paul was always totally opposed to Phil,'' Starr said. ''I told him on the phone [recently], 'You're bloody right again: It sounds great without Phil.' Which it does. Now we'll have to put up with him telling us over and over again, 'I told you.'''

Glyn Johns, the studio engineer who helped record the tracks in 1969, also collaborated on the remix. ''My version of [the song] 'Get Back' actually was released fairly quickly as a single,'' he told Rolling Stone. ''And my version of [the song] 'Let It Be' was also released, before Phil Spector puked all over it. And I hope you quote me on that. If you hear 'The Long and Winding Road' without all that schlock on it, it's fabulous just like it is.''

Originally posted Sep 18, 2003
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