On the 'tube

For the Beatles Fans, Let It Be Movie In Its Entirety on YT

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I just finished watching a recent upload of the Beatles Let It Be movie on YouTube.

While a big Beatles fan, I admit I have never seen it in its entirety; only the few available snippets here and there on the 'net or video over the years.

And though it is not my favourite Beatles album, it's interesting to see the movie in its entirety for the historical Beatles document it is, Yoko, warts and all.

So, for those Beatles fans here, watch it while you can before it surely gets yanked from YT:

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Thanks for sharing!

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Well, now just about 50 years old. To me, except for the title track and Get Back, their worst album. Lennon fans would argue Across the Universe is the 3rd good song of it. Still they knew Abbey Road would be the last so they really did "come together' for that one and it was a graceful exit. Only Ringo had turned 30. Of course during this period it's pretty much confirmed was when the epic thefit of the Cavern bass (appears in first part) Shea Tennessean and George's 2nd Rick 360/12 happened.

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The only songs I like on the album (It’s just barely a Beatle album) are “I’ve Got a Feeling/Everybody Had a Hard Year” and “Don’t Let Me Down”. “For You Blue” is OK, as is “I Dig a Pony”(cool lick). The record is so badly recorded that being slathered with Phil Spector‘s treacle doesn’t help one bit. The movie is too uncomfortable to watch again, except for the rooftop concert.

Edit: and “Two of Us”, natch.

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Discussion between Paul and George that begins at 15:15 is interesting and oddly relatable.

Paul doesn't like George's guitar lines and wants to iron them out.

George says, "I'll just play the chords if you like."

Paul says, "I'm trying to help you, but I always hear myself annoying you and I get so I can't [offer criticism]." He refers to an earlier discussion--"And what we said the other day, I'm not trying to get you . . . I really am just saying 'Look lads, should we try it like this?' "

George says, "I'll play whatever you want me to play or I won't play at all if you want don't want me to play."

Perhaps George's song was meant to be a message.

All I can hear - "I me mine, I me mine, I me mine." Even those tears - "I me mine, I me mine, I me mine." No-one's frightened of playing it, everyone's saying it, Flowing more freely than wine, All through' the day: "I me mine."

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Sorry--I just read the Wikipedia page on "Let it Be." I didn't realize this was old news.

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I had read somewhere recently that there have been discussions about releasing a recut version of the film.

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The only original Beatles album to be "remaindered" -- that is, a corner of the album was cut (defaced) and marked down for quick sale. You used to be able to find these versions everywhere well into the '70's, which is why I could afford a copy. The album was such a mess that it was released after Abbey Road. The rooftop concert scene with the cops "busting" them was ripped off from the Jefferson Airplane who had done the same thing and filmed it -- a year earlier.

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Speaking of Let it Be (the song), one of my favorite guitar solos of all time is George's raw AC30 on overload take which apparently was recorded later and appeared on the Spector album mix. I quite like the Leslie solo as well, which appeared on the single. I otherwise prefer the George Martin produced Beatles sound to Phil Spector.

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From what I have read, Paul and Ringo historically have nixed a release of the Let It Be Film on Blu Ray, etc as they do like that it portrays the group in a bit of a negative light and they do not have very fond memories of that particular time. Please Beatle history fanatics, don't flame me for this....I'm just saying what I read

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I'd never seen the movie. It was a moving movie, the internal dynamics so evidently on display - the respect the lads clearly had for each other even as all recognized they were drifting apart personally as men and would inevitably do so as a band.

All were so earnest, sometimes even beseeching, and patient and tolerant with each other - during a process we've been told was contentious and fractious. I'd read transcripts of Paul and George's exchange, in which (in my mind) Paul always sounded imperious and George sarcastic. In reality, Paul was as apologetic as he could be while trying to get George to try something his way - and George sounds to me both dignified and pliant.

Of course the film may well have been edited to try to show the Beatles at their best - or at least to excise the worst - but even the parts I thought I knew read differently in context, and when you see the interactions.

The segment where Paul reports having seen film of their almost-year-ago visit with the Maharishi grounded that episode believably for me. Paul pretty objectively observes all their behavior at the time, musing that they weren't quite completely "truthful" in their reactions, that they were tuning their usual personalities and responses to the occasion. I found it telling and poignant - Paul so obviously attuned to and invested in the internal dynamics of the band. And there was John, listening intently, clearly considering everything Paul was saying, not bearing impatiently with it waiting to get in his two cents.

I also thought Paul was insightful in his analysis of the nervousness the group might feel over returning to live performance, trying to explain why he thought it was important for the band to do it, and how they'd be better for the effort.

I don't remember an exchange where any of the Beatles talked over each other, raised their voices, or tried to impose their wills and opinions on each other - even when it was clear that some were occasionally impatient with the process they'd agreed on for the back-to-a-live-band production process. Paul tired of the seemingly unproductive frittering away of time, apparent lack of effort and commitment - even the occasionally cathartic jams. All three of the others seemed sometimes unsure what the process was about, impatient with the effort that was being asked of them. Maybe they were wishing Brian or George Martin was there to impose discipline - while simultaneously marveling that they'd ever let themselves be managed in that way.

And still, the palpable sense of respect, regard, and love for each other. Four guys who'd lived an arc of events anyone outside the group could never really understand, who knew each other better than anyone would likely ever know them again: even in the time of trouble they were going through as a band, wondering what their purpose was now (or if they had one), they all seem still to honor their long history together, the way they'd grown up together. Not necessarily like brothers - like close brothers who would never betray each other.

Paul's voice - good Lord. His shifts of attitude and timbre are astonishing, as when he not so much impersonates a dramatic Latin crooner in "Besame Mucho," but flat becomes one. The others are clearly amused and impressed by his chameleonic vocal personalities (though they have to have witnessed it thousands of times), and join in kind to complete a musical moment they had to know was only for them, and would never be released in that form. Again - though I knew he had the chops - I was astonished all over again by both his balls-out screaming rock & roll delivery and the affecting (but still never cloying) delivery of songs of "Let it Be" and "Long and Winding Road."

Not that John's vocal chops are deficient in comparison; he has the same range - but he's always John and doesn't inhabit alternate dramatic musical personalities in Paul's way. It was enlightening for me to see how both handle their voices, how much effort (or not) goes in during both tentative development stages of songs, and then the less vulnerable but more tedious rehearsal stages. Just guys in a band being guys in a band - and the band happened to be the Beatles.

The jams on old rock and roll tunes were interesting. I think the band sensed that most of the new material they were working on was not as compelling as material they'd had in the past, and it was apparent their hearts often weren't in it. I think they dredged up the old numbers as a way of trying to find some of their old excitement and joy in playing together; sometimes that worked for them, other times they were probably asking themselves "what are we doing this stuff for, aren't we the damn BEATLES fergawdsake...are we still a bar band?" But when they caught a groove and started injecting their old creativity, as in the long jam which was edited down to "Dig It” for the album, you saw the band energized by and responding to John’s spontaneous invention, and could imagine how they'd played for hours and hours on end in Hamburg.

I picked up lots of other stuff I hadn't realized. George's playing, tone, out-of-tuneness, and obsession with wah wah were all amazingly bad. Was he not even trying, didn't he care, or did he not quite know how to contribute to the mixed batch of songs they were apparently working up? He so often sounds lazy and disjointed. I'm surprised Paul didn't beat on him harder, and more often. But maybe all knew that when it really mattered, when the songs rounded the corner on the last lap, George would have pulled together the right part, and tones that work.

I didn't know Ringo was so competent a piano player - his right-hand rock & roll hammering in the impromptu boogie with Paul surprised me. It wasn't till the end of the segment, when he turned to the camera, that I knew who'd been playing. It was also enlightening to observe the dynamic between Ringo and George when Ringo was working up "Octopus". Looked like John and Paul hadn't come in yet, and the two "junior songwriters" were taking the opportunity to work on something. Ringo's piano work was perfectly competent to the purpose, George making suggestions for the bridge chord progression which Ringo took in good grace - he couldn't perfectly incorporate on the next run-through. (In the final Abbey Road version, he had.) When L&M do come in and find the boys at it, they seem a little patronizing - even a little amused - but at the same time "proud" of the song and the boys' efforts.

You could see how George, who took himself very seriously, would have been chafing under this treatment (which he'd endured for years), while Ringo - with less personally at stake as a songwriter - would have sloughed it off.

I thought "I Me Mine" sounded much stronger during the first full-band run-through - was delivered with more commitment - than in the recorded version. The sophistication of George's movement through dramatic dissonance seemed much more to the front with his guitar loud and forward, when you heard the amp distortion in those dense chords. George also sounded more like he meant the vocals without all the distractions of the final version.

What else. Oh! It was a revelation to me that John played the leads in "Get Back." I'd always assumed it was George. They're great parts. Also, there was John on (I think) a Bass VI, laying down perfectly competent basslines when required. And I had forgotten he played the lazy lapsteel on "For You Blue."

Also, no matter how unmotivated/lazy/un-organized the band often sounded during rehearsals, no matter the distractions and diversions - and even when no one cared much about tone or tuning - it was impressive (if not surprising) how accurately everyone plays. There aren't many out-and-out clams. Rhythm never seems to fall apart; no one ever seems to fall out of the groove (no matter how loose it seemed). I think, even when it sounded like hell at the time, they weren't worried that ultimately these songs wouldn't come out right. They'd just had too long a history with each other ever to have less than complete confidence in each other's ability to come together as the Beatles.

And sure enough, out on the rooftop, when it mattered, there were the freaking Beatles, doing that lumpy and uneven collection of tunes - which sounded, even compared to the best previous run-through, much more complete and composed than the practices had suggested they would. Paul and John sliced the cold air with their voices, harmonizing like twins in all registers. Everyone brought all their Beatleness to a real performance. George sounded great; Billy Preston contributes as a full musical member. None of them were Beatle songs anyone had ever heard before (as familiar as they now are), and some were very different than the band had ever done - but there was no doubt it was the Beatles, being a live band, and knocking it down.

I don't know if all knew it would be the last time they ever played together live in kinda-public as the Beatles. Maybe our memory of the future they had no way of knowing casts the performance in an elegaic tone. But it was an honorable and worthy last live gig, surely much more satisfying musically than their last moments at Candlestick Park three years earlier. No hordes of screaming teenies, and a band that at last could hear each other at a gig.


As for the album itself, in either its Spectorized pretension or its Naked bare bones, I like it better as the years go on. Most of the songs seemed flat and desultory to me from the time I first heard it. They seemed not as special, not as hooky, not as cleverly arranged and consummately produced as the Beatle work of the prior few years, in which every album advanced the state of the art over the previous release in both composition and execution. They weren't ear candy.

But the songs have grown on me, as have the performances. It's not pyrotechnical polychrome Beatles breaking down boundaries and atomizing genres; it's mere mortals bringing their very different songs to their buddies, and helping each other bring them to life. You hear the differences among the songwriters more clearly than ever. There's less of the aggregate and transcendent Beatle identity which had previously subsumed the individual in the collective.

And while it can still seem a disjointed listen, in retrospect it's kind of a three-legged stool, sitting atop three different but related stylistic approaches. "Pony," "I've Got a Feeling," and "Don't Let Me Down" rock in a way that points toward the the blues rock of the coming decade, while Paul's anthemic ballads seem more personal, more direct, and less dramatic than ever - more like the confessional singer-songwriter stuff also coming in the 70s. And "Two of Us" (man, what a lovely song), "Maggie May" (a nice valedictory throwback to Beatles doing covers), and "For You Blue" suggest the Beatles as a bucolic something-like-country-rock band - a movement the 70s also held in store.

So were these glimpses of several more straightforward, less colorful, less technically and musically inventive genres to come coincidence? Or on what many consider their weakest album, did the Beatles actually point the way that others then followed?

Anyway, despite my long period of only occasional nodding acquaintance with the songs of Let It Be, I now hear them as old friends, almost as beloved for their hominess and lack of musical ambition as are other great Beatle songs for exactly the opposite character.

(Also also also, Phil Spector was stooopid to leave "Don't Let Me Down" off the album, even if it had already been released as a B-side. Great song, incredible delivery. If 12 songs were absolutely the limit, I could honestly have done without "Maggie May" or "For You Blue" - for me, about the closest to filler the Beatles had ever recorded.)

So. THANKS for the link. I found it a great watch.

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Speaking of Let it Be (the song), one of my favorite guitar solos of all time is George's raw AC30 on overload take which apparently was recorded later and appeared on the Spector album mix. I quite like the Leslie solo as well, which appeared on the single. I otherwise prefer the George Martin produced Beatles sound to Phil Spector.

– vibrotwang

George had a good Leslie thing going on Let it Be (song) and even Long and Winding Road.

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George had a good Leslie thing going on Let it Be (song) and even Long and Winding Road.

That he did.

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Ok, Tim. I’ll watch it again with a grown up, mature (for me) perspective. I saw it in 1970, and the thought of seeing my musical heros splintering apart was like seeing one’s parents split up, the stability I counted on shaking loose. At 16, the fantasy of what a band stood for was sacred, rather than what it really was, a temporary arrangement, as are all things made.

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Yeah, and I think when the Beatles formed up in their teens, then were fused together in the heat and pressure of their career, they also considered the band bond sacred and everlasting...but by late 1967 they'd evolved and matured beyond that, saw it more as a temporary arrangement. I think they were still adjusting and reacting to the realization in the period the movie was made.

They hadn't come to brother-betrayal yet, though. That was still at least a year away.

As any portrait must, it captures a point in time.

I think you'll see it with different eyes this time.

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Things I learned watching Let it Be movie for the first time in 48 years...

I did take the bickering too much seriously at the time.

In Two of Us George is doing what I thought were bass fills on the brown tele.

In 1970, after seeing John play slide on For You Blue, we 16 year old Beatle wannabes ran out and bought red Dispoz-a-Lite lighters like John used so we could learn to play slide. None were successful. I still might have mine somewhere. These pre dated Bic lighters by a few years.

The rooftop concert (which I have seen many times over the years) is fab. Tight Little Rock and Roll combo.

I still hate whoever edited this movie.

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I didn’t realize George’s role in Two of Us either. Enjoyed the flick.

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I had Let It Be on one of the old RCA videodiscs, which were more like a thick, oversized LP. I cringe at the end when Paul lays his Hofner down on the building roof on a January day and walks away. (I'm sure Mal Evans took care of it.) What is worse than that is in Help! when he practically throws it down in the armored tank scene!

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Ok, Tim. I’ll watch it again with a grown up, mature (for me) perspective. I saw it in 1970, and the thought of seeing my musical heros splintering apart was like seeing one’s parents split up, the stability I counted on shaking loose. At 16, the fantasy of what a band stood for was sacred, rather than what it really was, a temporary arrangement, as are all things made.

– Bob Howard

I still have a very hard time watching even snippets of the Rooftop Concert. And, Tim, your take on George's reaction to Paul's continued patronizing manner was an eye-opener. Perhaps, because I have read so very much about their interactions at this time, and how George felt about the whole damned thing, it was a surprise to hear how you viewed his simmering response to Paul's continuous arrogance, even if he has every reason to be, arrogant. At the time, I wanted to grab every single one of them by the scruff and say "You have created Magic; ACT LIKE IT," and get over yourselves and back to the music. Then, the dream really ended on a brutal street in New York City. No, I'll never ever get over The Rooftop. But, I will do my best to watch it all again. Thanks for the expositions, friends; I loved sharing these views and memories.

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it was a surprise to hear how you viewed his simmering response to Paul's continuous arrogance, even if he has every reason to be, arrogant

Yeah...Paul didn't come across as arrogant to me, at least not in that interaction - nor has he ever, in anything I've ever seen. I know he's the cute one, and maybe he's a consummate actor and everyone but me realizes he's really an arrogant entitled jerk under the nice-guy facade - but if that's the way he bludgeons people, I guess he'd take me in too.

Instead of arrogance, I'd buy genuine self-confidence in his musical and technical ability to be the Beatles' in-band producer, given the lack of an outside authority figure at this time - if only he could figure out how to comfortably direct these personalities he knew so well, and with which he had so much history (positive and negative). He may have been very uncertain about managing that interpersonal task - and scared for the future of the band because of it. He may have felt he had more personally at stake in the project, in that the idea of a documentary showing the Beatles doing a back-to-the-basics album was largely his notion - and if it failed, the other Beatles would blame him And (to the extent others knew about these dynamics), so would the rest of the world.

So I can kinda buy him as the president of the prom committee, a sort of first among peers at least for the time being, feeling responsible for getting the gym decorated while everyone else is goofing off, slacking off, doesn't want to be there, or is otherwise preoccupied. He'd kinda given up the freedom to be cool, because he was trying to be responsible.

I've come lately to giving Paul the respect he's due as a Beatle; I'd always preferred practically everything about John, from his mix of humor, cynicism, and earnestness to his more muscular rock & roll attitude to even his voice. I always took Paul as Mr Goody Two-Shoes Saccharine Sweet. But there's no denying the talent, the musical brilliance, the songwriting and melodic facility, and the marvelously, ridiculously supple instrument which is his voice. That doesn't mean I consider him of greater stature than Lennon - while they came together in an unprecedented way to make the most of each other's skills, both are giants in their own ways. But I've come around to thinking maybe he really is kinda the nice guy he seems.

What I saw in that exchange was Paul, maybe feeling a bit like the one who has to stay mature and focused and keep the boys on task - and a little bit scared by the prospect - being as ridiculously diplomatic and even apologetic as he possibly can in asking George to just try it his way. He even gives the reason: to at least get the material down in simple form before starting to elaborate, which may be his oh-so-polite roundabout way of suggesting to George that maybe the stuff he's trying just isn't working, perhaps because the ideas were half-baked or weren't executed with the kind of effortlessly together musicianship Paul himself displays in even the most casual exercises.

Paul looks like he's both earnest and pained by his seeming inability to get George on the same page. Is that all an act?

Also, I think George, along with his "quiet" good guy persona, may well have been a master at sullen, icily snippy passive aggression - perhaps driven to it by his perception that he'd been stepped on for years by the two older boys, but it's the kind of thing that could get tiresome to his bandmates all the same. It's thus possible that I'm misreading his demeanor, and his "I'll do it however you want, or I won't play at all if that's what you want" would have been taken by Paul as patently insincere and...well, passive-aggressive. But what I heard and saw was an apparent agreement to try it Paul's way - a sort of Eastern surrender to the flow (though I don't think George was really all that enlightened yet), along with the dignity of "being the bigger man" for the sake of moving the group project along. It didn't sound simmering.

But I don't know any of this, of course. Didn't know the guys. Probably wouldn't know how to interact with them. I'm just taking what I thought I saw at face value. I should probably remember it's all a movie, they knew cameras were running, and they may have been acting.

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I noticed that Paul is doing his best to promote excitement for this project by performing these songs even while they are learning and rehearsing them. The other 3 guys are just rehearsing. They seem a bit annoyed by this without saying anything. It put into context for me John's quote that by the end he was tired of being a sideman for Paul. They probably thought he was a poser but I can see from Paul's perspective that he was trying to keep the energy up.

Paul was obviously in charge for these sessions. it seems he felt he had to take the reigns only because nobody else could be bothered.


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