LET IT BE”¦NAKED The Band’s Cut

Thursday
10:45:13 AM
February
19 2004

LET IT BE”¦NAKED The Band’s Cut

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London: The following is a digest of quotes on The Beatles’ Let It Be, made during and after the making of the album and including recent remarks on the new Let It Be”¦Naked.

PAUL McCARTNEY
We started Let It Be in January 1969 at Twickenham Studios, under the working title Get Back. Michael Lindsay-Hogg was the director. The idea was that you’d see The Beatles rehearsing, jamming, getting their act together and then finally performing somewhere in a big end-of-show concert. We would show how the whole process worked. I remember I had an idea for a massive tracking shot, forever and ever, and then we’d be in the concert. The original idea was to go on an ocean liner and get away from the world; you’d see us rehearsing and then you’d finally see the pay-off. But we ended up in Twickenham. I think it was a safer situation for the director and everybody. Nobody was that keen on going on an ocean liner anyway.

GEORGE MARTIN
They were going through a revolutionary period at that time and were trying to think of something new. And they wanted a new engineer. They had Geoff Emerick, so Glynn Johns came in. I guess they basically wanted a new producer, but they never actually said that to me. So I was still there. At the same time they did actually come up with a very good idea, which I thought was well worth working on. They wanted to write a complete album and rehearse it then perform it in front of a large audience. A live album of new material. Most people who did a live album would be rehashing old stuff, but they thought ’Let’s have a completely new album that nobody has ever heard and just put it in front of an audience’. It was a great idea, except that you couldn’t have an open-air concert in England in February and there was no venue available that would take The Beatles and their crowds. So we then started thinking about staging it abroad, we thought about doing it in California, but that would have been too expensive. We thought about going to Marrakech and importing people " but that fell through. In the end, because there was so much vacillation, there was nowhere left at all. So they started rehearsing down in Twickenham Film Studios and I went along with them. But there was a lot of dissension and lack of steering. Really, they were rudderless at this time.

BAND’S CUT 2


NEIL ASPINALL
They’d decided to film whatever they were doing. It was the producer Denis O’Dell’s idea that, if you were going to film it, you needed space for cameras. They had used Twickenham Film Studios before for Help! And A Hard Day’s Night, so they ended up there. Twickenham was very cold in January and a strange place to be making an album. It was like half-recording and half-filming. It didn’t really feel right. Nobody was that comfortable out there. Trying to work creatively, with every single moment of what they were doing being filmed, was not ideal for making a record.

PAUL McCARTNEY
We were being constantly filmed or taped. We suddenly realized there were these tensions and being under the glare of the camera, there was no way you could keep it out. I think Michael Lindsay-Hogg realized this and he sort of said ’This is the film; it’s cinema verite, let’s shoot what happens’. It was painful for us and I think it did contribute to the break-up. At the same time we had some great times; but it’s the opposite of a holiday where you forget the rain and remember the great bits you had. In this scenario I think we all just remembered all the bad times because they were caught on camera.

JOHN LENNON
It was just a dreadful, dreadful feeling being filmed all the time. I just wanted them to go away. We’d be called at eight in the morning and you couldn’t make music at eight in the morning, or ten, or whatever it was, in a strange place with people filming you, and coloured lights.

YOKO ONO
Michael Lindsay-Hogg did an incredible job. But I think Michael took the part of something that was obvious, like when they were having an argument or something, which made it interesting in some ways but it didn’t really depict the feeling of the whole.









BAND’S CUT 3

GEORGE HARRISON
I had spent the last few months of 1968 producing an album by Jackie Lomax and hanging out with Bob Dylan and The Band in Woodstock, having a great time. For me, to come back to the winter of discontent with The Beatles in Twickenham was very unhealthy and unhappy. But I can remember feeling quite optimistic about it. I thought ’OK, it’s the New Year and we have a new approach to recording’. I think the first couple of days were OK, but it was soon quite apparent that it was just the same as it had been when we were last in the studio and it was going to be painful again. As everyone knows, we never had much privacy " and now they were filming us, rehearsing. One day there was a row going on between Paul and me and they were filming us having a row. I thought ’What’s the point of this? I’m not able to be happy in this situation. I’m getting out of here’. Everybody had gone through that. Ringo had left at one point. I know John wanted out. It was a very, very difficult, stressful time. I thought ’I’m not doing this anymore, I’m out of here’. So I got my guitar and went home.

JOHN LENNON
By the time The Beatles were at their peak we were cutting each other down to size. We were limiting our capacity to write and perform by having to fit into some kind of format and that’s why it caused trouble. It’s not that we didn’t like each other. I’ve compared it to a marriage a million times and I hope it’s understandable for people who aren’t married or in any kind of a relationship. It was a long relationship. It started many, many years before the American public or the English public knew us. Paul and I were together since he was fifteen and I was sixteen. It’s a long, long time that the four of us have been together. And what happened was, through boredom and too much of everything " Epstein was dead and people were bothering us with business " the whole pressure of it finally got to us. So, like people do when they’re together, they start picking on each other. It was like ’It’s because of you " you got the tambourine wrong " that my whole life is a misery’. It became petty, but the manifestations were on each other because we were the only ones we had.






BAND’S CUT 4

YOKO ONO
I’m sure that in the course of their playing together, performing together in many different avenues, I am sure that they had some arguments; even in Liverpool when they started off. I think people in a band do usually have a lot of arguments because each one is an artist and each one has a definite idea about something.

RINGO STARR
In that period there was a lot of emotional turmoil going on amongst us, but when you listen to the music, the music always surpassed any bullshit we were going through. I’ve always felt that once the count-in happened, we turned back into those brothers and musicians.

PAUL McCARTNEY
There were getting to be arguments that were getting to be disagreements, but at the same time there were lots of friendly moments. There was a lot of emotion, there was a lot of love going between us all, but it was in a new way, it was in quite an intense way that this was all happening, which wasn’t the worst thing for the music. It’s actually very good for art, a lot of that stuff, you work it out and it adds an edge that you don’t necessarily get when you’re happy.

GEORGE HARRISON
I was called to a meeting out in Elstead in Surrey, at Ringo’s house. It was decided that it would be better if we got back together and finished the record. Twickenham studios were very cold and not a very nice atmosphere, so we decided to abandon that and go to Savile Row into the recording studio.

RINGO STARR
The facilities at Apple were great. It was so comfortable and it was ours, like home. It was great to go to and when we weren’t working we could sit around the fire, which we’d had put in because we wanted it really cosy. It was only at the playback that we realized that we couldn’t have the fire " because when we listened we heard ’crack, crack, crack’. We’d say ’What the fuck is that?’ and then we all worked out that it was the firewood crackling in the fire. So we had to put the fire out when we were recording.




BAND’S CUT 5

GEORGE MARTIN
John said to me before we started Let It Be ’I don’t want any of your production rubbish on this one. I don’t want any overdubbing of voices, I don’t want any editing; everything has got to be performed live like it used to be. It’s got to be real, man, it’s got to be honest’.

GEORGE HARRISON
I went with Eric Clapton to see Ray Charles play at the festival Hall and before Ray came on there was a guy on stage playing the organ. I thought ’that guy looks familiar’ but he seemed bigger than I remembered. After a while Ray came on and he reintroduced Billy Preston. I thought ’It’s Billy!’ Since we had last seen him in Hamburg in 1962, when he was just a little lad, he had grown to be six feet tall. So I put a message out to find out if Billy was in town and told him to come into Savile Row. He came in while we were down in the basement running through Get Back. I went up to reception and said ’Come in and play on this because they’re all acting strange’. He got on the electric piano and straight away there was 100 per cent improvement in the vibe in the room. Having this fifth person was just enough to cut the ice we’d created among ourselves. Billy didn’t know all the politics and the games that had been going on, so in his innocence he got stuck in and it gave an extra little kick to the band. Everybody was happier to have somebody else playing and it made what we were doing more enjoyable.

PAUL McCARTNEY
When Billy came onboard we all got a bit more civilized and it was like ’We wouldn’t want to do that in front of Billy, it wouldn’t be nice’. So he was very helpful; he just made us be nicer to each other and consequently we had a bit more fun on the whole thing. He was a very helpful force to have onboard " plus he was a fantastic musician and he lifted us. Just the little solos he would put in; you’d be like ’Wow! Yeah, this is great!’ He really helped the whole project along.

RINGO STARR
I think we were working on a good track and that always excited us. His work was also a part of it, so suddenly " as always when you’re working on something good " the bullshit went out the window and we got back to doing what we did really well.



BAND’S CUT 6

YOKO ONO
When you go back to the way they were making music you see that they were very, very professional, extremely-talented musicians. They’re just not missing a beat; it’s very difficult to find those people that are just really rocking together and cooking something good.

NEIL ASPINALL
They were still talking about playing a concert on a boat or in an amphitheatre in Greece or maybe at The Roundhouse in London. There were lots of different ideas of where they might do a concert and nothing was ever agreed.

GEORGE HARRISON
We went on the roof in order to resolve the live concert idea, because it was much simpler than going anywhere else; also because nobody had ever done that, so it would be interesting to see what happened when we started playing up there. It was a nice little social study.

PAUL McCARTNEY
It was great, it was very good to do; it was an open-air concert and it was very freeing. We’d been working on this music and we knew it needed some kind of pay-off. We just got up there, sang all the songs as we’d rehearsed them and then the word just filtered through ’The police have told us to stop it’. And we said ’Well, it’s too bad; we’ve started, we’re not hurting anyone. We’re only going to be here an hour or so, so we don’t really think it’s the end of the world’. So we said ’Let them catch us’.

RINGO STARR
It was the closest we got to a live show in many years and for me the most thrilling part. Someone was complaining and the police came up and I just thought ’We’re on film; drag me off the drums, so something’. But they let me down and instead it was ’Well, I’m afraid you’ve got to turn it down’ and the plug was pulled out. It could have been incredible; The Beatles carried off by police. That would have been great.

GEORGE HARRISON
We recorded four or five tunes and we might have played a lot more if they hadn’t switched us off. But that was enough.


BAND’S CUT 7

NEIL ASPINALL
I tell you what; it was simpler than going to Greece or doing it on a liner.

GEORGE MARTIN
In the end, of course, a documentary was made, with warts and all, of the Let It Be album. Glyn Johns and I put the music together and it was an honest album, which they wanted. But it lay fallow for a long time because nobody seemed to like the documentary that had been done, with all the mistakes. They were used to a polished production job and I think it was because of this that it wasn’t released.

JOHN LENNON
The tape ended up like the bootleg version. We let Glyn Johns remix it, we didn’t want to know.

NEIL ASPINALL
The original idea was to make an album as a four-piece band, or, with Billy Preston, a five-piece band, without overdubs. It was let’s do what a four or five-piece band can do and leave it at that. Then a year went by, they did Abbey Road, and then the band had split up. Let It Be wasn’t released because we were waiting for the film to be edited. Then the film was done and was going out in a couple of months and so we needed the Let It Be album. We had all these tapes and it was decided to give them to Phil Spector and make an album out of them. Phil came in and I’m not sure that anybody told him ’It’s got to be what a four or five piece band could do, Phil; no overdubbing and orchestras’. They just gave the tapes to him and so he did what Phil Spector does and overdubbed and put orchestras on and all the rest of it. In a sense he did a really good job, it’s a great album, but it wasn’t what the concept was in the first place. This new album is that; this new album is just what the four Beatles and Billy Preston did in the studio and on the roof.

RINGO STARR
There’s nothing wrong with Phil’s stuff, but for me after all these years of listening to Let It Be, this new album is the version I love.





BAND’S CUT 8

PAUL McCARTNEY
Why release this new version? I happened to bump into Michael Lindsay-Hogg and he said people had been asking when are we going to release the Let It Be film on DVD. I said that’d be a nice idea so I mentioned it to Neil at Apple and the more I thought about it I realized that the music in the film is unadorned, or sort of naked as I was calling it, thinking of it without the overdubs that Phil Spector had been brought in to do. That was OK; I didn’t hate it but I didn’t like it. It went out like that but around that time I had been listening to the original mixes without any of the overdubs, thinking ’Wow! These are almost scary, it’s so bare’. I really liked it. I thought this is the band, this is us, no frills, no artifice. And I’ve always had a secret lingering love for those tapes and so, thinking if we were to do the DVD as Neil was talking about, then the soundtrack from that would be the original tapes. Neil ran with it, did all the work as usual, and the results are really fine. What I like about it is that it’s pure. It’s the energy that was in that studio and the great thing about the remixed version is that with today’s technology it sounds better than ever.









RINGO STARR
I went to Abbey Road to hear it; it was just incredible. It was just really uplifting. It took you back to the times when we were this band, the Beatle band. The images that I had were that the songs still hold up, that the band was great and how incredibly melodic the tracks are.

NEIL ASPINALL
The reason for putting it out is that the record sounds great; just that band. The Let It Be film hasn’t been released with the album because we’re still working through hours of out-takes.

PAUL McCARTNEY
You’re in a clearer room with the guys. In the new mix I’m right there with John opposite me. You’re actually right there now.

BAND’S CUT 9


RINGO STARR
One After 909 was one of the original tracks that John and Paul wrote. I’d never played it before; it was just that we had a lot of sitting-around time and someone would just start something. They went right into it and so I just joined in and, hey, let’s do it because it rocked. Another track that rocked.

PAUL McCARTNEY
One of the very first things that John and I had ever written in the parlour of 20 Forthlin Road, where I lived with my Dad and brother at the time, was One After 909. We just started it as a kind of country bluesy thing. It was something of a bond between us, that song. It was our childhood coming back to us, it was a sort of raw energy from our youth. It was always a friendly song because we were great mates when we’d written it and I think it reminded us of those teenage years, and so it surfaced during the Let It Be sessions. It was a great joy to sing it, two of us, because it took us back. It took us away from all the pressures, the high profile life we’d been leading as very famous Beatles.

YOKO ONO
It was great; there was an incredible energy about it, a special energy about it. It was like them going back to the old days and they were fantastic.

PAUL McCARTNEY
I had a bit of a song called I’ve Got A Feeling, that somewhere in the middle kind of ran out, and John had a bit of a song that started in the middle and then sort of ran out. We got into doing this on the second side of the Abbey Road album later, we took fragments and joined them together. We’d done that once or twice before, we did it with A Day In The Life. So with I’ve Got A Feeling I set up the song with ’I’ve got a feeling, a feeling deep inside”¦’ and then John came in with ’Everybody had a good year”¦’ I think the match of the two was very successful.






BAND’S CUT 10

GEORGE HARRISON
I Me Mine is the ego problem. I hated everything about my ego, it was a flash of everything false and impermanent which I disliked. But later I learnt from it: to realize that there is somebody else in here apart from old blabbermouth. ’Who am I?’ became the order of the day. Anyway, that’s what came out of it " I Me Mine. The truth within us has to be realized: when you realize that everything else that you see and do and touch and smell isn’t real, then you may know what reality is, and can answer the question ’who am I?’

JOHN LENNON
Across The Universe was first recorded at the end of the White Album. I couldn’t get it on because we’d done so much material. I was lying in bed and I was thinking. I kept hearing ’words are flowing out like endless streams’. The words are purely inspirational and were given to me, except for maybe one or two when I had to resolve a line. I don’t own it; it came through like that.

YOKO ONO
Across The Universe is one of the most beautiful songs that John wrote and he was very pleased with it. I think it’s one that comes across very well in this particular selection of songs this time.

RINGO STARR
The Long And Winding Road blew me away without the strings. There’s nothing wrong with Phil’s strings, this is just a different attitude to listening. But it’s been 30-odd years since I’ve heard it without all that and it just blew me away. Let It Be is just an incredible track too and now you realize why we called the album Let It Be.

PAUL McCARTNEY
Let It Be came after a dream I’d had where my Mum, Mary, who’d died when I was a teenager, appeared to me in a dream. Around the time of Let It Be we were all getting a little crazy and I’d gone to bed one night well crazy and sort of had a dream. And she had been in the dream and she said ’Don’t worry, it’s all going to be OK; let it be’. She was very sort of calming and I woke up thinking ’I feel better about things now’. I thought ’What did she say? That’s a nice phrase, it’s got to be a song’. So I literally started working on the song”¦ ’when I find myself in times of trouble mother Mary comes to me’, realizing at the time that some people would take it as a double meaning, mother Mary being The Virgin Mary.
BAND’S CUT 11

RINGO STARR
Get Back was a good track. I felt ’this is a kick-ass track’. Don’t Let Me Down also. They were two fine tracks. Quite simple and raw " back to basics. I’d done a hook to the track in Get Back that sounded good and it’s been copied since " by myself, in fact, in Back Off Boogaloo.

YOKO ONO
Ringo’s performance is incredible. Many drummers are sort of copying him now, but I don’t know how they can do it. I don’t think they can ever be Ringo; he was somehow holding them up and making sure that Let It Be is alright. Now this record is showing how it was and also how it can be. The Beatles were incredible; they didn’t need any help and I think this version especially shows that.

PAUL McCARTNEY
The music was great and that’s the essential thing about this album. I love the idea of releasing the record stripped down so that it’s just the band. You get a very clear picture of how the band were singing and playing at that point in time, what a good little band this band was. That was the thing about The Beatles, we were always a great little band; that’s what shows on the Let It Be tapes and that’s what’s important.

RINGO STARR
With us four it was magical and it was telepathy. When we were working in the studio sometimes it was just indescribable, really. Although there were four of us, there was one of us; all of our hearts were beating at the same time.

PAUL McCARTNEY
The making of the film Let It Be and the tensions involved around then will always be a bit of a sour memory. I don’t think there’s any route around that. But the joy was the music and those were the good moments. But when we’re talking about the tensions always happening between the music, unfortunately that sticks because it was a group breaking up " it was my favourite group in the world breaking up and I can’t say that was easy to deal with or that it’s a great memory. But what is great and what is a great memory is the music we made. And now, in its unadorned form, there it is exactly as we made it. So that’s a beautiful memory and the shining glory of the events that took place then was the music.

Source by Rockitalia


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